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Found 43 results

  1. For years popular sports streaming site Rojadirecta has been operating from Spain without trouble. This week, however, a Madrid court threw up a significant hurdle by ordering Rojadirecta to stop linking to certain football streams or have its site blocked by local ISPs. The site's operators are refusing to cave in without a fight and have already announced an appeal against the preliminary injunction. As one of the most prominent live streaming sites, Rojadirecta is a thorn in the side of many international sports organizations. The website is operated by the Spanish company Puerto 80, which previously won two lawsuits in Spain, declaring the site as operating legally under local law. Even the U.S. Government couldn’t bring the site down. In 2011 the Department of Homeland Security seized the site’s domain name, but facing a legal battle the authorities chose to hand it back to the rightful owners. Now, several years later the odds seem to have turned. Following a complaint from the Professional Football League (LFP), a Madrid court has ruled that Rojadirecta can no longer link to unauthorized streams of football events to which Mediapro and Gol Television own the rights. The court issued a preliminary injunction that orders the site’s operators to cease these activities within seven days. If the company fails to comply, local Internet providers will be instructed to block access to Rojadirecta. Martinez Trujillo, director Strategic Projects of the Spanish Football League, praised the court’s decision while openly insulting one of the defendants. “We have great news issued barely an hour ago,†Martinez Trujillo announced yesterday. “The Football League has been working intensively against piracy during the last 18 months and today we won the first great battle against this man, who is really a crook.†Speaking with TF, Rojadirecta stresses that the Madrid court issued the injunction without delving into the merits of the case. The company maintains that it’s operating legally and will appeal the verdict in a full trial. “This does not affect our right to continue operating the website,†a Rojadirecta spokesperson says, adding that they don’t expect to make any significant changes to the site. As a result, Rojadirecta may soon be blocked by Spanish ISPs but the company is confident that it can overturn the preliminary injunction in the long run. “Rojadirecta is advised in Europe by a number of legal teams with the best experience regarding Internet operators liabilities. We are very aware of the legality of Rojadirecta; our operations now and in the future are not reckless.†The preliminary injunction is based on misleading statements from the Spanish Football League, according to the streaming site, who note that the verdict would have been different if they were given the opportunity to defend themselves. There is no doubt that the injunction puts Rojadirecta at a disadvantage, but the company believes that it will win in the end, securing yet another legal precedent. “In any case, we continue to work this issue with hope. In the end we will win, but we will have to fight quite a bit. This new challenge will end up putting us in a better position,†Rojadirecta concludes. https://torrentfreak.com/court-forbids-rojadirecta-to-stream-football-or-else-150623/
  2. Several music industry organizations in the UK have won a judicial review which renders the Government's decision to allow copying for personal use unlawful. According to the High Court, there's insufficient evidence to prove that the legislation doesn't hurt musicians and the industry at large. Late last year the UK Government legalized copying for private use, a practice which many citizens already believed to be legal. However, until last October, anyone who transferred music from a purchased CD to an MP3 player was committing an offense. The change was “in the best interest†of consumers, the Government reasoned, but several music industry organizations disagreed. In November the Musicians’ Union (MU), the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and UK Music applied for a judicial review of the new legislation. While the groups are not against private copying exceptions, they disagreed with the Government’s conclusion that the change would cause no financial harm to the music industry. Instead of keeping copies free, they suggested that a tax should be applied to blank media including blank CDs, hard drives, memory sticks and other blank media. This money would then be shared among rightsholders, a mechanism already operating in other European countries. Today the High Court largely agreed with the music industry groups. The Government’s conclusion that copyright holders will not suffer any significant harm was based on inadequate evidence, Mr Justice Green ruled. “In conclusion, the decision to introduce section 28B [private copying] in the absence of a compensation mechanism is unlawful,†the Judge writes. The Judge didn’t agree with all claims from the music groups. For example, he rejected the allegation that the Government had unlawfully predetermined the outcome of the private copying consultation. Nonetheless, the application for a judicial review succeeded meaning that the private copying exceptions are now deemed unlawful. As a result, the Government will likely have to amend the legislation, which took roughly half a decade to implement. The UK music groups are happy with the outcome and are eager to discuss possible changes with lawmakers. “The High Court agreed with us that Government acted unlawfully. It is vitally important that fairness for songwriters, composers and performers is written into the law,†UK Music CEO Jo Dipple commented on the ruling. “Changes to copyright law that affect such a vital part of the creative economy, which supports one in twelve jobs, must only be introduced if there is a robust evidential basis for doing so,†Dipple added. The High Court scheduled a new hearing next month to decide what action should be taken in response to the judgment, including whether the private copying exceptions should be scrapped from law. https://torrentfreak.com/uks-legalization-of-cd-ripping-is-unlawful-court-rules-150619/
  3. The RIAA has scored an important victory against CloudFlare after the company refused to terminate services to a Grooveshark replacement. District Court Judge Alison Nathan ruled that CloudFlare actively helps the pirate site to spread copyrighted works, and ordered to company to stop doing so. Last month the long running lawsuit between the RIAA and Grooveshark came to an end. However, within days a new site was launched aiming to take its place. The RIAA wasn’t happy with this development and quickly obtained a restraining order, preventing domain registrars and hosting companies from offering their services to the site. This was somewhat effective, as Namecheap quickly suspended the original domain name. However, not all parties were as cooperative. Popular CDN-service CloudFlare refused to take action on the basis that it is not “aiding and abetting†piracy. The RIAA disagreed and asked New York District Court Judge Alison Nathan to rule on the matter. In an order (pdf) just published, Judge Nathan agrees with the music group. CloudFlare argued that they were not bound to the restraining order since they were not in “active concert or participation†due to the automated nature of its services. In addition, the company countered that even if it disconnected Grooveshark, the site would still be accessible. In her order Nathan notes that she finds neither argument persuasive. The fact that CloudFlare is aware of the infringements and provides services that help the public to easily access the infringing site, shows otherwise. “Connecting internet users to grooveshark.li in this manner benefits Defendants and quite fundamentally assists them in violating the injunction because, without it, users would not be able to connect to Defendants’ site unless they knew the specific IP address for the site,†Judge Nathan writes. “Beyond the authoritative domain name server, CloudFlare also provides additional services that it describes as improving the performance of the grooveshark.li site,†she adds. The argument that the ‘new’ Grooveshark will still be around after CloudFlare suspends the account was found to be irrelevant. A third-party can still be bound by a restraining order even if terminating its services doesn’t render a website inaccessible. “… just because another third party could aid and abet the Defendants in violating the injunction does not mean that CloudFlare is not doing so,†the order reads. Finally, the Judge agrees that there may be other services that are not covered by the order. However, in this case CloudFlare is directly facilitating Grooveshark, with specific knowledge of the accounts that are responsible. For CloudFlare the ruling comes as a disappointment, opening the door for a slew of similar requests. The CDN has several of the largest pirate sites as clients, including The Pirate Bay, which is now a relatively easy target. At the time of writing Grooveshark.li is no longer accessible, suggesting that CloudFlare has already complied with the order. https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-cloudflare-to-disconnect-new-grooveshark-150605/
