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  1. The past six months have not been good ones for some of the world's leading file-hosting sites. Many have seen their traffic plummet as a result of Google algorithm changes, but interestingly some are bucking the trend. Mega.co.nz, for example, is doing better than ever. In the file-sharing world sites tend to be split into two camps – those that facilitate access to content held elsewhere (torrent sites) and those that host the content themselves. What to call the sites in this latter category largely depends on the context. The generic “file-hoster†monicker works well for all, but the more recent term “cyberlocker†has somehow become associated with sites that have some kind of “rogue†business model attached. Last September, Netnames produced a report about ‘cyberlockers’ and annoyed the operators of Mega.co.nz by categorizing the site as some kind of illicit operation. This week, only adding to the controversy, Mega revealed that U.S. government pressure had led to PayPal withdrawing its services from the company. This week, several months after the publication of the NetNames report, we decided to take a look at how the file-hosting sites listed have been doing on the traffic front. According to Alexa they are mostly on a significant downward trend, but as we shall see that’s not universally the case. In fact, Mega appears to be doing particularly well. The big losers All of the sites in this section lost significant overall traffic during 2014 and early 2015. 4shared, Zippyshare, Turbobit, BitShare, LetitBit, FreakShare, 1fichier and 2shared all had big downward trends and, as illustrated by the charts below, October time seems to mark the beginning of most of the bad news. That date closely coincides with Google’s downranking of sites for which it receives the most infringement notices. The change hit many major torrent sites causing immediate drops in traffic, but for others the change only seems to have brought good news. The big winners Mega.co.nz, a site included in the NetNames report but not indexed by Google due to the site’s own restrictions, appears to have reaped rewards where others have failed. Following a slump in the summer of 2014, the period since October 2014 has been nothing but a success story for the Kim Dotcom-founded operation. Another site bucking the downward trend is UptoBox, a site which NetNames claims has around six million monthly users and $1.7 million in annual revenues. Despite Google receiving close to 368,000 complaints about the site, UpToBox has been doing better than ever since October 2014 when most of the other sites started to suffer. Only a small slump in January 2015 spoiled the party. The others RapidGator is one of the most popular file-hosting sites around but had a bit of a disappointing 2014. After starting the year strongly as one of the 500 most popular sites in the world, the site embarked on a steady downward trend and like most it took a big hit at the start of October when Google’s down-ranking began. Between then and the end of 2014 it regained traffic to position itself where it had been during the summer. But in January came a new slump which took the site back down to its lowest traffic levels to date. Another site on a general downward trend is Uploaded.net, but again the site’s traffic demonstrates some interesting features. After taking a big hit in October the site recovered somewhat, only to peak and begin dropping off again. Overall It’s fair to say that the majority of the big sites in the NetNames report are on a downward trend but sites like Mega are clearly able to buck the trend. Whether that’s due to the company’s charismatic founder, its end-to-end encryption or simply by being a good provider with a great service is up for debate. Nevertheless, an ability to avoid Google downranking punishments is certainly a plus and one that the company will be keen to maintain. http://torrentfreak.com/cyberlocker-traffic-plummets-but-not-mega-150308/
  2. Casual digital piracy seems socially acceptable these days but how many people can honestly say that receiving a counterfeit gift from a loved one this Christmas wouldn't be somewhat of a disappointment? Don't we all have an aversion to fakes and piracy in the right circumstances? There can be few Internet-savvy people around who haven’t, on occasion, downloaded an MP3 or two. Among those people’s parents, find a person who has never listened to a copied CD or cassette-taped LP and i’ll show you the bar where Bigfoot buys the Loch Ness Monster a beer on Friday nights. These days piracy is somewhat socially acceptable, to the point that a little can fly alongside the average moral compass without upsetting it too much. This upsets the entertainment industries no end, however. Times are changing though, there can be little doubt about that. Piracy is just as omnipresent now as it ever was, but educational and awareness schemes are at least giving pirates and potential pirates thoughts of what it might be like to be a more permanent fixture among the paying classes. This awareness, coupled with better offerings of course, may eventually bring about steady change, but there is one area of IP infringement that the younger generation need little encouragement to understand. Counterfeit items – whether clothing, sportswear, designer fragrances, watches or computer accessories – can be bought in just about every country of the world. By free-riding the brand awareness built by their trademarked namesakes they also tend to be massively cheaper in comparison. This accessibility on pricing means that fakes always seem to sell well, which is particularly interesting since they’re a product with near zero street cred in the West. While some might not care about the stigma, kids – the so-called pirate generation – definitely do. Those who can’t afford a pair of Nike sneakers quietly hope that their peers don’t notice that they’re wearing Mike. And dare to accuse a teen of communicating via a fake iPhone and expect rage to be the response. It’s as if by casting aspersions on their ability to own the genuine item you’ve somehow criticized their entire character. That said, kids and teens do not generally feel the same way about digital piracy. While Pirate Bay’d MP3s (especially unreleased ones) can at times be the pinnacle of cool, the wearing of Peats By Drei earphones