NetEase Refutes PUBG’s Copyright Infringement Claims in Court

    Len
    By Len,
    NetEase, the Chinese developer of the popular mobile games 'Rules of Survival' and 'Knives Out', has responded to PUBG's copyright infringement claims. The company asked the California federal court to dismiss PUBG's lawsuit, describing it as an attempt to monopolize the popular “battle royale” genre. When PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) was first released last year, it became an instant hit. This success earned the company hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, but according to PUBG, this could have been much more if others hadn’t copied their work. The general theme of PUBG is now used by many games, which is a thorn in the side of the developer. To protect its financial interests, the company, therefore, decided to take the developer of two alleged spinoffs to court. In April, PUBG filed a lawsuit against NetEase, the makers of ‘Rules of Survival’ and ‘Knives Out’, accusing it of copyright infringement. A 155-page complaint documented a long summary of elements that PUBG believes are infringing on its copyrighted works. This includes buildings, landscapes, vehicles, weapons, clothing, the pre-play area, the shrinking gameplay area, and even the iconic “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” salute. NetEase clearly disagrees with these accusations. In a new filing this week, the company asks the court to dismiss the entire case. It refutes PUBG’s accusations and stresses that “ideas” and “gameplay mechanics” have no copyright protection. “This litigation is a shameless attempt by the PUBG Plaintiffs to monopolize the “battle royale” genre of video games and inhibit legitimate competition,” NetEase writes. “Plaintiffs’ copyright claim is premised on alleged similarities in ideas, merger of ideas and expression, scenes a faire, and game rules and mechanics. Copyright does not protect any of these aspects of PUBG’s game.” NetEase admits that its games fall into the same genre and share several similarities. However, the idea of displaying a “health bar” and other basic elements is not copyright infringement, the company argues. “The idea of a ‘health’ status bar, as well as energy ‘boosts,’ and the ability of human characters to ‘stand, walk, run, take a prone position, crawl in a prone position or take a kneeling position’ in a combat situation, are all simply mechanics that flow from the idea of forcing players to kill each other,” the company notes. PUBG itself has admittedly copied several real-world objects such as guns. In order to argue that NetEase expressions of these are virtually identical, and thus infringing, these real-world similarities have to be filtered out. According to NetEase, there’s no real claim left after that. “As shown, PUBG’s gun has appropriated the design and configuration of the sight, barrel, grip, magazine, and numerous other features from a century-old gun design; once those elements are removed, there is no virtual identity.”   Infringing Thompson submachine gun?
        In addition, NetEase also refuted PUBG’s claim to the iconic “Winner winner chicken dinner” salute, which is displayed to the winner of the game. Citing jurisprudence, it stresses that short phrases are not protectable elements, even when they are unique. “The short phrase ‘Winner winner chicken dinner’ is therefore unprotectable,” NetEase argues. Based on these and other arguments, NetEase concludes that PUBG’s copyright infringement, Lanham Act infringement, and unfair competition claims fall flat. The case should, therefore, be dismissed in its entirety, it notes. — A copy of NetEase’s motion to dismiss is available here (pdf). https://torrentfreak.com/netease-denies-pubgs-copyright-infringement-claims-in-court-180719/

