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  1. Last year Cloudflare was ordered to block access to the sites of customers who provided illegal IPTV services. The CDN provider appealed the injunctions, arguing that it's merely a neutral intermediary, but without result. Two separate orders released over the past several days confirm that Cloudflare must block domain names and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV services. CDN provider Cloudflare is one of the leading Internet companies, providing services to millions of customers large and small. The service positions itself as a neutral intermediary that passes on traffic while making sure that customers remain secure. Its userbase includes billion-dollar companies such as IBM, Shopify, and L’Oreal, but also countless smaller outlets. With a company of this size, it comes as no surprise that some Cloudflare customers are engaged in controversial activities. This includes some pirate sites and services, which have landed Cloudflare in court on several occasions. Last year there were two prominent cases against Cloudflare in Italy. In the first one, football league Serie A and Sky Italy requested Cloudflare to block the unauthorized IPTV service “IPTV THE BEST” and in a similar case, rightsholders wanted “ENERGY IPTV” blocked. Cloudflare Appeals Blocking Injunctions Cloudflare lost both cases and was ordered to block the services in question. While the company hasn’t commented on the legal actions in detail, it decided to appeal the two injunctions at the Milan court. Last Friday, the court ruled on the “IPTV THE BEST” case, confirming that Cloudflare is indeed required to block access. In its defense, Cloudflare argued that it doesn’t provide hosting services but merely passes on bits and bytes. In addition, it pointed out that the IPTV service could still remain active even if its account was terminated. Cloudflare Facilitates Access The court was not convinced by these arguments and concluded that Cloudflare contributes to the infringements of its customer by optimizing and facilitating the site’s availability. “It is in fact adequately confirmed that Cloudflare carries out support and optimization activities to showcase sites, which allow the visibility and advertising of illegal services,” the court concluded. That the IPTV service could continue without using Cloudflare is irrelevant, the court stressed. In addition, the court confirmed that copyright holders are entitled to these types of protective blocking measures, even if the activity of the online intermediary itself is not directly infringing. Dynamic Orders The Milan court reached the same conclusion in Cloudflare’s appeal against the “ENERGY IPTV” injunction, which was decided yesterday. In both cases, the court also confirmed that the injunctions are “dynamic”, which means that if the IPTV services switch to new domains or IP-addresses, these have to be blocked as well. While the ruling is a setback for Cloudflare, copyright holders are pleased. Attorney Simona Lavagnini, who represented Sky Italy, informs TorrentFreak that it will now be easier to hold online services accountable for infringing customers. “I am pleased to see the position taken by the Court, confirming that injunction orders can be addressed to all providers involved in the provision of services to those who offer illegal contents on the web. “This principle is now general and includes telecoms as well as passive hosting providers and other services such as CDNs,” Lavagnini adds. We also reached out to Cloudflare for a comment on these recent court orders but the company didn’t immediately reply. The CDN provider previously confirmed that it has been legally required to block several domains, without going into further detail. With regard to earlier blocking orders, Cloudflare said that it complies with these in the relevant jurisdictions. In other words, the targeted services remain available in other countries. Whether that’s also the case here is unknown.
