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Found 51 results

  1. In recent months copyright lobby groups have pressured the domain name system oversight body ICANN to take action against pirate sites. The organization is not happy with these calls and wants them to stop, making it crystal clear that they are not the Internet's piracy police. In recent years copyright holders have demanded stricter anti-piracy measures from ISPs, search engines and payment processors, with varying results. Continuing this trend, various entertainment industry groups are now going after organizations that manage and offer domain name services. The most influential organization in this industry is without a doubt ICANN, the main oversight body for the Internet’s global domain name system. Among other things, ICANN develops policies for accredited registrars to prevent abuse and illegal use of domain names. Still, various copyright groups believe that the organization isn’t doing enough. In recent months the RIAA, MPAA and other copyright industry groups have encouraged the organization to strengthen its anti-piracy policies. However, ICANN is not eager to take on the role of piracy police. Earlier this week ICANN president Fadi Chehadé noted that “everybody†is asking the organization to police content, which is a trend they hope to change. Speaking out on the issue for the first time, ICANN’s Chief Contract Compliance Officer Allen Grogan emphasizes that they are not going to police the Internet to protect copyright holders. “ICANN has no role in policing content – it’s entirely out of our scope,†Grogan informs TF. “Our mission is to coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, and in particular, to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifiers,†he adds. While various copyright lobby groups suggest that ICANN has the ability and authority to take action against pirate sites, the organization itself clearly disagrees. “ICANN was never granted, nor was it ever intended that ICANN be granted, the authority to act as a regulator of Internet content,†Grogan says. Instead of letting the domain name industry decide what is allowed and what is not, copyright holders should fight their battles in court. According to ICANN, there are sufficient means to take on infringing sites through other venues. “It’s important people understand this and direct their content complaints to the institutions that are already in place to handle these issues, such as law enforcement, regulatory agencies and judicial systems,†Grogan notes. ICANN’s comments will be a disappointment to the MPAA and RIAA, who would have preferred an easy way to target the domain names of pirate sites. For now, their best option is to go through the courts, something we’re seeing more and more often these days. https://torrentfreak.com/icann-refuses-to-play-piracy-police-150612/
  2. Sellers of Android boxes loaded with software enabling the free viewing of movies, TV shows and live sports have been raided this week by UK authorities. Trading Standards officers, police and representatives from Sky TV carried out raids in several locations, causing other sellers to quickly reconsider the tone of their marketing efforts. While paying subscriptions to services such as Netflix, premium satellite and cable channels, sports broadcasters and PPV outlets are legitimate ways to obtain content on a TV, there are others that require very little outlay. Apple TV boxes, Android set-top boxes and even the lowly Raspberry PI can run software such as Kodi (previously XBMC) alongside third-party addons to provide all of the above at virtually zero cost. Unsurprisingly, this annoys content providers no end. While selling any of the above devices alone is entirely legal, over the past couple of years online markets such as eBay and Amazon have been flooded with “fully loaded†boxes (Android-based in particular) that enable free viewing of anything from first run movies to live sports. Surprisingly, many vendors have been happy to publicly advertise that fact, with many apparently under the impression that if they don’t provide the illegal content themselves then they aren’t liable. In the UK that argument is unlikely to fly and during the past week patience appears to have run out. Earlier this week Trading Standards officers and police carried out raids on sellers of Android boxes setup to receive unauthorized content. One seller, operating from GeekyKit.com, told customers that his physical shops would not be trading as normal. “As you may be aware we were visited yesterday by Sky [television] in conjunction with Trading Standards. Whilst we continue to investigate our position the stores will remain closed and support will remain suspended. Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused,†he explained. “We do not control the content that is accessible on the internet via the product that we sell. We are currently working with Trading Standards to ensure that we can sell our products whilst adhering to UK copyright laws.†Although no details on changes were provided by GeekyKit, the signs on the front of one of their shops will be the first thing to go after leaving little to the imagination. A source who asked to remain anonymous told TorrentFreak that raids were also carried out at home addresses. In those cases officers reportedly seized computer equipment and mobile phones. A 38-year-old man was arrested under the Copyright Designs and Patent Act. The raids have certainly provided food for thought for other companies involved in the supply of similar devices. DroidSticks, one of the most prominent UK suppliers, is now limiting discussion on its Twitter account to matters relating only to the device. Whether or not the company intends to continue packaging third-party addons with its boxes will remain to be seen, but for now ‘pirate’ talk is strictly off-limits. DroidSticks did not respond to our request for comment. Finally, complying with UK legislation should be a fairly straightforward process if sellers want to play it safe, but that will probably mean never mentioning the “special features†of these boxes in a sales pitch ever again. It could also mean relying on users to install their own third-party addons from scratch. It’s a simple enough process for those with patience but something unlikely to appeal to Joe Public who increasingly wants a simple plug-and-play device. https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-android-tv-box-sellers-raided-by-police-150612/
  3. 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/
  4. A Filipino IT professor has been arrested by local authorities on suspicion of running a pirate streaming site. According to ABS-CBN the professor planned to illegally stream the Mayweather / Pacquiao fight. In addition to a criminal investigation the man faces millions of dollars in damages in U.S. court. The highly anticipated Mayweather / Pacquiao fight later this week is destined to become the most pirated live sports event in history. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of fans, will tune into various pirated streams to avoid paying for the “fight of the century.†This prospect has many rightsholders worried. Sports streaming sites can expect an avalanche of takedown notices as soon as the broadcast starts, but TV outfit ABS-CBN is also taking a more proactive stance. The company filed a complaint with the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) which led to the arrest of Jonathan Dela Cruz, an IT professor at a local university. The professor, described as one of the most wanted movie and TV pirates, is the alleged operator of pinoy-tv-replay.com. In addition to triggering the local investigation, ABS-CBN filed a lawsuit at a federal court in the United States (pdf). In the complaint the company mentions various trademark and copyright infringements as well as Dela Cruz’s plan to stream the Mayweather / Pacquiao fight. “Defendant Dela Cruz’s pinoy-tv-replay.com website also promises to offer a live stream channel of the upcoming Floyd Mayweather v. Manny Pacquiao boxing match, which will be offered by ABS-CBN and other legitimate entertainment companies through various platforms,†ABS-CBN writes. The TV company added a screencap of the advertisement for the unofficial broadcast which Dela Cruz allegedly used to lure in visitors. To stop any further infringements ABS-CBN asked the Florida court for a temporary restraining order, which was granted a few days ago. Dela Cruz is now forbidden from operating any site that infringes ABS-CBN’s rights and the TV-company also gets control over his domain name. In addition, the professor faces millions of dollars in damages. At the time of writing pinoy-tv-replay.com is not responding, although a cached version is still available through CloudFlare’s “Always Online†service. ABS-CBN’s Elisha Lawrence is happy that the “pirate†has been taken off the streets and encourages the public to avoid sketchy websites that offer free streams. “We are enforcing against these sites to protect our viewers. But in the meantime as we go after each and every one of these sites, protect yourself and your family and stay away from free sites and free streaming sites. Don’t pay the high price for free,†Lawrence said. https://torrentfreak.com/police-arrest-potential-mayweather-pacquiao-pirate-150427/
