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  1. IMPORTANT - READ! Be supportive.
  2. This site had closed for free registration from March 20, 2021, and invitations can be sent above the PU level.
  3. Several movie companies have obtained a DMCA subpoena to identify 25 account holders whose IP-addresses were caught sharing pirated content. This is an effective shortcut without any oversight from a federal judge. It significantly reduces costs and legal hurdles to go after alleged pirates. However, this procedure is not undisputed. ip-address-dmca-subpoenaOver the past decade, hundreds of thousands of people have been accused of sharing pirated content via BitTorrent. File-sharing lawsuits are a common phenomenon in US courts as well. Hundreds of new cases are filed every year, with most targeting a single defendant per lawsuit. Most of these cases follow a procedure that’s well defined. The copyright holder files a complaint and requests a subpoena from the court requiring an ISP to identify the account holder connected to the ‘infringing’ IP-address. This request is then reviewed by a judge, who may or may not sign off on it. Several courts have grown skeptical of these cases over the years, with some requiring rightsholders to present “something more” than just an IP-address as evidence. Other courts don’t share these reservations, and pretty much all subpoenas are signed off by a judge. DMCA Subpoena Shortcut Although it may appear that the legal procedures surrounding these BitTorrent piracy cases are pretty much set in stone after a decade, Hawaii-based attorney Kerry Culpepper has had success with a ‘loophole’ approach recently. Instead of filing a standard copyright infringement lawsuit, the attorney requested a DMCA subpoena on behalf of several movie companies. Through the subpoena, the companies asked Hawaii Telecom to identify the account holders behind 25 IP-addresses that allegedly shared “Hellboy,” “Angel Has Fallen,” The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and other movies via BitTorrent. This approach is noteworthy because DMCA subpoenas don’t require oversight from a judge. If the paperwork is submitted properly, a court clerk can sign off on it without any hassle. That can sometimes happen within a day. Speed is not the key issue here, of course. Using this shortcut also saves money and other resources. Filing a DMCA subpoena costs $49 while the fee for a traditional copyright complaint is $402. This is without the time that goes into other legal paperwork and court hearings. RIAA Tried and Failed The advantages for copyright holders are clear. That said, using DMCA subpoenas to identify alleged BitTorrent pirates is not without controversy. The RIAA tried a similar tactic two decades ago but was stopped in court when ISPs objected. The ISPs argued that DMCA subpoenas are only valid when an Internet service stores or links to the infringing content, not when they merely pass on traffic. In two separate rulings, the DC Circuit and Eighth Circuit appeals courts eventually concluded that DMCA subpoenas can’t be issued against ISPs that are mere conduits. This is because the “notifications” described in the DMCA could not be applied to “mere conduit” ISPs that don’t store infringing material. As such, DMCA subpoenas are not an option. Clerk Signs Subpoena Despite this legal background, the clerk at the federal court in Hawaii signed off on the request earlier this month. This means that the movie companies can request Hawaii Telecom to hand over the subscriber information. This appears to conflict with earlier cases but the movie companies disagree. In fact, their attorney believes that there is sufficient reason to believe that DMCA subpoenas can be used against ISPs under certain conditions. Culpepper notes that the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court, which Hawaii falls under, never ruled on the mere conduit issue in a case like this. Hence, it’s an open question. In fact, the attorney argues that more recent decisions suggest that the DMCA notifications are valid in this case. In repeat infringer cases against ISPs such as Cox and Grande, courts have concluded that these providers have no right to a DMCA safe harbor because they failed to act on DMCA notifications. This suggests that these notices are valid and apply to conduit providers. This is a clever argument that could hold up but it hasn’t been tested in court, as Hawaii Telecom didn’t object to the DMCA subpoena. Instead, the clerk signed off on the request without asking questions. So for now, this shortcut works. This isn’t the first time that Culpepper has successfully obtained DMCA subpoenas to identify potential copyright infringers. The Hawaii federal court signed-off on four similar requests in 2019. Culpepper declined to comment on his reason to choose this route, but we assume that costs play a major role. The personal information obtained through the subpoenas will likely be used to negotiate settlements with the infringers. And those who refuse to settle risk being taken to court in a proper lawsuit, of course. — A copy of the DMCA subpoena request, which was signed of by a clerk of the Hawaii federal court, is available here (pdf). Content source : TorrentFreak .