is treated like a four letter outburst in church. Adults aren’t immune to counterfeit aversion either. Earlier this year my trusty HTC One found itself being upgraded to a shiny new Samsung S5 courtesy of a third off retail eBay auction. While waiting for it to arrive I inadvertently read about some S5 Chinese copies going around and how side by side they’re difficult to tell apart from the real deal. Some, functionally, are apparently very good indeed. That knowledge developed into a little panic followed by creeping annoyance that I might have been scammed. This led to my questioning whether having a functionally identical but fake product would make any difference to my enjoyment of it, much like listening to a genuine and ‘pirate’ MP3 side by side. Would it really matter? Damn right it would – I paid for the real thing, I wanted the real thing. Screw fakes and ready my PayPal chargeback. Fortunately it was a genuine Samsung device and I went back to feeling content with my purchase and happy I wouldn’t have to cover up being some kind of cheapskate down the pub. That feel good, confident feeling, of having the real thing, is difficult to put one’s finger on. Kids and teens understand it, and in the right circumstances adults do too. That Gucci perfume? It smells good, for longer too. And just look at the quality stitching on that Prada handbag. People might indeed be watching plenty of downloaded movies over the holidays, but they won’t generally be buying their loved ones counterfeit gifts this Christmas, will they? How the entertainment industries bottle this emotional response to generally overpriced items and apply it to their own products is anyone’s guess, but especially among the younger generation there’s definitely something there to tap into. Just don’t presume the big entertainment companies are going to get designer prices for whatever they come up with as those days are well and truly over. Everyone has limits on what they’ll pay for the real thing, as the thriving counterfeit market shows.
  3. The Icefilms streaming movie and TV show portal has a strong following but for the past 24 hours the site has been offline. With a Pirate Bay raid ringing in everyone's ears, has Icefilms fallen to the same fate? According to a source familiar with the situation the site should get back on its feet soon. Without doubt the past seven days have shaken the file-sharing world to its core. Last Tuesday the Internet’s most famous file-sharing site, invincible according to many accounts, fell following a raid by Swedish police. That kind of surprise can lead people to panic when other similar sites have downtime at the same time. For the past 24 hours concern has been growing over Icefilms, a movie and streaming portal with a strong online following. Sometime yesterday morning, Icefilms disappeared offline. Visitors to the site reported various issues, from no page loading to redirections to another domain. Most, however, were confronted with the image shown below. icefilms While much preferable to a law enforcement notice, the image itself has been causing concern among Icefilms users due to it being hosted on Amazon rather than the site’s own server. But despite the worries a source familiar with the situation informs TF that there is nothing to be concerned about. Icefilms currently has hosting issues to overcome, hence placing the image on another server. The site itself should be back to its full glory within days. Even when the Pirate Bay raid is disregarded, it’s easy to see why Icefilms users have been panicking. Firstly, the first few pages of Google are almost useless when it comes to getting information about the site. In fact, Icefilms itself is completely absent from Google search results. However, if one turns to Bing then results are restored to their former glory. In fact, Bing even provides a convenient Icefilms search engine as the first result. icesearch Only adding to the confusion is Icefilms’ inclusion in a recent blocking order. Last month the UK High Court ordered ISPs to block 32 domains following an application by the Motion Picture Association. In recent weeks the leading service providers responded by blocking access to Icefilms.info. Source : http://torrentfreak.com/icefilms-dow...reak+-+Bits%29
  4. Australians who illegally download copyrighted material won't face any new regime to slow down or suspend their Internet connections. However, proposals being presented to cabinet today will outline a new mechanism allowing copyright holders to have 'infringing' sites blocked at the ISP level. For many years Australia has been struggling with a reputation for being a nation of file-sharing pirates and throughout the summer the most serious debate thus far consumed the nation. Leading the charge were rightsholders who tabled demands for ISPs to take greater responsibility for their subscribers, under weight of legislation if necessary. Once this liability had been clearly established, rightsholders argued that ISPs should be forced to send notices to their subscribers. These would warn customers that their connections were being used for piracy and that consequences, including the slowing down or disconnection of Internet services, would follow. Finally, copyright holders sought a formal ‘pirate’ site blocking mechanism. This would allow individual domains to be targeted by legal action in order to have them rendered inaccessible to Australians. After intense debate it appears that a watered-down version of the rightsholders wish-list will today be presented to the Australian Cabinet. According to Fairfax, Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull will present the reforms to colleagues during the final meeting of the year. According to the report, new punishments for Internet downloaders are not part of the proposals, meaning that calls for connection throttling and account suspensions are off the table. Downloaders won’t get a completely free ride though. The ministers’ proposals envision ISPs and rightsholders working together on a voluntary code aimed at educating consumers who persist in sharing files without permission. Administered by telecoms regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the code would see entertainment companies monitoring and gathering information on Internet users who share copyrighted material using BitTorrent. That information would be sent