  2. For several years Mobdro has been delivering live TV and VOD content to vast numbers of mobile and set-top devices, making it one of the most-loved pirate streaming apps out there. However, for the past several days the app has been out of action, with current and historic domains all non-functional, leaving large volumes of fans worrying that this could be the end. With the rise of cheap set-top boxes and mobile devices several years ago, millions of TV fans dived into the world of Kodi. Entirely legal in official format, Kodi can be augmented with unofficial addons, providing access to a universe of movie and TV show content without paying a penny. Alongside this boom, a market emerged for stand-alone software applications that work straight out of the box, without any technical knowledge needed. This click-and-play format proved popular, with software such as Popcorn Time, Showbox and Terrarium TV attracting millions of eyeballs. One of the most popular tools to emerge was Mobdro, an Android-based software application focusing on TV content from around the world. Live TV, sports channels and 24/7 content were all available on Mobdro, providing an easy-to-use solution for anyone capable of installing it. With countless fans, Mobdro was a big success but during the past few days it became clear that Mobdro has serious problems. Mobdro Disappears Without Warning It is not uncommon for piracy-based sites and services to disappear offline for a while. Problems with sources, hosting and domain names can all cause issues. Indeed, over the years Mobdro has hopped to additional domains too, from Mobdro.com and Mobdro.sc, to Mobdro.bz more recently. This instability can cause problems for people looking to download the app but issues with the underlying streams are more immediately noticeable to users. Cries that Mobdro is no longer working are abundant on Twitter but to date there has been no official announcement from the developer behind the streaming tool. Since we’ve had correspondence with Mobdro’s developer in the past, TF attempted to make contact to learn more about the current downtime. Unfortunately, emails sent to the last known address bounced. There are some theories floating around though, which look credible on first view but don’t seem to provide the necessary answers. Theory: India’s Cricket Authorities Forced Mobdro to Close Aside from the usual speculative claims that Mobdro has been ‘busted’, a brand new account on Reddit made a single post late Friday claiming to have the low down on the Mobdro situation. It reads as follows: Mobdro no longer works because access to the streams has been eliminated due to legal proceedings for infringement of protected content. Indian cricket association denounced Mobdro for broadcasting the Premier League of that country without authorization. Due to this, the application domains have been closed, including those that update the app to provide you with the links to the different broadcasts of the channels. With the application and the official Mobdro website out of circulation, it is best to refrain from searching for the software and downloading it: the possibility that it is infected is very high. The streaming service is no longer active. To support these allegations, the user (who has never posted anything else on Reddit) added a link to a URL on the Lumen Database. The URL provides access to a redacted version of a DMCA notice sent by anti-piracy outfit Copyright Integrity International on behalf of The Board of Control for Cricket in India. It lists 77 URLs that allegedly offer Mobdro for download, demanding that Google removes the URLs from its search indexes (unredacted notice here). It makes a few blunders, including by requesting the delisting of a Techradar news article published in 2018, but that’s not the important part in this instance. Google is Powerful – But Not in This Matter The complaint, which looks completely genuine, was sent to Google on December 18, 2020, roughly two months ago. Google responded to the notice by removing at least some of the allegedly-infringing URLs but that is all Google can do. Google has no control over Mobdro’s domains, no control over the content the app uses as sources, and importantly, zero power to prevent the app’s developer from making an announcement. While it remains possible that India’s cricket authorities had something to do with Mobdro’s disappearance, they haven’t had much success when directly targeting Mobdro’s domains in the past, at least via notices sent to Google. This complaint, which was sent by the same entities last October, targeted Mobdro.bz but Google refused to remove it. Another attempt in the same month also failed. So What Happened? The bottom line is we don’t know. Without direct confirmation from the developer, everyone is in the dark. He could make an announcement but unless there are some circumstances preventing that, he appears to have made the choice not to do so. That isn’t always the best indicator of a site returning to its former glory quickly but it might not prove to be a death sentence either. Either way, the steady stream of disappointed fans on Twitter is showing no sign of a let-up, with some coping with their misery via a little tongue-in-cheek dark humor. First CCP virus ruins our livelihood, then we lose #mobdro — Da Vega's (@CatLadyNTexas) February 14, 2021 First the democrats steal the presidency, now this!!! #mobdro — Nuyo Rican (@RicanNuyo) February 14, 2021 Source: Torrentfreak.com
