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Piracy

Cloudflare: We Can't Shut Down Pirate Sites (torrentfreak.com) 135

CloudFlare has said it cannot shut down piracy websites. The CloudFlare's response comes two months after adult entertainment outfit ALS Scan filed a complaint at a California federal court two months ago in which the company accused the CDN service of various counts of copyright and trademark infringement. From a TorrentFreak report:"CloudFlare is not the operator of the allegedly infringing sites but is merely one of the many intermediaries across the internet that provide automated CDN services, which result in the websites in question loading a bit faster than they would if they did not utilize CDN services." If Cloudflare terminated the accounts of allegedly infringing websites, the sites themselves would still continue to exist. It would just require a simple DNS reconfiguration to continue their operation. "Indeed, there are no measures of any kind that CloudFlare could take to prevent this alleged infringement, because the termination of CloudFlare's CDN services would have no impact on the existence and ability of these allegedly infringing websites to continue to operate," Cloudflare writes. As such, the company argues that it's not "materially contributing" to any of the alleged copyright infringements.
Music

Stop Piracy? Legal Alternatives Beat Legal Threats, Research Shows (torrentfreak.com) 134

An anonymous reader writes: Threatening file-sharers with high fines or even prison sentences is not the best way to stop piracy. New research published by UK researchers shows that perceived risk has no effect on people's file-sharing habits. Instead, the entertainment industries should focus on improving the legal options, so these can compete with file-sharing. Unauthorized file-sharing (UFS) is best predicted by the supposed benefits of piracy. As such, the researchers note that better legal alternatives are the best way to stop piracy. The results are based on a psychological study among hundreds of music and ebook consumers. They were subjected to a set of questions regarding their file-sharing habits, perceived risk, industry trust, and online anonymity. By analyzing the data the researchers found that the perceived benefit of piracy, such as quality, flexibility of use and cost are the real driver of piracy. An increase in legal risk was not directly associated with any statistically significant decrease in self-reported file-sharing.
Chrome

Chrome and Firefox Block Pirate Bay Over 'Harmful Programs' (torrentfreak.com) 86

An anonymous reader shares a TorrentFreak report: Chrome and Firefox are actively blocking direct access to the The Pirate Bay's download pages. According to Google's Safe Browsing diagnostics service TPB contains "harmful programs," most likely triggered by malicious advertisements running on the site. Comodo DNS also showed a "hacking" warning but this disappeared after a few hours.
EU

EU Commission Proposes Mandatory Piracy Filters For Online Services (torrentfreak.com) 62

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: During his State of the Union address today, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced several plans (PDF) to modernize copyright law in Europe. One of the suggestions that has a lot of people worried is Article 13, which requires online services to police pirated content. This means that online services, which deal with large volumes of user-uploaded content, must use fingerprinting and filtering mechanisms to block copyright infringing files. While the Commission stresses that small content platforms won't be subject to the requirement, the proposal doesn't define what "small" means. It also fails to define what "appropriate" or "effective" content recognition systems are, creating a fair bit of uncertainty. Commenting on the proposal, Digital rights group EDRi says that it will put many European companies at risk while endangering users' right to free speech. "The text that was launched today includes a proposal to potentially filter all uploads to the Internet in Europe. The draft text would destroy users' rights and legal certainty for European hosting companies," EDRi notes. The Commission, however, notes that the changes are needed to reinforce the negotiating position of copyright holders, so they can sign licensing agreements with services that provide access to user uploaded content.
EU

10 Years in Prison For Online Pirates a Step Closer in the UK (torrentfreak.com) 136

The UK Government's Digital Economy Bill has moved a step closer to becoming law after its second reading in Parliament. With unanimous support, the current two-year maximum custodial sentence for online piracy is almost certain to increase to a decade, TorrentFreak reports. From the article: Due to UK copyright law allowing for custodial sentences of 'just' two years for online offenses, anti-piracy groups such as the Federation Against Copyright Theft have chosen to pursue their own private prosecutions. These have largely taken place under legislation designed for those who have committed fraud, rather than the more appropriate offense of copyright infringement. Physical pirates (CDs, DVDs) can be jailed for up to 10 years under current legislation. During the past few years, there have been lobbying efforts for this punishment to apply both on and offline. That resulted in a UK Government announcement last year indicating that it would move to increase the maximum prison sentence for online copyright infringement to ten years. They also urge Google to do something about growing incidents of piracy.
Piracy