to ISPs who would then be required to forward written notices to subscribers informing them they are breaching copyright. Of course, entertainment companies and ISPs have been here several times before, with negotiations on this very topic breaking down time and again on various issues, including who will pay to implement the scheme. This time, however, the government is threatening to legislate if agreement can’t be reached and if that happens ISPs might find themselves less well off. While they are likely to negotiate hard, it may be in ISPs interests to reach some kind of agreement. The proposals for “extended authorization liability†– holding ISPs responsible for users’ piracy – appear to be off the table, at least for now, and the last thing they need is for that to rear its head again. But whatever happens on those fronts, ISPs will still find themselves in the spotlight on another matter – the controversial issue of site blocking. Today, Brandis and Turnbull will ask the Cabinet to approve the development of a new legal mechanism which will allow rightsholders to obtain site blocking injunctions against ISPs. If approved, movie companies like Village Roadshow will be able to head off to court and have sites like The Pirate Bay blocked by all the major ISPs without too much difficulty. The news of these proposals to Cabinet comes a day after consumer group Choice published the results of a survey which found that 67% of Australians have never pirated movies or TV shows online. Of the 33% that do, half said their motivation was high prices, while 41% complained that content takes too long to arrive in Australia. The research found that 55% of consumers try to obtain content legally before turning to pirate sources. In common with other similar studies, Choice also found that regular pirates are also avid consumers of legitimate content. Of those who pirate at least once a month, 56% will pay to go to the movies, a figure that drops to 36% for the non-pirating group. torrentfreak
  5. Hey guys, ive been using this seedbox provider since 2010 and theyve been amazing, the speeds and the general seedbox are great but these guys i dont think are very popular so i thought id spread the word about them, ill leave some info and a link to the site below. Im on the $15 per mth plane and get 11mbps with 300gb of space and its made my ratio skyrocket but even theyre basic plans are awesome. http://www.gbox.me/client/aff.php?aff=040 Gbox Our servers are fine tuned to provide you with the maximum throughput at the lowest cost. Each slot comes pre-configured with FTP/FTPES access, the latest versions of rtorrent and rutorrent, and with a host of plugins. We offer both metered and un-metered options to meet all needs. Every seedbox slot comes configured with the basics. - Guaranteed Support - 100/100Mbit Line - Unlimited Torrents - rtorrent/rutorrent - SSL Web Traffic - FTP/FTPES File Access - HTTPS File Access Rutorrent Plugins: - Auto-dl Irssi - Create - RSS - Disk Space - Unpack - Plus more Metered M-075 75GB 1TB Traffic 96 hour setup $5 M-150 150GB 1.5TB Traffic 96 hour setup $7.50 M-300 300GB 4TB Traffic 96 hour setup $15 Un-Metered U-150 150GB 96 hour setup $15 U-300 300GB 96 hour setup $20 U-600 600GB 96 hour setup $25 http://www.gbox.me/client/aff.php?aff=040
  6. The people behind the Oscar-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club have won a $14,000 consent judgment against an Oregon BitTorrent user. Why the defendant agreed to pay the unusually high figure is unclear, but it may have something to do with the sword that was hanging over his head. Movie studio Voltage Pictures is no stranger to suing BitTorrent users. The company has pioneered mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the United States and is estimated to have made a lot of money doing so. Earlier this year Voltage and Dallas Buyers Club LLC initiated lawsuits against alleged file-sharers of the Oscar-winning movie. Several hundred alleged downloaders have been targeted since. Most of these cases end up being settled for an undisclosed amount. This is usually a figure around $3,500, which is what the company offers in their settlement proposals. However, this week we stumbled upon something bigger. A few days ago a federal court in Oregon handed down a hefty judgment against a person who shared a copy of Dallas Buyers Club via BitTorrent. The order is a so-called consent judgment, the terms of which are agreed by both parties, for the sum of $14,000. “A Money Judgment in favor of plaintiff Voltage Pictures, LLC and Dallas Buyers Club, LLC and against defendant DOE-67.166.84.226 is awarded the sum of $14,000.00. This figure includes costs, fees and damages,†the order (pdf) reads. The amount is unusually high for a consent judgment especially since the defendant, who remains anonymous, hired a proper attorney. If others get the option to settle for $3,500 or less, why would this person agree to pay four times as much? It’s safe to assume that the defendant in this case never got the option for a cheaper settlement and a good look at the original complaint may explain why. As it turns out, the movie makers collected a whole lot more dirt on the defendant. In an attempt to beef up their case, the movie studio compiled a list of 118 titles (pdf) that were shared by the defendant’s IP-address. This includes several TV-show episodes including Game of Thrones, as well as popular movies, software and music titles. “As can be seen from Exhibit 1, defendant is a prolific proponent of the BitTorrent distribution system advancing the BitTorrent economy of piracy,†they wrote in their complaint. First page of exhibit 1 While it remains speculation, it’s likely that the Dallas Buyers Club makers used these collateral downloads to add extra pressure. In any case, it certainly didn’t hurt their negotiating position. This is not the only consent judgment won by Dallas Buyers Club recently. In a similar case in Oregon the company obtained $7,500 from another avid BitTorrent user who shared more than hundred other titles as well. Apparently, Voltage and Dallas Buyers Club LCC have found a rather effective way to increase settlement fees. TF asked Dallas Buyers Club’s attorney for a comment on the varying amounts, but we have yet to hear back. In any case, pirates are warned: Anything you download or share may be used against you in a court of law.
