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  1. Last week, Disney boss Bog Iger revealed that one of his company's movies had been stolen and was being held hostage for a bitcoin ransom. With press speculation that it might be the latest 'Pirates' movie, TF has spent more than a week trying to find out more. The whole thing seems highly questionable. Last Monday, during a town hall meeting in New York, Disney CEO Bob Iger informed a group of ABC employees that hackers had stolen one of the company’s movies. The hackers allegedly said they’d keep the leak private if Disney paid them a ransom. In response, Disney indicated that it had no intention of paying. Setting dangerous precedents in this area is unwise, the company no doubt figured. After Hollywood Reporter broke the news, Deadline followed up with a report which further named the movie as ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’, a fitting movie to parallel an emerging real-life swashbuckling plot, no doubt. What the Deadline article didn’t do was offer any proof that Pirates 5 was the movie in question. Out of the blue, however, it did mention that a purported earlier leak of The Last Jedi had been revealed by “online chatter” to be a fake. Disney refused to comment. Armed with this information, TF decided to have a dig around. Was Pirates 5 being discussed within release groups as being available, perhaps? Initially, our inquiries drew a complete blank but then out of the blue we found ourselves in conversation with the person claiming to be the Disney ‘hacker’. “I can provide the original emails sent to Disney as well as some other unknown details,” he told us via encrypted mail. We immediately asked several questions. Was the movie ‘Pirates 5’? How did he obtain the movie? How much did he try to extort from Disney? ‘EMH,’ as we’ll call him, quickly replied. “It’s The Last Jedi. Bob Iger never made public the title of the film, Deadline was just going off and naming the next film on their release slate,” we were told. “We demanded 2BTC per month until September.” TF was then given copies of correspondence that EMH had been having with numerous parties about the alleged leak. They included discussions with various release groups, a cyber-security expert, and Disney. As seen in the screenshot, the email was purportedly sent to Disney on May 1. The Hollywood Reporter article, published two weeks later, noted the following; “The Disney chief said the hackers demanded that a huge sum be paid in Bitcoin. They said they would release five minutes of the film at first, and then in 20-minute chunks until their financial demands are met,” HWR wrote. While the email to Disney looked real enough, the proof of any leaked pudding is in the eating. We asked EMH how he had demonstrated to Disney that he actually has the movie in his possession. Had screenshots or clips been sent to the company? We were initially told they had not (plot twists were revealed instead) so this immediately raised suspicions. Nevertheless, EMH then went on to suggest that release groups had shown interest in the copy and he proved that by forwarding his emails with them to TF. “Make sure they know there is still work to be done on the CGI characters. There are little dots on their faces that are visible. And the colour grading on some scenes looks a little off,” EMH told one group, who said they understood. “They all understand its not a completed workprint.. that is why they are sought after by buyers.. exclusive stuff nobody else has or can get,” they wrote back. “That why they pay big $$$ for it.. a completed WP could b worth $25,000,” the group’s unedited response reads. But despite all the emails and discussion, we were still struggling to see how EMH had shown to anyone that he really had The Last Jedi. We then learned, however, that screenshots had been sent to blogger Sam Braidley, a Cyber Security MSc and Computer Science BSc Graduate. Since the information sent to us by EMH confirmed discussion had taken place with Braidley concerning the workprint, we contacted him directly to find out what he knew about the supposed Pirates 5 and/or The Last Jedi leak. He was very forthcoming. “A user going by the username of ‘Darkness’ commented on my blog about having a leaked copy of The Last Jedi from a contact he knew from within Lucas Films. Of course, this garnered a lot of interest, although most were cynical of its authenticity,” Braidley explained. The claim that ‘Darkness’ had obtained the copy from a contact within Lucas was certainly of interest ,since up to now the press narrative had been that Disney or one of its affiliates had been ‘hacked.’ After confirming that ‘Darkness’ used the same email as our “EMH,” we asked EMH again. Where had the movie been obtained from? “Wasn’t hacked. Was given to me by a friend who works at a post production company owned by [Lucasfilm],” EMH said. After further prompting he reiterated: “As I told you, we obtained it from an employee.” If they weren’t ringing loudly enough already, alarm bells were now well and truly clanging. Who would reveal where they’d obtained a super-hot leaked movie from when the ‘friend’ is only one step removed from the person attempting the extortion? Who would take such a massive risk? Braidley wasn’t buying it either. “I had my doubts following the recent [Orange is the New Black] leak from ‘The Dark Overlord,’ it seemed like someone trying to live off the back of its press success,” he said. Braidley told TF that Darkness/EMH seemed keen for him to validate the release, as a member of a well-known release group didn’t believe that it was real, something TF confirmed with the member. A screenshot was duly sent over to Braidley for his seal of approval. “The quality was very low and the scene couldn’t really show that it was in fact Star Wars, let alone The Last Jedi,” Braidley recalls, noting that other screenshots were considered not to be from the movie in question either. Nevertheless, Darkness/EMH later told Braidley that another big release group had only declined to release the movie due to the possiblity of security watermarks being present in the workprint. Since no groups had heard of a credible Pirates 5 leak, the claims that release groups were in discussion over the leaking of The Last Jedi intrigued us. So, through trusted sources and direct discussion with members, we tried to learn more. While all groups admitted being involved or at least being aware of discussions taking place, none appeared to believe that a movie had been obtained from Disney, was being held for ransom, or would ever be leaked. “Bullshit!” one told us. “Fake news,” said another. With not even well-known release groups believing that leaks of The Last Jedi or Pirates 5 are anywhere on the horizon, that brought us full circle to the original statement by Disney chief Bob Iger claiming that a movie had been stolen. What we do know for sure is that everything reported initially by Hollywood Reporter about a ransom demand matches up with statements made by Darkness/EMH to TorrentFreak, Braidley, and several release groups. We also know from copy emails obtained by TF that the discussions with the release groups took place well before HWR broke the story. With Disney not commenting on the record to either HWR or Deadline (publications known to be Hollywood-friendly) it seemed unlikely that TF would succeed where they had failed. So, without comprimising any of our sources, we gave a basic outline of our findings to a previously receptive Disney contact, in an effort to tie Darkness/EMH with the email address that he told us Disney already knew. Predictably, perhaps, we received no response. At this point one has to wonder. If no credible evidence of a leak has been made available and the threats to leak the movie haven’t been followed through on, what was the point of the whole affair? Money appears to have been the motive, but it seems likely that none will be changing hands. But would someone really bluff the leaking of a movie to a company like Disney in order to get a ‘ransom’ payment or scam a release group out of a few dollars? Perhaps. Braidley informs TF that Darkness/EMH recently claimed that he’d had the copy of The Last Jedi since March but never had any intention of leaking it. He did, however, need money for a personal matter involving a family relative. With this in mind, we asked Darkness/EMH why he’d failed to carry through with his threats to leak the movie, bit by bit, as his email to Disney claimed. He said there was never any intention of leaking the movie “until we are sure it wont be traced back” but “if the right group comes forward and meets our strict standards then the leak could come as soon as 2-3 weeks.” With that now seeming increasingly unlikely (but hey, you never know), this might be the final chapter in what turns out to be the famous hacking of Disney that never was. Or, just maybe, undisclosed aces remain up sleeves. “Just got another comment on my blog from [Darkness],” Braidley told TF this week. “He now claims that the Emoji movie has been leaked and is being held to ransom.” Simultaneously he was telling TF the same thing. ‘Hacking’ announcement from Sony coming soon? Stay tuned….. https://torrentfreak.com/was-the-disney-movie-hacking-ransom-a-giant-hoax-170524/
  2. Just days after ExtraTorrent closed its doors, various sites popped up claiming to be the popular torrent site resurrected. Some even go as far as stating they're operated by former staffers, which was quickly picked up by the press. In reality, however, the widely covered copycat appears to be a Pirate Bay mirror with an ExtraTorrent skin. Last week the torrent community entered a state of shock when another major torrent site closed its doors. Having served torrents to the masses for over a decade, ExtraTorrent decided to throw in the towel, without providing any detail or an apparent motive. The only strong message sent out by ExtraTorrent’s operator was to “stay away from fake ExtraTorrent websites and clones.” Fast forward a few days and the first copycats have indeed appeared online. While this was expected, it’s always disappointing to see “news” sites including the likes of Forbes and The Inquirer are giving them exposure without doing thorough research. “We are a group of uploaders and admins from ExtraTorrent. As you know, SAM from ExtraTorrent pulled the plug yesterday and took all data offline under pressure from authorities. We were in deep shock and have been