    Premier League Obtains Piracy Blocking Order For 2018/19 Season

    Len
    By Len,
    The High Court has granted the Premier League permission to continue blocking live pirate streams of football matches in the UK. The football organization obtained a pioneering injunction early 2017, with a second order expiring in May 2018. That has now been renewed by Justice Arnold for the 2018 to 2019 season. Many of the details are shrouded in secrecy. Top tier football broadcast licensing in the UK is handled by the Premier League but like all content owners, it faces a threat from unauthorized providers. Instead of paying significant monthly subscriptions to broadcasters such as Sky and BT Sport, large numbers of fans are turning to piracy-enabled set-top boxes for their fix. While not as sleek as their official counterparts, they can provide a cheap alternative for those on a budget. Often Kodi-powered, these devices are augmented with third-party addons that facilitate access to streams freely available online or the more select offerings of organized IPTV providers. They also allow fans to access games during the 3pm ‘blackout’ period when no official broadcaster is allowed to transmit live football. In an effort to reduce this threat, March last year the Premier League obtained a blocking injunction from the High Court which compelled ISPs including BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media to block unauthorized streams in real-time. Granted under Section 97a of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, the order gave the Premier League the ability to “target the suppliers of illegal streams to IPTV boxes, and the internet, in a proportionate and precise manner.” Figures subsequently released by the football organization revealed that under the injunction it was able to block 5,000 server IP addresses that were streaming its content illegally. That success encouraged the league to apply for a fresh injunction for the 2017-18 season. A second order was handed down by the High Court in July 2017 and quickly began producing results for the Premier League. It ran from August 12, 2017 to May 13, 2018 but contained a clause which gave the Premier League the right to apply for an extension for a further season. That application was made a little while ago and has now been granted by the High Court. The extended order affects BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, meaning that all customers of these ISPs attempting to watch live ‘pirate’ Premier League football via the Internet could be suddenly subjected to a block. There are no consequences for users caught up in the blocking efforts, other than to have their big game enjoyment curtailed. The extended order, which was signed by Mr. Justice Arnold after being considered ‘on paper’, notes that the ISPs were split on whether to support or simply not oppose the order. No names are detailed but it’s likely that ISPs with a vested interest in airing live sports – notably BT, Sky and Virgin – were the ones in favor. It’s important to note that no ISP objected to the application or was represented in Court. Nevertheless, Justice Arnold said that despite the lack of opposition, he still needed to be satisfied the proposed blocking would be proportionate before granting the order. Citing evidence provided by the Premier League, the Judge said that the second order handed down in 2017 was “very effective in achieving the blocking of access to the Target Servers during Premier League matches” and that there was no evidence of over-blocking. Many aspects of the second order granted last year were kept secret by the High Court and this year’s extension is no different. The only public details are that the order “enlarges the subset of infringing streaming servers to be blocked” and also modifies the way in which hosts are notified of infringement. “[T]he requirement to notify hosting providers is made subject to a short delay. This is in order to prevent the order being circumvented. The evidence filed by FAPL in support of the application demonstrates that there have been attempts to circumvent the Second Order, and therefore this concern is a very real one,” Justice Arnold writes. All things considered, the Judge appeared to have no problem granting the order, noting that his reasons for doing so remain largely unchanged from those relied upon when granting the original order in March 2017. https://torrentfreak.com/premier-league-obtains-piracy-blocking-order-for-2018-19-season-180719/

    Former Pirate Bay Cyberlocker ‘Bayfiles’ Makes a ‘Comeback’

    Len
    By Len,
    Bayfiles, the file-hosting service originally launched by two Pirate Bay co-founders, makes a comeback under new ownership this week. The site disappeared after the 2014 raid on a Stockholm datacenter. The new operators acquired the site's domains and logotype from Fredrik Neij, but will otherwise start from scratch. In 2011, Pirate Bay founders Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde launched Bayfiles, a new file-sharing venture. Instead of relying on torrents, which had previously made TPB a huge success, Bayfiles allowed users to upload and download large files directly. With its no-nonsense sharing approach, the site swiftly accumulated a steady user base. However, that ended when the site was abruptly pulled offline, following a raid in 2014. Bayfiles probably wasn’t the primary target, but the site never returned. While most users had given up on Bayfiles, an anonymous group of ‘privacy-oriented’ people played with the idea of relaunching it. They missed the old Bayfiles and thought that it would be great to have it make a comeback. This idea became reality this week. The new Bayfiles team informs TorrentFreak that it bought the domains and logotype from TPB co-founder Fredrik Neij, aka TiAMO. The price was a symbolic fee, covering a few years of domain registrations and a couple of beers for good measure. Fast forward a few weeks and Bayfiles is back in action. The team says that it noticed a decrease in simple “one-click” file hosts in recent years, and hopes that Bayfiles will fill this gap. All the old data are gone so the site and its potential users will have to start from scratch. There is no requirement to register an account and with a lenient retention policy, no download throttling, and an upload limit of 10GB per file, there are few restrictions. The site is free to use by anyone, but those who create an account can use it to keep track of their files. The accounts come with 1TB storage. This is free for the first 30 days and after that it’s between 3.5 and 5 euro per month, depending on the length of the subscription. “Registering an account is, of course, optional and only for you to keep track of your own files, and there are no download caps or speed limits for anonymous users,” the new Bayfiles team tells us. “Ads tend to be annoying and that doesn’t rhyme with our principles of having a clean site, so we will try our best to keep the service afloat through the subscription model.” The payments are all handled in cryptocurrencies. This is something the Bayfiles team learned from the past, as many payment processors have previously banned the site. The goal is to make sharing as fast and easy as possible, and the built-in video and audio players certainly help with this. “Most browsers are capable of playing MP4, MP3, etc so we thought ‘why not’. If your browser supports it, it will play,” the Bayfiles team says.   Streaming a file from Bayfiles
        Aside from a few small changes, Bayfiles hopes to keep its old vibe alive. “The fast download speeds combined with the ‘Bay attitude’ Bayfiles got from the founders of TPB. I guess we share the same stance and attitude since we are from the same era when TPB got started. “The site will continue with the values it had prior to the raid in 2014, and we’ll add features and improve the service as we collect feedback from our users,” the Bayfiles team notes. While Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij is not involved in the new project, he doesn’t mind seeing the Bayfiles domain names being put to good use after a three-year ‘break.’ “The domain names were just gathering dust in my domain collection. Now people can at least use it for sharing,” Neij tells us. https://torrentfreak.com/former-pirate-bay-cyberlocker-bayfiles-makes-a-comeback-180718/