  3. The Future of Oppaitime I want Oppaitime to have a future, but I don't want that future to include me. This whole post is going to be somewhat rambling and uncertain. I have some thoughts and guiding directions that I want to share with the community, but I have not yet solidified them into any sort of plan. It's my hope that most people won't need to care about this at all, but for those that do I want to make sure you aren't in the dark. I intend to fully wind down my involvement in OT, over a period of time that I have not yet determined (probably a few months?). This is hard, because I am the last remaining involved staff member, and the site is not currently able to manage without fairly frequent maintenance. My first thought was to find someone else to take over the site, but the more I think about it the less I feel it's an option. Many people joined this site because they trusted the staff who ran it at the time. I cannot in good conscience hand the personal information of those people over to a new owner without their explicit consent, and there is no way to reliably acquire such consent. There are too many users who will never read this news post but exist nonetheless. I briefly considered setting up a grace period where users who don't mind can give their consent for a change of ownership, and at the end of the period anyone who didn't consent would have their account wiped - but looking at some numbers I expect the participation to be too low for the end result not to be devastating. It's not like I have a successor in mind anyway. So the other option, which is what we're gonna try, is to get OT into a state where it can run without a human operator. This has always been a sort of toy-goal anyway, and a few decisions were made with this potential future in mind, but not enough and not reliably. Over the next few months, I intend to address all the issues I'm aware of that make the site require human intervention. Loosely, these are: Re-enable requests. These require manual approval, even though I apply the exact same criteria to all of them that could easily be carried out by a computer Downtime. Currently OT goes down fairly frequently and needs a human to reboot the server. This appears to stem from a problem with our host, and they have let us know how they think we can work around it, but it involves rebuilding the server, which I just haven't gotten around to doing. Security and privacy. We have quite a few security and privacy features that in some way depend on human involvement. The biggest ones are our partial database encryption and personal information expunge requests. In order to provide a baseline of security regardless of the hosting platform, we add a layer of encryption to personal information such as IP history, email history, private messages, etc. This is encrypted with a key that only ever exists in-memory, and that key must be manually entered by a site operator whenever the server is rebooted. For many of the same reasons that I don't want to pass the site to a new owner without the consent of every user, I also don't want to downgrade the security of existing user information without consent. After a lot of thought, I think the best way to solve this is to just not store most of this information. The site will continue working fine without storing email or IP history, though we will need to remove some functionality that depends on them. There will no longer be a reason for expunge requests, as there will be nothing to expunge. We will need to turn off location verification at login, because the site will no longer know where to expect you to login from (I have gotten reports that this is often too aggressive anyway, so some will see it as a welcome removal). Much of the site's anti-abuse systems will need to be disabled, but those systems have caught pretty much no abuse ever anyway. Once all this gone, I will transition the in-memory key to be an on-disk key for backwards-compatibility, but pretty much the only thing it will be encrypting anymore is PMs. Our host uses full-disk-encryption already, so there will be little to no additional security provided by the partial database encryption going forward. Moderation. There are currently a few users who are manually granted abilities that other users don't have (editing, recruiting, etc). If there are no site operators and these users eventually leave as well, there will be nobody left to perform those functions, and no way for anyone to gain those abilities. I have not worked out exactly how each permission should work, but I think I'll probably just make them dependent on user rank, and trust that users who have invested so much into the site won't abuse their power to make things hard on others. As I typed that, I realized that I will probably need to revisit that assumption later. I have already been minimizing my involvement with the site over the last couple of years, which is why there have been no new features added to OT and existing problems haven't been properly fixed. The above represents what I think is necessary to get my involvement to effectively zero. There will continue to be no new feature work, but I will try to resolve the existing issues without causing new ones. Thanks for sticking with us over the last 11 years, and hopefully you can stick around for many more. On your own. s***
  4. Progress Update Greetings MTV users! Well, it's been a long time since our last official announcement. It should come as a surprise to no one that multiple issues have affected our staff, jobs, and families over the past several months, but we assure you that we are still hard at work. We hope that everyone else out there is doing their best to stay safe and sane as well. As you may have noticed, getting things up and running is taking somewhat longer than we initially expected. The GOOD NEWS is that we have a few bits we can release right now: You can now browse torrents! While nothing is in its final state just yet, we will be opening access to our torrents section. You will be able to browse, snatch, and seed old torrents, so this is your chance to have a look around, maybe re-seed your old libraray, and MOST IMPORTANTLY report any bugs on Forum: Bug Reports. Now, let's talk about the coming weeks! Staff and Devs are still here, but limited in numbers and availability at the moment. In a month or so (don't quote this ) we expect to have all of the torrent metadata fixed (synopses, posters, banners etc.) and for uploads to be enabled roughly six weeks after that. We look forward to having things running somewhat more smoothly in the near future, along with more regular updates and features. Most of all, we appreciate your patience and continued support. Stay safe out there //Staff Discuss here: Thread: Progress Update