working hard to get it back online with all previous data,” the email, sent out to several news outlets read. What followed was a flurry of ‘ExtraTorrent is back’ articles and thanks to those, a lot of people now think that Extratorrent.cd is a true resurrection operated by the site’s former staffers and fans. However, aside from its appearance, the site has absolutely nothing to do with ET. The site is an imposter operated by the same people who also launched Kickass.cdwhen KAT went offline last summer. In fact, the content on both sites doesn’t come from the defunct sites they try to replace, but from The Pirate Bay. Yes indeed, ExtraTorrent.cd is nothing more than a Pirate Bay mirror with an ExtraTorrent skin. There are several signs clearly showing that the torrents come from The Pirate Bay. Most easy to spot, perhaps, is a comparison of search results which are identical on both sites. Chaparall seach on Extratorrent.cd The ExtraTorrent “resurrection” even lists TPB’s oldest active torrent from March 2004, which was apparently uploaded long before the original ExtraTorrent was launched. Chaparall search on TPB TorrentFreak is in touch with proper ex-staffers of ExtraTorrent who agree that the site is indeed a copycat. Some ex-staffers are considering the launch of a new ET version, just like the KAT admins did in the past, but if that happens, it will take a lot more time. “At the moment we are all figuring out how to go about getting it back up and running in a proper fashion, but as you can imagine there a lot of obstacles and arguments, lol,” ex-ET admin Soup informed us. So, for now, there is no real resurrection. ExtraTorrent.cd sells itself as much more than it is, as it did with Kickass.cd. While the site doesn’t have any malicious intent, aside from luring old ET members under false pretenses, people have the right to know what it really is. https://torrentfreak.com/no-extratorrent-has-not-been-resurected-170524/
  3. Hello great @Inviter i'm also apply one more. Thanks!!
  4. After admitting to several criminal acts, including the operation of a piracy honeypot, Prenda Law attorney John Steele has now been disbarred by the Illinois Supreme Court. As a result, the troubled attorney will no longer be allowed to practice law in the state. While the decision doesn't come as a surprise, several victims of the trolling operation will welcome it with a smile. Over the years, copyright trolls have been accused of involvement in various dubious schemes and actions, but there’s one group that has gone above and beyond. Prenda Law grabbed dozens of headlines, mostly surrounding negative court rulings over identity theft, misrepresentation and even deception. Most controversial was the shocking revelation that Prenda uploaded their own torrents to The Pirate Bay, creating a honeypot for the people they later sued over pirated downloads. The allegations also raised the interest of the US Department of Justice, which indicted Prenda principals John Steele and Paul Hansmeier late last year. The two stand accused of running a multi-million dollar fraud and extortion operation. A few weeks ago Steele pleaded guilty, admitting among other things that they did indeed use The Pirate Bay to operate a honeypot for online pirates. Following the guilty plea the Illinois Supreme Court, which started looking into the case long before the indictment, has now decided to disbar the attorney. This means that Steele no longer has the right to practice law. The decision doesn’t really come as a surprise. Steele has admitted to two of the 18 counts listed in the indictment, including some of the allegations that were also listed by the Supreme Court. In its conclusion, the Court lists a variety of misconduct including “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, by conduct including filing lawsuits without supporting facts, under the names of entities like Ingenuity 13 and AF Holdings, which were created by Movant for purposes of exacting settlements.” Also, Steele’s trolling operation was “using means that had no substantial purpose other than to embarrass or burden a third person, or using methods of obtaining evidence that violates the legal rights of such a person…,” the Supreme Court writes. Steele was disbarred “on consent,” according to Cook County Record, which means that he agreed to have his Illinois law practice license revoked. The disbarment is not unexpected considering Steele’s guilty plea. However, victims of the Prenda trolling scheme may still welcome it as a form of justice. Meanwhile, Steele has bigger problems to worry about. The former Prenda attorney is still awaiting his sentencing in the criminal case. In theory, he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in prison as well as a criminal fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, by signing a plea agreement, he likely gets a reduced sentence. — The Illnois Supreme Court conclusions are available here (pdf), courtesy of Fight Copyright Trolls. https://torrentfreak.com/copyright-troll-attorney-john-steele-disbarred-by-illinois-supreme-court-170522/