  4. Maria Schneider's class action lawsuit against YouTube has taken another unusual turn. The complaint alleges massive infringement but thus far identifies no infringing videos. YouTube wants to know exactly what it's dealing with but Schneider says that since she has no access to Content ID - a big part of why the complaint was originally filed - she can't easily provide that information. Sad YouTubeIn 2020, Grammy award-winning musician Maria Schneider filed a class action lawsuit against YouTube, claiming massive infringement on the platform and serious deficiencies in copyright enforcement measures. Schneider’s grievances are numerous, including that YouTube restricts access to its takedown tools, profits from infringement, and fails to terminate repeat infringers. Furthermore, since 98% of YouTube copyright issues are reportedly resolved with Content ID, Schneider says that YouTube has “entirely insulated” huge numbers of users from its repeat infringer policies. The case thus far is notable for its oddities, including that co-plaintiff Pirate Monitor claimed that many of its copyrighted works had appeared on YouTube in breach of copyright but was later said to have uploaded those works itself before sending corresponding takedown notices. Earlier this month the matter took another unusual turn when Schneider asked the court to order YouTube to hand over masses of information that would allow her to identify every user that had had a takedown notice filed against their account since 2015, to determine whether YouTube’s repeat infringer policies come up to scratch. YouTube: Schneider Needs to Clarify Her Claims While Schneider alleges massive infringement on YouTube, the Google-owned platform is now complaining that Schneider’s claims are unspecific. YouTube insists that Schneider should identify the copyrighted works she is complaining about and where infringements have taken place on YouTube, so that it has a “fair opportunity” to look into every single claim. However, YouTube says that since Schneider is refusing to agree to a deadline or even acknowledge this dispute, it is now seeking relief from the court. “Schneider’s Complaint alleges she owns three copyrighted works that were infringed on YouTube. It does not identify a single YouTube video that she claims is infringing. Instead, Schneider contends that her potential copyright claims against YouTube are boundless. She insists that she is allowed to put at issue dozens of unpleaded works and allegedly infringing videos, and that she can do so whenever she wants,” YouTube informs the court. “Plaintiff’s approach is misguided. Defendants need to know, sufficiently before the end of discovery, the full universe of copyrighted works and alleged infringements at issue. Without that information, Defendants will be unable to take discovery to support their defenses, most of which are necessarily work- or video-specific.” As background, YouTube says that in interrogatory response, Schneider has thus far purported to add 75 more works to the case, but hasn’t amended her complaint. The musician also agreed to identify all currently known infringements. These reportedly amounted to 51 videos but they only involved 24 works – a “moving target” according to YouTube. “For most of the works that Schneider has not pleaded but contends are at issue, no infringement has been identified,” the video platform adds. With that, YouTube demands that Schneider amends her complaint to identify the copyrighted works and all instances of infringement of those works on YouTube. Schneider, it appears, does not want to play ball. Schneider: No Obligation to Detail Infringed All Infringed Works In a response to YouTube’s motion, Schneider states that YouTube is wrong to say that the allegedly infringed works must be identified. “A plaintiff in a copyright infringement action has no obligation to include in the complaint a complete listing of all of the works at issue,” her response to the motion reads, noting that since 75 such works were supplied to YouTube back in March, “there can be no debate that Defendants are on notice about what works are involved in the dispute.” But Schneider goes further still, arguing that case law shows that “plaintiffs are not required to specify each and every instance of infringement” including the “who, what, where, when and why.” Describing YouTube’s deadline to detail instances of infringement as “invented” and lacking in legal support, Schneider says that an issue at the very core of her complaint (YouTube’s refusal to grant her with access to Content ID) renders any deadline both “unfair and impractical”. “To even attempt to identify every infringement, Plaintiff would have to constantly search for infringing videos using manual keyword searches that hit upon the specific words chosen by the uploading infringer. Such an endeavor would be futile and unduly burdensome,” her response reads. “Absent access to Content ID, Defendants’ digital fingerprinting tool which automatically scans for infringing videos prior to upload, Plaintiff cannot meaningfully search for or identify the infringing videos. But Defendants easily can. “Defendants’ position that Plaintiff must identify the URL of all infringing videos is thus the height of irony — the impossibility of manually locating all instances of infringement of her works without access to Content ID motivated this lawsuit.” While Schneider does not directly demand access to Content ID to comply with YouTube’s deadline, her motion strongly suggests that the task could easily be achieved by YouTube, since it has access to Content ID. To force her to identify all of the infringing videos manually prior to the close of discovery “would be patently unfair” she argues, adding that the court should deny YouTube’s motion in its entirety. YouTube’s motion to set a case schedule and Schneider’s response can be found here and here (pdf). Content source : TorrentFreak .
