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  1. In a lawsuit filed by Elsevier, one of the largest academic publishers, Sci-Hub.org is facing millions of dollars in damages. However, the site has no intentions of backing down and will continue its fight to keep access to scientific knowledge free and open. "I think Elsevier's business model is itself illegal," Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan says. With a net income of more than $1 billion Elsevier is one of the largest academic publishers in the world. The company has the rights to many academic publications where scientists publish their latest breakthroughs. Most of these journals are locked behind paywalls, which makes it impossible for less fortunate researchers to access them. Sci-Hub.org is one of the main sites that circumvents this artificial barrier. Founded by Alexandra Elbakyan, a researcher born and graduated in Kazakhstan, its main goal is to provide the less privileged with access to science and knowledge. The service is nothing like the average pirate site. It wasn’t started to share the latest Hollywood blockbusters, but to gain access to critical knowledge that researchers require to do their work. “When I was working on my research project, I found out that all research papers I needed for work were paywalled. I was a student in Kazakhstan at the time and our university was not subscribed to anything,†Alexandra tells TF. After Googling for a while Alexandra stumbled upon various tools and services to bypass the paywalls. With her newly gained knowledge, she then started participating in online forums where other researchers requested papers. When she noticed how grateful others were for the papers she shared, Alexandra decided to automate the process by developing software that could allow anyone to search for and access papers. That’s when Sci-Hub was born, back in 2011. “The software immediately became popular among Russian researchers. There was no big idea behind the project, like ‘make all information free’ or something like that. We just needed to read all these papers to do our research,†Alexandra. “Now, the goal is to collect all research papers ever published, and make them free,†she adds. Of course Alexandra knew that the website could lead to legal trouble. In that regard, the lawsuit filed by Elsevier doesn’t come as a surprise. However, she is more than willing to fight for the right to access knowledge, as others did before her. “Thanks to Elsevier’s lawsuit, I got past the point of no return. At this time I either have to prove we have the full right to do this or risk being executed like other ‘pirates’,†she says, naming Aaron Swartz as an example. “If Elsevier manages to shut down our projects or force them into the darknet, that will demonstrate an important idea: that the public does not have the right to knowledge. We have to win over Elsevier and other publishers and show that what these commercial companies are doing is fundamentally wrong.†The idea that a commercial outfit can exploit the work of researchers, who themselves are often not paid for their contributions, and hide it from large parts of the academic world, is something she does not accept. “Everyone should have access to knowledge regardless of their income or affiliation. And that’s absolutely legal. Also the idea that knowledge can be a private property of some commercial company sounds absolutely weird to me.†Most research institutions in Russia, in developing countries and even in the U.S. and Europe can’t afford expensive subscriptions. This means that they can’t access crucial research, including biomedical research such as cancer studies. Elsevier’s ScienceDirect paywall So aside from the public at large, Sci-Hub is also an essential tool for academics. In fact, some researchers use the site to access their own publications, because these are also locked behind a paywall. “The funniest thing I was told multiple times by researchers is that they have to download their own published articles from Sci-Hub. Even authors do not have access to their own work,†Alexandra says. Instead of seeing herself as the offender, Alexandra believes that the major academic publishers are the ones who are wrong. “I think Elsevier’s business model is itself illegal,†she says, pointing to article 27 of the UN declaration on human rights which reads that “everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.†The paywalls of Elsevier and other publishers violate this right, she believes. The same article 27 also allows authors to protect their works, but the publishers are not the ‘authors,’ they merely exploit the copyrights. Alexandra insists that her website is legal and hopes that future changes in copyright law will reflect this. As for the Elsevier lawsuit, she’s not afraid to fight for her rights and already offers a public confession right here. “I developed the Sci-Hub.org website where anyone can download paywalled research papers by request. Also I uploaded at least half of more than 41 million paywalled papers to the LibGen database and worked actively to create mirrors of it. “I am not afraid to say this, because when you do the right thing, why should you hide it?†she concludes. — Note: Sci-Hub is temporarily using the sci-hub.club domain name. The .org will be operational again next week. https://torrentfreak.com/sci-hub-tears-down-academias-illegal-copyright-paywalls-150627/
  2. Libgen, the largest online repository of free books and academic articles, has pretty much vanished from the Internet. Earlier this month the site's operators were sued by academic publishing company Elsevier, who asked a New York federal court for a preliminary injunction hoping to keep the site down for good. Most of the top academic articles are published in journals that can only be accessed legally through expensive paywalls. The Library Genesis Project, or Libgen for short, has systematically breached this barrier by hosting pirated copies of scientific publications as well as mainstream books. Earlier this month one of the largest publishers went into action to stop this threat. Elsevier filed a complaint at a New York District Court, hoping to shut down Libgen.org and several sister sites. The case has barely got going but the main Libgen.org site as well as several of its mirrors have been offline for the past few days. The downtime is not the result of the preliminary injunction Elsevier requested, as that hasn’t been granted yet. However, a few days ago the court did approve the publishers’ motion to serve Libgen’s operators via email. In addition, a recent court filing shows that Elsevier’s lawyers have taken action on their own. They contacted the Public Interest Registry (.ORG) hoping to disable an infringing domain name without interference of the court. The .ORG registry refused to do so, noting that it would require a valid court order to suspend a domain name. “Through its counsel, the Public Interest Registry informed me that it does not disable domains absent a valid court order, but would promptly comply with a valid court order to disable a domain,†Elsevier’s lawyer informs the court. Whether Libgen’s downtime is a direct result of Elsevier’s interference is unknown at this point, but the .org domain as well as the popular .in alternative are currently unreachable due to nameserver issues. There are some other ‘mirrors’ that still work though, including Libgen.biz and Gen.lib.rus.ec. The .biz domain points to the same IP-address range the official domain used, suggesting that Libgen’s hosting servers are still operational. Several other domains named in the lawsuit, including bookfi.org and sci-hub.org, also remain online. In a few weeks the New York federal court will decide whether to issue the preliminary injunction or not. Until then, Libgen’s operators have the option to oppose the request. If the injunction is granted it will be much harder for Libgen to operate. Among other things, it would allow Elsevier to order hosting companies, domain name registries and search engines to stop providing services to the site. https://torrentfreak.com/libgen-goes-down-as-legal-pressure-mounts-150622/
