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  1. Tracker Name: BTmaniac Genre: General Sign-up Link: https://www.btmaniac.org/signup.php Closing Date: N/A Additional Information: BTmaniac is a GREEK Private Torrent Tracker for MOVIES / TV / GENERAL *Only available to Greek Residents
  2. Tracker Name: Share Friends Projekt (SFP) Genre: General Sign-up Link: http://s-f-p.dyndns.dk/signup.php Closing Date: N/A Additional Information: Share Friends Projekt (SFP) is a German Private Torrent Tracker for Movies / General Releases.
  3. In June, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered Google to remove a company's websites from its search results all over the world, not just in Canada. With options to appeal exhausted in Canada, this week Google filed for an injunction in the United States, arguing that the ruling violates the First Amendment. Despite being what courts have described as an “innocent bystander”, Google has found itself at the heart of a potentially damaging intellectual property case. Running since 2014, Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack saw Canadian entities battle over stolen intellectual property. Equustek Solutions claimed that Google’s search results helped to send visitors to Datalink websites operated by the defendants (former Equustek employees) who were selling unlawful products. Google voluntarily removed links to the sites from its Google.ca (Canada) results but Equustek wanted more, and soon got it. A court in British Columbia, the Court of Appeal, and then the Supreme Court of Canada all agreed that Google should remove links to the sites on a global basis, by definition beyond Canada’s borders. When court rulings encroach on potentially opposing legal systems overseas, difficulties are bound to arise. Google raised concerns that the decision would conflict with U.S. law, but the Supreme Court described the issues as “theoretical” and left it up to the U.S. to solve the problem. In response, Google filed for an injunction at the US District Court for Northern California this week, arguing that the Canadian decision violates important U.S. legislation. “Google now turns to this Court, asking it to declare that the rights established by the First Amendment and the Communications Decency Act are not merely theoretical,” Google wrote. “The Canadian order is repugnant to those rights, and the order violates principles of international comity, particularly since the Canadian plaintiffs never established any violation of their rights under U.S. law. “Pursuant to well-established United States law, Google seeks a declaratory judgment that the Canadian court’s order cannot be enforced in the United States and an order enjoining that enforcement.” According to Google, Internet search results are fully protected speech under the First Amendment, and because the Canadian decision is directed to a specific speaker (Google) and is content-specific, it must come under scrutiny. Google insists that the websites to be censored are already a matter of public record and Equustek has not shown that it has no alternative remedies to hand other than to censor Google’s results outside of Canada. “Equustek has not sought similar delisting injunctions against the world’s other search engines, such as Bing or Yahoo,” Google writes, noting that action hasn’t been taken against regular websites carrying links either. Google also suggests that Equustek could have taken action against Datalink’s registrars and webhosts, which have the ability to delete the actual sites in question. With the websites gone the search de-indexing battle would be moot, but for reasons unknown, Equustek has chosen a different battle. Describing the Canadian order as one of “convenience,” Google criticizes the effort to deal with a Canadian legal problem on a global basis, adding that “no one country should purport to control the global internet.” In closing, Google asks the court to declare the Canadian Order unenforceable in the United States on the basis it violates the the First Amendment, the Communications Decency Act, and public policy surrounding enforceability of foreign judgments. “The Canadian Order purports to place the Canadian court in the position of supervising the law enforcement activities of a foreign sovereign nation (the United States) against the United States’ own citizens on American soil. Because the Canadian courts ignored principles of international comity, corrective action by this Court is required,” Google concludes. https://torrentfreak.com/google-challenges-canadas-global-blocking-injunction-in-the-us-170726/