  4. Hoping to find out more about the secret Internet censorship plans Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood was pushing, Google is now taking the MPAA to court. After several subpoenas remained largely unanswered, the search giant is now asking a New York federal court to ensure that the MPAA other parties hand over the requested information. Helped by the MPAA, Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood launched a secret campaign to revive SOPA-like censorship efforts in the United States. The MPAA and Hood want Internet services to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial law failed to pass. In response to the looming threat Google filed a complaint against Hood last December, asking the court to prevent Hood from enforcing a subpoena that addresses Google’s failure to take down or block access to illegal content, including pirate sites. This resulted in a victory for Google with District Court Judge Henry Wingate putting the subpoena on hold. At the same time Google requested additional details from the Attorney General and various other parties involved in the scheme, including the MPAA. Thus far, however, these requests haven’t proven fruitful. In a motion to compel directed at the MPAA (pdf), Google explains that the movie industry group and other petitioned parties have yet to hand over the requested information. “To date, the subpoenaed parties have produced nothing,†Google’s lawyers inform the court. “They have inexplicably delayed producing the few documents they agreed to turn over, and have objected that many of their documents, including internal notes or summaries of meetings with AG Hood, are irrelevant or protected by some unsubstantiated privilege.†In addition to the MPAA, Google has also filed similar motions against the MPAA’s law firm Jenner & Block, Digital Citizens Alliance, 21st Century Fox, NBC Universal and Viacom. All parties thus far have refused to hand over the requested information, which includes communication with and prepared for the Attorney General, as well as emails referencing Google. According to the MPAA this information is “irrelevant†or privileged, but Google disagrees. “The relevance objections are meritless. As Judge Wingate has already held, there is substantial evidence that the Attorney General’s actions against Google were undertaken in bad faith and for a retaliatory purpose,†the motion reads. According to Google’s legal team the documents will shine a light on how the MPAA and others encouraged and helped the Attorney General to push for Internet censorship. “Google expects the documents will show that the Attorney General, the Subpoenaed Parties, and their lobbyists understood that his actions invaded the exclusive province of federal law,†the motion reads. “More fundamentally, the documents are likely to show that the Attorney General’s investigation was intended not to uncover supposed violations of Mississippi law, but instead to coerce Google into silencing speech that Viacom, Fox, and NBC do not like…†District Court Judge James Boasberg has referred the case to a magistrate judge (pdf), who will discuss the matter in an upcoming hearing. Considering the stakes at hand, the players involved will leave no resource untapped to defend their positions. https://torrentfreak.com/google-takes-mpaa-to-court-over-secret-censorship-plans-150603/
  5. In the wake of a UN report urging the protection of encryption and anonymity, a website run by a human rights organization that monitors web-censorship and pirate site blockades in Russia has been ordered to be blocked. The portal, which offers advice on how to use tools such as VPNs, TOR and Pirate Browser, has been declared illegal by a court. While there is still much resistance to the practice in the United States, having websites blocked at the ISP level is becoming easier in many other countries around the world. One country where the process is becoming ever more streamlined is Russia. The country blocks hundreds of websites on many grounds, from copyright infringement to the publication of extremist propaganda, suicide discussion and the promotion of drugs. Keeping a close eye on Russia’s constantly expanding website blocklist is RosComSvoboda. The project advocates human rights and freedoms on the Internet, monitors and publishes data on blockades, and provides assistance to Internet users and website operators who are wrongfully subjected to restrictions. Now, however, RosKomSvoboda will have to fight for its own freedoms after a local court ordered ISPs to block an advice portal operated by the group. The site, RUBlacklist, is an information resource aimed at users who wish to learn about tools that can be used to circumvent censorship. It doesn’t host any tools itself but offers advice on VPNs, proxies, TOR and The Pirate Bay’s Pirate Browser. Also detailed are various anonymizer services (which are presented via a linked Google search), Opera browser’s ‘turbo mode’ (which is often used in the UK to unblock torrent sites) and open source anonymous network I2P (soon to feature in a Popcorn Time fork). Unfortunately, Russian authorities view this education as problematic. During an investigation carried out by the Anapa district’s prosecutor’s office it was determined that RosKomSvoboda’s advice undermines government blocks. “Due to anonymizer sites, in particular http://rublacklist.net/bypass, users can have full access to all the banned sites anonymously and via spoofing. That is, with the help of this site, citizens can get unlimited anonymous access to banned content, including extremist material,†a ruling from the Anapa Court reads. Describing the portal as an anonymization service, the Court ordered RosKomSvoboda’s advice center to be blocked at the ISP level. Needless to say the operators of RosKomSvoboda are outraged that their anti-censorship efforts will now be censored. Group chief Artyom Kozlyuk slammed the decision, describing both the prosecutor’s lawsuit and the Court ruling as “absurdâ€. “Law enforcement has demonstrated its complete incompetence in the basic knowledge of all the common technical aspects of the Internet, though even youngsters can understand it,†Kozlyuk says. “Anonymizers, proxies and browsers are multitask instruments, helping to search for information on the Internet. If we follow the reasoning of the prosecutor and the court, then the following stuff should be prohibited as well: knives, as they can become a tool for murder; hammers, as they can be used as a tool of torture; planes, because if they fall they can lead to many deaths. “To conclude, I would love to ask the prosecutor of Anapa to consider the possibility of prohibiting paper and ink, because with these tools one can draw a very melancholic picture of this ruling’s complete ignorance.†RosKomSvoboda’s legal team say they intend to appeal the ruling which was the result of a legal procedure that took place without their knowledge. “We can only guess why the project is considered to be an anonymizer. It’s likely that no one in Anapa city court understands what they are dealing with,†says RosKomSvoboda lawyer Sarkis Darbinian. “We see that these kinds of rulings are being stamped on a legal conveyor belt. Moreover, we see the obvious violation of the fundamental principles of civil procedure – an adversarial system.†The court ruling against RUBlacklist arrives at the same time as a report from the United Nations which urges member states to do everything they can to encourage encryption and anonymity online. https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-vpn-tor-proxy-advice-site-to-be-blocked-150530/
  6. The High Court has granted an application by The Publishers Association to have several major 'pirate' eBook sites blocked at the ISP level. The action, a first for book publishers, requires BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE to block sites including Ebookee, LibGen and Freshwap within 10 days. Rather than tackling unauthorized sites with direct legal action, major entertainment industry companies are increasingly attempting to disrupt ‘pirate’ operations with broader strokes. One of the favored tools is site blocking, a technique that has gathered considerable momentum in Europe and the UK in particular. More than 120 domains are currently blocked by the country’s major ISPs, largely thanks to action taken by the movie and music industries plus soccer body The Premier League. This week the pool of organizations to succeed in site-blocking legal action deepened with the addition of The Publishers Association (PA). The group, which has more than 100 members with combined revenues of £4.7 billion, went to the High Court to demand the blocking of several eBook focused download sites. They are: Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre and Freebookspot. According to the PA its investigations found that over 80% of the material made available by the sites infringes copyright. In total the sites are said to offer in excess of 10 million titles. In response the PA and its members claim to have sent close to one million takedown notices directly to the sites and requested that Google remove 1.75 million related URLs from its search results. In common with all previous similar actions initiated by the MPAA and BPI, The Publishers Association (with support from the Association of American Publishers) sued the UK’s leading ISPs – BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE – under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Presenting a case which demonstrated mass infringement on the eBook sites in question alongside evidence that the major ISPs have “actual knowledge†that their subscribers are infringing copyright, the PA argued that the sites should be blocked without further delay. After consideration, yesterday the High Court handed down its ruling in favor of the publishers. The outcome was never really in question – UK ISPs have long since given up defending these cases. “We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognizes the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites,†says Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The PA. “A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.