    Flipkart Openly Selling Pirated Cracked PC Games

    Len
    By Len,
    Flipkart is currently India’s biggest online retail giant and is all set to be largely acquired by Walmart. However, all might not be well for the company, with recent reports accusing Flipkart of selling pirated products on their website.
     

    As reported in a tweet by Vidit Sahni, a resident of New Delhi, Flipkart is selling plenty of PC games being listed for “offline use only”. Upon further checking out the items, the description clearly states that it is a cracked game, and you can install it by disabling your antivirus and proceeding with the installation.



    He further highlighted a game, FIFA 18, which was listed for just Rs. 799 on Flipkart, with the description being “NOTE: THERE IS A CRACK ONLY NO DIGITAL CODE”.

    “Before installation, the game first off your internet and antivirus. 1. All CD file copy in your pc 2. Setup File Click 3. Install the game 4. Install finish and open the game and enjoy your game,” the description reads out in broken English.

    It is quite astonishing that Flipkart is openly selling pirated cracked games for purchase on their portal. What’s worse is the fact how Flipkart initially dealt with the situation. Following his findings, Vidit went on to raise a complaint, posing the following question:

    “Why is Flipkart selling pirated products? The product description itself shows that the game is installed using a crack. Isn’t it a serious oversight? And this is not the only game.”

    However, Flipkart responded to the query by disapproving the question itself. “Reason for not-approving the question: Irrelevant question,” stated Flipkart.

    Despite giving the above response, Flipkart has since then removed these listings from its website. Nonetheless, the actual behavior from Flipkart hasn’t been good, and it is quite astounding that such an act was allowed in the first place.

    Amazon claims to be spiking listings for pirated games

    Len
    By Len,
    Yesterday, we reported on an unusual set of game listings on Amazon that appeared to indicate unscrupulous resellers were using the platform to launder pirated copies of Surviving Mars and Frostpunk.

    Since copies of these games appeared while browsing for the games on Amazon's site, it was difficult to delineate their low prices from an official sale of the game. Now, a representative for Amazon has told Venturebeat it's actively removing these listings from the platform.

    Per an unnamed spokesperson, “Our customers trust that when they make a purchase through Amazon’s store — either directly from Amazon or from its third-party sellers — they will receive authentic products, and we take any claims that endanger that trust seriously. We strictly prohibit the sale of counterfeit products, and these games have been removed.”

    However, even with the listings removed, developers like 11Bit Studios and Paradox must now support players who believed they were making a legitimate game purchase. Frostpunk developer 11Bit has told VentureBeat that the company is "working on a solution that will satisfy all parties, including the people who bought the game."

    Record fines for illegal Sky use

    Len
    By Len,
    Following a successful prosecution by UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), the licensees and company directors responsible for the running of three pubs in the Midlands have been convicted of 64 offences and ordered to pay a combined total of £327,405 (€367,530) in fines and costs for showing Sky Sports illegally in their premises.

