Posts tagged ‘Torrent Sites’

TorrentFreak: Torrent Site Fenopy Shuts Down Quietly

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

A few days ago Fenopy.se stopped responding, leaving tens of thousands of regular users without one of their favorite torrent sites.

The downtime wasn’t related to Pirate Bay’s troubles. Instead, the site’s domain name had simply expired.

fenopy

TF talked to Fenopy’s owner who says that the expiration was not an accident, but planned a long time ago. The site’s owner decided that it was time to move on, and let the site vanish.

“Fenopy was being operated by an Artificial Intelligence that I created back in 2011 and was on autopilot during the past 2 years. The domain just expired few days ago.” he says.

Fenopy gained a lot of visitors in 2006 when it was the first full-fledged torrent site with a “modern” looking design and nifty web 2.0 features.

In recent years the site’s traffic went down considerably, not in the last place because of various ISP blockades.

The owner of Fenopy gave us the following statement which is food for thought, discussion, and much more.

On Liberty of Knowledge:

I wanted to talk about the values of sharing in this statement.

But shame on us. For taking the greatest invention of our era, The Internet, and turn it into a marketing and surveillance web; all for feeding our greed and controlling the information.

Inside every artist, scientist, priest, student, politician and every man, is a will. Will to be heard and be remembered. From the dawn of time, we shared and reasoned our perceptions of our surroundings with one another. We documented them in inscriptions, fables, and books. Gathered them in our most sacred places; from Hanging Gardens of Babylon to Library of Alexandria. So everyone could access the knowledge of us freely to grow out of nonage.

The Internet could become our global library of knowledge. The path was by giving every information to everyone for the sake of giving. What we saw was an Internet owned and operated by enterprises. We need enterprises, but we also need to realize that each enterprise function to protect self-interests and profits. So we decided to guard the knowledge and reveal it; allowing everyone access, without forcing them to go through guardians who would conceal it. We made mistakes too, but at least we tried.

Power heard and acknowledged. It forced my brothers at The Pirate Bay to exile from their fatherlands. They found love and friendship in the people of the new lands. Our brothers – Gottfrid, Fredrik, and Peter – have fulfilled their mission. They sacrificed their freedom to fight the greed while living a modest life in prisons and remote corners of our world.

They are the heroes of our generation, the martyrs of the digital era, the liberators of our knowledge in art, science, and humanities. They broke the constructs of ownership and freed themselves even from their lands. Like all of us, they made mistakes too; yet they fought for a human reason.

May the death of these websites, the libraries of our modern age, be a lesson for future generations, that path to liberty starts with courage.

I finish this eulogy with Immanuel Kant:

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance. Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) “Have the courage to use your own understanding,” is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.”

This, once liberated us from Dark Ages in Europe. Hope it will liberate all of us again.

With peace
Breathe in union

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

TorrentFreak: Researchers Make BitTorrent Anonymous and Impossible to Shut Down

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

triblerThe Pirate Bay shutdown has once again shows how vulnerable the BitTorrent ‘landscape’ is to disruptions.

With a single raid the largest torrent site on the Internet was pulled offline, dragging down several other popular BitTorrent services with it.

A team of researchers at Delft University of Technology has found a way to address this problem. With Tribler they’ve developed a robust BitTorrent client that doesn’t rely on central servers. Instead, it’s designed to keep BitTorrent alive, even when all torrent search engines, indexes and trackers are pulled offline.

“Tribler makes BitTorrent anonymous and impossible to shut down,” Tribler’s lead researcher Dr. Pouwelse tells TF.

“Recent events show that governments do not hesitate to block Twitter, raid websites, confiscate servers and steal domain names. The Tribler team has been working for 10 years to prepare for the age of server-less solutions and aggressive suppressors.”

To top that, the most recent version of Tribler that was released today also offers anonymity to its users through a custom-built in Tor network. This allows users to share and publish files without broadcasting their IP-addresses to the rest of the world.

“The public was beginning to lose the battle for Internet freedom, but today we are proud to be able to present an attack-resilient and censorship-resilient infrastructure for publishing,” Dr. Pouwelse says.

After thorough tests of the anonymity feature earlier this year, it’s now built into the latest release. Tribler implemented a Tor-like onion routing network which hides who is seeding or sharing files. Users can vary the number of “hops” the client uses to increase anonymity.

“Tribler creates a new dedicated network for anonymity that is in no way connected to the main Tor network. By using Tribler you become part of a Tor-like network and help others become anonymous,” Dr. Pouwelse says.

“That means you no longer have any exposure in any swarm, either downloading or seeding,” he adds.

Tribler_anonymous_downloading_in action__select_your_privacy_level_for_each_torrent

The downside to the increase in privacy is higher bandwidth usage. After all, users themselves also become proxies and have to relay the transfers of others. In addition, the anonymity feature may also slow down transfer speeds depending on how much other users are willing to share.

“We are very curious to see how fast anonymous downloads will be. It all depends on how social people are, meaning, if they leave Tribler running and help others automatically to become anonymous. If a lot of Tribler users turn out to be sharing and caring, the speed will be sufficient for a nice downloading experience,” Pouwelse says.

Another key feature of Tribler is decentralization. Users can search for files from within the application, which finds torrents through other peers instead of a central server. And if a tracker goes offline, the torrent will continue to download with the help of other users too.

The same decentralization principle applies to spam control. Where most torrent sites have a team of moderators to delete viruses, malware and fake files, Tribler uses user-generated “channels” which can be “liked” by others. If more people like a channel, the associated torrents get a boost in search results.

triblernew

Overall the main goal of the University project is to offer a counterweight to the increased suppression and privacy violations the Internet is facing. Supported by million of euros in taxpayer money, the Tribler team is confident that it can make the Internet a bit safer for torrent users.

“The Internet is turning into a privacy nightmare. There are very few initiatives that use strong encryption and onion routing to offer real privacy. Even fewer teams have the resources, the energy, technical skills and scientific know-how to take on the Big and Powerful for a few years,” Pouwelse says.

After the Pirate Bay raid last week Tribler enjoyed a 30% increase in users and they hope that this will continue to grow during the weeks to come.

Those who want to give it a spin are welcome to download Tribler here. It’s completely Open Source and with a version for Windows, Mac and Linux. In addition, the Tribler team also invites researchers to join the project.

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

TorrentFreak: The Pirate Bay’s Facebook Page Is Shut Down Too

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

tpbfacebookMore than a week has passed since The Pirate Bay’s servers were pulled offline, and now the same is happening to the site’s official Facebook page.

With more than 470,000 likes TPB’s Facebook page had quite a reach, although the last status update dates back to last year. Since then the page was mostly used by ‘fans’ to share TPB related news stories, and most recently links to Pirate Bay alternatives.

Those who try to access the page today are out of luck though, as Facebook informs them that “the page isn’t available” and that it “may have been removed.”

It’s unclear what the reason behind the removal is. It could have been initiated by The Pirate Bay crew itself but it’s also possible that Facebook was asked to shut it down for alleged links to copyright infringing material.

tpb-facebook

If The Pirate Bay crew deleted the page the motivation may have been to cover its tracks. Swedish authorities have confirmed that there’s a new criminal investigation ongoing into the site’s operators, which may have prompted some to cut their ties.

That said, TPB’s official Twitter profile, which hasn’t been updated since December last year, remains online.

The Pirate Bay crew have remained pretty much silent over the past few days. Earlier this week a message was relayed through “Mr 10100100000″ who suggested that no decision has yet been made on a potential return.

“Will we reboot? We don’t know yet. But if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang,” Mr 10100100000 said.

Meanwhile, most of the site’s users are flocking to the Pirate Bay copies that are floating around, or one of the other popular torrent sites. This mass migration caused trouble at ExtraTorrent yesterday, who were briefly offline due to a “sudden increase in user traffic.”

At the same time, groups using the “Anonymous” moniker claimed to have hacked both the Swedish Government and the New Zealand police in a retaliatory move, while a better known “Anonymous” group distanced itself from The Pirate Bay.

“We do not support the return of The Pirate Bay itself. We used to be the activist arm behind this website and what it stood for, but we feel like The Pirate Bay doesn’t represent our message anymore,” the latter group said.