  5. Google Translate HTTPS tracker Dear Users! We are pleased to inform you that communication via HTTPS is now available on our tracker. HTTPS provides a secure, encrypted connection between the torrent client and the nCore tracker, thus protecting the user from eavesdropping on the data exchange by a third party. You can set the function in the Settings menu by checking "TLS tracker". Newly downloaded torrent files will then automatically include nCore tracker contacts with a path beginning with https://. If you have a problem, turn off the feature or ask in the news forum on the news! - nCore Staff
  6. Last year the U.S. Government indicted three members of the infamous Team-Xecuter group, the alleged masterminds behind various Nintendo hacks. One of those men, Canada resident Gary Bowser, is now being sued by Nintendo in a civil lawsuit demanding damages for numerous and sustained breaches of the DMCA. Team-Xecuter BannerSince the reign of the original Xbox, hacking team Team-Xecuter has built a reputation for defeating the digital locks that prevent users from running pirated games on consoles. More recently, Team-Xecuter has been strongly linked to the Nintendo Switch scene but last year the operation hit the rocks when their operation found itself at the center of a criminal case prosecuted by the US Government. Last year the US Department of Justice announced that two members of Team-Xecuter had been arrested. Max Louarn, a 48-year-old French national, and 51-year-old Gary Bowser from Canada, were placed in custody and charged under suspicion of being part of a criminal conspiracy. A third defendant, a Chinese man named Yuanning Chen, 35, was reportedly at large. As that case progresses in the background, with Team-Xecuter’s future in the balance, Nintendo is now taking direct legal action against one of the defendants. Nintendo Sues Gary Bowser in a US Court Filed in Washington court on Friday, the lawsuit describes Bowser as one of the leaders of Team-Xecuter, which in turn is described as a “pirate operation” that unlawfully manufactures and traffics for profit an “unauthorized operating system” called ‘SX OS’ and associated circumvention devices. “The purpose of the Circumvention Devices and the SX OS —developed, manufactured, and trafficked under Defendant’s leadership — is to hijack the Nintendo Switch by interrupting and bypassing its technological security features and protections,” the complaint reads. “The Circumvention Devices strip away or circumvent technological protection measures Nintendo put into place to protect its invaluable copyrighted software and video games from unauthorized access and copying.” Nintendo says that Bowser is one of a handful of key Team-Xecuter members running the operation day-to-day, including by trafficking in SX OS and circumvention devices via websites, marketing, managing advertising, liaising with manufacturers, and dealing with multiple resellers, several of whom have already been dragged through the courts in the US. The gaming giant claims that Bowser operated at least four websites – Team-Xecuter.com, Xecuter.rocks, and Team-Xecuter.rocks, and Sx-Xecuter.com, through which SX OS and circumvention devices were marketed. Nintendo also claims that Bowser was the founder and operator of MaxConsole.com which served as a central location for customer and reseller support. According to the complaint, Nintendo was able to match Bowser with the online handles “Gary opa” and “GaryOPA” since at times, the aliases appeared alongside the full name Gary Bowser. This shows that Bowser is Team-Xecuter’s “front man” and that he had control of the websites’ content, Nintendo adds. Team-Xecuter and Gary Bowser – A History of Hacking While the complaint only targets alleged Switch-related offenses, Nintendo supplies a potted history of Bowser’s involvement in the hacking scene dating back at least 13 years. The complaint states that Bowser was charged in Canada in 2008 in connection with an “elaborate operation” to counterfeit Nintendo games and modify games consoles, adding that Bowser has trafficked in circumvention devices for several consoles prior to the Switch including Nintendo DS, Wii, and 3DS. In respect of SX OS, Nintendo says it was wildly popular and at one point was pre-installed on 89% of modded/hacked Nintendo Switch products available for sale. This caused Nintendo “tremendous harm” and undermined the trust that third-party