  5. The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Logan' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘The Fate of the Furious'. 'The Boss Baby' completes the top three. This week we have three newcomers in our chart. Logan, which came out as DVDRip last week, is the most downloaded movie for the second week in a row. The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise. RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart. THIS WEEK’S MOST DOWNLOADED MOVIES ARE: Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer Most downloaded movies via torrents 1 (1) Logan 8.6 / trailer 2 (8) The Fate of the Furious (subbed HDRip) 6.7 / trailer 3 (…) The Boss Baby 6.5 / trailer 4 (2) Ghost in The Shell (Subbed HDRip) 6.9 / trailer 5 (3) First Fight 5.7 / trailer 6 (4) Kong: Skull Island (Subbed HDRip) 7.0 / trailer 7 (…) T2 Trainspotting 7.7 / trailer 8 (…) Beauty and the Beast 7.6 / trailer 9 (7) Split 7.0 / trailer 10 (5) The Great Wall 6.9 / trailer
  6. News from the BBC that a UK teenager has been banned from accessing her university's wifi after getting caught for a pirate download seemed straightforward enough. However, on closer inspection, the story about an illegal Chicken Run download is actually a really nice example of several key file-sharing issues, all wrapped up in an innocuous looking package. This past Thursday the BBC published an article about Gianna Mulville-Zanetta, a first year Social Policy student at Bristol University in the UK. After getting caught downloading the stop-motion comedy-drama film Chicken Run using BitTorrent, the 18-year-old reportedly felt the wrath of the university’s IT department. “I completely forgot I had downloaded it,” Gianna told the BBC. “I got an email the day after I watched it on Netflix with my friend saying I had been removed from Eduroam – which is our wifi. It took about a day or more to download and that’s why I forgot I had it, it took forever.” For her sins, Gianna was blocked from using the university’s wifi for 20 days, a period that coincided with her exams. With access to a 4G connection she says the ban didn’t affect her studies but of course, the potential for chaos was certainly there. There appears to be no doubt that Gianna committed an infringement. However, that someone who prefers to watch something legally on Netflix gets caught up in something like this is pretty disappointing. But not a complete surprise. Chicken Run was released in 2000 but only 12 years later did it appear on UK Netflix. According to New on Netflix, it was withdrawn from Netflix during November 2013, put back on two years later in 2015, removed a year later in 2016, and was only re-added on May 1 this year. Considering the BBC states that the Chicken Run affair “has ruined much of May for Gianna”, the ban must’ve kicked in early this month. That means that Chicken Run was either not on UK Netflix when Gianna decided on her download, or had only been there for a day or two. Either way, if there had been less yo-yo’ing of its availability on Netflix, it’s possible this whole affair could’ve been completely avoided. Moving on, the BBC article states that Gianna was “caught out by the university’s IT department.” Student newspaper The Tab makes a similar assumption, claiming that Gianna was “busted by an elite team of University IT technicians.” However, those familiar with these issues will know that the ‘blame’ should be placed elsewhere, i.e., on rightsholders who are filing complaints directly with the university. The tactic is certainly an interesting one. Despite there being dozens of residential ISPs the copyright holders could focus on, they choose not to do so outside the limited scope of the Get it Right campaign instead. Knowing that universities come down hard on students seems like a motivating factor here, one that students should be aware of. The Tab went on to publish a screenshot of the complaint received by Gianna. It’s incomplete, but it contains information that allows us to investigate further. The note that Gianna’s connection had been suspended to prevent the IT department from “receiving further complaints” is a dead giveaway of rightsholder involvement. But, further down is an even clearer clue that the complaint was made by someone outside the university. The format used in the complaint is identical to that used by US and Australia-based anti-piracy outfit IP-Echelon. The company is known to work with Paramount Pictures who own the rights to Chicken Run. In fact, if one searches the filesize referenced in the infringement notice (572,221,548), it’s possible to find an identical complaint processed by VPN service Proxy.sh. Another Chicken Run complaint Given the file size, we can further deduce that Gianna downloaded a 720p BrRip of Chicken Run that was placed online by now defunct release team/torrent site YIFY, which has also been referenced in a number of complaints sent to Google. So what can we conclude from these series of events? First of all, with less messing around by Paramount and/or Netflix, Gianna might have gone to Netflix first, having seen it previously in the listings on the platform. As it goes, it had been absent for months, having been pulled from the service at least twice before. Second, we know that at least one person who chose to pirate Chicken Run avoided Gianna’s predicament by using a VPN service. While Gianna found herself