†The ISPs listed in the injunction now have 10 days in which to implement a blockade. High Court injunctions represent a new anti-piracy tool for The Publishers Association. In addition to its regular takedown work with search engines such as Google, The PA is also involved in City of London Police’s Operation Creative, run out of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). Last year PIPCU acted on The PA’s behalf by taking down a domain operated by eBook site OnRead. The full list of sites to be blocked in the UK is now as follows: — New: Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre and Freebookspot. Previous blocked: popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, isoplex.isohunt.to, watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com and g2g.fm, Bursalagu, Fullsongs, Mega-Search, Mp3 Monkey, Mp3.li, Mp3Bear, MP3Boo, Mp3Clan, Mp3Olimp, MP3s.pl, Mp3soup, Mp3Truck, Musicaddict, My Free MP3, Plixid, RnBXclusive, STAFA Band, watchseries.lt, Stream TV, Watchseries-online, Cucirca, Movie25, watchseries.to, Iwannawatch, Warez BB, Ice Films, Tehparadox, Heroturko, Scene Source,, Rapid Moviez, Iwatchonline, Los Movies, Isohunt, Torrentz.pro, Torrentbutler, IP Torrents, Sumotorrent, Torrent Day, Torrenting, BitSoup, TorrentBytes, Seventorrents, Torrents.fm, Yourbittorrent, Tor Movies , Demonoid, torrent.cd, Vertor, Rar BG, bittorrent.am, btdigg.org, btloft.com, bts.to, limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me, torlock.com, torrentbit.net, torrentdb.li, torrentdownload.ws, torrentexpress.net, torrentfunk.com, torrentproject.com, torrentroom.com, torrents.net, torrentus.eu, torrentz.cd, torrentzap.com, vitorrent.org.Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T and The Pirate Bay.ly https://torrentfreak.com/high-court-orders-uk-isps-to-block-ebook-sites-150527/
  7. A federal court in Oregon has signed off on a highly peculiar judgment against a Dallas Buyers Club pirate. Citing "financial hardship," the woman doesn't have to pay the $7,500 in costs and fees as long as she promises not to download any infringing material in the future, and removes any and all BitTorrent clients. The makers of Dallas Buyers Club have sued thousands of BitTorrent users over the past year. Many of these cases end up being settled for an undisclosed amount. This is usually a figure around $3,500, which is what the company offers in their settlement proposals. However, there are exceptions to this rule with damages and costs in some cases hitting $14,000. This week we stumbled upon a new consent judgment between Oregon resident Krystal Krause and the movie studio. In this case the Magistrate Judge signed off on an order that requires the defendant to pay $7,500. Interestingly, however, the woman doesn’t have to pay anything as long as she promises not to pirate any movies in the future. According to the judgment the filmmakers offer this leniency due to the “financial hardship†and “extenuating circumstances.†“In recognition of the financial hardship and extenuating circumstances in this case, plaintiff agrees that though the below Money Judgment shall be entered and enforceable, plaintiff will not execute or enforce the Money Judgment so long as the defendant complies with the below Permanent Injunction…,†the consent order reads. The court documents do not explain what the extenuating circumstances are, but it suggests that money isn’t the only issue. Looking more closely at the permanent injunction it appears that there are more reasons why the order is unusual. In addition to barring any future infringements, Krause can’t use BitTorrent for legal purposes either. In fact, she has to remove all BitTorrent and P2P software she has installed. “Krystal Krause is hereby directed to immediately delete […] any and all BitTorrent clients on any computer(s) she owns or controls together with all other software used to obtain media through the Internet by BitTorrent peer-to-peer transfer or exchange,†it reads (pdf). For Krause it may be a small sacrifice to make, especially when it saves $7,500 in costs. That said, it’s still highly unusual to order someone to remove software that by itself isn’t infringing at all. https://torrentfreak.com/court-order-forbids-poor-pirate-to-use-bittorrent-150526/
  8. Cox Communications, one of the largest telecoms companies in the U.S., has been ordered to expose the identities of 250 of its subscribers whose accounts were frequently used to pirate music. The names, addresses and other personal details were requested in an ongoing lawsuit where the ISP is accused of failing to disconnect repeat copyright infringers. Last year BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music sued Cox Communications, arguing that the ISP fails to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers. The companies, which control the publishing rights to songs by Katy Perry, The Beatles and David Bowie among others, claim that Cox has given up its DMCA safe harbor protections due to this inaction. The case revolves around the “repeat infringer†clause of the DMCA, which prescribes that Internet providers must terminate the accounts of persistent pirates. As part of the discovery process the music outfits requested details on the accounts which they caught downloading their content. In total there are 150,000 alleged pirates, but as a compromise BMG and Round Hill limited their initial request to 500 IP-addresses. Cox refused to hand over the requested information arguing that the Cable Privacy Act prevents the company from disclosing this information. The matter was discussed during a court hearing late last week. After a brief deliberation Judge John Anderson ruled that the ISP must hand over the personal details of 250 subscribers. “Defendants shall produce customer information associated with the Top 250 IP Addresses recorded to have infringed in the six months prior to filing the Complaint,†Judge Anderson writes. “This production shall include the information as requested in Interrogatory No.13, specifically: name, address, account number, the bandwidth speed associated with each account, and associated IP address of each customer.†The order The music companies also asked for the account information of the top 250 IP-addresses connected to the piracy of their files after the complaint was filed, but this request was denied. Similarly, if the copyright holders want information on any of the 149,500 other Cox customers they need a separate order. The music companies previously informed the court that the personal details are crucial to proof their direct infringement claims, but it’s unclear how they plan to use the data. While none of the Cox customers are facing any direct claims as of yet, it’s not unthinkable that some may be named in the suit to increase pressure on the ISP. The full list of IP-addresses is available for download here (PDF). https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-cox-to-expose-most-egregious-bittorrent-pirates-150523/
  9. Copyright holders around the world are doing everything in their power to stop Popcorn Time. Following the UK example, Israeli media companies have now obtained a court order requiring major ISPs to block Popcorn Time websites. In addition, the rightsholders are pondering whether to have the application's ports blocked as well, which may get messy. Branded a “Netflix for Pirates,†the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people over the past year. The application has some of the major media giants worried, including Netflix which sees the pirate app as a serious competitor to its business. Since Popcorn Time is powered by BitTorrent it is hard to stop the downloads directly, but copyright holders can go after the websites that offer the application. In Israel the local anti-piracy outfit ZIRA went down this route. The group, which represents several media companies, applied for an ex parte injunction ordering local Internet providers to block access to the websites of several Popcorn Time forks. This week the Tel Aviv court granted the application, arguing that the application does indeed violate the rights of copyright holders. The copyright holders are pleased with the outcome, which shows that services such as Popcorn Time are infringing even though they don’t host any files themselves. “The Popcorn Time software provides users with a service to stream and download content on the Internet, including Israeli movies and foreign movies and TV series with English subtitles, without having any permission from copyright holders to do so,†attorney Presenti told local media. The ISP blockades will prevent people from downloading Popcorn Time in the future. However, applications that have been downloaded already will continue to work for now. To address this, ZIRA’s lawyers say the are considering additional steps including the option to block the ports Popcorn Time uses. While that may be effective, it may also block other traffic, especially if the app switches to more common ports such as port 80. Israel is the second country to block access to Popcorn Time websites. Last month the UK High Court issued a similar order, which also targeted the domain names of various APIs the applications use. https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-israeli-isps-to-block-popcorn-time-websites-150521/
