Posts tagged ‘mpaa’

TorrentFreak: MPAA Wins $10.5 Million Piracy Damages From MovieTube

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

movietubeUnauthorized movie streaming sites have been a thorn in the side of Hollywood for many years.

Responding to this threat the MPAA decided to take one of the most prominent players to court earlier this year.

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

In the complaint the MPAA listed several popular websites including,,,,,,, and, which were all believed to be operated by the same people.

Despite facing millions of dollars in damages, the site’s operators remained silent. They swiftly pulled the targeted sites offline after the compliant was filed, but never responded to any of the claims in court.

Due to this inaction the MPAA requested a default judgment at a New York federal court, demanding a permanent injunction as well as millions of dollars in damages.

This week a federal court judge ruled in favor of the MPAA, finding MovieTube liable for copyright infringement, federal trademark counterfeiting, and unfair competition (pdf).

The court agreed to statutory damages for willful copyright infringement in the amount of $75,000 per work, which brings the total to $10.5 million.


The default judgment also includes a permanent injunction that prohibits MovieTube’s operators from offering or linking to any copyright infringing material. In addition, the movie studios will now take ownership of all domain names.

Dean Marks, the MPAA’s Executive Vice President, is happy with the outcome and says it helps to protect the livelihood of movie industry workers.

“By shutting down these illegal commercial enterprises we are protecting not only our members’ creative work and the hundreds of innovative, legal digital distribution platforms, but also the millions of people whose jobs depend on a vibrant motion picture and television industry.”

“This court order will help ensure the sites stay down and are not transferred to others for the purposes of continuing a piracy operation on a massive scale.”

While shutting down the MovieTube sites is a significant win for the MPAA, they are unlikely to see any of the money that’s been awarded to them. The true operators of the MovieTube sites remain unknown and will do their best to keep it that way.

The full list of domain names that will be signed over to the MPAA is as follows:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and

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

TorrentFreak: BREIN Stops and Settles With Popcorn Time Developers

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

popcorntIn less than two years Popcorn Time has become a piracy icon as well as one of Hollywood’s main nemeses.

Through various enforcement actions around the world the major movie studios hope to eventually contain this threat.

They recently booked a major victory when the MPAA filed a lawsuit against several key developers of the popular fork in Canada. While this suit took down the associated website, there are several efforts to revive the project.

The problem for the movie studios is that Popcorn Time’s code is open source, allowing anyone to help out or distribute forks of their own. With minimal effort, developers can easily have their own improved version up and running.

While this results in a perpetual game of whack-a-mole, Hollywood-backed anti-piracy group BREIN has just announced a win.

The group reports that has tracked down two Dutch developers who helped to keep Popcorn Time alive, and urged them to stop their activities immediately.

“Since the recent action by the MPAA against, which took the website offline, various parties are breathing new life into the software, as were these two Dutch individuals,” the group says.

According to BREIN the pair used GitHub to submit code and Reddit to share news about their accomplishments.

Preventing a possible court case, the developers signed a settlement with the anti-piracy group in which they agreed to stop their Popcorn Time development. The pair face a fine of €2,000 per day if they breach the agreement.

The Dutch developers don’t seem to be part of the core development team of the .io fork, which could explain why they got off with a relatively mild warning.

The lawsuit against three of the main developers in Canada is still ongoing. They face millions in damages due to their involvement with the popular application and the associated service, which generated significant revenues.

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

TorrentFreak: Google Asked to Remove 1,500 “Pirate Links” Per Minute

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

deleteIn recent years copyright holders have flooded Google with DMCA takedown notices, asking the company to delete links to pirated content.

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

This translates to 1,500 links per minute, or 25 per second, and is double the amount being handled last year around the same time. The graph below illustrates the continuing increase.

Google takedown surge

Over the past month Google received takedown notices from 5,609 different copyright holders targeting 65 million links, together spanning 68,484 different domain names.

Most of the reported URLs indeed point to pirated content and the associated links are often swiftly removed from Google’s search results. However, with the massive volume of reports coming in, mistakes and duplicate requests are also common.

The availability of pirated content in search results is a hot button issue for copyright holders, who believe that Google sometimes steers legitimate customers to unauthorized sites.

Google addressed this issue last year by implementing a significant change to its search algorithm, which downranks sites that receive many copyright infringement notices.

These efforts helped to make most large torrent sites less visible, but recent research shows that many streaming sites are still among the top results.

According to industry groups such as the MPAA and RIAA, Google should take a more aggressive approach and blacklist the worst offenders entirely. However, Google believes that this type of site-wide censorship goes too far.

For now, the dispute between both camps remains unresolved, which means that the takedown surge and purge is likely to continue.

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

TorrentFreak: Arrests as Police Target Latin America’s Largest Pirate Site

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

megalogoWhen it comes to enforcement of intellectual property rights, Brazil isn’t exactly a world leader. The country has long been criticized for its lack of progress in this area and has regularly found itself targeted by complaining authorities in the United States.

In 2009, former President Lula was even photographed cozying up to none other than The Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde. But six years later and it appears that the tides have changed.

Yesterday Federal Police in Brazil launched Operation Blackbeard, a coordinated action to take down, Latin America’s most popular pirate site.

Launched in 2010 and mainly serving the Portuguese-speaking market, MegaFilmesHD has grown to become one of Brazil’s most popular sites, with a reported 60 million visits per month.

megafilmesopsFollowing a two month investigation, police executed 14 search warrants targeted at the alleged operators of the popular streaming portal.

A man and a woman believed to be a couple were arrested at their home on suspicion of copyright offenses. Four cars, two of them reportedly luxury (local media showed a $US58,000 Porsche SUV), were seized along with around US$5,300 in cash.

Police also questioned five alleged admins of the site and blocked seven bank accounts believed to be used for money laundering. Along with the site’s owners the admins will be indicted for running a criminal operation. Police say they face between three and eight years in prison on that count plus two to four years for copyright infringement offenses, plus fines.

Like many similar operations of its type, Mega Filmes HD listed thousands of movies and linked to files hosted on third-party cyberlocker-style sites. According to police the site generated around US$18,500 per month from advertising. Tests carried out by TF last evening revealed aggressive techniques, with most clicks resulting in the appearance of some kind of ad.


While it’s clear that the owners of Mega Filmes HD are now in serious trouble, the lawyer for the couple says that their arrest came as a complete surprise. Apparently one of his clients originally ran the business from Asia and expected no problems in Brazil.

“My client came from Japan and there the practice is common. He never imagined he would be arrested,” the lawyer told Globo.

Interestingly (although perhaps not surprisingly) figures reported by Brazilian police concerning Mega Filmes HD largely tie up with ones cited in a report the MPAA filed last month with the United States Representative.

“ is a popular streaming linking site that currently offers more than 150,000 links to more than 6,000 illegally reproduced national and international titles including films, television series, and concerts,” the MPAA reported.

Also of interest is the current status of the site. Although its operators were arrested yesterday morning, until just a few hours ago remained operational. Currently the site is offline but that appears to be due to a massive influx of traffic following news of the raid.

Possibly complicating a shutdown is that MegaFilmesHD was only partially operated from Brazil. According to the MPAA the site had connections in both Poland and Bulgaria. Nevertheless, if it stays down the impact will be felt most locally. Police says that 85% of the site’s visitors were from Brazil, with an impressive 4.5 million followers on social media.

But despite the existence of MegaFilmesHD and a reported 41% of citizens downloading illegally from the Internet, legal services are thriving in Brazil. The country is now the fourth-largest market for Netflix behind the US, Canada and the United Kingdom, with Netflix chief Reed Hastings describing the country as a “rocket ship” for his company.

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

TorrentFreak: Popcorn Time’s Alive, Full Comeback In the Works

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

popcorntThe main Popcorn Time fork operating from the domain name shut down its servers late October citing internal problems.

A few days later the MPAA took credit for the fall, announcing that it had filed a lawsuit against several of the developers in Canada. In response some developers backed out.

Faced with an abrupt ending several Popcorn Time users were keen to revive the defunct application. The effort has been a success, with a fully working fix now circulating on Reddit.

The fixed version uses new APIs so movies and TV-shows now show up again. Instead of using YTS as a movie provider the revived application uses TorrentsAPI, and the TV-show feed has been replaced by a custom API.