And so the storm continues.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Shutdown Doesn’t Stop People From Sharing

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

download-keyboardThere is no denying that The Pirate Bay played a central role in the torrent ecosystem.

As one of the few well-moderated sites it was the source for dozens, if not hundreds of other torrent sites. And with millions of visitors per day the site also had the largest user-base.

With an event like this, one could expect that BitTorrent usage would have been severely impacted, but it appears that people have found their way to one of the many alternatives.

TF reached out to the operator of Demonii, the tracker that was used for all Pirate Bay torrents, and it appears that the Pirate Bay raid isn’t affecting its traffic much.

“Not much is happening differently on our side due to the TPB downtime. I cannot see any anomalies or differences,” the Demonii operator told us.

“Since all the torrents are pretty much mirrored by KickassTorrents and Torrentz, it seems that the downtime hasn’t stopped people from downloading or uploading at all,” he adds.

The connections per minute to the Demonii tracker remain relatively stable, hovering around the 25 million mark, with a peak during the weekends. The graph below shows the pattern for the past week with the Pirate Bay raid (last Tuesday) included.

Demonii weekly stats
tracker-peer-week

The monthly graph suggests that traffic over the past several days has been a fraction lower than the weeks before, but the impact is relatively low.

“In terms of connections we are looking at roughly 2,880,000 connections per minute at peak hours and about 2,160,000 connections per minute at the lowest,” Demonii’s operator says.

Demonii month stats
tracker-peer-month

If The Pirate Bay remains down for a longer period of time problems may arise on a different level though. TPB has traditionally been one of the best moderated sites, which helped to prevent malware and other scams from spreading.

In theory others could take over this role, but if more sites topple the quality element may become an issue. For now, however, most people seem to be sharing as much as usual.

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

TorrentFreak: “How To Learn Absolutely Nothing In Fifteen Years,” By The Copyright Industry

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

pirate bayIn 1999, Napster was a one-time opportunity for the copyright industry to come out on top of the Internet. Napster was the center of attention for people sharing music. (Hard drives weren’t big enough to share movies yet.)

Everybody knew that the copyright industry at the time had two options – they could embrace and extend Napster, in which case they would be the center of culture going forward, or they could try to crush Napster, in which case they would lose the Internet forever as there would not be another centralized point like it.

The copyright industry, having a strong and persistent tradition of trying to obliterate every new technology for the past century, moved to crush Napster. It vanished. DirectConnect, LimeWire, and Kazaa — slightly more decentralized sharing mechanisms – popped up almost immediately, and BitTorrent a year or so later.

This was about as predictable as the behavior of a grandfather clock: the cat wasn’t just out of the bag, but had boarded a random train and travelled halfway cross-country already. People had smelled the scent of sharing, and there was no going back. However, people wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of Napster and have a single point of failure. For the next couple of years, sharing decentralized rapidly to become more impervious and resilient to the onslaught of an obsoleted distribution industry.

It is not a coincidence that The Pirate Bay rose about 2003. That time period was the apex of the post-Napster generation of sharing technologies. With the advent of the first generation of torrent sites, sharing slowly started to re-centralize to focus on these sharing sites. For a few years, DirectConnect hubs were popular, before people transitioned completely to the faster and more decentralized BitTorrent technology.

This week, The Pirate Bay was taken offline in a police raid in Sweden. It may only have been the front-end load balancer that got captured, but it was still a critical box for the overall setup, even if all the other servers are running in random, hidden locations.

Sure, The Pirate Bay was old and venerable, and quite far from up to date with today’s expectations on a website. That tells you so much more, when you consider it was consistently in the top 50 websites globally: if such a… badly maintained site can get to such a ranking, how abysmal mustn’t the copyright industry be?

The copyright industry is so abysmal it hasn’t learned anything in the past 15 years.

In the mere week following the downing of The Pirate Bay, there has been a flurry of innovation. People are doing exactly what they did fifteen years ago, after Napster: everybody is saying “never again”, and going to town inventing more resilience, more decentralization, and more sharing efficiency. The community who are manufacturing our own copies of knowledge and culture had gotten complacent with the rather badly-maintained website and more or less stopped innovating – The Pirate Bay had been good enough for several years, even when its age was showing.

I’ve seen signals from every continent in the past week that the past decade of decentralization technologies is getting pooled into new sharing initiatives. A lot of them seem really hot. Some are just hitting the ball out of the park if they get realized: everything from TOR to blockchain technology to distributed computing – components that weren’t there when BitTorrent first surfaced ten years ago. If realized, they should surface over the next few years, like BitTorrent surfaced three to four years after Napster with a bunch of other technologies in between. As a side bonus, these new initiatives will also protect privacy and free speech, which are both incompatible with enforcement of the copyright monopoly.

So in a way, this was welcome. We need that innovation. We need to not grow complacent. We all need to stay ahead of the crumbling monopolies – a dying tiger is dangerous, even when it’s obviously insane. But The Pirate Bay’s legacy will never die, just like Napster’s legacy won’t.

In the meantime, the copyright industry is a case study in how to really insist on not learning a damn thing from your own monumental mistakes in fifteen full years.

About The Author

Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy.

Book Falkvinge as speaker?

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

TorrentFreak: Sony Planned to Flood Torrent Sites With “Promo” Torrents

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

Copyright holders have a wide range of options they can employ to counter online piracy. Takedown notices are best known and sent out in their millions every day. However, the people at Sony Pictures’ TV network AXN thought that uploading content to torrent sites could help their business.

Sony’s AXN in Central Europe developed an ad campaign for the show “Hannibal” which proposed posting torrents of the first minute of the show on popular torrent sites such as Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents.

The revelations are part of the Sony Pictures leaks which contain a discussion on the plan, framing it as a “brilliant anti­piracy social campaign.” The AXN employee describes the idea as follows.

“The idea is simple. We made a promo dedicated to Hannibal which is convincing people in very creative and no­invasive way to watch Hannibal legally on AXN instead downloading it from torrents.

“[T]his promo is supposed to be downloaded on the torrents sites, imitating the first episode of Hannibal season 2 but in reality would be only a 60 sec promo. The torrents sites are exactly the place where people just after [the] US premier would be searching for the first episode of season 2. So the success of this project is more than 100% sure.”

Unfortunately for the AXN Central Europe team the advertising campaign wasn’t well received at Sony Pictures’ headquarters in Los Angeles. The Hollywood execs showed great concern about the sites where these promos would end up, a view that wasn’t widely shared by the team in Europe.

“From the legal point of view in many CE countries the torrents sites itself are legal. Only sharing and downloading the illegal stuff there is not. This project is to support anti­piracy strategy not against,” the AXN employee writes.

“From my perspective this would be something really unconventional, something to be shared and presented in case studies presentations. Great story for be presented at the panel discussions. This could really help us to show AXN CE is actively fighting against piracy.”

Part of the promo email
sony-promo

The discussion eventually landed on the desk of a Sony Pictures Executive Vice President, who emphasized that it was a no go. Populating torrent sites with promos could risk current efforts to disrupt those same websites.

“I called [XXX] and restated that this is simply a long road to ‘no’ because it so severely undercuts our efforts not only in CE, but all we have accomplished elsewhere.

“Forget about a site blocking strategy if we start putting legitimate PSAs or promos on sites we’ve flagged to governments as having no legitimate purpose other than theft… PSAs being for public good, etc…”

And so it never happened…

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

TorrentFreak: Leak Exposes Hollywood’s Global Anti-Piracy Strategy

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

mpaa-logoThe Sony Pictures leak has caused major damage to the Hollywood movie studio, but the fallout doesn’t end there.

Contained in one of the leaked data batches is a complete overview of the MPAA’s global anti-piracy strategy for the years to come.

In an email sent to top executives at the major Hollywood studios earlier this year, one of the MPAA’s top executives shared a complete overview of Hollywood’s anti-piracy priorities.

The email reveals key areas of focus for the coming years, divided into high, medium and low priority categories, as shown below.

piracy-strategy-page

The plan put forward by the MPAA is the ideal strategy. Which elements are to be carried out will mostly depend on the funds made available by the studios.