developers should have in Nintendo that their games won’t be illegally distributed or played. Multiple and Sustained Breaches of the DMCA Nintendo says that it should be protected by the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) but Bowser violated Nintendo’s rights by supplying SX OS and circumvention devices that defeated the company’s technological protection measures. Trafficking in SX OS and circumvention devices has already been shown to be illegal, Nintendo writes, pointing to a pair of earlier Switch-related cases, one decided last December with a $2m judgment and another with a broad injunction. “Notwithstanding some of the success Nintendo has had enforcing its rights against resellers of the Circumvention Devices, Defendant has continued to thumb his nose at the law, manufacturing and trafficking in the Circumvention Devices and SX OS,” Nintendo says. “He has empowered resellers to re-emerge and launch new websites—including after the same websites had been shut down by courts and other vehicles of enforcement—and facilitated additional avenues of distribution, all forcing Nintendo into a game of whack-a-mole.” Trafficking in Devices in Violation of the DMCA Section 1201 of the DMCA prohibits the trafficking of devices that are primarily designed to circumvent technological protection measures that control access to and prevent the copying of copyrighted works. This includes their manufacture, importation, and sales to the public. Nintendo says that Bowser violated its rights when it offered tools including SX OS, SX Tools, SX Installer, SX Server, SX Loader, SX Dumper, and similar software distributed via MaxConsole.com. The defendant also breached the DMCA when he selected and approved resellers of SX OS license codes, since that is considered a “service” as defined under the DMCA. In addition, every time Bowser recruited people as testers of the SX Core and SX Lite products he shipped circumvention devices to those testers, which Nintendo says amounts to additional trafficking offenses. For Bowser’s alleged violations of 17 U.S.C. § 1201, Nintendo says it is entitled to the maximum statutory damages of $2,500 for each breach listed in two counts, plus costs and attorneys’ fees. The company also demands a permanent injunction prohibiting any further acts of trafficking in devices and software. Nintendo also claims that Bowser infringed its copyrights when he displayed images of the company’s games on the Team-Xecuter site. Interestingly, the statutory damages for each infringement here are substantially larger than for breaches of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions. For each of the nine images displayed, Nintendo is demanding $150,000 in damages plus, costs, fees and a permanent injunction. Finally, Nintendo wants Bowser to hand over all the domains listed in the complaint, including all of the Team-Xecuter, Xecuter, and MaxConsole variants. It also demands an order that will allow it to seize and destroy all copies of SX OS and circumvention devices in Bowser’s custody. Nintendo’s complaint against Gary Bowser can be found here (pdf) . Content source : TorrentFreak .
  7. Every week we take a close look at the most pirated movies on torrent sites. What are pirates downloading? 'Godzilla vs. Kong' tops the chart, followed by ‘Nobody'. 'The Marksman' completes the top three. godzilla vs. kongThe data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. These torrent download statistics are meant to provide further insight into the piracy trends. All data are gathered from public resources. This week we have three entries in the list. “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the most downloaded title. The film can be watched online legally on HBO Max, but that’s not available everywhere. The most torrented movies for the week ending on April 19 are: Movie Rank Rank Last Week Movie Name IMDb Rating / Trailer Most downloaded movies via torrent sites 1 (1) Godzilla vs. Kong 6.7 / trailer 2 (…) Nobody 7.5 / trailer 3 (…) The Marksman 5.6 / trailer 4 (2) Zack Snyder’s Justice League 8.4 / trailer 5 (3) Chaos Walking 5.7 / trailer 6 (…) The Courier 7.2 / trailer 7 (5) Raya and the Last Dragon 7.7 / trailer 8 (4) Thunder Force 4.4 / trailer 9 (6) Wonder Woman 1984 5.8 / trailer 10 (7) The Father 8.3 / trailer Note: We also publish an updating archive of all the list of weekly most torrented movies lists. Content source : TorrentFreak .
