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  1. We were shocked to learn of the departure of another dear friend. We thank him for his many years of friendship, help, and that we could count on him when he had to! We remember, your memory lives among us. Goodbye Sutyi !!!
  2. Sony Music has obtained an injunction that requires the freely available DNS-resolver Quad9 to block a popular pirate site. The order, issued by the District Court in Hamburg, Germany, is the first of its kind. The Quad9 foundation has already announced that it will protest the judgment, which could have far-reaching consequences. Copyright holders have made serious work of website blocking in Germany. A few months ago a voluntary agreement was announced with the country’s largest ISPs, which agreed to block pirate sites after a verification process. This is a major win for rightsholders, but one that can be easily defeated. The Internet providers use relatively simple DNS blockades which can be circumvented by switching to third-party DNS resolvers such as Google, Cloudflare or Quad9, which are all free to use. However, that loophole may not last forever. Last week Sony Music obtained an injunction at the District Court of Hamburg which requires the Swiss DNS-resolver Quad9 to block access to a site that’s frequently used to host pirated music. While the site remains unnamed, the consequences could be far-reaching. The Hamburg court found that the DNS service is not eligible for the liability protections that other third-party intermediaries such as ISPs and domain registrars typically enjoy. And if Quad9 fails to comply with the injunction, it will have to pay a fine of 250,000 euros per ‘infringing’ DNS query plus potentially two years in prison. One of the arguments that Sony brought up in court was that Quad9 already blocks various problematic sites voluntarily. In fact, the DNS-resolver promotes threat blocking as a feature. “Quad9 blocks against known malicious domains, preventing your computers and IoT devices from connecting to malware or phishing sites,” the company’s website reads. Bill Woodcock, chairman of the Quad9 foundation, doesn’t believe that the company’s malware and phishing filters, which help to protect users, are on par with blocking a pirate site. He informed the German news site Heise that Quad9 will appeal to the injunction. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Quad9’s General Manager, John Todd, says that the company is still reviewing the order, which it received last Friday. The non-profit foundation doesn’t believe its resources should be used to benefit for-profit companies such as Sony. “Our donors support us to protect the public from cyber-threats, not to further enrich Sony,” Todd informs us. One of Quad9’s missions is to protect the public from malware and phishing threats. In the past, copyright holders have repeatedly warned that pirate sites are malware threats. However, Quad9 relies on qualified experts to determine what threats to block, not on copyright holders that clearly have other interests as well. “Quad9 derives its threat intelligence from qualified experts on malware and phishing, not from the claims of parties without relevant expertise. We would be unable to maintain our 98% success rate in blocking cyber-threats if we accepted input based on self-interested claims, rather than on forensics and expert analysis,” Todd notes. The injunction is also criticized by Thomas Rickert, a lawyer at the German internet association ‘eco’. “I cannot imagine a provider who is further removed from responsibility for any illegal domains than a public resolver operator,” he told Heise. This is not the first blocking order against a third-party online intermediary in Germany. Last year, Universal Music obtained a similar injunction against Cloudflare. That order wasn’t for Cloudflare’s DNS-resolver, but for the CDN service. The Cloudflare injunction is also different because it applied to the pirate music site DDL-Music, which was a Cloudflare customer. DDL-Music could also be the target in the recent injunction, but Quad9 said that this isn’t the case. However, there’s another, perhaps more likely candidate. As highlighted earlier, if this injunction stands it will be a powerful tool to complement the voluntary ISP blockades. At the moment that blocklist only includes three sites. Of those three, canna.to is the only one that offers access to pirated music, so that would be our bet. Quad9 didn’t confirm or deny that canna.to is the target of the injunction but the foundation plans to release more information in the near future.