  7. A new web-based torrent service has been making headlines with some heralding the arrival of a new Popcorn Time-style tool. But while Joker.org is very slick and provides better privacy, the service is more vulnerable in two key areas - centralization and rising costs. While BitTorrent’s underlying technology has remained mostly unchanged over the past decade, innovators have found new ways to make it more presentable. Torrent clients have developed greatly and private tracker systems such as What.cd’s Gazelle have shown that content can be enhanced with superior cataloging and indexing tools. This is where Popcorn Time excelled when it debuted earlier this year. While it was the same old torrent content underneath, the presentation was streets ahead of anything seen before. With appetites whetted, enthused BitTorrent fans have been waiting for the next big thing ever since. Recently news circulated of a new service which in several headlines yesterday was heralded as the new Popcorn Time. Joker.org is a web-based video service with super-clean presentation. It’s premise is straightforward – paste in a magnet link or upload a torrent file from your computer then sit back and enjoy the show. Not only does Joker work, it does so with elegance. The interface is uncluttered and intuitive and the in-browser window can be expanded to full screen. Joker also provides options for automatically downloading subtitles or uploading your own, plus options for skipping around the video at will. While these features are enough to please many visitors to the site, the big questions relate to what is going on under the hood. Popcorn Time, if we’re forced to conduct a comparison, pulls its content from BitTorrent swarms in a way that any torrent client does. This means that the user’s IP address is visible both to the tracker and all related peers. So, has Joker successfully incorporated a torrent client into a web browser to enable live video streaming? Last evening TF put that question to the people behind Joker who said they would answer “soonâ€. Hours later though and we’re still waiting so we’ll venture that the short answer is “noâ€. Decentralized or centralized? That is the question.. The most obvious clues become evident when comparing the performance of popular and less popular torrents after they’ve been added to the Joker interface. The best seeded torrents not only tend to start immediately but also allow the user to quickly skip to later or earlier parts of the video. This suggests that the video content has been cached already and isn’t being pulled live and direct from peers in a torrent swarm. Secondly, torrents with less seeds do not start instantly. We selected a relatively poorly seeded torrent of TPB AFK and had to wait for the Joker progress bar to wind its way to 100% before we could view the video. That took several minutes but then played super-smoothly, another indication that content is probably being cached. To be absolutely sure we’d already hooked up Wireshark to our test PC in advance of initiating the TPB AFK download. If we were pulling content from a swarm we might expect to see the IP addresses of our fellow peers sending us data. However, in their place were recurring IP addresses from blocks operated by the same UK ISP hosting the Joker website. Conclusion Joker is a nice website that does what it promises extremely well and to be fair to its creators they weren’t the ones making the Popcorn Time analogies. However, as a free service Joker faces a dilemma. By caching video itself the site is bound by the usual bandwidth costs associated with functionally similar sites such as YouTube. While Joker provides greater flexibility (users can order it to fetch whichever content they like) it still has to pump video directly to users after grabbing it from torrent swarms. This costs money and at some point someone is going to have to pay. In contrast, other than running the software download portal and operating the APIs, Popcorn Time has no direct video-related bandwidth costs since the user’s connection is being utilized for transfers. The downside is that users’ IP addresses are visible to the outside world, a problem Joker users do not have. Finally and to address the excited headlines, comparing Joker to Popcorn Time is premature. The site carries no colorful and easy to access indexes of movies which definitely makes it a lot less attractive to newcomers. That being said, this lack of content curation enhances Joker’s legal footing. Overall, demand is reportedly high. The developers told TF last evening that they were “overloaded†and were working hard to fix issues. Currently the service appears stable. Only time will tell how that situation develops. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  8. This week the web-based torrent service Joker has been making headlines all over the Internet. However, after a few days the fun stopped thanks to pressure from copyright holders including Sony Pictures, who ordered Joker's hosting company to pull the plug. While most people use standalone torrent clients to download files, there are also several services that allow people to stream videos in a web-browser via the popular file-sharing protocol. One of the best implementations of BitTorrent ‘powered’ streaming is Joker.org. Although the actual streaming is not fully peer-to-peer, as the transfers first go through central servers, its ease of use is certainly appealing. This week hundreds of news sites wrote about the service which became overloaded with new users as a result. A success story, but one with a downside, as copyright holders were immediately on high alert. Just a few days after the service first gathered serious online momentum, it is already gone. The Joker.org website currently shows a placeholder mentioning that it’s looking for a new home. TorrentFreak contacted the Joker team who explained to us that the service was shut down by hosting company Redstation following “pressure†from various copyright holder representatives. One of the notices Redstation received was sent by Entura International on behalf of Sony Pictures Entertainment. This notice alleged that Joker facilitates copyright infringement at 3 levels. 