  3. Academic publishing company Elsevier has filed a complaint at a New York District Court, hoping to shut down the Library Genesis project and the SciHub.org search engine. The sites, which are particularly popular in developing nations where access to academic works is relatively expensive, are accused of pirating millions of scientific articles. With a net income of more than $1 billion Elsevier is one of the largest academic publishers in the world. Through its ScienceDirect portal the company offers access to millions of scientific articles spread out over 2,200 journals. Most large universities have licenses to allow staff and students to use ScienceDirect freely, but for outsiders most of the top academic publications are behind an expensive paywall. In common with other content behind paywalls, there are several specialized sites that allow the general public to download pirated copies of these academic works. The Library Genesis project for example, with libgen.org and bookfi.org, as well as the search portal sci-hub.org. These sites are particularly popular in developing countries such as Iran, India and Indonesia where access to research is not as common. However, this unauthorized use is not welcomed by academic publishers. According to Elsevier the company is losing revenue because of these sites, so in order to stem the tide the publisher has filed a complaint (pdf) at a New York federal court hoping to shut them down. “Defendants are reproducing and distributing unauthorized copies of Elsevier’s copyrighted materials, unlawfully obtained from ScienceDirect, through Sci-Hub and through various websites affiliated with the Library Genesis Project,†the complaint reads. “Specifically, Defendants utilize their websites located at sci-hub.org and at the Libgen Domains to operate an international network of piracy and copyright infringement by circumventing legal and authorized means of access to the ScienceDirect database,†it adds. According to Elsevier, the websites access articles by using unlawfully obtained student or faculty access credentials. The articles are then added to the “pirate†library, backed up on their own servers. Through the lawsuit the publisher hopes to obtain an injunction against the site’s operators, search engines, domain registrars and hosting companies, to take them offline as soon as possible. In addition, Elsevier is requesting compensation for its losses, which could run into the millions. Tom Allen, President of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), informs TF that websites such as Libgen pose a threat to the quality of scientific publications, as well as the public health. “Scholarly publishers work to ensure the accuracy of the scientific record by issuing corrections and revisions to research findings as needed; Libgen typically does not,†Allen says. “As a result, its repository of illegally obtained content poses a threat to both quality journal publishing and to public health and safety.†The court has yet to decide whether the injunctions should be granted, but considering outcomes in recent piracy cases there’s a good chance this will happen. For the time being, however, the Libgen and Sci-hub websites remain online. https://torrentfreak.com/elsevier-cracks-down-on-pirated-scientific-articles-150609/
  4. Police say they have smashed "a criminal group" involved with the unauthorized distribution of video online. Three men in their twenties and thirties have been arrested by Polish police and up to three sites are reported down. The action follows the shutdown of several 'pirate' sites in Poland last month and the arrest of a millionaire businessman. With web-blockades, domain seizures and payment processor interventions making headlines, campaigns to shut down individual sites have been less prominent than usual in the first half of 2015. But that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped. Just last week the popular BT-Chat was shut down in Canada following pressure from the MPAA and news from Europe suggests that at least two more sites have fallen in recent days following industry action. After a long investigation, police in Poland report that authorities swooped last week on individuals said to be part of a “criminal group†involved with the unauthorized distribution of video online, movies in particular. In an operation carried out by municipal police and officers from a regional cybercrime unit, several locations were searched including homes, offices and cars. Three men aged between 24 and 33 years-old were arrested in Wroclaw, the largest city in western Poland. According to police, 14 computers, 13 external drives, 40 prepaid cards, several mobile phones and sundry other items were seized during the raids. In addition to the images below, police have put together a video (mp4) of one of the targeted locations complete with a horror movie-style audio track for added impact. While police have not published the names of the domains allegedly operated by the men, two leading sites have disappeared in recent days without explanation. TNTTorrent.info and Seansik.tv were the country’s 160th and 130th most popular sites overall but neither is currently operational. The men are being blamed for industry losses of at least $1.3m and together stand accused of breaching copyright law which can carry a jail sentence of up to five years in criminal cases. For reasons that are not entirely clear, however, police are currently advising a potential three year sentence. The latest shutdowns, which also encompass torrent site Torrent.pl, follow police action in May which closed down eKino.tv and the lesser known Litv.info, Scs.pl and Zalukaj.to. With around 324,000 likes on its Facebook page eKino.tv was by far the most popular site but it seems unlikely that it will return anytime soon. Currently displaying “THE END†on its front page, its owner was arrested last month. Credit:Olsztyn.wm.pl Local media is connecting the closure to the arrest of a 49-year-old businessman who had been running a company offering “Internet services†and also Poland’s largest pirate site. According to authorities he made millions of dollars from the operation and laundered money by investing in the stock exchange. Those funds have reportedly been frozen. Also arrested were three accomplices, including a 36-year-old allegedly responsible for creating the database of movies and setting up a US company to assist with the site’s finances. They all stand accused of copyright infringement and money laundering offenses and face ten years in prison. https://torrentfreak.com/police-shut-down-yet-more-pirate-sites-in-ongoing-sweep-150601/