  5. Website is back up and running normally.
  6. Site's host has disabled the new domain also.
  7. Tracker issues have promptly resolved.
  8. Police in Taiwan say they have arrested nine people in connection with a pirate streaming operation that captured Japanese TV content and distributed it to pirate set-top devices. Meanwhile, police in Thailand raided five premises, seizing 100 receivers, decoders and satellite dishes believed to be supplying TV and movie content to an IPTV provider. While pirate streaming operations around the United States and Europe attract the most headlines, unlicensed IPTV and similar platforms are now mainstream in most parts of the world. Authorities in the West are tackling this problem using quiet ‘behind-the-scenes’ agreements through to civil litigation and criminal enforcement. The situation in Asia is similar and over the past couple of weeks a number of cases have been made public. Police in Taiwan Arrest Nine As reported by Japan-based anti-piracy group CODA, authorities in Taiwan carried out an operation through the latter part of January and early February targeting what is described as a “criminal organization” involved in the supply of illegal streams. With assistance from the prosecutor’s office, police, and detective agencies, officers arrested nine people. Taiwan established a dedicated team in early 2020 to tackle the illegal streaming of TV shows to pirate devices and since then 18 locations have been searched, resulting in the seizure of hundreds of set-top devices and computer servers. After analysis, it was found that some of the devices provided illegal access to broadcasts from Taiwan and Japan. “It is believed that the criminal organization deciphered the broadcast signals of each major TV station through network servers installed in domestic telecommunications equipment rooms and sent them to infringing set-top devices via the Internet,” CODA reports. Thai Police Raid Five Premises Linked to Illegal Streaming Over the past several years Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has carried out numerous actions against individuals involved in the supply of pirate IPTV and similar streaming services. Two Brits and a local were arrested in 2017 under suspicion of violating the rights of the Premier League and in 2019, DSI shut down the country’s most popular pirate site, Movie2free.com, following a request from the Motion Picture Association. Last weekend, the DSI unit was in action again, raiding five premises linked to the illegal movie streaming. According to Pol Lt Col Korawat, among the items seized were 100 receivers, decoders, satellite dishes, computers, notebooks, hard disks and mobile phones. It’s believed that the equipment was used to supply pirated movies and TV content to the website fwiptv.cc. That site is currently down. According to the Bangkok Post, the main players behind the streaming operation were not discovered during the raids and the authorities were only able to arrest technicians hired to run the operation. Fwiptv.cc was reportedly founded in 2012 and was Thailand’s largest broadcaster of pirated movies and sport, including content owned by the Premier League. Prosecution in Malaysia Over in Malaysia, a company director behind the operation to supply ‘Long TV’ pirate TV devices to the public pleaded guilty on Monday. According to local reports, the individual was charged with selling the devices and breaching intellectual property rights last September. “The company, located at I-City, Persiaran Multimedia, Section 7, Shah Alam, Selangor has violated Section 41(1)(ha) of the Copyright Act 1987 for selling any technology or device for the purpose of bypassing any effective technological measures stated under subsection 36A(3) of the same Act,” a statement from the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs reads. According to the Ministry, the yet-to-be-named individual faces a fine of up to RM40,000 (around US$9,900) and a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Educational Initiatives in Japan Last August, Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, a body of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, hired Hello Kitty to become its Copyright Ambassador. Since then, local anti-piracy group CODA has been releasing educational content featuring the famous character in an effort to keep people away from sources of pirated content. Masaharu Ina, CODA’s Director of Overseas Copyright Protection, recently sent TorrentFreak a new video to promote compliance with Japan’s brand new anti-piracy law along with a Hello Kitty quiz designed to test people’s knowledge of copyright. The video is embedded below and the quiz can be found here. Source: Torrentfreak.com
  9. Google Translation: Update: As the event failed to start on time at 0:00 on the 13th, the end time of the site-wide freeleech will be extended by 12 hours, ending at 12:00, noon on the 18th.
