Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 02/19/18

    By Len,
    The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Justice League' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Thor Ragnarok'. 'Pitch Perfect 3' completes the top three. This week we have four newcomers in our chart. Justice League 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 Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise. RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart. THIS WEEK’S MOST DOWNLOADED MOVIES ARE: Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer Most downloaded movies via torrents 1 (7) Justice League 7.1 / trailer 2 (2) Thor Ragnarok 8.1 / trailer 3 (…) Pitch Perfect 3 6.2 / trailer 4 (1) Coco 8.9 / trailer 5 (4) The Shape of Water (DVDScr) 8.0 / trailer 6 (…) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 8.3 / trailer 7 (3) Daddy’s Home 2 6.0 / trailer 8 (…) Lady Bird 7.7 / trailer 9 (8) Blade Runner 2049 8.9 / trailer 10 (…) The Gateway 5.9 / trailer

    Google on Collision Course With Movie Biz Over Piracy & Safe Harbor

    By Len,
    Google and one of Australia's leading movie companies are on a collision course over piracy. Village Roadshow's outspoken co-chief Graham Burke has twice this month accused Google of facilitating crime and is now inviting the company to sue him. Meanwhile, Google is fighting for new safe harbor protections that Village Roadshow insists should be denied. Wherever Google has a presence, rightsholders are around to accuse the search giant of not doing enough to deal with piracy. Over the past several years, the company has been attacked by both the music and movie industries but despite overtures from Google, criticism still floods in. In Australia, things are definitely heating up. Village Roadshow, one of the nation’s foremost movie companies, has been an extremely vocal Google critic since 2015 but now its co-chief, the outspoken Graham Burke, seems to want to take things to the next level. As part of yet another broadside against Google, Burke has for the second time in a month accused Google of playing a large part in online digital crime. “My view is they are complicit and they are facilitating crime,” Burke said, adding that if Google wants to sue him over his comments, they’re very welcome to do so. It’s highly unlikely that Google will take the bait. Burke’s attempt at pushing the issue further into the spotlight will have been spotted a mile off but in any event, legal battles with Google aren’t really something that Burke wants to get involved in. Australia is currently in the midst of a consultation process for the Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Bill 2017 which would extend the country’s safe harbor provisions to a broader range of service providers including educational institutions, libraries, archives, key cultural institutions and organizations assisting people with disabilities. For its part, Village Roadshow is extremely concerned that these provisions may be extended to other providers – specifically Google – who might then use expanded safe harbor to deflect more liability in respect of piracy. “Village Roadshow….urges that there be no further amendments to safe harbor and in particular there is no advantage to Australia in extending safe harbor to Google,” Burke wrote in his company’s recent submission to the government. “It is very unlikely given their size and power that as content owners we would ever sue them but if we don’t have that right then we stand naked. Most importantly if Google do the right thing by Australia on the question of piracy then there will be no issues. However, they are very far from this position and demonstrably are facilitating crime.” Accusations of crime facilitation are nothing new for Google, with rightsholders in the US and Europe having accused the company of the same a number of times over the years. In response, Google always insists that it abides by relevant laws and actually goes much further in tackling piracy than legislation currently requires. On the safe harbor front, Google begins by saying that not expanding provisions to service providers will have a seriously detrimental effect on business development in the region. “[Excluding] online service providers falls far short of a balanced, pro-innovation environment for Australia. Further, it takes Australia out of step with other digital economies by creating regulatory uncertainty for [venture capital] investment and startup/entrepreneurial success,” Google’s submission reads. “[T]he Draft Bill’s narrow safe harbor scheme places Australian-based startups and online service providers — including individual bloggers, websites, small startups, video-hosting services, enterprise cloud companies, auction sites, online marketplaces, hosting providers for real-estate listings, photo hosting services, search engines, review sites, and online platforms —in a disadvantaged position compared with global startups in countries that have strong safe harbor frameworks, such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and other EU countries. “Under the new scheme, Australian-based startups and service providers, unlike their international counterparts, will not receive clear and consistent legal protection when they respond to complaints from rightsholders about alleged instances of online infringement by third-party users on their services,” Google notes. Interestingly, Google then delivers what appears to be a loosely veiled threat. One of the key anti-piracy strategies touted by the mainstream entertainment companies is collaboration between rightsholders and service providers, including the latter providing voluntary tools to police infringement online. Google says that if service providers are given a raw deal on safe harbor, the extent of future cooperation may be at risk. “If Australian-based service providers are carved out of the new safe harbor regime post-reform, they will operate from a lower incentive to build and test new voluntary tools to combat online piracy, potentially reducing their contributions to innovation in best practices in both Australia and international markets,” the company warns. But while Village Roadshow argue against safe harbors and warn that piracy could kill the movie industry, it is quietly optimistic that the tide is turning. In a presentation to investors last week, the company said that reducing piracy would have “only an upside” for its business but also added that new research indicates that “piracy growth [is] getting arrested.” As a result, the company says that it will build on the notion that “74% of people see piracy as ‘wrong/theft’” and will call on Australians to do the right thing. In the meantime, the pressure on Google will continue but lawsuits – in either direction – won’t provide an answer. Village Roadshow’s submission can be found here, Google’s here(pdf).