  5. Popular torrent site BT-Chat.com has decided to throw in the towel after receiving a hand delivered letter from the MPAA. The Hollywood studios argue that the torrent index is in violation of U.S. law, and accuse its operators of contributory copyright infringement. Over several years the Canada-based torrent index BT-Chat has grown to become one of the most popular among TV and movie fans. The site was founded over a decade ago and has been running without any significant problems since. Starting a few days ago, however, the site’s fortunes turned. Without prior warning or an official explanation the site went offline. Instead of listing the latest torrents, an ominous message appeared with a broken TV signal in the background. “Error 791-the internet is shutdown due to copyright restrictions,†the mysterious message read. Initially is was unclear whether the message hinted at hosting problems or if something more serious was going on. Many of the site’s users hoped for the former but a BT-Chat insider informs TF that the site isn’t coming back anytime soon. The site’s operators have decided to pull the plug after receiving a hand delivered letter from the Canadian MPA, which acts on behalf of its American parent organization the MPAA. In the letter, shown below, Hollywood’s major movie studios demand that the site removes all infringing torrents. “We are writing to demand that you take immediate steps to address the extensive copyright infringement of television programs and motion pictures that is occurring by virtue of the operation of the Internet website www.BT-Chat.com.†The MPAA makes its case by citing U.S. copyright law, and states that linking to unauthorized movies and TV-shows constitutes contributory copyright infringement. Referencing the isoHunt case the movie studios explicitly note that it’s irrelevant whether or not a website actually hosts infringing material. “It makes no difference that your website might not have infringing content on it, or only links to infringing content,†the letter says. The threats from Hollywood have not been taken lightheartedly by the BT-Chat team. While giving up a site that they worked on for more than a decade is not easy, the alternative is even less appealing. In the end thry decided that it would be for the best to shut the site down, instead of facing potential legal action. And so another popular site bites the dust… https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-threats-shut-down-popular-torrent-site-bt-chat-150529/
  6. Popular TV-torrent release group EZTV is no more. After losing key domain names and data in a hostile takeover, EZTV founder NovaKing has called it quits. The group's retirement marks the end of an era in which the EZTV brand became synonymous with TV-torrents. During the spring of 2005 several large TV-torrent sites were knocked offline, leaving a gaping void that was soon filled by a new torrent distribution group, EZTV. For a decade EZTV has been one of the leading TV distribution groups. It turned into one of the most visited torrent sites, but today this run comes to an end. Facing a hostile takeover the group’s founder and main operator NovaKing has called it quits. Initially it remained vague how EZTV’s demise came to be, not least because NovaKing could not be reached. However, with help from several EZTV staffers including sladinki007 we can now explain what happened. The group’s troubles started earlier this year when the .IT registry suspended EZTV’s domain name because of inaccurate Whois information. A few weeks later the .IT registry put the domain back on the market and it was snapped up by scammers. The people who took over the domain name came in well-prepared. They registered the UK company EZCloud LIMITED, which is the same company name as EZTV used. Initially the takeover wasn’t much of a problem, as EZTV had already moved to a new domain name at EZTV.ch, but things quickly turned from bad to worse. Using the EZCloud company details and by faking the director’s name, the scammers also managed to take over the EZTV.se domain through the EuroDNS registrar. NovaKing tried to prevent this from happening by alerting the registrar, but according to an EZTV staffer he was told to get a court order if he wanted his domain back. The .se domain was linked to the mailbox of EZTV founder NovaKing, which allowed them to access the domain registrar account and various other services for which they quickly reset all passwords. As a result, NovaKing was locked out, losing control of virtually all of his domain names. Initially, there was also the possibility that the servers were compromised as well. This prompted a thorough security audit and a site lockdown last month. Eventually, even the new EZTV.ch domain fell into the hands of the scammers, completing the hostile takeover. Sladinki007 says that NovaKing must have been devastated by what happened. A life’s work was completely ruined in a few days and access to personal domain names was gone as well. While EZTV could technically start over using a new name the group’s founder decided to throw in the towel. Too much had already been lost. The group had always been a “fun†non-profit project, and the recent troubles took the fun away. The scammers, meanwhile, continue to operate both the .it and .ch domain names and are now distributing their own torrents (sourced elsewhere) with the hijacked EZTV brand. They pretend to be the real deal, sending out misleading and false status updates, but they’re not. Having control over NovaKing’s email address the scammers even reached out to other torrent site operators, claiming that EZTV was back in business. However, most knew better not to fall for it and have retired official EZTV uploader accounts. A Pirate Bay moderator informs TF that they have suspended the EZTV user account. Many of the older torrents are still on the site, but TPB has added a warning urging people to stay away from the compromised domain. TPB’s EZTV warning Other torrent sites such as KickassTorrents, BT-chat and Rarbg have also disabled or suspended the official EZTV accounts after hearing about the takeover. In addition, KickassTorrents and BT-chat have added the same warning as TPB. This way they hope to keep people away from the compromised EZTV site, which is now serving various ads including pop-unders. Former EZTV staffers also urge people to stay away from all EZTV sites and to inform others to do the same. The real EZTV is no longer active. EZTV’s forced retirement marks the and of an era. While there are still plenty of TV-torrents around, the group will be dearly missed by millions. https://torrentfreak.com/eztv-shuts-down-after-hostile-takeover-150518/
  7. Facebook has removed the official page of ExtraTorrent after complaints from copyright holders. With more than 350,000 fans ExtraTorrent had one of the largest fan pages of all torrent sites on the social network. But despite the setback, ExtraTorrent's operator are not giving up on Facebook just yet. With regular competitions and frequent status updates ExtraTorrent has a very active community on Facebook. Or had, we should say. After sailing clear for nearly three years, Facebook decided to pull the plug on the site this morning citing a third-party copyright complaint. “We have removed or disabled access to the following content that you have posted on Facebook because we received a notice from a third-party that the content infringes their copyright(s),†Facebook wrote. According to Facebook the ExtraTorrent page was considered to be a repeat copyright infringer, but the staff of the torrent site refutes this characterization. ExtraTorrent’s staff tells TF that they were careful not to link directly to infringing content after Facebook warned them two years ago. However, Google cache does show occasional links to pages that list pirated movies. Facebook’s takedown message The last notice ExtraTorrent received from Facebook came in yesterday. This takedown notice complained about a post from two years ago which linked to a torrent of the film Elysium. “This post was published in 2013. It’s very curious. Looks like Facebook removed the ExtraTorrent Page because of a post from 2013,†ET’s staff tells us. This is not the first time that ExtraTorrent has been kicked from Facebook. The same happened three years ago when the site’s official page had roughly 140,000 fans. Despite the new setback, the torrent site is not giving up on Facebook just yet. They quickly launched a new page which quickly gathered thousands of followers, and many more are sure to follow. Extratorrent’s new Facebook page https://torrentfreak.com/facebook-shuts-down-extratorrents-official-page-150515/
