Posts tagged ‘Torrent Sites’

TorrentFreak: Book Publishers Expand UK Pirate Site Blocking

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

e-booksFor several years Hollywood studios and international recording labels have engaged in legal action to have ‘pirate’ sites blocked in the UK.

The injunction applications were all filed at the High Court with the earliest example dating back to the 2012 blocking of The Pirate Bay at the hands of the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry).

Since then more than 20 injunctions have been handed down targeting a range of content but it took until May 2015 for the book publishing sector to land its first victory.

In an injunction application targeting major ISPs including BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, EE and TalkTalk, the Publishers Association successfully argued that their rights were being infringed by a number of e-book download sites.

Shortly after, Avaxhome, Ebookee, Freebookspot, Freshwap, Libgen, Bookfi and Bookre were all blocked at the ISP level, with Internet users in the UK confronted with a message similar to the one below.


Of course, blocking a handful of sites was never likely to achieve long-term results, especially with fresh domains, proxies, mirrors, and other workarounds being deployed on a regular basis. No surprise then that the Publishers Association has recently applied to have yet more URLs blocked by ISPs. (full list below)

All appear to relate in some way to sites that were blocked in the earlier court order, including Avaxhome, eBookee, FreeBookSpot and Library Genesis. This means that the Publishers Association won’t have needed to start a fresh process and will have simply added these URLs to the existing injunction.

This latest expansion is only the latest in a long line of applications made by a wide range of entertainment industry groups.

Earlier this month the UK’s blocklist silently expanded with the addition of around 170 sites, an effort that was preceded in October with the blocking of dozens of new domains, including those relating to Popcorn Time.

Updated Publishers Association blocklist

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

TorrentFreak: Anti-Piracy Group Stops Prolific KickassTorrent’s Uploader

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

KATNetherlands-based anti-piracy group BREIN is one of few such outfits to directly go after both the operators and users of pirate sites.

The Hollywood-backed group doesn’t target random file-sharers but focuses on prolific uploaders, who share hundreds or thousands of files.

This month these efforts led to another victory for the organization. A Breda court ruled in favor of BREIN in an ex-parte case against a 20-year-old student, who uploaded over 750 torrents to KickassTorrents.

Most torrents were targeted at the Dutch public, including a full season of The Walking Dead and the film Avengers: Age of Ultron, both with subtitles.

BREIN argued that the man’s infringing activities were causing irreparable damage for the various copyright holders involved. In addition, his efforts help frustrate the growth of legal services such as Spotify and Netflix.

The court agreed with BREIN’s assessment and ordered the uploader to stop sharing pirated content on KickassTorrents (pdf). Refusing to do so will result in a €2,000 fine per day, with a maximum of €50,000.

Responding to the verdict, the man, whose name is not made public, deleted his account as well as all uploads.

TorrentFreak tracked down what appears to be the user in question. This person frequently uploaded torrents with Dutch subtitles, some of which were mentioned in the case.

The deleted profile

BREIN notes that the student also agreed to pay compensation to the copyright holders as well as costs for the legal proceedings. While calculating the appropriate ‘damages’ figure BREIN took the man’s personal circumstances into account.

This means that the uploader has gotten off relatively unharmed, when compared to the million dollar claims we’ve seen elsewhere at least.

It’s not clear how BREIN tracked down the uploader. The anti-piracy group is known to scour the Internet for information that can identify infringers, some of whom are surprisingly easy to find.

In addition, BREIN also uses previously convicted file-sharers to gather intelligence, and rival uploaders also rat out their competitors voluntarily every now and then.

“We do get anonymous tips regarding offenders and from time to time it is clear that a tip comes from a ‘competitor. It’s just like with other crime on any turf,” BREIN’s Tim Kuik told us previously.

Looking ahead, BREIN is planning to intensify its efforts to hold prolific uploaders responsible. Not just those who upload to torrent sites, but also those who simply download and share.

Last week NOS reported that BREIN is preparing to monitor IP-addresses systematically to identify prolific sharers, which they then hope to identify through their Internet providers.

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

TorrentFreak: Megaupload Programmer Already Freed From U.S. Prison

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

Acting on a lead from the entertainment industry, in January 2012 the U.S. Government shut down Megaupload.

To date, much of their efforts have been focused on extraditing Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues from New Zealand to the United States but earlier this year it became apparent that they’d already snared an important piece of the puzzle.

Operating under key mega figure Matthias Ortmann, Andrus Nomm was a Megaupload programmer who reportedly earned a little over $3200 per month.

In common with his former colleagues, Nomm was cited in the Megaupload indictment, meaning that the FBI wanted the Estonian in the United States to face criminal charges. With few funds at his disposal to put a Dotcom-like fight, Nomm flew from the Netherlands and handed himself over to U.S. authorities after three years.

In February the 36-year-old was arrested and carried through with a deal he’d promised to cut with U.S. authorities. Just days later the Department of Justice announced that Nomm had pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement, and he was sentenced to 366 days in prison.

Dotcom slammed the development.

“An innocent coder pleads guilty after 3 years of DOJ abuse, with no end in sight, in order to move on with his life,” Dotcom said. “I have nothing but compassion and understanding for Andrus Nomm and I hope he will soon be reunited with his son.”

This week it appears Dotcom’s wishes came true. According to NZHerald, after serving just nine months in prison, Nomm’s name appeared on a list of prisoners due to be released this week.

However, the Estonian’s release will be bitter-sweet since according to the same report Nomm’s evidence is already being used against Dotcom and as recently as his just-concluded extradition hearing.

The details will not be made public until have Judge Nevin Dawson hands down his decision but it’s believed that Nomm has stated on the record that Dotcom and his former colleagues knowingly profited from copyright infringement.

Nevertheless, Dotcom still feels that Nomm pleaded guilty to a crime he didn’t commit.

“One year in jail was his way out. I don’t blame him. I can understand why Andrus did it. But it doesn’t change the fact that he is innocent,” Dotcom told the Herald.

Underlining his point, Dotcom points to a video recorded by Nomm just three months after the raid and uploaded to YouTube after Nomm signed the plea deal.

