Laxus

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Laxus last won the day on February 22 2015

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  1. In two weeks the fifth season of Game of Thrones will debut in a record-breaking 170 countries. HBO is making the new series available wherever it can to give pirates no excuse, but it's doubtful that this strategy will have much of an effect on the piracy numbers. Mid April the first episode of Game of Thrones’ fifth season will find its way onto dozens of torrent sites. Like previous years, a few hours later millions of people will have downloaded this unofficial release. Traditionally, pirates have used “availability†as an excuse to download movies and TV-shows from illegal sources. In some countries there is simply no legal option available, the arguments often go. To remove this piracy incentive HBO has made sure that the new Game of Thrones series is available in as many countries as possible. The company recently announced that it will air in 170 countries roughly at the same time as the U.S. release. This decision is being framed as an anti-piracy move and may indeed have some effect. However, availability is not the only reason why so many people choose to download the show from unauthorized sources. In fact, if we look at the list of countries where most Game of Thrones downloaders came from last year, we see that it was legally available in all of these countries. Data gathered during the first 12 hours of the season 4 premiere revealed that most downloads originated from Australia, followed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. So there must be something else going on. Pricing perhaps? The price tag attached to many of legal services may be too high for some. In Australia, for example, it cost $500 to follow last year’s season and in the U.S. some packages were priced as high as $100 per month. This year there is some positive change to report in the US, as iTunes now offers a $15-per-month subscription without the need for a cable subscription. But if the steep prices remain in most countries it’s unlikely that the piracy rates will drop significantly. This is nothing new for HBO of course. The company has probably considered offering separate and cheaper Game of Thrones packages, but while this may result in less pirates it will also severely hurt the value of their licensing deals and full subscription plans. And aside from the financials, piracy also has it upsides. Game of Thrones director David Petrarca previously admitted that piracy generatedmuch-needed “cultural buzz†around his show. Similarly, Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner, noted that piracy resulted in more subscriptions for his company and that receiving the title of “most-pirated†was “better than an Emmy.†All in all it’s safe to say that Game of Thrones will be crowned the most pirated TV-show again in 2015. The only uncertainty right now is whether it will break last year’s BitTorrent “swarm record,†which currently stands at 254,114 simultaneous sharers. Torrentfreak
  2. City of London Police and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations underlined their relationship this week with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. Focusing on IP crime, the agencies collaborate to suspend domains, shut down file-sharing sites, and arrest uploaders. Some of the first major signs that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) had entered the online piracy fight came with the shuttering of streaming site NinjaVideoand the seizing of several piracy-related domains in the summer of 2010. Months later a torrent search engine was also targeted. By January 2014 a total of 2,713 domains had been taken down on various infringement grounds and as a result the now infamous ICE seizure banner has been viewed in excess of 122 million times. On the other side of the Atlantic, City of London Police have also forced the suspension of hundreds of domains alleged to be involved in copyright and trademark infringement. In particular the integrated Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has generated plenty of headlines over the past couple of years, many of them relating to file-sharing, video streaming and similar operations. After dealings dating back 10 years, ICE and City of London Police this week decided to formalize their “special relationship†with the signing of an official Memorandum of Understanding focusing on their shared interest in reducing IP related crime. Signed by Homeland Security Investigations’ London Attaché Matthew Etre and City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard, the MOU focuses on enhancing collaboration on major investigations between the two law enforcement bodies. “International cooperation among law enforcement agencies is crucial to effectively combating intellectual property crime,†said Etre. “This memorandum of understanding between HSI and the City of London Police formalizes a long-standing and mutually beneficial partnership in the fight against these global criminal networks.†ICE says that with their shared focus on tackling IP crime the launch of PIPCU in September 2013 brought a “new dimension†to the trans-Atlantic partnership. Just over year later the partnership was bearing high-profile fruit. After a pristine copy of The Expendables 3 appeared online ahead of its release in 2014, an HSI referral led toPIPCU arresting two men last November in connection with the leak. Collaboration like this will continue, the agencies say, with HSI and PIPCU agents now meeting twice yearly in the Hague, Netherlands, to exchange intelligence on websites distributing content illegally. “Our partnership with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigation has already directly led to the suspension of hundreds of illegally operating websites and the arrest of several people,†said Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard. “I look forward to the MOU we have signed taking our partnership to a new level of collaboration which in turn will make life more difficult for intellectual property criminals who continue to offend in our two countries and many others around the world.†PIPCU’s most recent file-sharing related arrest came last month when the unit raided the world’s most prolific UFC and WWE content uploader. Known online as Sir Paul,the man was arrested at his Leicestershire home after uploading thousands of shows using BitTorrent. No ICE involvement was detailed at the time, but it’s likely that a complaint originating from the United States prompted the move. Torrentfreak