The Reddit fix is only the start. Users of, the VPN service associated with Popcorn Time, were also alerted about a new update to the movie streaming application recently.

“ Movies API FIX installed,” the message read, prompting users to restart the application.

It turns out that the VPN provider made several changes which allows users to access the Popcorn Time website and client without any issues.

Popcorn Time alert

After the fix is applied Popcorn Time becomes fully operational again, filled with the latest movies as if nothing has happened.

For now the general public can’t use their old Popcorn Time client without manually applying a fix, but this may change in the near future.

Popcorn Time developer Wally, who also founded the service, informs TorrentFreak that he could revive Popcorn Time to its full glory.

“I am still considering a full comeback, I just do not want to release a half working version,” Wally says.

The developer, who controls both the official Twitter account and mailing list, first wants to make sure that all domain names are out of the MPAA’s reach. This is a concern, as the Canadian lawsuit is still ongoing.

Wally is not listed as a defendant in the Canadian lawsuit but his name was mentioned in the complaint. In addition, the company was mentioned in both the claim and injunction.

Instead of fighting Popcorn Time, Wally believes the MPAA should embrace its concept and technology.

“The popularity of Popcorn Time should be an example for the MPAA to a build a future streaming platform that will be open to the entire world,” Wally says.

Lawsuits or not, it’s clear that the technology is hard to stop. Even now that the original sources no longer work, people can still use the application as a basic torrent streaming client, manually loading torrents into it.

The MPAA is not going to be pleased with the plans to relaunch the popular Popcorn Time fork. However, neutral spectators may want to get the popcorn out, as this saga is far from over.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Wants $10 Million Piracy Damages From MovieTube

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

movietubeLast summer the MPAA sued several popular movie streaming websites which all operated under the MovieTube flag.

In their complaint the movie studios listed,,,,,,,, and several related sites.

The websites in question were typical streaming services, where users could watch videos and in some cases download source files to their computers. Since they used the same hosting facilities and design elements the studios believed that they were operated by the same people.

Several months have passed since the action was filed and the operators of the MovieTube sites have yet to appear in court. They were quick to pull the accused sites offline after the compliant was filed, but never responded to any of the claims.

Due to this inaction, the MPAA now requests a default judgment. In an affidavit submitted to a New York federal court before the weekend they point out that MovieTube made a healthy profit from its operations.

“Defendants’ aggressive promotion and search-engine optimization of the MovieTube Websites permitted them to profit off their blatantly infringing activities,” the MPAA’s attorney writes (pdf).

According to the MPAA the MovieTube sites attracted over 81 million estimated visits per month, including more than 60 million visits from the United States.

“Defendants’ advertising-based revenue model would have yielded them significant profits given their high traffic, little to no overhead, and the fact that, unlike legitimate digital content services, they paid not a single dollar to license the content on their websites.”

In a proposed default judgment (pdf) the MPAA requests a permanent injunction that would prohibit the accused from offering or linking to any copyright infringing material. In addition, the movie studios want the domain names to be transferred to them.

In addition, the MPAA requests statutory damages for willful copyright infringement in the amount of $75,000 per title, for a total of $10.5 million.

The proposed injunction no longer requires search engines, ISPs and hosting companies to stop linking or offering services to MovieTube. This request was dropped earlier after Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Yahoo branded it as a broad censorship attempt.

Without any opposition from the defendants the MPAA is destined to win this case. However, whether they will ever see any damages is highly doubtful. For now the true operators of the MovieTube sites remain unknown.

That said, the Hollywood group has already scored a victory by shutting down the MovieTube ring when the lawsuit was filed.

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

TorrentFreak: Demonii Torrent Tracker Shuts Down For Good

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

demoniiTrackers are a crucial part of the BitTorrent infrastructure, making it easier for downloaders and uploaders to connect to each other.

Technically speaking trackers are similar to a DNS provider, they function as a ‘phone book’ pointing people to content without knowing what it is.

Over the past several months Demonii became the largest torrent tracker online, handling requests from more than 50 million peers, resulting in more than two billion connections per day.

However, since this weekend Demonii is no more.

The tracker simply vanished without an official explanation from the operator. Since it’s connected to the now defunct YTS/YIFY group, it’s safe to assume that the tracker is not coming back.

In addition to the suspicions, a well-informed source has also confirmed that this is the end for the tracker.

Started in 2013 Demonii was a relatively young tracker that soon became the largest of its kind. After OpenBitTorrent and PublicBT suffered prolonged downtime earlier this year it was the only top tracker left standing.

Demonii’s demise shows that the MPAA’s legal action against YTS/YIFY will have an even larger impact on the BitTorrent ecosystem than expected.

Demonii’s growth over the past year

After a settlement the domain name is now controlled by the MPAA, but as far as we can see the domain hasn’t yet fallen into the hands of the Hollywood group.

Although one of the largest trackers has folded, most torrents will still work fine thanks to DHT, PEX, and some other large trackers that remain online. That said, in some cases it may take longer to connect to peers.

With Demonii, YTS and YIFY gone there’s no doubt that the torrent ecosystem has lost one of its biggest players. However, this is not the first time that a large BitTorrent tracker has folded and historically others have stood up to take the strain.

OpenBitTorrent and PublicBT have been up and running again for a while, and other sizable trackers such as and Leechers-Paradise remain available as well.

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

TorrentFreak: Google Must Take Blame For Spreading Bizarre Piracy News

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

sadpirateThe music and movie industries love to poke the finger at Google and blame the technology giant for a world of woes, not least the appearance of ‘rogue’ sites in its search results.

Well, you know what? They’re not the only ones that can play that game.

Here at TF we do our very best to bring the latest file-sharing news to our readers and always try to bring something fresh to our reports, whether we’re the initial source or not. However, there are other sites who don’t appear to care much about the topics they cover, only the number of clicks they can generate.

I’m talking about headlines like this from the file-sharing experts at Christian Today.


“[W]ith reports saying that Microsoft’s new platform has more stringent security measures against torrents, fans are wondering if TPB and other sites will make it to Windows 10-enabled devices,” the site warns.

The article quotes fellow torrent-nonsense-farmers ‘Venture Capital Post‘ as the source, claiming that people upgrading to Windows 10 “will not have access to torrent sites, as Microsoft will reportedly actively block The Pirate Bay, Kickass Torrents and other file-sharing websites.”

These twisted accounts are based on erroneous claims about Windows 10 that date back to August and have been well and truly debunked. Still, both sites reported them only this week, with more misinformation and scaremongering thrown in for good measure.

Of further concern is how VCPost then links to International Business Times as the source of the story, a site known for its ‘advanced’ SEO techniques and its 2013 banning from Reddit.

Only adding to the hall of mirrors, IBTimes cites Christian Post as its ‘source’ with its totally baseless and speculative article titled “The Pirate Bay Update: After The Takedown Of YIFY, Is The Pirate Bay Next?”

That in turns links to a site called ‘Yibada’ with its article “The Pirate Bay (TPB) Last Man Standing After YTS/YIFY Shutdown: TPB Next In Line?” and home to other gems including (deep breath) “After Taking Down The Pirate Bay, Will MPAA Go Easy On TPB Like It Did With YTS/YIFY? Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom Cries Double Standard.”

Then, shock/horror, Yibada directs back to International Business Times as the source – are we noticing a pattern here? Yeah? Well, the end result when searching for Pirate Bay in Google search often looks something like this.


This sorry state of affairs is entirely the fault of Google. Instead of monitoring and reading every single story in its indexes and carrying out quality control of every opinion and claim linked therein, the search giant is blatantly sending unwitting visitors to uninformed sites which misleads the public and starves creators.

So, just like elements of the entertainment industry, we’re demanding a totally self-serving modification of Google’s algorithm to push this nonsense way down the results. We’re not going to accept no for an answer either. If Google can do it for child porn, malware, and wait – Hollywood and the RIAA, they can do it for us too, surely?

Oh, and apparently there are hundreds of other companies waiting in the wings with similar plights and demands. Each is keen to feature more prominently in Google’s results and each is prepared to endlessly wail over why its case deserves special attention and how Google must be to blame.