Warner Bros Issues Takedown For Own Website (bbc.co.uk) 77

An anonymous reader writes: In a case of sloppy automation run amok, Warner Bros' copyright enforcement contractor -- Vobile -- issued takedown notices for legitimate distributors and Warner Bros' own website, according to the BBC. It also asked the search giant to remove links to legitimate movie streaming websites run by Amazon and Sky, as well as Amazon-owned film database IMDB. Fortunately for them, Google chose to cut them a break and ignore those requests.
Piracy

Swedish ISP Attacks Copyright Trolls Over Trademark Infringement (torrentfreak.com) 19

An anonymous reader shares a TorrentFreak report: Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is launching a direct attack against Spridningskollen, the group that's spearheading the copyright trolling efforts in Sweden. Bahnhof accuses the anti-piracy outfit of trademark infringement and demands the shutdown of its website.Firm Spridningskollen, which is one of the top organizations that is helping rightholders in target Sweden plans to target 1,000 alleged pirates, offering them settlements of around $233. The report adds: Spridningskollen spokesman Gordon Odenbark compared the process with speeding cameras, where torrent users risk a 'fine' if they get caught. This will generate revenue, but could also act as a deterrent, preventing other people from violating rightsholders' rights. Interestingly, however, shortly after Spridningskollen announced its plans the group itself faced allegations of intellectual property rights violations. Swedish ISP Bahnhof is accusing the group of trademark infringement, noting that they have a claim on the "spridningskollen" mark. "Bahnhof was the first to apply for the Spridningskollen trademark rights at the Swedish Patent and Registration Office," the ISP announced.
EU

Europe's Net Neutrality Doesn't Ban BitTorrent Throttling (torrentfreak.com) 66

Millions of Europeans will have to do with throttling on BitTorrent. The Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC) published its guidelines for Europe's net neutrality rules on Tuesday in which it hasn't challenged the BitTorrent throttling practices by many ISPs. TorrentFreak reports:Today, BEREC presented its final guidelines on the implementation of Europe's net neutrality rules. Compared to earlier drafts it includes several positive changes for those who value net neutrality. For example, while zero-rating isn't banned outright, internet providers are not allowed to offer a "sub Internet" service, where access to only part of the Internet is offered for 'free.' However, not all traffic is necessarily "neutral." ISPs are still allowed to throttle specific categories for "reasonable" network management purposes.
Bitcoin

Kim Dotcom Will Revive Megaupload, Linking File Transfers To Bitcoin Microtransactions (fortune.com) 76

Long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike quotes an article from Fortune: The controversial entrepreneur Kim Dotcom said last month that he was preparing to relaunch Megaupload, the file-sharing site that U.S. and New Zealand authorities dramatically shut down in 2012, with bitcoins being involved in some way... This system will be called Bitcache, and Dotcom claimed its launch would send the bitcoin price soaring way above its current $575 value.

The launch of Megaupload 2.0 will take place on January 20, 2017, he said, urging people to "buy bitcoin while cheap, like right now, trust me..." Crucially, Dotcom said the Bitcache system would overcome bitcoin's scaling problems. "It eliminates all blockchain limitations," he claimed.

Every file transfer taking place over Megaupload "will be linked to a tiny Bitcoin micro transaction," Dotcom posted on Twitter. His extradition trial begins Monday, and he's asking the court to allow live-streaming of the trial "because of global interest in my case." Meanwhile, the FBI apparently let the registration lapse on the Megaupload domain, which they seized in 2012, and Ars Technica reports that the site is now full of porn ads.
DRM

BitTorrent Cases Filed By Malibu Media Will Proceed, Rules Judge 69

Long-time Slashdot reader NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In the federal court for the Eastern District of New York, where all Malibu Media cases have been stayed for the past year, the Court has lifted the stay and denied the motion to quash in the lead case, thus permitting all 84 cases to move forward.

In his 28-page decision (PDF), Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke accepted the representations of Malibu's expert, one Michael Patzer from a company called Excipio, that in detecting BitTorrent infringement he relies on "direct detection" rather than "indirect detection", and that it is "not possible" for there to be misidentification.
Piracy

Cloudflare Faces Lawsuit For Assisting Pirate Sites (torrentfreak.com) 83

An anonymous reader shares a TorrentFreak report: In recent months CloudFlare has been called out repeatedly for offering its services to known pirate sites, including The Pirate Bay. These allegations have now resulted in the first lawsuit after adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan filed a complaint against CloudFlare at a California federal court. [...] Copyright holders are not happy with CloudFlare's actions. Just recently, the Hollywood-affiliated group Digital Citizens Alliance called the company out for helping pirate sites to stay online. Adult entertainment outfit ALS Scan agrees and has now become the first dissenter to take CloudFlare to court. In a complaint filed at a California federal court, ALS describes piracy as the greatest threat to its business. The rise of online piracy has significantly hurt the company's profits, they argue, noting that "pirate" sites are not the only problem. "The problems faced by ALS are not limited to the growing presence of sites featuring infringing content, or 'pirate' sites. A growing number of service providers are helping pirate sites thrive by supporting and engaging in commerce with these sites," ALS writes.
Piracy