  3. A draft of new legislation aimed at stopping Aussie consumers accessing 'pirate' sites has been made available this morning. The amendments, which contain criteria that could see hundreds of sites blocked by ISPs, is believed to have been reworded to ensure that VPN services don't become caught in the dragnet. During December 2014, Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull asked the Australian Cabinet to approve the development of a new legal mechanism which would allow rightsholders to obtain site-blocking injunctions against ISPs. Today that legislation was introduced to parliament. Kept under wraps until this morning, the site-blocking elements of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 are likely to please rightsholders with their significant reach. Injunctions against providers In order to apply for an injunction against an ISP, rightsholders need to show that the provider in question provides access to “an online location†outside Australia and that the “location†infringes or facilitates infringement of copyright. The location’s primary purpose must be to infringe copyright, “whether or not in Australiaâ€. Aside from the rightsholder and ISP, operators of “locations†(the word ‘site’ is not used, presumably to add breadth) will be given the option to apply to become party to any proceedings. Once an injunction is handed down against an ISP it will be required to take “reasonable steps†to disable access to the infringing site. What amounts to reasonable will almost certainly be the subject of further discussion as any over-broad moves could result in collateral damage and bad PR. Issues determining whether sites/locations become blocked Currently there are 11 areas that the Court will examine when deciding whether to hand down an injunction. The key issues involve intent, in particular whether a location/site’s primary purpose is to infringe and the flagrancy of any infringement. In a nod to BitTorrent and similar indexes around today (Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents and Usenet sites, for example), the Court will consider whether the location “makes available or contains†any “directories, indexes or categories of the means to infringe, or facilitate an infringement of, copyright.†The Court will also consider whether the operator of the “location†demonstrates “disregard†for copyright. In the case of The Pirate Bay, for example, that should be easy to show but for others such as KickassTorrents – which removes masses of content following rightsholder request – the line becomes more wavy. That being said, removing content alone won’t be enough to save a site from the blocklist. The Court will also take into consideration whether a site has already been blocked on copyright infringement or related grounds anywhere else on the planet. That immediately puts at least 110 UK-blocked sites in the spotlight. Other issues to be considered are more focused on the needs of the public, such as whether blocking a resource would be “proportionateâ€, in the public interest, or likely to have a “an impact†on third parties. Who will be allowed to have an input into these matters is not detailed but participating in court proceedings could prove prohibitively expensive for smaller groups. Additional matters The draft caters for injunctions to have a limited duration, and be rescinded or varied upon application. While ISPs will be expected to spend money on implementing injunctions, they won’t be liable for any costs in relation to injunction proceedings, unless they wish to take part. Unless rightsholders go overboard or there is public outcry, it seems unlikely that Aussie ISPs will choose to do so. VPN friendly While the draft is now up for debate and amendment, changes are reported to have been introduced as late as last week, delaying its introduction. According to SMH the legislation was worded in such a way that VPN providers could have been eligible for blocking if the Court decided they were facilitating infringement. “In an area such as this if you are not really specific you end up catching a lot more stuff than you are potentially targeting,†a source explained. Of course, the current draft could still scoop up a VPN provider if it marketed itself as a service designed for piracy, but there are few if any that are that naive today. Overall As it currently stands the draft appears to have ‘teeth’ and the scope to take down any significant ‘pirate’ site or service on the planet, at least as far as regular Aussie Internet subscribers are concerned and provided their ISPs have the technical ability. Another rightsholder-pleasing aspect of the Bill is the lack of limits being placed on the number of sites that can be blocked in a single injunction. While it may make sense to have the facts heard against a few well-known sites in an initial order, subsequent orders could potentially list hundreds of additional sites alongside comment that they are “structurally similar†to those already presented. Also of interest is the continued use of the words “online location†instead of “siteâ€. This is likely in preparation for new technologies, or perhaps even some of the decentralized technologies already available today. There will now be a six week consultation period for additional submissions and tweaks. Torrentfreak
  4. Major UK Internet providers must now block more than 100 piracy related websites after a new High Court order. The latest blocking round was issued on behalf of the major record labels and targets several MP3 download sites such as stafaband.info, rnbxclusive.se and plixid.com, as well as a search engine for the cloud hosting service Mega.co.nz. Following a series of High Court orders six UK ISPs are required to block subscriber access to many of the largest pirate sites. The efforts started in 2012 and the list continued to grow in the years that followed. In a new wave the BPI, which represents the major record labels, has teamed up with music licensing outfit Phonographic Performance Limited to obtain an order targeting a series of MP3 download sites. This latest round expands the UK blocklist by 17 MP3 download sites, including stafaband.info, rnbxclusive.se, plixid.com and mp3.li. It brings the total number of blocked sites over a hundred, 110 to be precise. Nearly all of the newly blocked sites are so-called MP3 search engines. However, the list also includes megasearch.co, a website that allows users to find files on the Mega cloud storage service founded by Kim Dotcom. Plixid A few days ago several providers including Sky, BT and Virgin implemented the new changes, making it harder for their subscribers to reach these sites. The other ISPs are expected to follow suit during the days to come. Thus far the sealed Court order hasn’t been released to the public but the list of 17 sites was confirmed to TorrentFreak by one of the major ISPs, which preferred not to comment on the latest blocking round. Because the ISPs have given up on defending their position in court, it is now a mere formality for copyright holders to have a pirate site banned. However, the blocking efforts are not without cost. Leaked information previously revealed that even an unopposed application for a blocking order costs copyright holders around £14,000 per website. This brings the total costs of the requesting parties well over a million pounds. TF approached the BPI for a comment on the latest blocking efforts, but we have yet to hear back. —- The full list of sites that are currently blocked in the UK is as follows: — New: Bursalagu, Fullsongs, Mega-Search, Mp3 Monkey, Mp3.li, Mp3Bear, MP3Boo, Mp3Clan, Mp3Olimp, MP3s.pl, Mp3soup, Mp3Truck, Musicaddict, My Free MP3, Plixid, RnBXclusive and STAFA Band. Previously blocked: watchseries.lt, Stream TV, Watchseries-online, Cucirca, Movie25, watchseries.to, Iwannawatch, Warez BB, Ice Films, Tehparadox, Heroturko, Scene Source,, Rapid Moviez, Iwatchonline, Los Movies, Isohunt, Torrentz.pro, Torrentbutler, IP Torrents, Sumotorrent, Torrent Day, Torrenting, BitSoup, TorrentBytes, Seventorrents, Torrents.fm, Yourbittorrent, Tor Movies , Demonoid, torrent.cd, Vertor, Rar BG, bittorrent.am, btdigg.org, btloft.com, bts.to, limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me, torlock.com, torrentbit.net, torrentdb.li, torrentdownload.ws, torrentexpress.net, torrentfunk.com, torrentproject.com, torrentroom.com, torrents.net, torrentus.eu, torrentz.cd, torrentzap.com, vitorrent.org.Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T and The Pirate Bay. Torrentfreak
  5. The world's leading record labels are targeting Grooveshark with an unprecedented level of copyright complaints. According to Google, during the past month the streaming service became the 7th most complained about site in the world, something that has caused Grooveshark's search engine traffic to nosedive. It would be fair to say that the relationship between the world’s major recording labels and streaming music service Grooveshark is a rocky one at best. Founded in 2006 as a site where users could upload their own music and listen to streams for free, friction with record companies built alongside Grooveshark’s growth. EMI first filed a copyright infringement suit against the company in 2009 but it was withdrawn later that year after the pair reached a licensing agreement. Since then there have been major and ongoing disputes with the labels of the RIAA who accuse Grooveshark of massive copyright infringement. Those behind the service insist that Grooveshark is simply a YouTube-like site which is entitled to enjoy the safe harbor protections of the DMCA. Part of Grooveshark’s DMCA responsibilities is to remove infringing content once a copyright holder asks for it to be taken down. Grooveshark doesn’t publish any kind of transparency report but there is nothing to suggest that in 2015 it doesn’t take that responsibility extremely seriously. However, Google’s transparency report reveals that the world’s major recording labels are currently hitting Grooveshark particularly hard. In fact, between the RIAA, IFPI and several affiliated anti-piracy groups, Google handled 346,619 complaints during the past month alone, with up to 10,000 URLs reported in a single notice. While the labels have always complained about Grooveshark to Google, the big question is why the game is being stepped up now. Both the RIAA and Grooveshark tend to remain tight-lipped on such matters, but in recent times Google’s transparency report has become a convenient barometer for rightsholders to illustrate how ‘infringing’ any particular site is. According to the report, last month those complaints made Grooveshark the 7th most-complained about domain in the world, just one position behind 4Shared, a site the USTR declares a “notorious marketâ€. It should be noted that Grooveshark is definitely not on that list, but there are other reasons for Google to be sent as many complaints about Grooveshark as possible. Around October 2014, Google tweaked its search algorithm so that sites receiving the most takedown notices were placed lower in its search results. The move not only hittorrent sites hard, but also affected many cyber-locker type domains too. As show in the Alexa chart below, Grooveshark’s traffic has also been largely on the decline since October. While there could be other factors at play for the downturn in traffic, perhaps the most obvious sign that a recent and massive surge in DMCA notices sent to Google is having an effect on Grooveshark’s visibility can be seen below. Early February the site’s traffic from search fell off a cliff and is currently just half of what it was seven weeks ago. While results are currently being removed from Google in their hundreds of thousands, Grooveshark is far from on its knees. The site services millions of happy users who are currently enjoying a fully redesigned platform which looks and performs better than its predecessor. One thing is for certain; if the current pressure continues Grooveshark’s own search engine will work much better than Google’s when it comes to finding music on the service. Torrentfreak
  6. There are persistent rumors going around that some file-sharers are doing everything they can to fly under the radar but when ruining privacy is so much easier, why bother? For those who couldn't care less about online security and have a burning desire to turn their online lives into a public free for all, here's our essential guide. Every single day one can hear do-gooders banging on endlessly about staying private on the Internet. It’s all encryption this and Edward Snowden that. Ignore them. They’re lunatics involved in a joint Illuminati / Scientologist conspiracy. No, what Internet users need is a more care-free approach to online surveillance, one that allows them to relax into a zen-like state of blissful ignorance, free from the “Five Eyes†rantings of Kim Dotcom. And there are plenty of real people already following this advice. Real events reported here on TF (and investigated by us over the past few months) have shown us that while operating in the world of file-sharing (especially if that involves releasing content or running a tracker) it is absolutely vital to lay down an easily followed trail of information. Here are some golden rules for doing just that. Naming convention If at all possible, file-sharers should incorporate their real-life names into their online nickname. Dave Mark Robinson should become DaveR at a minimum, but for greater effect DaveMR should be used. As adding in a date of birth allows significant narrowing down of identities, DaveMR1982 would be a near perfect choice. This secret codename can then be used on any torrent site, but for best effect it should be used across multiple trackers at once so the user is more easily identified. But let’s not think too narrowly here. As an added bonus, Dave should also ensure that the same nickname is used on sites that have absolutely nothing to do with his file-sharing. EBay profiles and YouTube accounts are perfect candidates, with the latter carrying some personally identifying videos, if at all possible. That said, Dave would be selling himself short if he didn’t also use the same names on….. Social media If Dave doesn’t have an active Facebook account which is easily linked to his file-sharing accounts, he is really missing out. Twitter is particularly useful when choosing the naming convention highlighted above since nicknames can