  8. Shutting down pirate websites such as The Pirate Bay is high on the agenda of the entertainment industries. However, according to research published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, these raids are relatively ineffective and potentially counterproductive. A few years ago Europe witnessed the largest piracy-related busts in history withthe raid of the popular movie streaming portal Kino.to. Police officers in Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands raided several residential addresses, data centers and arrested more than a dozen individuals connected to the site. The operation wiped out the largest unauthorized streaming portal in Europe and was praised as a massive success. However, new research from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre shows that the effect on end users was short-lived and relatively limited. In a working paper titled “Online Copyright Enforcement, Consumer Behavior, and Market Structure†researchers examined clickstream data for a set of 5,000 German Internet users to see how their legal and illegal consumption habits changed in response to the shutdown. One of the main conclusions is that the kino.to raid led to a short-lived decrease in piracy, after which piracy levels returned to normal. At the same time, the researchers observed only a small increase in the use of legal services. “While users of kino.to decreased their levels of piracy consumption by 30% during the four weeks following the intervention, their consumption through licensed movie platforms increased by only 2.5%,†the paper reads. Based on the above the researchers conclude that if the costs of the raids and prosecution are factored in, the shutdown probably had no positive effect. “Taken at face value, these results indicate that the intervention mainly converted consumer surplus into deadweight loss. If we were to take the costs of the intervention into account, our results would suggest that the shutdown of kino.to has not had a positive effect on overall welfare,†the researchers write. Perhaps more worrying is the fact that Kino.to was soon replaced by several new streaming services. This so-called “Hydra†effect means that a landscape which was previously dominated by one site, now consists of several smaller sites that together have roughly the same number of visitors. The researchers note that Movie2k.to and KinoX.to quickly filled the gap, and that the scattered piracy landscape would make future shutdowns more costly. “Our analysis shows that the shutdown of kino.to resulted in a much more fragmented structure of the market for unlicensed movie streaming,†the paper reads. “This potentially makes future law enforcement interventions either more costly – as there would not be a single dominant platform to shutdown anymore – or less effective if only a single website is targeted by the intervention†One of the policy implications could be to advise against these type of large piracy raids, as they do very little to solve the problem at hand. However, the researchers note that the results should be interpreted with caution. For example, it doesn’t include any data on offline sales. Similarly, back in 2011 there were relatively few legal options available, so the effects may be different now. That said, the current findings shed an interesting light on the limited effectiveness of international law enforcement actions directed at piracy sites. Also, it’s the first research paper we know of that provides strong evidence for the frequently mentioned Hydra effect. https://torrentfreak.com/shutting-down-pirate-sites-is-ineffective-european-commission-finds-150514/
  9. Customs authorities in Hong Kong say they have shut down a "well organized" TV show piracy operation. Two men aged 25 and 46 were placed under arrest and a third key member is said to be at large. At this stage the group remains unnamed as their United States-based site is still online and proving difficult to shut down. When it comes to content being made available on file-sharing networks, TV shows have certainly stamped their position as one of the leaders in recent years. Often enjoying their premiere in the United States, TV shows are illegally downloaded all over the world just minutes after they air, disrupting local licensing and marketing strategies in an instant but giving fans want they want – without the premium price tag. Until these issues are fully addressed piracy will continue, with dedicated TV show releasing groups happy to fill in the gaps on availability and/or price – until they’re tracked down and stopped of course. To that end, Hong Kong customs authorities are this morning reporting success in shutting down what they describe as a “well organized cross-border†TV show piracy “syndicateâ€. Following an investigation carried out over the past three months, yesterday authorities arrested two men in two areas of the autonomous territory. One, a 25-year-old living in the Southern District, is said to be the group’s founder. Another, a 46-year-old, is being described as a “key memberâ€. A third, said to be the group’s ‘capper‘, is believed to be at large. According to a government release, four sets of computers were seized and TV shows were discovered stored on the equipment. Overall the group is suspected of distributing around 2,500 shows. Of interest, however, is that Hong Kong authorities are currently refusing to name the group or their site URL. That’s because the server is located in the United States and at the moment remains fully operational. Nevertheless, the operation is being declared a success. “This is virtually our first case in which we have discovered such a large quantity of television programs being uploaded to the Internet for downloading,†a Customs officer said. Under local copyright law anyone distributing an infringing copy of a TV show or other copyright work commits a criminal offense if that negatively affects the copyright owner. The maximum penalty is four years in jail and a fine of around US$6,500 per infringing copy. https://torrentfreak.com/well-organized-tv-show-piracy-group-shut-down-150512/
  10. The Pirate Bay is down at the moment, causing a mild panic among many BitTorrent users. With the raid of last December fresh in mind some fear the worst, but the current issues appear to be caused by an SSL problem. After weeks without any significant outages, the Pirate Bay has become unreachable since a few hours. With the raid of a few months ago still fresh in memory some fear that the problems may be of a more serious nature. It’s currently not clear what’s causing the problems. What we do know is that the site’s domain name is currently working properly. The Pirate Bay currently displays a CloudFlare error message suggesting that TPB has an invalid SSL certificate. This may be the result of a misconfigured or expired SSL certificate, which causes problems for sites that use CloudFlare’s full (strict) SSL feature. Interestingly, some users report that they can still access the site via the Tor network, including the popular Pirate Browser. The Tor traffic goes through a separate server, and it appears that this part of the site’s infrastructure is not going through CloudFlare. TorrentFreak reached out to The Pirate Bay team for a comment on the situation and we will update this article if we hear back. https://torrentfreak.com/the-pirate-bay-is-down-150505/
  11. After more than ten years, TS-Tracker, one of the oldest and most sought-after German trackers, was shut down by its staff yesterday. At the beginning of the year, they had to wipe their whole database under some shady circumstances and came back with a three-year-old one, and now it seems like they're gone for good, at least according to several staff members. TS is just the most recent of several large German private trackers (myT, HDS, quorks) that were voluntarily taken offline by their staff in the last few months. Coincidence? Well, maybe.