disconnected, the VPN user walked away completely unscathed, with Paramount and IP-Echelon complaining to the VPN service and that being the end of the matter. Third, allowing your real name and a copy of a copyright infringement complaint to be published alongside a confession is a risky business. While IP-Echelon isn’t known for pressuring people to pay settlements in the UK, the situation could have been very different if a copyright troll was involved. Fourth, we can also conclude that while it’s believed that older content is safer to download, this story suggests otherwise. Chicken Run was released 17 years ago and is still being monitored by rightsholders. Finally, stories of students getting banned from university Internet access are relatively commonplace in the United States, but the same out of the UK is extremely rare. In fact, we’re not aware of such exclusions happening on a regular basis anywhere in the region, although Gianna told the BBC that she knows another person who is still being denied access to the Internet for downloading Shrek, another relatively ancient film. That raises the possibility that some copyright holders have seriously begun targeting universities in the UK. If that’s the case, one has to question what has more value – uninterrupted Internet access while on campus or a movie download. https://torrentfreak.com/girl-busted-for-pirating-chicken-run-provides-food-for-thought-170521/
  7. 19 May 2017 - OmertaHD climbs aboard the ship As some of you have already noticed, OmertaHD encoding group is now part of PTN family! We are really happy to have them here. HERE is their topic for upcoming encodes. A few thoughts from the group: Born in a gangstah neighborhood (CosaNostra - R.I.P. ) we decided to change our costumes and give a try on this pirate life. You can definitely count on us to help on sailing this caravel until the end of the horizon! -OmertaHD Team You can make them feel like home HERE :: Staff
  8. refugees welcome II 3 hours and 50 mins agoHide Dear MTV, First, we would like to welcome all of the new members who have joined in the wake of Freshon.tv closing. We know that a lot of you were there for quite a long time, longer than MTV has even existed, and we hope you'll come to love this site just as much as you clearly loved Freshon A lot of new users have been asking for the class restriction on upload rights to be lifted. For the time being, please send a staff PM if you want to start contributing but can't because of your userclass. Please remember, this large influx of users is taking up a LOT of the staff team's time. We're still taking applications from former Freshon users, and they haven't even started slowing down yet. If anyone can help out with processing applications over the weekend, that would be greatly appreciated. Please join IRC and ask fallout for more info We would also like to remind everyone that we're currently recruiting more First Line Support members! We've made a few additions to the team already, but with the new influx of users we've decided to extend FLS recruitment in order to help cope. If you want to give back to the community, this is your chance! Please visit this thread for more info: forums.php?action=viewthread&threadid=1440 Best Regards, - MTV StaffDiscuss here
  9. With ExtraTorrent's closure this week another BitTorrent giant has fallen. While many torrent sites have come and gone over the years, ExtraTorrent's departure also means that several prominent torrent uploaders are without a home. That said, after a few days it appears that several of these groups will carry on, keeping the ET spirit alive. This week the torrent community entered a state of shock when another major torrent site closed its doors. Having served torrents to the masses for over a decade, ExtraTorrent decided to throw in the towel, without providing any detail or an apparent motive. ExtraTorrent operator SaM simply informed us that “it’s time we say goodbye.” Now that a few days have passed the dust is slowly beginning to settle. Frequent ExtraTorrent users have started to flock to alternatives such as The Pirate Bay, Torrentz2 and RARBG, which have all noticed a clear uptick in users. What has also become clear is that ExtraTorrent won’t have quit without leaving its mark. The site was home to several prominent uploaders and groups, and some feared that these would go down with the site. However, it looks like that won’t be the case for them all. On Thursday, shortly after the site was closed, ExtraTorrent operator SaM said that the movie torrent distribution group ETRG would disappear, but that there was hope for others. “Ettv and Ethd could remain operational if they get enough donations to sustain the expenses and if the people handling it [are] ready to keep going,” SaM said. Indeed, both TV groups are keeping the ET spirit alive as dozens of fresh torrents have appeared over the past few days. While they’re no longer on ExtraTorrent, the accounts on The Pirate Bay remain very active, as can be seen below. ettv’s recent releases Another well-known uploader, DDR, will continue to release torrents as well. TorrentFreak was informed that the uploader will use the ‘SaM’ accounts at The Pirate Bay and 1337x to continue his work. And ExtraTorrent’s name lives on elsewhere too. The image hosting site Extraimage, which was regularly used by torrent uploaders to feature samples, is still up and running as well. There is another major casualty of the ExtraTorrent closure though. TorrentFreak is informed that ET’s inhouse encoder FUM, known for regular high-quality TV releases, will stop. Over the weeks we will see what the real impact of the surprise shutdown will be. A community was destroyed this week, and many uploaders lost their home, but as we’ve seen with KickassTorrents, Torrentz, and other sites before them, the torrent ecosystem isn’t easily disrupted. https://torrentfreak.com/extratorrents-distribution-groups-ettv-and-ethd-keep-going-170519/
