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Found 23 results

  1. I used to get a lot of professional books for a quick look off sites that are now sadly all down. Any good closed community trackers out there? Thanks in advance.
  2. BitTorrent has built solid reputation with the masses as being an instrument for 'free' but could it perform better and prove more popular with prices attached to downloads? That question could soon be answered following the debut of a new torrent client that allows leechers to pay seeders using Bitcoin. To millions of users around the world, BitTorrent is a beautiful thing. Not only does it enable the worldwide sharing of any kind of media, but the manner in which it does so is a stroke of pure genius. Utilizing the bandwidth of all participants in its ‘swarms’, BitTorrent pools the resources of many to provide a streamlined downloading experience for all. It’s both complex and simplicity itself, a rare quality indeed. BitTorrent’s success as a protocol is tied to its low barrier to entry, since anyone with a computer and Internet connection can participate. Above and beyond that no actual money is needed to obtain content. However, the nature of the system means that it’s not entirely free, since users ‘donate’ their bandwidth to others in order to keep a swarm going. Millions of users are extremely happy with this setup but a proposal from developer Bedeho Mender could see money being brought into the equation. Bedeho is the founder of JoyStream, a forthcoming BitTorrent client that tries to improve BitTorrent by allowing peer-to-peer Bitcoin payments in exchange for bandwidth – or content, whichever way one prefers to look at it. To the torrenting masses, that probably sounds a bit like a tax on air. BitTorrent’s growth has stemmed from the fact that millions of people are happy to share for free. Is it possible that by introducing money things are going to improve? Bedeho thinks so. “BitTorrent has many strengths, but I would say people are often not sharing for free, e.g. in private communities which have far higher quality service. In that context one is required to adhere to strict and cumbersome rules about contributing to maintain ratios, and this makes the system work much better,†Bedeho tells TorrentFreak. “JoyStream is just an open version of that very same insight, except that you now are not forced to seed to maintain your ratio, something which is not practical for everyone. The key is therefore not money, the key is incentives to supply enough bandwidth. Money is just one of many means to try to achieve this, just like we do with other goods.†The idea behind JoyStream is simple. If you have some spare bandwidth and content that people want, you can sell access to that content through the JoyStream client. The more common that content the less likely it is that you’ll be able to charge a premium price for it. Rare material, on the other hand, might be worth someone blowing a few fractions of a bitcoin on. In very basic terms, if the user tells it to, JoyStream will wind back its upload speed to zero and only open up it up again when someone pays. One of the claims Bedeho makes about JoyStream is that higher download speeds will be available in this kind of system. The idea is that if seeds are getting paid, they will stick around longer and offer up more bandwidth, a bit like a user on a private torrent site trying to improve his ratio. “All paid bandwidth comes from other peers which are paid to supply it. If you do not wish to pay to download, then you would just be using the regular BitTorrent tit-for-tat exchange procedure as is today, and JoyStream also supports that,†Behedo explains. “With JoyStream it may turn out that people will opt to leave their computer on to earn back whatever they have spent when buying before, so it just becomes a closed loop system. That way you wouldn’t even be spending any Bitcoins in total, over time. In such a scenario, you should still expect the quality of the open BitTorrent system to be as good, if not better, than in private communities.†While earning money for seeding will be attractive to some, will the idea of being in a pay-to-download-faster swarm be off-putting to others? What if JoyStream took off overnight and became a significant player in most swarms? “Just like in regular BitTorrent, if no one has a full copy of the file and is willing to seed, then the swarm would get stuck for a while. However, since there is compensation, that is much less likely to happen with JoyStream type peers, precisely because those with a full download will not always leave right away, as is common today,†Behedo adds. While the overall idea certainly provides food for thought, there will undoubtedly be file-sharing traditionalists shuddering not only at the mere thought of file-selling, but also at the prospect of being denied bandwidth at the hands of someone with more bitcoins to spare. Finally (and just to throw fuel on the fire) when JoyStream is out of alpha it should work on private trackers too…. “I do not know how the torrent community will react in total, but since it is an open system, you are free to use or not use it, and I do expect there will be private communities which will ban it, and that is totally fine with me. That is what an open system like BitTorrent/Bitcoin is all about,†Behedo concludes.