1. The initial download of content via BitTorrent without permission. At no point has Rights Holder authorized transmission of its content via this medium. 2. The storage and/or caching of BitTorrent chunks of the content. 3. The conversion and re-transmission of stored/cached content in streaming video format to users via web browser. Entura International asked the hosting provider to stop the alleged unlawful activities by suspending Joker’s account or null-routing the associated IP-address. Redstation chose the latter option and the Joker service has been unavailable since. Joker is disappointed at being labeled a “pirate siteâ€. The developers believe they offer a neutral and useful service that is piracy agnostic. Potential infringing data is stored only temporarily, without their knowledge. “Which is the worst? Google, where you can find thousands of torrents with a single “X .torrent†search, torrent sites, where you can get access to millions of .torrent files, or joker.org?†the Joker team asks. “Using torrents is not illegal, we are just a service that converts video torrent files to streamable mp4s. We don’t link or enable search for any content,†they add. Despite the current problems Joker doesn’t intend to throw in the towel. They are currently looking for a new hosting solution for their service and will return. “Hell yeah we will come back,†the Joker team concludes. Before they return Joker intends to improve their services and address potential issues, to prevent the risk of another shutdown. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  9. "Supporting the 8 GB model is a consideration, it is neither a deal-breaker nor the only challenge." The Wii U version of Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty, the remake of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee first released on PlayStation in 1997, is having some trouble, but it's not canceled. Speaking on the Fragments of Silicon podcast, the series' creator Lorne Lanning said that publisher Oddworld Inhabitants is facing challenges, but is committed to bringing the game to new platforms, especially the Wii U. "If you're going to make a game for the Wii U it better run on the 8 GB unit, otherwise it's not really a Wii U game. I'm desperate to get on Nintendo, I believe it will resonate with that audience." The Wii U comes with either 8 or 32 GB of storage, and Lanning said that the limited space is posing a problem. The Oddworld Inhabitants Twitter account later clarified the situation: "New 'n' Tasty is not cancelled on Wii U," it said. "We are currently having challenges with the platform that we are striving to overcome. Regarding Wii U, while supporting the 8GB model is a consideration, it is neither a deal-breaker nor the only challenge." New 'n' Tasty is currently only available as a downloadable title on PlayStation 4, but PlayStation 3 andPlayStation Vita versions will follow with Cross-Buy support. PC and Xbox One versions are in the works as well. GameSpot's review of New 'n' Tasty on PS4 gave the game an 8/10 for its gorgeous graphics and deep and engaging puzzle platforming. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  10. The MPAA recently fired shots across the bows of Popcorn Time forks by having their projects removed from Github. But what if a bigger and more advanced project existed, one with impressive extra features and impossible to monitor downloads? Following a $668m investment last year, it seems Hollywood is leaving well alone. Popcorn Time was embraced by millions following its debut earlier this year, but what if there was a similar looking service providing additional features but with a small monthly price tag? Visually, TVShowTime is clean and tidy. It allows the tracking of TV shows and provides associated content on top of community and social networking features. It’s easy to use – click a series from the 40,000 in its databases and one can quickly begin tracking – and watching. After adding a show – we chose Game of Thrones – TVShow Time gave us a link to buy the first season on DVD from Amazon. Links also appeared to download the subtitles in a convenient zip file. Simultaneously a big ‘play’ button marked “watch episode†sat invitingly in the middle of the screen. With a click a new page appeared. As can be seen from the screenshot, TVShow Time provides two options. The first is a free service offering calender and subtitling downloads, plus links to buy the shows from official online sources including Netflix and iTunes. The second allows the viewer to sign up to a $7.99 a month subscription with torrent downloading service Put.io. When integrated with TVShow Time, users can access all their TV shows from BitTorrent networks in both 480p and 720p, and collect the resulting episodes from Put.io via HTTP download. Unlike standard Popcorn Time downloads, these are impossible for anti-piracy companies to monitor. The image below shows the first three already-filled-in torrent sources for Game of Thrones as directed by TVShow Time (Put.io remains a “dumb†service and only takes instruction from users). So, what we have here, at least on the surface, is a Popcorn Time-style interface on steroids with a small price tag attached for downloads. However, while Popcorn Time is being developed pretty much for free and is visible on the radar of the MPAA, TVShow Time sits very much at the opposite