  10. In a decision handed down minutes ago the Stockholm District Court has ordered two key domains owned by The Pirate Bay to be seized. While the ruling means that the site will lose its famous ThePirateBay.se domain, don't expect the site to simply disappear. TPB informs TorrentFreak that they have plenty more domains left in store. In keeping with a global strategy to disrupt the operations of unauthorized file-sharing sites by attacking their infrastructure, Swedish authorities have been eying two domains operated by the notorious Pirate Bay. In 2013, Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad, the man behind the operation that took the site down in December, filed a motion targeting ThePirateBay.se (the site’s main domain) and PirateBay.se (a lesser used alternative). Filed against Punkt SE, the organization responsible for Sweden’s top level .SE domain, the case reasoned that since The Pirate Bay is an illegal operation, its domains are tools used by the site to infringe copyright. Noting that Punkt SE supplies and controls the domains and is therefore liable for their (mis)use, the domains should be dealt with in the same way that other criminal tools would be, Ingblad argued. Punkt SE, on the other hand, took the position that holding a registry responsible for infringement has no basis in law. Furthermore, disabling domains is an ineffective way to deal with infringement. After two years preparation the case was heard at the end of April 2015 and just a few minutes ago the decision was handed down. After a week-long delay the Stockholm District Court ruled that The Pirate Bay will forfeit its Sweden-based domains – ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se – after finding that they belong to Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij. “The District Court’s conclusion is that the domain names are property that can be forfeited,†the ruling reads. “Fredrik Neij has participated in the [copyright infringement] crimes that have been identified and he is the actual holder of the domain names. It is therefore no obstacle to confiscate domain names from him. The prosecutor’s primary claim with respect to Fredrik Neij should be upheld and domain names should be confiscated from him in accordance with the Copyright Act.†While copyright holders will be pleased that two of Pirate Bay’s domains will be put out of action (they will be seized by the Swedish state), the District Court dismissed the prosecution’s case against Punkt.se and awarded the registry close to $40,000 (SEK 332,000) in costs. “We have received the verdict and are of course glad that the court chose to decide according to our view,†.SE public relations manager Elisabeth Nilsson informs TorrentFreak. “We think it is good that this issue has been examined. Now we need some time to read through the verdict and do a thorough analysis before we can make any further comments.†At least for now The Pirate Bay will continue business as usual. An insider informs TF that the site has plenty of other domains in reserve and will make a switch when required. We have also requested comment from prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad and this article will be updated as soon as further details become available. Should the parties wish to appeal they must do so no later than June 9, 2015. Update: Sara Lindbäck of anti-piracy group Rights Alliance informs TF that the decision was expected and will make it harder for pirate sites to operate from Swedish domains. “Pirate Bay has on a commercial scale committed massive infringements against rights holders. The forfeiture is a clear and positive sign that society does not accept these types of activities,†Lindbäck says. “[in future] it will become more difficult for illegal players to run their activities under the SE-domain.†https://torrentfreak.com/key-pirate-bay-domains-must-be-seized-court-rules-150519/
  11. Without prior warning the popular file-hosting service Netload.in disappeared about a week ago. The sudden shutdown came after a German court issued an injunction against the site's operators. While this appeared to be a victory for the copyright holders, Netload has now made a comeback under a new domain name. For several years copyright holder have branded Netload a piracy haven. A few months ago the MPAA reported the site to the U.S. Government as a “notorious market†and in Germany several music groups have taken the site to court. Back in 2011 record labels started legal proceedings against the site’s operator, demanding the names and addresses of uploaders. The site owner initially refused to do so, but eventually caved in when faced with a prison sentence. Now, three years later, trouble continues for Netload. Music industry lawfirm Rasch recently obtained an injunction from a Hamburg Court ordering Netload to stop the distribution of a pirated music album. “The District Court of Hamburg decided on Netload’s obligation to cease and desist from aiding their users to make a certain album available to the public,†Rasch lawyer Mirko Brüß informs TF, adding that he couldn’t name the album in question. Under German jurisprudence this means that Netload will have to monitor external forums and search engines to make sure that these are not linking to the infringing work. If the site fails to do so the service faces a fine of hundreds of thousands of euros. “If we find another (working) link to the album, Netload faces punitive fines of up to 250,000 euro per infringement,†Brüß notes. The lawfirm served the operator of Netload with this injunction last week, and soon after the site vanished. Initially the lawyers and their clients believed that the site had shut down, but the assessment came too quickly. While Netload.in is still offline a copy of the site has reappeared at Netload.me. This site is allegedly operated by the same people and the old logins are functional. “It appears Netload is going to relaunch using the .me-domain. It’s the same company in the imprint and the old user logins are working. Uploads are not working so far,†Brüß tells TF. Despite the change of address the injunction still stands, so the music industry lawyers will keep a close eye on the site to see if the infringing album appears. Netload was contacted for a comment on the recent troubles but the company has yet to respond to our inquiry. https://torrentfreak.com/netload-new-home-after-court-order-150512/
  12. The Motion Picture Association has obtained a High Court order requiring UK ISPs to block access to five sites that offer the popular Popcorn Time software. In addition, the Internet providers must block several more torrent and streaming sites. Following a series of blocking orders issued by the High Court, UK Internet providers Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin, BT and EE are currently required to restrict access to many of the world’s largest torrent sites and streaming portals. More than 100 websites have been blocked in recent years and today the court issued the first injunction against domains that offer no direct links, but only software. The order, obtained today by Hollywood’s Motion Picture Association, targets five popular Popcorn Time forks: popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, and isoplex.isohunt.to. In his order Judge Birss notes that the Popcorm Time software has little to no legal use. Instead, he mentions that it’s mostly used to download and stream pirated movies and TV-shows. “It is manifest that the Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its purpose. No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content,†Judge Birss writes. “The point of Popcorn Time is to infringe copyright. The Popcorn Time application has no legitimate purpose,†he adds. Over the past year Popcorn Time has become a major threat to Hollywood so it doesn’t come as a complete surprise that the applications are now being targeted. Previously the movie studios took down code repositories on Github, for example. In addition to the five Popcorn Time domains the order also lists the torrent and streaming sites watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com and g2g.fm. All sites will be blocked under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. After the ISPs gave up on defending their position in court, it is now a mere formality for copyright holders to have a pirate site banned. However, the blocking efforts are not without cost. Leaked information previously revealed that even an unopposed application for a blocking order costs copyright holders around £14,000 per website. This brings the total costs of the blocking efforts to well over a million pounds. All of the sites listed in today’s order are still accessible at the time of writing. It’s expected that the Internet providers will add them to their respective blocklists during the coming weeks. — The full list of sites to be blocked in the UK is now as follows: — New: popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, and isoplex.isohunt.to, watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com and g2g.fm. Previously blocked: Bursalagu, Fullsongs, Mega-Search, Mp3 Monkey, Mp3.li, Mp3Bear, MP3Boo, Mp3Clan, Mp3Olimp, MP3s.pl, Mp3soup, Mp3Truck, Musicaddict, My Free MP3, Plixid, RnBXclusive, STAFA Band, watchseries.lt, Stream TV, Watchseries-online, Cucirca, Movie25, watchseries.to, Iwannawatch, Warez BB, Ice Films, Tehparadox, Heroturko, Scene Source,, Rapid Moviez, Iwatchonline, Los Movies, Isohunt, Torrentz.pro, Torrentbutler, IP Torrents, Sumotorrent, Torrent Day, Torrenting, BitSoup, TorrentBytes, Seventorrents, Torrents.fm, Yourbittorrent, Tor Movies , Demonoid, torrent.cd, Vertor, Rar BG, bittorrent.am, btdigg.org, btloft.com, bts.to, limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me, torlock.com, torrentbit.net, torrentdb.li, torrentdownload.ws, torrentexpress.net, torrentfunk.com, torrentproject.com, torrentroom.com, torrents.net, torrentus.eu, torrentz.cd, torrentzap.com, vitorrent.org.Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T and The Pirate Bay. https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-uk-isps-to-block-popcorn-time-150428/
