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  1. Week in and week out, the Russian telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor orders Google to remove hundreds of URLs. The requests, which are sent under the country's VPN law, target sites and services that allow access to pirated content. Over the past two years, more than half a million links were targeted through these requests. google russiaOver the past several years, Russia has introduced various anti-piracy laws and regulations that focus on the role of online intermediaries. App stores are required to take strict action against ‘pirate’ apps, search engines must swiftly block pirate sites, and even VPN services and proxies can be banned. Russia started cracking down on VPNs and anonymizers in 2017, banning services that allow users to access pirate sites. A year later the legislation was updated by requiring search engines to block the URLs of services that don’t comply. In recent years there hasn’t been much news on how often search engines are urged to take action under this “VPN law.” However, searches of the Lumen Database show that – at Google alone – dozens of requests come in every month, with some targeting thousands of URLs. Unfortunately, the transparency stops there. Russian law doesn’t allow Google to share what URLs are blocked. Instead of sharing what is removed, Google simply reports the number of URLs that are targeted. “Google received a request from the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) to remove over 340 URLs from Web Search in Russia,” one of the many recent requests reads. “This request came under Russian federal law 276-FZ ‘On Amendments to the Federal Law ‘On Information, Information Technologies and Data Security’, commonly referred to as the ‘VPN law’. We are unable to publish the full list of URLs due to Russian law,” Google adds. russia takedown While details are scarce, we can expect pirate sites and proxies to be on the list of banned sites, as well as VPNs and anonymizers that are not on Russia’s whitelist. Just recently, Roskomnadzor added Opera VPN and VyprVPN to the list of threats. That would make them likely candidates to be removed from search results, at least in Russia. When it comes to the takedown volume, there’s another data source we can look at. Google separately reports takedown requests made by Governments and it has a dedicated page for Russia. Just a few years ago, Russia asked Google to remove ‘only’ a few dozen links per month. However, after the “VPN law” was adopted, this number skyrocketed to tens of thousands of removed links per month. During the latest reporting period – the six months ending December last year – nearly 200,000 items were removed. The removal reasons include “national security” and “defamation,” but the largest category by far (162,000) is “other.” russia takedown Based on the volume these “other” requests are sent by Roskomnadzor, which also covers the ‘VPN law’ takedowns. In an average week, these target thousands of links, so that fits the picture as well. The question remains what URLs are blocked under this VPN law. When we used the Russian version of Google from a Russian IP-address, we had no trouble finding Pirate Bay proxies. The recently banned Opera VPN and VyprVPN still showed up in search results as well. So while we can conclude that Russia’s law required Google to remove hundreds of thousands of URLs to protect copyright holders, we wonder how effective it really is. Content source: TorrentFreak.
  2. UEFA, the governing body of football in Europe, has obtained an extension to a High Court injunction that requires major ISPs to block consumer access to pirated streams in Ireland. The plan is to continue blocking measures so that pirating customers of Eir, Sky, Virgin Media, and Vodafone can less easily watch UEFA Champions League and Europa Conference League matches. Red CardWhen football fans choose to watch matches via pirated streams, top-tier football gets nervous. As a result, entities such as the Premier League have expended considerable resources attempting to shut down or otherwise undermine pirate streaming operations. The key weapon of choice is server and IP address blocking. This aims to sever the link between pirate infrastructure and consumers but for that, football entities require cooperation from ISPs. That cooperation is facilitated by High Court injunctions issued in both Great Britain and Ireland that require ISPs to block access to pirate resources. UEFA Follows The Premier League Model After successes in the UK, the Premier League took similar action in Ireland. In 2019, the Commerical Court gave the Premier League the green light to block pirate servers until June 30, 2020. Then last year, just before that permission ran out, the Premier League obtained an extension for the 2020/21 season. It recently obtained a further extension to cover the 2021/22 season. Following the model of the Premier League, UEFA has also sought permission from the courts to implement a blocking program. In 2017, UEFA obtained its first injunction in the UK, and in 2020 achieved similar success in Ireland. The injunction, which covered Eir (Eircom), Sky Ireland Ltd, Sky Subscribers Services Ltd, Virgin Media Ireland Ltd and Vodafone Ireland Ltd, required the ISPs to block subscriber access to various IP addresses identified as being part of pirate IPTV infrastructure. However, that injunction only covered the 2020-21 season, meaning that UEFA needed to return to court for an extension. UEFA Obtains Extension to High Court Injunction The documents supporting the latest injunction are yet to be made public but if previous injunctions are any indicator, the High Court will not publish anything that details how the scheme works in practice. There are some basic details being distributed, however. According to the Irish Times, the extended injunction targets the same set of ISPs as those contained in the original order. None of the ISPs contested the order, with Eir, Virgin and Vodafone presenting a neutral stance and Sky coming out in support. The plan itself remains unchanged, in that it plans to give those using computers and piracy-configured set-top boxes a harder time when it comes to receiving illegal streams, by blocking them before and during live matches. These measures can be easily circumvented with the use of a VPN but UEFA clearly believes that blocking is worth both the time and effort. Terms of Previous Injunction Remain Largely Unchanged When the Premier League obtained its most recent injunction in Ireland, it was reported that it had been given permission to use enhanced measures to disrupt pirated streams. The nature of those measures is not for public consumption but it was expected that UEFA would seek to follow suit with improvements to its application. However, according to UEFA lawyer Jonathan Newman SC, there is no substantive difference between this order and the previous orders, other than the injunction being sought for two seasons rather than one. Justice David Barniville, who has handled these types of injunctions in the past, was happy with the evidence presented to the court and agreed it would be appropriate to extend the orders until the end of the 2022/23 season. When the injunction is published by the court it will appear here. Content source: TorrentFreak.