  10. The site is experiencing issues at the moment. "Internal Server Error"
  11. Site is offline. "We are currently performing updates! Check back soon."
  12. Open Registration Activated! 1 day, 5 hours, 17 minutes, 12 seconds
  13. Google Translation: The donation goal was achieved and the OnlyUp (Freeleech) was unlocked until 20.02.2021. A thank you goes out to the donors!
  14. A coalition of copyright holder groups, including Hollywood's MPA, are urging the US Copyright Office not to grant a jailbreaking exemption for video streaming devices. The proposal, which was submitted by the EFF last year, will harm creators and copyright holders by making it easier to transform ordinary streaming boxes into piracy tools, they argue. US copyright law places restrictions on what people can do with their purchases, but there are some important exemptions too. The U.S. Copyright Office regularly reviews these exemptions to Section 1201 of the DMCA, which prevents the public from ‘tinkering’ with DRM-protected content and devices. These provisions are renewed every three years after the Office hears input from stakeholders and the general public. This review also allows interested parties to suggest new exemptions. For example, during the last update in 2018 a new exemption was added to allow libraries to bypass copyright restrictions in order to preserve games that require an online component. Exemption for Jailbreaking Video Streaming Devices This year the Copyright Office has received several new suggestions, which are currently under consideration. This includes a proposal from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which suggests an expansion of the current jailbreaking exemptions to include video streaming devices. In previous years the Office already allowed the public to jailbreak smartphones, tablets, wearables, and smart TVs. According to the EFF, general video streaming devices should fit in the same category. “Video streaming devices are functionally and architecturally identical to smart TVs, except that they are physically separate from the display itself, typically connecting to it through an input port,” EFF writes in its proposal. “Full Control” By jailbreaking these devices, which include Roku boxes and Apple TV, the public will be able to “exercise full control” over them. That can enable valuable new features, such as adding a web browser and compatibility with other tools such as privacy-enhancing VPNs. This proposal is supported by many digital rights activists, but the major copyright industry groups fiercely oppose the plan. This week a coalition including the RIAA, ESA, and Hollywood’s MPA urged the Copyright Office not to grant the exemption. Copyright Holders Fear Widespread Piracy The groups fear that jailbreaking will result in widespread copyright infringement, as it allows the public to install piracy tools on these video devices as well. “Access controls on these devices are designed to prevent unauthorized access to copyrighted works and subscription services, piracy of signals, and the copying of works,” the copyright holders write. “Once circumvented, even for the ostensible purpose of first installing a lawful application, nothing prevents a user from later installing infringing applications or applications that enable infringement on these devices.” The groups note that these concerns are not hypothetical. For example, MPA members have already addressed streaming box piracy in several lawsuits over the past years, mentioning the cases against TickBox TV and Dragon Box. The United States Trade Representative has also focused on the pirate streaming box problem in recent ‘notorious markets’ reports, the rightsholders add. While that is true, it should be noted that this report is largely based on input from copyright holders. Piracy Fears Outweigh Legitimate Uses Nonetheless, Hollywood and other rightsholders urge the Copyright Office not to allow the circumvention of technical protection measures (TPMs) for video streaming devices. That would hurt copyright holders as well as artists and undermine the legitimate marketplace. While the opposition letter doesn’t deny that there can be non-infringing uses, such as adding a browser or a custom screensaver, it classifies these as minor compared to the piracy threat. “The lack of such functionalities in devices protected by TPMs is a mere inconvenience,” the copyright holder groups stress. “In the majority of instances, modification of software in devices is likely infringing.” The Copyright Office will consider the arguments from all stakeholders during the months to come. After a public hearing later this year it will decide if any changes will be made to the current exemptions. — A copy of the letter sent by the Joint Creators and Copyright Owners is available here (pdf). EFF’s original proposal can be found here (pdf). Source: Torrentfreak.com