end of the financial spectrum. According to reports 1, 2, TVShow Time, which operates more or less like many other streaming or torrent-like indexes (with social networking features attached), is sitting on a $668 million investment. The people who put up the money are hardly lightweights either. They include Jean-David Blanc (Allociné), Deezer founder Daniel Marhely, and telecoms giant Xavier Niel, said to be worth in excess of $8 billion. The situation provides an interesting contrast. While the hobbyists behind the several Popcorn Time forks find themselves in thecrosshairs of the MPAA, and amateur Swedish subtitlers get raided by the police, a company with massive investment can somehow offer similar functionality without incurring the wrath of the studios. But when potential rivals have this much influence, it’s probably easier to turn the other way – at least for now. http://torrentfreak.com/hollywood-hits-popcorn-time-but-leaves-the-mega-rich-alone-140807/
  11. As the fallout from the leak of The Expendables 3 continues, stars of the movie have been speaking out on the red carpet in advance of its world premiere in London. While Sylvester Stallone expressed sadness at the leak, Kellan Lutz was more upbeat, predicting that Internet pirates would still go to the theater following their illegal downloads. The worldwide roller-coaster for The Expendables 3 continues to grab headlines and the movie hasn’t even been released yet. Normally that kind of situation would be coveted by movie makers, but the leak of the movie last month has put a different complexion on matters. Last evening stars of the show were treading the red carpet in advance of the movie’s world premiere at the Odeon in Leceister Square, London, and of course questions turned to the inevitable topic. Sylvester Stallone, who plays Expendables leader Barney Ross, was the first to be questioned. The 68-year-old said that while piracy leaves him sad, for some it had become a habit. “That makes me feel really sad, but you know I understand that a lot of people have accepted that’s kind of a way of life,†Stallone said. But while Stallone expressed disappointment, he also suggested that as a big star he probably wouldn’t be so affected. Others would, however. “I think it’s unfortunate because it isn’t about me, i’m ok, but there’s thousands of people that won’t make movies. They won’t get a chance because they’ve lost a lot of money, that’s the trouble,†the star said. Interestingly, another star of the movie viewed the leak in a more positive light. Kellan Lutz, who plays former Navy Seal John Smilee, said that while people are downloading illegally, that try-before-you-buy would lead them to still purchase theater tickets. “So for the people who downloaded it, I actually think they’re gonna wanna watch it in the theaters because it’s a good movie,†Lutz said. “They’re gonna watch it online, then they’ll be like ‘I gotta watch this in theaters now’, because all the one-liners that kind of go under-layered throughout the action, you just can’t hear that on a little iPad or computer,†the 29-year-old noted. But while Lutz was looking on the bright side, Lionsgate continued to work flat-out behind the scenes in what they see as a damage limitation exercise. As reported yesterday, the company has been issuing thousands of takedowns to remove unauthorized links to the movie online. This is in addition to legal actionbeing taken against several torrent and other file-sharing sites. http://torrentfreak.com/stallone-sad-expendables-3-leak-kellan-lutz-upbeat-140805/
  12. A draft bill for the modernization of Swiss copyright law will be presented for public consultation in the coming months. While downloading for personal use will remain legal, uploading infringing content via BitTorrent will not. In addition to infringement warnings for Internet subscribers, the blocking of "obviously illegal" sites is also on the table. The MPAA, RIAA and associated groups such as the International Intellectual Property Alliance, rarely have positive things to say about Switzerland. “The country has become an attractive haven for services heavily engaged in infringing activity,†the IIPA said in its 2013 USTR submission, while referring to the land-locked nation as “a major exporter of pirated content.†In addition to legislation tipped in favor of service providers, the Swiss also present a fairly unique problem. Thanks to the so-called ‘Logistep Decision’, which wasbemoaned in a recent International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus report, the monitoring of file-sharers is effectively outlawed. As a result it’s estimated that more than a third of Swiss Internet users access unlicensed services each month. With international pressure building the Swiss promised to address the situation and have been doing so via AGUR12, a working group responsible for identifying opportunities to adapt copyright law. In parallel, another working group has been looking at service provider liability. This month the Federal Council took the groups’ recommendations and mandated the Federal Department of Justice and Police to prepare a draft bill for public consultation by the end of 2015. What’s on the table The Federal Council says its aim is to improve the situation for creators without impairing the position of consumers, so there is an element of give-and-take in the proposals for file-sharing, with a focus on balance and “careful consideration†given to data protection issues. Personal file-sharing Current download-and-share-with-impunity will be replaced with an acceptance of downloading for personal use, but with uploading specifically outlawed. This means that while downloading a pirated album from a cyberlocker would be legal, doing so using BitTorrent would be illegal due to inherent