  4. 100 days. :: Posted 14 hours and 35 minutes ago It's been 100 days or so since we made our The Future of TehConnection.eu Announcement and though it might not seem like it, we've made some major progress and we're not done yet!Over the past 100 days we have: - Integrated our new Ocelot Tracker - Built Justine Bot which serves users and staff in IRC - Fully functional Mail Server giving us a 98.4% delivery rate - TehIMG.eu for hosting images/screenshots/etc. - Invested in our infrastructure and security -- 1 x Front-End Server | 1 x Back-End Server | 1 x IRC Server | 1 x Development Server | 1 x Site Operations Proxy Server | 1 x Image Hosting Server | 1 x Zero Knowledge Storage Server - Developer working on the current source code - Developer(s) working on a next-generation torrent site/tracker software (No ETA but we are shooting for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson 2020) - Several new and old staff and helpers handling daily site operations - Dozens upon dozens of smaller Gazelle bugs and pages that you would never have known of or even seen, but they are fixed! =) - And there's probably a ton more that our amazing Astarael has done that we don't even know about!In the not so distant future we will be: - Automated Crypto-Currency donation system - Encoding / Uploading Server - 2 x Xeon - 32 GB DDR4 - 30 TB HDD - 1 GBit Full Duplex - Staff have been under intense deliberation regarding a Bonus System + Seeder Surge - We don't know what's going to happen but we'll let you know before the final decision is made! We've read your suggestions and comments, all 1000 of them, we will do our best to give you the users what you ask for. - We've noticed a considerable increase in the amount of inactive users coming into IRC and re-enabling their account, many of them 5-8 yrs since their last login. So we will soon be re-activating all "good" but inactivity disabled users. There's approximately 50,000 of them. We'll start with 2500 users a week being enabled. It will increase activity, torrent retention and speed, we are already up 40,000+ peers since the beginning of the year. - New default Style-sheet - its secksy asf.We are looking for developers! We need more hands! Our developers have donated so much of their personal time and they continue to do so but working at the pace they are will burn anyone out, let's load-balance the work so no on gets tired! Preferred Qualifications Writing server-side code for web-based applications C++, PHP, AJAX, Python or JavaScript, database design and SQL. Develop UI with AJAX and similar technologies. An understanding/experience with CSS and HTML5 development Knowledge of Unix/Linux. Experience with the BitTorrent protocol If you are interested in joining our operations team, please send Astarael a message. Make sure you include what position(s) you are looking to fill, as well as a CV or any qualifications you possess.DONATIONS After many, many years our PayPal account got reported about a month ago and has now been permanently locked. There was 160~ euros in the account. We have prepaid all of TC's hardware for the next <60 days with donations that we were able to transfer out. We don't want to gamble with your donations by setting up another PayPal account (even thought we think we can still beat PayPal!). We have decided to make the transition to BitCoin. If you are financially able, please consider making a donation to help us pay the bills!BTC Address: 1D2a9C6WkNXjN2kCDQfbccnUFX8ComUm1f Please contact DeCrypt via PM after you have donated with the amount and transaction ID.
  5. Cloudflare is not happy with the RIAA's efforts to hold the company liable for pirate websites on its network. Cloudflare has asked a Florida federal court to vacate a recent order, which would open the door to widespread site blocking efforts. The CDN provider notes that the targeted domains are no longer using its services while accusing the record labels of not being upfront. Representing various major record labels, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against MP3Skull in 2015. With millions of visitors per month the MP3 download site had been one of the prime sources of pirated music for a long time. Last year a Florida federal court sided with the RIAA, awarding the labels more than $22 million in damages. In addition, it issued a permanent injunction which allowed the RIAA to take over the site’s domain names. Despite the multi-million dollar verdict, MP3Skull continued to operate using a variety of new domain names, which were subsequently targeted by the RIAA’s legal team. As the site refused to shut down, the RIAA eventually moved up the chain targeting CDN provider Cloudflare with the permanent injunction. The RIAA argued that Cloudflare was operating “in active concert or participation” with the pirates. Cloudflare objected and argued that the DMCA shielded the company from the broad blocking requirements. However, the court ruled that the DMCA doesn’t apply in this case, opening the door to widespread anti-piracy filtering. The court stressed that, before issuing an injunction against Cloudflare, it still had to be determined whether the CDN provider is “in active concert or participation” with the pirate site. However, this has yet to happen. Since MP3Skull has ceased its operations the RIAA has shown little interest in pursuing the matter any further. Cloudflare now wants the dangerous anti-piracy filtering order to be thrown out. The company submitted a motion to vacate the order late last week, arguing that the issue is moot. In fact, it has been for a while for some of the contended domain names. The CDN provider says it researched the domain names listed in the injunction and found that only three of the twenty domains used Cloudflare’s services at the time the RIAA asked the court to clarify its order. Some had never used CloudFlare’s services at all, they say. “Indeed, six domains – including five of the so-called ‘Active MP3Skull Domains’ in the amended injunction – had never used Cloudflare services at all. And the remaining eleven had stopped using Cloudflare before Plaintiffs brought their motion, in