Cox Denies Liability for Pirating Subscribers, Appeals $25 Million Verdict (torrentfreak.com) 97

Cox Communications insists that it is not responsible for copyright infringements carried out by its subscribers, challenging the ruling by a Virginia federal jury late last year. The court had found Cox Communications guilty and had asked it to pay music publisher BMG Rights Management a sum of $25 in damages. TorrentFreak reports: The verdict was a massive victory for the music company and a disaster for Cox, but the case is not closed yet. After a failed motion for judgment as a matter of law earlier this month, the ISP has now informed the court that it will take the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Cox denies any wrongdoing and hopes to get a judgment in its favor at the appeals court. Considering the gravity of the case, Cox's move is not surprising. The liability verdict has come as a shock to the Internet provider industry, as it suggests that providers have to actively disconnect repeat infringers. At the moment, many ISPs don't have a solid policy in place where repeat copyright infringers lose their subscription. In fact, the law doesn't prescribe when and based on what evidence an ISP has to terminate an account.
Piracy

India Threatens 3-Year Jail Sentences For Viewing Blocked Torrents (intoday.in) 96

"It is official now. The punishment for rape is actually less..." writes an anonymous Slashdot reader, who adds that "Some users think that this is all the fault of Bollywood/Hollywood movie studios. They are abusing power, court and money..." India Today reports: The Indian government, with the help of internet service providers, and presumably under directives of court, has banned thousands of websites and URLs in the last five odd years. But until now if you somehow visited these "blocked URLs" all was fine. However, now if you try to visit such URLs and view the information, you may get a three-year jail sentence as well as invite a fine...

This is just for viewing a torrent file, or downloading a file from a host that may have been banned in India, or even for viewing an image on a file host like Imagebam. You don't have to download a torrent file, and then the actual videos or other files, which might have copyright. Just accessing information under a blocked URL will land you in jail and leave your bank account poorer.

While it's not clear how this will be enforced, visiting a blocked URL in India now leads to a warning that "Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of up to Rs. 3,00,000..."
Piracy

Scammers Use Harvard Education Platform to Promote Pirated Movies (torrentfreak.com) 27

TorrentFreak reports: Spammers are using Harvard's educational sharing tool H2O to promote pirated movies. Thousands of links to scammy sites have appeared on the site in recent weeks. Copyright holders are not happy with this unintended use and are targeting the pages with various takedown notices. H2O is a tool that allows professors and students to share learning material in a more affordable way. It is a welcome system that's actively used by many renowned scholars. However, in recent weeks the platform was also discovered by scammers. As a result, it quickly filled up with many links to pirated content. Instead of course instructions and other educational material, the H2O playlists of these scammers advertise pirated movies. The scammers in question are operating from various user accounts and operate much like traditional spam bots, offering pages with movie links and related keywords such as putlocker, megashare, viooz, torrent and YIFY.
Piracy

TorrentFreak Interviews The Pirate Bay Staff, As the Torrent Website Celebrates 13th Anniversary (torrentfreak.com) 36

For most people out there, The Pirate Bay has been their on and off go to source for torrents. The website this month celebrates its 13th anniversary. TorrentFreak spoke with several crew members of the "world's most resilient torrent site" this week. Here's an excerpt of the conversation:While they are not happy with the circumstances, they do say that the site has an important role to fulfil in the torrent community. "TPB is as important today as it was yesterday, and its role in being the galaxy's most resilient torrent site will continue for the foreseeable future," Spud17 says. "Sure, TPB has its flaws and glitches but it's still the go-to site for all our media needs, and I can see TPB still being around in 20 or 30 years time, even if the technology changes," she adds. Veteran TPB-crew member Xe agrees that TPB isn't perfect but points to the site's resilience as a crucial factor that's particularly important today. "TPB ain't perfect. There are plenty of things wrong with it, but it is simple, steadfast and true," Xe tells TorrentFreak. "So it's no real surprise that it is once more the destination of choice or that it has survived for so long in spite of the inevitable turnover of crew." And resilient it is. Thirteen years after the site came online, The Pirate Bay is the "King of Torrents" once again.
Piracy

Reddit Tells Label It Won't Cough Up IP Address of Prerelease Music Pirate (arstechnica.com) 131

