Posts tagged ‘Voltage Pictures’

TorrentFreak: Canadian Movie & Music Pirates to Be ‘Fined’ Without Court Orders

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

Despite clear indications that the best way to discourage people away from pirate sources is by offering legitimate content at a fair price, this carrot is still being rejected in favor of the stick.

Companies such as Voltage Pictures favor very big sticks indeed, suing tens of thousands of file-sharers for thousands of dollars each, both in the United States and Canada.

US-based Rightscorp, on the other hand, favor a smaller stick, sending settlement demands to alleged file-sharers for relatively smaller amounts per infringement. Until recently they were confined to the United States, but all that is about to change.

In a move to expand its business model north of the border, Rightscorp has retained Susan Abramovitch, a partner at Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, one of Canada’s largest lawfirms. Based in the company’s Toronto office, Abramovitch is described as a leading entertainment lawyer covering disputes in the music, film, television and videogaming industries, among others.

Rightscorp says that Canada represents a new market for its business model and an important step in the company’s international expansion plans. Implying that settlements are now accepted practice in Canada, the company references the recent Voltage Pictures case involving Teksavvy, which saw the ISP ordered to hand over the details of 2,000 alleged file-sharers.

However, while the Voltage case resulted in protracted legal argument and was ultimately subjected to court-ordered constraints, Rightscorp’s settlement demands are designed to circumvent controversial disclosure issues. Alleged infringers are reached via settlement notices attached to regular DMCA-style notices forwarded to them by their ISPs.

In the US, Charter Communications passes on Rightscorp cash demands, but Comcast does not. Will Canadian ISPs comply?

To get a broader idea of how this kind of business model might play out in Canada, TorrentFreak spoke with Canadian law professor Michael Geist.

geist“Canada has established a notice-and-notice system that allows rights holders to have their notices forwarded to subscribers. However, that system has yet to take effect,” Geist told TF.

“At the moment, there would be no legal obligation on the ISP to forward the notice to the subscriber, though that is likely to change in the coming months.”

When that notice-and-notice system does take effect, Geist says that Canadian law may specify the form notice letters must take.

“The law already identifies specific information to be included in the notice. There is no reference to settlement information or legal demands. If the Canadian government objects to [Rightscorp's] approach, it could use regulations to stop the inclusion of settlement demands in notice letters,” Geist explains.

“Even if it doesn’t, there will be a question of whether the notices are in the proper form if they include information beyond that found in the statute.”

Since local ISP Teksavvy is at the core of the Canadian Voltage Pictures case, TorrentFreak spoke with the company to gauge its reaction to the news that Rightscorp might soon come knocking. Stopping short of an official comment on the business model, the ISP essentially echoed Michael Geist’s sentiments.

“TekSavvy would be within its rights to insist, and would insist, that any notice conform with Canadian law and not over reach the stated guidelines,” the ISP told TF.

rightscorp-realClearly, the main idea of the Rightscorp notices is to generate revenue for both the company and rightsholders, but in passing the notices on ISPs are also incurring costs, which raises other issues.

“The notice-and-notice law permits the government to set a fee for sending a notice that an ISP can charge. At the moment, it does not look like the government will establish a fee, preferring to wait to see how the system develops. Were this [business model] to come to Canada, the government might face increased pressure from ISPs to allow them to charge for their participation in the process,” Geist concludes.

TF approached Rightscorp lawyer Susan Abramovitch who did not immediately respond to our request for comment. The signs are, however, that she could be busy with this work during the months to come.

Photo: Michael Theis

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

TorrentFreak: “12 Years A Slave” Piracy Surges After Oscar Win

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

oscartorrentsWith 7 Oscars Gravity was the big winner at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday evening. However, the Oscar for the best motion picture went to 12 years a Slave.

While the makers of both films couldn’t be happier, there’s also a dark side to this success.

Soon after the Hollywood festivities ended, the number of downloads for both films gradually increased.

For example, the number of 12 Years a Slave pirates downloading the film via BitTorrent tripled, resulting in more than 100,000 extra downloads on Monday.

The interest in 7-time Oscar winner Gravity increased as well, as the number of active downloaders on the most popular torrent more than doubled.

The temporary boost in piracy is a recurring phenomenon for Oscar winners. The same happened to The Hurt Locker, which prompted movie studio Voltage Pictures to sue tens of thousands of downloaders.

Whether the makers of Gravity and 12 Years a Slave have similar plans has yet to be seen.

12 years piracy

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

TorrentFreak: “Dallas Buyers Club” Makers Censor Comcast On Demand, By Mistake

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

dallasIn a few hours from now we will know which film has won the 2014 Oscar for Best Motion Picture.

One of the contenders is Dallas Buyers Club, which grossed over $30 million at the box office on a relatively small budget. Despite this success, the studio behind the movie fears that piracy may cannibalize future profits.

Last month we reported that its makers, Voltage Pictures, launched a series of lawsuits in the U.S. against dozens of people who downloaded an unauthorized copy of the film via BitTorrent. This is not the first time for the studio – it previously launched a similar campaign against downloaders of The Hurt Locker.

Voltage’s anti-piracy actions are not limited to the courts though. The company is also sending out DMCA takedown requests, one of which was directed at Google. While this isn’t something newsworthy per se, the takedown request does include some curious URLs which appear to be counterproductive.

The DMCA notice lists 388 URLs in total. As can be seen below, these links are not all pointing to copyright-infringing content. On the contrary, Voltage Pictures asks Google to censor a perfectly legal Dallas Buyers Club page on Comcast’s XFINITY on-demand service.

The notice also includes several other URLs which don’t link to pirated material, including an article on CNN and a page from Google’s own webmaster FAQ.

Dallas Buyers Club Takedown Notice

It appears that Google isn’t happy with the sloppy DMCA notice, as the search engine has decided to remove none of the links in the request. This means that the Pirate Bay links listed in the notice remain accessible through Google.

Also of note, is that this is the first and only DMCA request Voltage Pictures has ever sent to Google. This suggests that the company might not be too worried about appearing in search results. Instead, the takedown notice may have been a preemptive action related to the BitTorrent lawsuits we mentioned earlier.

With this DMCA notice Voltage can show the court that it took other anti-piracy efforts as well. Whether that is wise has yet to be seen though, since right now it mostly shows how weak the studio’s evidence gathering tools are.

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