  5. Sylvester Stallone has given thanks to the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit following the arrest of a man in the UK yesterday. The unnamed 26-year-old is believed to be responsible for leaking several movies including Expendables 3. "It is important to protect the rights of creatives around the world from theft,†Stallone said. Last year the movie The Expendables 3 leaked in extremely high-quality several weeks before its theatrical debut, sparking huge Hollywood controversy. The fully finished DVD Screener copy of the action movie featuring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared late July 2014 and was downloaded millions of times before its official release mid August 2014. Three months later came the first news of arrests in connection with the case. During November 2014 the Intellectual Property Crime Unit of City of London Police (PIPCU) announced that two men aged 33 and 36 had been taken into custody after being arrested in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and Upton, Wirral. This morning the same police unit announced the arrest of a third man, again in the UK. In what is being described as a joint investigation with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), City of London Police arrested the 26-year-old at his workplace in Leeds yesterday morning. He was taken to a local police station for questioning. “The suspect is believed to be involved in obtaining high-quality films, which are either only available at the cinema or are unfinished movies which have yet to be released, and then leaking them on to the internet. It is estimated his actions are costing the industry millions of pounds,†PIPCU said in a statement. “Officers from PIPCU and HSI searched the man’s home in Halifax where several computers and mobile devices were seized.†News of the arrest was welcomed by Sylvester Stallone himself, who expressed gratitude to the authorities for their work in apprehending the man. “I’d like to thank the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at the City of London Police for working with US Homeland Security Investigations to apprehend the suspect in this case. It is important to protect the rights of creatives around the world from theft,†Stallone said. Commenting in the arrest, City of London Police Detective Inspector, Mick Dodge, said that the operation was indicative of the international reach of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). “PIPCU has a remit to protect the UK’s creative industries but we are also committed to ensuring the UK is not a safe haven for criminals seeking to attack international businesses from our shores,†Dodge said. “Working with law enforcement partners across the world, PIPCU is coming down hard on criminals exploiting intellectual property for their own financial gain and today’s action should serve as a warning to online pirates. “This joint investigation also demonstrates our close working relationship with the US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) which was recently marked with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.†Matthew Etre, U.S. Embassy London’s Attaché for US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said that dealing with the issue of online piracy remains a top priority for law enforcement, despite the perception that infringement is a victimless crime. “Too often these types of crimes are regarded as immaterial because they are seemingly without victims; however, when a business suffers a loss, it is felt at all levels, from the C-suite to the mailroom,†Etre said. “In cases such as this, preventing piracy is akin to protecting people’s livelihoods. This arrest is yet another success story highlighting what strong, collaborative relationships between law enforcement agencies can accomplish. HSI London values its relationship with the PIPCU and continues to work closely with them to battle against intellectual property crime.†According to PIPCU, yesterday’s arrest stems from a tipoff received by Homeland Security in July 2014 regarding movie piracy. To date, no arrests in the United States in connection with the case have been made public. https://torrentfreak.com/stallone-thanks-police-for-new-expendables-3-arrest-150410/
  6. The UK's top IP advisor has published recommendations on how Internet service providers should deal with online piracy. Among other things, it's suggested that Internet services should search for and filter infringing content proactively. According to the report ISPs have a moral obligation to do more against online piracy. Mike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, has pushed various copyright related topics onto the political agenda since early last year. Previously Weatherley suggested that search engines should blacklist pirate sites, kids should be educated on copyright ethics, and that persistent file-sharers should be thrown in jail. In his latest proposal the UK MP targets information society service providers (ISSPs) including ISPs, who he believes could do more to fight piracy. The just-released 18-page report stresses that these companies have a moral obligation to tackle copyright infringement and can’t stand idly by. The report (pdf) draws on input from various pro-copyright groups including the MPAA, BPI, and the Music Publishers Association. It offers various recommendations for the UK Government and the EU Commission to strengthen their anti-piracy policies. One of the key points is to motivate Internet services and providers to filter content proactively. According to the report it’s feasible to “filter out infringing content†and to detect online piracy before it spreads. The UK Government should review these systems and see what it can do to facilitate cooperation between copyright holders and Internet service providers. “There should be an urgent review, by the UK Government, of the various applications and processes that could deliver a robust automated checking process regarding illegal activity being transmitted,†Weatherley advises. In a related effort, Weatherley notes that Internet services should not just remove the content they’re asked to, but also police their systems to ensure that similar files are removed, permanently. “ISSPs to be more proactive in taking down multiple copies of infringing works, not just the specific case they are notified of,†he recommends. “This would mean ISSPs actively taking down multiple copies of the same work which are hosted on its services, not just the individual copy which is subject to the complaint. The MPA believe this principle could be extended further still to ensure that all copies of the infringing work are not just taken down…,†Weatherley explains. This type of filtering is already used by YouTube, which takes down content based on fingerprint matches. However, the report suggests that regular broadband providers could also filter infringing content. Concluding, Weatherley admits that it’s all too easy to simply demand that ISPs take the role of policemen, but at the same time he stresses that they have a “moral responsibility†to do more. The UK MP presents an analogy of a landlord whose property is used for illegal activities. The landlord cannot be held liable for these activities, but he may have to take action if a third-party reports it. “If the landlord is told that the garage is being used for illegal activity, and that this information is from a totally reliable source, then does the landlord have a moral obligation to report it?†“I would argue that it is the duty of every citizen or company to do what they can to stop illegal activity and therefore the answer is, yes, the landlord should report the activity,†Weatherley notes. Weatherley also believes that protecting the rights of copyright holders has priority over a “no monitoring†principle that would ensure users’ privacy. That is, if the monitoring is done right. “There is also the question as to whether society will want to have their private activities monitored (even if automatically and entirely confidentially) and whether the trade off to a safer, fairer internet is a price worth paying to clamp down on internet illegal activity. My ‘vote’ would be “yes†if via an independent body …†Overall, the recommendations will be welcomed by the industry groups who provided input. The report is not expected to translate directly into legislation, but they will be carefully weighed by the UK Government and the EU Commission when taking future decisions. https://torrentfreak.com/uk-ip-chief-wants-isps-to-police-piracy-proactively-150331/