Sadly, and as the pettiness over the mind-bending Google-gaming articles listed above highlights, no one really gives a damn and it’s no wonder that Google doesn’t either. Now excuse me while I cozy up to a few politicians and go crying like a baby to the US government. Need to get in early, there’s going to be massive queue if Google becomes compliant.

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

TorrentFreak: U.S. and MPAA Protest Return of Megaupload’s Servers

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

megaupload-logoWhen Megaupload was raided early 2012 the U.S. Government seized 1,103 servers at Carpathia’s hosting facility in the United States.

Nearly four years have since passed and it’s still uncertain what will happen to the servers, which are safely stored in a Virginia warehouse at the moment.

After a renewed request for guidance on the issue, District Court Judge O’Grady started to explore what options are on the table. He asked the various parties what would be required to release the servers and whether their possible return has any complications.

In a response, hosting company QTS/Carpathia says that most data will still be intact but that retrieving it will be a costly endeavor.

The equipment that was used to link the servers together is no longer on the market. Used parts are still available but this would cost roughly $500,000. In addition, hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to move the servers and set them up properly.

United States Attorney Dana Boente notes that a successful data return would likely cost millions. However, the Government has no interest in the servers and doesn’t want any of Megaupload’s restrained funds to be released to pay for the costs.

According to the Government some of Megaupload’s money comes from illicit proceeds. In addition, the possible return of the servers is a concern because they contain child pornography.

“The United States further reminds the Court that the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that many of these servers contain, as indicated more particularly under seal, copies of known images of child pornography,” Boente writes (pdf).

The MPAA also responded to questions posed by the court. The Hollywood group says it’s still gravely concerned that the copyrighted movies and TV-shows may fall into the hands of others.

“The MPAA members remain gravely concerned about the potential release of the copyrighted works that are stored on the […] servers at issue here,” the movie industry group writes (pdf).

Transferring the data to Megaupload or another party would be copyright infringement in and by itself, they argue.

“The release of these digital files would not only risk the further infringing distribution of the MPAA members’ highly valuable copyrighted works, but any transfer of these files by QTS to Megaupload or a third party would itself be an infringement of the MPAA members’ copyrights in those works.”

Based on the reasoning above it’s nearly impossible to move any of the data without violating the rights of the movie studios.

However, former Megaupload user Kyle Goodwin, represented by the EFF, stresses that there’s no need to restore the entire infrastructure. He only wants access to the personal files he lost during the raid.

Finally, Megaupload’s defense argues that it can’t pay for the servers as long as their assets are restrained.

Dotcom’s defunct file-hosting service suggests placing the servers “under a litigation hold” at a reputable eDiscovery vendor such as KPMG, to ensure the confidentiality of the files. Recovering the data won’t come cheap though.

“Megaupload had previously received an e-vendor’s estimate of US$7.7 million for forensic duplication of the data needed for e-discovery and evidence purposes,” they write (pdf).

It’s now up to District Court Judge Liam O’Grady to make a recommendation regarding the possible return of Megaupload’s servers. Based on the input from the parties above this may prove to be a difficult task.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Plans For Site Blocking in the U.S. Dealt a Blow

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

It’s 2012 and you’re the organization representing the world’s largest movie studios. You’ve just received a bloody nose while failing to get the extremely unpopular SOPA legislation passed. All that SOPA entailed, site blocking included, is now off the table. What do you do, give up? Not a chance.

Help us block, ITC

As revealed last year, the MPAA continued to explore other options to have unauthorized sites and content blocked in the United States, one of which involved leveraging the powers of the International Trade Commission (ITC).

The ITC determines the impact of imports on industry in the U.S. and can tackle unfair trade practices including those involving patents, trademarks and copyright infringement.

The MPAA quietly hoped that it could encourage the ITC to order blocks against ISPs carrying infringing content across U.S. borders. It also hoped it could obtain injunctions against regular ISPs to stop them providing access to overseas “rogue” sites. At the time the MPAA’s lawfirm highlighted several problems, not least that no actual goods are sent across U.S. borders by ‘rogue’ sites.

This is important. The definition of “articles” under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 is what allows the ITC to take action in such cases. The big question is whether an “article” must be a physical item or whether it can relate to content in the digital realm. The answer lies in a case about crooked teeth.

At first view ClearCorrect v. ITC looks like just another boring patent case but it has been closely monitored by the MPAA.

ClearCorrect, a competitor of invisible brace manufacturer Invisalign, had one of its subsidiaries in Pakistan create 3D models of braces. These were sent over the Internet and 3D-printed in its office in Texas, potentially infringing Invisalign’s patents.

Invisalign parent company Align Technologies complained to the International Trade Commission in the hope of getting something done about the alleged cross-border infringement. In the short term it paid off, with the ITC ruling against ClearCorrect while noting that the Tariff Act of 1930 does allow it take action against the transmission of digital files.

ClearCorrect objected against the decision and the case was heard by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday the Court handed down its decision, overturning the ITC’s initial ruling.

“The Commission’s decision to expand the scope of its jurisdiction to include electronic transmissions of digital data runs counter to the ‘unambiguously expressed intent of Congress’,” Judge Sharon Prost wrote.

“Here, it is clear that ‘articles’ means ‘material things,’ whether when looking to the literal text or when read in context ‘with a view to [the term’s] place in the overall statutory scheme.’ We recognize, of course, that electronic transmissions
have some physical properties — for example an electron’s invariant mass is a known quantity — but commonsense dictates that there is a fundamental difference between electronic transmissions and ‘material things’.”

The Court’s majority 2-1 ruling (Judge Newman dissenting) that the ITC has no jurisdiction in this case and possesses no expertise when it comes to ensuring that the “Internet remains an open platform for all” has upset the MPAA.

“This ruling, if it stands, would appear to reduce the authority of the ITC to address the scourge of overseas web sites that engage in blatant piracy of movies, television programs, music, books, and other copyrighted works,” the Hollywood group said.

After filing a brief in the case, interests group Public Knowledge described the ruling as a “big win” for the open Internet.

“By rejecting the ITC’s attempt to expand its jurisdiction, the Federal Circuit helps to ensure that Internet users have unfettered access to the free flow of information that has proved so useful for innovation and free expression,” said Charles Duan, Director of Public Knowledge’s Patent Reform Project.

“In particular, Judge O’Malley’s concurrence strongly recognized the importance of ensuring that ‘the Internet remains an open platform for all.’ This recognition of the central role that open information flow has played in the digital age is heartwarming to advocates like us who have tirelessly worked to protect that Internet openness.”

Countering, the MPAA chose to cite the opinions of the one dissenting judge.

“As Judge Newman’s dissent trenchantly argues, the majority ‘ignores precedent and logic, and removes a vast body of technology from the protection of a statute designed for its protection.’ We will be watching closely for further proceedings in this case, including potential en banc review, and continue to support the ITC in its efforts to address 21st Century challenges.”

In other words, the MPAA won’t be giving up on its site-blocking ambitions just yet.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA OK With Copyright Law But Seeks Allies For Piracy Fight

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

As Europe conducts a reassessment of copyright law and its ability to keep pace with technology, the United States is doing likewise.

In a speech during the World Intellectual Property Day celebrations at the Library of Congress in April 2013, Chairman Bob Goodlatte announced that the House Judiciary Committee would carry out a comprehensive review of United States copyright law.

“I am announcing today that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a comprehensive series of hearings on U.S. copyright law in the months ahead. The goal of these hearings will be to determine whether the laws are still working in the digital age,” Goodlatte said.

As of mid-October 2015 the Committee had held 20 hearings on various topics, from the scope of copyright protection and Fair Use, the preservation and reuse of copyright works, to the first sale doctrine and music licensing.

With additional meetings with hearing witnesses now underway, the House Judiciary Committee is conducting a “listening tour” to gather input from those involved in the creative process. After stopping off in Nashville, Goodlatte and other members of the Committee appeared at Santa Clara University in Northern California yesterday. Today they’re hosting a roundtable discussion at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In addition to Google’s senior copyright counsel Fred von Lohmann, Dean Marks, the MPAA’s chief of global content protection, is also expected to attend. Neil Fried, SVP, Government and Regulatory Affairs, says that while the MPAA welcomes the discussion to Hollywood, changes to copyright law aren’t high on its agenda.