“Andrus made it clear in his documentary interview that he had done nothing wrong,” Dotcom said.

Although three years in limbo and a year in jail will have had a considerable impact on Nomm’s life, his deal with the U.S. now means that he can get on with his life. The same cannot be said of Dotcom and his former colleagues.

Nomm plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, charges that Dotcom and his former colleagues continue to deny. The U.S. also dropped the money laundering and racketeering charges against the Estonian – the same is unlikely to happen in Dotcom’s case. However, Nomm still has a “money judgment” of US$175m to contend with, a not inconsiderable amount that he will presumably never pay.

The conviction of Nomm is a considerable feather in the cap of U.S. authorities who indicate that Nomm has given them much more evidence than has been revealed thus far. Only time will tell how valuable that will prove.

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

TorrentFreak: No Pirate Bay Blockade in Sweden, Court Rules

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

tpbThe Pirate Bay is blocked by dozens of ISPs around Europe but anti-piracy outfits have always hoped that one day the notorious site would be rendered inaccessible in Sweden, its country of origin.

To that end, Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry teamed up in a lawsuit last year designed to force Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget (Broadband Company) to block the site.

They claimed that the ISP should be held liable for the infringements of its customers, unless it blocks Pirate Bay.

Bredbandsbolaget flat out refused to comply, stating categorically that its only role is to provide customers with Internet access while facilitating the free-flow of information. The case went to trial and was heard in the Stockholm District Court during October. After nearly a month the Court has handed down its decision and its a huge win for the ISP and, indirectly, two famous pirate sites.

In a ruling handed down just minutes ago, the Stockholm District Court completely rejected rightsholder demands that Bredbandsbolaget should block its subscribers from accessing The Pirate Bay and streaming portal Swefilmer.

The Court reports that the case was heard in light of an EU directive which notes that member states shall ensure that rightholders have the possibility to ask for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to commit copyright infringement.

The District Court says that in its opinion Swedish legislation meets the requirements of the Infosoc directive. Furthermore, the Court also considers that the actions of Bredbandsbolaget do not constitute participation in crimes in accordance with Swedish law.

“A unanimous District Court considers, therefore, that it is not in a position to authorize such a ban as the rights holders want and therefore rejects their request,” said presiding Chief Magistrate Anders Dereborg.

Of course, there are higher courts in Sweden and it is very likely that’s where this case will end up. Today’s decision can be taken to the Svea Court of Appeal no later than December 18, 2015.

In the meantime the plaintiffs in the case must pay Bredbandsbolaget’s costs, expected to exceed US$160,000.

Breaking news story, updates to follow

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

TorrentFreak: Huge Security Flaw Can Expose VPN Users’ Real IP-Adresses

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

ip-addressFor the past several years interest in encrypted and anonymous communications has spread to a much wider audience.

VPN providers are particularly popular among BitTorrent users, who by default broadcast their IP-addresses to hundreds of people when downloading a popular file.

The goal of using a VPN is to hide one’s ISP IP-address, but a newly discovered vulnerability shows that this is easily bypassed on some providers.

The problem, uncovered by VPN provider Perfect Privacy (PP), is a simple port forwarding trick. If an attacker uses the same VPN as the victim the true IP-address can be exposed by forwarding traffic on a specific port.

The security flaw affects all VPN protocols including OpenVPN and IPSec and applies to all operating systems.

“Affected are VPN providers that offer port forwarding and have no protection against this specific attack,” PP notes.

For example, if an attacker activates port forwarding for the default BitTorrent port then a VPN user on the same network will expose his or her real IP-address.

The same is true for regular web traffic, but in that case the attacker has to direct the victim to a page that connects to the forwarded port, as Perfect Privacy explains in detail.

The vulnerability affected the setup of various large VPN providers, who were warned last week. This included Private Internet Access (PIA), and nVPN, who have all fixed the issue before publication.

PIA informs TorrentFreak that their fix was relatively simple and was implemented swiftly after they were notified.

“We implemented firewall rules at the VPN server level to block access to forwarded ports from clients’ real IP addresses. The fix was deployed on all our servers within 12 hours of the initial report,” PIA’s Amir Malik says.

In addition, PIA complimented Perfect Privacy for responsibly disclosing the vulnerability prior to making it public and awarded their competitor with a $5,000 bounty under its Whitehat Alert Security Program.

Not all VPN providers were tested so it is likely that many others are still vulnerable. Hopefully, these will address the issue in the near future.

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

TorrentFreak: Supreme Court Opens Door for Pirate Site Blockades in Germany

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

stop-blockedDomain name blocking has become one of the entertainment industries’ go-to methods for reducing online copyright infringement.

Blocking requests from both the music and movie sector are widespread around Europe, but until now Germany has been excluded.

However, this may soon change. In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court has today opened the door to German pirate site blockades.

The origin of the ruling dates back seven years when German music rights group GEMA, known for its aggressive anti-piracy stance, found music tracks on major file-hosting sites being distributed via the music linking site

After GEMA failed in its efforts to contact 3DL’s operators to deal with the infringement, the music group tried another tactic.

In a subsequent complaint, GEMA demanded that in order to reduce further copyright infringement, leading German ISP Deutsche Telekom should take technical steps to stop its customers from accessing

The ISP refused, stating that as a mere ‘dumb pipe’ it has nothing to do with the infringement on the site. Furthermore, blocking one site would simply lead to increasing numbers of similar demands, the ISP argued.

Together with a similar lawsuit against the site, the case eventually ended up at the Supreme Court which ruled on the issue today.

In its order the court argues that an ISP blockade is warranted if copyright holders have exhausted all their options to identify the operators or hosting providers of pirate sites.

The court also noted that it doesn’t matter if users can circumvent blockades. Simply rendering sites more difficult for the general public to access is sufficient.

GEMA is delighted with the decision and says it will be a great tool to combat online piracy.

“We welcome the judgment of the Supreme Court. This landmark decision was long overdue, since it leads the way in protecting our copyrights in the digital music market,” GEMA CEO Harald Heker says.