some cases long before Plaintiffs filed suit,” Cloudflare writes. “Every domain Plaintiffs identified had stopped using Cloudflare by December 2016, without any independent or affirmative action by Cloudflare. Yet Plaintiffs made no effort to inform the Court of the mootness of their ’emergency’ motion in the three months before the Court issued its Order.” Cloudflare’s research Making the matter even worse, several of the domain names listed in the injunction were owned by the record labels, when the RIAA tried to have Cloudflare block them. “Moreover, Cloudflare’s investigation revealed that that Plaintiff Sony Music Entertainment itself owned seven of the twenty domains months as of the time Plaintiffs brought their motion, and Sony acquired one more domain shortly after.” The latter is due to the seizure order, which was also granted by the court. However, according to Cloudflare, the RIAA failed to inform the court about these and several other changes. “Plaintiffs did not inform the Court of the mootness of their motion against Cloudflare,” the company writes. Since the RIAA was not entirely upfront, and the issue is no longer relevant, Cloudflare is now asking the court to vacate the order. This will push the looming piracy blocking obligations aside, which could otherwise come back to haunt the company in the future. The RIAA has yet to reply to CloudFlare’s request, but they would likely want to keep the order in place. There’s always a tiny chance that MP3Skull might arise from the ashes, and they would want to be prepared should that be the case. — Cloudflare’s full motion is available here (pdf). https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-asks-court-to-vacate-moot-pirate-site-blocking-order-170724/
  6. Tracker Name: HDMonkey Genre: HD Sign-up Link: http://hdmonkey.org/account-signup.php Closing Date: 30.08.2017 Additional Information: We happily wait for you ! Torrents Tracking: 823 torrents New Today: 15 Seeders: 97 Leechers: 1 Peers: 98 Downloaded: 1.78 TB Uploaded: 56.68 TB Member List We Have: 883 members New Today: 2 Visitors Today: 8 Online Total online: 9 Member List: 4 Guests Online: 5 Comments Posted: 41 Messages Sent : 4
  7. Tracker Name: PolishSource Genre: General Sign-up Link: https://polishsource.cz/signup.php Closing Date: N/A Additional Information: This is one of the biggest and best Ratio Free tracker for MOVIES / TV / GENERAL from Poland.
  8. Tracker Name: TheAudioScene Genre: Other Sign-up Link: https://theaudioscene.net/registration/registration.php Closing Date: Very soon Additional Information: TheAudioScene is a Private Torrent Tracker for Audio Software / Samples / Etc.
  9. Google is no longer highlighting the "best torrent sites" in its search results. Following an investigation, the search engine decided to pull the prominent torrent sites 'carousel' from its search results. Various streaming sites remain highlighted, but the 'pirate' sources have been removed there as well. Two weeks ago we noticed a ‘handy’ feature where Google highlighted various torrent sites in its search results. People who typed “best torrent sites” into the search box would see a reel of popular sites such as The Pirate Bay and RARBG in the results, featured with their official logos and all. Google employees obviously didn’t curate the list themselves. They are a Google feature called the “results carousel,” which is generated based on an algorithm. Still, considering the constant criticism the search engine faces from rightsholders, it’s a sensitive topic. The torrent site carousel It appears that the search engine itself wasn’t very happy with the featured search results either. This week, the torrent sites were quietly banned from the search carousel feature. According to the company, it wasn’t working as intended. “We have investigated this particular issue and determined that this results carousel wasn’t working in the intended manner, and we have now fixed the issue,” a Google spokesperson informed TorrentFreak. Although Google carefully avoids the words copyright and piracy in its comments, it’s quite obvious what motivated this decision. The company doesn’t want to highlight any pirate sites, to avoid yet another copyright controversy. That the intervention was triggered by “piracy” concerns is backed up by another change. While various “streaming sites” are still prominently listed in a search carousel, the pirate sites were carefully stripped from there as well. A few days ago it still listed sites including Putlocker, Alluc, and Movie4k.to, but only legitimate streaming portals remain on the list today. That change definitely required some human intervention. Only ‘legitimate’ streaming postals now This isn’t the first time that Google’s “rich” search results have featured pirate sites. The same thing happened in the past when the search engine displayed pirate site ratings of movies, next to ratings from regular review sites such as IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently, Google’s search engine algorithms need some anti-piracy fine-tuning, every now and then. https://torrentfreak.com/google-removes-torrent-sites-from-results-carousel-100722/
  10. Tracker Name: FullMixMusic Genre: Music Sign-up Link: http://fullmixmusic.org/signup.php Closing Date: Soon Additional Information: FullMixMusic is a Hungarian Private Torrent Tracker for Music Releases.