  7. The UK's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit says it has arrested the world's most prolific uploader of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) content. The 55-year-old, who TorrentFreak believes it has identified, was arrested at his home in Leicestershire this morning. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events are without doubt the most popular combat-based content available today. These enterprises are big business. WWE had revenues in excess of half a billion dollars in 2014 and while UFC parent Zuffa is rather more tight-lipped about its financial position, the company is believed to be worth several billion dollars. Both companies’ revenues rely heavily on TV-focused content. In 2013, UFC-parent company Zuffa’s revenues were split roughly 58% for PPV events and ticket sales with the remaining 42% derived from TV, sponsorships and various distribution agreements. Predictably the company has a track record of reacting furiously to its content being uploaded to the Internet and has active programs to remove links and prosecute individuals, mainly in the United States. Today police in the UK have been doing the organization’s work for them. This morning officers from the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Unit arrested an individual said to be one of the world’s most prolific uploaders of both UFC and WWE content. Traveling hundreds of miles north to the tiny market town of Coalville in Leicestershire, officers descended on the home of the 55-year-old man. According to police the man is “believed to be one of the internet’s biggest offenders†when it comes to uploading wrestling and mixed martial arts content to both peer-to-peer and user-generated content sites. The man’s home was searched and several computers were seized. He was then taken to a local police station for questioning. ufcUpload monitoring by TorrentFreak reveals there are only a limited number of players in the combat sports release game who act alone. There are fewer still who are relatively easy to identify and are located in the UK. We gave PIPCU a name and asked if that person had been arrested this morning. “We do not release the name or identity of suspects at arrest stage. This information is only released once an individual has been charged,†a PIPCU spokesperson said. In any event, PIPCU are throwing some big numbers around. The unit claims that the individual is responsible for uploading more than 3.2 terabytes of data, which is the equivalent of more than 3,000 videos. Of course, that’s just his uploading. When it comes to total videos distributed things get much, much worse. PIPCU estimates that the files uploaded generated in excess of two million downloads at a cost to the industry of several million pounds. “Today’s operation serves as a clear warning to anyone thinking of uploading copyrighted material to pirate sites. This is not a victimless crime as copyright infringement is costing our creative industries hundreds of millions of pounds,†said PIPCU chief DCI Danny Medlycott. “Our team is dedicated to combating criminals ripping off other’s intellectual property and so those who are thinking of taking this path should think twice, as it might result in a knock on the door from our officers.†Jim Langham, WWE Senior Vice President & Assistant General Counsel expressed thanks for PIPCU’s action this morning. “WWE provides many options for our fans to watch our content lawfully – on television, pay-per-view, and digitally via YouTube and the WWE Network. We will continue to protect our intellectual property aggressively and combat piracy in any form,†Langham said. UFC Chief Legal Officer Kirk Hendrick said that he hoped that this morning’s arrest would lead to a “significant decrease†in the unlawful online distribution of UFC events. “We take online piracy very seriously and will continue to work with law enforcement officials around the world to prevent illegal sharing of UFC content,†Hendrick said. If the individual does indeed turn out to be the person we believe he is, a significant “brand name†will now disappear from the UFC and WWE uploads scene during the coming week. That will no doubt disorient some downloaders, but plenty more uploaders exist. At least 10 different groups uploaded last weekend’s UFC 185 PPV event, with the majority capturing the event from non-UK sources. Viewers in the UK are able to view events relatively cheaply via the subscription channel BT Sport, but illegal captures from this source are now likely to disappear, at least in the short term. https://torrentfreak.com/police-arrest-worlds-most-prolific-ufc-and-wwe-pirate-150318/
  8. The UK's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit says it has arrested the world's most prolific uploader of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) content. The 55-year-old, who TorrentFreak believes it has identified, was arrested at his home in Leicestershire this morning. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events are without doubt the most popular combat-based content available today. These enterprises are big business. WWE had revenues in excess of half a billion dollars in 2014 and while UFC parent Zuffa is rather more tight-lipped about its financial position, the company is believed to be worth several billion dollars. Both companies’ revenues rely heavily on TV-focused content. In 2013, UFC-parent company Zuffa’s revenues were split roughly 58% for PPV events and ticket sales with the remaining 42% derived from TV, sponsorships and various distribution agreements. Predictably the company has a track record of reacting furiously to its content being uploaded to the Internet and has active programs to remove links and prosecute individuals, mainly in the United States. Today police in the UK have been doing the organization’s work for them. This morning officers from the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Unit arrested an individual said to be one of the world’s most prolific uploaders of both UFC and WWE content. Traveling hundreds of miles north to the tiny market town of Coalville in Leicestershire, officers descended on the home of the 55-year-old man. According to police the man is “believed to be one of the internet’s biggest offenders†when it comes to uploading wrestling and mixed martial arts content to both peer-to-peer and user-generated content sites. The man’s home was searched and several computers were seized. He was then taken to a local police station for questioning. Upload monitoring by TorrentFreak reveals there are only a limited number of players in the combat sports release game who act alone. There are fewer still who are relatively easy to identify and are located in the UK. We gave PIPCU a name and asked if that person had been arrested this morning. “We do not release the name or identity of suspects at arrest stage. This information is only released once an individual has been charged,†a PIPCU spokesperson said. In any event, PIPCU are throwing some big numbers around. The unit claims that the individual is responsible for uploading more than 3.2 terabytes of data, which is the equivalent of more than 3,000 videos. Of course, that’s just his uploading. When it comes to total videos distributed things get much, much worse. PIPCU estimates that the files uploaded generated in excess of two million downloads at a cost to the industry of several million pounds. “Today’s operation serves as a clear warning to anyone thinking of uploading copyrighted material to pirate sites. This is not a victimless crime as copyright infringement is costing our creative industries hundreds of millions of pounds,†said PIPCU chief DCI Danny Medlycott. “Our team is dedicated to combating criminals ripping off other’s intellectual property and so those who are thinking of taking this path should think twice, as it might result in a knock on the door from our officers.†Jim Langham, WWE Senior Vice President & Assistant General Counsel expressed thanks for PIPCU’s action this morning. “WWE provides many options for our fans to watch our content lawfully – on television, pay-per-view, and digitally via YouTube and the WWE Network. We will continue to protect our intellectual property aggressively and combat piracy in any form,†Langham said. UFC Chief Legal Officer Kirk Hendrick said that he hoped that this morning’s arrest would lead to a “significant decrease†in the unlawful online distribution of UFC events. “We take online piracy very seriously and will continue to work with law enforcement officials around the world to prevent illegal sharing of UFC content,†Hendrick said. If the individual does indeed turn out to be the person we believe he is, a significant “brand name†will now disappear from the UFC and WWE uploads scene during the coming week. That will no doubt disorient some downloaders, but plenty more uploaders exist. At least 10 different groups uploaded last weekend’s UFC 185 PPV event, with the majority capturing the event from non-UK sources. Viewers in the UK are able to view events relatively cheaply via the subscription channel BT Sport, but illegal captures from this source are now likely to disappear, at least in the short term. Torrentfreak