  10. 欢迎 ARiN 小组正式入驻TTG! ARiN 专注发布亚洲电影蓝光原盘,特别是在其他站没被发过的独有原盘资源。 偶尔也会发 NETFLIX /AMZN的WEB-DL和日本动漫。 组内人手虽不多,但 ARiN 希望能在亚洲电影这块有较大影响力,做出一片天。 望大家多多支持! Welcome Team ARiN to internal at TTG! Team ARiN focuses on Raw Blurays of Korean and Japanese movies. Specifically, arthouse/rare films that have not been released on major trackers before. ARiN also release Web-DLs and Anime films on ocassion. ARiN is a small team, hoping to make our mark on the asian scene. Hope everybody can support their efforts!
  11. Following a complaint from the UK Premier League, authorities in Thailand have arrested two Brits and a local citizen. The trio are accused of offering unlicensed IPTV subscriptions through the website 365sport.tv. The authorities seized a variety of hardware and handed over the two British men to their local embassy. In recent years there’s been an increase in the availability of unlicensed TV streams, with vendors offering virtually any channel imaginable, for free or in exchange for a small fee. Many of these IPTV packages are unlicensed. That makes them a lot cheaper to the end users, which explains why their popularity is growing. While the phenomenon remained under the radar for a long time, more recently we have seen several raids on vendors who sell these ‘pirate’ subscriptions. After arrests in Spain and Poland, Thai authorities have also joined in. Last week the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) arrested two British men, William Lloyd, 39 and William Robinson, 35, for their alleged involvement in selling unlicensed IPTV subscriptions. The pair were arrested together with 33-year-old local man, Supatra Raksasat. The enforcement action followed a complaint from the Football Association Premier League Ltd (FAPL) and was made public yesterday. According to the authorities, the men sold pirate subscriptions to dozens of TV-channels through 365sport.tv. 365sport.tv The website in question was taken offline and is no longer operational. However, cached versions show that the outfit sold subscriptions for 10 or 22 premium sports channels for a monthly fee of 600 ($17) and 999 ($29) Thai Baht respectively. During the raids DSI, which is a special department of the Ministry of Justice, seized mobile phones, nine computer servers, nine computers, and a total of 49 set-top boxes, local media reports. DSI deputy chief Suriya Singhakamol said that the men were also accused of offering unauthorized content through a variety of other sites targeted at expats, including Thaiexpat.tv, Hkexpat.tv, Indoexpat.tv, Vietexpat.tv, and Euroexpat.tv. Following the Premier League complaint, DSI’s cybercrime unit launched a special investigation which found that 365sport.tv offered the unlicensed streams through Thai servers. The authorities subsequently obtained arrest warrants through the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court. While the case remains open, the two British suspects have been handed over to officials from the British embassy, which requested their bail. All unlicensed IPTV streams, meanwhile, are no longer online. https://torrentfreak.com/thailand-arrests-brits-over-pirated-football-streams-170517/
  12. Netflix customers who previously viewed the service using a 'rooted' Android device are no longer able to do so, at least officially. The development has been confirmed by Netflix, who say that the company's reliance on Google's Widevine DRM standards means that modified and/or non-certified devices will be excluded from the service. With more ways to consume multimedia content than ever before, locking down music, movies and TV shows continues to be big business online. The key way this is achieved is via Digital Rights Management, which is often referred to by the initials DRM. In a nutshell, DRM is achieved via various technologies which dictate where and when digital content can be accessed. While DRM is popular with providers seeking to exercise control over their content while preventing piracy, DRM is viewed by some consumers as a restrictive practice that only inconveniences genuine customers. This weekend, further fuel was poured on that fire when Android Police reported that subscribers to Netflix who access the service via ‘rooted’ Android devices can no longer download the official Android app from Google Play. The app’s changelog reports that Netflix’s V5 software “only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements” but what underlies this claim is a desire by Netflix to ensure that subscribers are DRM