often be cross-referenced with real names on Facebook, especially given the effort made in the previous section. In addition to all the regular personal and family information readily input by people like Dave, file-sharing Facebook users really need to make sure they put up clear pictures of themselves and then ‘like’ content most closely related to the stuff they’re uploading. ‘Liking’ file-sharing related tools such as uTorrent is always recommended. File-sharing sites When DaveMR1982 signs up to (or even starts to run) a torrent site it’s really important that he uses an easy to remember password, ideally one used on several other sites. This could be a pet’s name, for example, but only if that pet gets a prominent mention on Facebook. Remember: make it easy for people, it saves so much time! Dave’s participation in site forums is a must too. Ideally he will speak a lot about where he lives and his close family, as with the right care these can be easily cross-referenced with the information he previously input into Facebook. Interests and hobbies are always great topics for public discussion as these can be matched against items for sale on eBay, complete with item locations for added ease. Also, Dave should never use a VPN if he wants his privacy shattered, with the no-log type a particular no-go. In the event he decides to use a seedbox he should pay for it himself using his own PayPal account, but only if that’s linked to his home address and personal bank account. Remember, bonus points for using the same nickname as earlier when signing up at the seedbox company! Make friends and then turn them into enemies Great friendships can be built on file-sharing sites but in order to maximize the risks of a major privacy invasion, personal information must be given freely to these almost complete strangers whenever possible. In an ideal world, trusting relationships should be fostered with online ‘friends’ and then allowed to deteriorate into chaos amid a petty squabble, something often referred to in the torrent scene as a “tracker dramaâ€. With any luck these people will discard friendships in an instant and spill the beans on a whim. Domain registration Under no circumstances should Dave register his domains with a protected WHOIS as although they can be circumvented, they do offer some level of protection. Instead (and to comply with necessary regulations) Dave should include his real home address and telephone number so he is easily identified. If for some crazy reason that isn’t possible and Dave is forced to WHOIS-protect his domain, having other non-filesharing sites on the same server as his file-sharing site is always good for laying down breadcrumbs for the anti-privacy police. If the domains of those other sites don’t have a protected WHOIS, so much the better. Remember, make sure the address matches the home location mentioned on Facebook and the items for sale on eBay! Conclusion As the above shows, with practice it’s easy to completely compromise one’s privacy, whether participating in the file-sharing space or elsewhere. In the above guide we’ve simply cited some genuine real-life techniques used by people reported in previous TF articles published during the last year, but if you have better ideas at ruining privacy online, please feel free to add them in the comments. Torrentfreak
  7. The South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival is one of the largest and most popular in the United States. For more than a decade SXSW has been sharing DRM-free songs of the performing artists, 55 GB worth so far. This year's release is the largest thus far with 1,291 tracks totaling more than eight gigabytes. Since 2005 the SXSW music festival has published thousands of DRM-free tracks from participating artists. For some of the first releases the festival organizers created the torrents for the artist showcases themselves, but since 2008 this task has been in the hands of the public. In 2014 SXSW replaced the MP3 files with Soundcloud links, which complicated the archiving process. Luckily, this year all of the regular SXSW showcase MP3s are freely available again on the festival site for sampling purposes. In common with previous years, Ben Stolt has taken the time and effort to upload all of the MP3s onto BitTorrent with proper ID3 tags. The 2015 release is out now and comes in two torrents containing 1,291 tracks. That’s 8.42 gigabytes of free music in total, which is a new record. “These torrents include tracks that can be previewed on the SXSW website for SXSW 2015. This year’s includes 1,291 files totaling 8.42GB, making it the largest to date,†Stolt notes. All the tracks released for the previous editions are also still available for those people who want to fill up their MP3 players without having to invest thousands of dollars. The 2005 – 2015 archives now total more than 55 gigabytes. Every year SXSW torrents are a great success, with many thousands of music aficionados downloading gigabytes of free music across virtually every genre from both established acts and upcoming bands. This year’s SXSW music festival is currently underway in Austin, Texas and ends tomorrow. The torrents, however, are expected to live on for as long as there are people sharing. Torrentfreak
  8. Strike is a new torrent search engine and as far as we know the first to index not only all public trackers but also BitTorrent's 'trackerless' Distributed Hash Table. With a less is more philosophy, Strike tries to intelligently return only the best results and operates with zero advertising. A friendly API is provided for developers alongside a no-logging policy. There are dozens of torrent site engines online today but to attract our attention new entrants have to stand out from the crowd by doing things somewhat differently. Strike has only been online for a few days but it certainly fits that billing in a number of ways, despite its plain appearance. Indexing Firstly, and in common with many other sites, Strike indexes public torrents. CreatorAndrew Sampson informs TorrentFreak that his engine indexes all available public trackers, which is clearly a good start for a site of this type. However, Strike boosts its indexes by also scraping BitTorrent’s Distributed Hash Table. DHT search engines have appeared in the past but as far as we know, Strike is the first site to utilize both sets of resources. We have covered DHT in detail in the past, but Sampson offers a quick refresher. “DHT basically is a second P2P protocol aiming to replace trackers. It stores pairs of info hashes and updates the swarm if it receives announce messages. When it comes to DHT every [torrent] client is announcing themselves as being present. Because of this I’m able to scrape millions of torrents in a decentralized manner; not having to rely on trackers themselves,†the dev told TF. “My scraper can query DHT with the respect to an info hash and doesn’t have to use a tracker or know a peer that is part of the swarm before. If one of the peers it contacts supports the sharing of metadata it only needs the info to retrieve the .torrent file from the swarm. This is what effectively puts this search engine ahead of everything else.