  9. The City of London's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and copyright and royalty group PRS for Music have teamed up for what appears to be a first-of-its-kind action. Arresting a 46-year-old man, this week police shutdown one of the Internet's few karaoke-focused BitTorrent trackers. While at some stages wildly popular in the East, to most in the West a night at a karaoke bar is probably more closely associated with too many beers and individuals belting out classics wearing the aural equivalent of beer goggles. The pastime is considered by some as a bit of a joke but karaoke is big business. According to the people behind the web-based Playstation software SingOn, the global karaoke market could be worth as much as $10 billion. Since most karaoke content is now digital, it’s also prime for pirating. Mainstream movies, music, applications and video games are the most pirated media items on the Internet today, no doubt, but the karaoke sub-genre has a niche but somewhat fanatical following. Today, however, there is one less place online for KJ’s (karaoke jockeys) to get their fix. On Wednesday the users of Karaoke-World, one of the few dedicated karaoke torrent trackers online, were informed that a disaster had befallen the site after around five years online. “Just to let you all know the owner of kW was taken to the police station and had to close the site down by the Internet police so sorry we are no longer,†the site announced. It now transpires that kW was being monitored not by the BPI or IFPI as is usually the case with music-based sites, but UK-based licensing and royalty group PRS for Music. PRS make available so-called ‘KAR’ licenses which grants holders permission to manufacture and distribute karaoke on discs and in other formats. The license also covers the reproduction of lyrics for display on screen at the same time as the karaoke music is being played. It seems very unlikely that Karaoke-World possessed such a license. As a result PRS for Music teamed up with PIPCU, the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, to close down the site. On Wednesday a 46-year-old man was arrested in Dewsbury in the north of England and taken to a police station in Halifax. Although no names have been released, the kW domain was registered in the name of ‘DJ Mikey L’. Although the name is clearly a pseudonym, there are dozens of karaoke-focused torrents bearing the same name. “The unlicensed BitTorrent site directed users to a catalogue of tens of thousands of copyrighted music files, in particular the latest chart music and karaoke hits,†PIPCU said in a statement. “Like most BitTorrent trackers, the site had rules for its members to abide by. One of the rules required users to immediately ‘seed’ files, which means to upload any file they have downloaded so that others can download it too. If a file is not seeded for more than 24 hours, the user was deemed as a ‘Hit and Run’ and their account was disabled.†PIPCU’s statement also introduces a commercial element to the site, although the site is unlikely to have been a huge money spinner. “The music service also offered VIP memberships for users of the website, which ranged from £5.00 to £90.00,†police said. “The public needs to be aware that by accessing sites like this, they are putting money directly in the hands of criminals, which often then funds other serious organized crime, as well as putting their own financial and personal details at risk of being compromised and used for other fraudulent scams,†PIPCU chief Detective Chief Inspector Danny Medlycott said in a statement. “These websites are stealing from the creative industries that employ thousands of people and PIPCU will continue to work closely with our partners to tackle the criminals behind these sites and bring them to justice.†Simon Bourn, Head of Litigation, Enforcement and Anti-Piracy for PRS for Music said that songwriters and creators deserve protection from unlicensed operations. “PRS for Music’s Anti-Piracy Unit is committed to actively pursuing those who use our songwriters’ and composers’ repertoire without permission, particularly the operation of online music services without the necessary licensing. The unit’s dedication in this case, involving careful investigative support which it provided to the police, ensured that an unlicensed UK-based BitTorrent music service for karaoke was located and closed down,†Bourn said. Karaoke-World sister site TheNutBox.info is also currently offline. TorrentFreak contacted ‘DJ Mikey L’ for comment and we’ll update as soon as a response is received. https://torrentfreak.com/uk-police-and-prs-shutdown-karaoke-torrent-site-150313/
  10. Kelly Osbourne 'learned so much' from being on Fashion Police. The 30-year-old stunned fans when she announced last month that she would be quitting the E! programme. And now Kelly has spoken for the first time since her shock decision, insisting she will always look back fondly on her time on the show. 'You know what, it was the five best working years of my life,' Kelly said, while appearing on The Talk alongside mother Sharon on Tuesday. 'I am so grateful for the experience. working with Joan Rivers for five years was incredible.' Kelly's decision to leave Fashion Police came after several weeks of controversy for the show. Host Giuliana Rancic caused a scandal when she suggested that singer and actress Zendaya's dreadlocked 'do at the Oscars made her look like she smelled of 'patchouli oil and weed'. Following the airing of Giuliana's snide remark, Kelly took to Twitter to make it clear she was not happy about it. 'I DID NOT MAKE THE WEED COMENT. I DO NOT CONDONE RACISM SO AS A RSULT OF THIS IM SEREIOULSY QUESTIONONIG STAYING ON THE SHOW (sic),' Kelly tweeted. Giuliana later apologised to Zendaya, who gracefully accepted her apology. However, Kelly made no reference to the Zendaya scandal when she appeared on The Talk to discuss her departure from Fashion Police. Instead, she focused on the things she had loved about starring on the show. 'I learned so much and I'm excited for my future,' she said. 'I want to try new things.' It has been rumoured reality star Khloé Kardashian and singer Christina Milian are both potential candidates to replace Kelly, but confirmation has yet to be revealed.
  11. UK police have arrested three men in London following a raid on what is being described as a popular movie and TV show piracy site. Following a FACT investigation the men, all in their 20s, were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and copyright offenses. After scaling considerable heights during much of 2013 and 2014, overt operations to reduce online copyright infringement tapered off in the UK at the end of last year. The first six weeks of 2015 also remained quiet, with the now-famous Police Intellectual Property Unit (PIPCU) holding a lower profile. Today, however, there is news of fresh action by local authorities. Following an investigation by the Hollywood-affiliated anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), this morning detectives raided individuals said to be involved in the operations of a movie and TV show download site. The men, aged 24, 25 and 26, all from the Southwark area of London, were arrested at 06:45 on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and copyright infringement offenses. Equipment and financial documents were also seized. Speaking with TorrentFreak a few moments ago, FACT said that they weren’t able to name the site “for operational reasons.†Nevertheless, police say it was popular among users. “The site was extremely popular. It was viewed about 70,000 times a day and, internationally, it ranked thousands of places higher than a well-known and legitimate film download site,†said investigating officer Detective Sergeant Neil Reynolds. Similar raids in recent times have been carried out by PIPCU but today’s operation is being accredited to the London Regional Asset Recovery Team. LRART is a Home Office-funded team comprised of officers and financial investigators from City of London Police and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, among others. The unit carries out financial investigations aimed at seizing criminal assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. “It can be difficult for people to care about copyright laws being broken but the money made from such sites is often spent on funding other crime,†said DS Reynolds. “We are looking at how much money was made from advertising on this website and where that money went to.†FACT say that the site was registered to one of the suspects in the UK but was then re-registered to a second suspect at an address in Romania. Advertising revenue was paid into a London-based bank account. Director General Kieron Sharp said that unauthorized sites undermine legitimate businesses and warned that people running such ventures face stiff penalties. “Websites which set out to direct users to illegal copies of films and TV shows are engaged in criminal activity which not only reaps huge financial benefits for the individuals involved but also undermines the fundamental business model which allows for future investment in the creative industries,†Sharp said. “As these latest arrests show, this type of criminal enterprise will not go without action, and those involved face severe penalties.†If anyone has any further information please contact us in confidence http://torrentfreak.com/uk-police-raid-movie-tv-show-site-three-arrested-150217/