  13. Google is entitled to see internal communication between the MPAA and Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood, a federal court has ruled. Hood previously called for SOPA-like Internet filters in the U.S. and is accused of doing Hollywood's dirty work. In backroom meetings the MPAA and Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood discussed a plan to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial SOPA law failed to pass. The plan, dubbed “Project Goliath,†became public through various emails that were released during the Sony Pictures leaks. In a response Google said that it was “deeply concerned†about the developments. To counter the looming threat Google filed a complaint against Hood last December, asking the court to prevent Hood from enforcing a subpoena that addresses Google’s failure to take down or block access to illegal content, including pirate sites. This resulted in a victory for Google with District Court Judge Henry Wingate putting the subpoena on hold. At the same time Google requested additional details from the Attorney General on his discussions with Hollywood. During an oral hearing earlier this month Google requested various documents including an email conversation between MPAA’s Senior Vice President State Legislative Affairs Vans Stevenson and the Attorney General. In addition, Google asked for copies of Word files titled Google can take action, Google must change its behavior, Google’s illegal conduct, CDA, and any documents gathered in response to a request previously submitted by Techdirt’s Mike Masnick . After a careful review District Court Judge Henry Wingate sided with Google, ordering Attorney General Hood to hand over the requested information before the end of the month. Judge Wingate’s order The documents will help Google to get to the bottom of the censorship efforts and to determine what role the MPAA played and what its contributions were. Various emails that leaked after the Sony hack already revealed that the MPAA’s long-standing law firm Jenner & Block had drafted a subpoena and other communication the Attorney General could use against Google. Many of the “Project Goliath†emails and documents are readily available after Wikileaks released them late last week, but nearly all details had already been made public after the leaks first surfaced. Interestingly, in one email the MPAA’s Vans Stevenson linked to a New York Times piece on how lobbyists court State Attorneys to advance their political agendas. “FYI, first is a series of articles,†Stevenson wrote to several high level executives involved, not knowing that a follow-up would include “Project Goliath.†Perhaps fittingly, New York Times’ journalist Eric Lipton won a Pulitzer prize for the series yesterday, for reporting “how the influence of lobbyists can sway congressional leaders and state attorneys general, slanting justice toward the wealthy and connected.†https://torrentfreak.com/court-google-can-see-emails-about-mpaas-secret-sopa-revival-150421/
  14. Spain's National Court has ordered ISPs to block Goear.com, a comprehensive unlicensed music streaming site popular with locals. The order, the first of its type against a dedicated music site, follows the instruction to block The Pirate Bay last month on copyright grounds. After long maintaining a reputation for being one of the softest countries in Europe on piracy, in recent years Spain has really toughened up its approach to online infringement. Last month the strength of new legislation became evident when a Madrid court gave local Internet service providers just 72 hours to block notorious torrent site The Pirate Bay (TPB). The legal action against TPB was launched by the Association of Intellectual Rights Management (AGEDI) last year, but that wasn’t the only domain in the anti-piracy group’s sights. AGEDI and music group Promusicae had also been targeting Goear, an unlicensed music streaming service providing access to an estimated four million tracks. Early efforts to bring down the site didn’t go to plan when a Madrid court refused to issue an order to block the site’s IP address back in March 2014. Undeterred, AGEDI responded with an appeal and complaint to the country’s Intellectual Property Commission. Complaining that Goear provides access to copyrighted music without any permission from artists or rightsholders, AGEDI built a case highlighting commercial aspects of the site, particularly its advertising efforts which offered to put products in front of three million registered users via “millions of quality impressions.†Goear had previously actioned some copyright takedowns, AGEDI said, but it was never enough to keep up with the rate that infringing content reappeared on the site. After reviewing the case the National Court has now sided with AGEDI. Handing down an order similar to that issued last month in respect of The Pirate Bay, local ISPs have been given just 72 hours to block the site at the subscriber level. Currently the Goear website is hosted in the Netherlands. “This new resolution adds to the one recently handed down in Spain against The Pirate Bay and confirms web blockades as the only effective measure to eliminate the websites that violate intellectual property rights,†said Promusicae and AGEDI president, Antonio Guisasola. “The block against Goear means that the site will no longer be able to profit from the works of others. I always insist on the absolute need to act decisively to stop these kinds of sites that represent true unfair competition to other [authorized sites] that offer all the guarantees for consumers and producers of music.†Whether local users will rush to unblock the site will remain to be seen. There are many dozens of similar portals offering access to the same level of content, none of which appear to be shutting down anytime soon. https://torrentfreak.com/spanish-court-orders-first-pirate-music-site-block-150407/
  15. The High Court in Ireland has told ISP UPC that it must introduce a "three strikes" scheme to deal with subscribers who pirate music online. The ruling is a major victory for Sony, Universal and Warner who will only be required to pay 20% of the installation and running costs, with UPC picking up 80% of the tab. Half a decade ago the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) ended legal action against local ISP Eircom when the ISP agreed to force a so-called “three strikes†regime on subscribers. The agreement saw IRMA-affiliated labels including Sony, Universal and Warner tracking Eircom subscribers online and Eircom forwarding infringement notices to alleged pirates. It was envisioned that those caught three times would be disconnected from the Internet. In a follow-up move IRMA tried to force another ISP, UPC, to implement the same measures. UPC fought back and over the past several years the matter has dragged on through the Irish legal system. In January 2015 the case was again before the Commercial Court, with IRMA looking to force a so-called “graduated response†scheme onto UPC and the ISP trying to avoid one and its costs. The High Court handed down its ruling Friday and it amounts to a massive victory for the labels, a depressing defeat for UPC, and a major concern for the rest of Ireland’s ISPs. Brushing aside arguments by UPC that it’s not an ISP’s job to police its subscribers’ activities online, Justice Brian Cregan sided almost entirely with the labels. “The current generation of writers, performers and interpreters of music cannot have their livelihoods destroyed by advances in technology which allow persons to breach their constitutional rights with impunity,†he said. After ordering UPC to implement a “three strikes†system including the disconnection of repeat offenders, the Judge then informed the ISP it would be picking up most of the bill. According to Independent.ie the system will cost between 800,000 euros and 940,000 euros to set up. UPC offered to pay 25% of these costs but the Judge disagreed and ordered the ISP to pay 80%. But it doesn’t end there. Yearly running costs are estimated to be between 200,000 and 300,000 euros or, to put it another way, close to one euro for each of UPC’s 360,000 subscribers. Then, in a move apparently aimed at keeping costs down, the Judge ordered that the number of warning notifications going out to subscribers should be capped at 2,500 per month instead of the 5,000 originally proposed. That means that even if the staggering setup costs are ignored, each notice could cost 10 euros to send out. The case was adjourned until next month to allow UPC and the labels to prepare submissions on how Justice Cregan’s order will be implemented. In the meantime the rest of Ireland’s ISPs will be nervously checking their bank balances in the event that they too are required to implement a similarly costly system. https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-isp-to-disconnect-internet-pirates-150328/
  16. Infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay has a new European block to contend with after a judge in Spain handed down a ruling against the site today. Local ISPs now have 72 hours in which to block the site, the first instruction of its type under the country's so-called Sinde Law. When it comes be being blocked on copyright grounds, no site in the world can come close to the ‘achievements’ of The Pirate Bay. The infamous ‘pirate’ domain is blocked in more than a dozen countries including the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Finland, Belgium and Portugal, to name just a few. After a ruling today from Madrid’s Central Administrative Litigation Court No. 5, the torrent site can now add Spain to its ever-growing collection. Due to the site’s failure to respond to rightsholder requests to remove links to copyrighted material in a timely manner as required by Spain’s copyright law, ISPs are now required to block their subscribers from accessing the site. According to a statement issued by Promusicae, the trade association that represents more than 90 percent of the Spanish recorded music industry, the decision comes two and a half years after the Association of Intellectual Rights Management (AGEDI) submitted a complaint against Neij LMT Holdings, the company behind several Pirate Bay-related domains. “It is the first blocking of a website dedicated to pirating music and other content that takes place in Spain under the so-called Sinde Law,†the group said in a statement. According to Elmundo the injunction requires ISPs to block thepiratebay.org, thepiratebay.net, thepiratebay.se and thepiratebay.com within 72 hours. Early this year ISP Vodafone blocked The Pirate Bay in Spain believing that it was required to do so. Amid confusion, Vodafone lifted the block and said it would wait for a warrant before blocking the site again. From early next week the site should be inaccessible to most Internet users in Spain, a situation likely to spark traffic to other key sites and the take up of VPN services. Like all countries in the world, Spain had a taste of a Pirate Bay free world after the site was shutdown in December 2014. Almost two months passed before it reappeared at the end of January. https://torrentfreak.com/block-pirate-bay-in-72-hours-spanish-court-tells-isps-150327/