“At last we have legal clarity about the fact that ISP blockades of websites that offer illegal copyrighted music works en masse, are permitted. An important step to combat Internet piracy,” he adds.

It’s expected that the first blocking requests will be filed in the near future. While is no longer online, other high-profile pirate sites including The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents are probably high on GEMA’s wish list.

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

TorrentFreak: Judge Worries That Piracy Lawsuits Will Flood Courts

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

So-called ‘copyright-trolling’ is quite clearly big business as 2015 comes to a close. Often portrayed by content owners as a necessary evil designed to send a deterrent message to pirates, overall the practice is lucrative for the many companies involved.

The whole system relies on intimidating people into paying a ‘fine’ or settlement fee, often between a few hundred and a few thousand euros or dollars. The threat is to take cases to court if people don’t pay, alongside a clear suggestion that things will get more costly thereon in.

Over in Finland, Hedman Partners – a law firm acting on behalf of several movie, TV show and adult distributors – has been employing this exact tactic and after failing to get the desired number of pirates to pay, is now taking people to court.

Lawyer Joni Hatanmaa announced the first three cases against Finnish citizens last month and as previously promised, those people are now being told to expect big bills. However, according to the law firm things could get substantially worse.

Speaking with state-owned YLE, Hatanmaa now warns that his company is hoping to obtain the personal details of more than 10,000 alleged pirates in the coming year and if necessary will eventually take up to hundreds of cases to court.

The prospect of these kinds of copyright cases bogging down the legal system hasn’t been well received and already there a worries over where capacity to handle them will be found. Such cases are filed at the Market Court, a specialist venue hearing IP, competition and market law disputes, and its chief judge says a flood could prove problematic.

“If these cases become this plentiful, then how can we organize them with our existing resources? We already have an abundance of pending things here,” says Chief Judge Kimmo Mikkola.

While the Judge is right to express concern, history shows that in Europe there is less willingness to take cases to court than there is in the U.S., for example. Statutory damages in the United States mean that defendants could face bills of $150,000 for a single infringement if found guilty, an amount that serves to encourage early settlement.

In Europe the position is somewhat different, with alleged pirates more willing to take a chance on ignoring threatening letters while hoping the whole matter simply disappears. That does indeed happen in some cases, but precise and current numbers are impossible to come by. However, since ‘trolls’ keep coming back for more, the suggestion is that enough pay to keep the scheme going – and profitable.

In Finland it does appear that at least in limited numbers, Hedman Partners are prepared to take some cases to court to prove their point. However, some experts believe that it won’t be an easy ride.

Copyright specialist Herkko Hietanen of the Turre Legal law firm says that guilt will be difficult to prove since the court will require the copyright holder to show that the Internet account holder is the person liable for the infringement, since that’s who their claims are addressed to.

Judge Kimmo Mikkola agrees that identifying the precise infringer could be an issue.

“There is a problem of showing who has used the Internet connection. We can get clarity on these issues when we start to deal with them,” the Judge concludes.

That was certainly an issue for the Salminen family, who two years ago were accused of downloading and sharing thousands of songs. They’ve had an uphill struggle but have finally cleared their names after Mr Salminen, an IT expert, went all out to prove the case brought against them was false.

This week the family got the recognition they deserved when it was reported in local media that the anti-piracy group involved admitted that somewhere in the chain there had been an error and the wrong people had been accused.

“We had a lot of watertight, technical evidence backing us up that would be impossible for anyone other than someone in the IT field to gain access to,” Salminen said.

“If a letter like this would be delivered to a little old grandmother, how would she ever get this resolved?”

The truth is, people like this don’t have much of a chance. And trolls know it.

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

TorrentFreak: Busted Pirate Told to Get 200K YouTube Hits or Face Huge Fine

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

jakubfOver the past 15 years countless individuals have faced financial punishments due to online copyright infringement offenses. But what happens when a case is won by copyright holders but the alleged pirate simply cannot pay?

Answers to that question vary, but over in the Czech Republic the people at the Business Software Alliance (BSA) have come up with the most unusual solution so far to settle their case with a long-time pirate.

The case involves an individual known as Jakub F who was accused by the BSA of pirating software including Microsoft’s Windows. Over many years he uploaded links to various forums which allowed others to download content from file-hosting sites. The BSA took exception to that and tracked him down. Eventually the police ended up at Jakub’s house, confiscating his computer, DVDs and an external hard drive.

The case went to trial and in September Jakub was found guilty, with a district court handing him a three-year suspended sentence and ordering the confiscation of his equipment. But for Jakub the matter was not over yet.

Various companies involved in the lawsuit including Microsoft, HBO, Sony Music and Twentieth Century Fox estimated that Jakub had caused them around $373,000 in damages, with Microsoft alone calling for $223,000. However, it appears that the court wasn’t prepared to accept the companies’ somewhat hypothetical calculations.

Whether the companies ever intended to claw back these sums remains unclear but it now transpires that the plaintiffs and Jakub F reached agreement on what they describe as an “alternative sentence.”

Instead of paying out a small fortune to his tormentors at the BSA, Jakub F agreed to star in an anti-piracy PSA about his life as a pirate. The video, which is embedded below and titled “The Story of My Piracy”, is being promoted on, a site ostensibly setup by Jakub himself, with the aim of deterring others from following in his footsteps.


“I had to start this site because for eight years I spread pirated software and then they caught me. I thought that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I thought that it didn’t hurt the big companies. I didn’t even do it for the money, I did it for fun,” Jakub begins.

“I felt in the warez community that I meant something. I was convinced that I was too small a fish for someone to get to me. But eventually, they got me. Even for me, the investigators came to work.”

The video is a professional affair starring Jakub himself. Set to a dramatic soundtrack, Jakub talks about the fun he had on warez forums, sharing content for the pleasure of others. However, it all came crashing down when he was told that copyright holders wanted hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, damages he could never pay.

But while Jakub appears to have kept up his side of the bargain so far, the BSA say that the 30-year-old’s fate lies with how popular the video becomes. Unless the video gets 200,000 views on YouTube, there’s a suggestion that a huge fine will become payable.