  8. Last November, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against an Amazon seller who distributed RCM Loader, a device that has the "sole purpose" of allowing people to play pirated video games by circumventing the Switch console's technological protection measures. A court has now handed down a permanent injunction to prevent such sales anywhere in the United States. RCM LoaderNintendo is currently engaged in a war of attrition against individuals and groups who help people to pirate and play unlicensed Switch games. Products and individuals involved with the infamous Team-Xecutor became targets last summer and alongside, Nintendo has been chipping away at other sellers of similar circumvention devices. Lawsuit Filed Against Amazon Vendor Last November, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against Le Hoang Minh, an Amazon vendor doing business under the name ‘Winmart’. According to the gaming giant, the trader was selling RCM Loader, a Switch device marketed as a plug-and-play solution for injecting payload files to allow booting into custom firmware (CFW), including Team-Xecutor’s SX OS. “Once this circumvention has occurred, the unauthorized CFW modifies the authorized Nintendo Switch operating system, thereby allowing users to obtain and play virtually any pirated game made for the Nintendo Switch. All of this happens without authorization or compensation to Nintendo or to any authorized game publishers,” the company explained. Le Hoang Minh, who according to Nintendo is a resident of Vietnam, was sent a DMCA notice by Nintendo via Amazon, citing the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. As a result, a specific listing was taken down by Amazon but the defendant subsequently filed a counternotice stating that Nintendo had made an error. As a result, the listing was restored. In its lawsuit, Amazon claimed that Le Hoang Minh was not only a seller of RCM Loader devices but also the manufacturer too, going on to demand the maximum statutory damages available under the DMCA and a broad injunction preventing any future sales. Nintendo also demanded relief for the defendant’s alleged abuse of the DMCA’s counternotification system. Defendant Fails to Respond, Nintendo Moves For Default In a motion for default judgment filed this week, Nintendo says that it filed its lawsuit in response to the defendant’s counternotice, in order to keep the Amazon listing down. However, the defendant failed to respond to the lawsuit or enter into discussions with Nintendo. As a result, Nintendo demanded a default judgment on each of its claims, arguing that since the defendant is in Vietnam, only a ruling from a US court would allow it to prevent sales of RCM Loader taking place in the United States. To promote what Nintendo describes as “an efficient resolution” of the matter, the gaming giant reduced its damages claims to just $2,500 for all actions carried out by the defendant in breach of the anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA. “This request for a $2,500 award is intended to be very conservative and does not reflect anything close to the full amount of damages Nintendo could reasonably seek from Defendant,” the company writes. “Nintendo could…credibly seek a separate award for every device Defendant sold — almost certainly many devices, given that Defendant’s RCM Loader device was available online for many months. However, rather than attempt to quantify Defendant’s total sales, Nintendo seeks to facilitate an efficient resolution of this case through entry of judgment awarding damages for a single § 1201 violation.” Nintendo also informed the court that it had incurred considerable costs pursuing the case but was not seeking to have those reimbursed. However, the company still demanded a judgment in its favor in respect of the DMCA violations, the misrepresentations made by the defendant in his DMCA counternotice, and the request for a permanent injunction. Court Sides With Nintendo After considering Nintendo’s motion for default, the court ruled that should be granted. In a final judgment issued Thursday, the court laid down the terms. A permanent injunction was granted against Le Hoang Minh and all other individuals and entities acting in concert, restraining all from circumventing or assisting in circumventing any technological security measures that effectively control access to Nintendo’s copyrighted works. The same are also restrained from manufacturing, offering for sale, distributing, exporting or otherwise trafficking into the United States “any and all products, services, devices, components or parts thereof” that are designed or produced for circumventing security measures in Nintendo’s consoles, products and protected works. Turning to RCM Loader and any product with identical function, the court restrained the defendant from carrying out sales, distribution, imports and/or shipping to any person or entity in the United States. Le Hoang Minh is also banned from indirectly infringing, facilitating, encouraging, promoting or inducing the infringement of Nintendo’s copyrights, whether in existence now or in the future. In an effort to prevent sales on platforms such as Amazon, the defendant was restrained from offering RCM Loader or any similar product for sale or distribution. Any seller or online marketplace who receives notice of the order must also “immediately cease and permanently refrain” from offering any such products in the United States. The court also authorized Nintendo to seize and destroy all circumvention devices and software that violate its copyrights or exclusive licenses. It further granted the $2,500 in statutory damages requested by Nintendo and reminded the defendant that any violation of the order may be punishable as contempt of court. Nintendo’s Motion for Default Judgment can be found here (pdf) The Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction can be found here (pdf) Content source: TorrentFreak.