High priority

For cyberlockers and video streaming sites the MPAA plans to reach out to hosting providers, payment processing companies and advertising networks. These companies are urged not to work with so-called rogue sites.

Part of the plan is to create “legal precedent to shape and expand the law on cyberlockers and their hosting providers,” with planned lawsuits in the UK, Germany and Canada.

Cyberlocker strategy
mpaa-cyberlocker

Other top priorities are:

Apps: Making sure that pirate apps are taken down from various App stores. Google’s removal of various Pirate Bay apps may be part of this. In addition, the MPAA wants to make apps “unstable” by removing the pirated files they link to.

Payment processors: The MPAA wants to use government influence to put pressure on payment processors, urging them to ban pirate sites. In addition they will approach major players with “specific asks and proposed best practices” to deter piracy.

Site blocking: Expand site blocking efforts in the UK and other countries where it’s supported by law. In other countries, including the U.S., the MPAA will investigate whether blockades are an option through existing principles of law.

Domain seizures: The MPAA is slowly moving toward domain seizures of pirate sites. This strategy is being carefully tested against sites selling counterfeit products using trademark arguments.

Site scoring services: Developing a trustworthy site scoring system for pirate sites. This can be used by advertisers to ban rogue sites. In the future this can be expanded to payment processors, domain name registrars, hosting providers and search engines, possibly with help from the government.

Copyright Notices: The MPAA intends to proceed with the development of the UK Copyright Alert System, and double the number of notices for the U.S. version. In addition, the MPAA wants to evaluate whether the U.S. Copyright Alert System can expand to mobile carriers.

Mid and low priority

BitTorrent is categorized as a medium priority. The MPAA wants to emphasize the role of BitTorrent in piracy related apps, such as Popcorn Time. In addition, illegal torrent sites will be subject to site blocking and advertising bans.

BitTorrent strategy
mpaa-bittorrent-strategy

Other medium and low priorities are:

Search: Keep putting pressure on search engines and continue periodic research into its role in facilitating piracy. In addition, the MPAA will support third-party lawsuits against search engines.

Hosting: The MPAA sees Cloudflare as a problem and is developing a strategy of how to deal with the popular hosting provider. Lawsuits against hosting providers are also in the agenda.

Link sites: Apart from potential civil lawsuits in Latin America, linking sites will only be targeted if they become “particularly problematic.”

In the email the MPAA’s top executive does not consider the above strategies to be “final” or “set in stone”. How much the MPAA will be able to carry out with its partners depends on funds being availble, which appears to be a subtle reminder that the studios should keep their payments coming.

“…the attached represents priorities and activities presuming online CP is adequately resourced. Your teams understand that, depending upon how the budget process plays out, we may need to lower priorities and activities for many sources of piracy and/or antipiracy initiatives,” the email reads.

The leaked strategy offers a unique insight into Hollywood’s strategy against various forms of online infringement.

It exposes several key priorities that were previously unknown. The MPAA’s strong focus on domain name seizures for example, or the plans to target cyberlockers with lawsuits in the UK, Germany and Canada.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay ‘Copycats’ Flourish After Raid

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

pirate bayThe torrent community is still shaken up by the abrupt raid on the Pirate Bay this week.

With millions of visitors a day TPB was one of the largest websites on the Internet and despite the police action its users remain hungry for fresh content.

We previously reported that other large torrent sites have noticed a significant uptick in traffic in recent days. However, many of TPB’s users are eagerly waiting for the original site to return.

Thus far it’s still unclear whether the site will return in the near future, if at all. Our queries to find out more remain unanswered for now.

Meanwhile there’s a ‘worrying’ development that Pirate Bay “copies” are gaining a lot of momentum. While none of these sites are associated with The Pirate Bay they are happy to welcome the extra visitors.

First a word of caution. None of the sites below are related to the “official” site and visitors should beware of scams and malware.

In recent days we have received more than a hundred tips from readers who announced that TPB has returned on the thepiratebay.cr. While this site does look familiar, it’s by no means an official incarnation.

In fact, as we highlighted earlier, the .cr domain used to be one of the many Pirate Bay proxy/mirror sites. It has no upload functionality nor can visitors sign up to add torrents. Interestingly enough (and adding to the confusion) the site’s operators started to populate the site with new content themselves a few hours ago.

The .cr domain, which was incorrectly promoted by several news media sites as an official comeback, previously redirected to thepiratebay.ee, a site that used to charge people for access to torrents.

The .ee domain is another mirror site that’s getting a lot of new visitors. While the site removed its paygate shortly after the Pirate Bay raid, potential visitors should keep this history in mind.

As is true for most mirrors and copies, the .ee site mimics Pirate Bay’s appearance but doesn’t allow people to upload new files. Other mirror sites, some of which have added fresh content and convenient chat boxes, include thepiratebay.hk and thepiratebay.org.es.

These sites, like the ones above, are not connected to the original site. In fact, The Pirate Bay still has access to its .se domain name so there would be no reason to change that for a potential comeback.

Finally, there are also “copies” that make it clear that they’re not the new Pirate Bay. OldPirateBay.org, for example, was launched by the people behind Isohunt.to. The operators told TF that their main motivation is to keep the torrents accessible, not to cause confusion.

“We saw a lot of topics where people are looking for something like this. For sure it has some bugs and glitches but we are going to improve it. The tool is for the users’ convenience till TPB comes alive again,” we were told.

If The Pirate Bay does indeed come back we will be the first to report it here. Until then, caution is warranted.

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

TorrentFreak: Furious Google Ended MPAA Anti-Piracy Cooperation

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

Each week Google removes millions of ‘infringing’ links from search engine results at rightsholders’ request, 9.1m during the last documented week alone. In the main Google removes these links within hours of receiving a complaint, a record few other large sites can match.

But no matter what Google does, no matter how it tweaks its search algorithms, it’s never been enough for the MPAA. For years the movie group has been piling on the pressure and whenever Google announces a new change, the MPAA (and often RIAA) tell the press that more can be done.

By most standards, this October Google really pulled out the stops. Responding to years of criticism and endless complaints that it’s one of the world’s largest facilitators of pirate content, Google came up with the goods.

“We’ve now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites,” said Katherine Oyama, Google’s Copyright Policy Counsel.

“Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in search results. This ranking change helps users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily.”

Google’s claims were spot on. Within days it became clear that torrent sites had been hit hard. Was this the tweak the MPAA had been waiting for?

Google seemed confident, in fact so confident that according to an email made public due to the recent Sony hack attack, the company contacted MPAA chief Senator Chris Dodd the day before to give him the headsup.

But if Google was hoping for a congratulatory public statement, they would need to look elsewhere. Instead of a warm reception the MPAA chose to suggest that Google knew it have been involved in wrongdoing.

“Everyone shares a responsibility to help curb unlawful conduct online, and we are glad to see Google acknowledging its role in facilitating access to stolen content via search,” the MPAA’s press release began.

The leaked emails reveal that Google responded furiously to the perceived slur.

“At the highest levels [Google are] extremely unhappy with our statement,” an email from the MPAA to the studios reads.

“[Google] conveyed that they feel as if they went above and beyond what the law requires; that they bent over backwards to give us a heads up and in return we put out a ‘snarky’ statement that gave them no credit for the positive direction.”

In response to the snub, Google pressed the ‘ignore’ button. A top executive at Google’s policy department told the MPAA that his company would no longer “speak or do business” with the movie group.

In future Google would speak with the studios directly, since “at least three” had already informed the search engine that they “were very happy about the new features.”

While the MPAA and Google will probably patch things up in future, the emails also suggest reasons why the MPAA might have given Google a frosty reception.

First up, the MPAA had no time to assess the changes Google had put in place, so had no idea whether they would work. Welcoming changes that fail to perform in future is clearly something the MPAA would want to avoid.

But intriguingly the emails suggest that the MPAA were trying not to affect another external matter from progressing.

“We were also sensitive to the fact that Mississippi [Attorney General] Hood is expected to issue a [Civil Investigative Demand] to Google sometime this week; we did not want an unduly favorable statement by us to discourage AG Hood from moving forward,” the MPAA email reads.

