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  1. Plus, Visceral Games says it knew from the beginning that it didn't want to make Hardline a military-focused game like the core series. Some of the inspirations for Visceral Games' upcoming shooter Battlefield Hardline included movies such as Batman: The Dark Knight, Die Hard, Heat, and Pulp Fiction, as well as the TV show Justified. In a recent interview, Visceral Games general manager Steve Papoutsis outlined these inspirations. "There's a number of people on the game team that love a variety of different TV shows, and movies, and films. And one of the things that keeps coming up over and over again in terms of inspiration, one of the series has been Justified, a TV show," he told IGN. "It kind of blurs the line between what's good and bad." "Some of the stuff that I personally like; I love Pulp Fiction; I love the bank heist in [Batman: The Dark Knight], I thought that was awesome," he said. "Of course, Die Hard is one of my big favorites. But I think another thing people have said about us is that they feel like our heist map that we showed at E3--High Tension--was reminiscent of Heat. So those are some of the things that are some of our inspirations." Papoutsis also spoke about the genesis of Hardline and how, from the beginning, Visceral wanted to move away from the military focus of the main series. "When we started working on Battlefield and came up with the idea for Hardline, we were excited about trying to create a new setting for the franchise," he said. "Taking it away from the military that you've seen in the past and making it more of a personal kind of setting, and focusing on the war in the streets; going cops and criminals was really appealing to us." Hardline was originally pegged to launch in one week on October 21, but EA in July delayed the game to "early 2015." The publisher has since explained that the delay was more about adding new features than fixing bugs. For more on Hardline, check out GameSpot's previous coverage. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  2. Fame and Fortune, Supernatural, and other expansion pack ideas. Electronic Arts sent a survey to The Sims 4 players to gauge their interests in a number of potential expansion packs. Screenshots of the survey sent to Sims VIP reveal the expansions pack ideas in surprising detail. The survey first asked for fans' level of interest in an expansion pack's basic concept. For example, a description for a Supernatural expansion pack says that players will be able to "explore the mysterious world of the Supernatural where you'll be able to create vampires, elementals, or even supernatural friends to help you around the house." It then offers more specific features that each expansion might include. In the Fame and Fortune Expansion Pack, for example, players will be able to become a celebrity, manage their image and online persona, sign autographs, and hide from paparazzi. They'll also be able to choose from an acting, singing, and film directing career. Another interesting potential expansion pack was titled Active Careers, which would include "fully interactive" careers that let you "directly control your Sims' every action while they're on the job and watch as they create new inventions as a Scientist, help cure other Sims as a Doctor or solve crimes as a Detective amongst other career options." Of course, this is just a survey, so it's likely that most if not all of these idea will never be released as actual expansions. The Sims 4 was released on September 2. GameSpot gave it a 6/10 in its review for its colorful visuals and accessible building and buying tools. Be sure to read the full review and check out GameSpot's previous coverage. Which of these expansions are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments below. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  3. Iggy Azalea "didn't realise" how raunchy the Booty video would be. The blonde rapper teamed up with queen of curves Jennifer Lopez on the track, which is all about girls with big derrieres. Fans went into overdrive when the accompanying promo was released last month, thanks to the amount of flesh on show. In the video Iggy and Jennifer, 45, get up close and personal while wearing tiny outfits, but the 24-year-old Aussie insists she didn't anticipate how steamy it would look. "I didn't know how much booty it would be because. I was in the little box with JLo," she said to Access Hollywood about the confined space they filmed in. "And then I left her to her own devices. She really got things kind of like fired up when I was gone with her dancing and stuff. "I think it took it to another level, but I enjoyed it." Iggy is known for wearing revealing costumes on stage. But now she wears two pairs of tights because she is aware of the fact people will be checking out her butt. In the past, the musician has spoken out about how uncomfortable it makes her feel to be sexualised by fans while on stage. "I had to stop [crowdsurfing]... I'm only doing like 2,000-seaters, but I still have to have barriers even if it's like 200 people because people try to finger me," she candidly revealed. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  4. New Global Illumination technology suggests scrutinized Apollo 11 picture was not impossibly lit. Graphics card vendor Nvidia claims it can debunk one of the most common moon landing conspiracy theories thanks to its new lighting technology. Photos of the Apollo 11 mission have been scrutinized by conspiracy theorists for decades, with skeptics claiming that the lighting on some of the pictures would not have been possible on Earth's moon. This famous Apollo 11 photo has been scrutinised by conspiracy theorists for decadesOne photo in particular, taken during the 1969 mission, shows astronaut Buzz Aldrin illuminated despite standing in the shadow of the Lunar module. For years, some have claimed this would not have been possible unless there was an additional light source--such as a studio light. However, Nvidia has recreated the scene in Unreal Engine 4 and--using its global illumination technology--was successfully able to recreate the image with only the sun as a light source. Global illumination is a new technology which calculates the reflection and spread of light from a range of factors such as material and light strength. Nvidia's demo suggests that the sun's rays reflecting off the surface of the moon, and in particular Neil Armstrong's reflective white EVA suit, created enough light to illuminate Aldrin. A video explaining its findings can be seen above. The graphics card firm made the discovery to promote the new technology featured in its new GeForce GTX 980 and 970 graphics cards. GameSpot's review of the cards can be found here. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  5. Shared cinematic universes are, of course, not something that began with Marvel Studios’ film/TV universe; Universal created one decades ago with its classic monster movies (Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.), and the studio is now planning toreboot its many creature features for the big screen. Writer/author Noah Hawley, who’s now an Emmy-winner thanks to his work as showrunner on the first season of FX’s Fargo series, is reportedly working on one such project that will be part of the resurrected cinematic world of Universal-owned monsters. Studios has (finally) started to recruit more promising up and coming talent – as well as established filmmakers that have distinct styles and directorial voices – to work on their tentpole projects. That trend looks to only continue in the foreseeable future, as evidenced by the lists of folk developing new projects for organizations such as Marvel Studios (James Gunn, Scott Derrickson, etc.) and the directors working on Star Wars movies for Lucasfilm. Other studios’ talent rosters worth noting include Legendary Pictures’ (teaming with Guillermo del Toro on multiple projects) and now Universal with its monsters films. Alex Kurtzman (a writer/producer on Transformers, Star Trek, and the Amazing Spider-Man franchise) is leading the way for Universal’s rebooted monsters universe, by directing The Mummy for a 2016 launch. However, a Hawley-penned monster film – news that comes from a Deadline article reporting on Sony having set Hawley to pen a screen adaptation of his own novel, Before the Fall - sounds just as intriguing (perhaps more so if you’re not generally a Kurtzman fan). Billy Bob Thornton and Colin Hanks in ‘Fargo’ Season 1 Hawley has demonstrated a knack for infusing genre conventions with a more pronounced literary intelligence, especially when it comes to crime/drama fare – be it his award-winning work on Fargo, or his previous contributions as a story editor and producer on the the investigative procedural series Bones. Does Hawley’s affinity for crime genre material (and ability to create realistic humans who are nonetheless quite “monstrous†in their own way) offer a clue to what Universal monster film he might be working on? It’s possible, though there are several Universal monster films that could/should have crime story elements to them. Upcoming reboots of The Wolfman and The Invisible Man, for instance, would seem befitting of a crime investigation narrative; same goes for something like Van Helsing, which could easily feature Dr. Helsing as a detective who battles supernatural forces. Of course, it’s always possible that Hawley is attempting to move away from crime/mystery plots, with his untitled monster movie. Feel free and let us know what Universal monster film you think/hope Hawley is working on. In the meantime, we know that The Mummy is slated to reach theaters on June 24th, 2016, and while Dracula Untold (arriving on October 10th next month) isn’t formally lined up to become part of the Universal Shared Monsters Universe yet, that could easily change if the film proves to be a box office success.