  11. HBO is doing its best to keep Game of Thrones piracy under control. The company is monitoring various popular torrent swarms and sending thousands of warnings targeted at Internet subscribers whose connections are used to share the season 7 premiere of the popular TV series. Earlier this week, HBO released the long-awaited seventh season of the hit series Game of Thrones. The show has broken several piracy records over the years and, thus far, there has been plenty of interest in the latest season. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by HBO. Soon after the first episode of the new season appeared online Sunday evening, the company’s anti-piracy partner IP Echelon started sending warnings targeted at torrenting pirates. The warnings in question include the IP-addresses of alleged BitTorrent users and ask the associated ISPs to alert their subscribers, in order to prevent further infringements. “We have information leading us to believe that the IP address xx.xxx.xxx.xx was used to download or share Game of Thrones without authorization,” the notification begins. “HBO owns the copyright or exclusive rights to Game of Thrones, and the unauthorized download or distribution constitutes copyright infringement. Downloading unauthorized or unknown content is also a security risk for computers, devices, and networks.” Under US copyright law, ISPs are not obligated to forward these emails, which are sent as a DMCA notification. However, many do as a courtesy to the affected rightsholders. Redacted infringement details from one of the notices The warnings are not targeted at a single swarm but cover a wide variety of torrents. TorrentFreak has already seen takedown notices for the following files, but it’s likely that many more are being tracked. Game.of.Thrones.S07E01.720p.WEB.h264-TBS[eztv].mkv Game.of.Thrones.S07E01.HDTV.x264-SVA[rarbg] Game.of.Thrones.S07E01.WEB.h264-TBS[ettv] Game.of.Thrones.S07E01.HDTV.x264-SVA[eztv].mkv Game.of.Thrones.S07E01.720p.HDTV.x264-AVS[eztv].mkv This isn’t the first time that Game of Thrones pirates have received these kinds of warnings. Similar notices were sent out last year for pirated episodes of the sixth season, and it’s now clear that HBO is not backing down. Although HBO stresses that copyright infringement is against the law, there are no legal strings attached for the subscribers in question. The company doesn’t know the identity of the alleged pirates, and would need to go to court to find out. This has never happened before. Filing lawsuits against Game of Thrones fans is probably not high on HBO’s list, but the company hopes that affected subscribers will think twice before downloading future episodes after they are warned. The DMCA notice asks ISPs to inform subscribers about the various legal alternatives that are available, to give them a push in the right direction. “We also encourage you to inform the subscriber that HBO programming can easily be watched and streamed on many devices legally by adding HBO to the subscriber’s television package,” the notice reads. While this type of message may have an effect on some, they only cover a small fraction of the piracy landscape. Millions of people are using pirate streaming tools and websites to watch Game of Thrones, and these views can’t be monitored. In addition, the fact that many broadcasters worldwide suffered technical issues and outages when Game of Thrones premiered doesn’t help either. The legal options should be superior to the pirated offerings, not the other way around. — A redacted copy of one of the notices is available below. — Dear xxx Communications, This message is sent on behalf of HOME BOX OFFICE, INC. We have information leading us to believe that the IP address xx.xxx.xxx.xxx was used to download or share Game of Thrones without authorization (additional details are listed below). HBO owns the copyright or exclusive rights to Game of Thrones, and the unauthorized download or distribution constitutes copyright infringement. Downloading unauthorized or unknown content is also a security risk for computers, devices, and networks. As the owner of the IP address, HBO requests that xxx Communications immediately contact the subscriber who was assigned the IP address at the date and time below with the details of this notice, and take the proper steps to prevent further downloading or sharing of unauthorized content and additional infringement notices. We also encourage you to inform the subscriber that HBO programming can easily be watched and streamed on many devices legally by adding HBO to the subscriber’s television package. We have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted material detailed below is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. The information in this notice is accurate and we state, under penalty of perjury, that we are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. This letter is not a complete statement of HBO’s rights in connection with this matter, and nothing contained herein constitutes an express or implied wavier of any rights or remedies of HBO in connection with this matter, all of which are expressly reserved. We appreciate your assistance and thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Your prompt response is requested. Any further enquiries can be directed to xx@copyright.ip-echelon.com. Please include this message with your enquiry to ensure a quick response. Respectfully, Adrian Leatherland CEO IP-Echelon https://torrentfreak.com/game-thrones-pirates-monitored-hbo-warnings-way-170719/