  3. The copyright lawsuit between several major record labels and YouTube-rippers FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com is entering sensitive territory. As part of the discovery process, the music companies demand logs of what content the sites' users download and where from. The operator of the sites doesn't keep such extensive logs, but could the court force him to do so? Free music is easy to find nowadays. Just head over to YouTube and one can find millions of tracks, including many of the most recent releases. This is a problem for the major record labels which don’t want tracks to leak outside YouTube’s ecosystem. For this reason, YouTube rippers are seen as a major threat. The music industry is actively tackling this issue by requesting IPS blockades, sending takedown notices, and taking site operators to court. FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com Lawsuit In 2018, a group of prominent record labels sued two very popular YouTube rippers, FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com. The labels, including Universal, Warner Bros, and Sony, accused the sites of copyright infringement and hoped to shut it down quickly. That was not the case. The Russian operator of the YouTube rippers, Tofig Kurbanov, fought back. He initially argued that a US court doesn’t have jurisdiction over foreign sites. After a lower court initially agreed, the labels won on appeal. In March, a Virginia federal court ruled that Mr. Kurbanov must face the piracy allegations. The ruling means that both parties will now have to argue the case on its merits. As part of this process, the labels and stream-rippers are allowed to conduct discovery in order to gather evidence they need. Labels Want Logs The labels, for example, requested various documents and emails from the site operator, hoping to back up their claims. In addition, they want to know much more about how the site is used, including what files are downloaded by users, where these users are located, and what the source sites are. Some of the Requests The latter information could be easily stored in server log files. However, Mr. Kurbanov informed the labels that he has nothing to share. The requested data do not exist, he replied, noting that it would be ‘unduly burdensome’ to ‘create or produce’ them. The response indicated that the stream-rippers simply don’t retain log files that save the requested information. Enabling extensive logging clearly goes a step too far for Mr. Kurbanov. However, the music companies disagree. ‘Rippers Should Preserve Logs’ In a filing submitted at the federal court in Virginia this week, the music companies request a court order that compels the server data to be logged and handed over to the labels. “In the ordinary course of operations, Defendant’s Websites necessarily generate server data, including data that identifies: (a) the YouTube videos being stream-ripped; (b) the MP3 audio files being copied and distributed; and (c) the geographic locations of the users downloading the audio files,” they write. “Respectfully, the Court should order Defendant to preserve and produce this key evidence.” The Evidence Exists In their motion, the labels argue that the requested evidence already exists. It is readily available, but simply not logged. This is a decision that was made by the operator. “The problem is that Defendant has configured his server software to turn the logging function off — thus, continually overwriting important data that Plaintiffs explicitly requested in discovery.” According to the labels, Mr. Kurbanov is not entitled to hide behind this business practice as a means to defeat his preservation obligations. Especially since it only requires minimal effort to start logging. “It is a bedrock principle that, once a party is required to preserve existing evidence, the party must take affirmative steps to do so. The server data exists, and Plaintiffs simply ask that Defendant be ordered to preserve and produce that data,” the labels conclude. TorrentSpy The request is reminiscent of the piracy lawsuit several Hollywood studios filed against TorrentSpy, more than a decade ago. In that case, which is cited by the labels, a federal court ordered the torrent site to log all data stored in RAM. Shortly after this court order, TorrentSpy decided to block all US visitors from accessing its site, referencing an uncertain legal climate in the US regarding user privacy. Thus far, FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com have yet to respond to the request, but given their previous stance, it is likely that Mr. Kurbanov will fight it tooth and nail.