“Although not perfect, the Copyright Act is fulfilling its mission of promoting the production and dissemination of creative works,” Fried says.

“In 2014 alone, viewers used lawful online services to access 66.6 billion television episodes and 7.1 billion movies. We expect these TV and film numbers to reach 101.6 billion and 11.7 billion by 2019. Clearly the market and copyright law are working.”

But while the MPAA says it’s broadly satisfied with the law, it insists that more must be done to combat piracy. Cooperation with other stakeholders will provide the solutions the industry is looking for, the movie group says.

“The Internet’s decentralized nature allows anyone around the world to contribute to its content and architecture, but that also means no single entity can solve problems that arise, like piracy,” Fried says.

“That is why we are currently focusing our attention on forging cross-industry, voluntary initiatives to ensure a safe and innovative digital environment, rather than seeking a legislative rewrite of copyright policy.”

And to date there have indeed been significant developments on this front.

In addition to attempting to choke the finances of pirate sites by forging closer relationships with processors including PayPal, MasterCard and Visa, there have been national and international campaigns to ensure that big brands avoid placing their ads on pirate sites. Users have been targeted too.

“The motion picture and recording industries have also partnered with the five largest ISPs to create the Copyright Alert System, a progressive system of alerts that is used to make consumers aware of possible infringing activity that has occurred over peer-to-peer networks using their Internet accounts, provide them with information on how to prevent such activity from happening again, and also inform them of the wide range of legal online alternatives,” Fried adds.

But while some ISPs, processors and advertising networks may be on board, bigger challenges lie ahead for the development of voluntary agreements. For example, the MPAA is desperate to find a simple way to stop pirate sites from easily registering and then using domain names for infringing purposes.

“Even though the terms of service for domain name registrars and registries almost uniformly prohibit the use of domain names for illicit activities, these provisions are rarely enforced,” Fried explains.

To date progress on this front has been slow and in some cases responses have been somewhat hostile.

And of course, the MPAA will be pleased that Fred von Lohmann is expected at today’s roundtable. The Hollywood group is still not happy with how easy it is for Internet users to find infringing content using Google search. Google previously stated that people tend to find infringing content because they’re specifically looking for it, but the MPAA sees things somewhat differently.

“Nearly 60 percent of the queries that led to stolen content contained only generic or title-specific keywords, indicating consumers were not specifically seeking pirated material,” Fried says.

With the heat of the Project Goliath debacle still simmering beneath the surface, the MPAA’s current tone is certainly measured. Only time will tell whether its claimed satisfaction with copyright law will continue longer term should Google and others decide not to play ball.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA: Online Privacy Hurts Anti-Piracy Enforcement

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

mpaa-logoEvery year the United States Trade Representative (USTR) inventorizes what problems local industries face when doing business abroad.

The major Hollywood studios, represented by the MPAA, just submitted their latest overview listing trade barriers across the globe.

The MPAA points out that many countries don’t do enough to deter piracy. This is also a common theme in Europe, where privacy laws and regulations make it harder for copyright holders to go after online pirates.

“Privacy has always been a major issue in the European Union. EU Member States have implemented a number of privacy directives to protect individuals’ personal data,” MPAA writes.

According to the MPAA, European privacy rules are extremely complex and difficult. As a result they are often used against efforts that could help to prevent copyright infringement.

For example, IP-addresses are protected as private personal information in several countries including Italy, where they can only be used in criminal cases.

“All EU Member States have detailed data protection laws. These rules, often very strict, are subject to the interpretation of the national data protection authorities,” MPAA notes (pdf).

“Most of them consider IP addresses as personal data and believe that the privacy rules apply to their use,” they add.

The MPAA points out that privacy rights of citizens often trump the rights of copyright holders, which they believe is a “very problematic” development.

As a result, Internet providers often refuse to cooperate with copyright holders claiming that this violates the privacy of their users. This makes it hard for the content industries to cooperate with these companies in various anti-piracy efforts.

“Telecommunications operators and ISPs constantly invoke data protection rules to avoid any meaningful cooperation with the content sector,” MPAA writes.

“Such restrictive interpretations preclude meaningful cooperation with Internet intermediaries, such as telecommunications operators and ISPs, in particular cooperation to combat IP theft.”

In addition, the MPAA is not happy with the EU Court of Justice decision to no longer make data retention mandatory. As a result, many ISPs no longer keep extensive IP-address logs.

The movie studios believe that data retention is an important law enforcement tool, suggesting that it’s harder to track down online pirates without logs.

“Data retention remains a very valuable tool for law enforcement. Rights holders have always claimed the need for reasonable rules and legal certainty. This decision has created even more legal uncertainty in this field.

“Member States have started to respond to the consequences of this decision with legislation and some have invalidated their rules,” MPAA adds.

The data retention argument is not new, but it’s worth noting that the U.S. itself has no mandatory data retention laws. This makes it hard for the U.S. Government to demand that other countries adopt them.

It’s clear though, that the MPAA is not happy with the increased interest in online privacy. With or without help from the U.S. government, they will continue to try and minimize the impact it has on their enforcement efforts.

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

TorrentFreak: YTS Reaches MPAA Deal But Dotcom Faces Decades in Jail?

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

After reporting on thousands of file-sharing related stories around the globe for almost ten years, the folks here at TF have a ‘feel’ for how certain scenarios play out. With that in mind, something doesn’t feel right with the ongoing drama involving YTS / YIFY.

When sites as big as YTS get taken down by the MPAA, RIAA, or their partners around the world, these organizations usually order their PR departments to repeatedly bash the big button marked “CONGRATULATIONS TO US”. Yet for weeks following the YTS shut down there was complete silence.

Details of the multi-million dollar lawsuit supposedly filed in New Zealand are nowhere to be found either. And if one was expecting the usual “Shut down by ICE/FBI/DELTA FORCE” banner to appear on instead of the usual YIFY movie rips, then there’s only disappointment there too.

Ok, the MPAA have this week admitted they’re behind the shutdown, but the way it’s being handled is extremely puzzling. The announcement from MPAA chief Chris Dodd was muted to say the least and the somewhat compulsory gloating at having taken down one of the world’s most important piracy sites is almost non-existent.

This is odd for a number of reasons, not least when one considers the nature and scale of the operation. YIFY / YTS released as many as five thousand copies of mainstream movies onto the Internet. Between them they were shared dozens of millions of times, at least. Over the past decade those kinds of numbers – and a lot less – have seen people jailed for up to five years in the United States and elsewhere.

Yet according to credible sources the operator of YTS – a 21-year-old who for unknown reasons isn’t even being named – has already settled his beef with the MPAA. This, despite running a site that has been repeatedly listed as a worldwide notorious market in the USTR’s Special 301 Report.

Of course, the operator of YTS isn’t in the United States, he’s in New Zealand, but geographical boundaries are rarely an issue for Hollywood. Take the drama surrounding Kim Dotcom and his former site Megaupload, for example.

Like the operator of YTS, Dotcom also lives in New Zealand. Importantly, it’s never been claimed that Dotcom uploaded anything illegal to the Internet (let alone thousands of movies) yet he was subjected to a commando-like raid on his home by dozens of armed police. He’s also facing extradition to the United States where he faces decades in jail.

Now, think of the flamboyant Dotcom what you will. Then feel relieved for the admin of YTS, who by many accounts is a thoroughly nice guy and has somehow managed to save his own skin, despite providing much of the content for global phenomenon Popcorn Time.

But then try to get a handle on how differently these two people are being treated after allegedly committing roughly the same offenses in exactly the same country. One case is still dragging on after almost four years, with tens of millions spent on lawyers and no end in sight. The other was a done deal inside four weeks.

Earlier this week TorrentFreak spoke with Kim Dotcom who told us he’d been following the YTS story in the media. Intrigued, we wanted to know – how does it feel to be raked over the coals for close to four years, have all your property seized, face extradition and decades in jail, while someone just up the road can walk away relatively unscathed from what would’ve been a slam-dunk case for the MPAA?

“It’s a double standard isn’t it?” Dotcom told TF.