  12. Australian entertainment giant Village Roadshow and its co-executive chairman have invested AUS$1.5m in a company developing anti-piracy technologies. Linius Technologies holds a patent which allows for the virtualization of video files, enabling the modification of streaming content on-the-fly and the viewing of secure "ghost files" on users' devices. Aussie entertainment giant Village Roadshow is front-and-center of Australia’s fight against Intenet piracy. Co-Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer Graham Burke can often be found bemoaning rampant piracy Down Under, but today it’s his equal at Village Roadshow making the headlines. Robert G Kirby’s presence at Village Roadshow dates back to the 1980s, but now both he and the company are making a significant outside investment in patented streaming technology. It aims to help in the fight against piracy while offering benefits in other areas of innovation. The deal centers around the Linius Video Virtualisation Engine, an intriguing system patented by Australia-based Linius Technologies that allows the content of a video stream to be heavily modified live and on-the-fly, between its source and destination. Linius explains that in the current marketplace, video files are static and not so different from an “old can of film”. People who want to watch online content press play on their devices and a message is sent to the datacenter holding the video. It’s then streamed to the user as-is and very little can be done with it on the way. With its system, Linius says it places a “ghost” file on the user’s device which calls the data and recompiles it on the fly on the device itself. Instead of being a complete file at all times during transit, it only becomes a video when it’s on the device. This means that the data is “manageable and malleable,” making it possible to add, delete and splice parts to make custom content, even going as far as “inserting new business rules” and other tech innovations, including payment gateways and security features. One of the obvious applications is granting broadcasters the ability to personalize advertising on a per-user basis, but Linius says there is also the potential to enhance search engine monetization. The attractive part for Village Roadshow, however, appears to center around the claim that since the physical video file never appears on the device, it cannot be saved, transferred or broadcast, only watched by the person who purchased the rights to the virtual video. The company offers few further details publicly, but Village Roadshow is clearly keen to invest, since “there’s no file to steal.” This morning, Linius announced a $1 million private placement of ordinary shares to Village Roadshow Ltd, accompanied by a $500,000 private placement to Kirby family interests. “We have followed the Linius story closely and are delighted to back the business with direct investment. We can see many applications for the technology across the video industry,” Robert Kirby said in a statement. “Village Roadshow has long been a leading voice in tackling global piracy. We are particularly interested in the anti-piracy solutions that Linius is developing and are actively working together with Linius to introduce its technology to industry leaders in the hope of reducing global piracy.” In May, Linius announced a collaboration with IBM to promote the Video Virtualisation Engine, including building onto the IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform, to IBM’s network of corporate clients. “I feel Linius could be a game changer in the world of video, from personalized advertising to search and security,” said Anthone Withers, Head of Software as a Service, IBM. “We’re now actively working with Linius to identify and market the technology to target customers.” Linius Overview from Linius Technologies on Vimeo. https://torrentfreak.com/village-roadshow-invests-1-5m-in-anti-piracy-technology-company-170717/
  13. Over the past two weeks, dozens of pirate streaming sites had their homepages stripped from Google's search results. The removals are triggered by a series of targeted takedown requests sent by the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend, which acts on behalf of several major Hollywood studios. Over the past two weeks several pirate streaming sites have seen their homepages disappear from Google’s search results. Earlier this week we reported how GoMovies switched to a new domain name, for this very reason, but on closer inspection it appears that several other sites have suffered the same fate. While homepages have been removed before, the takedown notices that triggered the recent removals seem to be a systematic effort. They are all sent by the prominent law firm Kilpatrick Townsend, which acts on behalf of a variety of Hollywood movie studios. The notices, of which the first was sent roughly two weeks ago, all follow a similar pattern. They identify infringing content on pirate streaming sites and list the individual URLs for these movies. In addition, however, many also include the homepage, which often highlights the same movie as a “new” or popular title. In the case of Gomovies.is, a request was sent on behalf