  12. To conclude a massive copyright infringement lawsuit launched by the major recording labels, Grooveshark shut down a few hours ago. Acknowledging mistakes had been made and apologizing profusely, the company said that it would delete all stored music and hand over its website and intellectual property to the RIAA. Owned and operated by Florida and New York based Escape Media, Grooveshark has been a fly in the recording industry’s ointment for almost a decade. Founded in 2006, the company had an abrasive relationship with the world’s largest record labels, one that led it into legal conflict on a number of occasions. Nevertheless, Grooveshark built an extremely popular product. With a reported 35 million users per month (Spotify has around 60 million), the company attracted high-profile advertisers including Mercedes Benz. It also managed to pull of limited licensing deals with big labels. But for some time the writing has been on the wall. With a defense under the DMCA in tatters (it was revealed the site’s founders and staff had uploaded copyrighted music to the site themselves), a case brought by the major labels (UMG Recording Inc et al v. Escape Media Group Inc et al) was bound to come to a sad end this week. With $736 million in potential damages floating around on the horizon, the conclusion was never likely to be good. And, as expected, a few hours ago the upstart music venture delivered the bad news. “Today we are shutting down Grooveshark,†the company announced. “We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. “That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation,†the company said. Revealing a consent judgment arrangement with the RIAA, Grooveshark confirmed what many observers had feared. There would be no chance of a resurrection. “As part of a settlement agreement with the major record companies, we have agreed to cease operations immediately, wipe clean all of the record companies’ copyrighted works and hand over ownership of this website, our mobile apps and intellectual property, including our patents and copyrights,†Grooveshark said. The statement represents a huge change in attitude from a company that built its business on perceived protections offered by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. But in the end, however, the legislation offered no safe harbor. Instead, and probably through gritted teeth, Grooveshark’s farewell notes that although it was indeed a pioneer in an under-served market, obtaining permission from the labels (rather than forgiveness) is the right way to approach the market. “At the time of our launch, few music services provided the experience we wanted to offer – and think you deserve. Fortunately, that’s not longer the case. There are now hundreds of fan friendly, affordable services available for you to choose from, including Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Beats Music, Rhapsody and Rdio, among many others,†the company said. “If you love music and respect the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible, use a licensed service that compensates artists and other rights holders. You can find out more about the many great services available where you live here: http://whymusicmatters.com/find-music.†Although short, the RIAA’s statement gets straight to the point. “Escape Media today entered into a consent judgment with a permanent injunction with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. “Under terms of the settlement, Grooveshark founders Josh Greenberg and Sam Tarantino admit to creating and operating an infringing music service and Escape Media agrees to significant financial penalties if the terms of the settlement are not followed,†the RIAA said. “This is an important victory for artists and the entire music industry. For too long, Grooveshark built its business without properly compensating the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible. This settlement ends a major source of infringing activity,†the RIAA said. For Grooveshark the show is certainly over and in final words to its loyal fans, the company thanked them for their commitment. “It has been a privilege getting to know so many of you and enjoying music together. Thank you for being such passionate fans. Yours in music, Your friends at Grooveshark April 30, 2015.†https://torrentfreak.com/grooveshark-shuts-down-apologizes-to-the-riaa-150501/
  13. A regional court in Hamburg has ordered a hosting company to identify the operators of three iconic BitTorrent trackers that together coordinated dozens of millions of transfers per day. The order is the result of a complaint from German music group BVMI, which says it's behind the shutdown of the trackers shut down earlier this year. OpenBitTorrent, PublicBT and Istole.it have long been the three largest BitTorrent trackers on the Internet, coordinating the downloads of 30 million people at any given point in time. This means that these non-commercial services, powered by the open source Opentracker software, handled a staggering three billion connections per day – each. We say handled, because the trackers have been offline since mid-January. The trio mysteriously disappeared, but the German music industry group BVMI now takes credit for the shutdowns. According to BVMI’s lawfirm Rasch, the hosting company took the tracker offline after they were ordered identify the operators. However, the host initially refused to disclose the personal details. In an injunction released this week a Hamburg court ordered that the hosting company now has to hand over the personal details of the tracker operators. The ruling follows a complaint from BVMI and is the first against so-called standalone BitTorrent trackers. These trackers do not host or process any infringing material themselves and are a content neutral part of the BitTorrent ecosystem. According to BVMI CEO Florian Drücke the music industry has recently expanded its focus beyond traditional torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, to include these standalone trackers. “Without the Tracker, it will be much more difficult for those who offer and seek illegal content to make the first connection,†Drücke says. The downside, however, is that legal torrents also use these trackers to coordinate connections. According to Christian Solmecke, a German IT lawyer who has experience with file-sharing cases, the verdict comes a a surprise. “The court ruling amazes me. Apparently the court assumes that BitTorrent trackers are by definition something illegal. This is not the case,†he says. The lawyer doesn’t deny that the trackers play a role in both legal and illegal transfers, but they are content neutral and merely passing on metadata, similar to a DNS provider. “By the same argument these BitTorrent trackers are switched off you might ultimately forbid an ISP to continue to provide Internet access to end users, if copyright violations are committed,†Solmecke adds. While the three targeted trackers have been offline for months already, the ruling means that these type of services had better avoid Germany as their home base in future. “Apparently, the music industry sees the entire BitTorrent network as ‘evil’,†Solmecke concludes. https://torrentfreak.com/music-industry-shuts-down-top-torrent-trackers-150429/