  6. In yet another round of silent actions against torrent sites, UK Internet service providers have initiated blocks following court orders against several major proxies. Among them is PirateProxy, a hugely popular Pirate Bay proxy that is currently the UK's 125th most-visited site. Meanwhile, police action continues. After years of legal action, arrests, and placing people like Gottfrid Svartholm and Peter Sunde behind bars, it became clear to copyright holders that trying to directly shutdown The Pirate Bay would not be easy. Instead they decided to target ISPs, companies that are responsive to legal threats in most corners of the world. In time, court orders rendered The Pirate Bay and similar sites blocked, but not for long. Proxy sites enabling access to the world’s largest torrent indexes soon began to thrive, but their time would also come. The biggest proxy battle anywhere on the planet is taking place in the UK, a country where it’s become almost a formality to have sites blocked at the ISP level. Today we can report that yet another silent round of blockades are being put in place. One of the main targets is PirateProxy, an extremely popular proxy service that’s particularly well known in the UK. The site was previously accessible at but moved to a new domain earlier in the year after its domain was blocked. The site switched to during April and successfully maintained its traffic. As can be seen from the Alexa chart below, PirateProxy is the 125th most popular domain in the entire country, an impressive feat for a site that offers nothing but a Pirate Bay block workaround. Notable too is the site’s placing in Ireland, where The Pirate Bay is also blocked by ISPs. As of this morning PirateProxy was the country’s 131st most-popular domain. However, visitors to the site through the major UK ISPs are now beginning to see the familiar “domain blocked†message. The example from Virgin Media, which confirms the existence of a court order, is shown below. Also under attack are the various proxy services available through, a portal which facilitates access to a wide range of torrent and other similar sites blocked by numerous European ISPs. In addition to sundry others, at the moment the site’s PirateBay, KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent, YTS/YIFY, TorrentReactor, BitSnoop and 1337x proxies are being subjected to UK blockades. This is the second time this year that multiple proxies have been targeted by rightsholders. Back in June its EZTV and YTS proxies were blocked in the UK but were re-established by the site’s operators who vowed to keep putting up new services to maintain service. While blocking proxies continues to be a key weapon of choice, proxies with UK-based operators have greater concerns. As reported in August, City of London police’s PIPCU unit arrested the operator of Immunicity and several other proxies. According to a police response to a Freedom of Information request obtained by TorrentFreak, he now stands accused of a wide range of crimes including breaches of the Serious Crime Act 2007, Possession of Articles for Use in Fraud, Making or Supplying Articles for use in Frauds and money laundering. While plenty of proxies still exist (including several which rotate at the bottom of The Pirate Bay homepage under ‘proxy’), others aren’t doing so well. Visitors to sites including TorrentProxies, Torrenticity, FenopyReverse, FirstRowProxy, GetPirate, H33tUnblock, KatProxy, LivePirate, Metricity, ProxyCentral, KickassUnblock and YifyProxy are greeted with a message from PIPCU that the domains are under police investigation. Finally, and despite efforts by the BBC to have all VPN users labeled as pirates, use of such services to evade blockades and enable geo-unblocking continues. The BPI, PirateProxy and were not immediately available for comments but we’ll update this report when they arrive. Update: The operator of PirateProxy informs us that a new domain is up and operational at
  7. With the overwhelming popularity and recognition enjoyed by Superman a.k.a. the ‘Man of Steel’ around the world, one would assume that the members of his immediate family would enjoy similar levels of attention. But for years Supergirl has stood in the shadow of her Kryptonian cousin, despite possessing all of his strength. As Superman is set to return to the box office with his friends in tow, a new report claims that the last daughter of Krypton might get a series of her own – on television. The report comes courtesy of Bleeding Cool and their source, claiming that writer and producer Michael Green (Smallville, Heroes, Green Lantern) is set to produce and write a Supergirl series – a project that DC Entertainment is “actively pitching.†Green may not be a household name for mass audiences, but he’s acted as writer and producer on multiple DC Comics properties in the past; that includes his work (as one of several writers) on both Green Lantern (2011) and the previously-announced Flashmovie. No other details are offered in BC‘s report, with regard to exactly what angle or networks the show is being developed for, but with Gotham, The Flash,Constantine and numerous other comic books in production for TV, there’s certainly no shortage of interested parties. Even so, there’s no question that adapting the character to TV would be a difficult task – a fact Green would be aware of, having co-written the character’s re-launch as part of DC’s ‘New 52′ reboot. Given Green’s interest (and knowledge) of the character Kara Zor-El a.k.a. ‘Supergirl,’ the most likely direction would be the most obvious one: recreate the premise ofSmallville, but with a female in the lead role. But aside from the danger of retreading similar territory (for much of the same audience), it’s difficult to createany take on the superheroine that is separated from her formerly-younger-cousin Kal-El. But with DC’s TV and movie worlds totally divided, and it seeming less and less likely that Superman or Batman will appear outside of blockbusters, that would be a necessity. For both Michael Green and Mike Johnson’s part, the recent reboot of the character steered clear of Superman from the start. But without a family of her own, or a relative to develop alongside, her comic delved headlong into the mysteries of Krypton. Besides that being almost prohibitively expensive for a standard TV series, it also takes a large bite out of Superman’s big screen story. Could DC and WB be willing to share the origin? Perhaps. But it’s not an easy decision to make. The other question worth asking is what impact a potential Supergirl TV series might have on the character’s role in the larger DC/WB movie universe. Geoff Johns’ explanation that the movie and TV universes won’t be overlapping may seem like an argument for characters to appear in both TV and movies, but audiences have yet to see that theory in practice. What they have seen is a Wonder Woman origin story cancelled prior to her debut in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (and the mere claim that DC is shopping the show to networks implies it may not be a fit for The CW). Those who believe that Supergirl was already teased in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steelwill know that while the film’s prequel comic confirmed the existence of Kara Zor-El in the film’s continuity, she lived thousands of years before Kal-El. We’ve voiced our own theory on how Supergirl’s legacy could be preserved in the movie universe, but the standard origin story seems impossible. If that’s the case, then a TV series would be a welcome consolation for fans. We’ll keep you up to date on this rumor if and when new details surface, but with Michael Green preparing to act as showrunner to Bryan Fuller’s American Gods, don’t be surprised if his attention is needed elsewhere. For now, what do you think of a Supergirl TV show? Would it be too close to Smallville for your tastes? Or does it seem like a logical step?