In conclusion the MPAA felt that Google overreacted to their October press release and that the problems will eventually blow over. It’s certainly possible that relations have improved since the emails were written in October.

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

TorrentFreak: MPAA Prepares to Bring Pirate Site Blocking to the U.S.

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

mpaa-logoSite blocking has become one of the go-to anti-piracy techniques for the music and movie industries. Mechanisms to force ISPs to shut down subscriber access to “infringing” sites are becoming widespread in Europe but have not yet gained traction in the United States.

If the Stop Online Piracy Act had been introduced, U.S. blocking regimes might already be in place but the legislation was stamped down in 2012 following a furious public and technology sector revolt. Behind closed doors, however, blocking proponents were simply waiting for the storm to die down.

TorrentFreak has learned that during 2013 the MPAA and its major studio partners began to seriously consider their options for re-introducing the site blocking agenda to the United States. Throughout 2014 momentum has been building but with no real option to introduce new legislation, the MPAA has been looking at leveraging existing law to further its aims.

Today we can reveal that the MPAA has been examining four key areas.

DMCA

According to TF sources familiar with the plan, the MPAA began by exploring the possibility of obtaining a DMCA 512(j) blocking injunction without first having to establish that an ISP is also liable for copyright infringement.

To get a clearer idea the MPAA commissioned an expert report from a national lawfirm with offices in Chicago, Dallas, New York and Washington, DC. Returned in July, the opinion concluded that a U.S. court would “likely” require a copyright holder to establish an ISP as secondarily liable before granting any site-blocking injunction.

This option might be “difficult” and financially costly, the law firm noted.

Rule 19 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Rule 19 – ‘Required Joinder of Parties’ – is also under consideration by the MPAA as a way to obtain a blocking injunction against an ISP. In common with the DMCA option detailed above, the MPAA hopes that a blocking order might be obtained without having to find an ISP liable for any wrongdoing.

The MPAA is considering a situation in which they obtain a judgment finding a foreign “rogue” site guilty of infringement but one whose terms the target rogue site has failed to abide by. Rule 19 could then be used to join an ISP in the lawsuit against the rogue site without having to a) accuse the ISP of wrongdoing or b) issue any claims against it.

The same lawfirm again provided an expert opinion, concluding that the theory was “promising, but largely untested.”

Using the ITC to force ISPs to block ‘pirate’ sites

Among other things the United States International Trade Commission determines the impact of imports on U.S. industry. It also directs action on unfair trade practices including those involving patents, trademarks and copyright infringement.

The MPAA has been examining two scenarios. The first involves site-blocking orders against “transit” ISPs, i.e those that carry data (infringing content) across U.S. borders. The second envisions site-blocking orders against regular ISPs to stop them providing access to “rogue” sites.

Again, the same lawfirm was asked for its expert opinion. In summary its lawyers found that scenario one presented significant technical hurdles. Scenario two might be feasible, but first ISPs would have to be found in violation of Section 337.

“Section 337 declares the infringement of certain statutory intellectual property rights and other forms of unfair competition in import trade to be unlawful practices,” the section reads (pdf).

The lawfirm’s August report highlights several potential issues. One noted that an injunction against a domestic ISP would effectively stop outbound requests to “rogue” sites when it is in fact “rogue” sites’ inbound traffic that is infringing. Also at issue is sites that don’t “import” content themselves but merely offer links to such content (torrent sites, for example).

Nevertheless, the general conclusion is that if a clear relationship between the linking sites and the infringing content can be established, the ITC may take the view that the end result still amounts to “unfair competition” and “unfair acts” during importation of articles.

The Communications Act

Details on this final MPAA option involves the Communications Act and how it is perceived by the Federal Communications Commission and the Supreme Court.

The scenario balances on the MPAA’s stance that ISPs have taken the “public position” that they are not “telecommunications services”. When the position of the ISPs and opinions of the FCC and Supreme Court are combined, the MPAA wonders whether the ISPs could become vulnerable.

The scenario under discussion is one in which ISPs are not eligible for safe harbor as DMCA 512(a) “conduits” since the DMCA definition of a conduit is the same as the Communications Act’s definition of “telecommunications service” provider.

Major meeting two months ago

TorrentFreak sources reveal that a large meeting consisting of more than two dozen studio executives took place in October to discuss all aspects of site-blocking. A senior engineer from U.S. ISP Comcast was also invited.

On the agenda was a wide range of topics including bringing on board “respected” people in the technology sector to agree on technical facts and establish policy support for site blocking.

Other suggestions included encouraging academics to publish research papers with a narrative that site blocking elsewhere in the world has been effective, is not a threat to DNSSEC, and has not “broken the Internet”.

Conclusion

In June, MPAA chief and former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd praised pirate site blockades as one of the most important anti-piracy measures, and in August a leaked draft revealed MPAA research on the topic.

The big question now is whether the studios’ achievements in Europe will be mirrored in the United States – without a SOPA-like controversy alongside. While the scale is unlikely to be the same, opposition is likely to be vigorous.

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

TorrentFreak: EZTV Slowly Recovers From Swedish Police Raid

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

eztv-logo-smallEarlier this week Swedish police raided a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex in the city of Nacka.

The target of the raid was The Pirate Bay but collateral damage caused several other torrent sites to go down as well. This included EZTV, the go-to place for many torrenting TV fans.

After nearly two days of downtime EZTV is slowly starting to crawl back up. TF spoke to the EZTV crew who confirmed that several servers are up and running again and that the site’s services are coming back online.

At the time of writing the main site is still offline. However, the upload bots are back in action and EZTV torrents are being uploaded again in other places such as Kickass.so and ExtraTorrent.

In addition, EZTV proxies such as eztv-proxy.net can now connect to the site’s backend IP-addresses. This means that these are showing new uploads again, as can be seen below.

EZTV recovers
eztv-back

During the days to come EZTV hopes to recover fully and continue business as usual from the main EZTV.it domain.

For Pirate Bay users there is no positive news to report yet. The site remains offline and there are no indications that it will return in the near future.

There are several unofficial mirror sites that still work, but these have nothing to do with a possible comeback. These sites provide a minimal archive of old torrents, but there’s no new content being added as these all lack an upload feature.

For now, many estranged Pirate Bay users seem to be flocking to other popular torrent sites. ExtraTorrent informed TF that they saw a 90 percent surge in user signups following the raid, while the number of downloads increased by a third.

Most other sites that were hit by the raid remain offline. These include Torrage, the Istole tracker and Pirate Bay’s forum Suprbay. Torrent storage servie Zoink has fully recovered.

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

TorrentFreak: Can The Pirate Bay Make a Comeback?

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

phoenix-bayIn recent years The Pirate Bay took several steps to make the site as resilient as possible, moving from a full-fledged BitTorrent tracker to a trimmed-down and highly portable torrent index.

The infamous torrent site canceled nearly all central servers and moved most of its operation to the cloud, where it ran on 21 virtual machines scattered over several commercial cloud hosting providers.

Yesterday, however, the site was pulled offline with a single raid at the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex. Despite various rumors of TPB reincarnations there is still no sign that the site will return anytime soon.

So how can it be that The Pirate Bay was taken down despite all the time and effort that went into making its setup raid proof?

TF has been speaking with various people familiar with the matter and one of the most likely scenarios emerging is that the site’s loadbalancer was hit by the raid. This has been one of the remaining bottlenecks for TPB in recent years and the cause of previous downtime.

If this theory holds true it should be possible for the site to recover quickly if a new loadbalancer with the right setup is put in place. After all, the virtual machines are not centrally hosted and should be up and running.

How long it will take to connect these to the Internet remains guesswork for now, if it happens at all.

At the moment it’s still unknown what Pirate Bay-related hardware was seized during the raid. The Pirate Bay team previously stressed, however, that everything is encrypted in case it falls into the wrong hands.

On the human front, the police arrested one member of the Pirate Bay crew yesterday. The identity of this person hasn’t been confirmed, but if it’s one of the people with access to the site’s crucial infrastructure it will further complicate any possible comeback.

Another concern is that the people running TPB and other sites affected by the raid are also remaining quiet. The popular TV-torrent site EZTV remains offline too and thus far the operator is not commenting on the situation.