  14. HBO has started to crack down on paying customers who access the HBO Now service from outside the United States. Subscribers from countries including Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia who use VPNs and other unblocking tools are now being threatened with account terminations. In an effort to gain more subscribers HBOlaunched its standalone “HBO Now†service earlier this year. The subscription allows Americans to access HBO’s content, including Game of Thrones, without the need to have a television subscription. With the offer HBO hopes to drive people away from pirate sites, but it also created a new form of unauthorized use. As with Netflix and Hulu, many people outside the U.S. signed up for the service through VPNs and other geo-unblocking tools. Although they are paying customers, using HBO Now from outside the U.S. is not permitted under the company’s terms of use. While Netflix is still fairly lax about geo-unblocking, HBO is now cracking down on the practice. A few days ago thousands of VPN and proxy “pirates†started to receive worrying email warnings. “It has come to our attention that you may have signed up for and viewed video content on the HBO NOW streaming service from outside of the authorized service area (the United States, including D.C. and certain US territories),†HBO writes. “We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that the HBO NOW streaming service is only available to residents of the United States, for use within the United States. Any other access is prohibited by our Terms of Use.†HBO Now warning The emails in question target users all over the world, including Canada, the UK,Germany and Australia. Unless they were flagged by mistake, HBO will terminate the accounts of affected subscribers within days and without the option of a refund. HBO is cracking down on VPN and proxy pirates to protect the value of their licensing deals. If millions of foreigners use the U.S. version, local partners in these countries are going to complain. However, since legal options are often lacking there’s little doubt that many ‘unauthorized’ viewers will find less official ways to access the shows they love to watch. This time, however, HBO will not get a dime. https://torrentfreak.com/hbo-cracks-down-on-paying-vpn-pirates-150420/
  15. The MetArt Network, a group of well-known adult websites, is cracking down on pirate tube sites. Through a series of lawsuits filed at a federal court in Seattle, Washington, the group hopes to take out Spankbang.com, Pornvideoxo.com, Pornburst.xxx and various other sites that host their videos without permission. Porn is huge on the Internet, and so is pirated porn. In common with other entertainment industries adult producers are battling with a constant stream of illegal content. Most of this content is enjoyed via so-called tube sites where videos can be streamed instantly. In an effort to put a stop to the unauthorized streams MetArt Network has decided to take several pirate tube sites to court. The group has filed ten lawsuits in Seattle, Washington, targeting the operators of Spankbang.com, Pornvideoxo.com, Pornburst.xxx, Sextvx.com and other streaming sites that offer their content without permission. The site owners are accused of various copyright and trademark violations, as well as unfair competition. According to MetArt the sites hide behind the DMCA while profiting heavily from the illegal videos they host. “The DMCA safe harbor provisions have been systematically abused by internet copyright infringers in an attempt to garner protection for pirate websites displaying copyrighted adult entertainment content without license or authority for free viewing to the public,†the complaint (pdf) reads. “Under a veneer of DMCA compliance, the owners and operators attempt to hide behind the safe harbor provisions while monetizing the website through premium membership programs and substantial advertising contracts.†MetArt points out that the site’s operators take no measures to ensure that pirated videos stay offline, nor do they enforce a policy to ban repeat copyright infringers among their users. Instead of taking proactive steps against piracy, the tube sites are “willfully blind†to the infringements while using MetArt’s brand to advertise its services, the adult group claims. “Defendants’ acts and omissions allow them to profit from their infringement while imposing the burden of monitoring Defendants’ website onto copyright holders, without sufficient means to prevent continued and unabated infringement,†the complaint reads. One problem MetArt faces is that some site owners hide behind private Whois registrations. The company has therefore asked the court for a subpoena against Whoisguard, Enom, CloudFlare and various other service providers so it can identify those responsible. Through the lawsuits MetArt eventually hopes to recoup damages which can run into the millions of dollars. In addition, they’re asking the court to transfer the sites’ domain names to stop future infringements. Whether the adult group’s arguments will hold up in court has yet to be seen but the cases will be watched closely by the adult industry as well as the major Hollywood studios, who face a similar ‘pirate’ steaming problem. Torrentfreak
  16. The Pirate Bay is having trouble keeping the ship afloat and is suffering downtime and displaying odd error messages. Over the past weeks the notorious torrent site has struggled to find a good hosting location and this morning it started to redirect to themobilebay.org domain name. Nearly a month has passed since The Pirate Bay returned online, but this comeback hasn’t been without trouble. Last week TF spoke to Pirate Bay admin Winston who informed us that “getting stable hosting†is one of the main challenges the site has faced since its return. On several occasions the site has been kicked out by various hosting companies due to takedown requests. TPB’s hosting providers have been hidden behind CloudFlare’s CDN, but the US-based company forwards any DMCA notices it gets to the associated company. Over the past 24 hours the site displayed 403 error messages on several occasions and this morning TPB ran into trouble again. Users who try to the visit thepiratebay.se are redirected to themobilebay.org, which has an invalid SSL certificate and isn’t loading either. The MobileBay domain belongs to The Pirate Bay and was previously used to serve its mobile site. The domain was updated earlier today and the NS records are the same as those for thepiratebay.se. The precise cause of the current issues is unknown at the moment. Perhaps TPB is planning to change domain names, or it could be that the problems are the results of hosting problems or a misconfiguration. Aside from TPB’s main site many of its proxies have gone down as well. TorrentFreak reached out to The Pirate Bay’s admin and we will update this article if we hear back. Update: The mobile bay redirect is gone now and the main domain displays a “403 forbidden†error again, most likely caused by more hosting troubles. Update: /search/ is accessible. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-suffering-downtime-150224/