  4. After a leaked copy of Windows 11 began circulating this week, thousands downloaded the ISO file to get an early look at the new operating system. Perhaps surprisingly, Microsoft hasn't yet made much of an effort to contain the leak, but was successful in taking down the ISO from various hosting sites. It also targeted a tech news site, which removed an installation tutorial. Earlier this week, a copy of the next version of Windows leaked onto the web. Known officially as Windows 11, the leaked copy is a pre-beta version but that hasn’t stopped tech sites publishing mini reviews, assessing everything from its visual appearance to various technical features. This early reveal isn’t what Microsoft had in mind so, with various ISO files now circulating on torrent sites, file-hosting platforms and even Google’s services, Microsoft has made a start at trying to remove the leak from the web. A Slow Start to Public Takedowns Ever since news of the leak broke on Tuesday we’ve been monitoring various resources for Microsoft takedown demands. Perhaps the biggest surprise thus far is that the US-based tech giant has been very slow off the mark with copyright complaints. It’s possible that the company understands the futility of trying to prevent the spread, particularly since those that are most interested in the product won’t be easily deterred. That being said, Microsoft has made some efforts nonetheless. DMCA Takedowns Filed With Some Strange Features Thus far only a handful of DMCA notices have been filed with companies including Google and of course these are made available for scrutiny on the Lumen Database. Some of these have strange aspects for one reason or another, so we’ll detail a handful below. The first takedown to catch our eye targets a Windows 11 ISO file stored on Google Drive. The service has been used repeatedly for distributing copies of Microsoft’s new OS in recent days and in this case, Google has indeed removed the file. However, instead of listing itself as the source for the content, Microsoft informed Google that the original Windows 11 could be found on news site The Verge, listing the site’s article reporting on the leak as the source. Another notice with strange features was sent to Google seeking to have two URLs removed from its indexes. In this case, law firm Covington & Burling LLP provided no source URLs on behalf of Microsoft but did take down a link to Twitter and indeed the original tweet. Another link on Mediafire was taken down too but weirdly the file-hosting platform thinks that publishing company Springer Nature sent the DMCA notice, not Microsoft. Review The Leak, Don’t Link To It Microsoft in Japan also threw its hat into the ring, filing a DMCA notice against tech news site BeeBom.com. The site has published several articles about the Windows 11 leak, most of which didn’t raise any red flags. However, in an article titled ‘How to Download and Install Windows 11 Right Now’, the news site made the decision to link to several Google Drive and HiDrive accounts hosting the leaked OS, which was a step too far for Microsoft. “Beebom.com’s article is distributing Windows 11 ISO (copyrighted to Microsoft). Please remove their article from the search. It is a leaked copy of the unreleased Windows 11,” the notice reads. After Google processed the delisting request the BeeBom article remained live for several hours. However, it appears that BeeBom may have been put under more direct pressure too since the entire article has since been deleted. The embedded Google Drive links no longer provide access to the Windows 11 ISO either, with Google returning: “Sorry, the file you have requested does not exist.” While this action seems to indicate a start to the clean-up, the cat is already well and truly out of the bag. The ISO is still available in dozens of other locations, including via many articles and posts appearing in the first few pages of Google’s search results. The file also appears on sites where Microsoft will have more trouble removing content but at least at the moment, the tech company doesn’t seem overly concerned by the spread.
  5. At some point in the past somebody made a comment on a video by YouTube personality Dani that he probably couldn't make a survival game of his own. Probably in response to critique of some other survival game. Naturally(???) Dani got really salty about this and decided to prove the person wrong. If you didn't know this story that's fine, because neither did I until I noticed that nearly 15,000 people were playing a game called Muck that I'd never heard of, released yesterday, and has Overwhelmingly Positive reviews. There's a whole video about it, courtesy of Dani. That's our salty YouTuber, whom I had never heard of until today. When I say salty here, I must stress, I say it with deep respect. Respect inspired by my motto: "Living well is the best revenge. The second best revenge is definitively proving people wrong." Thus! Muck! A multiplayer survival-roguelike about collecting resources, finding items, building a base, and surviving for as long as you can against waves of enemies. It's completely free on Steam. It's been very positively rated by who I can only assume is a horde of Dani's fans, but also it's free and it's not awful. I played it for two hours and it's fun enough. It's free and it's not awful! Don't know how much more of an endorsement I can give. I guess you can play it with your friends too, but I couldn't test that because I am working right now. It has both cooperative and competitive multiplayer, though, so no matter what kind of survival game fan you are there's
  6. A Grandmasters Hearthstone player in the current tournament disconnected from the server, seemingly out of frustration, in lieu of conceding to his opponent. Grandmaster Zakarya "xBlyzes" Hail has had a rough season of disputes with tournament administrators: He was docked two points for missing a match, with further accusations of win-trading. In today's Grandmasters playoff matches, xBlyzes has a poor series of draws against opponent Frenetic's excellent hand. "It's a brutal way to lose the series," says the commentator on the stream, "but at the same time it's very cruel to Frenetic who has to sit and wait to get confirmation from the admin." You can watch the clip on YouTube. Some fans have expressed sympathy for xBlyzes, others disdain. Either way, the loss has cost xBlyzes his chance at a spot in this year's World Championships for Hearthstone. If it's not clear from the ragequit, xBlyzes is not taking it well. "I want to die," he tweeted shortly after the match. "sry to be mad because i lost the most important match of my life," he later replied to a poster accusing him of being unsportsmanlike. It's a setback for him, but at just 20 years old this is likely not the last the competitive Hearthstone community will hear of xBlyzes. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US), Crisis Services Canada (CA), Samaritans (UK), or Lifeline (AUS). If you are outside of these regions, check this list for a hotline in your country.