†In order to get information on torrents, Strike’s DHT “scraper†behaves like a regular torrent client, connecting to swarms and exchanging a few bytes with other peers. This enables it to gain access to all the peers in the swarm and the data they have. “It bounces around from infohash to infohash scraping up meta data, writing it to disk where it’s queued up to be stored in the database. It’s highly bandwidth and hardware intensive, (I have 5 servers constantly working on it) But the end results are millions of torrents for end users to search through quickly,†Sampson says. Search The project also has an interesting approach to search and related results which grew out of QTBot, an AI tool originally written for Skype. “Her job was to not only learn to be your personal assistant or friends, but to do sentiment analysis to determine the best course for keeping a group conversation lively,†Sampson explains. “I saw this technology as going to waste, for a while I thought about a better way to apply it and the obvious thing was always to build a search engine of some sort. Well, after one too many fake download button clicks with malware were forced down my pipe it was obvious what kind it was going to be.†Within Strike, QTBot caches common terms and phrases to see which results it should present first. ‘She’ recognizes that high seeder counts are important but also considers other factors, including whether to present the latest version of a release if users search for them enough. Presentation No doubt about it, Strike is one of the cleanest, most tidy torrent sites around. There is no clutter in the interface and strictly no ads. “From the start I knew this would be a completely non-profit project, so sorry to all users, but there won’t be any hot singles in your area or fake download buttons filled with malware. I wanted to offer the cleanest experience I could for users while also keeping them safe,†Sampson notes. Clicking on search results brings up a details page which reveals all content inside each torrent, useful in the unlikely event a user is presented with a suspect file. Files can then be accessed via a torrent or magnet link, with RSS and Twitter announcing options for those that way inclined. Overall In a sea of advertising, pop ups and irrelevant results, Strike certainly stands out as one of the cleanest torrent sites around. Those looking for the most comprehensive sets of results on the rarest of content might be a little disappointed, but most things even moderately mainstream are well catered for. Having both DHT and public tracker indexing makes this site unique while its no logging policy and dev-friendly API add icing to the cake. Torrentfreak
  9. The MetArt Network, a group of well-known adult websites, is cracking down on pirate tube sites. Through a series of lawsuits filed at a federal court in Seattle, Washington, the group hopes to take out Spankbang.com, Pornvideoxo.com, Pornburst.xxx and various other sites that host their videos without permission. Porn is huge on the Internet, and so is pirated porn. In common with other entertainment industries adult producers are battling with a constant stream of illegal content. Most of this content is enjoyed via so-called tube sites where videos can be streamed instantly. In an effort to put a stop to the unauthorized streams MetArt Network has decided to take several pirate tube sites to court. The group has filed ten lawsuits in Seattle, Washington, targeting the operators of Spankbang.com, Pornvideoxo.com, Pornburst.xxx, Sextvx.com and other streaming sites that offer their content without permission. The site owners are accused of various copyright and trademark violations, as well as unfair competition. According to MetArt the sites hide behind the DMCA while profiting heavily from the illegal videos they host. “The DMCA safe harbor provisions have been systematically abused by internet copyright infringers in an attempt to garner protection for pirate websites displaying copyrighted adult entertainment content without license or authority for free viewing to the public,†the complaint (pdf) reads. “Under a veneer of DMCA compliance, the owners and operators attempt to hide behind the safe harbor provisions while monetizing the website through premium membership programs and substantial advertising contracts.†MetArt points out that the site’s operators take no measures to ensure that pirated videos stay offline, nor do they enforce a policy to ban repeat copyright infringers among their users. Instead of taking proactive steps against piracy, the tube sites are “willfully blind†to the infringements while using MetArt’s brand to advertise its services, the adult group claims. “Defendants’ acts and omissions allow them to profit from their infringement while imposing the burden of monitoring Defendants’ website onto copyright holders, without sufficient means to prevent continued and unabated infringement,†the complaint reads. One problem MetArt faces is that some site owners hide behind private Whois registrations. The company has therefore asked the court for a subpoena against Whoisguard, Enom, CloudFlare and various other service providers so it can identify those responsible. Through the lawsuits MetArt eventually hopes to recoup damages which can run into the millions of dollars. In addition, they’re asking the court to transfer the sites’ domain names to stop future infringements. Whether the adult group’s arguments will hold up in court has yet to be seen but the cases will be watched closely by the adult industry as well as the major Hollywood studios, who face a similar ‘pirate’ steaming problem. Torrentfreak
  10. The UK's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit says it has arrested the world's most prolific uploader of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) content. The 55-year-old, who TorrentFreak believes it has identified, was arrested at his home in Leicestershire this morning. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events are without doubt the most popular combat-based content available today. These enterprises are big business. WWE had revenues in excess of half a billion dollars in 2014 and while UFC parent Zuffa is rather more tight-lipped about its financial position, the company is believed to be worth several billion dollars. Both companies’ revenues rely heavily on TV-focused content. In 2013, UFC-parent company Zuffa’s revenues were split roughly 58% for PPV events and ticket sales with the remaining 42% derived from TV, sponsorships and various distribution agreements. Predictably the company has a track record of reacting furiously to its content being uploaded to the Internet and has active programs to remove links and prosecute individuals, mainly in the United States. Today police in the UK have been doing the organization’s work for them. This morning officers from the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Unit arrested an individual said to be one of the world’s most prolific uploaders of both UFC and WWE content. Traveling hundreds of miles north to the tiny market town of Coalville in Leicestershire, officers descended on the home of the 55-year-old man. According to police the man is “believed to be one of the internet’s biggest offenders†when it comes to uploading wrestling and mixed martial arts content to both peer-to-peer and user-generated content sites. The man’s home was searched and several computers were seized. He was then taken to a local police station for questioning. Upload monitoring by TorrentFreak reveals there are only a limited number of players in the combat sports release game who act alone. There are fewer still who are relatively easy to identify and are located in the UK. We gave PIPCU a name and asked if that person had been arrested this morning. “We do not release the name or identity of suspects at arrest stage. This information is only released once an individual has been charged,†a PIPCU spokesperson said. In any event, PIPCU are throwing some big numbers around. The unit claims that the individual is responsible for uploading more than 3.2 terabytes of data, which is the equivalent of more than 3,000 videos. Of course, that’s just his uploading. When it comes to total videos distributed things get much, much worse. PIPCU estimates that the files uploaded generated in excess of two million downloads at a cost to the industry of several million pounds. “Today’s operation serves as a clear warning to anyone thinking of uploading copyrighted material to pirate sites. This is not a victimless crime as copyright infringement is costing our creative industries hundreds of millions of pounds,†said PIPCU chief DCI Danny Medlycott. “Our team is dedicated to combating criminals ripping off other’s intellectual property and so those who are thinking of taking this path should think twice, as it might result in a knock on the door from our officers.†Jim Langham, WWE Senior Vice President & Assistant General Counsel expressed thanks for PIPCU’s action this morning. “WWE provides many options for our fans to watch our content lawfully – on television, pay-per-view, and digitally via YouTube and the WWE Network. We will continue to protect our intellectual property aggressively and combat piracy in any form,†Langham said. UFC Chief Legal Officer Kirk Hendrick said that he hoped that this morning’s arrest would lead to a “significant decrease†in the unlawful online distribution of UFC events. “We take online piracy very seriously and will continue to work with law enforcement officials around the world to prevent illegal sharing of UFC content,†Hendrick said. If the individual does indeed turn out to be the person we believe he is, a significant “brand name†will now disappear from the UFC and WWE uploads scene during the coming week. That will no doubt disorient some downloaders, but plenty more uploaders exist. At least 10 different groups uploaded last weekend’s UFC 185 PPV event, with the majority capturing the event from non-UK sources. Viewers in the UK are able to view events relatively cheaply via the subscription channel BT Sport, but illegal captures from this source are now likely to disappear, at least in the short term. Torrentfreak
  11. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill was today cleared for introduction into the Australian parliament. In a whirlwind of activity it's expected to be passed this week and will herald the ISP-level blocking of "overseas pirate sites". The body representing the country's ISPs has expressed disappointment at the complete lack of consultation. For many years Australia has struggled with a reputation for being a country of file-sharing pirates. Following a period of heated debate, during the summer of 2014 two key piracy-tackling strategies boiled to the surface. First, in some way, shape or form, copyright holders would get access, indirectly if necessary, to communicate with errant Internet users found to be downloading and sharing copyrighted material without permission. Pressure built, with the government warning ISPs that they must come up with a voluntary solution to the problem or have one forced upon them. Last month in collaboration with rightsholders, proposals were placed on the table. It now seems almost certain that Aussie file-sharers will be subjected to a three-strikes style regime. The second element involved the ‘pirate’ sites themselves. Australian law allows local authorities to easily close down sites in their own territory should the need arise. While that’s not unheard of – a 400,000 member torrent tracker was shut down in 2008 – Australia isn’t best known for hosting popular torrent sites. The problem, according to the government, comes from overseas. Early December 2014, Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull asked the Cabinet to approve the development of a new legal mechanism which would allow rightsholders to obtain site blocking injunctions against ISPs. And now, just three months later, it is all systems go. This week the government will deliver new legislation to tackle the problem. Led by Brandis, the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill was today cleared for introduction into parliament. And things are moving extremely quickly. According to ITNews, the legislation is planned to be introduced into parliament Wednesday or Thursday with a view to having it passed by the end of the week. Despite many countries now making extensive use of the process, site blocking itself is highly controversial. In the UK, for example, rightsholders initially have to go court but are then free to add news sites to existing injunctions, even ones that don’t directly infringe any copyrights. So what mechanism does the Aussie model envision? Somewhat disappointingly those details are being kept a secret. The text of the bill hasn’t yet been made public and even the country’s ISPs are being kept in the dark. John Stanton, CEO of the Communications Alliance, the body that proposed the recent “three strikes†system on behalf of ISPs, said he is “disappointed†that his group hadn’t been consulted. Some consultation would have of course been preferable, since it is the ISPs who will be expected to put the site blocks into place. Whether copyright holders have a greater insight isn’t clear, but the head of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association confirmed that he hadn’t seen a copy of the draft legislation either. In any event, introducing site blocking to Australian Internet users should be an interesting thing to behold, especially when compared to other site-block regions with different consumption pattern backgrounds. After years of being treated as second-class content consumers who have to wait longer and pay more for their content, Aussies have become extremely adept at using VPN and proxy services to access legal services such as Netflix. Those same tools can be used to easily evade site bans and recent concerns over the introduction of a strikes mechanism has only boosted interest in them. Torrentfreak