  9. A report published by the UK Intellectual Property Office shows that a quarter of all online entertainment consumers downloaded or streamed content illegally last year. Many pirates pay for content but turn to illegal sources when availability is lacking or when the costs become too high. ukEvery year the UK Government publishes a new edition of its Online Copyright Infringement Tracker. This report is the result of an annual survey that polls the piracy habits of people twelve years old and above. Earlier this week the UK Intellectual Property Office published the tenth wave of the report. As always, there are some positive changes compared to earlier years, as well as some negative ones. Fewer Pirates Starting with the good news, the study finds that the overall level of copyright infringement across all content categories has dropped. In previous years this number was stuck at 25% but has now reduced to 23%. This means that nearly a quarter of the people who consumed online content have used illegal sources. While this is a big number, the survey also shows that many of these pirates consume content legally as well. For example, 20% of all film fans occasionally pirate content, but only 3% use piracy services exclusively. The same effect can be found in other content categories, including music consumers of which 18% used unauthorized sources last year, but only 2% did so exclusively. For games, these numbers are 10% and 2% respectively. For the above categories, a relatively small percentage of the pirating public used illegal sources exclusively. However, that picture is the other way around for software and digital magazines, where the majority of all pirates never purchased anything legally. Sports Piracy is Booming Similar to last year, the highest percentage of pirates can be found among the live sports streamers. Of all the people who consumed sports streaming content last year, 37% used illegal channels. That is up from 34% last year. Roughly a third of the sports streaming pirates never used legal services. This brings us to the motivation people have to pirate content. Here we see a familiar picture emerge as well. People pirate because something is not available or because they can’t or don’t want to pay additional costs. Movie fans, for example, may not want to pay for yet another monthly streaming subscription to see a film. Or, the content they desire may not be legally available at all, as we have seen with some of this year’s Oscar contenders. COVID Had a Limited Impact Despite some small shifts in piracy levels not much has changed. There is a small decline in music, movie and TV piracy, while the proportion of sports, gaming and software pirates increased a bit. Interestingly, the COVID pandemic doesn’t appear to have a strong or lasting effect. Some people reported that their piracy activity increased, but there aren’t necessarily more people who pirate. “In terms of levels of infringement, the findings from the qualitative phase showed that while many reported no change in their use of illegal sources, some noted that owing to their general consumption in entertainment increasing, so too did their use of illegal sources,” the report notes. How to Stop Pirates? While the yearly reports help to track how piracy trends develop over time, it does little to address the problem. However, the latest report does give some advice on how to motivate pirates to ‘go legal.’ The study tested a variety of messages focused on the negative consequences of piracy, to see what would make pirates change their behavior. This leads to some interesting insights. For example, mentioning the financial losses of big corporations or the broader economy has virtually no impact. People don’t seem to care that the revenue of major movie studios or sports organizations is impacted. A more effective approach, according to the study, would be to focus on the financial impact piracy has on individual artists and employees who work in the creative industries. Those messages even impacted hardcore pirates, who also showed concern about their own risks, including malware and viruses. Finally, hasher punishment could work as well, according to one of the report’s conclusions. “There is potential to explore messages around risk of greater legal action and consequences for those who infringe – this is not currently seen as a viable threat but was mentioned by a few as a potential deterrent if enforced more widely.” A summary of the tenth copyright infringement tracker survey is available on the UK Intellectual Property Office website. While not mentioned, it may also make sense for the entertainment industries to change something themselves. After all, harsher publishment is not going to improve the convenience, availability, and cost of legal alternatives. Content source: TorrentFreak.