  3. On June 16th 2015, Parliament will vote on how EU copyright reform will develop. On the table are all the sensible proposals: legalize file-sharing, promote peer-to-peer, enable technologies to be transparent and understandable. But all the non-sensible proposals are there as well: stricter laws, punish the people! If the people wont be punished – punish their service providers until their service providers cages them in prohibitive technical standards and digital locks! The pro-copyright lobbies are the best organised in the world. Second only to the tobacco lobby. They gather up employees and contractors and tell them real people and real internet users are bad people who want to harm them. When I was in the Parliament, I was at one time visited by a young mother of two who wondered why I was trying to put her children without food or education on the streets. She was a script-writer for tax-payer-financed French-German TV station ARTE. Even if I understand that her wages don’t come from copyright licenses, even indirectly, and even if she appeared not to have thought of that, it was uncomfortable to be accused of harming someone else’s children. Had I not been 10 years younger than her, and convinced that there are ways for her to make money that don’t include destroying the internet or putting file-sharers out of their homes, I may have opted to change my political opinion because of her heartfelt accusation. Many individuals like her are currently visiting our legislators. Many politicians are presently being accused of harming children should they consider progressive copyright proposals. What these politicians aren’t hearing, are the stories of those people who get cease-and-desist letters, get sued, or put through criminal trials or get handed damages so large they can’t reasonably be paid off in a life-time by a single individual. They’re not hearing the stories of those who’ve built networks for millions of Europeans where, for want of better words, cultural affinity arises. File-sharing and peer-to-peer culture, like no other culture in modern times, has created a common cultural base in Europe. Although I hope that even without my idealistic formulation of these matters, you’re all convinced copyright at least somehow needs to change. Politics too often gets stuck in the realm of the possible. It is possible that a 35-year-old mother could have her income impacted by a legislative reform that in no way influences her employer. It is not possible, but real, that many individuals in the European Union every year are caused heavy, even impossible, costs due to file-sharing trials and cease-and-desist letters. It is not possible, but real, that copyright laws are increasingly forcing technology companies to innovate to the disadvantage of the freedom of the users. The European Parliament needs to be taken back down to reality, and away from the realm of possible dangers before June 16th. If you are presently in the European Union, or if you can reach out people in the European Union, in any way at all: this is the time to ask them to contact their representatives in the European Parliament. Tell the Members about yourselves, your lives, your children and the world in which you want to live. Give them a taste of the reality which exists away from the speculative possibilities of professional lobbies. Whenever we’re too tired or too scared to tell our politicians what is important, whoever has the resources will weave them stories of realms of possibilities instead. The future of copyright, and of all of the Internet, is too important to leave in the hands of such story-tellers. Go to and figure out the specific demands you want to place to your MEP, but remember – your biggest asset is that you’re real, and the lobby stories mostly aren’t. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Amelia Andersdotter represented the Swedish Pirate Party in the European Parliament between December 2011 and July 2014. She’s an expert on topics related to the Internet, intellectual property and IT-policy.
  4., one of the most popular public torrent sites on the Internet, disappeared in recent days with only an ominous Cloudflare warning left behind. Prompted by lots of email requests about the site's status, TF decided to hunt the missing site down. It took a while, but for the patient the site can be found. People being unable to access a particular torrent site is perhaps the most common complaint in the file-sharing world today, and that should come as little surprise considering the elements at play. While citizens of the U.S. largely enjoy unfettered access to any site, file-sharers in Europe have to deal with website blocking on a grand scale. Add domain seizures, pressure on webhosts and sundry raids that effect everyone into the mix, it’s perhaps surprising just how well sites are coping. One site with a checkered recent uptime history is H33T. At times one of the world’s Top 10 torrent sites, H33T has fought through some very public spats with copyright holders and has been blocked in the UK since 2013 after music industry group BPI obtained a High Court order against the country’s six ISPs. Recently H33T disappeared again but with no comment from anyone running the site (if anyone is, day to day), millions of the site’s users were left wondering what the following message from Cloudflare means for the future. “You’ve requested a page on a website ( that is on the CloudFlare network. CloudFlare is currently not routing the requested domain ( There are two potential causes of this,†Cloudflare explains. From the above it’s clear that Cloudflare isn’t currently a helpful service for those trying to access the site. The big question, however, is whether H33T is functioning somewhere and Cloudflare is the issue, or whether it’s gone altogether. Time to bypass Cloudflare to find out. A few minutes of detective work turn up two potential direct IP addresses for H33T, one registered to a Canadian datacenter and the other located in the tiny 115-island country of Seychelles. At first, both appear useless, with the Canadian IP doing nothing and the Seychelles IP directing straight back to Google. However, by adding the latter IP to the Windows hosts file and then accessing in the usual way…… ….H33T magically springs to life. Perhaps surprisingly the site seems entirely operational, with torrents uploaded as recently as today. Exactly what the problem is remains unclear, but serious issues with Cloudflare that have persisted for many days seem to be the culprit. Why these haven’t been fixed is a question likely to go unanswered. The site’s once-popular Facebook page hasn’t been updated since October 2014 and still lists the long-defunct URL as the site’s main domain. In the meantime and not withstanding hosts edits, proxies such as this one are keeping the site alive. Only time will tell if Cloudflare will re-enable the site – the company does not discuss individual cases.