  3. Eid comes with joy and happiness. All BWTians are like family, sharing and caring. On BWT we all share this joy and happiness. So on this occassion we have opened signups so that those who want to be a part of this sharing caring family can join and enjoy with us. As site is already freeleech so this makes it perfect time to join BWT make a good ratio. AND AND there is one other good news. All users will receive 3 invites so that IF they miss informing their friends about signups then they can later make them join BWT by sending invites. Enjoy your Eid with BWT. BWT staff
  4. Good dear users. We hereby ask all users to contribute and not be forced to close due to lack of financial resources. To make the donation you must send a private message to > > > GSI < < < All donations above 3€ receive X Gigas that count for Upload and during this VIP period, besides having the nickname in green , they are not affected by the system Hit and Run. The amount of Gigas awarded is related to the amount donated to know the amount you should visit the donations page >> << We also want to leave a VERY special thank you to all the staff, who have made this house what it is It's. So we appeal once again for your help to renew the server again and we take this opportunity to thank all those who visit us regularly and made us what we are today, without your presence/help nothing would be possible. The SceneRush administration.
  5. fix: some user blocks issues, you can enable and disable blocks here enable: user blocks for all users.
  6. Twitch users who play copyrighted music in the background leave themselves open to DMCA notices that can result in a ban. Other than expensive licensing there has been no obvious solution to this problem but thanks to developer Peter Frydenlund Madsen, Twitch streamers can now play copyrighted music to their fans, without risking infringement complaints. TwitchLast summer, chaos urupted on Twitch when users were suddenly bombarded with copyright infringement notices for content uploaded during 2017 and 2019. That initial batch was the work of the RIAA and in October 2020 the problems were back again when the music industry group fired off a second wave of complaints. In May, Twitch sent out an email noting that it had received another batch of DMCA takedown notices from music publishers, noting that the majority targeted streamers listening to background music while playing video games. But what if it was possible to stream copyrighted background music to users on Twitch, without receiving DMCA notices. And ensuring artists also get paid? Achieving the Impossible, Simply Unless users (or indeed Twitch) obtain licenses to stream mainstream music to the public, DMCA notices are always going to be a problem. However, with some lateral thinking, developer Peter Frydenlund Madsen, known on Twitch as Pequeno0, has come up with an elegant solution that will be useful to millions of users. Pequeno0’s solution is SpotifySynchronizer, a Twitch extension that synchronizes the streamer’s Spotify with the viewer’s Spotify, so that stream viewers can listen to the same music as the streamer, at exactly the same time. SpotifySynchronizer The beauty here is that no copyrighted tracks are distributed or recorded with or even without permission. The user simply connects to the streamer’s Spotify using the extension, executes a ‘force sync’ if necessary, and then listens to exactly the same music as the streamer, at exactly the same time, on their own machine. And because the music is being played on Spotify, the artists get paid. SpotifySynchronizer, GTA V RP and Twitch “I’ve watched a lot of GTA V RP on Twitch, and they used to play a lot of music, which fit the RP,” Pequeno0 informs TorrentFreak. “When the DMCA strikes hit, they were hit hard. So it was actually with them in mind that I started the project. So I talked to a friend of mine, and we came up with this idea of synchronizing music in a way that would still pay the artists.” Pequeno0 says he uses Spotify himself and since it’s a widely used service and accessible to millions – not to mention having a public API that is easy to use – the decision to integrate the platform was obvious. It was not without technical issues, however. Twitch and Spotify – Please Play Nicely “Getting to understand the Twitch API together with the Spotify API was problematic to start with. For example, it’s not possible to embed an iFrame in the Twitch extension. But usually logging in with Spotify happens in an iframe with OAuth,” Pequeno0 says. “I had to make a popup, and figure out how to send back the results of this popup to the extension to get the token to use for Spotify. This might be changed in the future to a better system to support more platforms.” Furthermore, Pequeno0 says that Spotify doesn’t provide any notification service when a song is changed. This means he has to ask Spotify which song is currently playing if the streamer changes tracks mid-song. “I could have made a check every few seconds, but the Spotify API also has rate limitation, so I decided against it. To overcome these issues, I had to make the ‘Force Sync’ button. It basically asks Spotify what the streamer is currently playing, and updates it with the server.” The developer says he doesn’t know how much time he’s spent on the project but does spend some money on a server to store a minimal amount of data. This is to make sure that viewers who log in when a track is already being played can discover the name of that track without having to communicate with the streamer’s part of the extension. The Future: Maybe More Music Services While Pequeno0 has been working on SpotifySynchronizer for some months now as a side project, he’s not ruling out more development. This will largely depend on how many people use the extension but he does have some early plans. “If the extension gets very popular, it could be extended to use even more services, and maybe even lookup songs on different music services, so the viewer/streamer could use different services but listen to the same songs,” Pequeno0 explains. In the meantime, the developer is providing instructions for those interested in testing SpotifySynchronizer on both the streaming and receiving ends. He promises there will be no DMCA notices for either. 