Meanwhile, most other torrent sites are seeing a spike in traffic from Pirate Bay users looking for a new home. TorrentReactor and other large torrent sites inform TF that there’s an increase in traffic of between 5 and 10 percent at the moment.

After the first raid in 2006 it took The Pirate Bay three days to recover, making a blazing comeback as “The Police Bay.” There’s not long left to beat that record.

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

TorrentFreak: ExtraTorrent Reveals Most Pirated Files of All Time

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

cassetteWith millions of visitors per day ExtraTorrent is one of the largest torrent sites on the Internet. Founded in 2006 the site has been around for a while, steadily growing its user base.

Over the years ExtraTorrent users have downloaded billions of files, and this week the site revealed the top 20 most pirated files of all time. The data gives a unique insight into the downloading habits of torrent users and comes with a few surprises.

While no exact download counts are provided the ExtraTorrent team told us that the top ten were downloaded at least 10 million times. This number represents the downloads of the .torrent files from the site where different releases of a music album or movie are counted as one.

One of the biggest surprises is that the top three is made up of music. Drake’s album ‘Nothing Was The Same’ is listed in first place, followed by the Maroon 5 track ‘Payphone’ and Jay Z’s album ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail.’

Iron Man 3 is the most pirated movie in fourth place, followed by The Expendables 3, which leaked onto the Internet three weeks before its theatrical release this summer.

The rest of the top 20, all music and movies, are listed below. While this data only applies to ExtraTorrent it’s a decent representation of what’s popular on other torrent sites as well.

1. Drake – Nothing Was The Same (Mp3 Album)
2. Maroon 5 – Payphone (feat.WizKhalifa Explicit) (Mp3 Track)
3. Jay-Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail (Mp3 Album)
4. Iron Man 3
5. The Expendables 3
6. Fast And Furious 6
7. The Hunger Games
9. The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
10. The Amazing Spider-Man
11. Beyonce – 4 Deluxe Edition (Mp3 Album)
12. The Wolf of Wall Street
13. Rihanna – Unapologetic (Mp3 Album)
14. Lil Wayne – No Ceilings (Mp3 Album)
15. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience (Mp3 Album)
16. Daft Punk – Get Lucky
17. Kick (Bollywood movie)
18. Ariana Grande – Problem (ft. Iggy Azalea) (Mp3 Track)
19. Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides
20. Avengers XXX – (XXX)

The most pirated files include a lot of relatively new files. This can be attributed to the fact that ExtraTorrent has grown significantly over the years.

ExtraTorrent released the ten most downloaded files as part of a contest in celebration of the site’s 8th birthday. The rest of the top 20 was provided to TF exclusively.

With the contest the person with the most correct answers could win an iPad Air. Perhaps not a surprise, but none of the 3,000 contestants could name all titles.

The winner guessed seven of the ten correctly, but missed the top three. Most lists were heavily based on movies. For example, Drake’s ‘Nothing Was The Same’ was only mentioned in one entry, while Maroon 5 and Jay-Z weren’t listed at all.

Finally, it’s worth nothing that there are no TV-shows and only one porn title in the top 20. While both categories are relatively popular these downloads are usually spread over more files compared to movies and music.

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

TorrentFreak: Court Orders French ISPs to Block The Pirate Bay

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

pirate bayHounded by copyright holders all around the world for a decade, somehow The Pirate Bay manages to stay afloat. Today the site is doing as well as ever, despite the jailing of the now-famous individuals behind the project.

Faced with an adversary that to date has proven impossible to kill, entertainment companies have chosen what they believe to be the next best course of action. If the site itself can’t be stopped, then users must be stopped from reaching the site.

This has been achieved by court-ordered ISP blockades in various regions of the world, notably Europe. Today comes news of yet another blocking injunction, this time in France.

The legal process was initiated earlier this year by collection society and anti-piracy group La Société Civile des Producteurs Phonographiques, or SCPP as it’s more commonly known.

Late Thursday the organization, which represents in excess of 2,000 labels including Warner, Universal and Sony, announced victory in a short statement.

Welcoming a decision handed down by the Paris Court, SCPP said that French service providers will soon be required to “implement all necessary measures” to prevent consumer access not only to The Pirate Bay, but also “its proxy and mirror sites”.

“This decision is another step in the fight against music piracy and one that strengthens existing similar decisions in the EU and worldwide,” SCPP said.

Although the details of the injunction are still to be published, the introduction of a clause which orders the blocking of proxy and mirror sites could be a significant achievement for the labels.

Guillaume Champeau of French news outlet Numerama informs TorrentFreak that SCPP previously pushed for automatic proxy-accommodating court orders, but without success.

While no announcements have yet been made, it’s likely that this action against The Pirate Bay and its mirrors won’t be the last for the French labels and their counterparts in the movie and TV industries. If earlier predictions hold out, more sites will quickly move onto the radars of outfits such as SCPP.

For an indication of what can happen one only needs to look a couple of dozen miles north to the UK. After several years of court action, all major ISPs are required to block most major torrent sites and even some private trackers.

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

TorrentFreak: Demonoid Frustrates Censors With Domain Name Switch

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

demonoid-logoAs one of the oldest torrent communities online the Demonoid tracker has had its fair share of troubles over the years.

Earlier in 2014 the site returned after nearly two years of downtime, which began following a DDoS attack and legal troubles in Ukraine.

Since then Demonoid has been rebuilding its community up to a point where it now has millions of visitors per month, making it one of the largest torrent sites online once again.

In an effort to obstruct the site’s growth Demonoid is now plagued by blocking requests from copyright holders. Last month the site was blocked by Italian ISPs and a few days ago major ISPs in the UK were told to do the same.

In addition, the site’s visibility on Google has significantly diminished. Those who Google for “demonoid” will see a Wikipedia entry as the top result because the Demonoid.ph domain was removed following a takedown notice.

In what appears to be a response to these censorship efforts, Demonoid switched domain names today. Out of the blue the site began redirecting its .ph domain to demonoid.pw which uses Palau ‘s TLD .pw.

The new domain was registered this weekend just days after reports of a fresh UK High Court injunction ordering ISPs to block the site.

The true motives for the recent domain changes remain unconfirmed at this point. TorrentFreak reached out to the Demonoid team for more details but we have yet to hear back.

If it’s indeed an effort to beat the various censorship attempts, the effects will be limited. While Italian ISP blockades are relatively easy to circumvent with a new domain, UK ISPs are generally quick to update their blocklists.

For now Demonoid.pw is still accessible in the UK via most ISPs, although it has to be noted that some still have to implement the most recent block.

ISP blockades aside, the torrent site will definitely start with a clean sheet on Google. This means that it’s only a matter of days before Demonoid will have its own domain as the top result again, for as long as it lasts.

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

TorrentFreak: UK Piracy Blocklist Expands With Demonoid, Isohunt, IPTorrents and More

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

stop-blockedThe list of websites that are blocked in the UK for facilitating copyright infringement is getting longer and longer.

This week a new High Court ruling orders Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, Telefonica UK and Virgin to block access to 32 piracy related sites.

The newly blocked sites include Demonoid, Watchseries, IPTorrents, TorrentDay, IceFilms, Rarbg and have millions of visitors a day combined.

BT already started adding the new sites to its blocklist yesterday, which caused some confusion among subscribers. The other ISPs are expected to follow suit within the days to come.

This is the first time that private torrent sites are blocked in the UK. This is noteworthy, because sites such as IPTorrents.com, BitSoup.me and TorrentDay.com have no pirated files listed in public. Instead, these are only available to members of the sites in question.

IPTorrents (IPT)
iptorrents

The latest court order comes after the Motion Picture Association (MPA) filed a complaint that remained uncontested by the ISPs. Because the ISPs have given up on defending their position in court, it is now a mere formality for copyright holders to have a pirate site banned.

Chris Marcich, President and Managing Director of the MPA, Europe, Middle East and Africa, believes that the ISP blockades are an effective and legitimate tool to deter online copyright infringement.

“Securing court orders requiring ISPs to block access to illegal websites is an accepted and legitimate measure to tackle online copyright infringement,” Marcich says.