  8. A few months back, we told you that a TV series based on the horror classic The Omen was in development at Lifetime. Well, the network today delivered the following verdict on the potential series: Lifetime is all for you Damien, it’s all for you! After years of being primarily known for their endless onslaught of trashy telefilms about such harrowing topics as internet porn addiction, Lifetime has apparently gone over to the dark side. If only they had known the power of it this whole time. Developed for the screen by former Walking Deadshowrunner Glen Mazzarra, Damien will function as both a continuity reboot and a sort-of sequel to the original Omenfilm, and will focus on the young Antichrist’s full realization of his dark powers and evil destiny as he enters adulthood. This approach effectively retcons the two theatrical sequels to The Omen, although neither of those films – one of which featured a pre-fame Sam Neill as the adult incarnation of Damien – ever came close to the popularity of the original. Damien’s first season will be a short one, as Lifetime has only ordered six episodes for the series’ inaugural batch. That’s a pretty low number, even for a cable series, making it likely that Lifetime wants to test the waters of the idea before jumping into the deep end with a full 13-16 episode order. The current plan is to air Damien’sdebut season in early 2015, although no specific date has been determined. Creatively, focusing on an adult Damien is probably the smartest route to travel for this new project, as any new child Damien would endlessly be compared to Harvey Stephens’ sinister performance in the original 1976 film. For evidence of that theory, look no further than the poorly regarded 2006 remake of The Omen, which featured a Damien that seemed almost precocious when compared to Stephens’ kid from hell. Done almost shot-for-shot, The Omen remake proved the futility of trying to tell the classic tale of the Thorn family over again, and Mazzara likely took this to heart when formulating the plotline for Damien’s small-screen transition. The casting of Damien himself will be absolutely crucial to the success of this venture, as the character will require a tight-rope walk between protagonist and antagonist. Damien can’t really be 100% demonic evil, as audiences might end up being turned off by the idea of following the rise of a man who wants to effectively end the world. TV has certainly come to accept the concept of the deeply flawed anti-hero in recent years, but even bastards like Walter White, Frank Underwood, and Vic Mackey had people they cared about – and moments that humanized them. For viewers to truly connect and empathize with Damien, he will need to be internally conflicted, and have friends whose lives he actually values. Not just any actor will be able to make us feel literal sympathy for the devil. One aspect of The Omen that Damien hopefully doesn’t change is Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic, haunting main theme “Ave Sataniâ€. There is a reason that music has become just as synonymous with dread and horror as The Exorcist‘s infamous “Tubular Bells†track. Of course, “Ave Satani†or no, there are roughly a million ways this series could go wrong. Hopefully Damien’s TV show doesn’t end up as cursed as the sets of his films supposedly were. Damien is expected to premiere on Lifetime in early 2015.
  9. HBO’s Martin Scorsese-produced period drama Boardwalk Empire series is about to embark upon its final season, but the network and legendary filmmaker have already begun developing multiple projects for the future. One such venture is a currently-untitled 1970s-set rock n roll drama that Mick Jagger is also backing, while another is titled Ashecliffe: a series inspired by the novel-turned film adaptation Shutter Island, which Scorsese directed. Shutter Island, based on the novel by author/screenwriter Dennis Lehane, is a 1950s-set mystery/thriller that follows U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of a resident at Boston’s Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital – an institution for the criminally insane. Deadline is reporting that theAshecliffe series takes place well before Scorsese’s film and Lehane’s book, and explores “the secrets and misdeeds perpetrated by [the] founders†of the eponymous hospital. By the sound of it, Ashecliffe won’t really be a prequel series that lays the groundwork for Mr. Daniels’ predicament in Shutter Island; not in the same way thatBates Motel elaborates upon the history of Norman Bates from Psycho, for example. Then again, the ending to Shutter Island suggests that there isn’t any elaborate backstory to be revealed for Ashecliffe Hospital. Which is to say, much as Bates Motel uses its Psycho origins as a springboard for weaving a more complicated and intriguing mythology that most would’ve imagined, Ashecliffe may wind up being only tangentially related to the plot and characters featured in Lehane’s Shutter Island source material (as well as Scorsese’s film adaptation). Ben Kingsley as Ashecliffe’s Dr. Cawley in ‘Shutter Island’ FX’s Fargo dramatic anthology series (during its first season) found a way to connect to the Coen Brothers’ film that inspired it, yet also function very much as a standalone world and narrative. Ashecliffe might go even further in the same direction – avoiding just about any discernible immediate connection to the events that transpire in Shutter Island, but while still continuing to explore similar themes and issues raised by that narrative. (Hence, it wouldn’t just be a Shutter Island series in name only.) Lehane will be responsible for expanding his Shutter Island mythology by scripting the Ashecliffe pilot, which Scorsese is lined up to direct. Paramount TV head Amy Powell is also behind this project, as is Shutter Island film producer Brad Fisher and DiCaprio’s production banner, Appian Way, among other executive producers. Scorsese, of course, also helmed the Boardwalk Empire pilot and is set to do likewise with the pilot for the aforementioned ’70s music drama. However, it sounds as though Ashecliffe isn’t so far along in development to affect Scorsese’s commitment to begin filming Silence early next year for a late 2015 release. Currently, Cinemax’s The Knick is examining the gruesome side of physical medical treatments in the early 20th century. Perhaps Ashecliffe will end up making for a strong companion piece to that Steven Soderbergh program, and provide an equally adept (and unsettling) examination of psychological care and practices around the same period of time. First, though, we’ll have to wait and see if the series makes it past the early stages of development. We’ll bring you more information on Ashecliffe as it becomes available.
  10. The iPhone 6 will be a bit safer to use than the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 – and every other iPhone Apple’s made since 2007. That’s because iPhone maker Apple, Inc. has decided to ban the use of n-hexane and benzene in most of its production factories due to these chemicals placing workers and users at risk for cancer, reproductive issues, and nerve damage. N-hexane is used to wipe smudges from iPhone screens before they are packaged and shipped so that the iPhone you get out of the box looks brand new. Benzene is a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) that provides a protective coating for iPhone components. After the environmental group Green America warned about these chemicals used to manufacture iPhone parts as well as the fact that factory workers weren’t given protective gear to limit exposure to these chemicals, Apple conducted its own investigation. While the company’s decided in lieu of the carcinogenic nature of these chemicals to ban them from the majority of its factories (if safer alternatives can be found), Apple can still use them in some factories. According to regulations, the company can use benzene if a smaller amount than 0.1ppm is located in breathing zones or areas of exposure. N-hexane must be limited to 28ppm. While the use of both benzene and n-hexane are unwelcome, at least safety standards are tightening on these chemicals. Perhaps these findings explain why Apple products have yet to make China’s environmentally-friendly product list.