“If I promote my story and my video gets at least 200 thousand views, I will only serve the general part of my sentence,” Jakub explains.

“In the video I play myself and this is really my story. I shot the video with a professional firm. Sharing is how this started and sharing is how I would like my story to end up.”

At the time of writing Jakub’s video has more than 80,000 views so he needs 120,000 more to clear his debt. Needless to say, this is one propaganda film video he’ll be hoping doesn’t get pirated.

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

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: Insurer Refuses to Cover Cox in Massive Piracy Lawsuit

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

cox-logoFollowing a ruling from a Virginia federal court that Cox is not protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the Internet provider must now deal with another setback.

Beazley, a high risk insurance underwriter for Lloyds, is refusing to cover legal costs related to the “repeat infringer” case which goes to trial next week.

It’s a crucial case that could define how Internet providers must handle copyright infringement complaints. At the moment it’s rare for ISPs to disconnect pirating users but the case has the potential to alter the landscape.

The case also exposes Cox to dozens if not hundreds of millions in potential piracy damages plus substantial legal fees. The Internet provider hoped to cover some of the costs under an insurance policy at Lloyd’s but the insurer is refusing to cooperate.

In a request for a declaratory judgment (pdf) Lloyd’s underwriter asks the court to rule that it doesn’t have to cover the costs, which have already exceeded $1 million in legal fees alone.

In the complaint Beazley states that Cox was well aware of the potential liabilities. Rightscorp, the company that sends the copyright infringement notices, had already warned the ISP over its precarious position several years ago.

“By letter dated January 9, 2012, Cox was advised by an agent of copyright holders that if it did not forward those notices to its customers, it would be exposed to claims of contributory and vicarious copyright infringement,” the insurer writes.

Cox, however, refused to forward the millions of notices as they were bundled with settlement demands, which are seen by some as extortion. This refusal eventually lead to the lawsuit filed by music rights companies BMG and Round Hill.

“Cox continued to intentionally ignore the notices and did not forward them to its customers,” the complaint notes.

In light of the above, Beazley argues that the lawsuit is the result of an intentional business policy rather than the act of rendering Internet services, which is what the insurance policy covers.

“…the BMG Claim arose out of Cox’s policy and practice of ignoring and failing to forward infringement notices and refusing to terminate or block infringing customers’ accounts, not acts in rendering internet services.”

In addition Beazley point out that the piracy lawsuit was filed November last year, several days before the December 1, 2014 date the insurance policy began.

If the court grants Beazley’s request for declaratory judgment then Lloyd’s policy will not cover any of the costs related to the lawsuit. This will be a costly setback for the ISP if it loses the piracy lawsuit.

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

TorrentFreak: Cox Has No DMCA Safe Harbor Protection, Judge Rules

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

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

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

The case is scheduled to go to trial before a jury next month, but an order just issued by District Court Judge Liam O’Grady already puts the Internet provider at a severe disadvantage.

In his order Judge O’Grady ruled on a motion for partial summary judgment from the music companies, which argued that Cox has not met the requirements for safe harbor protection under the DMCA.

Although Cox does have a policy to disconnect accounts of pirating subscribers, it discarded the copyright infringement notices from the plaintiffs. These notices are bundled with settlement requests, something Cox likens to harassment.

After reviewing the arguments from both sides Judge O’Grady has sided with the copyright holders, as HWR first reported.

“The court grants the motion with respect to defendant’s safe-harbor defense under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendants reasonably implemented a repeat-infringer policy as is required…,” the order (pdf) reads.

Judge O’Grady’s order

The judge has yet to publish his full opinion motivating the decision and we will follow this up as soon as it’s handed down. However, the ruling makes it clear that Cox is in a very tough spot.

DMCA safe-harbor is a crucial protection for ISPs against copyright complaints. Aside from the liability Cox faces in the case, it also suggests that ISPs should disconnect subscribers solely based on accusations from copyright holders, which affects the entire industry.

Judge O’Grady, who’s also in charge of the criminal case against Megaupload and Kim Dotcom, doesn’t appear to be concerned about any collateral damage though.

Techdirt reports that he previously lashed out against the EFF and Public Knowledge, which submitted an amicus brief in support of Cox.

“I read the brief. It adds absolutely nothing helpful at all. It is a combination of describing the horrors that one endures from losing the Internet for any length of time,” O’Grady said, rejecting the brief.

“Frankly, it sounded like my son complaining when I took his electronics away when he watched YouTube videos instead of doing homework. And it’s completely hysterical.”

To be continued.

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

TorrentFreak: Kim Dotcom Slams U.S. “Bullies” as Extradition Hearing Ends

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

megaupload-logoDespite criticisms emanating from both sides, it will be difficult to argue that New Zealand has skipped on the amount of time it’s dedicated to the Megaupload case.

Hundreds of hours of legal resources have been expended since the fateful raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion in 2012 and with 2016 just a few short weeks away, it will soon be determined whether the Internet entrepreneur will be shipped to the United States.

That decision now lies with Judge Nevin Dawson, who today listened to the closing submissions in an extradition hearing that has lasted (some say dragged on) for 10 long weeks after being scheduled for just four.

Both sides have demonstrated only one common ground – each feels they have a solid case and that the other is dead wrong.

Prosecutors acting for the United States say that Megaupload was business built from the ground up for illegal purposes. They argue that Dotcom and fellow defendants Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk knew that their users were breaching copyright and even financially rewarded those who infringed the most.

Rather than removing content as the law requires, Megaupload merely removed the links, leaving content intact so that it could live to infringe another day, the U.S. claims. Communications between some of the company’s executives only served to underline the above, with admissions that Megaupload was profiting from 90% infringing files.

The former Megaupload operators see things very differently. From day one they have argued that their Internet business was a legitimate cloud storage service, originally setup to overcome the limitations of sending files via email.

Megaupload was not dissimilar to Dropbox, Dotcom et al argued, and had deals with copyright holders so that any content they wanted removed could be taken down in a timely fashion.