  5. Google is entitled to see internal communication between the MPAA and Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood, a federal court has ruled. Hood previously called for SOPA-like Internet filters in the U.S. and is accused of doing Hollywood's dirty work. In backroom meetings the MPAA and Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood discussed a plan to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial SOPA law failed to pass. The plan, dubbed “Project Goliath,†became public through various emails that were released during the Sony Pictures leaks. In a response Google said that it was “deeply concerned†about the developments. To counter the looming threat Google filed a complaint against Hood last December, asking the court to prevent Hood from enforcing a subpoena that addresses Google’s failure to take down or block access to illegal content, including pirate sites. This resulted in a victory for Google with District Court Judge Henry Wingate putting the subpoena on hold. At the same time Google requested additional details from the Attorney General on his discussions with Hollywood. During an oral hearing earlier this month Google requested various documents including an email conversation between MPAA’s Senior Vice President State Legislative Affairs Vans Stevenson and the Attorney General. In addition, Google asked for copies of Word files titled Google can take action, Google must change its behavior, Google’s illegal conduct, CDA, and any documents gathered in response to a request previously submitted by Techdirt’s Mike Masnick . After a careful review District Court Judge Henry Wingate sided with Google, ordering Attorney General Hood to hand over the requested information before the end of the month. Judge Wingate’s order The documents will help Google to get to the bottom of the censorship efforts and to determine what role the MPAA played and what its contributions were. Various emails that leaked after the Sony hack already revealed that the MPAA’s long-standing law firm Jenner & Block had drafted a subpoena and other communication the Attorney General could use against Google. Many of the “Project Goliath†emails and documents are readily available after Wikileaks released them late last week, but nearly all details had already been made public after the leaks first surfaced. Interestingly, in one email the MPAA’s Vans Stevenson linked to a New York Times piece on how lobbyists court State Attorneys to advance their political agendas. “FYI, first is a series of articles,†Stevenson wrote to several high level executives involved, not knowing that a follow-up would include “Project Goliath.†Perhaps fittingly, New York Times’ journalist Eric Lipton won a Pulitzer prize for the series yesterday, for reporting “how the influence of lobbyists can sway congressional leaders and state attorneys general, slanting justice toward the wealthy and connected.†
  6. There are persistent rumors going around that some file-sharers are doing everything they can to fly under the radar but when ruining privacy is so much easier, why bother? For those who couldn't care less about online security and have a burning desire to turn their online lives into a public free for all, here's our essential guide. Every single day one can hear do-gooders banging on endlessly about staying private on the Internet. It’s all encryption this and Edward Snowden that. Ignore them. They’re lunatics involved in a joint Illuminati / Scientologist conspiracy. No, what Internet users need is a more care-free approach to online surveillance, one that allows them to relax into a zen-like state of blissful ignorance, free from the “Five Eyes†rantings of Kim Dotcom. And there are plenty of real people already following this advice. Real events reported here on TF (and investigated by us over the past few months) have shown us that while operating in the world of file-sharing (especially if that involves releasing content or running a tracker) it is absolutely vital to lay down an easily followed trail of information. Here are some golden rules for doing just that. Naming convention If at all possible, file-sharers should incorporate their real-life names into their online nickname. Dave Mark Robinson should become DaveR at a minimum, but for greater effect DaveMR should be used. As adding in a date of birth allows significant narrowing down of identities, DaveMR1982 would be a near perfect choice. This secret codename can then be used on any torrent site, but for best effect it should be used across multiple trackers at once so the user is more easily identified. But let’s not think too narrowly here. As an added bonus, Dave should also ensure that the same nickname is used on sites that have absolutely nothing to do with his file-sharing. EBay profiles and YouTube accounts are perfect candidates, with the latter carrying some personally identifying videos, if at all possible. That said, Dave would be selling himself short