  11. Bad Boys 3 is one of those longtime-coming threequels that it’s almost hard to believe in anymore. (Seriously, we have articles about it stretching back to five years ago.) However, as of today it appears that recent talk from producers like Jerry Bruckheimer wasn’t just smoke; as you can see in the latter half of the above video, even franchise star Martin Lawrence confirms that the film is in the works. Here’s the exact quote from Lawrence regarding Bad Boy 3; the actor was stopping by Conan to promote his new TV series with Kelsey Grammar, Partners: ML: I belive so, yes. I just talked to Jerry Bruckheimer yesterday. He said it’s real, they’re working on the script, they’re getting close – and it all looks good. Bad Boys 1 & 2 were of course directed by Michael “Boom-Boom†Bay, who has been almost exclusively wrapped up in the Transformers franchise since 2007. However, right now there are rumblings that Bay may not direct Transformers 5, which is admittedly a scenario the director hinted at before coming on for TF4. If he’s truly burned out there, returning to buddy-cop action may indeed be what he does next – assuming the Bad Boys franchise is still his to helm. Meanwhile, Martin Lawrence has room for a movie in between his TV schedule, and his franchise co-star Will Smith could certainly use a guaranteed box office hit right about now. Seven Pounds, Men in Black III, After Earth - Smith’s power at the domestic box office has been showing signs of wear for almost as long as Bay has been playing with Transformers. Big Will needs a boost, and since it looks like he’sstepping away from Independence Day 2 and MIB 4, Bad Boys 3 may be his last big franchise revisit to cash in. (Because the world is not exactly waiting with bated breath for Hancock 2.) Bad Boys 1 remains an action classic; Bad Boys 2 was still good, but was also like bell toll for the moment when Bay’s filmmaking really started to go over the top. After seeing what kind of better product a more restrained Michael Bay crafted in Pain & Gain, here’s hoping Bad Boys 3 will take things back to the original scale. Bigger doesn’t always equal better. We’ll keep you updated on the status of Bad Boys 3 as more details become available.
  12. A major fork of the popular Popcorn Time project is currently being subjected to a massive DDoS attack. The whole project has been hit, from the site hosting its source through to its CDN, API and DNS servers. The team tells TorrentFreak that the attack amounts to 10Gbps across their entire network. Every year sees periods when sites in the file-sharing sector are subjected to denial of service attacks. The attackers and their motives are often unknown and eventually the assaults pass away. Early in 2014 many torrent sites were hit, pushing some offline and forcing others to invest in mitigation technology. In May a torrent related host suffered similar problems. Today it’s the turn of the main open source Popcorn Time fork to face the wrath of attackers unknown. TorrentFreak spoke with members of the project including Ops manager XeonCore who told us that the attack is massive. “We are currently mitigating a large scale DDoS attack across our entire network. We are currently rerouting all traffic via some of our high bandwidth nodes and are working on imaging and getting our remaining servers back online to help deal with the load,†the team explain. The attack is project-wide with huge amounts of traffic hitting all parts of the network, starting with the site hosting the Popcorn Time source code. ATTACK ON THE SOURCE CODE SITE – 980MBPS Also under attack is the project’s CDN and API. The graph below shows one of the project’s servers located in France. The green shows the normal traffic from the API server, the blue represents the attack. ATTACK ON THE FRANCE API SERVER – 931MBPS Not even the project’s DNS servers have remained untouched. At one point two of three DNS servers went down, with a third straining under almost 1Gbps of traffic. To be sure, a fourth DNS server was added to assist with the load. ATTACK ON THE DUTCH DNS SERVER – PEAKING AT 880MBPS All told the whole network is being hit with almost 10Gbps of traffic, but the team is working hard to keep things operational. “We’ve added additional capacity. Our DNS servers are currently back up and running but there is still severe congestion around Europe and America. Almost 10Gbps across the entire network. Still working on mitigating. API is still online for most users!†they conclude. Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the attack and it’s certainly possible things will remain that way. Only time will tell when the attack will subside, but the team are determined to keep their project online in the meantime.
  13. One of the biggest concerns for fans of Game of Thrones and the book series from which it’s adapted, A Song of Ice and Fire, is whether or not author George R. R. Martin will complete the series before the show catches up. Currently, Martin has only completed five of the seven projected novels – A Dance with Dragons was released in 2011 – though that number could increase to eight. Martin has said that he knows where the series is heading, and has shared the broad strokes of what will happen with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, but that he doesn’t know the exact future of the minor characters. In terms of the ending though, plenty of fans have speculated and constructed well-thought out theories as to how Martin will wrap up the series. At the Edinburgh International Literary Festival this week, the author confirmed that at least some fans have already guessed the ending correctly. The AV Club reported that Martin told the crowd of festival attendees that he stopped reading message boards dedicated to his book series after he discovered some fans had sussed out the ending he had planned for the novels all along, even though the clues he left were “subtle and obscure.†After learning that some readers had figured out the ending, Martin said he struggled with whether or not he should change his plans, but eventually decided against it. Read Martin’s full quote: “So many readers were reading the books with so much attention that they were throwing up some theories and while some of those theories were amusing bullshit and creative, some of the theories are right. At least one or two readers had put together the extremely subtle and obscure clues that I’d planted in the books and came to the right solution. “So what do I do then? Do I change it? I wrestled with that issue and I came to the conclusion that changing it would be a disaster, because the clues were there. You can’t do that, so I’m just going to go ahead. Some of my readers who don’t read the boards – which thankfully there are hundreds of thousands of them – will still be surprised and other readers will say: ‘See, I said that four years ago, I’m smarter than you guys’.†Although the finale of Game of Thrones is still years away, it will likely be a television phenomenon, if the ratings of season 4 are any indication. The only comparable event in recent TV history is the finale of How I Met Your Mother, which offered a twist that many fans had predicted. However, the ending to the show became highly contentious among viewers that had stuck with the story for all 10 seasons. Although the creators of How I Met Your Mother had planned the ending of the series since very early on, there was still a backlash from fans. Whether Game of Thrones will see a similar backlash – or if fans will react more kindly as Martin suspects – is difficult to predict. For now, fans can focus their speculation on which of their theories is correct. .- Although there are plenty of theories devised by fans as to how A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones will end, many are speculating that Martin is referring to the exact lineage of Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington). Known as Ned Stark’s bastard, Jon’s mother has yet to be revealed, but fans may have an idea. The prevailing theory in regard to Jon’s parentage is that he isn’t the son of Ned, but of Ned’s sister Lyanna, who asked her brother to care for the child. Prior to Robert Baratheon’s rebellion – which ended with him on the Iron Throne and the Targaryens either dead or exiled from Westeros – Lyanna Stark was betrothed to wed Robert. However, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (Daenerys’ oldest brother) kidnapped (or ran away with) Lyanna, prompting Robert and Ned’s war with the Targaryens. Before Lyanna died, Ned found her in the tower she shared with Rhaegar, which is where fans presume she told Ned about Jon and asked her brother to raise the boy. Clues to back up this theory can be found in the very first book of the series. In a flashback scene, Ned remembers Lyanna’s final words to him: ‘Promise me,’ she had cried in a room that smelled of blood and roses. ‘Promise me, Ned.’ The fever had taken her strength and her voice had been faint as a whisper, but when he gave her his word, the fear had gone out of his sister’s eyes. The scene is certainly vague, but it’s clear Lyanna is asking something very important of Ned in her last moments of life – and following Robert’s Rebellion, Ned brings Jon with him back to Winterfell. In a later passage, Catelyn Stark, Ned’s wife, remembers what Ned said to her about Jon upon returning and his refusal to offer any extra explanation: “Never ask me about Jon,†he said cold as ice. “He is my blood, and that is all you need know.†. . . Whoever Jon’s mother had been, Ned must have loved her fiercely, for nothing Catelyn said would persuade him to send the boy away. Whether Ned kept Jon’s parentage a secret for the sake of Lyanna’s reputation – which would have been ruined by bearing a child to the married prince – or the sake of the boy’s safety is unclear. If Jon is the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar (and if Lyanna and Rhaegar had actually been married), then he has a rightful claim to the Iron Throne, which would have put him in as much danger as Daenerys, who Robert tried to kill in the first book/season. So what does this mean for the ending of the series? Well, it’s called A Song of Ice and Fire – ice referring to Jon, a member of the Night’s Watch, and fire referring to Daenerys, the Mother of Dragons. The prevailing idea is that the pair will end the series ruling Westeros together. Fans are split on whether this means Jon and Daenerys will be married by the end of the series (the Targaryen’s weren’t exactly unfamiliar with incest) or if they’ll simply rule side by side platonically. Then again, the above clues are hardly “extremely subtle†or “obscure,†as George R.R. Martin said of the supposedly correct theory about the ending to his books, so it’s entirely possible that he’s referring to something else. What do you think, Screen Rant readers? Was Martin referring to R + L = J? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Game of Thrones returns to HBO in Spring 2015.