“Not only did Megaupload achieve 99.999% takedown compliance, numerous emails from major content owners thanked us for our compliance,” Dotcom reiterated today.

But despite complying with the laws of the land, Dotcom says that Megaupload was cut down in its prime by an aggressive and malicious U.S. government who from the very beginning has been doing Hollywood’s bidding. Those same authorities closed down his site, seized his funds and then denied him access to a fair trial.

“My defense team has shown how utterly unreliable, malicious and unethical the U.S. case against me is. They have exposed a dirty ugly bully,” Dotcom said this morning.

But allegations of dirty tricks aside, Dotcom and his former associates insist that the very basis of the U.S. case falls on stony ground, that the copyright infringement charges on which all of the other charges are based simply aren’t extraditable offenses. In any event, Internet service providers such as Megaupload can’t be prosecuted for their users’ crimes, they say.

Nevertheless, the reality remains. Dotcom and his former Megaupload operators face charges of copyright infringement, conspiracy, money laundering and racketeering in the United States and after putting up a colossal battle, U.S. prosecutors aren’t likely to be backing down anytime soon.

But for now the fate of the now famous quartet lies in the hands of Judge Nevin Dawson, the man who has sat patiently – sometimes less so – through ten weeks of hearings and hundreds of pages of submissions from both sides in this epic war of words.

“The 10 week extradition hearing has ended. My life is in the hands of Judge Nevin Dawson. He was the Judge who granted me bail. There’s hope!” Dotcom said after the hearing ended today.

When Judge Dawson will deliver his final decision is unclear, but when he does so it will be to an open court in the presence of men facing decades of jail time in the United States.

It will be an agonized wait for both sides but history shows us that no matter which side loses, neither will easily accept defeat. This show is definitely not over yet.

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

TorrentFreak: Hulu Accidentally Leaks Upcoming Fargo Episode

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

huluImpatient fans of the popular FX series Fargo got lucky today. At least, those who are used to downloading or streaming it without permission.

The seventh episode of season two is scheduled to air tonight but thousands of people have already grabbed a copy from various torrent sites.

The leak originates from Hulu where the video was made freely available this weekend, by mistake. Hulu offers the second season of Fargo with a select cable subscription but the upcoming episode was reportedly listed under season one.

The error was noticed by several people and after roughly a day Hulu took the video down. But by then it was already too late.

This morning several copies of the leaked episode were uploaded onto torrent sites and since then thousands of people have downloaded it. Although some were skeptical, the episode is indeed real and the full version.

Screenshot of the leaked Fargo episode

The leak is unique as the source of the pre-release is an online streaming service. Most TV-show leaks we’ve seen recently come from so-called screener DVDs which are sent out for promotional purposes.

For Hulu, which is owned by media giants NBCUniversal Television, Fox Broadcasting and Disney–ABC Television, the mistake is quite an embarrassment. However, since it happened less than a day before the official premiere the effect of the leak should be limited.

TorrentFreak has asked Hulu for a comment on the news but at the time of publishing we have yet to receive a reply.

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: Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing ‘Ambushed’ With New Evidence

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

megaupload-logoAfter beginning just beyond the mid-point of September, by now the extradition hearing of Kim Dotcom should be long over.

Instead, the hearing – which will decide the fates not only of the Megaupload founder but also colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk – has dragged on for some 10 weeks. It’s due to draw to a close sometime tomorrow but as usual things started normally and then went downhill.

“I’m back in court today listening to the last episode of Alice in copyright land. 10 weeks of U.S. copyright fiction are coming to an end,” Dotcom announced before setting off to court this morning.

However, Dotcom’s journey didn’t go smoothly and he was late to arrive after allegedly being detained by the police. The reasons aren’t clear but a report by TVNZ, which has now been deleted, had Judge Nevin Dawson asking if that was for speeding and lawyer Simon Cogan responding “I hope not, sir”.

Eventually Dotcom appeared in time to hear Crown lawyers began summing up their case against the Megaupload defendants. The defense had finished its arguments relatively smoothly last week but today there were surprises in store.

Grant Illingworth, lawyer for Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann, told the Court he’d been reading through the US summary of the case and had discovered that the prosecution intends to introduce new evidence before the case wraps up tomorrow.

In response to Mr Illingworth describing the 11th hour effort as “an ambush situation”, Christine Gordon for the prosecution offered to make the evidence available immediately. But Illingsworth declined and asked for the evidence to be stood down and the hearing stalled.

After ordering the evidence to be made available, Judge Dawson indicated he wouldn’t yet rule on whether it can be used by the prosecution. Gordon, meanwhile, accused defense lawyers of trying to bog the case down.

“[They’ve tried to do] what has been done in the last three-and-a-half years: to conduct their trial defense through the extradition process,” she said.

But distractions aside, Christine Gordon again reiterated that the aims of the extradition hearing are very simple ones.

While the men might argue on technicalities the Judge does not have to decide whether Dotcom and his former colleagues are guilty of any offense.

Judge Dawson only has to decide whether there is a case for them to answer in the United States covered by the extradition agreement with New Zealand. The threshold for that is low, Gordon said, and attempts to distance copyright infringement with extraditable fraud offenses would not work.

“There are millions of people whose lives are prejudiced by this type of behavior,” she argued, noting that the defendants even used the word “fraud” when talking about their activities among themselves.

So, after more than four years of legal argument, counter argument, appeals and delays (and further surprises aside), the fate of Kim Dotcom and his three co-accused will lie in the hands of Judge Nevin Dawson later this week.

Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato all face extradition to the United States on charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering and together face decades in jail. The stakes could hardly be higher.

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

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 11/23/15

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

mazeThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is the most downloaded movie.

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

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
1 (9) Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials 6.8 / trailer
2 (1) Ant-Man (Webrip) 7.7 / trailer
3 (2) Another World (Web-DL) 5.3 / trailer
4 (3) Ronaldo 6.7 / trailer
5 (…) Hitman Agent 47 5.8 / trailer
6 (7) Everest (Web-DL) 7.3 / trailer
7 (4) The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 7.5 / trailer
8 (…) Criminal Activities (Web-DL) 5.8 / trailer
9 (6) Inside Out 8.4 / trailer
10 (…) The 33 (Web-DL) 7.0 / trailer

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: Perfect 10 Owes Giganews $5.6m But Won’t Pay Up

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

giganewsOver the course of several years, adult publisher Perfect 10 became less known for its love of women of a certain size and more for its desire to drag companies to court on dubious copyright grounds.