  15. A court has ordered leading Russian search engine Yandex to pay damages to sports rightsholder TeleSport for copyright infringement. According to TeleSport, Yandex embedded clips from Italian soccer matches in its own pages and monetized them with advertising, rather than sending visitors to the source sites where the content was licensed for distribution. Once seen as pure indexers of content, the role of search engines has expanded in recent years. In some circumstances, content is now presented in a manner that can reduce the need to visit external sites, much to the irritation of rightsholders. As the leading Russian search engine, Yandex has been criticized for utilizing other people’s content, something which led to the company being sued by sports rightsholder TeleSport Group. TeleSport Argued That Yandex Infringed Its Rights TeleSport owns the exclusive rights to distribute several types of sports content in Russia, including a deal that allows it to broadcast highlights from top-tier Italian football matches. These video clips are posted to platforms including vKontakte (Russia’s answer to Facebook) and Odnoklassniki, a social network for classmates and old friends. The problem for TeleSport is that when its videos appeared within Yandex’s video search site (which has the appearance of YouTube), clicking on links didn’t automatically send the visitor to the source platform. Instead, Yandex embedded the video and placed its own advertising around the content, something that TeleSport believes is an infringement of its rights. TeleSport Wins Round One of Copyright Infringement Battle In its fight against Yandex, TeleSport has filed several claims at the Moscow City Court and one of those has now come to fruition. The Court found that Yandex did indeed infringe TeleSports rights due to embedding and ordered the search engine to pay 3.68 million rubles (US$50,000) in damages. Importantly, this represents just one of TeleSports’ claims, with another for 2.95 billion rubles (US$40 million) still pending. This is a good start for TeleSports and sets the groundwork for things to come, the company says. “This is a very important precedent for the industry and a significant amount of fines per violation. Our material requirements were fully met and this confirms the correctness of our position,” commented TeleSport chief Petr Makarenko. “It is important to understand that if we close our eyes to the implementation of such ‘gray’ schemes of content monetization by search engines, then in the future Russian viewers will be cut off from world sports – it will become economically unprofitable for copyright holders to acquire and sell rights to broadcast sports events.” Copyright Law Requires Search Engines to Act Responsibly According to Igor Savochkin, head of legal affairs at TeleSport, Russia’s copyright laws require search engines to send users directly to the site that carries the information requested, in this case sporting clips licensed for use on those platforms. “In this case, the search engine acted as an advertising agent, placing ads for content to which Yandex did not have rights. The illegality of the actions was also confirmed by an independent expert proposed by the defendant himself. The decision of the court undoubtedly sets an important precedent for the industry,” Savochkin said. Yandex Allegedly Continues to Infringe, Will Appeal According to TeleSport and despite the lawsuits already filed, Yandex continues to infringe the company’s rights. TeleSport says that it intends to file claims in the future for each and every violation, in addition to coming out victorious in the large pending case which deals with 590 allegedly violations. Yandex, of course, sees things rather differently. It believes it did nothing wrong and has already indicated that the company will file an appeal. “We consider the claims of the plaintiff illegal and unreasonable,” a statement from Yandex reads. “TeleSport independently posted its videos on the Internet, including in its official groups on social networks. At the same time, TeleSport had the opportunity to close its content from indexing. TeleSport did this, but after filing a claim.” In comments to TASS, Yandex insisted that search engines should not be held liable for content posted on third-party websites, “..especially in cases where an unscrupulous copyright holder is trying to make money on content twice.” Source: Torrentfreak.com