  14. Less than a week after the UK 'piracy police' shut down the proxy service Immunicity and arrested its owner, clones of the service have started to appear online. The services allow people to access The Pirate Bay and other blocked sites. Just like the original site they are completely free of charge. When Immunicity launched last year TorrentFreak spoke with the owner, who told us he created the service as a protest against increasing censorship efforts in the UK. “We are angered by the censorship that is happening in the UK and in other countries across the globe, so we got our thinking caps on and decided to do something about it,†Immunicity’s operator said. The site’s core motivation came from the famous John Gilmore quote that was prominently placed on the site’s homepage. “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.†And that was exactly what the service offered. Those who set up their browser to work with Immunicity would gain access to blocked sites, by running their traffic through its proxy server. In just a few clicks the service was able to unblock any censored site, hassle free. For more than a year Immunicity helped tens of thousands of people to unblock censored websites, but that was brought to an end last week. Tipped off by copyright holders, City of London Police labeled Immunicity a criminal operation and arrested its 20-year old owner. The idea behind the police action was to send a deterrent message and make it harder for the public to access blocked sites. However, it appears to have resulted in just the opposite. Just days after the original Immunicity site was taken offline at least two clones have appeared. Both and offer the same unblocking functionality, completely free of charge. The two new services are a direct result of the Immunicity takedown, once again showing that censorship enforcement may lead to counterproductive results. TorrentFreak spoke with the operator of who, considering recent events, has taken the necessary precautions to stay out of police sight. “When purchasing the domain and server I made steps to protect myself from potential adversaries,†the operator says. uses a hosting service that allows proxies and has unmetered bandwidth, which should guarantee smooth sailing in the short run. The operator informs us that the backend is coded in node.js, which he may release as open source later. The end result is that the actions of City of London Police have made matters worse, from their own perspective. Instead of one Immunicity, there are now two, and possible many more to come in the future.
  15. Hacker agencies hired by the US government managed to take down one of the last refuges of dissidents in oppressive regimes. The Tor system has long been recognized the only way that dissidents could communicate in repressive regimes. It is also known for being used by whistleblowers to leak their information. Now Tor is warning that many of its users could be identified by government-funded researchers. According to Roger Dingledine, Tor Project leader, the service had identified machines on its network that had been altering the traffic of the system for 5 months, trying to unmask users connecting to the so-called “hidden servicesâ€. He also said it was likely the attacking machines were operated on behalf of the researchers at the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie-Mellon University, funded by the Department of Defence of the United States. The machines have been removed from the network after they were discovered, but as you can understand, the damage has already been done. The researchers are going to speak on identifying Tor users at the Black Hat security conference in August. When Tor developers complained to the university, the local officials claimed the research had not been cleared and cancelled the talk. Roger Dingledine admitted that people who operated or accessed hidden services from February through July might have been affected. As for those who navigated to ordinary websites, they should be good. If you don’t know, hidden services include various underground drug websites like the shuttered Silk Road and privacy-conscious outfits like SecureDrop, especially designed to connect whistleblowers with media outlets. The Tor Project leader explained that the physical locations where the hidden services were housed could also have been exposed, but he was not sure about the content the visitors viewed. But what really matters now is whether the spooks will just pop around to the researchers with a warrant and demand they hand over all the details they obtained during their experiments. As for the FBI, the agency didn’t comment on the questions about whether it would seek the information, while the Defence Department wasn’t quite sure if it even had the right to get research from the Institute. Finally, Roger Dingledine recommended all Tor users to upgrade to the latest version of the software, because it addresses the vulnerability in question. He also warned that attempts to break Tor may continue.
  16. Leeds quartet Pulled Apart By Horses would like to invite you to drink their 'Blood' to celebrate the release of their third album and first ever live acoustic set. Scroll down to view. The band have teamed up with the West Yorkshire Revolutions Brewery to concoct their own unique pale ale made with Blood Oranges and Yorkshire Tea. The beer will be available for a limited time at specialist pubs throughout the UK. Named after their forthcoming record, 'Blood' will be launched at The Brudenell Social Club on 29th August 2014, with tickets only available to competition winners who post a photo on Twitter and Instagram of them enjoying their favourite drink with the hashtag #PABHsBlood. The best shots will win a pair of tickets to come to the band's very first acoustic show ' over 18's only. Guitarist James Brown comments 'The idea of people drinking our 'Blood' (not literally) is so exciting for us! It's the kind of thing you talk about a lot but never usually happens, so because this has become a reality we really want to celebrate it!' The descision to accompany the ale launch with their first ever acoustic show follows a session they did recently whilst in The Netherlands, trying their hand at a fully stripped back set up for the first time. Last week the band revealed a new glaringly colourful Dario Argento inspired video for 'Lizard Baby', the second single to be taken from 'Blood', both set for release on 1st September on their own label Best of the Best through Sony Red. Watch the video for 'Lizard Baby' here: Pulled Apart By Horses play a series of warm up shows across the country, preparing for their main stage Reading & Leeds Festival slots. They will also be playing a string European dates, supported by Dinosaur Pile-UP for Dr. Martens' #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour. Full live dates are now: August 5th Secret Location Leeds Fest warm up show w/Twin Atlantic. Details here. 18th Coventry Kasbah 19th Nottingham Bodega 20th Liverpool East Village Arts Club 23rd Reading Festival 24th Leeds Festival 29th Leeds Brudenell Social (Blood ale launch party & acoustic set. Competition winners only) September 8th Paris, Maroquinerie 9th Hamburg Molotow Exil 10th Copenhagen, Rust 11th Stockholm, Debaser Strand 13th Amsterdam, Bitterzoet 20th Portsmouth Southsea Festival (headline) Blood album tracklisting: Hot Squash ADHD in HD Lizard Baby You Want It Hello Men Skull Noir Grim Deal Bag Of Snakes Outahead Medium Rare Weird Weather Golden Monument Watch 'V.E.N.O.M.' acoustic
  17. RCA Records president/COO Tom Corson will be this year's honoree at the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Family Day. Benefiting cancer and AIDS research, the 15th annual Family Day will take place Sept. 28 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Polo Grounds Music/RCA artist Pitbull will perform and also receive the foundation’s Family Day Artist Achievement Award. Recently signed RCA singer/actress Hilary Duff will host. Island Records duo Timeflies is also part of the day's lineup with additional guests and performers being announced shortly. Chairing this year’s event is Marcus Peterzell, exec. VP of entertainment for PR firm Ketchum. Last year's Family Day honored Marty Diamond, Paradigm Talent Agency’s head of East Coast Music. Ed Sheeran and Jason Mraz headlined the 2013 event with Austin Mahone, Emblem 3and Greyson Chance. To date, T.J. Martell Foundation’s Family Day has raised more than $5 million for Martell-funded research at top hospitals across the country. "I am truly honored by this great recognition from the T.J. Martell Foundation," said Corson in a statement. "I have always supported their cutting-edge research programs and hope to help make this 15th anniversary event a huge success."