  12. 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/
  13. One of Sweden's top movie streaming sites has made a deal with the country's police. In exchange for remaining free men the administrators of Dreamfilm say they negotiated with authorities to close down the site. Meanwhile, an almost identical site has reappeared under a new domain name, run by former admins. While BitTorrent is considered the king when it comes to obtaining video online, there are other ways to obtain content that eclipse it in ease of use. So-called ‘streaming’ sites have grown massively in popularity in recent years, largely due to the way they’re presented. Rather than the text-heavy indexes associated with large volume torrent sites, streaming portals present the latest movies and TV shows in a user-friendly interface with plenty of graphics. What’s more, for the novice ‘pirate’ these sites are simplicity itself. Find a movie, click it, deal with the pop-ups, and in a few moments the latest blockbuster plays in a browser-based YouTube-style window. Even the Swedes, largely proud supporters of The Pirate Bay, have embraced the concept. Sadly for them, however, they’re now one sizable portal down. In the wake of The Pirate Bay raid in December, Swedish police intensified their focus on one of the country’s top streaming portals, Dreamfilm.se. The site had been growing in popularity for some time but it appears that in recent weeks police had been homing in. Early January everything seemed fairly normal when the site ran a promotion offering 100 movie tickets to fans who shared the picture below on Facebook. Plenty of people participated. On January 14 the site published the Facebook links of 100 winners and requested that they send in their names and addresses to claim their prizes. But just a few weeks later and it’s now all over for Dreamfilm. “After an administrator was detained and interrogated, it has been mutually agreed that dreamfilm.se will be shut down for good,†the site reveals in a statement. “The police gave us an ultimatum, to shut down the site and be free, or to keep it online and be detained again.†It seems that after an extended period trying to close the site, the authorities finally had the upper hand. “Following controversial interrogation methods it was decided that the site and everything to do with it will be shut down for good. With this, all other administrators decided to resign altogether from the site’s operations with immediate effect,†the site’s operators add. Thanking users for their dedication over the years, the admins bid farewell to the site and its members. Well, sort of….. It appears that while some of the site’s admins agreed to close down the site, others did not give the police the same undertakings. They have now broken ranks and created a brand new venture. Today, DreamFilm.se is dead but DreamFilmHD.com lives on in its predecessor’s form. “By the way, if you are film-goers, then that part of the crew who chose not to resign cloned [DreamFilm.se] to continue on their own,†the former admins say. “The administrators of DreamFilm.se do not in any way endorse this move, but the site is available at: DreamfilmHD.com.†Sure enough, the replacement site at that address is more or less identical to the site now closed down following an agreement with the police. How this will be viewed by the authorities remains to be seen, but it’s a safe bet that this outcome wasn’t the one they’d hoped for. At the time of publication Rights Alliance, the anti-piracy outfit behind most file-sharing site complaints in Sweden, had not responded to TorrentFreak’s request for comment. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-sites-deal-with-police-backfires-massively-150207/
  14. While there is still no sign of The Pirate Bay, another major torrent site is starting to recover following the police raid earlier this week. The popular TV-torrent distribution group EZTV is starting to upload new shows again as some of its servers come back online. eztv-logo-smallEarlier this week Swedish police raided a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex in the city of Nacka. The target of the raid was The Pirate Bay but collateral damage caused several other torrent sites to go down as well. This included EZTV, the go-to place for many torrenting TV fans. After nearly two days of downtime EZTV is slowly starting to crawl back up. TF spoke to the EZTV crew who confirmed that several servers are up and running again and that the site’s services are coming back online. At the time of writing the main site is still offline. However, the upload bots are back in action and EZTV torrents are being uploaded again in other places such as Kickass.so and ExtraTorrent. In addition, EZTV proxies such as eztv-proxy.net can now connect to the site’s backend IP-addresses. This means that these are showing new uploads again, as can be seen below. EZTV recovers eztv-back During the days to come EZTV hopes to recover fully and continue business as usual from the main EZTV.it domain. For Pirate Bay users there is no positive news to report yet. The site remains offline and there are no indications that it will return in the near future. There are several unofficial mirror sites that still work, but these have nothing to do with a possible comeback. These sites provide a minimal archive of old torrents, but there’s no new content being added as these all lack an upload feature. For now, many estranged Pirate Bay users seem to be flocking to other popular torrent sites. ExtraTorrent informed TF that they saw a 90 percent surge in user signups following the raid, while the number of downloads increased by a third. Most other sites that were hit by the raid remain offline. These include Torrage, the Istole tracker and Pirate Bay’s forum Suprbay. Torrent storage servie Zoink has fully recovered. torrentfreak
  15. Police in Sweden carried out a raid in Stockholm today, seizing servers, computers, and other equipment. At the same time The Pirate Bay and several other torrent-related sites disappeared offline. Although no official statement has been made, TF sources confirm action against TPB. For many years The Pirate Bay has been sailing by the seat of its pants so any downtime is met with concern from its millions of users. This morning, for the first time in months, The Pirate Bay disappeared offline. A number of concerned users emailed TF for information but at that point technical issues seemed the most likely culprit. However, over in Sweden authorities have just confirmed that local police carried out a raid in Stockholm this morning as part of an operation to protect intellectual property. “There has been a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm. This is in connection with violations of copyright law,†read a statement from Paul Pintér, police national coordinator for IP enforcement. Police are staying quiet on the exact location of the operation and the targets involved but the fact that the national police IP chief is involved at this early stage suggests something sizable. In addition, expert file-sharing case prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad has commented on the raid, further adding weight to the incident. “There were a number of police officers and digital forensics experts there. This took place during the morning and continued until this afternoon. Several servers and computers were seized, but I cannot say exactly how many,†Ingblad told SR. Ingblad would not be drawn on any arrests during the operation but TorrentFreak has learned that police may have detained at least one man connected to the site. While it seems certain that The Pirate Bay has been targeted today, it was not the only casualty. Several other torrent related sites including EZTV, Zoink, Torrage and the Istole tracker are also down. Update: The Pirate Bay’s forum Suprbay.org is also offline. The same goes for Bayimg.com and Pastebay.net. Update: According to the police the raid targeted a data center in Nacka which is built into a “mountain.†Update: No, the Pirate Bay is not back yet. Breaking news story, more as we have it. torrentfreak