“I think our case has chilled law enforcement and Hollywood against pursuing the criminal route in cases such as this. Quick civil settlements seem to be the new way to go.”

Dotcom may well be right and the fact that New Zealand already has a massive headache because of his case may well have been a factor in the decision not to make a huge example of the YTS operator. At the moment no one is talking though, and it’s entirely possible that no one ever will.

That makes a case like this all the more unsettling. Are we witnessing Hollywood’s ability to switch on a massive overseas law enforcement response in one case and then reel in the United States government in another? It’s worth saying again – YTS was a ‘notorious market’ in the eyes of the USTR yet apparently that be dealt with privately these days.

But with all that being said, it is quite possible that the U.S. government has learned lessons from its heavy-handed actions in 2012 and doesn’t want to repeat them again, least of all in New Zealand, a country whose judges must be growing tired of the Dotcom debacle.

“As the DOJ admitted the Megaupload case is a test case. The test isn’t going well for them,” Dotcom concludes.

And for that the guy behind YTS must be thanking his lucky stars.

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

TorrentFreak: Aurous Gets Beaten Up By the RIAA But Peace is Near

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

Within days of its October 10 launch, music discovery tool Aurous was in big legal trouble. Aurous Group and developer Andrew Sampson are now being sued by the RIAA and pretty this definitely ain’t.

Last month, plaintiffs Atlantic Records, Warner Bros, UMG, Sony and Capital Records obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) from a Florida district court, forbidding Sampson and everyone else associated with the project from infringing their copyrights.

Shortly after, Sampson published the ‘back-end’ Aurous source code to Github, enraging the RIAA who accused him of breaching the TRO. Aurous’ legal team had previously offered to settle and throw in the towel, but the alleged breach appeared to scupper those plans.

Instead, the RIAA asked for Sampson and Aurous Group to be held in contempt of court and punished via monetary sanctions, all while plowing ahead in pursuit of a preliminary injunction. Aurous made two attempts at convincing the court that a preliminary injunction should not be issued and earlier this week the RIAA issued its response. It makes for train-wreck reading.

“Defendants continue to ignore critical evidence of their liability for copyright infringement and the irreparable harm they are causing, while misciting the law and misstating the facts,” the RIAA begins.

“Defendants make a fundamental error in asserting that ‘[t]he motion for a preliminary
injunction is an attempt to hold Aurous responsible for the actions of its users.’ To the contrary, this motion is about Defendants’ conduct in creating a service through
which Defendants cause and facilitate copyright infringement..”

There’s a good reason why legal advice often begins with “say nothing” and in this respect the RIAA is making hay while the sun shines.

“It is too late for Defendants to pretend that they ‘had no knowledge of the infringement of either the consumers, or the websites in which the consumers were directed towards’,” the RIAA states.

“Defendants’ belated profession of innocence rings with hypocrisy, particularly in light of Defendant Sampson’s own earlier statements (some of which he has tried to delete) reflecting his own sophisticated knowledge of copyright infringement and his commitment to aiding infringers while thwarting copyright owners.”

Noting that Sampson marked as ‘favorite’ a Twitter message declaring “dead [A]pple [M]usic, dead Spotify, as soon as Aurous launches its [sic] all over”, the RIAA references comments made by Sampson in a Billboard article which detailed his attitude towards takedown efforts.

“If you were to receive a cease-and-desist, what would your reaction be?” the publication asked.

“Ignore it,” Sampson responded.

Things only get worse when the RIAA recalls what happened when one of their representatives sent Sampson a DMCA notice asking for content to be removed from his ‘Strike‘ search engine.

“Sampson responded by telling the representative to ‘f*ck off’,” the RIAA explains.

The RIAA continues by picking apart almost every defense put forward by Aurous, including that pulling music from YouTube and SoundCloud without a license is permissible under law.

“Plaintiffs have not authorized the streaming or downloading (copying) of their recorded music from websites except pursuant to agreements that control the terms on which such works are made available,” the RIAA notes.

“Defendants can only cause such downloads to occur by circumventing the protections such sites have against such downloading and violating the sites’ terms of service that expressly prohibit such conduct.”

Even efforts by Aurous to claim a “safe harbor” defense under the DMCA appear to have fallen on stony ground, with the RIAA noting that the music service failed at the first hurdle.

“Defendants cannot satisfy the basic threshold requirements for eligibility because they do not have a designated agent for receipt of infringement notifications registered with the U.S. Copyright Office,” the labels explain, adding that the service also failed to display an agent’s details on its website.

Pressing on, the RIAA says that safe harbor protection also requires that a service adopts and reasonably implements “a policy to terminate repeat infringers”. Aurous has no such policy but the RIAA suggests that point is moot since DMCA safe harbor immunity is “granted only to ‘innocent’ service providers.”

To support the latter point the RIAA digs out case history from isoHunt versus the MPAA, which noted that no safe harbor is available when “the record is replete with instances of [the defendants] actively encouraging infringement.”

Wrapping up, the RIAA criticizes the earlier release of the Aurous source code while demanding a preliminary injunction.

“It is particularly telling that Defendants no longer deny that Defendant Sampson violated the TRO by making the current Aurous source code available to the public for more than five hours on Sunday, October 25. Instead, they now shamelessly suggest that ‘[i]f this is the case, then the cat is out of the bag’,” the RIAA writes.

“It is precisely this type of blatant disregard for Plaintiffs’ rights and this Court’s Orders that requires entry of a preliminary injunction.”

But despite the aggression from the RIAA, there are now signs of peace on the horizon. At the start of an evidentiary hearing yesterday, both sides requested time for a discussion. Out of that discussion came an agreement to put the preliminary injunction hearing on hold and work towards “a global resolution of the case within the next ten days.”

Considering the background to the case, this apparent offer to enter into settlement negotiations is excellent news for Andrew Sampson and Aurous Group. On the downside, any conclusion is also guaranteed to involve the total closure of the Aurous service and anything similar Sampson may have up his sleeve.

Considering what the RIAA could’ve inflicted upon him, that is probably a very small price to pay.

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

TorrentFreak: U.S. Judge Explores Return of Megaupload Data

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

megaupload-logoNearly four years have passed since Megaupload’s servers were raided by U.S. authorities. Since then very little progress has been made in the criminal case.

Kim Dotcom and his Megaupload colleagues are currently awaiting the result of their extradition hearing in New Zealand and have yet to formally appear in a U.S. court.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Megaupload servers from Carpathia Hosting remain in storage in Virginia, some of which contain crucial evidence as well as valuable files uploaded by users. The question is, for how long.

In August QTS, the company that now owns the servers after acquiring Carpathia, asked the court if it can get rid of the data which is costing them thousands of dollars per month in storage fees.

This prompted a response from a former user who wants to preserve his data, as well as Megaupload, who don’t want any of the evidence to be destroyed.

For its part the U.S. Government denied any responsibility for the servers stating that they already copied all the crucial evidence.

Faced with these different positions, U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady now has to decide how to move forward. A few days ago he sent off a set of questions to the relevant stakeholders, including Megaupload, the U.S. Government and the MPAA.

The questions deal with the logistics and financial implications of a possible return of the data, as well as the concerns and problems that may arise.

For example, the hosting company was asked if the data stored on the servers is recoverable at all. Several years have passed, which may mean that some hard drives have degraded significantly.

Also, the Judge wants to know how much Megaupload is willing to pay for the servers and how it would preserve these while protecting any confidential data.

Previously Megaupload offered to buy back the servers for $1 million, but in their latest submission Dotcom’s legal team suggested that the U.S. Government should bear the costs.

Judge O’Grady’s questions (pdf)

The Judge also asked the MPAA about its concerns regarding the copyrighted material stored on the servers, which may become an issue if users are granted access to their data.

Finally, Judge O’Grady asks all parties to estimate the costs of returning the files to innocent users, and how they would go about contacting them.

The questions suggest that the servers could indeed be opened up in the near future. This is good news for users who still hope to retrieve their files, and also for Kim Dotcom and the other Megaupload defendants who say they contain crucial evidence.

The responses to the full set of questions are due before the end of next week and the court is likely to issue an order soon after.