“It carefully targets sites whose sole purpose is to make money off the back of other people’s content while paying nothing back into the legitimate economy,” he adds.

Whether the present blocks will be more than a drop in the ocean has yet to be seen. There are many other streaming portals that are still available, which means that the movie studios will probably be back in court in a few months.

—-

The full list of sites that are currently blocked in the UK is as follows:

New: 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.

Previously blocked: 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 and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Torrent Site ‘Hijacks’ MPAA’s Movie Search Engine

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

popcorncabEarlier this month Hollywood launched its very own search engine for movies and TV-shows. With WhereToWatch people can lookup the latest entertainment to check if and where it’s available.

The site offers a very handy service aimed at steering people away from pirate sites and promoting legal options. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t change the fact that most new films aren’t available for streaming or download.

To fill this gap torrent site PopcornCab decided to release a userscript that adds torrent links to the MPAA’s website. The code, which works in all modern browsers through an extension, makes WhereToWatch even more usable according to the PopcornCab team.

PopcornCab’s Travis McCrea, who also runs the eBook library Tuebl.ca and previously headed U.S. and Canadian Pirate parties, tells TF that he’s not a fan of the “morally corrupt” MPAA, but that their new site is a step in the right direction.

“I actually really like WhereToWatch and think it’s a great concept so getting people using the website to see what streaming options are available to them is nice in my opinion,” he says.

McCrea himself has subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The user experience of these legal services is much better than torrents, he says, but the availability is lacking. In this regard, adding torrents is a win-win.

“I get to encourage people to go to WhereToWatch and see if maybe a streaming solution appeals to them but also give them a link to the torrent files from PopcornCab,” McCrea says.

Below is what a PopcornCab listing looks like when the userscript is enabled. The other streaming and download options are still listed as well, below the torrent link.

WhereToWatch with torrents
wheretotorrent

McCrea tells us that PopcornCab, previously know as TorMovies.org, is mainly operated by a friend who prefers to stay out of the spotlight. Many hours have gone into designing the user interface where it sets itself apart from most other torrent sites.

“I find that torrent sites frequently neglect user experience in favor of raw information, and I hate that. PopcornCab brings you a beautiful website which helps you find movies and TV shows with a great interface,” McCrea notes.

McCrea has considered the possible legal repercussions that come with running a torrent site in public and daring the MPAA, but he’s not worried. If he’s arrested, there’s someone else who can take over, he notes.

“I believe in what I am doing, I believe sharing culture is a fundamental right of every person on Earth and so civil penalties don’t scare me. That said, we are pretty careful to dot our I’s and cross our T’s legally so we SHOULD be fine…,” McCrea says.

PopcornCab’s operator has grown used to facing legal threats. Although he is convinced that they’re not doing anything illegal, there is an emergency fund available for the worst case scenario.

“I have money just sitting in a legal trust, and am almost getting disappointed that it isn’t being used…. but not that disappointed,” he says.

While legal trouble can’t be guaranteed, McCrea is certainly drawing attention from Hollywood with his latest project. So this bag of money may come in handy in the future.

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

TorrentFreak: BT Starts Blocking Private Torrent Sites

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

bt-blockedFollowing a series of High Court orders, six UK ISPs are currently required to block subscriber access to dozens of the world’s largest torrent sites.

The latest order was issued last month after a complaint from the major record labels. It expands the UK blocklist by 21 torrent sites, including limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me and torlock.com.

This weekend both BT and Sky implemented the new changes, making it harder for their subscribers to reach these sites. Interestingly, however, BT appears to have gone above and beyond the court order, limiting access to various other sites as well.

Over the past several days TorrentFreak has received reports from several users of private torrent sites who get an “error blocked” message instead of their favorite sites. These include the popular IPTorrents.com and TorrentDay.com trackers, as well as scene release site Scnsrc.me.

IPTorrents and Torrentday are significant targets. Although both sites require prospective users to obtain an invite from a current member (or from the site itself in exchange for cash), they have over a hundred thousand active users.

The error displayed when BT subscribers try to access the above URLs is similar to that returned when users to try access sites covered by High Court injunctions.

However, there is no known court decision that requires BT to block these URLs. In fact, no UK ISP has ever blocked a private torrent site before.

TF contacted BT’s press contact and customer service team but we have yet to receive a response to our findings. Meanwhile, several of the affected users are discussing on Facebook and Twitter how they can bypass the blockades.

bt-blocked

It appears that for now IPTorrents is still accessible via https and via the site’s alternative .me and .ru domains. In addition, VPNs and proxy servers are often cited among suggested workaround techniques.

Whether the private torrent sites will remain blocked and on what grounds remains a mystery for now. We will update this article if BT sends us a response. BT users who spot more unusual blocks are encouraged to get in touch.

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

TorrentFreak: Swedes Prepare Record File-Sharing Prosecution

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

serversFollowing a lengthy investigation by anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån, in 2010 police raided a “warez scene” topsite known as Devil. Dozens of servers were seized containing an estimated 250 terabytes of pirate content.

One man was arrested and earlier this year was eventually charged with unlawfully making content available “intentionally or by gross negligence.”

Police say that the man acted “in consultation or concert with other persons, supplied, installed, programmed, maintained, funded and otherwise administered and managed” the file-sharing network from where the infringements were carried out. It’s claimed that the Devil topsite had around 200 members.

All told the man is accused of illegally making available 2,250 mainly Hollywood movies, a record amount according to the prosecutor.

“We have not prosecuted for this many movies in the past. There are many movies and large data set,” says prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad. “It is also the largest analysis of computers ever made in an individual case.”

Few details have been made available on the case but it’s now been revealed that Antipiratbyrån managed to trace the main Devil server back to the data center of a Stockholm-based electronics company. The site’s alleged operator, a man from Väsbybo in his 50s and employee of the company, reportedly admitted being in control of the server.

While it would likely have been the intention of Devil’s operator for the content on the site to remain private, leaks inevitably occurred. Predictably some of that material ended up on public torrent sites, an aggravating factor according to Antipiratbyrån lawyer Henrik Pontén.

“This is a very big issue and it is this type of crime that is the basis for all illegal file sharing. The films available on Pirate Bay circulate from these smaller networks,” Pontén says.

The big question now concerns potential damages. Pontén says that the six main studios behind the case could demand between $673,400 and $2.69m per movie. Multiply that by 2,250 and that’s an astonishing amount, but the lawyer says that in order not to burden the justice system, a few titles could be selected.

Henrik Olsson Lilja, a lawyer representing the defendant, declined to comment in detail but criticized the potential for high damages.

“I want to wait for the trial, but there was no intent in the sense that the prosecutor is looking for,” Lilja told Mitte.se. “In practice, these are American-style punitive damages.”

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

TorrentFreak: The Pirate Beacon Pimps TPB With Movie Trailers and Info

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

pirate bayMany Pirate Bay users are avid movie fans, who use their favorite torrent site to discover and download fresh content.

Since not all titles immediately ring a bell, they often use third-party sites and services such as IMDb to find more info. In fact, nearly 2% of all IMDb visitors browsed The Pirate Bay before coming to the site, and vice versa.

To save these users a few clicks there is now a new browser extension that pulls up movie information automatically. The Pirate Beacon, as it’s called, shows users descriptions, IMDb ratings and trailers when users hover over Pirate Bay link.

We reached out to Jordan, the developer of Pirate Beacon, who tells us that the idea actually came from a friend who made a mockup of the discovery tool last year. After working on it for a while the project was shelved, but last Saturday he picked it up again.

A few hours of coding later The Pirate Beacon was online.

The extension uses IMDb links to gather movie info, so it’s only available for torrents that have this listed. The trailers are then pulled from trailersapi.com and when this fails a movie poster is displayed instead.

“It works pretty good for newer movies but doesn’t do so well for older ones. So if I can’t find a trailer, I fall back to the IMDb posters api to grab a movie poster for it,” Jordan says.


tpb-afk-beacon

Jordan explains that the addon will help people to gather info about movies without having to leave the site, which can be quite cumbersome at times.