of Warner Bros. to remove Wonder Woman’s streaming page from Google, as well as the homepage where the movie was listed in the popular section. This worked, not only for the GoMovies domain name but also for dozens of other streaming sites including yesmovies.org, watchfree.ac, xmovies.is, watch29.com, vivo.to, tunemovie.com, putlockervip.com, playmovies.to, moviesub.is and fmovies.ac. The takedown notice The example above is just the tip of the iceberg. Over the past two weeks the law firm has targeted many pirate streaming sites, acting on behalf of Warner Bros, Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, NBC Universal and others. This effectively removed dozens of pirate site homepages from search results. To outsiders, it may seem like a homepage is just another link but for site owners, it’s a crucial matter. Many of these streaming sites rely on their brand name to remain findable in search engines, and when the homepage is removed, it’s nearly impossible to rise to the top of search results. Although Google removed many of the early requests, it’s not blindly removing all URLs. In response to several recent notices the search engine decided to take “no action” for the homepages, which is why gomovies.sc, cmovieshd.com, ap551.com, and others remain indexed. It’s possible that the infringing content was no longer linked on these homepages when Google reviewed the DMCA notices in question. As for GoMovies, they simply decided to move to a new URL and remove any infringing content from the homepage so they don’t face the same problem in the future. https://torrentfreak.com/movie-studios-wipe-pirate-site-homepages-from-google-search-170716/
  14. Following a report that Chinese authorities had ordered state-owned ISPs to block VPNs, the government has published a statement. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said no such notice had been issued and "legitimate access" to the global Internet, by businesses and general users, will be permitted. A notice published by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in January said that the government had launched a 14-month campaign to crack down on local ‘unauthorized’ Internet platforms. The idea is that all Internet services such as data centers, ISPs, CDNs, and VPNs, will eventually need pre-approval from the government to operate. Operating such a service without a corresponding telecommunications business license will constitute an offense. After the news broke, a source with contacts at a high-level telecoms company in the region told TF that, in his opinion, user-based VPNs were not the target and that MPLS VPNs were. These types of VPN (pdf) allow businesses, including those in China, to connect their geographically separated business locations, such as those in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia, for example. This week, however, Bloomberg broke the news that China’s Government had ordered telecommunications carriers to block individuals’ access to Virtual Private Networks. This, the publication said, would stop citizens from accessing the global Internet. According to the report, the government ordered at least three state-run telecommunications firms, including China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, to stop people from using VPNs which allow people to circumvent censorship restrictions, otherwise known as the Great Firewall, by February next year. Jake Parker, Beijing-based vice president of the US-China Business Council, agreed that the move “seems to impact individuals,” but last evening the Chinese authorities were attempting to pour cold water on the report. In comments to China-based media outlet The Paper, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology denied issuing a notice to the telecoms companies requiring them to block user VPNs. It said that “foreign media reports” were inaccurate. “Our subordinate Secretary did not issue the relevant notice, what foreign media reported was false,” the Ministry said. The local media report then has the Ministry citing news that previously broke in January, detailing the new government measures that require cross-border enterprise-level VPN systems to be authorized and licensed. “Foreign trade enterprises and multinational companies, due to office for personal use and other reasons, need to access cross-border networking,” the Ministry said, adding that licensing is available and won’t have a detrimental effect on normal operations. Given this statement, the announcement in January, and the comments made to TF regarding the government targeting enterprise-level VPNs, it raises the question whether the term ‘VPN’ has perhaps been interpreted too widely, to include user-based services. Nevertheless, in a follow-up report last evening, Bloomberg repeated its claims that Beijing had ordered state-run telecoms firms to stop people from using VPNs that route traffic overseas to avoid censorship. “The clampdown will shutter one of the main ways in which people both local and foreign still manage to access the global, unfiltered web on a daily basis,” the report said. Only time will tell how the landscape will pan out, but it’s safe to say that China would like a tighter hold on the web than it has now and that VPNs of all kinds will continue to undermine that control, unless something is done. https://torrentfreak.com/china-denies-user-vpn-crackdown-blames-false-foreign-media-reports-170713/