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

TorrentFreak: YTS / YIFY Signs Unprecedented Settlement With MPAA

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

YTSThis week the MPAA ended the mystery surrounding the unexpected shutdown of the torrent site and its associated release group YIFY.

While the announcement answered a lot of questions it also raises a few more.

The alleged mastermind behind the operation, a New Zealand citizen, was facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit. However, the dispute was already settled before the case got properly underway.

Sources have informed TorrentFreak that the operator and the movie studios reached a private agreement. It’s unclear what the terms are but judging from previous deals it’s likely to involve a damages payment as well as some type of information sharing

The news of a quick resolution is corroborated by local MPAA representatives who informed the NZ Herald that the case against the YTS/YIFY operator was settled out of court.

To many this deal comes as a surprise, as the MPAA previously preferred to send a strong and deterring message. In this case, however, other factors may have weighed stronger.

It could be that the operator has very valuable information to trade. It’s also possible that the MPAA wanted to avoid another piracy case besides Megaupload in New Zealand. Or they might simply want to settle the case without incurring large legal fees.

Whatever the case, the settlement is unprecedented when compared to other MPAA cases that dragged on for years, including the ones against isoHunt, Hotfile and TorrentSpy.

It also stands in sharp contrast to the criminal referrals the MPAA made against Megaupload, NinjaVideo and the IMAGiNE release group.

Since YTS/YIFY was both a release group and a major torrent site, it was certainly just as big of a target as the aforementioned, if not bigger.

TF contacted the MPAA for information on the decision to settle as well as further details on the agreement. The movie group said it couldn’t comment.

Thus far the YTS operator has remained silent. Perhaps we’ll hear the true story from him one day a few years from now…

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Can Access Popcorn Time Services & VPN, Court Rules

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

pop-ytsAfter weeks of rumor and sealed lips, last evening it was made official. Movie torrent site YTS is dead, release group YIFY is no more, and the main Popcorn Time fork,, have all been shut down by the MPAA.

The operation involved legal action in two territories. In New Zealand the operator of YTS and related release group YIFY was hit by a multi-million dolalr lawsuit lodged at the High Court on October 12. Confidentiality agreements are in place so public details are scarce, but its believed that YTS has already settled with the MPAA.

In Canada, however, information is more readily available. On October 9, 2015, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios, Universal Network Television, Warner Bros. and Disney, filed a statement of claim in the Federal Court.

Their targets were people and companies associated with, including key developer David Lemarier and his company Wasabi Technologie plus Limited, the outfit behind Popcorn Time’s VPN.

The demands of the studios were broad but clear – stop infringing their rights, stop developing Popcorn Time, shut down its websites and shut down

“Since April 2014, the individual Defendants David Lemarier, Robert English and Louie
Poole have been developing, operating, distributing and promoting the computer
application ‘Popcorn Time’,” the studios wrote.

“In December, 2014, a paid VPN service provided by the Defendant Limited was integrated in Popcorn Time (PT Add-On). The integration of the PT Add-On acts as an important enticement for users of Popcorn Time to engage in acts of copyright infringement, and is explicitly marketed as such on its website.”

The studios claim that Lemarier is the CEO of and Louie Poole has worked there as a software engineer “at least as early as September, 2015.” Owned by Lemarier, Wasabi Technologie is the company operating’s PayPal account.

“The sale of the PT Add-On service generates important monthly revenues which directly profit the Defendants David Lemarier and Limited, and the Defendant Louie Poole as an employee of Limited. All the individual Defendants as well as Limited derive financial benefits from their participation in Popcorn Time,” the studios add.

Just seven days later on October 16, 2015, Mr Justice Martineau in the Federal Court responded to the studios’ demands by handing down an interim injunction (pdf) against the defendants listed above.

In broad terms it restrains them from infringing the studios’ copyrights, including by continuing to develop, operate, distribute or promote Popcorn Time or “any similar software application” or website. However, it goes further – much, much further.

The injunction includes a huge list of domains and sub-domains which the studios say must be dealt with in order to “fully deactivate” Popcorn Time. and a further 17 are said to relate to the service’s API while 39 relate to the website and four the blog. Dozens of others make up discussion forums, development platforms, mail servers, nameservers, content delivery and sundry others.

The injunction orders the defendants to hand over the login credentials “for the hosting providers and/or registrars accounts” for all of them. They are also required to do the same for the official Popcorn Time Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts. This is so that computer forensics experts “acting under the supervision” of the studios can gain access to them.

Also under the microscope is The injunction orders the defendants, including’s operators, to hand over the login credentials for “hosting providers and/or registrars” hosting the domains and sub-domains. They are also required to authorize computer forensics experts under the eye of the MPAA to log into’s infrastructure and deactivate the service.

While this development will be of concern to’s customers, the service itself says that there is currently nothing to worry about.

“ is not a Canadian company, nor has any of its operations located in Canada, this means Canadian laws are not relevant in out case what so ever,” said in a statement.

“We understand that some of you might be worried or intimidated by the idea of the film studios, but we want to remind you that never logs, never shares any information with anyone else and mostly, cares about our clients and their safety. After all this is why we started, to protect the vulnerable.”

The company says it operates a warrant canary to notify users in the event it has been compromised. Currently that alone raises no alarms but it’s highly likely that user confidence will be undermined by the forceful nature of the injunction and the international reach of the MPAA.

To be continued…

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

TorrentFreak: Found a New YTS / YIFY Site? It’s a FAKE

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

fakeDespite concerns from BitTorrent elitists that the site was a cesspit of poor quality rips, YTS was one of the world’s most popular torrent indexes for a reason.

Simple to find, publicly accessible, nice to look at and bulging with movies, YTS carried thousands of the world’s most popular titles in an easily digestible, convenient format.

Previously the home of YIFY rips, YTS is no more. The site was shuttered by a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed in a New Zealand court by the MPAA and it won’t ever be coming back.

However, considering the number of tips received at TF this morning you’d think nothing was wrong. Email after email has declared that “YTS is back!!” and in fighting form too.

As can be seen from the screenshot below, it certainly looks like it.


But to the disappointment of all YTS and YIFY fans, the above site is a fake. It’s located at and it’s being promoted by the same people who carried out a hostile takeover of EZTV earlier this year.

However, as pointed out by a TF reader, the site does indeed index some old YIFY rips. That may be, but in the same way that EZTV no longer carries genuine EZTV releases, won’t have new ‘genuine’ YIFY rips either, since YIFY is no longer in business.

It’s a blatant attempt to cash in on the void left by the demise of YTS and rest assured it won’t be the last. If they aren’t already appearing, torrent sites will soon be flooded with fake torrents claiming to be from YIFY. They won’t be, guaranteed.

Of course, there’s a certain irony in declaring a clone site as a bad player on the basis that it’s pirating another pirate site’s image. But, nevertheless, if a site can’t make it on its own merits and is prepared to mislead now, who’s to say what other tactics it will employ when it has a nice unsuspecting userbase on board.

Copying is the name of the game, no doubt, but being upfront about it is probably a better long-term strategy.

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

TorrentFreak: Largest BitTorrent Tracker Demonii Will Shut Down Soon

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

demoniiA few hours ago the MPAA took credit for shutting down one of the biggest piracy icons in recent history.

The YIFY release group and the YTS website shut down facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit, which the New Zealand-based operator couldn’t fight.

The downfall is a loss to many YIFY fans. However, the BitTorrent ecosystem at large will also be severely affected as it also signals the end for Demonii, the largest standalone BitTorrent tracker.

What only a few people know is that in recent years Demonii was run by YIFY’s operator. As a result of the legal troubles with the movie studios, Demonii will soon go offline as well, bringing down another key player.

With over 40 million people connected at any given time during the day, Demonii is currently the largest torrent tracker.

At the time of writing Demonii still serves torrents to 41,622,554 peers, which translates to well over a billion connections per day. Impressive numbers that will soon become history.

Demonii’s current stats

Even without Demonii most torrents will still work fine, thanks to DHT and PEX, but the initial connections will take more time. This can slow down download times for many people.

Trackers are also essential for those who use proxies, as they often have DHT and PEX disabled to prevent their real IP-addresses from leaking out.

With Demonii, YTS and YIFY gone there’s no doubt that the torrent ecosystem has lost several big players. However, history has also shown that these are never mourned for long.