  16. Four hundred police officers raided 121 homes today in a crackdown on the popular linking site Boerse.bz. The homes are believed to be connected to active uploaders of the site but no arrests have been made. The Boerse.bz website itself switched to a new provider but remains online. Last week news broke that police in Germany had carried out raids looking for the operators of Kinox.to, a manhunt that’s still ongoing. The police actions are part of a large investigation into the local piracy scene in Germany which are today followed by one of the largest anti-piracy raids in history, involving the link forum Boerse.bz. Police headquartered in Cologne have just announced that they carried out raids on 121 homes across the country. The police are gathering evidence on the operators of the popular linking forum and many of the raided homes are connected to active contributers to the site. The police raids involved around 400 police officers who seized numerous computers, hard drives and other storage media. No arrests have been made thus far but some suspects have reportedly been willing to cooperate. According to the authorities the suspects have shared a considerable number of movies, music albums, software and e-books via various cyberlockers and Boerse.bz over a long period of time. These files were shared among an estimated 2.7 million Boerse.bz users and the uploaders reportedly earned referral commissions of up to several thousand euros per month through various cyberlockers. The raids are the result of a criminal complaint filed by German anti-piracy outfit GVU. According to GVU, Boerse.bz is offering more than 100,000 files without permission from rightsholders, including 61,776 movies and 13,560 TV-shows. Most of the evidence the police acted on was provided to the police by GVU, who say that Boerse.bz is a highly structured operation with a clear division of labor. Despite the massive police force that was used in today’s raids and those of last week, both Kinox.to and Boerse.bz remain online. The alleged operators of the sites are still on the run. http://torrentfreak.com/german-police-raid-121-homes-in-pirate-site-crackdown-141104/
  17. Four hundred police officers raided 121 homes today in a crackdown on the popular linking site Boerse.bz. The homes are believed to be connected to active uploaders of the site but no arrests have been made. The Boerse.bz website itself switched to a new provider but remains online. ​ Last week news broke that police in Germany had carried out raids looking for the operators of Kinox.to, a manhunt that’s still ongoing. The police actions are part of a large investigation into the local piracy scene in Germany which are today followed by one of the largest anti-piracy raids in history, involving the link forum Boerse.bz. Police headquartered in Cologne have just announced that they carried out raids on 121 homes across the country. The police are gathering evidence on the operators of the popular linking forum and many of the raided homes are connected to active contributers to the site. The police raids involved around 400 police officers who seized numerous computers, hard drives and other storage media. No arrests have been made thus far but some suspects have reportedly been willing to cooperate. According to the authorities the suspects have shared a considerable number of movies, music albums, software and e-books via various cyberlockers and Boerse.bz over a long period of time. These files were shared among an estimated 2.7 million Boerse.bz users and the uploaders reportedly earned referral commissions of up to several thousand euros per month through various cyberlockers. The raids are the result of a criminal complaint filed by German anti-piracy outfit GVU.According to GVU, Boerse.bz is offering more than 100,000 files without permission from rightsholders, including 61,776 movies and 13,560 TV-shows. Most of the evidence the police acted on was provided to the police by GVU, who say that Boerse.bz is a highly structured operation with a clear division of labor. Despite the massive police force that was used in today’s raids and those of last week, both Kinox.to and Boerse.bz remain online. The alleged operators of the sites are still on the run.
  18. Police in Germany are closely connecting BitShare with the on-the-run admins of streaming portal Kinox, but the site's CEO informs TF that police haven't even spoken with him. As U.S. authorities are called upon to start shutting down BitShare and Freakshare servers, the lawyer for the 'Kinox' fugitives says he's perplexed by the situation. Last week a quite extraordinary drama unfolded in Germany. Local police announced that they had carried out raids in several areas of the country with the aim of netting the operators of movie site Kinox.to. Police did make two arrests but their main targets, two brothers said to be the founders of Kinox, remain at large. Subsequently police upped the ante by taking the unusual step of naming the pair and launching an international manhunt. Ever since news broke that the pair were being pursued, police, the attorney general, and local piracy outfit GVU have linked the brothers to a string of other file-sharing related sites. Among them are streaming portal Movie4K and file-hosting sites BitShare and FreakShare. All sites mentioned by the police remain operational. However, the anti-piracy group responsible for the investigations now wants something done about that. GVU director Dr. Matthias Leonardy claims that BitShare receives 1.5 million users per day and FreakShare 750,000. Continuing with his fiery rhetoric, Leonardy says the sites operate from datacenters in the United States so GVU now requires international assistance to shut them down. “This is by far the most serious case of organized economic crime with structurally infringing online services in Germany. The current case clearly shows that the illegal exploitation of creative content on the net is now firmly in the hands of criminals,†Leonardy says. But while GVU and the police appear acutely interested in these sites, when TorrentFreak spoke to BitShare just before the weekend, we were given a different picture. Mark Girak, the site’s CEO, who was clearly annoyed at being associated with the mounting chaos. He agreed to answer some questions to put his side of the story. Firstly, we asked Girak if anti-piracy outfit GVU or the police had ever been in contact with BitShare over the Kinox situation. “GVU never contacted us, nor did the police or any other company,†Girak said. “They are just putting our name everywhere and trying to make life hard for us. They are completely ignoring our brand and our company.†We then asked Girak if BitShare had any historical links with Kinox or its operators, and if so, to explain their nature. “We never had any contact with Kinox guys, they were once affiliates of us, but since two years they have not been using our website at all,†Girak said. “Our site is most probably being linked to that website because we offer a streaming feature for some of our users.†Finally, we asked Girak if BitShare has any pending legal problems in respect of Kinox or any other copyright matter. The answer was a clear “noâ€. And Girak isn’t the only one with doubts over the way the case is being presented by the authorities in Germany. The alleged ‘Kinox Brothers’, Kastriot and Kreshnik Selimi, are being portrayed as violent and rich individuals at every opportunity, but speaking to local media their lawyer questioned the allegations. “There is no evidence that the pair are dangerous,†said Stefan Tripmaker. “The family lives modestly and both brothers were still living in the rooms they had as children [at their parents' house]. It is a mystery to me where the money could be.†So all eyes now turn to the United States {if GVU is correct} to see whether something will be done there. In the meantime the controversy – and apparent mystery – continues.
  19. After more than a month of downtime the popular MP3 search engine MP3Juices made a comeback this weekend. The site, which had its .com domain name seized by UK piracy police PIPCU, is now back in action operating from a new domain. Over the past few months City of London’s PIPCU anti-piracy unit has been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content. One of the most-used tactics is to contact domain name registrars, asking them to suspend allegedly infringing domain names. This has resulted in the “shutdown†of a few pirate sites, with the MP3 search engine MP3Juices one of the most recent targets. With millions of visitors each month MP3Juices was one of the largest sites of its kind, but that changed in September when the site lost its domain name. After the suspension weeks went by without a sign of life from the operators, until this weekend. Yesterday MP3Juices returned using a new .to domain name. The surprise comeback was announced through the site’s official Facebook page. “We are back www.mp3juices.to. Have fun, post any errors/problems below,†the status update reads. The unexpected resurrection was welcomed by many of the site’s followers, who were delighted to see their favorite MP3 search engine back in action. MP3Juices is back http://torrentfreak.com/images/facebook-comments.png At the moment it’s unclear why it took more than a month for the site to move to a new domain. TorrentFreak asked the MP3Juices team for a comment on the comeback and their future plans, but they have yet to respond. While PIPCU’s domain name suspension was bypassed by MP3Juices, it certainly wasn’t without damage. The site has lost most of its users, with many going to MP3Juices.cc, a site that launched last month. The MP3Juices.cc team informed TF that they created their site for those who miss the old site. It offers a search engine similar to the original service, and has grown to 150,000 daily visitors in just a few weeks. So the end result of PIPCU’s actions is that they damaged one site, but inspired the launch of another. Whether the actions of the police have actually resulted in less copyright infringement is doubtful, as availability of pirated content has increased.