  18. Solarmovie, one of the largest video streaming indexes in the Internet, lost control of its domain name yesterday. A mysterious 'hacker' managed to access the registrar and transferred the domain name elsewhere. The hijack appears to come from the same person who previously stole With millions of visitors per week Solarmovie is a thorn in the side of the major movie studios. The site indexes links to pirated copies of movies and TV-shows, which can be streamed directly through third party sites. Apart from the ISP blockade in the UK, Solarmovie hasn’t run into any significant trouble. However, that changed yesterday when the site’s owner found out that someone had stolen the domain name. An unknown ‘hacker’ gained access to the registrar where the domain was held and quickly transferred it to another registrar. How this could have happened is a mystery to Solarmovie admin Chris, who notes that they used a secure password. “We have no idea how the registrar was accessed. The account had a 10 character long randomly generated password,†Chris informs TorrentFreak. “I wonder why the registrar didn’t send a confirmation link to the account’s primary email when it was changed. Registrars shouldn’t allow changes to login details in such an easy way without triple checking against swindlers,†he adds. The domain was transferred to EuroDNS and the registrant name changed to Gabriel Vasilica of HAVARD THABO LLP. The stolen domain now redirects to, which initially displayed a “coming soon†landing page, but is now hosting a copy of the Solarmovie website. The ‘fake’ Solarmovie has put up a notification informing visitors that the .AG domain is the site’s new home. The “fake† The ‘real’ Solarmovie, meanwhile, has reverted back to its old domain where it remains accessible as usual. They hope that the registrar can help them get the old domain back. Time will tell whether that’s possible. “Currently we are talking to our registrar about possible measures we can take to have the domain returned. As for now, we revert back to domain,†Chris says. While it’s unclear who’s behind the domain hijack there are several signs that it’s the same person who stole the domain, which later became For example, both and use the same IDs for the Newrelic stats service. Whoever’s behind the stolen domains and however they pulled it off, other streaming sites should be warned. Update: Solarmovie’s Twitter account was hijacked briefly as well, but has been restored an hour ago.
  19. As Spain struggles with its continuing online piracy problems, a local court has issued an order for several file-sharing sites to be unblocked by ISPs. The decision overturns a ruling in May which required the service providers to censor torrent and download sites on copyright infringement grounds. In the eyes of the United States, Spain still needs to do more in the battle against unlawful file-sharing. The country has been making progress though, and in some instances has actually gone much further than any U.S. court would dare. Following action by the MPAA-affiliated Anti-Piracy Federation (FAP), in May 2014 a court in the city of Zaragoza ordered local ISPs including Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, to block several sites allegedly engaged in copyright infringement. Within days, SpanishTracker,,,, and were rendered inaccessible. The injunctions were not permanent, however, and could be appealed by the sites’ operators. As can be seen in the Alexa statistics shown below, direct traffic to NewPCT took a huge hit following the court order. However, the site quickly set up alternative domains and there were several reports in local media indicating that proxies and VPNs had quickly become popular with those looking to regain access to the site. But while the court order was cheered by rightsholders keen to see Spain dispel ideas that the country is a safe-haven for file-sharing sites, the celebrations were to be short-lived. The site blocks, championed by both FAP and the police Computer Security Brigade, were this week lifted by a court in Zaragoza. A judge sitting in Court of Instruction No.10 found that there “insufficient grounds†for maintaining the domain blockades to protect property rights, “especially when it is not absolutely necessary for the continuation of the investigation.†El Mundo reports that when the case was being processed back in 2013, a court already found that “the facts alleged did not constitute a crime.†The ISP blockades against the domains are expected to be lifted in the coming days, leaving local and international rightsholders to ponder whether changes in Spanish legislation due this year will help solve the piracy conundrum.
  20. Kim Dotcom's emerging music service Baboom is inviting would-be investors to grab a piece of what should be an intriguing startup. Speaking with TorrentFreak the senior advisor handling the offer says that not only is it tracking "exceptionally well" but the company is being "overwhelmed" with support from the global indie music industry. It’s been under development for more than two years and in just a few months Kim Dotcom’s Baboom should be ready to launch. In the meantime the company has been outlining its vision for a listing on the Australian stock market. Baboom’s 41-page prospectus invites investors to take a share in a company aiming to provide a special service to both artists and users. While allowing the former to pick up an industry-beating 90% of the spoils, the latter will have the opportunity to listen to music for free, a combination that Baboom hopes will prove a tempting mix to potential investors. The company is issuing 11,250,000 shares at AUS $0.40 each, with the aim of securing “sophisticated or professional investors†able to pump in a minimum of $20,000 each. The target is AUS $4.5 million and according to Ben Yeo, senior adviser at Melbourne-based Novus Capital, the company is well on the way. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Yeo says there has been a large amount of interest from not only within Australia and New Zealand, but also from Europe and Asia. “While the offer has only been marketed to a select number of sophisticated investors, the offer is tracking incredibly well and we have extended the offering for an additional week so as [baboom CEO] Grant Edmundson can present to a number of potential cornerstone investors in Australia who have requested an in-person meeting with the Baboom Ltd CEO,†Yeo explains. The prospectus describes Baboom as a “cloud streaming and download serviceâ€, with users able to store their music library for retrieval anywhere in the world on both desktop and mobile devices. It’s estimated that users will get between 10 and 15 albums for free each year in the ad-supported model while their “locker†will max out at 50 gigabytes. It’s probably no coincidence that this limit is the same as that offered by Dotcom’s, with the prospectus citing links between Baboom and Mega as a “competitive advantageâ€. Not everything will be centralized, however. Baboom says it will also offer “unique user ‘peer2peer’ content streaming†features, with a “jukebox†listed as an example use. As previously reported, Baboom will also offer industry-leading audio quality via its FLAC streaming service and will integrate a worldwide ticketing and merchandising solution. Also of interest to investors is Baboom’s target markets. The company says it will focus on under-serviced regions with high growth potential to include South East Asia, Australasia, Southern and East Africa and Europe. Like Spotify before it, one of Baboom’s key aims is target markets with piracy problems. The company says it will deploy “robust marketing†in order to provide a legitimate music streaming and downloading platform in these regions. But while Spotify has achieved its success with the full support of the major labels, it’s impossible to see a situation in which Warner, Universal and Sony warm to the idea of dealing with a company affiliated with Kim Dotcom. That reality is certainly not lost on the management of Baboom, who detail the company’s market strategy as focusing on “independent labels, producer archives and unpublished material.†And according to Novus Capital’s Ben Yeo, things couldn’t be going any better on that front. “What Grant and I have been overwhelmed with is the level of support we have been receiving from the global independent music industry who have thrown their support behind Baboom and are eager to show their support by uploading content onto the platform,†Yeo told TF. On any platform of this type, content is definitely king, so potential investors will be encouraged that Baboom is receiving good support as it prepares for takeoff. The prospectus envisions a fourth quarter release for the service, but according to Yeo there is much work to be done. “By the time the offer closes I envisage the company to be in a strong position to develop its backend systems, mobile platform and content acquisition prior to the platform’s hard launch either late December 2014 or January 2015,†Yeo concludes. The early signs suggest that at least in its early days Baboom is unlikely to prompt a mass migration away from services such as Spotify. However, its unique way of remunerating artists could prove very tempting, particularly when played out against a backdrop of traditional middle-men struggling to remain both profitable and relevant in a changing market.