It may be hard for other tracker to pick up Demonii’s load without increasing their capacity. But there are plenty of alternatives still around to fill the gap and more are expected to rise because of it.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA: We Shut Down YTS/YIFY and Popcorn Time

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

popcorntThe BitTorrent piracy ecosystem lost several key players in recent weeks.

The main Popcorn Time fork operating from the domain name closed its doors on October 23, citing internal issues.

Part of the trouble was started by rumors of legal pressure, which the MPAA confirmed today.

The major movie studios have sued three Popcorn Time developers in Canada, the group announced in an official statement. The MPAA obtained an injunction on October 16 ordering the shutdown of the site.


The legal action in Canada was not an isolated incident, however. Around the same time, movie industry representatives targeted the operator of YTS/YIFY who’s a New Zealand resident.

TF learned that employees of New Zealand’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) contacted the operator of YTS last month. Both NCSC and the movie industry representatives had a warrant. The latter reportedly threatened a multi-million dollar lawsuit, urging the operator to cooperate.

YTS went dark two weeks ago as a result of the legal trouble and is not coming back.

The status of the lawsuits in Canada and New Zealand is currently unclear, but sources told us last week that several of the accused are working on an agreement to minimize their harm, possibly in exchange for information.

The MPAA, meanwhile, is ready to declare the outcome as a clear victory.

“This coordinated legal action is part of a larger comprehensive approach being taken by the MPAA and its international affiliates to combat content theft,” MPAA boss Chris Dodd says.

“Popcorn Time and YTS are illegal platforms that exist for one clear reason: to distribute stolen copies of the latest motion picture and television shows without compensating the people who worked so hard to make them,” he adds.

Breaking story, more info may follow later.

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

TorrentFreak: Google Asked to Remove One Billion “Pirate” Search Results

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

google-bayIn recent years copyright holders have overloaded Google with DMCA takedown notices, targeting links to pirated content.

These requests have increased dramatically over the years. In 2008, the search engine received only a few dozen takedown notices during the entire year, but today it processes two million per day on average.

This week TorrentFreak crunched the numbers in Google’s Transparency Report and found that since its publication Google has been asked to remove over 1,007,766,482 links to allegedly infringing webpages.

Indeed, that’s more than a billion reported URLs, a milestone Google crossed just a few days ago.

The number of notices continues to increase at a rapid pace as nearly half of the requests, 420 million, were submitted during the first months of 2015. The graph below illustrates this sharp rise in takedown notices.


While some notices identify pages that are not infringing, most are correct. These are then removed by Google and no longer appear in the search results.

The successful takedown notices are also factored into the Google’s search algorithms, where frequently targeted websites are downranked.

TorrentFreak asked Google for a comment on the most recent milestone but the company chose not to respond on the record.

In a submission to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator last week Google stated that it has taken various measures to help copyright holders, including swift removals.

“We process more takedown notices, and faster, than any other search engine,” the search giant commented.

“We receive notices for a tiny fraction of everything we host and index, which nonetheless amounts to millions of copyright removal requests per week that are processed, on average, in under six hours.”

The company rejects broader actions, such as the removal of entire domain names, as this would prove counterproductive and lead to overbroad censorship.

Copyright holders, however, don’t share these concerns. Over the years groups such as the MPAA and RIAA have repeatedly argued that clearly infringing sites should be barred from Google’s index. In addition, they want Google to promote legal services.

While Google believes that the billion reported URLs are a sign that the DMCA takedown process is working properly, rightsholders see it as a signal of an unbeatable game of whack-a-mole.

As this stalemate continues, we can expect the number of reported pages to continue to rise in the future, adding millions of new URLs on a daily basis.

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

TorrentFreak: Ukraine Copyright Amendments Aim to Please United States

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

As reported last week, the RIAA and MPAA have recently made their respective submissions to the US Trade Representative, each detailing lists of the world’s ‘rogue sites’ and ‘notorious markets’. Unsurprisingly, several are hosted in Ukraine.

The MPAA singled out two sites. First up, a streaming links site that the industry group says enjoyed around 23.5 million visitors in August ’15 alone. Also under fire was, one of the world’s most popular torrent indexes. Hollywood happily piled on the drama.

“ claims astonishing piracy statistics: offering almost 1.4 million free files with sharing optimized through over 43 million seeders and more than 60 million leechers,” the MPAA wrote.

But it was the RIAA’s report that referenced the war-torn country most often. Ukraine-hosted piracy sites were mentioned several times, adding, file-hosting giant,,, and to those already mentioned by the MPAA.

Current criticism is not dissimilar to that piled onto Ukraine in previous years, a situation that has landed the country on the USTR’s trading blacklist for its alleged trampling of U.S. intellectual property rights. However, it now appears that Ukraine wants to improve its standing with the United States.

According to an announcement from the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, a meeting of Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers on October 21 approved draft legislative amendments aimed at the “protection of copyright and related rights on the Internet.”

The amendments, which reportedly include “effective mechanisms” for combating online piracy, will be submitted shortly to the Supreme Council of Ukraine. According to the government the draft was developed “in consultation with representatives of business associations” and the owners of hosting providers.

The Ministry says that those consulted suggested the introduction of a number of tools designed to prevent the spread of pirated content. They include the “pre-trial deletion” and/or “restriction of access” to copyright-infringing content, which sounds a lot like DMCA-style takedowns and Russia-style site-blocking.

Also on the table are financial penalties, which could see services that fail to remove or block access to infringing content hit with fines of between 500 and 1,000 times minimum income levels. Similar fines are also on the table for services which fail to identify users who post copyright-infringing content.

Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Yulia Kuznetsov said that the measures are essential for regaining the confidence of external trading partners.

“Copyright protection as a key asset in any business and is a prerequisite for attracting investment in Ukraine,” Kuznetsov said.

“It is therefore important to get rid of the dubious image the country has with its high levels of Internet piracy. This requires effective mechanisms for blocking pirated content. Such mechanisms are inherent in the bill. Their use will launch an effective fight against Internet piracy.”

That the measures are designed to warm relations with Hollywood, the record labels and their friends at the USTR, is made clear by Lena Minich, Director at the Department of Innovation and Intellectual Property.

“This bill is another step towards creating a favorable investment climate in Ukraine,” Minich said.

“Also, it will prevent the use of economic sanctions against Ukraine as a ‘priority country’ in the [USTR’s] ‘Special 301 Report’ and brings Ukraine’s legislation into line with EU countries.”

The bill is part of a package of intellectual property amendments which also aim to tackle patent trolling, rights in software development, plus issues with royalties and collection societies.

Whether the anti-piracy measures under consideration will be enough to appease the United States will remain to be seen. In the meantime, Ukraine remains on the USTR’s ‘naughty step’ and the pressure continues.

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

TorrentFreak: Google Opposes Whole-Site Removal of “Pirate” Domains

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

google-bayIn recent years the movie and music industries have continually pressured Google to take action against online piracy.

Ideally, groups including the MPAA and RIAA want search engines to remove clearly infringing websites from their search results entirely, especially if courts have previously found them to be acting illegally.

Just recently the MPAA reiterated this stance in recommendations to U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) Daniel Marti.

However, Google disagrees and is now urging the Government not to facilitate or promote so-called “whole-site” removals. According to the search giant this may lead to overbroad censorship.

“Unfortunately, whole-site removal is ineffective and can easily result in censorship of lawful material,” Google writes.

In its letter Google points out that blogging sites or social networks can contain infringing material, but that removing an entire site would also take down perfectly legitimate content.

The MPAA is probably not referring to blog platforms, but The Pirate Bay instead. However, according to Google the current DMCA takedown system is both effective and efficient enough to deal with all infringing content

“The DMCA provides copyright owners with an effective and efficient framework for removing any infringing page on a site,” Google stresses, noting that it has removed hundreds of millions of URLs already this year.

Removing or blocking entire websites might not only chill free speech but also prove counterproductive, Google says.

“Whole site removal would simply drive piracy to new domains, legitimate sites, and social networks,” the company notes, adding that copyright holders should go after the site’s revenue sources instead.

Another downside of whole-site removal is that the U.S. would send the wrong message to the rest of the world.