    In a combined case brought before Birmingham Magistrates Court on March 21st 2018, Jonathan Hunt was convicted of 19 offences, Robert Stevens was convicted of 19 offences, Mark Jones was convicted of 19 offences in his absence and Carol Keenan pleaded guilty to seven offences of a television transmission (a Sky televised football match) at the above licensed premises with the intent to avoid payment of the applicable charge. This is contrary to Section 297(1) of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988.

    In addition to receiving criminal convictions, at a sentencing hearing on July 18th 2018, the defendants were ordered to pay a total of £327,405 in fines and costs and Jonathan Hunt’s Personal Alcohol Licence was revoked.

    “The licensees and company involved in this case have consistently refused to engage with us and ignored numerous warnings and offers of advice sent to them,” noted Stephen Gerrard, Prosecuting Manager, FACT. “This clearly demonstrates their conscious decision to offend, over a significant period of time. We were left with no option but to prosecute these individuals and we will continue to prosecute publicans who are fraudulently showing Sky programmes in their premises.”

    “We take illegal use of our programming very seriously and we remain committed to protecting our legitimate Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity,” stated George Lawson, Head of Commercial Piracy at Sky. “Those licensees who choose to televise content illegally should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties and a criminal conviction. The only legal way to Sky Sports programming in licensed premises in the UK is via a Commercial viewing agreement from Sky.”

    “These convictions were carried out by FACT on behalf of its members and forms a key part of Sky’s commitment to protecting pubs to invest in legitimate Sky Sports subscriptions. Sky is committed to visiting every licensed premises reported by other publicans and/or organisations for illegally showing Sky and will visit hundreds of pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this season. This case follows the recent ruling of the imprisonment of John Haggerty who was recently jailed for five years and three months after being convicted of selling illicit streaming devices to pubs and residential customers.”

    French Pirates Are Increasingly Buying Through Legal Options

    Len
    By Len,
    Do you guys remember Hadopi? This French version of a law designed to kick copyright infringers off of the internet essentially ended in 2016, after all kinds of reports showed the program to be an inefficient, unreasonably harsh failure that actually resulted in more infringement rather than less. Well, this travesty probably seems altogether silly here in 2018, given that Hadopi largely targeted filesharing infringement, while the majority of "piracy" these days takes the form of streaming content online rather than downloading it. Those enforcing Hadopi have no real way to track that kind of "piracy", making the whole thing useless.

    But the French government appears to want to see if it can repeat its mistakes all over again, with reports that it will institute a streaming site blacklist, which will be every bit as effective as Hadopi. Making all of this especially odd is that it comes at a time when so-called pirates in France are increasingly turning to legal offerings and spending gobs of money on them.

    A new report published by consultancy firm EY reveals that the number of French pirates has dropped by 8%, from 11.6 million in 2016, to 10.6 million last year. The remaining pirates also downloaded and streamed less infringing content than the year before, with consumption dipping 4%.

    In fact, it appears that pirates are increasingly “going legal.” This doesn’t mean that they have quit their copyright infringing habits completely, but they are more likely to pay for access too. In the span of a year, the number of pirates without a video on demand subscription dropped by nearly 30%. The result is that more than half of all pirates also pay for a legal movie streaming service now.

    The reasons why someone might simultaneously pirate content and pay for it through legit services have been covered here many times in the past. It ends up coming down to some combination of content-availability, not wanting to work through the silos content-providers have erected around what customers want, and reasonable pricing models for that content. What data like this ultimately shows is that so-called pirates are perfectly willing to pay for content if its offered to them in a convenient and reasonable way with few mental transactions needed. You know, how all of commerce works.

    And, yet, for some reason the French government has decided to try to censor streaming sites -- which it is guaranteed to do badly -- in the face of this optimistic data. Instead, it should be working with content producers and streaming providers alike to make that content as widely available as possible.

    “Netflix has managed to reel in pirate consumers who weren’t signed up with a legal service before. In 2017, there were 20% more pirate consumers paying for a Netflix subscription than the year before,” EY’s report states.

    This suggests that the main goal of movie studios and other content providers is to make sure that their work is widely available on legal streaming platforms. Ideally, without any delays and at a reasonable price.