    HDChina: News

    By bsaambl,

    More theatrics from Google, this time it's images piracy

    By Len,
    Google often indulges in theatrics, where it pretends that it is doing what it is required to do. In reality, the 800-lb search gorilla is laughing heartily at having apparently hoodwinked everyone.

    Earlier, this month iTWire detailed how Google indulges in security theatre, in order to try and make people believe it is serious about security.

    The most recent case involves images. In April 2016, Google was hit with a complaint by Getty Images under EU competition law, accusing it of creating galleries of “high-resolution, copyrighted content", and “promoting piracy resulting in widespread copyright infringement".

    Remember the EU is the one which has had the guts to fine Google €2.42 billion (US$2.7 billion) for allegedly abusing its search engine dominance to give illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service. Google also faces EU fines over its AdSense advertising system and its Android mobile operating system.

    Hence, it was in Google's interest to pretend that it was doing something to satisfy Getty. But what it has done is a joke.

    The company said it would remove the "View Image" button that appears when one views an image after locating it by using the Images search option. This View Image button, when clicked, allows a user to see the image alone on a blank Web page, presumably to be saved and used.

    But removing that does little good. A user can use a context menu, that is available with a right-click of one's mouse, and save the image using the "Save Image as" option. This option is present in both Chrome (Google's own browser which has a 56% share of the browser market) and Firefox.

    Or one can obtain an extension for Chrome that provides the same functionality that the View Image button did.

    So how does losing the View Image button help in keeping down the frequency of copyrighted images being used without proper authorisation? Truth be told, it is a figleaf.

    Google's act is what is described in Hindi as naam ke vaaste – doing a thing simply for the sake of doing something, anything, in order to con someone else into believing one has done what one was supposed to do.

    If Google was serious about preventing the unauthorised use of copyrighted images, it could have removed the "save image as" option on the context menu that appears when one right-clicks on an image within Chrome.

    But then when was Google serious about anything except grabbing users' personal data in order to monetise it?

    YouTuber alleges content theft by online learning site Udemy

    By Len,
    Online education site Udemy is under fire for stealing content from YouTubers for its paid courses. After one YouTuber spoke out last week, Udemy removed an infringing course, but others say there’s still work to be done.

    YouTuber Chris Hawkes, who specializes in videos on programming and web development, uploaded a video this week accusing online course company Udemy of pirating his content for its site. In a brief YouTube video on the matter, Hawkes highlighted how a paid course listed on the website included one of Hawkes’ own videos on the programming language Python. Hawkes claims he was not asked for permission to use the video, and characterized Udemy’s use of it as content theft. Udemy is a paid platform for MOOCs—massive open online courses—on a variety of topics that boasts 65,000 courses and 15 million students, so Hawkes figured he was owed some sort of penalty for its use of his content without attribution.

    Or, in his words, “Udemy seems like kind of a sleazy-ass company.”
    Udemy was built as a platform to allow people to compile their own online video courses on a variety of subjects, then profit from those courses by charging tuition to people who want to view them, or give them away for free if so desired.

    This is not the first time Udemy has been criticized for using other creators’ content without permission. Back in 2015, the company came under fire when a video by Troy Hunt for Pluralsight, a tech training course site, was posted on Udemy with his name and watermark removed.

    According to the Verge, Hunt’s publicizing of the matter led Udemy to remove the video, although it was nonetheless on the site for some time. Udemy CEO Dennis Yang subsequently wrote on his blog that no actual money had been exchanged for Hunt’s course.

    It’s clear that someone has taken notice of the recent controversy regarding Hawkes, judging from the look of Udemy’s Wikipedia page. Early Sunday, Feb. 18, somebody edited the page, inserting a reference to content theft in the opening paragraph.

    Hunt himself highlighted Hawkes’ story on his Twitter account on Sunday, calling Udemy’s attitude toward piracy “a lousy attitude.” The company’s official account responded, saying it “took down an infringing course” (indeed, it was the one from Hawkes’ video) and included a link to the site’s official terms of service for instructors.

    Suffice to say he did not seem convinced. Hawkes, for his part, released a follow-up video on Sunday afternoon saying he’s “not losing sleep over it” but he expects more. “Who is this organization? … It’s bullshit, because they could have easily verified that it wasn’t legit.” He says he plans to reach out to another creator whose content was lifted for the course to see if they’re interested in taking action against Udemy as a whole.