1. The streamer installs the Extension and adds the panel to the channel. 2. Streamer starts Spotify, then starts the Live-Config panel found in the Creator Dashboard -> Stream Manager -> SpotifySynchronizer, then logs in with Spotify through the popup. The streamer then keeps this Live-Config panel open, as this is what does the synchronization. 3. If the streamer changes music mid-song, the “Force Sync” button has to be pressed to update it for the viewers. 4. Viewer opens Spotify and starts any song. This is a requirement, as the Spotify API can’t start playing if it doesn’t know which device is playing music. 5. Viewer logs in with SpotifySynchronizer below the stream on the streamer’s channel. If the viewer’s Spotify does not change to the song being played by the Streamer, the ‘Force Sync’ button can be used on the viewer’s side to get the currently playing song. Content source: TorrentFreak.
  7. A UK man has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for operating a pirate IPTV service. Paul Faulkner appeared before Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to multiple copyright infringement and fraud offenses. According to the Premier League, Faulkner was also found guilty of watching his own service, an offense which netted him four months in prison. Anyone running a significant pirate IPTV operation in the UK, especially one that supplies sports content, runs the risk of being targeted by the Premier League and anti-piracy partners Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). The pair have been involved in a number of criminal prosecutions of illicit TV suppliers over the years and today brings news of yet another conviction. Joint Investigation The target in this matter was a man called Paul Faulkner. He was reportedly the operator of TV Solutions, a pirate streaming service that offered illegal access to sports and entertainment content, including live Premier League matches and Sky channels. This resulted in a joint investigation by the Premier League and FACT, which determined that Faulkner was selling access to his service on social media platforms and using the money generated as a second source of income. The Premier League then brought a private criminal prosecution to bring Faulkner before the courts. Faulkner Pleads Guilty and is Sentenced According to the Premier League, Faulkner pleaded guilty to multiple copyright infringement and fraud offenses and eventually appeared in front of Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday. He was jailed for a total of 16 months, not only for supplying the service to customers but also for watching it himself. “Mr Faulkner pleaded guilty to both the unlawful supply of content and his own use of the service to view content he should have been paying to watch,” the Premier League says. “The judge recognized that Faulkner’s use of the unauthorized service was a distinct crime in itself. This was reflected in him receiving a separate sentence of four months’ imprisonment for using the service.” Also of interest is the Premier League’s reference to VPNs in respect of this case. “Despite the defendant selling access to his service on social media platforms as a secondary source of income, the judge made it clear this case was a sophisticated fraud carried out over a significant period of time, made more serious by the involvement of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs),” the football group notes. No Surprise That Watching Streams and VPNs Are Highlighted While tracking down and prosecuting IPTV providers is an important part of the Premier League’s strategy, it also faces problems when it comes to deterring the general public from buying these packages and being able to successfully use them on match days. Until 2017, it was widely believed that simply watching pirated streams wasn’t an offense in the EU. Indeed, in 2016 the EU Commission claimed that the act wasn’t illegal, a position supported by Trading Standards in the UK. However, the ‘Filmspeler’ decision removed all doubt, concluding that selling boxes and streaming pirated content amounted to copyright infringement. The mention that Faulkner received a four-month sentence for viewing illegal streams on his own service is meant as a clear signal to pirate IPTV buyers that they too could receive a similar sentence. While that could and should act as a deterrent, it should be noted that the Court may have taken Faulkner’s wider offending into consideration when handing down what appears to be a very stiff sentence. The other issue faced by the Premier League is the effectiveness of its ISP blocking program. Just last month the football group obtained yet another blocking injunction in Ireland, one that’s even more stringent than the last. However, this can be circumvented in seconds with the use of a VPN. The exact circumstances of Faulkner’s use or promotion of VPNs aren’t made clear by the Premier League but by mentioning the technology as an aggravating factor in his case, there’s clearly an effort to portray these circumvention devices as problematic, not only for IPTV providers but users too. Content source: TorrentFreak.