uploading. Warnings and notifications While commercial level infringers can already be dealt with under Swiss law, the proposals seek to lower the bar so that those who flout an upload ban on a smaller but persistent scale can be dealt with. AGUR12 has recommended that this should be achieved by sending warning notices to infringers via their ISPs. Only when a user fails to get the message should his or her details be handed over to rightsholders for use in civil proceedings. The Federal Council says it likes the idea, but first wants to investigate how the notification process will work, where the thresholds on persistent infringement lie, and under what process identities can be revealed to rightsholders. Provider liability Under AGUR12′s recommendations, Internet providers will not only be required to remove infringing content from their platforms, but also prevent that same content from reappearing, a standard that U.S. rightsholders are currently pressuring Google to adopt. Additionally, in serious cases authorities should be able to order the blocking of “obviously illegal content or sourcesâ€. Any new obligations on service providers would be balanced by granting them with exemption from liability. Conclusion While Switzerland does not wish to render mere downloading illegal, its effective outlawing of BitTorrent for unlicensed content transfers will put it on a par with most Western countries. Furthermore, if service providers are forced to take copyrighted content down and keep it down, Switzerland could become the model that the United States has to live up to. http://torrentfreak.com/swiss-wont-ban-downloading-but-will-block-sites-140630/
  13. The past year, the copyright industry appears to have calmed down a bit, thinking it won the file-sharing wars. At the same time, people sharing culture and knowledge have done the same thing. This conflict is far from over. The two sides in the conflict over sharing culture and knowledge have rarely been further from each other in their view of the world. On one hand, you have the copyright industry, now content thinking it won the war against the net generation – or net generations by now (plural). File-sharing has stopped growing, the copyright industry observes, and controlled streaming is growing exponentially. New technology has produced a better offering that outcompeted the inferior pirate alternatives, and in the end, people wanted to do the legal thing, the copyright industry argues. But this is very far from the truth. The only true part of it is that the number of people sharing culture and knowledge is no longer growing exponentially, but that’s because the habit is saturated. One-third of young people in the US and Europe today share culture – in violation of the copyright monopoly – daily or almost-daily. A phenomenon can’t keep growing exponentially forever in a finite population: eventually, everybody’s doing it, and that’s the point we have arrived at now. Apart from that, it is true that the copyright industry has produced better offerings: Pandora, Netflix, and HBO streaming. But so have the people who manufacture their copies without a license. The Pirate Bay is ten years old; almost as old as Microsoft’s Windows XP, to put it in context. (Anybody remember Microsoft?) Yet, despite HBO’s successful and profitable subscription model, record numbers of us get our latest fix of Game of Thrones delivered automatically directly to our desktop the instant it is available, courtesy of RSS torrenting and EZTV, or your own favorite supplier. And if we don’t like torrenting, but actually like streaming? Turns out that the pirate equivalents of the commercial offerings far surpass the simplicity, accessibility, and ease of use of the copyright industry’s technology – and that’s not even going into selection and absence of laughingly stupid “not available in your country†messages. From Popcorn Time to Zona, the happy amateur sharers are miles and leagues ahead of the copyright industry. The technology that the copyright industry claims “already has won the war†for that obsolete industry? Well, it turns out that the net generation could use the same technology to build a lot better services still. Teens today make absolutely no distinction whether services are “legal†or not; they just grab stuff from where it’s easiest. In this environment, people on the other side – the people manufacturing unlicensed copies of knowledge and culture, and sharing those copies in turn – have also taken a victory for granted. We’re getting our Game of Thrones, we’re getting our movies and porn as we always have, what’s the big deal? The Pirate Bay team was sentenced in a mock trial five years ago to largely no effect whatsoever (except for those poor individuals), the site itself is still up, and new great services for manufacturing our own copies of knowledge and culture are appearing by the month. Why bother fighting? This is long over, right? Not so fast. SOPA and ACTA was just two years ago, in 2012. They were struck back, but their obfuscated spawn are already appearing. We’ve seen and heard the acronyms TPP, TTIP, CISP, CETA, and others. The copyright industry keeps working, it just does so out of the sunlight. In the end, this is about the power of narratives, the greatest power anybody has ever had. And the copyright industry isn’t giving it up without a fight. The file-sharing wars are far from over. There may be a bit of silence on the fronts at the moment. Enjoy it, and prepare for what’s coming. http://torrentfreak.com/the-file-sharing-wars-are-anything-but-over-140629/