  15. Exactly three months ago, UK tabloid The Sun announced that eBay had "banned TV boxes that allow Brits to stream sports and films for free." But today, eBay still seems to be the platform of choice for box sellers, despite rightsholders having full access to takedown programs. Over the past twelve months, the sale of ‘pirate’ set-top devices in the UK has reached epidemic proportions. Augmented Kodi setups are now the talk of both the Internet and the street, with unauthorized streaming sources now commonplace in British homes. Many of these devices, which are often Android-based, were sold through platforms such as eBay and Amazon. Buyers have been spoilt for choice, with every hardware format and software configuration just a few clicks and a quick delivery away. However, at the end of March, things appeared to change. As first reported by TF, Amazon updated its terms and conditions to effectively ban any devices capable of, or even suggesting, infringing purposes. “Products offered for sale on Amazon should not promote, suggest the facilitation of, or actively enable the infringement of or unauthorized access to digital media or other protected content,” the policy reads. “Any streaming media player or other device that violates this policy is prohibited from sale on Amazon.” Then, a couple of weeks later, UK tabloid The Sun published an article with the headline “eBay follows Amazon’s lead and issues total ban on Kodi box which lets Brits stream sports and films for free.” The breathless tone of the headline was nothing new but the content came as a bit of a surprise. The article claimed that eBay had decided to “wipe any Kodi boxes claiming to be ‘fully loaded’ (with access to illegal streams) from its site.” Given eBay’s traditional stance, that it is not responsible for potentially infringing listings until advised of their existence by authorized rightsholders or their representatives, it seemed unlikely that the company was about to embark on a sudden spring cleaning session. Indeed, comments from an eBay spokesperson suggested that in respect of business policy, little had changed. “We run several initiatives designed to combat the infringement of intellectual property rights, including the Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO),” the spokesperson said. “We work with the police and regulators to ensure that all listings on eBay comply with the law. There are blocks in place to prevent the listing of illegal items, but we also constantly monitor our marketplace. Anyone found to be knowingly selling items that don’t comply with the law will be investigated and could face account restrictions or suspension.” Today, that announcement is exactly three months old and from even a cursory search of the platform, ‘pirate’ Kodi and similar setups are still a huge problem. In fact, if one wants to purchase a device, it’s not only just as easy as before, but prices appear to have fallen too. “Kodi Box” search on eBay UK, first result Indeed, no matter which searches one uses, whether that refers to the software installations (Kodi, Showbox, etc) or terms like “fully loaded”, all roads point to either infringing devices or devices which strongly suggest in their descriptions that infringement is the aim. But while some might point to eBay as the problem here (in much the same way that rightsholders quickly level blame at Google), there seems to be a fairly straightforward solution to the problem. In fact, eBay mentioned it themselves, three months ago. eBay’s Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO) enables rightsholders and their representatives to have infringing eBay listings taken down if they contain infringing logos or other IP, or advertise items that infringe intellectual property rights. Once an infringing listing is found, rightsholders can manually submit a Notice of Claimed Infringement (NOCI) in the first instance and via a dedicated tool thereafter. If the complaint is upheld by eBay the listing will be removed, and if sellers are guilty of multiple offenses, their accounts could be suspended or even closed. Given the large number of infringing listings still present on the site, one might think that the big rightsholders aren’t making use of the NOCI system, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. eBay actually publishes a huge list of participating companies on its site and all the big ones are there. The MPAA has its own page, for example, as do companies like Versace, who are worried about counterfeiting. But being more UK specific, since that’s where most of the “Kodi” complaints originate, we can also see that the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) has its own VeRO account, as does key partner the English Premier League. Given that both eBay, Amazon and even Facebook have been criticized for allowing sales of ‘pirate’ boxes on their platforms, it seems unusual that despite the grand announcements, devices are still so prolific and easy to find. Whether a full three months hasn’t been long enough for rightsholders to file appropriate complaints is unknown, but it would probably be preferable to go down that route first, before threatening the man in the street with a criminal prosecution. https://torrentfreak.com/three-months-on-ebays-total-kodi-ban-doesnt-exist-170711/