  8. Eager anime fans looking for a free alternative to pirate sites have donated more than $110K to Anime Tube, a project that's soaring on Kickstarter. Unfortunately, the fledgling business is already on life support, with at least one major backer withdrawing and offering to personally pay investors any money they can't recover. Apparently, licensing is a major unsolved issue. As more and more westerners become hooked on Japanese film and television animation, the astronomic rise of anime has been a sight to behold in recent years. This growth in interest has been mirrored by increased traffic to pirate sites, as fans seek to get their fix without paying for the privilege. But what if there was a way to view anime without paying? That is the promise of Anime Tube, a brand new Kickstarter project that shares its name with an app that rose in popularity several years ago due to the availability of pirate content in its indexes. That app is also referenced on the Anime Tube Kickstarter with three glowing reviews. Promotional Material Advertised Piracy Alternative Earlier this week, Anime Tube posted a cartoon frame to Twitter, part of a collaboration with the respected Merryweather Comics. As the image below shows, it was all about promoting the new Anime Tube app as an alternative to pirate downloads while avoiding the claimed dangers of illegal sites. Interest was considerable. After Anime Tube posted its Kickstarter, the fund-raising platform elevated it to “Project We Love” status. Merryweather Comic’s team also made Anime Tube an advert and uploaded it to YouTube, something that helped Anime Tube reach its $50,000 goal in under two hours. At the time of writing, Anime Tube has in excess of $111K in pledges but for reasons that are becoming all too painful, the project now appears to be under considerable negative pressure. Big Promises Undermine The Project While Anime Tube promises to give fans anime for free, that is only part of the offer. When digging into the Kickstarter it appears they are working towards an ad-supported model, underpinned by users who pay a subscription. While this might be an acceptable proposition for many, the first problem appears to be a distinct lack of content. Indeed, Anime Tube says it doesn’t know what content it will have available and as such touts different subscription rates based on its licensing successes, none of which are listed. If it manages to get 100 shows, it would charge $0.99 per month, for example. This lack of content appears to have flown past most of the Kickstarter contributors as a non-issue but those with more experience seem to have recognized that a target of just $50,000 wouldn’t go anywhere near funding the licenses for even a modest range of content. Another red flag was that Anime Tube said it couldn’t even say which regions it would support due to licensing issues, meaning that contributors could find themselves unable to use the app. Dissenting Voices Silenced Unfortunately, Anime Tube then decided that anyone calling them out on social media, where they have the necessary control, wouldn’t be able to voice their opinions over the questionable claims being made. For what appear to be counter-productive reasons, dissenters found themselves blocked, with Anime Tube offering the following explanation: “Why did you block me on social media?” the project wrote on Kickstarter. “Because we do not have time for negativity and trolls. We are here to make the best damn anime app on the planet, trolls and negative people are just trying to get in the way. If you believe in what we are trying to do, then support our campaign, otherwise find someone who wants to listen to you!” Wheels Start To Fall Off During the last couple of hours, the advert made by Merryweather Comics to promote the project was suddenly made private on YouTube. The reasons for that are made clear on the Merryweather Twitter account where it is revealed that the artist and his friends have withdrawn their support for the project. “It was our first offer to do a sponsored comic, and the money was honestly pretty good. Our team and I looked into it, and found while we thought it was a very ambitious project, we expected outside investors to cover costs, not just Kickstarter money” Merryweather continues “If you have donated money, you should be able to withdraw it before the funding period ends. If you have donated a substantial amount and are not able to withdraw it, please message me below this tweet and I will compensate you personally. “In the future we will make sure to research properly the projects we support. We have never done sponsored comics like this in the past, it was very new to us, and I think we should have looked more into it beyond just assuming it’s an ambitious project run by some friendly people. I’m sorry guys,” Merryweather concludes. Anime Tube Made Questionable Claims Over Licensing Negotiations While there is no trace of the text on the Kickstarter now, Anime Tube previously published a list of titles that were allegedly part of its licensing discussions. That was news to at least one company that took to Twitter to ask why they knew nothing about such negotiations, nor why the content of many other leading producers’ content was also listed. According to follow-up tweets, Anime Tube responded but then deleted its tweet. A screen capture shows that the threshold for being in “discussions” might be fairly low. Where the project will head from here is unclear. However, what the problems above appear to show is that having a cool app is only part of the problem – without content and licensing, providing a legal service is completely impossible. Content source: TorrentFreak.