  7. Anne-Marie is set to be an honorary member of Little Mix on an upcoming collaboration. The 'Don't Play' hitmaker has joined forces with Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock on a new song on her upcoming album, 'Therapy'. An insider told The Sun newspaper's Bizarre column: "Anne-Marie and Little Mix have been pals for years and this collaboration has been a long time coming. “They have spoken about doing something together for ages but the timing was never quite right and they never settled on a song. But they all seem to be really excited about this one because they said it was the perfect fit for them. “They are keeping shtum about what sort of song it is, but having two of the biggest British female acts teaming up is a great thing for girl power.” Fans can expect the girl power anthem in July, the same month Anne-Marie's second studio album drops on the 23rd. Meanwhile, the 'Our Song' singer previously admitted she wishes she was in a band like the 'Sweet Melody' singers - whose fourth member, Jesy Nelson, quit last year - as she doesn't have a group of bandmates around her, but she found it interesting to hear how they still struggle. She said: "I think the conversation I was having with them was purely from a point of jealousy on my behalf that they get to have each other and I'm on my own. "But it was intriguing to see that they still struggle and that's what I think was quite important to see but also I think I'm a very stubborn person and that's hard for me as I'm against things, so it has been tough. I find it hard to trust people, also putting my faith in people who aren't me in my journey are hard, because how are people to know what my life is going to be." Anne-Marie also admitted that when she first became a soloist, it wasn't all that she thought it would be. She added: "I’m a bit jealous of you lot actually because you have each other. Like when I was in Rudimental, I had all of them like there. There was like 10 people all the time. All around you. I was so excited about being a soloist and then when I did it I was like this is not what I thought."
  8. A new image from the set of Evil Dead Rise reveals the sequel has begun filming. Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films are some of the most iconic horror movies from the '80s. Evil Dead 2 specifically managed to blend comedy and horror, which Raimi's Army of Darkness and Ash vs. Evil Dead continued. Fede Alvarez's 2013 Evil Dead remake starring Jane Levy took a more dark and serious approach yet still managed to win over audiences. The franchise is continuing to this day with the upcoming Evil Dead Rise. A new Evil Dead movie was confirmed to be in development back in October 2019. Bruce Campbell has officially retired as Ash Williams, but he and Raimi are both returning to produce the new film. Rather than taking place in a cabin in the woods, the next Evil Dead will take place in the city, and Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan will star as sisters in the film. Campbell expected Evil Dead Rise to start filming last year, but like so many other productions, that date got pushed back due to the pandemic. The actor updated horror fans in March though, revealing that the sequel would be filming in New Zealand later this year. Continue Scrolling To Keep ReadingClick the button below to start this article in quick view. START NOW RELATED: Evil Dead Rise: Why A Female Lead Is A Good Choice To Replace Ash Williams Now filming has officially begun on Evil Dead Rise. Director Lee Cronin shared the news by posting a photo of Evil Dead Rise's clapperboard on the first day of shooting. Cronin's original tweet can be seen below: The image shared by Cronin doesn't reveal much about the movie's plot, but horror buffs do already have a good idea of what the film will be about. It has been confirmed that Evil Dead Rise is continuing Raimi's trilogy rather than adding on to the remake's storyline. Even though Ash won't be featured in the film, except maybe a cameo, it is exciting that the next movie is expanding the story Raimi started 40 years ago. Raimi is currently busy with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, yet it is a good sign that he and Campbell are both involved in Evil Dead Rise's production. Besides filming being delayed due to COVID, the development of Evil Dead Rise is moving fairly quickly since it was announced. The movie will be released on HBO Max instead of in theaters, which is a safer bet since the theater industry is still trying to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic. However, now that vaccines are becoming more readily available to people around the world, productions are going back to normal, which means Evil Dead Rise has the potential to finish filming on time. A release date for Evil Dead Rise still hasn't been revealed, but with filming officially underway, it's only a matter of time before Campbell or someone else involved in the production sends out another update.