  12. After The Pirate Bay switched to CloudFlare's SSL service it is no longer being blocked by most UK Internet providers. Subscribers of BT, EE, Virgin and TalkTalk can reach the site without problems via the default https address. The "bug" also affects secure versions of other blocked sites, but not all. Following a series of blocking orders issued by the High Court, several UK ISPs are required to restrict access to many of the world’s largest torrent sites and streaming portals. The most prominent target of these blocks is without doubt The Pirate Bay. As one of the most visited sites on the Internet it has been a thorn in the side of the entertainment industries for years. The Pirate Bay was one of the first sites on the UK blocklist and access has been barred since 2012. Or rather should have been barred. For a few weeks most UK Internet subscribers have been able to access TPB just fine. Ever since the site switched to CloudFlare and made the securehttps://thepiratebay.se version default, it has become widely accessible again. TorrentFreak did a quick round among subscribers of various ISPs and found that The Pirate Bay is no longer blocked by Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BT and EE. At the time of writing only Sky appears to block the site consistently. As a result, The Pirate Bay’s direct UK traffic is steadily increasing. The Pirate Bay is not the only site that’s widely accessible again. The same applies to the https versions of Torrentz.eu, Rarbg.com, Isohunt.to and various other ‘blocked’ sites. For some sites, including Kickass.to and Extratorrent, the results vary per ISP. The operator of the Pirate Bay proxy ilikerainbows.co, which had its own domain name added to the blocklist last week, believes that the unblocking relates to the use of https strict. “I believe it’s because of how CloudFlare works, Simply put when you enable HTTPS Strict on CloudFlare they remove the HTTP Header from the request during HTTPS Connections, thus when they try to inspect the header to a list of ‘banned’ websites it won’t register,†Rainbows’ operator tells TF. “So any site that uses CloudFlare, has a properly configured and signed SSL Certificate and enables HTTPS-Strict under CloudFlare should be able to evade the ban that’s imposed by Virgin and perhaps other providers,†he adds. What further complicates the matter is the fact that it’s harder to block The Pirate Bay by its IP-address, as the true location is hidden by CloudFlare’s network of addresses now. While it may be harder to block sites, it’s not impossible. Sky appears to have no trouble keeping sites blocked, although that probably requires some rather advanced and invasive monitoring tools. TF asked several ISPs for a comment on the issue and Virgin Media informed us that they still comply with the court order. “Virgin Media is required to block certain sites by the UK High Court. As a responsible ISP, we comply with court orders addressed to us,†a spokesperson informed TF this morning. Virgin’s comment suggests that the https version of TPB is not covered by the order at all, and that it was previously blocked by IP-address. However, Virgin couldn’t comment on this suggestion. We’ll update this article as more information comes in. Torrentfreak
  13. The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Interstellar' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.' 'Fifty Shades of Grey' completes the top three. This week we have three newcomers in our chart. Interstellar is the most downloaded movie. 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 BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise. RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart. Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer torrentfreak.com 1 (…) Interstellar 8.8 / trailer 2 (1) Exodus: Gods and Kings 6.2 / trailer 3 (3) Fifty Shades of Grey 3.9 / trailer 4 (2) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 7.6 / trailer 5 (…) Into The Woods 6.2 / trailer 6 (6) Birdman 8.2 / trailer 7 (4) The Imitation Game 8.2 / trailer 8 (…) Focus 6.9 / trailer 9 (8) Kingsman: The Secret Service (CAM) 8.2 / trailer 10 (5) Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb 6.4 / trailer Torrentfreak
  14. History repeats itself. Unlicensed home manufacturing of copies was never the cause of the copyright industry's business problems; they created those all on their own. It's not the first time they've appointed a scapegoat for their own failures to get public funding, either. The year was 1929. Ruined stock brokers were throwing themselves out of windows on Wall Street in desperation from the horrible stock market crash. The economy was in a shambles. People were literally starving, something that had been inconceivable just a few years back. That same year, record sales in the USA plummeted along with Wall Street brokers – from $75 million to a mere $5 million. The copyright industry was certain: it was all the fault of the broadcast radio. Certainly so. It couldn’t possibly be their own business failure or the fact that the entire economy had gone belly-up. No, it was definitely the fault of broadcast radio. They went to politicians and policymakers and demanded (and got!) fees from broadcast radio to compensate for the damage done to the copyright industry by the new medium, as evidenced by the fact that sales were down from $75 million in the mid-1920s to $5 million in 1929. And so, politicians thought it was a good idea to hamper the promising new medium of broadcast radio in order to benefit the old record industry and their sales. Fast forward to the 1940s, when television arrived. The copyright industry was furious: who would possibly pay to go to the movies, if you could watch a movie for free at home? The decade had barely started when the U.S. FCC adopted the television standard NTSC, and at the same time, people almost stopped buying movie tickets. The copyright industry was certain: in 1941 through 1944, it was definitely television’s fault that they didn’t sell as many movie tickets as they used to. They complained to politicians and policymakers as they always do, but these particular years, politicians were busy doing something else, something that might just have affected the overall economy. Nevertheless, it was the perfect scapegoat – again – for the copyright industry’s own business failures: who would possibly pay to see a movie at the cinema when they could see it for free at home? Then, a decade later, in the 1950s, cable television arrived. By now, the copyright industry had learned to profit off of broadcast TV, and they were absolutely furious at the new cable TV medium. They were required to broadcast for free, after all. How could they possibly be expected to compete with a paid service? This was grossly unfair and they went to politicians and