  17. A federal court in New York has issued a paralyzing verdict against the Chinese-based DVD ripping company DVDFab. Ruling in favor of AACS, the licensing outfit founded by Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft, Intel and others, the court has issued an updated injunction granting the seizure of several domain names belonging to the software vendor. Last year the decryption licensing outfit AACS launched a crackdown on DRM-circumvention software. The company sued the makers of popular DVD ripping software DVDFab. It won a preliminary injunction based on the argument that the “DVDFab Group†violates the DMCA’s anti-circumvention clause, since their software can bypass DVD encryption. Initially DVDFab did not respond to the court, so the order was entered by default. However, after the injunction was issued the company responded in the name of Feng Tao, with a request for the court to revise its earlier judgment. One of the counterarguments DVDFab raised was that the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions don’t apply worldwide, and DVDFab was promising to no longer do business with U.S. customers. “It is well-established that the Copyright Act doesn’t apply extra-territorially,†the company argued, asking the court to quash the injunction or limit it to the United States. AACS contested the good intentions of DVDFab and showed the court that the software was still readily available to the U.S. public. According to AACS the circumvention software was still being offered and promoted though new domains and services. For example, new circumvention tools and services were offered from TDMore.com, BluFab.com, Boooya.org, DVDFab.de, and FabImg.net, among others. To stop DVDFab from bypassing the court order, AACS asked for an updated injunction to cover these new products and domains. This week District Court Judge Vernon Broderick ruled on the motions from both sides with AACS the clear winner The Judge argues that DVDFab’s explanations for the continued offering of software in the U.S. are not credible so has ordered the seizure of several new domain names. “Tao’s explanations for his continued trafficking of infringing products into the United States—the product is not his, the product was not created ‘primarily’ for AACS circumvention, or the product was not intended for U.S. users — is simply not credible. The record overwhelmingly demonstrates these statements are not true,†Judge Broderick writes. The injunction (pdf) bars DVDFab from distributing its software in public and allows AACS to seize seizure a wide range domain names. In addition, the company’s social media accounts are to be blocked and other services including online banks cut off as well. While the Judge understands that the DMCA doesn’t apply in other countries he argues that, considering DVDFab’s conduct after the initial injunction, it will only be effective if it applies worldwide. “It was not my intention to sweep within the Preliminary Injunction lawful conduct, i.e. entirely extraterritorial conduct. However, Defendant’s recalcitrant persistence in accessing the United States market makes clear to me that no more narrowly-tailored relief would be effective,†the Judge writes. As a result DVDFab will lose control over TDMore.com, BluFab.cn, BluFab.com, Boooya.org, DVDFab.de, DVDFab.cn, FabImg.net, Woookao.cn, and Woookao.com which were found to be in violation of the DMCA. Two other domains, TDMore.cn and Boooya.com, were not added as there’s not enough evidence that they are operated by the software vendor. There is no doubt that the broad injunction will severely impact the Chinese company. Aside from its domain names, the court also ordered payment processors to stop working with DVDFab, which will make it very hard for the company to sell its products anywhere in the world. https://torrentfreak.com/u-s-court-extends-global-shutdown-of-dvd-ripping-software-150323/
  18. Belgian Internet providers have won their court case against music group SABAM, which had demanded a 3.4 percent cut of all subscriber fees to compensate artists. The court ruled that ISPs are a mere conduit and can't be taxed as a public broadcast medium. Over the past several years Belgian music rights group SABAM has pressured Internet providers to take responsibility for online piracy. An effort to force ISPs to monitor and filter copyrighted material found itself stranded in the European Court, but the group didn’t give up. In one of its latest attempts SABAM sued the Belgian ISPs Belgacom, Telenet and Voo, claiming a 3.4 percent cut of all Internet subscriber fees as compensation for the rampant piracy they enable through their networks. SABAM argued that authors should be paid for all “public broadcasts†of musical compositions. Pirated downloads and streams on the Internet are such public broadcasts according to the group, and therefore require proper compensation. This proposed “pirate tax†would not make it legal for consumers to download from unauthorized sources. In their defense the ISPs countered that they are not liable for pirating consumers, as they are mere conduits. ISPs simply forward information without knowing what travels through their networks. This week the Brussels Court ruled in favor of the Internet provider. According to the court ISPs should be characterized as mere conduits instead of communication tools for public broadcasts. As a result, the music right group is not allowed to demand royalties from ISPs, which means that the controversal “pirate tax†is off the table for now. SABAM is disappointed with the verdict which, according to CEO Christophe Depreter, opposes the general view of the European Court of Justice. “The European Court of Justice has frequently stressed that the economic benefit that someone has from relaying works, is often crucial for the decision if this is an act of communication to the public that falls within the exclusive right of the author,†Depreter says. The music rights group is still considering what steps to take in response. Next week SABAM will announce whether or not it will appeal the verdict. https://torrentfreak.com/internet-providers-win-court-case-over-pirate-tax-150317/
  19. All records that are part of the now-closed case between Hotfile and the MPAA will be unsealed in the interests of the public. In a decision that will be a disappointment to the industry group, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Williams declined a request from the MPAA who wanted to keep sensitive court filings sealed indefinitely claiming they may benefit pirates. More than a year has passed since the MPAA defeated Hotfile, but the case has still been stirring in the background. Hoping to find out more about Hollywood’s anti-piracy policies the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) previously asked the court to make several sealed documents available to the public. These documents are part of the counterclaim Hotfile filed, where it accused Warner of repeatedly abusing the DMCA takedown process. In particular, the EFF wants the public to know how Hollywood’s anti-piracy policies and tools work. District Court Judge Kathleen Williams sided with the EFF and ruled that it’s in the public interest to unseal the information. The MPAA, however, argued that this may hurt some of its members. Information regarding Columbia Pictures’ anti-piracy policies, in particular, would still be beneficial to pirates for decades to come, the Hollywood group argued. “Defendants have cited two specific pieces of information regarding Columbia’s enforcement policies that, if revealed to the public, could compromise Columbia’s ability to protect its copyrighted works,†the MPAA’s lawyers wrote. In addition, anti-piracy vendor Vobile feared that having its pricing information revealed could severely hurt the company. Judge Williams has now reviewed these and other arguments but ruled that sealing records indefinitely is not an option. In this case, the public interest in the records outweighs the concerns of the MPAA. “In reaching this conclusion, the Court has weighed the parties’ interests in maintaining the confidentiality of the sealed entries, including Plaintiffs’ assertions that disclosure of the sealed information would undermine the effectiveness of their antipiracy systems and copyright enforcement abilities, as well as third-party Voible’s argument that disclosure of the sealed data would unfairly put it at economic risk, against the presumption in favor of public access to court records,†Williams writes (pdf). As a result of this decision all sealed documents will be made public ten years after the case was filed, which is on February 8, 2021. Previously, Warner Bros. already released some of the confidential documents. Among other things the unsealed records showed that Warner Bros. uses “sophisticated robots†to track down infringing content. How damaging the other documents are to Hollywood’s anti-piracy efforts will become clear in five years. However, it’s unlikely to top the Sony-leak of last December, through which many sensitive anti-piracy strategies were already unveiled. http://torrentfreak.com/hollywoods-anti-piracy-secrets-must-be-revealed-court-rules-150309/