“I think it is most useful for discovery purposes. If you’ve ever spent any time browsing TPB you will know that it’s somewhat annoying to see a movie that you’ve not heard of then have to go find it. This just takes that annoyance away,” Jordan.

The idea appeals to a lot of fellow Pirate Bay users as it has immediately started to gain traction. After an initial Chrome release it’s now available for Firefox too. Additionally, support for many TPB proxies has been added as well.

Jordan says he will continue to work on the project. Support for the Opera browser is one of the next items on the todo list, and he also wants to add support for more torrent sites, starting with KickassTorrents.

“I am planning to expand it to other torrent sites as well. People have been requesting it to work with some other sites. It’s now available on Firefox and Chrome and soon to be available on Opera,” he notes.

The Pirate Beacon’s source code is available on GitHub and the Chrome and Firefox extensions are up on the official site.

The MPAA, meanwhile, is trying to steer people away from The Pirate Bay. The movie group launched its own search engine earlier this week.

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

TorrentFreak: Unknown Sites Dominate Google ‘Pirate’ Search Results

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

For years the world’s largest entertainment industry companies have been putting Google under intense pressure to do something about the prominence of ‘infringing’ listings in its search results.

Periodically the search giant has announced a tweak here and there, but in mid October Google said it was about to implement the most important change yet.

The effects were quickly noticeable. Within days the world’s largest torrent sites took an immediate hit in search engine traffic. So was this the holy grail the studios and record labels had been looking for?

Each week TF publishes a list of the top 10 pirate movie downloads and in our latest edition Dawn of the Planet of the Apes topped the charts. So, with the big sites mainly disappeared from the first pages of results, would the movie still be easy to find using “dawn of the planet of the apes torrent” as a search?

Simple answer – yes. Not only that, sites the majority of people have never heard of are now reaping the rewards of Google’s downgrades.

Rags to riches

The first result in Google comes from the suspicious sounding “yify-movies-official.com” which is definitely not an official YIFY site. However, not only does it comes up with the goods as promised, check out the effect Google’s downranking has had on its popularity according to Alexa. It’s a new site that started quickly, but the short growth plateau in mid October was soon overcome.

Yify-movies

The next result pointed to TorrentsMovies.net, a site that boosted 20,000 places from nowhere following Google’s mid October tweaks. However, the site’s progress is dwarfed by that of the largely unknown KickassTorrents.link site.

kickass-link

Somewhat similar fortunes are echoed on ThePiratebay.org.in, a site that appeared just a couple of months ago. Thanks to Google’s new algorithm its growth looks like it could burst out of the top of Alexa’s chart at any moment.

piratebay-org-in

But it’s not all fun and games

While torrents can still be easily found for this movie after the October downranking, there are some big negatives for anyone who relied on Google to provide them with the best possible results.

First of all, since Google is essentially gaming the system, it’s no longer possible to rely on the search engine to produce the best links on the most popular sites. It doesn’t matters if Pirate Bay or KickassTorrents links are the most trafficked torrents, sites with unusual names that few people know are now at the top of results. This has undermined a valuable commodity….

Trust

While the sites mentioned above are offering torrents and clearly benefiting traffic-wise, we have deliberately left out several sites from our report. Thanks to their lack of DMCA breaches some sites are much closer to the top than they should be when Google is presented with movie + torrent searches. Sadly these sites have something evil in mind – malware.

Hollywood might publicly warn that some file-sharing sites are havens for viruses and spyware, but Google’s actions have dredged up the real filth from the bottom and that will mean a lot of people paying the price. Having these sites downranked is not on the agenda.

Overall

All things considered, Google’s efforts have given its search results a very unfamiliar look which is bound to undermine trust and confidence. The big question is whether it has made unauthorized content harder to find. The answer thus far is a definite ‘yes’ although better results are obtainable by tailoring searches.

However, a much easier option is to switch over to Bing, which not only automatically and conveniently adds “torrent” to the end of a search for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but also presents the world’s biggest torrent sites on the first page.

When that fails users can simply visit the sites themselves, which the majority have been doing anyway.

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

TorrentFreak: Movie Chief: Obama is Scared to Push Google, ISPs on Piracy

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

obamaLate July a near perfect copy of The Expendables 3 leaked out onto file-sharing networks a full three weeks before the title was due to appear in theaters.

Within hours 100,000 copies had been downloaded, a figure that developed into millions in the weeks that followed. According to Nu Image, the company behind Expendables 3, more than 10 million people grabbed an illegal copy of the movie before its official August release.

Now, according to Nu Image CEO and founder Avi Lerner, that leak and subsequent box office flop has translated into serious financial implications for the company.

“Everyone wants to hide what happened on Expendables 3, especially the domestic distributors. ‘Don’t talk about it!’ But I’ll tell you there is about $250 million in box office we lost,” Lerner says.

Describing piracy as the “worst situation that ever happened” to the industry, Lerner told HR that something big needs to be done or there won’t be anything left to save.

“The whole film business is going to be the same as the music business. Within five years, we’re not going to have a business,” he said.

Of course, Hollywood tried to “get something done” in 2012 by lobbying intensively for the now-defunct SOPA anti-piracy legislation. But by asking for too much, too quickly, the possibility of knock-on consequences almost universally spooked the tech sector. The result was a huge backlash and the ruination of any chance of passing not only SOPA, but any other similar variant in the near future.

Still, Lerner feels that the buck needs to stop somewhere, and in this case it should be right at the top. Barack Obama isn’t doing enough, the Nu Image CEO says, and that stems from the President’s fear of upsetting the Internet.

“It’s sad because if we had a good president that cared about the film industry he would pass a very simple law, an anti-piracy law, but they don’t want to stop it because they are scared of Google, and he’s scared of all the ISPs,” Lerner says.

Google’s power and money not only scares off the President but Congress too, Lerner adds. Furthermore, plenty of that revenue is coming piracy-related sources, so the company has no incentive stop it.

“Google has no interest to stop [piracy] because the more people download the movie the more traffic they get. And without traffic they don’t get revenue from advertising. So they’re happy there’s piracy in the world,” Lerner insists.

Of course, Google has made some recent anti-piracy overtures with a fairly drastic modification of its search engine algorithms, changes that have hit torrent sites particularly hard. But while Google might have the power and the money, it is not the gatekeeper of the Internet and leaks of movies like The Expendables 3 will happen regularly, with or without the gaming of search engine results in Hollywood’s favor.

In the meantime Google will keep getting blamed for other people’s problems, and not even the White House will be able to do anything about that.

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

TorrentFreak: Dutch Parliament Wants Popup Warnings on Pirate Sites

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

dangerIn common with many other countries around the world, downloading music and movies is hugely popular in the Netherlands. Up to a third of the population is estimated to download copyrighted content without paying for it.

Until a few months ago the Netherlands was a relative safe haven for these “pirates” as downloading and copying movies and music for personal use was not punishable by law.

In exchange for this “legalization” rightsholders were compensated through a “piracy levy” on writable media and hard drives. However, this changed after a recent verdict of the European Court of Justice.

Since then, not much has changed. Copyright holders haven’t indicated that they want to target individual downloaders, and the authorities haven’t either.

However, a new proposal put forward in the Dutch Parliament could change this inaction, with the suggestion that potential pirates should be warned via popup browser notifications. The idea comes from the VVD en PvdA, which holds a majority in the current Parliament.

While the exact details still have to be worked out, the parties want visitors of torrent sites and other download portals to receive a popup warning telling them that they are breaking the law.

Jeroen van Wijngaarden, Member of Parliament for the VVD, told NOS that the warnings should also refer people to legal content. “It should also state that there’s a legal alternative, to which the user should then be referred,” he says.

Van Wijngaarden explains that these popups, which will presumably have to be implemented by local Internet providers, will increase the chance that people choose legal alternatives over pirate sites.

The plan will be discussed in the Dutch Parliament tomorrow where there is bound to be strong opposition. Kees Verhoeven, Member of Parliament for D66, characterizes the popup proposal as “stupid” as it would require ISPs to become the Internet police.

Instead of popups, the entertainment industries should fight piracy by increasing the availability of legal content, he believes.