If the U.S. is prepared to censor entire websites based on copyright violations, then other regimes may find it easier to demand the same based on local laws. For example, by demanding the removal of news sites based on political statements, or insults to religion.

“This would jeopardize free speech principles, emerging services, and the free flow of information online globally and in contexts far removed from copyright,” Google notes.

Instead of taking a repressive approach, the U.S. Government should address piracy in a more positive way by encouraging the development of legal alternatives.

“Piracy thrives when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply,” Google writes.

“Online services like Google Play, Spotify, Netflix, and iTunes have demonstrated that the most effective way to combat piracy on the web is to offer attractive legal alternatives to consumers.”

Google’s letter will be taken into consideration by Intellectual Property Czar Daniel Marti, who is expected to release the 2016 – 2019 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement during the months to come.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Asks Government to Facilitate Private Anti-Piracy Deals

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

mpaa-logoFollowing the failed SOPA and PIPA bills, entertainment industry groups have switched their efforts away from legislation and towards voluntary cooperation with various stakeholders.

This has resulted in several agreements in which Internet providers, advertising agencies, payment processors and other companies are more actively involved in deterring piracy.

These deals have been encouraged and facilitated by the Obama administration, often outside public view. The Copyright Alert System, for example, was negotiated with help from Vice President Joe Biden.

In a letter sent to Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) Daniel Marti this week, Hollywood’s MPAA points out the importance of the Government’s involvement in this matter.

“Encouraging industry players to work together has been one of the IPEC’s most valuable contributions to combating online copyright theft,” the MPAA writes (pdf).

However, aside from the successes there are other areas where the movie and music industries would like to see more significant progress.

Despite various lobbying efforts the movie studios haven’t been able to strike a satisfactory deal with the domain name industry, search engines and hosting companies.

“…at least three areas have shown lagging progress: the use of domain names for unlawful conduct; the prevalence of piracy websites on the first pages of search results; and the use of data storage services to host websites trafficking in stolen content.”

To motivate various stakeholders to take action, the MPAA wants the U.S. Government to intervene. The Obama administration is currently working on a new Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement and the MPAA says that voluntary agreements should play a key role.

“We ask the IPEC to address each of these issues in the upcoming strategic plan, as well as to continue coordinating enforcement actions against those who engage in pervasive theft of copyrighted content,” the MPAA writes.

The movie studios provide a detailed overview of what needs to improve in all three areas, starting with domain name registrars and registries.

Domain registrars and registries

According to the MPAA, many domain name registrars and registries fail to live up to their contracts with ICANN, the main oversight body for the Internet’s global domain name system.

Several contract provisions require the companies to properly respond to abuse of domain names, including by sites that facilitate the sharing of copyrighted material, but thus far this has failed to yield satisfactory results.

“To date, however, registrars have failed to respect these provisions and ICANN has not enforced them, summarily rejecting nearly all complaints from rights holders,” the MPAA notes.

ICANN previously responded to the criticism by pointing out that it doesn’t plan to become the Internet police by regulating speech and content. However, the MPAA disagrees, and notes that ICANN should enforce its contracts.

“There is an immense difference between interfering with content, speech, or political freedom on the one hand, and enforcing contract provisions prohibiting unlawful conduct on the other,” the movie group writes.

Search engines

Cooperation with search engines is another hot issue. Despite repeated calls to take a tougher stance against piracy the MPAA says it hasn’t made adequate progress on this front.

“Unfortunately, some search engines continue — through their search results, through suggested searches, and through sponsored advertising — to provide the pathway through which many users learn about and reach sites that engage in or facilitate online theft.”

Ideally, Google and other search engines should demote infringing sites, promote legal services, and completely remove results for sites that have been found guilty by law. In addition, auto-complete suggestions should no longer feature terms that are associated with piracy.

Search engine requirements

The MPAA indirectly accuses search engines of facilitating and profiting from piracy, noting that they show no reluctance to act against other offensive material such as child porn or malware.

“What is important to recognize is that no company is above the law and no company should facilitate illegal behavior. Search engines frequently block and prioritize results when they decide it is in their interest — or in the public good — to do so.”

Hosting and CDN services

Finally, the Hollywood group would like to see more cooperation from various hosting services. There are still many companies that refuse to take action, despite their obligations under the DMCA.

“The lack of cooperation from these technology companies makes the job of enforcing rights far more difficult than it needs to be.”

In a similar vein the MPAA calls out content delivery networks including Cloudflare. These companies often offer services to pirate sites, but do very little to address copyright infringements.

“The most prominent example is the U.S. company Cloudflare. While these companies provide many valuable services to legitimate websites, they also provide them to sites dedicated to copyright theft,” the MPAA writes.

“These companies also too often refuse to enforce their own terms of service to cut off support for clearly illegal sites.”

Many of the suggestions put forward have been made in the past, so it’s doubtful that big changes will be made without an intervention. Previously, the MPAA suggested a tightening of the law to force voluntary agreements, which may remain one of the options.

The MPAA’s suggestions will be taken into consideration by Intellectual Property Czar Daniel Marti, who is expected to release the 2016 – 2019 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement during the months to come.

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

TorrentFreak: BrowserPopcorn Shut Down By the MPAA, Dev Says

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

Last Friday, TorrentFreak was contacted by Milan Kragujević, a web developer with a brand new service up his sleeve. As the name implies, looked very similar to the Popcorn Time application that has gained so much publicity in recent times.

In initial tests the site certainly worked very well too and for people looking for an easy, browser-based Popcorn Time-style experience, BrowserPopcorn offered everything.

We didn’t write about the project (more about why in a moment) but others did, enough to attract plenty of eyes over the weekend. According to its operator, that attention also extended to none other than the MPAA who he claims took down the service today.

The greeting displayed on


If true (Kragujević didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment), the news hardly comes as a surprise. While Popcorn Time itself is a thorn in the side of Hollywood, making the same kind of service available to anyone with a browser (BrowserPopcorn even worked nicely on Android) is something that the MPAA won’t tolerate if it can be avoided.

At this stage it’s unclear what tactics the MPAA employed to shutter the service although a tersely-worded email to its hosting provider could’ve easily done the trick.

In any event the MPAA will be pleased that the site has gone so quickly but it was only a matter of time before BrowserPopcorn collapsed under its own success. Taking nothing away from Kragujević who is both articulate, talented and apparently just 15-years-old, we know from experience that these kinds of projects need resources behind them to keep going. Here’s why.

While BrowserPopcorn looks and feels like Popcorn Time, uses the same content, and is being presented in the media as Popcorn Time in a browser, the way the service works behind the scenes is notably different.

The Popcorn Time application has BitTorrent under the hood, meaning that users of the software use their own bandwidth (both upload and download) to distribute the content to each other. BrowserPopcorn relies on a different mechanism which means it operates more like YouTube, gobbling up bandwidth at an alarming rate while using centralized servers.

When we spoke with Kragujević again on Saturday he was operating six dedicated servers, each capable of serving around 200 users. Putting that into perspective, an article on the topic from us would’ve ensured that the site would’ve become overloaded within hours, minutes even.

At that point the story would be self-defeating, since the topic of discussion wouldn’t exist. That’s never popular with readers so we told Kragujević we’d skip for now. However, that doesn’t mean that BrowserPopcorn isn’t an interesting project.

“Basically, BrowserPopcorn is powered by TorrentStream works by running an instance of peerflix-server (the same engine that Popcorn Time uses) and there is a PHP script which handles interfacing between node.js and the outside world,” Kragujević explained.

“When you request [a movie], the PHP script adds a torrent to peerflix-server and starts proxying the data from it to the user.”

And of course, this is where the whole things becomes extremely bandwidth hungry. A true BitTorrent-client-in-a-browser solution would actually be perfect for this application, but that has its own difficulties.

“This is not an in-browser solution as that is impossible currently,” Kragujević said.

“There are attempts, like, but that only works if the peers are running the same client and communicate with websockets. It has no support for standard torrent clients like Deluge, uTorrent, Transmission, Vuze, etc.”

Whether BrowserPopcorn will make a comeback remains to be seen, but in the meantime there are several other similar sites ready to take up the slack, including which has been around for some time already.

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