demanded the new cable TV medium to be hindered, hampered, and regulated. Skipping some twenty episodes of the same pattern, we arrive at the Internet. Unlicensed home manufacturing of copies had started with the cassette tape, but took off with the net. The copyright industry, once their business failed for completely unrelated reasons, had the perfect scapegoat: young people who didn’t respect their distribution monopoly. Damned be civil liberties, damned be the internet, damned be jobs, entrepreneurship, innovation, and progress: by blaming unlicensed manufacture, they didn’t have to face the music of a business failure toward their board and shareholders, but – again – had a convenient external scapegoat for their own damn utter incompetence. (We can easily observe, that now that unlicensed home manufacturing of music has practically ceased, copyright industry sales of music still hasn’t changed a bit. Unlicensed manufacturing was never the business problem or a cause. But it was a very convenient scapegoat.) The copyright industry has managed to kill civil liberties for their own children, ushering in a dystopian surveillance machine, merely to avoid taking responsibility for their own business failures. I lack words to quantify my contempt for these utter parasites. Torrentfreak
  15. After years of debating U.S. Internet subscribers now have Government regulated Net Neutrality. A huge step forward according to some, but the full order released a few days ago reveals some worrying caveats. While the rules prevent paid prioritization, they do very little to prevent BitTorrent blocking, the very issue that got the net neutrality debate started. In 2007 we uncovered that Comcast was systematically slowing down BitTorrent traffic to ease the load on its network. The Comcast case was the first to ignite a broad discussion about Net Neutrality. It became the setup for the FCC’s Open Internet Order which wasreleased three years later. This Open Internet Order was the foundation of the Net Neutrality rules the FCC adopted two weeks ago. The big change compared to the earlier attempt is that ISPs can now be regulated as carriers under Title II. Interestingly, the exact language of the new rules remained secret until three days ago. The broader concepts, including a ban on paid prioritization and blocking were known, but the fine print was kept secret until everything was signed off on. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the full text has quite a few caveats. When we read the new rules it’s clear that the “copyright loophole†many activists protested against in the past is still there. In short, ISPs can still throttle or block certain types of traffic as long as it’s related to copyright infringement. In its most recent order the FCC has listed the following rule: “Nothing in this part prohibits reasonable efforts by a provider of broadband Internet access service to address copyright infringement or other unlawful activity.†The FCC argues that copyright infringement hurts the economy, so ISPs are free to take appropriate measures against this type of traffic. This includes the voluntary censoring of pirate sites, something the MPAA and RIAA are currently lobbying for. “For example, the no-blocking rule should not be invoked to protect copyright infringement, which has adverse consequences for the economy, nor should it protect child pornography. We reiterate that our rules do not alter the copyright laws and are not intended to prohibit or discourage voluntary practices undertaken to address or mitigate the occurrence of copyright infringement,†the FCC explains. Interestingly, this issue has been pretty much absent from the discussion in recent months. This is curious as many activist groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), protested heavily against the copyright loophole in the past, issuing warnings over massive collateral damage. “Carving a copyright loophole in net neutrality would leave your lawful activities at the mercy of overbroad copyright filtering schemes, and we already have plenty of experience with copyright enforcers targeting legitimate users by mistake, carelessness, or design,†the EFF wrote at the time. So why was there little outrage about the copyright loophole this time around? TF contacted EFF staff attorney Kit Walsh who admits that the issue didn’t get much attention, but that it’s certainly problematic. “The language about ‘lawful’ content and applications creates a serious loophole that seems to leave it up to ISPs to make judgments about what content is lawful or infringes a copyright, subject to challenges after the fact about whether their conduct was ‘reasonable’,†Walsh says. “It’s one thing to say that ISPs can block subject to a valid court order, quite another to let ISPs make decisions about the lawfulness of content for themselves,†he adds. According to Walsh the issue is particularly concerning because many ISPs also have their own media properties. This means that their incentive to block copyright infringement may be greater than the incentive to protect fair use material. For example, although the Net Neutrality rules prescribe no blocking and throttling, ISPs could still block access to The Pirate Bay and other alleged pirate sites as an anti-piracy measure. Throttling BitTorrent traffic in general is also an option, as long as it’s framed as reasonable network management. A related concern is that ISPs can use privacy invasive technologies such as Deep Packet Inspection to monitor users’ traffic for possible copyright violations. The FCC didn’t include any protections against these practices. Instead, it simply noted that people can use SSL, VPNs and TOR to circumvent it. “The FCC’s response to concerns about deep packet inspection is that users can just use SSL, VPNs and TOR,†Walsh says. “Of course SSL, VPNs, and TOR are great tools for Internet users to preserve their privacy, but this approach of leaving users to fend for themselves isn’t a great start for the FCC on protecting the privacy of broadband subscribers,†he adds. The above makes it clear that Net Neutrality has its limits. The problem remains, however, that it’s still unclear how far ISPs can go under the “copyright†and “network management†loopholes. Previously, the EFF seriously doubted if it was a good idea at all to give FCC control over the Internet. However, as things stand now they are happy with the new rules, even though they aren’t perfect. Title II regulation with forbearance was the main goal, and that was achieved. In addition, the EFF is also content with the bright line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of “lawful†traffic. “We won a large portion of what we argued for, thanks to a broad coalition of advocates and the voices of four million Americans, but we did not get everything we wanted. We’re clearly better off overall with the order than without, but we’re not going to hesitate to criticize the areas where the FCC gets it wrong,†Walsh says. Fingers crossed…. Torrentfreak