“It’s a stupid plan and shows a lack of knowledge of how people use the Internet and how they download. You don’t reduce illegal downloads with pop-ups, but with more legal supply,” Verhoeven says.

Local Internet providers have yet to respond to the proposal, but considering the fierce opposition against the Pirate Bay blockade, it’s expected that they won’t be too keen on monitoring users’ “pirate site” visits.

Photo: Michael Theis

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

TorrentFreak: RIAA: The Pirate Bay Assaults Fundamental Human Rights

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

tpbfistFollowing in the footsteps of Hollywood’s MPAA, the RIAA has now submitted its overview of “notorious markets” to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR).

These submissions help to guide the U.S. Government’s position toward foreign countries when it comes to copyright enforcement. The RIAA’s report (odt) includes more than 50 alleged pirate sites, but it is the introduction that draws most attention.

Neil Turkewitz, RIAA Executive Vice President, informs the Government that some of the rogue websites, and their supporters, falsely argue that they aid freedom of speech and counter censorship.

Specifically, the RIAA describes The Pirate Bay and other pirate sites as an assault on our humanity, suggesting that the right to protect one’s copyrights trumps freedom of expression.

“Some observers continue to suggest that the protection of expression is a form of censorship or restriction on fundamental freedoms, and some pirate sites cloak themselves in the language of freedom to justify themselves—sites like The Pirate Bay…” Turkewitz writes.

“We must end this assault on our humanity and the misappropriation of fundamental human rights. If the protection of expression is itself a restriction on freedom of expression, then we have entered a metaphysical Wonderland that stands logic on its head, and undermines core, shared global values about personhood,” he adds.

The RIAA says it’s hopeful that the piracy threat can be addressed if society and legitimate companies stop doing business with these sites. To do so, the public must stop conflating anti-piracy measures with censorship.

“We may not be able to eradicate piracy—there will always be an isolated number of individuals or enterprises who are prepared to steal whatever they can, but we can—and must—stop providing moral cover by conflating copyright enforcement with censorship, or by misapplying notions of Internet freedom or permissionless innovation so that they extend to an embrace of lawlessness.”

In recent months copyright holders have often hammered on payment processors and advertising networks to stop doing business with pirate sites. The RIAA reiterates this in their USTR submission, but also points a finger at the ISPs, at least indirectly.

According to the RIAA, BitTorrent indexing sites make deals with hosting providers to pay lower fees if they have more traffic. While this is standard business for most ISPs, the industry group frames it as an indirect source of revenue for the pirate sites.

“Indexing services can, and usually do, generate revenue from one or more of the following: advertising, user donations and suspected arrangements with ISPs whereby reduced fees are offered in return for increased traffic on the sites. The particular financial model, structure and approach vary from site to site,” Turkewitz notes.

Finally, the RIAA admits that some torrent sites process DMCA takedown notices, but believes that this is only an attempt to “appear” legitimate. In reality the infringing content is re-uploaded almost instantly, so the problem remains.

“As a result, copyright owners are forced into an endless ‘cat and mouse’ game, which requires considerable resources to be devoted to chasing infringing content, only for that same infringing content to continually reappear,” the report reads.

Without specifying what, Turkewitz notes that torrent site owners have to do more if they really want to become legitimate services.

“It is imperative that BitTorrent site operators take reasonable measures to prevent the distribution of infringing torrents or links and to implement measures that would prevent the indexing of infringing torrents,” he writes.

In addition to torrent sites the submission also lists various cyberlockers, blogs and linking sites which allegedly deserve the label “notorious market.”

Below is the RIAA’s full list as it was reported to the USTR. These, and the other submissions will form the basis of the U.S. Government’s Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, which is expected to come out later this year.

- vKontakte
– EX.UA
– The Pirate Bay
– KickAss.to
– Torrentz.eu
– Bitsnoop.com
– ExtraTorrent.cc
– Isohunt.to
– Zamunda
– Arena.bg
– Torrenthound.com
– Fenopy.se
– Monova.org
– Torrentreactor.net
– Sumotorrent.sx
– Seedpeer.me
– Torrentdownloads.me
– 4shared.com
– Uploaded.net
– Oboom.com
– Zippyshare.com
– Rapidgator.net
– Turbobit.net
– Ulozto.cz
– Sdílej.cz
– Hell Spy
– HellShare
– Warez-dk.org
– Freakshare.com
– Bitshare.com
– Letitbit.net
– 1fichier.com
– Filestube.to
– Music.so.com
– Verycd.com
– Gudanglagu.com
– Thedigitalpinoy.org
– Todaybit.com
– Chacha.vn
– Zing.vn
– Songs.to
– Boerse.to
– Mygully.com
– Wawa-mania.ec
– Bajui.com
– Goear.com
– Pordescargadirecta.com
– Exvagos.com
– Degraçaémaisgostoso.org
– Baixeturbo.org
– Hitsmp3.net
– Musicasparabaixar.org
– Sapodownloads.net
– Sonicomusica.com
– Jarochos.net
– Rnbexclusive.se
– Newalbumreleases.net

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

TorrentFreak: Torrent Site Uses Google To Resurrect Taken Down Content

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

Founded in 2003, UK-based FileSoup was one of the original torrent sites but in 2009 two former administrators of the site were arrested following a FACT investigation.

Two years later, however, the case collapsed and the men were free to go. Now, more than three years on, the FileSoup domain has been resurrected.

It’s a search engine / proxy, but not as we know it

The new site has no connections to the original owner, but there are several unique aspects to the relaunch of FileSoup that make for an interesting project.

On a basic level FileSoup acts as a meta-search engine variant. It covers four major torrent sites – The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, Torrentz and ExtraTorrent – each selectable via a drop-down box. It also acts as a reverse proxy for these sites to unblock them in countries where they are inaccessible, the UK for example.

filesoup

Improving on search results

But FileSoup is no ordinary proxy. Instead of simply mirroring the content it finds on sites such as KickassTorrents, it actually attempts to improve on the results by caching third party site indexes.

“Let’s say Kickass.to receives a [DMCA] notice and deletes the content. We are not simply proxying but also caching the site. This means we can provide the page content even if Kickass.to has deleted the URL due to a DMCA complaint,” FileSoup informs TorrentFreak.

So in theory (and given time to cache – the site is still getting off the ground), FileSoup should be able to provide access to content previously taken down from other sites it proxies. To see whether it’s anywhere near to that goal, we conducted a search for one of the most talked-about franchises of the year – Expendables.

The images below show the results from FileSoup and KickassTorrents for exactly the same search. FileSoup returned 139 results while KickAss returned 115. Also notable, aside from the inserted ads, is the prominence of highly-seeded Expendables 3 results in the top placed positions on FileSoup.

file-v-kick

kick-v-file

Other searches produced varied results but since FileSoup is just getting off the ground it will need more time to cache significant amounts of taken-down content. But what happens when FileSoup itself is subjected to takedown notices of its own?

“When FileSoup receives a DMCA abuse notice we create a new URL address for the same content. After that this URL lives till the next DMCA abuse notice,” the team explain.

The Necromancer – using Google DMCA notices bypass Google’s takedowns

The operators of FileSoup also addressed indirect search engine takedowns. Every week rightsholders force Google to remove torrent listings from its search results. For this problem FileSoup says it has a solution, and a controversial one it is too.

The team behind the site say they have developed a web crawler designed to pull the details of content subjected to DMCA notices from two sources – Google’s Transparency Report and the Chilling Effects Clearing House. From here the links are brought back to life.

“We created a technology that crawls DMCA notices and resurrects the torrent webpage under a different URL so it can appear in search results again. It was rather complicated to sharpen it, but eventually it works pretty well. We will use it on FileSoup.com for all the websites we proxy,” FileSoup explain.

“It will lead to a situation when KickaAss.FileSoup.com (for example) will have more pages indexed in Google than the original Kickass.to because we will revive pages banned by DMCA within Google search results. We call this technology the Necromancer.”

The idea of manipulating publicly available sources of copyright notices to reactivate access to infringing content is not new but this is the first time that a site has publicly admitted to putting theory into practice. Whether FileSoup will be able to pull this off remains to be seen, but if it does it could signal the biggest game of whac-a-mole yet.

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