if he didn’t also use the same names on….. Social media If Dave doesn’t have an active Facebook account which is easily linked to his file-sharing accounts, he is really missing out. Twitter is particularly useful when choosing the naming convention highlighted above since nicknames can often be cross-referenced with real names on Facebook, especially given the effort made in the previous section. In addition to all the regular personal and family information readily input by people like Dave, file-sharing Facebook users really need to make sure they put up clear pictures of themselves and then ‘like’ content most closely related to the stuff they’re uploading. ‘Liking’ file-sharing related tools such as uTorrent is always recommended. File-sharing sites When DaveMR1982 signs up to (or even starts to run) a torrent site it’s really important that he uses an easy to remember password, ideally one used on several other sites. This could be a pet’s name, for example, but only if that pet gets a prominent mention on Facebook. Remember: make it easy for people, it saves so much time! Dave’s participation in site forums is a must too. Ideally he will speak a lot about where he lives and his close family, as with the right care these can be easily cross-referenced with the information he previously input into Facebook. Interests and hobbies are always great topics for public discussion as these can be matched against items for sale on eBay, complete with item locations for added ease. Also, Dave should never use a VPN if he wants his privacy shattered, with the no-log type a particular no-go. In the event he decides to use a seedbox he should pay for it himself using his own PayPal account, but only if that’s linked to his home address and personal bank account. Remember, bonus points for using the same nickname as earlier when signing up at the seedbox company! Make friends and then turn them into enemies Great friendships can be built on file-sharing sites but in order to maximize the risks of a major privacy invasion, personal information must be given freely to these almost complete strangers whenever possible. In an ideal world, trusting relationships should be fostered with online ‘friends’ and then allowed to deteriorate into chaos amid a petty squabble, something often referred to in the torrent scene as a “tracker dramaâ€. With any luck these people will discard friendships in an instant and spill the beans on a whim. Domain registration Under no circumstances should Dave register his domains with a protected WHOIS as although they can be circumvented, they do offer some level of protection. Instead (and to comply with necessary regulations) Dave should include his real home address and telephone number so he is easily identified. If for some crazy reason that isn’t possible and Dave is forced to WHOIS-protect his domain, having other non-filesharing sites on the same server as his file-sharing site is always good for laying down breadcrumbs for the anti-privacy police. If the domains of those other sites don’t have a protected WHOIS, so much the better. Remember, make sure the address matches the home location mentioned on Facebook and the items for sale on eBay! Conclusion As the above shows, with practice it’s easy to completely compromise one’s privacy, whether participating in the file-sharing space or elsewhere. In the above guide we’ve simply cited some genuine real-life techniques used by people reported in previous TF articles published during the last year, but if you have better ideas at ruining privacy online, please feel free to add them in the comments. Torrentfreak
  7. After being chased down by a coalition of mainstream entertainment companies, a French court has just handed a former torrent site operator a six month suspended sentence. 'Boris P' must also pay two million euros in damages, an amount he predicts could be cleared in approximately 227 years. After opening its doors in 2010, in 2014 a private tracker known as GKS announced it would be closing for good. As is so often the case, the site was suffering legal problems. An investigation, carried out on behalf of U.S.-based mainstream entertainment companies via local outfits SACEM, SCPP and others, showed that between January 2012 and April 2014, three million unauthorized downloads were made from the site. They included 242,000 movies, 240 concerts and 2,240 music albums. The case concluded in the Criminal Court of La Rochelle last week. The 28-year-old former admin of the site was handed a six month suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay two million euros in damages. Major Hollywood studios were awarded the lion’s share, as follows: Warner Bros. (470K euros), Disney (242.7K euros), 20th Century Fox (228.7K euros), Paramount Pictures (221.5K euros), Universal Pictures (172.5K euros) Columbia Pictures (158K euros) and Tristar Pictures (11k euros). Music groups through the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers (SACEM) were awarded 564,762 euros in damages, with two smaller awards of 5,000 euros each going to a pair of film distribution groups. Interestingly the case was heard in the absence of site operator ‘Boris P’. The site was hosted in Hungary and the Czech Republic but Boris P left France for Budapest in 2013 and never returned. In an interview with French publication NextImpact, Boris P denies that he fled to Hungary. “The city of Budapest is so good, I ended up staying. Also with my [low] income, I better live here where a pint usually costs 1 or 2 euros,†he explains. There were early signs, however, that all was not well with the site. Boris P said he hoped to be considered a host and enjoy the legal protections that provides (he never hid his identity) but there were issues on the financial front. While users were donating enough to keep the site running every month, PayPal blocked his accounts several times. He denies making much money from the site, however. “Maybe 100 to 200 euros a month, sometimes I also paid out of my pocket,†he notes. Then, in the summer of 2014 he got word that French police were looking for him. “They wanted me to return to France to go into police custody,†he reveals. “I did not particularly have the means to return to see my family, let alone go to the police! I offered them a Skype call but [the police] laughed at that. Then, I received no more news – not a single call, nothing?†Boris P says the case has taken a toll on his health. “I have not been able to sleep for a month, I’ve lost 10 kg. I have to live on 300 euros per month, which in Hungary is fine. In fact, I absolutely do not know what to do now and for the future,†he says. “[The fine] is so huge that whether it’s 1 or 2 million [euros] it makes no difference to me. My gross income in 2014 was 8,800 euros and in 2013, 11,546 euros,†Boris notes. “I did a little calculation: by giving them all the gross income of my business, I would need 227 years to pay off the fine.†
  8. The team have decided to give an early Christmas present to Pirate Bay fans. They've launched "The Open Bay," an initiative that allows anyone to put a 'copy' of The Pirate Bay online, minimal technical knowledge required. The Pirate Bay raid last week was a landmark incident which disrupted the BitTorrent ecosystem. Many people have been looking for Pirate Bay alternatives in recent days. While there is nothing that can match the old Pirate Bay, there are plenty of copies available. Earlier this week the TPB crew said that it would be a good thing to have clones of the site all over the Internet, and it appears that the team heard this message loud and clear. The same team that previously resurrected isoHunt launched a copy of TPB on last week, and now they’re opening up its code to the public. The initiative, properly named The Open Bay, opens up the source to their Pirate Bay clone. This means that in a few simple steps anyone can have a copy of the Pirate Bay installed on his or her own domain. “We, the team that brought you and are bringing you the next step in torrent evolution. Open Pirate Bay source code,† says. According to the people behind “The Open Bay†there’s a lesson to be learned from the isoHunt and Pirate Bay shutdowns. Instead of a few big players, the torrent community itself should be a swarm of copies. “We want to change the torrent landscape which has been frozen for 10 years. We need to push it ahead,† tells TF. “The Open Pirate Bay source code will give absolutely anyone with minimal knowledge of how the Internet and websites work and some basic hosting, the opportunity to create a pirate bay copy on his own domain.†To do so, the team offers code and scripts and a large database dump with instructions to get it up and running on a simple shared hosting account. In addition, they put all files in a GitHub repository so people can create improved copies of their copy. We have to emphasize that the term Pirate Bay “copy†should be used loosely here. The standard release includes’s theme and a database dump of roughly 8 million torrent links, while Pirate Bay only had around 3 million. The difference is explained by the fact that The Open Bay database also includes files that originated from KickassTorrents and The original Pirate Bay code or descriptions are not there, and it’s not possible to upload or comment either. Finally, it may go without saying but people should keep in mind that hosting a Pirate Bay copy comes with a legal risk. Whether the surge in Pirate Bay copies is really a good development is open to debate, but we’ll examine this topic in an upcoming article. For those who want a local copy of The Pirate Bay’s archive for historical purposes there’s a safer option. A recent dump of the files database, complete with all original pirate bay IDs, torrent descriptions and hashes is available here. Torrent savvy people who know how magnet links work can even use the latter as a local Pirate Bay search engine, with the help of notepad.