  17. The Pirate Bay is having trouble keeping the ship afloat and is suffering downtime and displaying odd error messages. Over the past weeks the notorious torrent site has struggled to find a good hosting location and this morning it started to redirect to themobilebay.org domain name. Nearly a month has passed since The Pirate Bay returned online, but this comeback hasn’t been without trouble. Last week TF spoke to Pirate Bay admin Winston who informed us that “getting stable hosting†is one of the main challenges the site has faced since its return. On several occasions the site has been kicked out by various hosting companies due to takedown requests. TPB’s hosting providers have been hidden behind CloudFlare’s CDN, but the US-based company forwards any DMCA notices it gets to the associated company. Over the past 24 hours the site displayed 403 error messages on several occasions and this morning TPB ran into trouble again. Users who try to the visit thepiratebay.se are redirected to themobilebay.org, which has an invalid SSL certificate and isn’t loading either. The MobileBay domain belongs to The Pirate Bay and was previously used to serve its mobile site. The domain was updated earlier today and the NS records are the same as those for thepiratebay.se. The precise cause of the current issues is unknown at the moment. Perhaps TPB is planning to change domain names, or it could be that the problems are the results of hosting problems or a misconfiguration. Aside from TPB’s main site many of its proxies have gone down as well. TorrentFreak reached out to The Pirate Bay’s admin and we will update this article if we hear back. Update: The mobile bay redirect is gone now and the main domain displays a “403 forbidden†error again, most likely caused by more hosting troubles. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-suffering-downtime-150224/
  18. The Pirate Bay is down at the moment, causing a mild panic among many BitTorrent users. With the raid of last December fresh in mind some fear the worst, but as of yet there is no indication that the site has been hit again. Exactly two weeks after the long-awaited comeback, The Pirate Bay appears to be in trouble again. It’s currently not clear what’s causing the problems. There might be a hardware issue, routing problem or a software glitch, issues that have occurred many times in the site’s history. However, after the prolonged downtime earlier this year many people are now fearing the worst. The site’s domain name is working properly and the nameservers appear to be setup correctly too, so those variables can be ruled out. The Pirate Bay currently displays a CloudFlare error message suggesting that TPB’s servers are unresponsive. TorrentFreak reached out to The Pirate Bay’s admin and we will update this article if we hear back. While the main site is down, many of the Pirate Bay’s clones and copies that became popular during TPB’s recent seven week outage are still accessible. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-down-again-150213/
  19. Following news last week that streaming portal DreamFilm had been shut down, Swedish police have confirmed several file-sharing related arrests. Noting that there had been "significant seizures", police say that two well-known torrent sites have been shut down and five arrested under suspicion of copyright-related offenses. It’s been just over two months since Swedish police carried out a dramatic raid that took the infamous Pirate Bay offline. While the action certainly had an impact on its raid-proof reputation, the torrent site rose from the ashes two weeks ago with its databases largely intact. While that resurrection must’ve been a blow to Swedish authorities, action against torrent sites is far from over. As the investigation into The Pirate Bay and former operator Fredrik Neij continues, police have struck again in the notorious torrent site’s backyard. In common with December’s raid, local authorities are providing a bare minimum of details. “We have made ​​significant seizures, but I will not say more than that,†said prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist. It is known that five people are in police custody under suspicion of being involved in the unlawful distribution of copyrighted movies. While it’s yet to be confirmed, the investigation will almost certainly have been launched at the behest of the major Hollywood studios and local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance. One of the sites targeted is Tankafetast, Sweden’s second largest torrent site. It’s been hit before, at least a couple of times, but has always managed to reappear. This time the situation seems more serious. Also down is torrent site PirateHub and streaming portal Tankefetast Play. The latter is currently redirecting to the same political site as its namesake. PROMOTIONAL IMAGE PREVIOUSLY RELEASED BY TANKAFETAST While confirming that an investigation into PirateHub had been ongoing for some time, Ljungqvist did not reveal whether equipment such as servers had been seized in the latest operation. When quizzed about the downtime of the sites listed above, however, the prosecutor said that they’d been disabled by their operators. “It is not us who have taken down the sites, it is they themselves who did so in order to prevent further crime,†Ljungqvist said. dreamfilmIf that is indeed the case, the development has clear parallels with the news last week concerning streaming portal DreamFilm.se. The operators of that site reported that after one of their admins was arrested the site did a deal with police to close down voluntarily. While that didn’t go quite to plan, with some admins leaving to start a new venture with a similar name, it’s possible that the replacement URL won’t be reported on the old DreamFilm.se homepage for long. According to IDG, the prosecution in the case has now filed a motion at the district court in Linköping for that domain name to be forfeited. As reported earlier this week, two Pirate Bay domain names are also under threat, with authorities targeting the Punkt SE registry with pioneering legal action to have the domains revoked and/or seized by the state. http://torrentfreak.com/torrent-sites-shut-down-after-swedish-police-arrest-five-150213/