David Kravets, writing for Ars Technica: Reddit says it won't give Atlantic Records the IP address of a Reddit user who posted a link on the site of a single by Twenty One Pilots a week before the song's planned release. The song, "Heathens," was originally uploaded on June 15 to the file-sharing site Dropfile. That same day, the file landed on Reddit. According to a lawsuit (PDF) in New York State Supreme Court, the file was posted to the Twenty One Pilots subreddit with the title âoe[Leak] New Song -- 'Heathens'. The Poster submitted the link under the username "twentyoneheathens," according to Atlantic. Atlantic and its subsidiary label, Fueled by Ramen, want the IP address of the Reddit leaker. The company said the file fell victim to "widespread distribution" on the Internet, so the company released the single June 16, a week ahead of schedule; the label also said the early release hindered a planned rollout on Spotify, iTunes, and other platforms. Atlantic says the leaker must be an Atlantic employee who was contractually obligated not to leak the track, which is featured in the movie Suicide Squad that debuted earlier this month. Reddit, however, said that Atlantic "has failed to show that its claims are meritorious." Reddit claims Atlantic has embarked on "an impermissible fishing expedition."
Operating Systems

Microsoft, Google, Apple Could Be Requested To Actively Block Pirated Downloads, Says Report (torrentfreak.com) 207

Popular operating systems by Microsoft, Apple, and Google could possibly soon nuke torrents downloaded (PDF, non-English language) from The Pirate Bay and other websites that offer copyright infringing content, warns a report published by Black Market Watch and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. The report adds that the aforementioned companies are in an ideal position to deter piracy, and could be requested by the authority to put a system in place to block pirated content on the operating system level. Via a TorrentFreak report: "Other players that possess the potential ability to limit piracy are the companies that own the major operating systems which control computers and mobile devices such as Apple, Google and Microsoft," one of the main conclusions reads. "The producers of operating systems should be encouraged, or regulated, for example, to block downloads of copyright infringing material," the report adds. The report references last year's Windows 10 controversy, noting that these concerns were great enough for some torrent sites to block users with the new operating system. While Sweden doesn't have enough influence to make an impact on these global software manufacturers, applying pressure through the international community and trade groups may have some effect.
Hardware Hacking

PS Vita Jailbreak Finally Lets One Run Emulators and Homebrew Software (geek.com) 38

Finally, someone has managed to hack PS Vita, allowing people to install emulators and homebrew software on the handheld gaming console. The jailbreak dubbed HENkaku works on the latest 3.60 Vita firmware. From an article on Geek.com: The exploit allowing full access to the Vita hardware has been created by Team Molecule and named HENkaku. The code injected into the handheld when visiting the website unlocks the hardware and removes the file system from its protective sandbox. It's then possible to access it and the Vita memory card using FTP. The super simple unlock opens up the Vita to homebrew developers who want to create their own games for the system without going through official channels. But it also allows full access to the hardware meaning the ability to overclock the processor, and for PlayStation TV owners it also means all games are whitelisted. That's great news as there are many blocked games known to work perfectly fine on the PSTV.
Piracy

James Cameron: Theater Experience Key To Containing Piracy (torrentfreak.com) 331

Director James Cameron says that the key to containing movie piracy is preserving the theater experience as something special. He made the remarks when reporters asked him about his views on Sean Parker's upcoming streaming service Screening Room which will reportedly allow users to watch a new movie on the same day as its theatre release. From a TorrentFreak article: Cameron believes that having first-run movies in the home will stop people heading off to the cinema, the place where filmmakers can really showcase their art and take the fight to piracy. "The biggest hedge against piracy is still the sanctity of the viewing experience in a movie theater -- when it comes to movies," he says. "With The Walking Dead or something like that, that's not what you're selling, but if we're talking about movies and theatrical exhibition, keeping it great, making it a special experience, is still the biggest hedge against [piracy]." Interestingly, Cameron also says that even if piracy somehow became legal and download speeds were drastically improved, viewing content outside the theatrical setting would still come up short. "You're still watching [movies] on a small platform, and it's not that social experience," he explains.
Piracy

IsoHunt Launches Unofficial KAT Mirror 66

An anonymous reader writes: Torrent site isoHunt appears to have unofficially resurrected KickassTorrents (also known as Kickass Torrents or just KAT) at kickasstorrents.website. It might look like the original KAT site, which went down yesterday after alleged founder Artem Vaulin was arrested, but upon closer inspection it's simply a basic mirror. The isoHunt team tells me the KAT mirror is hosting files from the last year to year-and-a-half. So no, not everything is available. Furthermore, there is no forum, no community, and no support. And, you shouldn't get too attached, the administrators warn. Disclaimer: Slashdot doesn't necessarily condone piracy -- at least, in most cases.

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