compliant. “With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store,” Netflix confirmed. Widevine is a company owned by Google and its DRM platform claims to be able to “license, securely distribute and protect playback of content on any consumer device.” To meet those claims, Google requires that its partners running Widevine-protected systems live up to its standards by becoming a Certified Widevine Implementation Partner (CWIP). A part of that requires that software platforms are only allowed to run on approved hardware/software combinations. It is no surprise that ‘rooted’ Android devices fail to meet those requirements. When a user ‘roots’ their device they effectively gain administrator rights, which allows them to get into the nuts and bolts of the machine and carry out modifications. Many users do this to innocently customize how legally purchased hardware performs, including making the Netflix experience better, as illustrated by the Google Play review on the right. However, it’s clear that this kind of low-level access also has the potential to make piracy easier, whether that’s through the defeating of licensing checks or indeed the wholesale extraction of video content. For this reason, ‘rooted’ devices raise red flags, not only for content delivery companies like Netflix and partners Google, but also for certain banking companies whose apps won’t run on devices with extended administrator capabilities. These companies want a predictable and secure environment in which to offer their services and ‘rooted’ platforms do not offer that. The problem, however, is that for every potentially malicious user, there are many thousands of others who want to have the freedom to run a ‘rooted’ device while also being a legal consumer of Netflix. For them, the frustration could even boil over into what DRM was designed to prevent in the first place. https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-use-of-google-drm-means-rooted-android-devices-are-banned-170515/
  13. One of the oldest and most popular Kodi addons is being shut down after a decade in action. Navi-X, which was the go-to addon for hundreds of thousands of people, will be discontinued due to legal fears, spam, and pollution with mislabeled adult content. One of the main questions asked by new users of the Kodi media player is what addons should be installed to get the best experience right from the start. Over the years, hit add-ons such as Exodus, Phoenix, SALTS and SportsDevil have all been top of the list but due to its wide range of content, one in particular has enjoyed broad appeal. Navi-X began life ten years ago in 2007. Developed by Netherlands-based coder ‘Rodejo’, it debuted on XBMC (Kodi’s previous name) on the original XBoX. “Navi-X originally only played back media items of video and audio content and was eventually expanded to included many other media types like text, RSS, live streams and podcasts,” the team at TV Addons explain. Over the years, however, things changed dramatically. Due to the way Navi-X works, the addon can import playlists from any number of sources, and they have invariably been dominated by copyrighted content, from movies and TV shows through to live sports. This earned the addon a massive following, estimated by TV Addons – the site that maintained the software – as numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Soon, however, Navi-X will be no more. “Every good thing must come to an end. After ten years of successful operation, Navi-X is sadly being discontinued. Navi-X was first released in April 2007, and is the oldest Kodi addon of its kind,” TV Addons explain. “There are a few reasons why we made the decision to close Navi-X, and hope that the hundreds of thousands of people who still used Navi-X daily will understand why it was best to discontinue Navi-X while it was still on top.” The team says that the main reason for discontinuing the addon and its underlying service is the current legal climate. Hosting Navi-X playlists is something that TV Addons no longer feels comfortable with “due to the potential liability that comes with it.” Also, the team says that Navi-X was slowly being overrun by people trying to make a profit from the service. Playlists were being filled with spam, often advertising premium illegal IPTV services, which TV Addons strongly opposes. Mislabeling of adult content was also causing issues, and despite TV Addons’ best efforts to get rid of the offending content, they were fighting a losing battle. “We tried to moderate the database, but there was just too much content, no one had the time to watch thousands of videos to remove ads and distasteful content,” the team explains. Unlike other addons that have come under legal pressure, the shutdown of Navi-X is entirely voluntary. TV Addons extends thanks to developers rodejo16 and turner3d, plus Blazetamer and crzen from more recent times. The repository also thanks those who took the time to create the playlists upon which Navi-X relied. It is this that shines a light at the end of the tunnel for those wondering how to fill the void left by the addon. “We’d also like to recognize all the dedicated playlisters, who we invite to get in touch with us if they are interested in releasing their own addons sometime in the near future,” TV Addons concludes. https://torrentfreak.com/kodi-addon-navi-x-bites-the-dust-after-10-years-170513/