  20. RapidShare, once the most popular file-hosting service in the Internet, has announced that it will shut down next month. The company doesn't cite a reason for the surprising shutdown, but losing the majority of its users in recent years after the implementation of tough anti-piracy measures is likely to be connected. Founded in 2002, Swiss-based RapidShare was one of the first and most popular one-click file-hosting services on the Internet. Like most sites of this nature, RapidShare was frequently used by people to share copyright-infringing material. It was a relationship that got the company into trouble on various occasions. RapidShare fought many legal battles with entertainment companies seeking to hold the company liable for the actions of its users, and to top it off the site was called out by the U.S. Government as a “notorious market.†Hoping to clear up its image the company made tremendous efforts to cooperate with copyright holders and limit copyright infringements. Among other things, the company adopted one of the most restrictive sharing policies while (re)branding itself as a personal cloud storage service. The anti-piracy measures seemed to work, but as a result RapidShare’s visitor numbers plunged. The dwindling revenues eventually cost most of RapidShare’s employees their jobs. Today marks the beginning of the final chapter in RapidShare’s controversial history. The company just announced that it will shut down at the end of March and is recommending that users store their files elsewhere. “Kindly note that RapidShare will stop the active service on March 31st, 2015. Extensions of STANDARD PLUS and PREMIUM will be possible until February 28th, 2015,†RapidShare writes on its homepage. “We strongly recommend all customers to secure their data. After March 31st, 2015 all accounts will no longer be accessible and will be deleted automatically,†the company adds. TF asked the company for further details on the planned shutdown but we have yet to hear back. The most likely explanation is that RapidShare can’t sustain its business with the smaller number of users it has today. The demise of RapidShare marks the end of an era. Half a decade ago RapidShare was listed among the 50 most-visited sites on the Internet, with hundreds of millions of page-views per month, but in a just a few weeks it will be gone. http://torrentfreak.com/file-sharing-icon-rapidshare-shuts-150210/
  21. KickassTorrents has lost access to its Kickass.so domain name and is currently offline. The Somalian domain of the most-visited torrent site on the Internet is now listed as "banned" by the .SO registry, forcing the site's operators to find a new home. With millions of unique visitors per day KickassTorrents (KAT) is one the most used torrent sites on the Internet. The site’s popularity has made it a prime target for copyright holders, many of whom would like to see the site taken offline. To evade law enforcement and ease pressure from the entertainment industries, KAT has moved domain on a few occasions over the past several years. Most recently the site has been operating from the Kickass.so domain. The Somalian .so TLD appeared to be a relatively safe haven, but today it’s apparent that this isn’t the case. About an hour ago the Kickass.so domain status listing was updated to “banned.†As a result of the domain seizure, users can no longer access the site. The Kickass.so domain name is not resolving and at the time of writing neither are older alternatives such as kickass.to. Kickass.so was seized by the .SO registry who also blacklisted the scam site kickasstorrents.so, which is not affiliated with the KAT team. It is likely that the registry acted following a complaint from copyright holders although this hasn’t been officially confirmed yet. Previously The Pirate Bay lost several of its domain names, including thepiratebay.ac and and thepiratebay.sx, after similar complaints. TF asked the .So registry for a comment on the situation but we have yet to receive a reply. While KickassTorrents is down for the moment, it is expected that the site will move its operation to a new domain name later today, or revert back to Kickass.to. Update: The KAT team informed TF that they are reverting back to Kickass.to. — Breaking story, we’ll update the article if more information comes in. http://torrentfreak.com/kickasstorrents-taken-domain-name-seizure-150209/
  22. Hi to all here Whether anyone here has some information for TTG whether it is still down or not, for me work only login page but I can not login I see only this:
  23. http://torrentleech.org/ 404 Not Found nginx
  24. ExtraTorrent, one of the largest torrent sites on the Internet, remains down following a huge DDoS attack. The site's operators are working hard to mitigate the assault and hope to have the site back online soon. With The Pirate Bay down and possibly out, millions of file-sharers around the world are turning to alternative sources for their content. The current top 10 torrent sites in the world are the largest beneficiaries in terms of traffic but with that comes additional attention. One of those sites is ExtraTorrent, an index that has moved up the rankings in recent years to become a torrent scene front runner. Last year the site took the #4 position overall and with an impressive Alexa rank of 356, now sits at #3. But despite the achievements, progress has now temporarily ground to a halt. On January 10 the site went down unexpectedly, with an all-too-familiar announcement delivered shortly after. “Extratorrent is under DDoS attack by hackers right now. Please, keep your patience. We’ll try to fix the issues. We’ll be back shortly!†the site announced on Twitter. Indeed, that very same day the site did return but the comeback was brief, with the admins reporting “issues†getting the index functioning again. Early Monday the site’s operators announced that while server problems could continue, everything was on course to be fixed before January 13. But with less than a day to go, attacks against the site persist. “ExtraTorrent still is under DDoS attack. It’s very powerful DDoS attack,†the site reported a few minutes ago. “Our hosting provider tries to solve the issues. We hope to back soon!†At the time of writing ExtraTorrent is available in some regions intermittently. http://torrentfreak.com/extratorrent-down-after-huge-ddos-attack-150112/
  25. One of the oldest torrent sites on the Internet has permanently closed its doors. The private torrent tracker TVTorrent.com shut down due to "recent events," leaving a large community of dedicated users behind. For well over a decade TVTorrents.com has served TV fans from all over the world. The site started in 2003 as a public torrent index and later transformed into one of the best known private trackers. In recent months, however, the site has suffered frequent outages. Citing hosting problems and technical failures, TVTorrents suffered weeks of downtime. In a surprise announcement today, the TVTorrent’s owners mark the end of the road for the troubled site. Without providing any background to their decision, the site has shut down permanently. “Due to recent events the site will not be coming back,†a message on the site’s homepage reads. “Thanks for all the support and good times throughout the years. For all the haters, go hate on something else or get a life.†The site leaves behind tens of thousands of users, some of whom have been regulars for more than 10 years. For them, there’s no other option than to find a new home. http://torrentfreak.com/tvtorrents-com-shuts-down-150106/