In fact, the company became so litigious that one of its main sources of ‘business’ was the suing of everyone from Google, Amazon, MasterCard and Visa, to RapidShare, Depositfiles and hosting providers LeaseWeb and OVH.

Like most copyright trolls Perfect 10 prefers private settlements since court wins are harder to come by. However, when the adult publisher took on Usenet provider Giganews, a company that was never likely to fold, things went from bad to worse.

In November 2014 a court found that Giganews was not liable for the infringing activities of its customers and in February this year Perfect 10 received its biggest mauling so far, with a court handing Giganews victory and slamming Perfect 10 for the way it conducted its case.

In March 2015 came the icing on the cake, when the United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered the publisher to pay Giganews $5.6m in attorney’s fees and costs. However, the battle is not over yet.

According to various court filings in recent weeks, Giganews is having trouble getting money out of Perfect 10. In a request for a writ of execution last month, Giganews’ attorney outlined the situation.

“Judgment for $5,637,352.53 was entered on March 24, 2015 on the docket of the above-entitled action in the U.S. District Court, District of California in favor of Giganews, Inc. and Livewire Services, Inc. as Judgment Creditor, and against Perfect 10, Inc. as Judgment Debtor,” the request reads.

While $5.6m is indeed a large amount, the attorney reveals that in the past eight months Perfect 10 hasn’t paid the Usenet provider a single penny.


Furthermore, as Perfect 10 persists with non-payment the company’s bill is increasing. Although in this case limited to a rate of just 0.25%, Perfect 10 already owes an additional $8,610.03 in accrued interest.

With Giganews running out of patience, on Wednesday District Court Judge Andre Birotte JR granted the company’s request to appoint a process-server to serve a writ of execution on Perfect 10. In the meantime the countdown to another important date begins.

Following an order issued by Judge Jean P. Rosenbluth, Perfect 10 is now ordered to appear before the court December 10 to “furnish information” to aid in enforcement of the money judgment the company is currently ignoring.

“If you fail to appear at the time and place specified in this order, you may be subject to arrest and punishment for contempt of court and the court may make an order requiring you to pay the reasonable attorney fees incurred by the judgment creditor in this proceeding,” the order reads.

Whether Perfect 10’s days as a going concern are numbered remains to be seen, but it’s trolling activities in the United States are certainly on life support following the company’s disastrous campaign against Giganews. Should the company launch a similar action in the future, Judge Andre Birotte Jr’s assessment of its business will almost certainly come back to haunt.

“Perfect 10’s undisputed conduct in this action has been inconsistent with a party interested in protecting its copyrights,” the Judge wrote.

“All of the evidence before the Court demonstrates that Perfect 10 is in the business of litigation, not protecting its copyrights or ‘stimulat[ing] artistic creativity for the general public good’.”

Then again, no one ever doubted that.

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

TorrentFreak: Sci-Hub, BookFi and LibGen Resurface After Being Shut Down

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

libhenLast month a New York District Court issued a preliminary injunction against several sites that provide unauthorized access to academic journals.

As a result the operators were ordered to quit offering access to any Elsevier content and the associated registries had to suspend their domain names.

After a few days the registries did indeed disable the domain names mentioned in the lawsuit which are currently all unavailable, much to the disappointment of the sites’ users.

However, the operators of Sci-Hub, BookFi and LibGen have no intention of complying with the U.S. court order. Instead, they’re rendering the domain suspensions ineffective by switching to several new ones.

At the time of writing LibGen is readily available again via several alternative domains. Except from a new URL, not much has changed and the site is fully operational. Similarly, BookFi is also accessible via various domains including

The same is true for Sci-Hub, which changed its address to a .io domain. TF spoke with the site’s operator, Alexandra Elbakyan, who confirmed the move and is still hopeful that she can get the original domain back.

“Several new domains are operating already,” Elbakyan says. “For some reason, I think that in future justice will prevail and all our domains will be unblocked.”

To make sure that the site remains accessible, Sci-Hub also added an .onion address which allows users to access the site via Tor, and bypass any future domain name suspensions.

Despite the domain problems and a disappointing court order, Elbakyan is glad that the case brought attention to the paywall problems academia faces.

“In some sense, this case was helpful: more people now agree that copyright should be destroyed, and that academic publishing needs serious reform,” Sci-Hub’s operator says.

“Before, many people would say: why bother acting against copyright laws if they can be so easily bypassed? Or what is the point in an open access movement if anyone can download any paid article for free?”

Elsevier may have the law on their side, but the largest academic publisher can’t count on universal support from the academic community.

In recent weeks many scientists and scholars have come out in support of Sci-Hub, BookFi and LibGen, arguing that access to academic research should be free and universal.

For Elbakyan and others this support offers enough motivation to continue what they do.

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

TorrentFreak: TorrentFreak Presents: Steal This Show

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

stslogoSteal This Show (STS) is a TF-supported initiative produced by Jamie King, who’s known for the Steal This Film documentaries and the independent filmmaker platform VODO.

STS plans to release high quality episodes featuring insiders discussing copyright and file-sharing news. It complements our regular reporting by adding more room for opinion, commentary and analysis.

The guests for our news discussions will vary and we’ll aim to introduce voices from different backgrounds and persuasions. In addition to news, STS will also produce features interviewing some of the big innovators and minds, one-on-one.

Below is the first pilot of STS’s first discussion show, we hope you enjoy it.

STEAL THIS SHOW E1: Fight For The Future

Host: Jamie King

Guests: Tiffiniy Cheng and Holmes Wilson

Download MP3

Subscribe with RSS

Produced by Jamie King
Edited & Mixed by Eric Bouthiller
Original Music by David Triana

Topics being discussed this week:

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

    TorrentFreak: Google Counsel Sees Problems With ‘Take Down, Stay Down’

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

    The Internet today is awash with millions of items of infringing content and links to the same and as long as Internet users have free will that position is unlikely to change.