  9. Ryan Reynolds travels with his Deadpool mask in a new image. The hilarious Merc with a Mouth was last seen on screen in 2018's Deadpool 2. One year later, Deadpool officially became part of the MCU when Disney acquired 20th Century Fox and the rights to all the X-Men characters. Deadpool 3 has since been officially confirmed by Marvel president Kevin Feige and is the only R-rated MCU project in development. Fans, Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld, and Ryan Reynolds have all been eager for a third Deadpool movie. Reynolds has always been one of the greatest advocates for Deadpool's character development. He previously joked about how Deadpool's first MCU mission would be finding out who killed Bambi's mom. While skeptics might say it's highly unlikely that such a plot point would occur, anything goes with the fourth-wall-breaking chaotic bundle of mayhem that is Wade Wilson. Continue Scrolling To Keep ReadingClick the button below to start this article in quick view. START NOW RELATED:Everything We Know About Deadpool 3 In typical comedic fashion, Reynolds was a total tease during his latest travels. The Deadpool star shared a caption-less image to his Instagram stories, but his travel companion's presence was loud enough. Check out the fun photo of Reynolds' coffee and his Deadpool mask below. The question is, why was Reynolds traveling with the iconic mask? Is he just trolling, or did he bring the mask for Deadpool 3 pre-production talks? Feige did confirm earlier this year that Deadpool 3 wouldn't start officially filming until at least 2022, but that a script was being written. Reynolds was one of the co-writers for Deadpool 2, but the two confirmed writers for the third film are Bob's Burgers executive producers and writers Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin. Although the reason for the presence of the Deadpool mask in Reynolds' backpack is a mystery, it's still a fun little treat for fans eager for more Deadpool content. There hasn't been any official word either on plot details or an official release date for Deadpool 3. Marvel has already announced their full slate of films for the rest of 2021 and 2022, but 2023 only has two MCU movies on the roster so far. Thankfully the Merc with a Mouth will be able to debut in the MCU in all his R-rated glory. The mystery around Deadpool's official return to the big screen is still shrouded in mystery, and while the wait is understandably frustrating for fans, it'll be great if the cast and crew take their time to make the long wait worthwhile.
  10. China has stepped up its crackdown on bitcoin trading and mining, blocking a slew of cryptocurrency-related accounts on the Twitter-like Weibo platform over the weekend. More actions are expected, including linking illegal crypto activities in China more directly with the country’s criminal law, according to analysts and a financial regulator. Last month, China’s state council, or cabinet, vowed to crack down on bitcoin mining and trading, escalating a campaign against cryptocurrencies days after three industry bodies banned cryptocurrency-based financial and payment services. Over the weekend, access to several widely followed crypto-related Weibo accounts was denied, with a message saying each account “violates laws and rules”. “It’s a Judgment Day for crypto KOL,” wrote a Weibo bitcoin commentator, or key opinion leader (KOL), who calls herself “Woman Dr. bitcoin mini”. Her main account was also blocked on Saturday. Why cryptocurrencies may remain merely a bit on the side Read more “The government makes it clear that no Chinese version of Elon Musk can exist in the Chinese crypto market,” said NYU law school adjunct professor Winston Ma, referring to the Tesla founder and one-time cryptocurrency enthusiast. Ma, author of the book The Digital War, also expects China’s supreme court to publish a judicial interpretation soon that may link crypto mining and trading businesses with China’s body of criminal law. The view was echoed by a financial regulator, which said that such an interpretation would address the legal ambiguity that has failed to clearly identify bitcoin trading businesses as “illegal operations”. All the rules against cryptocurrencies so far in China have been published by administrative bodies. The Weibo freeze comes as Chinese media have stepped up reporting against crypto trading. The official Xinhua news agency has published articles that exposed a series of crypto-related scams. State broadcaster CCTV has said cryptocurrency is a lightly regulated asset