  21. Google is often admonished by music companies for not making pirate music harder to find, but does it deserve that criticism? Tests carried out by TorrentFreak on the Billboard Top 10 reveal that in the majority of cases finding authorized content is quicker and easier than finding pirate downloads. For the past several years Google has been under the hammer for supposedly providing easy access to pirated content online. Criticism has flooded in on both sides of the Atlantic, with record labels and their Hollywood counterparts blaming the search giant for infringement they have little do with. The argument is that Google should take responsibility for what the wider Internet is doing by doctoring its search results and AutoSuggest/AutoComplete features in order to promote legal content while relegating pirate sources to the poor leagues. The record labels claim that little has happened on this front so we decided to carry out some tests of our own. How quickly could we find both legal and illegal popular music using only Google’s search and suggestions? The rules Searching for the current Billboard Top 10, we carried out two searches for each track. One would aim to find infringing content and the other only legal options. We entered no more letters of a song than needed and stopped when Google began guiding us with its AutoSuggest options which we accepted. Any more than ten keypresses or clicks overall would be classed as an abort. Track #1 – Fancy – Iggy Azalea Featuring Charli XCX Search for unauthorized download Google Search Entry – “fancy_†AutoSuggest offered – “fancy mp3″ Best offer: MP3Skull (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 9 Search for authorized track Google Search Entry – “fan†AutoSuggest offered – “fancy†Best Offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5 Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube) ————————————————————————————— #2 Rude – MAGIC! Search for unauthorized download Google Search entry – “rud†AutoSuggest offered – “rude mp3″ Best Offer: MP3Skull (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 6 Search for authorized track Google Search entry – “rud†AutoSuggest offered – “rude magic†Best Offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5 Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube) ————————————————————————————— #3 Problem – Ariana Grande Featuring Iggy Azalea Search for unauthorized download Google Search Entry – “probl†AutoSuggest offered – “problem ariana grande mp3″ Best Offer: MP3Skull (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 7 Search for authorized track Google Search Entry – “prob†AutoSuggest offered – “problem ariana grande†Best offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5 Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube) ————————————————————————————— #4 – Am I Wrong – Nico & Vinz Search for unauthorized download Google Search entry – “am_†AutoSuggest offered – “am i wrong mp3″ Best offer: MP3Skull (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 6 Search for authorized track Google Search entry – “am i w†AutoSuggest offered – “am i wrong nico and vinz†Best offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 8 Winner: Pirate option (MP3Skull) ————————————————————————————— #5 Stay With Me – Sam Smith Search for unauthorized download Google Search entry – “stay_w†AutoSuggest offered – “stay with me sam smith mp3″ Best offer: MP3Skull (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 9 Search for authorized track Google Search entry – “stay†AutoSuggest offered – “stay with me†Best offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5 Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube) ————————————————————————————— #6 Wiggle – Jason Derulo Featuring Snoop Dogg Search for unauthorized download Google Search entry – “wigg†AutoSuggest offered – “wiggle jason derulo mp3″ Best offer: MP3Skull (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 7 Search for authorized track Google Search entry – “wig†AutoSuggest offered – “wiggle jason derulo†Best offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5 Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube) ————————————————————————————— #7 – Summer – Calvin Harris Search for unauthorized download Google Search entry – “summer_†AutoSuggest offered – “summer calvin harris mp3″ Several ‘pirate’ results failed. Total keypresses and clicks before listening = Aborted (more than 10) Search for authorized track Google Search entry – “sum†AutoSuggest offered – “summer†Best offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 5 Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube) ————————————————————————————— #8 All Of Me – John Legend Search for unauthorized download Google Search entry – “all_o†AutoSuggest offered – “all of me john legend mp3″ Best Offer: MP3Fon (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 8 Search for authorized track Google Search entry – “all_of_me_j†AutoSuggest offered – “all of me john legend†Best offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 13 Winner: Pirate option (MP3Fon) ————————————————————————————— #9 – Maps – Maroon 5 Search for unauthorized download Google Search entry – “maps_maro†AutoSuggest offered – “maps maroon 5 mp3″ Best offer: MP3Skull (second result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 12 Search for authorized track Google Search entry – “maps_m†AutoSuggest offered – “maps maroon 5″ Best offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 8 Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube) ————————————————————————————— #10 – Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon Search for unauthorized download Google Search entry – “turn_d†AutoSuggest offered – (turn down for what mp3) Best offer: MP3Skull (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 9 Search for authorized track Google Search entry – “turn†AutoSuggest offered – “turn down for what†Best offer: Vevo (top result) Total keypresses and clicks before listening = 6 Winner: Legal option (VEVO/YouTube) ————————————————————————————— Conclusions From the above results we can see that when using only a song title and then taking Google’s suggestions, most of the time those searching for pirate content will take longer to access it than those looking to go legal. However, what we’re talking about here is a difference of a handful of clicks, which is hardly the accessibility chasm the RIAA and BPI were aiming for. Pressuring Google and sending millions of DMCA takedown notices every month appears to have had little effect on pirate availability. Also, it’s also worth noting that if the YouTube/Vevo results were ignored in our tests or removed from Google results altogether, finding legal alternatives would become much harder since iTunes and similar sites are rarely, if ever, on the first page of Google results following either a ‘pirate’ or ‘legal’ search for music. Google has told the record labels that they need to do something about that themselves, by making their sites more crawlable, but it appears that security concerns have hindered progress on that front to the point that sites like MP3Skull with relatively tiny budgets can beat them at every turn. It’s difficult to blame anyone but the labels and their partners for that problem.