  20. Google has claimed its first victory against Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood, who called for SOPA-like Internet filters in the U.S. After the court put Hood's subpoena on hold, Google called out the MPAA who they see as the main instigator behind the censorship efforts. With help from the MPAA, Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood launched a secret campaign to revive SOPA-like censorship efforts in the United States. The MPAA and Hood want Internet services to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial law failed to pass. The plan became public through various emails that were released in the Sony Pictures leaks and in a response Google said that it was “deeply concerned†about the developments. To counter the looming threat Google filed a complaint against Hood last December, asking the court to prevent Hood from enforcing a subpoena that addresses Google’s failure to take down or block access to illegal content, including pirate sites. This week Google scored its first victory in the case (pdf) as U.S. District Judge Wingate granted a preliminary injunction to put the subpoena on hold. This means that Hood can’t yet use the investigative powers that were granted in the subpoena. In addition, the injunction also prohibits Hood from filing civil or criminal charges, at least for the time being. While the Court still has to rule on the merits of the case Google is happy with the first “win.†What stands out most, however, is Google slamming the MPAA’s efforts to censor the Internet. “We’re pleased with the court’s ruling, which recognizes that the MPAA’s long-running campaign to censor the Web — which started with SOPA — is contrary to federal law,†Google’s general counsel Kent Walker notes. While the MPAA wasn’t mentioned in the court’s decision, Google wants to make it clear that they see the Hollywood group as the driving force behind Hood’s “censorship†campaign. Google’s harsh words are illustrative of the worsening relationship between the search giant and the Hollywood lobby group. After a previous clash, a top executive at Google’s policy department told the MPAA that his company would no longer “speak or do business†with the movie group. Thus far, the MPAA has remained relatively silent on the court case, at least in public. But given the stakes at hand it’s probably all hands on deck behind the scenes. http://torrentfreak.com/google-mpaa-censorship-150303/
  21. Kim Dotcom was in court today pleading for access to his seized assets. A reportedly "destitute" Dotcom asked for the release of US$152,000 a month for living expenses and as much as US$3m for legal fees. The Megaupload founder said if funds aren't forthcoming, living in a mansion may no longer be an option. After years of enjoying a lifestyle most people could only dream of, Kim Dotcom’s name has become almost synonymous with spending to excess. There are dozens of photos showing the Megaupload founder on yachts surrounded by exotic beauties and specially commissioned films depicting his passion for high performance cars. In 2012, however, the brakes were applied somewhat when United States and New Zealand authorities shutdown Megaupload and seized millions in assets. Ever since, Dotcom has periodically requested access to those funds, and has succeeded in obtaining large sums on a number of occasions. But after reportedly burning through almost all released funds, a “broke and destitute†Dotcom was back in the High Court today seeking the release of yet more cash from the US$9m seized by New Zealand authorities three years ago. Appearing before Justice Patricia Courtney, Dotcom requested living expenses and a massive cash injection to pay historical and current legal fees. Dotcom was previously granted around US$15,000 per month to live on but the entrepreneur said that the cost of running a family and a mansion had left him “pennilessâ€. And, according to RadioNZ, Dotcom still owes a small fortune to his former legal team who quit last year when the entrepreneur previously ran out of funds. QC Paul Davison, who had fought Dotcom’s corner since the 2012 raid, is reportedly owed around US$380,000 while lawfirm Simpson Grierson is owed around US$1.5m. To cover his living expenses, at least for now, Dotcom today requested the release of US$152,000 per month plus up to US$3m to put towards his legal defense. Needless to say, the Crown has been putting up a fight, but in common with all things Dotcom, there are other complexities to consider. Last year Dotcom and his wife Mona separated in a wave of publicity, with the latter allegedly fleeing their shared mansion on a golf cart in the middle of the night. Since her ‘escape’ the former model has appeared in several magazine articles in which she provided insight into her life with Kim. The latest, which reported her new love life and a $60,000 Mercedes gift to a “toyboy loverâ€, inspired Dotcom to take to Twitter. “I helped & hired a 17yr old troubled kid to play Xbox with Mona’s brothers. 1 year ago he decided to play with Mona,†Kim wrote. On February 20, the apparent problems continued, with Dotcom reporting that Mona had applied to the High Court asking that it should “decline Mr Dotcom’s application… to release frozen assets for his legal defense.’ Mona Dotcom’s position is an interesting one. Even though she’s not part of the U.S. copyright case against her estranged husband and reportedly not part of Kim’s life anymore, she is the controller of the family trust and the millions it contains. Mona withdrew her opposition to Kim’s application today which prompted Crown lawyer David Boldt to suggest that Mona could release funds from the trust to her husband. However, the fact that the couple are in a “separation battle†over their shared assets was quickly pointed out by a reportedly “amused†Kim Dotcom. Turning to Dotcom’s current home, the now-famous Coatesville mansion, Boldt asked Kim Dotcom if moving to something more frugal might be an option. “Have you thought about moving into a house that doesn’t cost you $1m a year?†he said. “Which landlord is going to rent to me? I don’t have even a bank account,†Dotcom replied. Noting that he didn’t want to uproot his children and that the family had spent $6.8m improving the place, Dotcom conceded that if his financial situation didn’t improve, he may have to relocate. A decision will be handed down shortly. http://torrentfreak.com/destitute-kim-dotcom-begs-high-court-for-millions-150226/
  22. A high-profile police raid carried out on Kim Dotcom's New Zealand mansion has been declared legal by the country's Supreme Court. The Court acknowledged that the search warrants used against Dotcom were 'deficient' in detail, but this did not result in a miscarriage of justice. Almost three years ago, New Zealand police carried out a spectacular and aggressive armed raid against individuals accused only of copyright infringement. Acting on allegations from the United States government and its Hollywood partners, officers of STG, New Zealand’s elite counter-terrorist force, raided Kim Dotcom’s mansion. The German-born businessman was detained along with his wife Mona and their children. Mid 2012, a High Court judge found that the warrants used in the raid were overbroad and therefore illegal, but a February 2014 Court of Appeal reached a different conclusion. While acknowledging that the warrants contained flaws, a panel of three judges at the Court of Appeal found that overall the warrants were legal. Dissatisfied with the ruling, Dotcom took the case all the way to the Supreme Court complaining that the warrants were overbroad and lacked detail. The verdict was handed down today. In another disappointing ruling for the Megaupload founder, this morning the Supreme Court found that the 2012 raids on Dotcom’s home were carried out legally. Four Justices – John McGrath, William Young, Susan Glazebrook and Terence Arnold – dismissed Dotcom’s appeal while agreeing that the 2012 warrants were not unreasonably vague and general. Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias dissented, but her determination that there had been a miscarriage of justice was overruled. One judge aside, the Court acknowledged that while the original search warrants were indeed deficient when detailing the alleged offenses, those shortcomings did not result in damage for Dotcom and his associates. “The majority of the Court has decided that, although the search warrants were deficient in their description of the offenses to which they related, these defects did not result in any miscarriage of justice to the appellants,†the Court wrote in its summary. “While the search warrants did not specify that the offenses were against United States law, or that the offenses were punishable by two or more years’ imprisonment, this did not cause any significant prejudice to the appellants.†When taking all circumstances into account, including the explanations given to Dotcom by police carrying out the raid, the Court found that Dotcom (and fellow claimants Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk) were given enough detail about the alleged offenses to which the search warrants related. Dotcom, who along with his co-appellants will have to pay court costs of $35,000, aired his disappointment on Twitter. “New Zealand Chief Justice Dame Elias got it right in both Supreme Court decisions in my case. She must be as frustrated as I am,â€