  14. Spotify is often credited as the music service most in tune with the 'pirate' mentality, having converted millions of former file-sharers in recent years. Interestingly, according to writer and researcher Rasmus Fleischer, a decade ago the site actually populated its beta with pirate MP3s, including some that were only available on The Pirate Bay. While some pirates will probably never be tempted away from the digital high seas, over the past decade millions have ditched or tapered down their habit with the help of Spotify. It’s no coincidence that from the very beginning more than a decade ago, the streaming service had more than a few things in common with the piracy scene. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek originally worked with uTorrent creator Ludvig ‘Ludde’ Strigeus before the pair sold to BitTorrent Inc. and began work on Spotify. Later, the company told TF that pirates were their target. “Spotify is a new way of enjoying music. We believe Spotify provides a viable alternative to music piracy,” the company said. “We think the way forward is to create a service better than piracy, thereby converting users into a legal, sustainable alternative which also enriches the total music experience.” The technology deployed by Spotify was also familiar. Like the majority of ‘pirate’ platforms at the time, Spotify operated a peer-to-peer (P2P) system which grew to become one of the largest on the Internet. It was shut down in 2011. But in the clearest nod to pirates, Spotify was available for free, supported by ads if the user desired. This was the platform’s greatest asset as it sought to win over a generation that had grown accustomed to gorging on free MP3s. Interestingly, however, an early Pirate Bay figure has now revealed that Spotify also had a use for the free content floating around the Internet. As one of the early members of Sweden’s infamous Piratbyrån (piracy bureau), Rasmus Fleischer was also one of key figures at The Pirate Bay. Over the years he’s been a writer, researcher, debater and musician, and in 2012 he finished his PhD thesis on “music’s political economy.” As part of a five-person team, Fleischer is now writing a book about Spotify. Titled ‘Spotify Teardown – Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music’, the book aims to shine light on the history of the famous music service and also spills the beans on a few secrets. In an interview with Sweden’s DI.se, Fleischer reveals that when Spotify was in early beta, the company used unlicensed music to kick-start the platform. “Spotify’s beta version was originally a pirate service. It was distributing MP3 files that the employees happened to have on their hard drives,” he reveals. Rumors that early versions of Spotify used ‘pirate’ MP3s have been floating around the Internet for years. People who had access to the service in the beginning later reported downloading tracks that contained ‘Scene’ labeling, tags, and formats, which are the tell-tale signs that content hadn’t been obtained officially. Solid proof has been more difficult to come by but Fleischer says he knows for certain that Spotify was using music obtained not only from pirate sites, but the most famous pirate site of all. According to the writer, a few years ago he was involved with a band that decided to distribute their music on The Pirate Bay instead of the usual outlets. Soon after, the album appeared on Spotify’s beta service. “I thought that was funny. So I emailed Spotify and asked how they obtained it. They said that ‘now, during the test period, we will use music that we find’,” Fleischer recalls. For a company that has attracting pirates built into its DNA, it’s perhaps fitting that it tempted them with the same bait found on pirate sites. Certainly, the company’s history of a pragmatic attitude towards piracy means that few will be shouting ‘hypocrites’ at the streaming platform now. Indeed, according to Fleischer the successes and growth of Spotify are directly linked to the temporary downfall of The Pirate Bay following the raid on the site in 2006, and the lawsuits that followed. “The entire Spotify beta period and its early launch history is in perfect sync with the Pirate Bay process,” Fleischer explains. “They would not have had as much attention if they had not been able to surf that wave. The company’s early history coincides with the Pirate Party becoming a hot topic, and the trial of the Pirate Bay in the Stockholm District Court.” In 2013, Fleischer told TF that The Pirate Bay had “helped catalyze so-called ‘new business models’,” and it now appears that Spotify is reaping the benefits and looks set to keep doing so into the future. An in-depth interview with Rasmus Fleischer will be published here soon, including an interesting revelation detailing how TorrentFreak readers positively affected the launch of Spotify in the United States. Spotify Teardown – Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music will be published early 2018. https://torrentfreak.com/spotifys-beta-used-pirate-mp3-files-some-from-pirate-bay-170509/
  15. @laliguras because I did not win?