  14. A survey into the movie and TV show consumption habits of Danish citizens has revealed an interesting trend. While streaming service subscriptions are up 40% over the previous year and are credited with reducing piracy by 7% in the same period, the number of people still engaging in illegal downloading has remained static. In 2012, Denmark effectively rejected entertainment industry calls to crack down hard on citizens engaged in illegal file-sharing. Instead the government announced its “Pirate Package“, an initiative focused on the development and promotion of legal offerings rather than punishing file-sharers. A YouGov study in the same year suggested this was a good move. While many people admitted engaging in piracy they also indicated a desire to obtain their movies and TV shows from legal sources – if those services were convenient and accessible. Two years on and YouGov are back with a new media consumption study of 1,180 Danes aged between 20-65. Commissioned by TDC Group, Denmark’s leading telecoms company, it reveals encouraging signs for the both the entertainment industry and the government’s strategy, but also an interesting twist. Firstly, piracy of both movies and TV shows is down. This year’s survey suggests that illegal consumption of movies sits at 5.1 million copies. That’s down from the 5.8 million reported in last year’s study and the 8.6 million from 2012. TV shows tell a similar story. In 2012, around 10 million TV shows were pirated, a figure that dropped to 8.1 million in 2013. This year’s study shows a drop again to 7.9 million copies. According to TDC Group media director Ulf Lund, the continued decrease in the consumption of infringing content is due to the development of legal offerings. “Our position has always been that the best way to combat illegal consumption is by developing good legal alternatives,†Lund says. “This is what we can see now that services like Netflix, HBO, Viaplay and YouBio have really materialized here at home.†The study’s findings show that the public is responding to this increased availability. In last year’s survey 32 percent of households with resident 20 to 65-year-olds reported subscribing to a premium streaming service. This year that figure increased to an impressive 45 percent. But while piracy of movies and TV shows continues to fall in the face of impressive take-up of streaming services, it appears that pirates aren’t prepared to kick their old habits just yet. The study found that the total of those who download or stream illegally has not significantly changed from last year, with 15 percent of respondents admitting that someone in their household had obtained content illegally in the preceding three months, up from 14 percent in 2013. “Things are certainly going in the right direction, but we are far from there yet,†Lund says. “Magnitude has decreased, but the level is still very high and there are still many who admit that they consume content illegally.â€
  15. A survey into the movie and TV show consumption habits of Danish citizens has revealed an interesting trend. While streaming service subscriptions are up 40% over the previous year and are credited with reducing piracy by 7% in the same period, the number of people still engaging in illegal downloading has remained static. piratesaintIn 2012, Denmark effectively rejected entertainment industry calls to crack down hard on citizens engaged in illegal file-sharing. Instead the government announced its “Pirate Package“, an initiative focused on the development and promotion of legal offerings rather than punishing file-sharers. A YouGov study in the same year suggested this was a good move. While many people admitted engaging in piracy they also indicated a desire to obtain their movies and TV shows from legal sources – if those services were convenient and accessible. Two years on and YouGov are back with a new media consumption study of 1,180 Danes aged between 20-65. Commissioned by TDC Group, Denmark’s leading telecoms company, it reveals encouraging signs for the both the entertainment industry and the government’s strategy, but also an interesting twist. Firstly, piracy of both movies and TV shows is down. This year’s survey suggests that illegal consumption of movies sits at 5.1 million copies. That’s down from the 5.8 million reported in last year’s study and the 8.6 million from 2012. TV shows tell a similar story. In 2012, around 10 million TV shows were pirated, a figure that dropped to 8.1 million in 2013. This year’s study shows a drop again to 7.9 million copies. According to TDC Group media director Ulf Lund, the continued decrease in the consumption of infringing content is due to the development of legal offerings. “Our position has always been that the best way to combat illegal consumption is by developing good legal alternatives,†Lund says. “This is what we can see now that services like Netflix, HBO, Viaplay and YouBio have really materialized here at home.†The study’s findings show that the public is responding to this increased availability. In last year’s survey 32 percent of households with resident 20 to 65-year-olds reported subscribing to a premium streaming service. This year that figure increased to an impressive 45 percent. But while piracy of movies and TV shows continues to fall in the face of impressive take-up of streaming services, it appears that pirates aren’t prepared to kick their old habits just yet. The study found that the total of those who download or stream illegally has not significantly changed from last year, with 15 percent of respondents admitting that someone in their household had obtained content illegally in the preceding three months, up from 14 percent in 2013. “Things are certainly going in the right direction, but we are far from there yet,†Lund says. “Magnitude has decreased, but the level is still very high and there are still many who admit that they consume content illegally.†http://torrentfreak.com/pirates-like-streaming-but-dont-completely-abandon-ship-140605/