    Giving the customer what they want, how they want it, at reasonable prices. What a completely novel and hard to grasp idea.

    Splatoon 2 Player Hacks Game To Show Nintendo How Easy It Is

    Len
    By Len,
    Last week, Splatoon 2 players noticed something strange about the leaderboard for competitive play. The top four names on the list spelled out “Please add anti cheat,” courtesy of a hacker with a simple request. This hacker later told players that this wasn’t just a joke. He wanted to send a message to Nintendo about how easy it is to hack their game.

    The first Splatoon game had a hacking problem, too. The Wii U was notoriously easy to crack, which led to rampant piracy, and by the time Splatoon came out in 2015, the system had already been exploited to hell and back. While many hackers used Wii U exploits to datamine and find cool unreleased weapons, characters and maps, other people used it to cheat in online multiplayer games. Hacking the Switch is trickier than hacking the Wii U, but by now, the system has been cracked, and now multiplayer cheaters have returned in Splatoon’s sequel. Before the leaderboard got hacked, videos and screenshots of players appearing to cheat in multiplayer modes had been popping up on both the Splatoon and Nintendo Switch subreddits.
     

    Shortly after the initial post of the hacked leaderboard shot up the Splatoon subreddit last week, a user called “Pleaseaddanticheat” took responsibility for it, providing a screenshot of his hacked profile. “Splatoon 2 is a game that I love so very deeply,” he wrote. “Despite having its connectivity issues, I think it provides a healthy and competitive environment for all players; it advocates strategy and a strong sense of teamwork. It is because of this, everyone enjoys Splatoon, and enjoys the fun of fighting for a rank or a league position. However, this will not be true as long as there are cheaters lurking around.”

    “Overall there has only been maybe a dozen (more of less) sightings of people obviously hacking in online multiplayer,” he said. That isn’t very many, but those are just the players who make their cheats obvious. The hacker pointed out that there could be many players subtly changing weapon accuracy and damage without anyone else noticing, because of how easy it is to crack Splatoon 2. “All one needs is a copy of the game files that they want to modify, then they can change whatever they want,” he explained. “Anyone who can read numbers and use a hex editor can modify game parameters to whatever they want.” He also said that the game currently has no checks in place to make sure players aren’t fooling around with a hex editor before they play online.

    The enterprising hacker went on to say that getting on the leaderboard took almost no effort on his part. “The score that it keeps track of (the X Power) is stored locally,” he said. “At the time when I did it, all I had to do was to change my local X Power.” He said that Splatnet, the phone app that hosts the online leaderboard accessible through the Nintendo Switch app, does not check for inconsistencies in your profile.

    Nintendo removed this hacker’s message after it reached the top of the Splatoon subreddit, but the hacker says that as of the most recent update, there are still no signs of anti-cheat measures having been added to the game. “What they should do, in the least, is to add parameters checks like they did in the first game to correct and misconfigured parameter when someone joins a game,” he said. “On top of that, the game should have various sanity checks during the game play.” It’s clear that Nintendo has seen his message. Time will tell if they take it to heart.

    World Boxing Super Series battles piracy with Friend MTS in its corner

    Len
    By Len,
    Friend MTS is partnering with the World Boxing Super Series to tackle video piracy for the upcoming Cruiserweight final, taking place in Moscow this Saturday.

    The company's global content monitoring and take-down services will be used for this premium event that will see Russian Murat Gassiev fight his Ukrainian opponent, Aleksandr Usyk.

    The World Boxing Super Series involves a total of 16 elite boxers from two weight classes, Cruiserweight and Super Middleweight, who have faced each other in 14 separate fight nights in a bracket-style elimination tournament. Friend MTS has provided content protection for the World Boxing Super Series from the start of the tournament. The PPV boxing series receives global coverage through multiple Tier 1 broadcasters.

    “Friend MTS has deep experience of working alongside rights holders and broadcasters to protect premium sports content, and we're delighted to be supporting another very exciting World Boxing Super Series final,” said Simon Williamson, chief commercial officer at Friend MTS.

    The-Archive: News

    Len
    By Len,
    Sitewide Doubleseed for 16 hours and 03 mins

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