  20. The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has forced the shutdown of a popular, if not the largest, sports-focused torrent site. A staff member at The Sports Torrent Network, a tracker popular with fans on both sides of the Atlantic, informs TF that in the face of threats closure was the only option. After obtaining government funding to protect the rights of mainstream music and movie companies, last year UK police began a campaign aimed at closing dozens of torrent and other file-sharing sites. Many sites subsequently reported receiving letters from PIPCU, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, warning that their operations had been scouted and deemed to be infringing. While most sites ignored the warnings, some inevitably felt the pressure and decided to quit while they were ahead. In the months that followed direct pressure on sites reduced when police began to concentrate on indirect measures, such as pressuring registrars to retract domains and advertisers to stop supporting sharing sites. However, earlier this month police restarted their direct approach, sending threat letters out to the operators of torrent sites in an attempt to close them down directly. In at least one case the police have been successful. Due to its coverage of sports including the NHL, NBA, soccer and Formula 1, The Sports Torrent Network (TSTN) was a site popular with fans on both sides of the Atlantic. With an estimated 20,000 userbase and its own ‘capping’ team, the site was certainly a fan favorite and possibly the largest site of its type. But now, after an unwelcome warning, the party is over. Along with other sites, a little under two weeks ago TSTN received communications from the police which stated that the site’s operators could be committing crimes with serious penalties attached. “Such activity is an indictable offense under the Serious Crime Act 2007 and is punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment (two years for encouraging/assisting communication to the public; and ten years for encouraging/assisting distribution to the public),†the police explained. “PIPCU has the lawful right to pursue action against you and against the thesportstorrentnetwork.co.uk website in order to prevent, detect and disrupt criminal activity.†While the threats looked official enough, a more detailed examination of the correspondence sent to TSTN raised questions over its authenticity. As can be seen from the screenshot below, a clear spelling error was present in the title of the mail, which lead to concerns this may have been some kind of fake. However, an additional error later in the email suggested that it was probably genuine. As can be seen under the highlight, it appears that police neglected to fill in a precise date instead of the placeholder text. But errors aside, TSTN decided that while it had been a good run, now was the time to thrown in the towel. The site is now permanently closed. “We are sad the site had to go but feel it was the only option,†a staff member told TF. With calls from the UK Prime Minister’s IP advisor to permanently fund the Intellectual Property Crime Unit, the shutdown of TSTN will certainly not be the last. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  21. The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has received substantial new funding which secures its future until at least 2017. The £3 million cash boost, announced this morning by Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville-Rolfe, will come from public funds. It's being billed as good news for the economy and bad news for pirates. In a relatively short space of time City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit has stamped its mark on the online piracy space in a way few other organizations have managed. Since its official launch in September 2013 the unit has tackled online copyright infringement from a number of directions including arrests, domain seizures and advertising disruptions. PIPCU has shut down several sports streaming and ebook sites plus a large number of proxies. In June 2013 when the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills announced the creation of PIPCU, Viscount Younger of Leckie noted that the Intellectual Property Office would provide an initial £2.56 million in funding to the unit over two years. However, this funding was allocated on a temporary basis and was set to expire in 2015, a situation which prompted the Prime Minister’s former Intellectual Property Advisor Mike Weatherley to call for additional support. This morning the government confirmed that additional funding will indeed be made available to PIPCU enabling it to operate until at least 2017. Speaking to the national crime unit at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group Conference in London, Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville-Rolfe said that PIPCU would be boosted by £3 million of funding from the public purse. “We’ve seen significant success in PIPCU’s first year of operation. This extra support will help the unit to build on this impressive record in the fight against intellectual property crime, which costs the UK at least £1.3 billion a year in lost profits and taxes,†Baroness Neville-Rolfe said. “With more money now being invested in ideas than factories or machinery in the UK, it is vital that we protect creators and consumers and the UK’s economic growth. Government and industry must work together to give long-term support to PIPCU, so that we can strengthen the UK’s response to the blight of piracy and counterfeiters.†City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, welcomed the cash injection. “The government committing to fund the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit until 2017 is fantastic news for the City of London Police and the creative industries, and very bad news for those that seek to make capital through intellectual property crime,†Head said. “Since launching a year ago, PIPCU has quickly established itself as an integral part of the national response to a problem that is costing the UK more than a billion pounds a year. Much of this success is down to PIPCU moving away from traditional policing methods and embracing new and innovative tactics, to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks responsible for causing huge damages to legitimate businesses.†The news was also well received at music industry group BPI. “The work of PIPCU to date has been invaluable in tackling piracy, which is recognized as a significant threat to musicians’ income, investment in new businesses and the growth of the UK’s creative economy,†said Director of Copyright Protection, David Wood. “This funding demonstrates the commitment of the UK Government to promoting respect for intellectual property, which acts as the backbone of growth for our world-leading creative and digital media sectors.†PIPCU, which is closely allied with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), is a 21-strong team comprised of detectives, investigators, analysts, researchers, an education officer and a communications officer. The unit also reports two secondees – a Senior Intelligence Officer from the IPO and an Internet Investigator from the BPI. The latter role was previously filled by the BPI’s Mark Rampton but according to his Linkedin profile he left his position last month. No announcement has been made detailing his replacement. While PIPCU is definitely leaving its mark, not all operations have gone to plan. In one of its highest-profile actions to date, last month the unit shut down what it described as an illegal and “industrial scale†sports streaming service in Manchester. However, in mid October all charges were dropped against its alleged operator. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  22. The popular sports streaming site Fromhot, also known as Sportlemon and Frombar, has disabled access to UK visitors. The unusual move comes shortly after City of London Police seized one of its main domain names. Over the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to take on sites that provide or link to pirated content. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) uses a variety of measures to achieve its goals. This includes sending requests to registrars requesting the suspension of allegedly infringing domain names. The sports streaming site Fromhot, also known as Sportlemon and Frombar, was one of the most recent targets of the latter strategy. The “franchise†has well over a million visitors per month but some of these went missing after the Frombar.com domain was suspended. The streaming site does remain operational from several alternative domain names, which now point to Fromhot.com, but interestingly enough the site can no longer be accessed from the UK. A few days after its main domain was suspended the sport streaming site decided to block all visitors from the UK. It appears that this measure was taken in the hope of avoiding further actions from PIPCU. TorrentFreak contacted the people behind the site for a comment on the unusual measure, but we have yet to hear back. Frombar is not the first sports streaming site to be targeted by PIPCU. In May, PIPCU had the domain of the Cricfree.tv streaming portal suspended but its operator was able to bring the site back under a new domain. In addition to the domain suspensions PIPCU also had several sports streaming site operators arrested. TorrentFreak previously revealed that the operator of BoxingGuru.co.uk, boxingguru.eu, boxingguru.tv and nutjob.eu was arrested during April. This was followed by the arrest last month of 27-year old Zain Parvez, who allegedly operated CoolSport.se, CoolSport.tv and KiwiSportz.tv. Parvez was described as the head of an “industrial scale†sports streaming operation but all charges against him were dropped earlier this week. Whether the blockade of UK traffic will keep PIPCU at bay has yet to be seen. The notice posted on the seized Frombar.com still notes that the site is “under criminal investigation.†Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  23. The popular sports streaming 'franchise' Sportlemon has lost Frombar.com, one of its main domain names, following a request from the UK's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. Whether the intervention will prove effective has yet to be seen, as the site is continuing its operations from various alternate domains. Over the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content. Police began by sending warning letters to site owners, asking them to go legit or shut down. Late last year this was followed by a campaign targeted at domain registrars, asking them to suspend the domain names of several “illegal†sites. Most registrars have denied these suspension requests because they lack any legal basis, but some are cooperating. Yesterday another site fell victim to the police campaign, as the sports streaming ‘franchise’ Sportlemon had its Frombar.com domain name suspended. The sports streaming site is relatively popular, with well over a million visitors per month. For now, these visitors will have to find an alternative as the site currently displays a prominent police banner. “You have tried to access a website that is under criminal investigation by the UK: Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) This site is being investigated for online copyright infringement,†the banner reads. Whether it will deter people for long is doubtful though. The site owner has plenty of alternative domains lying around and the site is still accessible on frombar.tv, fromsport.com, gledaisport.com, fromsportcom.com, fromhot.com, as well as sportlemon.tv, which used to be the site’s main domain. And so the whack-a-mole continues for now. To stay out of PIPCU’s crosshairs the owners of alleged pirate sites are increasingly looking for safe registrars that won’t give in to complaints from authorities overseas. The Canadian registrar EasyDNS appears to be a safer choice, as the company protests PIPCU’s efforts fiercely. PIPCU is not happy with these non-cooperative registrars and a few weeks ago the police sent EasyDNS a threatening letter, suggesting that the company itself could be held liable for aiding and abetting a criminal operation. Thus far police have not followed up on this threat. http://torrentfreak.com/police-seize-domain-of-frombar-sports-streaming-site-141004/
  24. After very publicly taking down a number of sites offering music, movies and TV shows without permission, City of London Police appear to have taken down their first ebook-related domain. OnRead is now under police investigation but according to its operators the site operated legally. That seems unlikely, however. This year the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has built a reputation for being one of the most prolific and aggressive anti-piracy groups operating today. PIPCU, as its more commonly known, has been involved in the closure of dozens of domains, the closure of several sites, and the arrests of individuals up and down the country. Until now PIPCU’s most visible partners, at least in terms of enforcement in the Internet space, have been the Federation Against Copyright Theft (movies and TV) and the BPI (music). However, there are now signs that sites offering pirated ebooks are part of PIPCU’s strategy. Like many movie, music, sports and proxy fans have in recent months, this week visitors to the ebook site OnRead.com were confronted with the ominous PIPCU “seized†notice. “You have tried to access a website that is under criminal investigation by the UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). This site is being investigated for online copyright infringement,†the page reads. The signs suggest that OnRead knew something was coming. After regular and often daily tweets of new literature appearing on the site, on September 2 the account fell silent. TorrentFreak asked City of London Police for specifics on the site’s closure, including whether the domain seizure and shutdown had been carried out together with The Publishers Association, a known PIPCU partner. “As part of Operation Creative PIPCU is working closely with the Publishers Association, as well as FACT, IFPI and BPI to disrupt copyright infringing websites. Since the launch of the operation several illegal film, music and publishing sites have been suspended,†a PIPCU spokesperson said. While it seems more than likely that OnRead was operating without licenses recognized by UK publishers, an archive of the domain reveals that the site’s operators tried to claim that in at least one jurisdiction the site had operated legally. “All materials presented on this site are available for the distribution over the Internet in accordance with the license of the Russian Organization for multimedia and Digital Systems (ROMS) and intended for personal use only. Further distribution, resale or broadcasting is strictly prohibited,†the recent archive reads. ROMS was a Russian collective rights management organization that attracted public attention in 2006 when notorious music download site, AllofMP3, insisted it operated legally under ROMS’ remit to collect and distribute statutory royalty payments as allowed under Russian law. In 2007, AllofMP3 closed down for good. While the legal claims made by OnRead are fuzzy and by now years out of date, additional notes do warn users that they have “no right to download any files from the site if this violates the law of his country.†It’s clear that PIPCU and quite probably The Publishers Association felt that OnRead was not in compliance with UK law. As a result the site’s domain, registered with InternetBS, is now in police hands. In 2007, ZML.com, a site that offered movies to US customers, also tried to claim ROMS protection. That domain is now under the control of ICE and Homeland Security after being seized in the very first wave of Operation in Our Sites. http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-police-begin-targeting-ebook-pirates-140921/
  25. After very publicly taking down a number of sites offering music, movies and TV shows without permission, City of London Police appear to have taken down their first ebook-related domain. OnRead is now under police investigation but according to its operators the site operated legally. That seems unlikely, however. This year the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has built a reputation for being one of the most prolific and aggressive anti-piracy groups operating today. PIPCU, as its more commonly known, has been involved in the closure of dozens of domains, the closure of several sites, and the arrests of individuals up and down the country. Until now PIPCU’s most visible partners, at least in terms of enforcement in the Internet space, have been the Federation Against Copyright Theft (movies and TV) and the BPI (music). However, there are now signs that sites offering pirated ebooks are part of PIPCU’s strategy. Like many movie, music, sports and proxy fans have in recent months, this week visitors to the ebook site OnRead.com were confronted with the ominous PIPCU “seized†notice. “You have tried to access a website that is under criminal investigation by the UK Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). This site is being investigated for online copyright infringement,†the page reads. The signs suggest that OnRead knew something was coming. After regular and often daily tweets of new literature appearing on the site, on September 2 the account fell silent. TorrentFreak asked City of London Police for specifics on the site’s closure, including whether the domain seizure and shutdown had been carried out together with The Publishers Association, a known PIPCU partner. “As part of Operation Creative PIPCU is working closely with the Publishers Association, as well as FACT, IFPI and BPI to disrupt copyright infringing websites. Since the launch of the operation several illegal film, music and publishing sites have been suspended,†a PIPCU spokesperson said. While it seems more than likely that OnRead was operating without licenses recognized by UK publishers, an archive of the domain reveals that the site’s operators tried to claim that in at least one jurisdiction the site had operated legally. “All materials presented on this site are available for the distribution over the Internet in accordance with the license of the Russian Organization for multimedia and Digital Systems (ROMS) and intended for personal use only. Further distribution, resale or broadcasting is strictly prohibited,†the recent archive reads. ROMS was a Russian collective rights management organization that attracted public attention in 2006 when notorious music download site, AllofMP3, insisted it operated legally under ROMS’ remit to collect and distribute statutory royalty payments as allowed under Russian law. In 2007, AllofMP3 closed down for good. While the legal claims made by OnRead are fuzzy and by now years out of date, additional notes do warn users that they have “no right to download any files from the site if this violates the law of his country.†It’s clear that PIPCU and quite probably The Publishers Association felt that OnRead was not in compliance with UK law. As a result the site’s domain, registered with InternetBS, is now in police hands. In 2007, ZML.com, a site that offered movies to US customers, also tried to claim ROMS protection. That domain is now under the control of ICE and Homeland Security after being seized in the very first wave of Operation in Our Sites.