  23. A long-running case in Sweden has concluded with a determination on how pirates should be sentenced for each movie downloaded illegally. The case, which involved the downloading of 60 movies, went all the way to the Supreme Court. The jail sentence demanded by the prosecution was rejected but stiff fines were handed down. While headlines may suggest otherwise, the vast majority of online file-sharers go about their business without ever falling foul of the law. Like hundreds of millions of speeding motorists every day, most breaches go unnoticed or unpunished. Nevertheless, that’s not to say people can forget about the risks. Breaches of copyright law can result in hefty fines in most developed countries, if rightsholders feel strongly enough about prosecuting the case. One such case began in Sweden four years ago when police investigating another incident stumbled across content being shared on a man’s computer. The discovery, which involved material obtained from The Pirate Bay, was reported to both copyright holders and the prosecutor. After moving through an initial case and an appeal, the prosecutor’s office was disappointed when the file-sharer was issued with just a fine. With ambitions for a scary legal precedent, those sharing files habitually should be sent to jail, the prosecutor argued. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court but it didn’t work out as planned. The Court agreed that the defendant (known as JS) had damaged the interests of copyright holders with his actions but noted that in the majority of cases (57 out of the 60 movies) his subsequent sharing with others had been brief. Also in the man’s favor was how the Court viewed his activities. No commercial motivation was found, with the Court noting that his file-sharing had been for personal use, despite its scale. “Such use of the current networks and services should not be considered as an aggravating factor when assessing the penalty amount,†the judgment reads. Sweden operates an income-calibrated system of fines known as “day fines†which are equal to the amount the defendant could have earned in a day. The Court ruled that for each movie download with a short upload, the man would be sentenced to 50 day fines. While that sounds like the fine could increase to a huge amount, in Sweden when people are convicted of several offenses at the same time the penalty is gradually reduced for each subsequent offense. In any event the maximum punishment is 200 day fines. In this case the man was sentenced to 180 day fines, up from the 160 handed down by the lower court. Anti-piracy group Rights Alliance who assisted with the case welcomed the judgment, but there can be little doubt that a custodial sentence (even a suspended one) was the target here. Nevertheless, it appears that the judgment could have drawn a line in the sand. “This is a borderline case where the sentence is located on the edge of going over to prison. If you’re looking to see what is necessary for a prison sentence, it’s not much more than this,†Supreme Court Judge Svante O. Johansson concluded.
  24. In a new court filing Megaupload's legal team refutes the U.S. Government's claim that Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues are fugitives. The filing further reveals efforts to uncover the MPAA's involvement in the criminal investigation into Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. kimfugitiveIt’s been nearly three years since Megaupload was taken down by the U.S. authorities but it’s still uncertain whether Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants will be extradited overseas. As there’s little progress in the criminal case, the U.S. launched a separate civil case asking the court to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants. The U.S. claims that these assets were obtained through criminal activities. In a recent motion to strike the DoJ added that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants have no right to oppose the forfeiture request as they are fugitives. “Claimants Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, and Sven Echternach, are deliberately avoiding prosecution by declining to enter the United States where the criminal case is pending,†U.S. Attorney Dana Boente noted. Yesterday evening Megaupload’s legal team filed a response to the Government’s motion, noting that the U.S. heavily distorts the “fugitive†status concept. The lawyers inform the court that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants aren’t trying to avoid prosecution. Instead, they’re remaining in place until the New Zealand court decides over their extradition request. “These Claimants never fled the United States to evade prosecution. To the contrary, they remain precisely where they have long been residing and carrying out the very business enterprise that the Government characterizes as criminal—in New Zealand.†“Nor have these Claimants altered their plans so as to avoid return to the United States. To the contrary, they are simply maintaining the pre-indictment status quo and following the rule of law by invoking their rights under the laws and procedures of their home countries, where they had long-planned to remain.†In a declaration to the court Dotcom emphasizes that he’s currently under supervision of the New Zealand court. He never fled from the United States, in fact, he has never been there in his entire life. “I have never been a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. I have never visited the United States,†Dotcom writes. Megaupload’s lawyers ask the court to deny the U.S. “fugitives'†claim or keep it pending until there’s a decision on the motion to dismiss they filed earlier. In this motion they argued that the entire case should be dismissed since the U.S. doesn’t have a statute for criminal secondary copyright infringement. If the court decides to move forward, Megaupload’s legal team want the “fugitives†claim to be converted to a request for summary judgment. This would allow them to conduct discovery and find out what role the MPAA played in the criminal investigation. Shortly before the investigation began the MPAA hired former Assistant Attorney General, Cybele Daley, for lobbying purposes. Daley had a budget of over $1 million a year to lobby attorneys at the Department of Justice, and Megaupload’s lawyers want to find out where the U.S. was overreaching. It’s now up to the Virginia federal court to decide how to proceed. Needless to say, the outcome will have a major impact on Dotcom’s means to fight back. torrentfreak
  25. The Court of Justice of the European Union handed down a landmark verdict this week. The Court ruled that embedding copyrighted videos is not copyright infringement, even if the source video was uploaded without permission. One of the key roles of the EU’s Court of Justice is to interpret European law to ensure that it’s applied in the same manner across all member states. The Court is also called upon by national courts to clarify finer points of EU law to progress local cases with Europe-wide implications. This week the Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling on one such case that deals with a crucial and integral part of today’s Internet. Is it legal to embed copyrighted content without permission from the rightsholder? The case in question was referred to EU’s Court of Justice by a German court. It deals with a dispute between the water filtering company BestWater International and two men who work as independent commercial agents for a competitor. Bestwater accused the men of embedding one of their promotional videos, which was available on YouTube without the company’s permission. The video was embedded on the personal website of the two through a frame, as is usual with YouTube videos. While EU law is clear on most piracy issues, the copyright directive says very little about embedding copyrighted works. The Court of Justice, however, now argues that embedding is not copyright infringement. The full decision has yet to be published officially by the Court’s website but TorrentFreak has received a copy (in German) from the defendants’ lawyer Dr. Bernhard Knies, who describes it as a landmark victory. The Court argues that embedding a file or video is not a breach of creator’s copyrights under European law, as long as it’s not altered or communicated to a new public. In the current case, the video was already available on YouTube so embedding it is not seen as a new communication. “The embedding in a website of a protected work which is publicly accessible on another website by means of a link using the framing technology … does not by itself constitute communication to the public within the meaning of [the EU Copyright directive] to the extent that the relevant work is neither communicated to a new public nor by using a specific technical means different from that used for the original communication,†the Court’s verdict reads. The Court based its verdict on an earlier decision in the Svensson case, where it found that hyperlinking to a previously published work is not copyright infringement. Together, both cases will have a major impact on future copyright cases in the EU. For Internet users it means that they are protected from liability if they embed copyrighted videos or images from other websites, for example. In addition, it may also protect streaming sites who use third-party services to embed videos, even if the source is an infringing copy. During the days to come the Court of Justice is expected to issue official translations of the ruling as well as a press release. Many legal experts have been waiting for the decision and further analysis of the verdict’s implications is expected to follow soon after. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post