often used in black market trade, money laundering, arms smuggling, gambling and drug dealing. The crackdown also comes as China’s central bank is accelerating testing of its own digital currency. … we have a small favour to ask. Millions are turning to the Guardian for open, independent, quality news every day, and readers in 180 countries around the world now support us financially. We believe everyone deserves access to information that’s grounded in science and truth, and analysis rooted in authority and integrity. That’s why we made a different choice: to keep our reporting open for all readers, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. This means more people can be better informed, united, and inspired to take meaningful action. In these perilous times, a truth-seeking global news organisation like the Guardian is essential. We have no shareholders or billionaire owner, meaning our journalism is free from commercial and political influence – this makes us different. When it’s never been more important, our independence allows us to fearlessly investigate, challenge and expose those in power. Support the Guardian from as little as $1 – it only takes a minute. If you can, please c
  11. Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here. https://www.ft.com/content/874586aa-9fb8-4a72-ba09-083b6afbaf77 Nandan Nilekani has called on India to embrace cryptocurrencies as an asset class as authorities round the world grapple with how to accommodate the technology. The chair of Infosys, the information technology and consulting company, believes cryptocurrencies are too volatile and energy intensive to use as a means of payment and views India’s homegrown Unified Payments Interface digital payments infrastructure as more effective. But he said crypto should be encouraged as an asset to be bought and sold, like a commodity. “Just like you have some of your assets in gold or real estate, you can have some of your assets in crypto,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “I think there’s a role for crypto as a stored value but certainly not in a transactional sense.” Nilekani said permitting individuals and businesses to tap the $1.5tn market would allow “the crypto guys to put their wealth into India’s economy”. The tech executive has long worked with Indian authorities to help craft digital policies, including the Aadhaar biometric identity programme. He also chaired a central bank committee on digital payments in 2019. India is a potentially big market for crypto but the country’s official stance is unclear, with the spectre of an outright ban looming despite surging volumes among local traders. A ban would make India one of the world’s most draconian jurisdictions when it comes to digital currencies, as authorities round the world consider how to regulate crypto. Recommended Katie Martin Cryptocurrency holders take on central banks at their peril India’s Supreme Court last year overturned a 2018 central bank directive clamping down on crypto. But the market continues to operate in a grey area, with some banks recently threatening to take action against crypto traders. The government said this year it would introduce legislation that was widely expected to ban private digital currencies in favour of an official, central-bank run coin. Officials have since made more conciliatory-sounding statements. Infosys has enthusiastically adopted the blockchain technology underpinning cryptocurrencies as it looks to offer a growing range of digital tools to its multinational clients. But India’s IT industry was hit hard by the country’s ferocious second wave of coronavirus, with companies facing widespread infection among employees and regulators fretting about possible disruption to back-office operations. Nilekani argued the business impact was limited and cases were now falling. Why every Dogecoin has its day - crypto explained Nilekani argued that Infosys’s experience and scale — the company has about 250,000 employees — meant it was well placed to thrive as companies revamp their internal systems to adjust to a post-pandemic routine of remote or flexible working. This includes demand for shifting on to the cloud. Although Infosys does not usually reveal the identity of its clients, it has secured deals with companies including Daimler, the German carmaker, and US investment group Vanguard in the past year. “I think, frankly, the opportunities today are better than ever before,” Nilekani said. “In the 40 years I’ve been in this industry, I’ve never seen so much change and acceleration happening.”