    Nevertheless, the situation for copyright holders is far from hopeless and those who feel their rights are being abused have remedies available. Provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act allow copyright owners to order hosts, websites and search engines to take down infringing content. And, to avoid being held liable, those providers must do so quickly.

    However, copyright holders feel that the DMCA lets them down. They complain that despite sending millions of notices, sooner or later the same content reappears, having been reuploaded by humans or reindexed by automated systems. What is needed, they argue, is a system that requires content to remain down once it has been taken down.

    The ‘Take Down, Stay Down’ movement even has its own website but campaigning for legislative change that erodes safe harbors for legitimate service providers is an extremely sensitive topic for all in the technology sector. Nevertheless, that’s what Hollywood and the major record labels want long-term.

    So as companies including Google come under continued pressure to move towards a ‘take down, stay down’ response to copyright complaints, just how willing will they be to accommodate such a regime? Well, if comments made this week by a Google counsel are anything to go by, not very keen at all.

    Speaking at the Academy of European Law’s Annual Copyright Conference, Google copyright counsel Cédric Manara poured cold water on the idea.

    Manara told the conference that takedowns have a limited effect and when applied to search engines a ‘Take Down, Stay Down’ regime is “not a solution and just does not work,” IP Magazine reports.

    Importantly, Manara explained that applying such a regime to search engines is problematic, since such intermediaries can’t block content they don’t host.

    “The Internet is a game of ‘whack-a-mole’. Blocked and removed content will be reposted back online, which is a key problem. When one road is cut off, other roads will appear leading to other directions,” he said.

    Also of interest is the whole concept of content staying down on a permanent basis following a copyright complaint. While content might be unauthorized today, it’s possible that it may not be so in the future. Equally, the process isn’t flexible enough to accommodate everyone’s legal status when it comes to using content.

    “Take down stay down doesn’t understand an authorized user, so it can have an overreaching effect and go too far,” Manara said. “Additionally, stay down is forever, whereas copyright has a term.”

    While it may not prove popular with frustrated copyright holders desperate to stop whacking moles, Manara has an excellent point. While Disney might be well within its rights to protect its content today, removing it from any number of providers on an infinite basis clearly has implications when such content falls into the public domain, for example.

    Of course, stifling the future and legal use of copyright works probably isn’t what most small copyright holders are trying to achieve when they ask for content to stay down once taken down. However, the current conversation is very broad in scope and definitely has the potential to cause unintended consequences that some corporate giants will be happy to exploit.

    As the discussion develops, Google and other stakeholders will be keen to tread very carefully.

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

    TorrentFreak: Movie Studios Shut Down New Popcorn Time Alternative, But Not For Long

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

    popasIn less than two years Popcorn Time has become a piracy icon, offering free access to Hollywood’s latest blockbusters but without obtaining permission.

    This popularity has triggered a wave of legal threats including a lawsuit against three developers filed in Canada last month.

    Despite being a major target for copyright holders the rise of new Popcorn Time alternatives appears to be never-ending. For example, a few days ago another Popcorn Time-inspired website launched at

    While it’s visually similar to the application, the browser version operates more like a traditional streaming site with a Popcorn Time theme. Nevertheless, it was enough to attract the attention of the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

    Just hours after the site was first advertised on Reddit its operator received an MPA letter, sent on behalf of several major Hollywood movie studios.

    In the email the MPA’s Jan van Voorn puts the site operator on notice, alerting him to European jurisprudence under which he may be held liable for linking to pirated movies and TV-shows.

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

    The MPA’s email

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

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

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

    The site’s operator was worried about the email, but wanted to continue the site nonetheless. However, after a few hours he apparently changed his mind informing us that it wasn’t worth the trouble.

    As a result, shut down on Thursday, but not for long.

    Instead of vanishing completely the original operator decided to sell the domain and site to someone else, who brought it back to life today. How long it will last remains to be seen but the relaunch only adds to Hollywood’s frustration.

    The MPA informed TorrentFreak that the email they sent is part of an ongoing strategy to curb copyright infringement and encourage consumers to use legal sources. This means that’s new owner is likely to receive a similar threat, along with others who start similar sites.

    And so the Whack-a-Mole continues.

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

    TorrentFreak: YouTube Pays Users’ Legal Bills to Defend Fair Use

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

    youtubefaceAccording to Google more than half a million hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every day. Although with ContentID the company tries, determining the copyright status of every single minute is an almost impossible task.

    While identifying copyrighted movies, TV shows and music are all within the company’s abilities, when used in certain ways all of those things can be legally shown on YouTube, even without copyright holders’ permission.

    Under U.S. law the concept is known as ‘fair use’ and it enables copyrighted material to be used for purposes including criticism, news reporting, teaching and research. However, some copyright holders like to contest the use of their content on YouTube no matter what the context, issuing DMCA takedown notices and landing YouTube users with a ‘strike’ against their account.

    YouTube has been criticized in the past for not doing enough to protect its users against wrongful claims but now the company appears to be drawing a line in the sand, albeit a limited one, in defense of those legally using copyrighted content in transformative ways.

    In a blog post Google’s Copyright Legal Director says that YouTube will showcase several user-created videos in its Copyright Center and cover all legal costs should rightsholders challenge how each uses copyrighted content.

    “YouTube will now protect some of the best examples of fair use on YouTube by agreeing to defend them in court if necessary,” Fred von Lohmann said.

    “We’re doing this because we recognize that creators can be intimidated by the DMCA’s counter notification process, and the potential for litigation that comes with it.”

    The first four titles showcased can be found here and each presents a classic demonstration of fair use. For example, the first uses game clips for the purposes of review, while the second offers a critique of third-party UFO videos.

    Google hopes that by standing behind videos such as these, YouTubers and those seeking to take down content will become educated on what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to using other people’s copyrighted content.