    Epic Games Uses Private Investigators to Locate Cheaters

    By Len,
    After hiring the services of a private investigations firm, Epic Games discovered they'd sued another minor for alleged cheating. The gaming company asked the court to keep the personal information of the kid under seal. A private investigator was also used to locate another minor defendant in a separate case, who is now risking a default judgment. Last fall, Epic Games released Fortnite’s free-to-play “Battle Royale” game mode for the PC and other platforms, generating massive interest among gamers. This also included thousands of cheaters, many of whom were subsequently banned. Epic Games then went a step further by taking several cheaters to court for copyright infringement. In the months that have passed several cases have been settled with undisclosed terms, but it appears that not all defendants are easy to track down. In at least two cases, Epic had to retain the services of private investigators to locate their targets. In a case filed in North Carolina, the games company was unable to serve the defendant (now identified as B.B) so they called in the help of Klatt Investigations, with success. “[A]fter having previously engaged two other process servers that were unable to locate and successfully serve B.B., Epic engaged Klatt Investigations, a Canadian firm that provides various services related to the private service of process in civil matters. “In this case, we engaged Klatt Investigations to locate and effect service of process by personal service on Defendant,” Epic informs the court. As Epic Games didn’t know the age of the defendant beforehand they chose to approach the person as a minor, which turned out to be a wise choice. The alleged cheater indeed appears to be a minor, so both the Defendant and Defendant’s mother were served. Based on this new information, Epic Games asked the court to redact any court documents that reveal personal information of the defendant, which includes his or her full name.   Epic’s request to seal
        This is not the first time Epic Games has used a private investigator to locate a defendant. It hired S&H Investigative Services in another widely reported case, where the defendant also turned out to be a minor. In that case, the mother of the alleged cheater wrote a letter to the court in her son’s defense, but after that, things went quiet. This lack of response prompted Epic Games to ask the court to enter a default in this case, which means that the defendant risks a default judgment for copyright infringement. — Epic’s declaration for the motion to seal the personal details of minor B.B. is available here (pdf). The request to enter a default in the separate C.R case can be found (here pdf).

    Sue me': Village Roadshow chief slams Google for 'facilitating crime'

    By Len,
    Village Roadshow co-chief executive Graham Burke has slammed Google for "facilitating crime" by allowing piracy, saying the multibillion-dollar company is welcome to sue him for his comments.

    Mr Burke believes Google is partly responsible for hundreds of thousands of illegal downloads of the films Lion and Mad Max: Fury Road causing "millions of dollars lost to piracy".

    "If piracy isn’t nailed ... the Australian film industry will be over," he said.

    "It will become like a remote Los Angeles suburb."

    Lion has been downloaded illegally more than 350,000 times and is likely to have been streamed more than 1 million times, he said.

    With major films' success relying on ticket sales at the box office, illegal access to the films online can quickly eat into an entertainment company's bottom line.

    By allowing pirate websites to be on its search engine, the film industry veteran said Google was allowing criminal activity and was "welcome" to sue him for his comments.

    "We have been involved with films more than any other production company," he said.

    Mr Burke has been a board member for Village Roadshow since 1988 and describes his involvement with Red Dog as "one of the great joys" of his life. It is the second-best selling DVD in Australian history behind Finding Nemo.

    "I have an incredibly rich life and a large part of that has been thanks to film ... I want to put something back and if it means taking a risk then that is what is necessary," he said.

    "How can you make these films commercially viable if it’s being given away free?"

    One way copyright holders can stop pirate websites is by getting a court order for internet service providers to block a site. In 2016, the Federal Court ordered major piracy website Pirate Bay to be blocked in Australia.

    In August, Foxtel and Village Roadshow had 59 pirate sites blocked by using these site-blocking laws. Mr Burke is a 13 per cent shareholder in Village Roadshow.

    On Wednesday, the government put its site blocking laws up for review to determine if they are working and any needed changes.

    Google does not actively block pirate sites, nor proxy sites that show work-arounds to reach blocked sites.

    “My view is they are complicit and they are facilitating crime," he said.

    Mr Burke wants the search giant to be more proactive, rather than relying copyright holders to go through the court for every pirate site.

    In Korea, where Google is not the dominant search engine, local search platforms remove links to pirated content themselves.

    A Google spokesman said it took the fight against online piracy "very seriously" and had invested "tens of millions of dollars" to deal with the issue.

    "We down-rank sites in Search that have a large number of valid [copyright infringement] notices and ban pirate sites from our ad network."

    He said Google continues to hold "meaningful and earnest conversations with industry about copyright".

    Mr Burke said the company's efforts on piracy since he first raised concerns with Google Australia two years ago were not enough.

    "The people [with Google] in Silicon Valley are looking at their global internet and don't think 25 million people in Australia are a priority for them," he said.

    He likens it to businessman Frank Lowy allowing a shop in a Westfield shopping centre to sell stolen goods and steal its customer's credit card details.

    "Frank would say he doesn’t want it in his shopping centre," he said.

    Mr Burke doesn't believe Google would do the same because piracy sites are popular, attracting "eyeballs" to its search engine.

    "This is revenue lost to the producer, lost to Australia and lost to taxes."

    At Village Roadshow's half yearly results on Friday, posting a weak result for its cinema arm, Mr Burke told shareholders getting rid of piracy would have an "upside" for the company.

    The lower earnings of $21.6 million in the six months to December 31, compared to $29.1 million in the first half of 2017, was mostly driven by a "lack of quality titles" due to scheduling.

    The company also posted "disappointing" results for its theme parks.

    Mr Burke said the "Dreamworld effect", after four people died in an accident on a ride in October 2016, was still being felt across its business, including Wet'n'Wild Sydney. The Sydney weather also had an impact.

    Ewerest: News

    By Len,

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