  12. In 2020, Amazon teamed up with publisher Penguin Random House and authors including Lee Child and John Grisham to sue several pirate eBook sites operating out of Ukraine. After a cash-strapped local court reported that it had no stamps and envelopes so couldn't correspond on paper, the publishers had to hire a private investigator in an effort to track down and serve a key defendant. Last summer, Amazon Content Services, publisher Penguin Random House and several authors including John Grisham and Lee Child, filed a lawsuit in the United States targeting a range of ‘pirate eBook sites. Background: Massive Copyright Infringement Operating under the ‘Kiss Library’ brand, Kissly.net, Wtffastspring.bid, Libly.net, and Cheap-Library.com marketed themselves as providers of a “premium selection” of books at “unbeatable prices”. The plaintiffs said that this was only possible due to the sites offering pirated copies of their books. The action’s stated aim was to put the platforms out of business but also to seek damages from the people behind them including Ukrainian nationals Rodion Vynnychenko and Artem Besshapochny, who are said to have created Kiss Library and profited from its activities. Just days after the action was filed, a Washington court handed down a preliminary injunction targeting the defendants and their payment processors, domain registrars, hosts, back-end service providers, affiliate program providers, web designers, and search engines. The court also issued an order to financial companies demanding that they locate all of the defendants’ accounts and prevent the transferral of any assets. In her order, Judge Marsha J. Pechman noted that the restraining order was necessary since the defendants had “gone to great lengths” to frustrate the plaintiffs and the court by using “multiple false identities and addresses” and “purposely-deceptive contact information.” As the battle moved to Ukraine, this assertion became increasingly evident. Ukraine Court System Under Strain In April, the plaintiffs told the Washington court that they had served defendants Kiss Library, Artem Besshapochny and Jack Brown but were experiencing difficulties serving Rodion Vynnychenko. In part, the delays were put down to Vynnychenko deliberately attempting to evade service but other problems were related directly to legal rules in Ukraine and serious issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Ukrainian law requires government service on parties using original paper copies of documents. The plaintiffs sent these (along with translations) in August 2020 but the Desnyanskyi District Court of Kyiv didn’t receive them until October 2020. In the meantime, Vynnychenko reportedly deregistered his Kyiv address and failed to appear at two hearings. When he did register a new address, the right court (Kirovskyi District Court of Kirovohrad) did not receive the service documents until February 2021. And problems were mounting. At a hearing on March 4, 2021, to confirm service on Vynnychenko at his new address, Amazon and the other plaintiffs were informed that service could not go ahead because the court had run out of money. The seriousness of the matter was underlined when the court said it could not correspond on paper because the “court completely lacks postal stamps and envelopes for sending judicial correspondence.” Defendant is a Moving Target When the hearing continued on April 24, the Kirovskyi District Court informed plaintiffs’ counsel that the address provided by Vynnychenko was not in fact his residence. As a result, the court returned the request unexecuted to the Ministry of Justice leading the plaintiffs to take matters into their own hands by tracking down the defendant in person. “Based on these repeated and intentional attempts to evade service, Plaintiffs engaged a private investigator to assist the Ukrainian government in identifying and confirming Defendant Vynnychenko’s place of residence,” they told the Washington court last week. “Through those efforts, Plaintiffs located Vynnychenko’s true residence in Kyiv and forwarded his location to the Ministry for government-mandated service.” Amazon and the other plaintiffs say that after identifying Vynnychenko’s home, the Ministry of Justice forwarded the service documents to the Holosiivskyi District Court last week. Another hearing is now scheduled for June 11 but given the evasion tactics deployed thus far, service actually taking place remains a question. Issues With Other Defendants Despite being properly served, defendants Artem Besshapochny and Jack Brown have both failed to appear at hearings thus far, meaning that none of the defendants have appeared as required. However, the plaintiffs aren’t idling in the background. Last week they told the Washington court that in addition to tracking down Vynnychenko, they have also been pursuing discovery regarding the “identities and activities” of Does 1-10 as listed in the original lawsuit. Given the problems thus far, it remains to be seen whether plaintiffs Amazon, Penguin Random House, Lee Child, Sylvia Day, John Grisham, C.J. Lyons, Doug Preston, Jim Rasenberger, T.J. Stiles, R.L Stine, Monique Troung, Scott Turow, Nicholas Weinstock and Stuart Woods will ever see a penny from this action. They demand $150,000 per infringed work for willful direct copyright infringement and $150,000 per work for vicarious and/or contributory copyright infringement in respect of offenses carried out by Kiss Library’s users.
  13. Good News everyone. Invites is back on, any members wish to invite friends, family etc, just ask. Remember guys, we can only survive through Donations.