    “In addition to protecting the individual creator, this program could, over time, create a ‘demo reel’ that will help the YouTube community and copyright owners alike better understand what fair use looks like online and develop best practices as a community,” Google’s Copyright Legal Director adds.

    Perhaps needless to say, Google isn’t in a position to offer legal support to everyone uploading content to YouTube but it has pledged to “resist legally unsupported DMCA takedowns” as part of its normal processes.

    “We believe even the small number of videos we are able to protect will make a positive impact on the entire YouTube ecosystem, ensuring YouTube remains a place where creativity and expression can be rewarded,” Fred von Lohmann concludes.

    Of course, it’s unlikely that any video showcased by Google will experience any legal problems so the defense offer from the company is largely symbolic. However, the overall gesture indicates that the company is paying attention to the fair use debate and is prepared to help its users stand up for their rights. That will be gratefully received.

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

    TorrentFreak: Australian ISP Rejects ‘Pirate Site’ Blocking Attempt

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

    ausFollowing pressure from entertainment industry groups, the Australian Government has implemented legislation which allows foreign ‘pirate’ sites to be blocked at the ISP level.

    The law went into effect earlier this year but thus far no websites have been blocked. However, this may change in the near future as a small Aussie ISP recently received its first threat.

    While the law mostly aims to target classic pirate sites such as The Pirate Bay and unauthorized streaming services, the first blocking demand targets a site operating in a different area.

    Lawyers representing the local construction company Simonds Homes sent a request to a small ISP ordering it to block subscriber access to the website of its competitor CHM Constructions, claiming it infringes their copyrights.

    The demand letter states that the ISP is obliged to take action under copyright law, citing that it may seek to enforce a blockade under Section 115’s blocking provisions, as the website is hosted abroad.

    The letter is believed to be the first legal threat received by an ISP that mentions the new site blocking legislation. However, the Internet provider in question has no intention to comply.

    TorrentFreak spoke with a senior employee of the ISP who asked us not to mention his name or that of his company. He told us that his company rejected the request because it’s overbroad.

    “We did not honor the request because they were trying to by-pass an already flawed legislation. The copyright act of 1968, Section 115 lays out in clear terms the process a party is meant to follow,” he said.

    The letter (full)

    Since the construction company has yet to obtain a court order there is no legal requirement to block the site yet. Also, the case in question appears to apply to a trademark issue instead of a copyright infringement.

    In general, the ISP is not happy with the new site blocking regulation. It will make it quite costly for smaller ISPs to defend themselves against dubious claims to favor a few large entertainment industry companies.

    The ISP hopes that this example will reveal how problematic the new legislation can become and he hopes that it will lead to less abusive demands in the future.

    “Section 115 is a flawed policy to appease the people who donate large sums of monies to a certain political party. The legislation places an unfair financial strain on the ISP industry which is already a cut-throat industry.

    “I am extremely hopefully that my actions here lead to less unwarranted blocking attempts. The legislation itself has led to this situation today however by a small ISP standing up for themselves, I am hopeful others will follow,” the ISPs senior employee concludes.

    The ISP’s concerns are shared by Internet Australia, a non-profit organization which defends the rights of Internet users and businesses.

    “The problem for smaller ISPs is the potential costs involved in defending a matter like this and so they simply may not bother,” Australia’s CEO Laurie Patton told ABC.

    “The risk is that sites will be blocked without having been tested at law. So innocent sites could be victims of malicious actions, say, by competitors or aggrieved customers.”

    It’s expected that more site blocking attempts will arrive during the months to come. Faced with this first flawed attempt, ISPs will be eager to prevent any further abuse.

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

    TorrentFreak: Blizzard ‘Stole’ Our Source Code, Bot Maker Says

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

    blizzLast week video game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment went after the alleged developers of the popular “buddy” cheating bots.

    The company filed a lawsuit against James Enright (aka “Apoc”) and several unnamed defendants who developed software which allows users to cheat in World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Heroes of Storm, among others.

    While Apoc is described as the mastermind of the operation, his role appears to be less prominent. In fact, the websites of the “HonorBuddy,” “DemonBuddy” and “StormBuddy” bots clearly list Bossland GmbH as the owner.

    TF spoke with Bossland’s CEO Zwetan Letschew who says that Apoc works for the company as a freelancer. This is something Blizzard should know, as they are already involved in several legal proceedings against the bot maker in Germany.

    “Activision Blizzard is fully aware that Bossland GmbH, and not Apoc, is the owner of the intellectual property of Honorbuddy, Demonbuddy and Stormbuddy, considering that there are six cases that are still in progress […] in Germany,” Letschew says.

    However, that didn’t stop Blizzard’s legal team from going after Apoc. The lawyers reportedly offered the freelancer a deal, under which he agreed to hand over the source code for the Stormbuddy software.

    “Today Blizzard acted in a manner as shady as possible for a multi-billion-dollar corporation. We were informed that the deal compelled Apoc to submit the entire source code of Stormbuddy, which is actually the intellectual property of Bossland GmbH, to Blizzard,” Letschew notes.

    Stormbuddy website

    While the German bot maker doesn’t object to a deal, the company is outraged that Blizzard took its code. Turning the tables, the CEO now accuses the game publisher of copyright infringement.

    “Blizzard now possesses the whole Stormbuddy source code. There was no permission given by Bossland GmbH, nor were we contacted by Activision Blizzard, nor had Apoc the rights to give out our intellectual property.”

    Fearing that Blizzard may take action against the users of its software, Bossland has decided to stop sales of StormBuddy later today and discontinue its development. The company’s other bots will still be available.

    Bossland, meanwhile, says it will sue Blizzard in Germany next week hoping to get a copy of the deal the company made with its freelancer, and under what terms the code was shared.

    “We do not know the outcome of this, but we are sure that Stormbuddy can no longer be developed as it is, and that it can no longer be sold,” Letschew says.

    Due to the nature of their products bot developers usually enjoy little sympathy, but if Blizzard did indeed obtain the entire source code without the proper rights, Bossland may have a case.

    TorrentFreak contacted Blizzard’s legal representative for a comment but haven’t heard back at the time of publication.

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