  22. A key motivation for people to illegally download is the long gap between a movie's theatrical release and its debut through other channels. To tackle this problem in Australia the exclusive theatrical release window will soon begin to narrow from 120 to 90 days. While its popularity has waned in recent years, the issue of camcorder piracy is often spoken about in crisis terms by the major movie studios. Part of the reason camming occurs, however, is down to the exclusivity enjoyed by the world’s theater chains, meaning that while a mainstream movie is being shown in a cinema, it is not available anywhere else. It will not be available on Netflix nor will it be available for purchase on Blu-ray or DVD. This creates a convenient opening for the black market. Of course, pretty much the whole time a movie is showing in theaters it will be available both online and on DVD, because someone, somewhere, will have recorded it illegally. True exclusivity only exists in the minds of the theaters and distributors. Just lately it’s been extremely popular for Australians to be criticized for their piracy habits, an activity sometimes justified by films not being made available quickly enough Down Under. This morning it’s been revealed that the group representing the Australian film and TV home entertainment industry intend to do something about that. Speaking with Fairfax Media, Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association chief executive officer Simon Bush said that the current theatrical window will be narrowed in an effort to reduce piracy. “This 120 days is not the hard and fast rule anymore and there will be some studios this year that will be coming in around the 90 days,†Bush said. “[The studios] don’t like the fact that they are losing out a lot of money to piracy.†It’s hoped that the shortening of the delay will go someway towards reducing illegal movie downloads in Australia by providing content in alternative formats in a more timely fashion. That being said, AHEDA still wish to preserve the big screen’s exclusivity in the market and its position as the premier location for early viewing. “It continues to ensure that the theatrical window retains its rightful prominence in the market as the premium movie experience, but also allows the consumer to increasingly access the film earlier digitally and on DVD and Blu-ray and thus reduce what some refer to as the ‘piracy window’,†Bush said of the narrowing window. While improved availability is key to reducing piracy, theaters will undoubtedly balk at the further erosion of their exclusive window of opportunity. However, according to comments made by DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, release windows could collapse almost entirely in the next ten years. “I think the model will change and you won’t pay for the window of availability. A movie will come out and you will have 17 days, that’s exactly three weekends, which is 95% of the revenue for 98% of movies,†Katzenberg told the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills earlier this year. “On the 18th day, these movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously and you will pay for the size. A movie screen will be $15. A 75†TV will be $4.00. A smartphone will be $1.99. That enterprise that will exist throughout the world, when that happens, and it will happen, it will reinvent the enterprise of movies,†he said. In the meantime, the Australian government will try to legislate its way out of the piracy problem, by imposing “three strikes†style schemes on its citizens and pressuring ISPs to take responsibility for the actions of their subscribers.
  23. New research carried out in Sweden has revealed that the percentage of young people who have never shared files is up by almost 40% since 2009. Those who share files daily is down too, a development the researchers say is a victory for the legal market, as opposed to entertainment companies using legal scare tactics. piracydownSweden has long been a central figure in the file-sharing phenomenon, not least due to its associations with the The Pirate Bay. As a result, for more than ten years sharing files has been a popular pastime with many young Swedes, much to the disappointment of the world’s largest entertainment companies. The Cybernorms research group at Lund University in Sweden has been in the news several times during the past few years as a result of its work with The Pirate Bay. On more than one occasion the infamous torrent site as renamed itself to The Research Bay in order for researchers to collect information on the values, norms and conceptions of the file-sharing community. Cybernorms have now revealed more of their findings which suggest that after years of escalation, online sharing by those in the 15-24 year-old bracket could be in decline. Survey responses from around 4,000 individuals suggest that the number of active file-sharers has dropped in the past two years. Those who share files daily or almost daily has decreased from 32.8 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2014. “It is a small but significant decrease,†Måns Svensson, head of Cybernorms at Lund University told SVT. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the decrease is the mechanism through which it was encouraged. Historically, entertainment industry scare tactics have been employed to try to reduce unauthorized sharing, but the researchers believe something much more positive is responsible. “What is interesting is that this is the first time we have been able to see that file-sharing has gone down but without that being associated with a conviction, such as the Pirate Bay ruling,†Svensson says. “If you listen to what young people themselves are saying, it is new and better legal services that have caused the decrease in file-sharing, rather than respect for the law. There has been a trend where alternative legal solutions such as Spotify and Netflix are changing consumption patterns among young people.†Also of interest is the apparent effect on up-and-coming youngsters who might otherwise have begun file-sharing themselves. The researchers found that between 2009 and 2013 the percentage of young people who had never shared files increased from 21.6 percent to 30.2 percent, a boost of well over a third. Interestingly, in that same four-year period, the percentage of young people who said they believe that people should not share files because it is illegal dropped from 24 percent to 16.9 percent. So, even while young people are sharing files less often, their acceptance of the standards presented by the law appears to be dropping too. In this case it does indeed appear that the carrot is mightier than the stick. Source :
  24. No matter how organized you are, it can be hard to sift through a giant downloads folder for what you're looking for—especially if you don't know what the file's name is. Sort your downloads folder by date to solve this problem.P This isn't something everyone will need, but it's something I've found immensely useful lately. When I download a file (via BitTorrent, especially), I don't know what the file name is, which makes finding it difficult. So, I've started sorting my Downloads folder by "Date Created." That way, the file I just downloaded is always at the top of the list—no searching or scrolling needed. Note: in Windows, you may have to create this column by right-clicking on the sorting headers.1P If you keep your Downloads folder cleaned up, this won't be necessary, but for heavy torrenters (or those that seed everything they download), it's quite convenient.
  25. Hosting Provider Plagued by DDoS Attacks on Torrent Sites Several torrent sites hosted at Genious Communications have been suffering from DDoS attacks of up to 30 gigabits per second. Thus far the identity of those behind the attacks remains a mystery, but the CEO of the hosting service isn't ruling out the involvement copyright watchdogs. BitTorrent trackers are no strangers to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Pretty much all sites of a respectable size are targeted on occasion by unknown sources. In most cases these attacks don’t last too long, but every now and then they get more serious. For example, in recent weeks several French torrent sites have had to deal with a serious flood of unwanted connections, rendering the sites and trackers in question unavailable. The Morocco-based provider Genious Communications hosts several of the affected torrent sites, including and To find out more TorrentFreak contacted CEO Hamza Aboulfeth, who told us that the attacks come in all shapes and sizes. “The biggest attack was on where we had over 30 Gbit/s which gave us no choice but nullroute the IP at the moment of the attack,†Aboulfeth says. The attacks range from common HTTP floods to UDP and SYN flood attacks and huge botnets. As a result, Genious has migrated several clients over to a specialized DDoS protection setup. “We have our own professional DDoS protection system so we had to move some of our clients to it, the rest just moved to Cloudflare where they offer decent protection for a reasonable price,†Aboulfeth says. The biggest challenge is to mitigate the attacks on trackers as these are not dealing with regular HTTP requests, but so far the company has managed to take the edge off the assaults. The attacks started a few weeks ago and have been continuing ever since at varying intensities. They are all targeted at several of Genious Communications’ file-sharing related clients, but the identities of the individuals behind them remains a mystery. Aboulfeth hasn’t heard of any cash demands, which excludes the extortion scheme several other sites were subjected to earlier this year. According to the CEO, it’s most likely that competitors or an anti-piracy group are behind the attacks. “I think the attacks are most likely coming from competitors or some copyright agency,†Aboulfeth says. “One common thing is they are all French torrent websites, and I know for a fact that I have been contacted by someone hosted somewhere else claiming that one of our clients is attacking him, and of course my client is denying that,†he adds. In the long term the sites have no other option than to make sure that they can cope with the DDoS attacks. In most cases they eventually pass, without their victims ever knowing what their purpose was.