  9. Yesterday The Pirate Bay was raided for the second time in its history and millions of people are still anxiously waiting to see whether the "most resilient" site can make a comeback. At the same time, other torrent sites are noticing a big spike in traffic. phoenix-bayIn recent years The Pirate Bay took several steps to make the site as resilient as possible, moving from a full-fledged BitTorrent tracker to a trimmed-down and highly portable torrent index. The infamous torrent site canceled nearly all central servers and moved most of its operation to the cloud, where it ran on 21 virtual machines scattered over several commercial cloud hosting providers. Yesterday, however, the site was pulled offline with a single raid at the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex. Despite various rumors of TPB reincarnations there is still no sign that the site will return anytime soon. So how can it be that The Pirate Bay was taken down despite all the time and effort that went into making its setup raid proof? TF has been speaking with various people familiar with the matter and one of the most likely scenarios emerging is that the site’s loadbalancer was hit by the raid. This has been one of the remaining bottlenecks for TPB in recent years and the cause of previous downtime. If this theory holds true it should be possible for the site to recover quickly if a new loadbalancer with the right setup is put in place. After all, the virtual machines are not centrally hosted and should be up and running. How long it will take to connect these to the Internet remains guesswork for now, if it happens at all. At the moment it’s still unknown what Pirate Bay-related hardware was seized during the raid. The Pirate Bay team previously stressed, however, that everything is encrypted in case it falls into the wrong hands. On the human front, the police arrested one member of the Pirate Bay crew yesterday. The identity of this person hasn’t been confirmed, but if it’s one of the people with access to the site’s crucial infrastructure it will further complicate any possible comeback. Another concern is that the people running TPB and other sites affected by the raid are also remaining quiet. The popular TV-torrent site EZTV remains offline too and thus far the operator is not commenting on the situation. Meanwhile, most other torrent sites are seeing a spike in traffic from Pirate Bay users looking for a new home. TorrentReactor and other large torrent sites inform TF that there’s an increase in traffic of between 5 and 10 percent at the moment. After the first raid in 2006 it took The Pirate Bay three days to recover, making a blazing comeback as “The Police Bay.†There’s not long left to beat that record. Update: Just to be clear,,, and others are mirrors not affiliated with the original site. They serve old content (no new uploads) and are not TPB resurrections. If the site reappears it will be on the original .se domain. torrentfreak
  10. Far Cry 4's villain Pagan Min.Ubisoft Ubisoft shooter Far Cry 4 has an alternative ending just 30 minutes into its story. The big-budget action romp which will be released tomorrow (18 November) is the sequel to 2012's Far Cry 3 and is expected to be one of the biggest selling games of the year. In Far Cry 4 you play as Ajay Ghale, a native of the game's Himalayan location Kyrat. He returns to the region to disperse his deceased mother's ashes but finds his homeland ravaged by a civil war splitting Kyrat between a rebellious organisation and the tyrannical war lord Pagan Min. MINOR SPOILERS: Below I will outline how to reach the alternate ending... Having met Pagan Min in the opening segment of the game, the player sits with him for a while. When Min leaves for a few minutes he invites you to stay and enjoy the meal, but players can then leave to begin the campaign. However if you choose to stay for 15 minutes, Min returns, resulting in the premature ending. MAJOR SPOILERS: Here's a description of the ending, which may contain spoilers for game's full campaign... Wait for Min to return and in a neat twist you'll see another side to the game's antagonist. What follows is a short scene in which Min allows you to place your mother's ashes where she requested, next to those of her daughter, who as it turns out is the child of Pagan Min. It's certainly an interesting ending and creative choice of developers Ubisoft Montreal, showing you a different side of a character who is certainly a loon, but not one who intends to be your enemy from the start. It also gives you and the character a way to avoid the blood and carnage that follows if you escape Min's meal. Being so early on there's also no reason anyone would feel short changed if they decided to start over and continue the game as intended. You can view a video of the ending below.
  11. Fresh from the red carpet after winning all four awards he was nominated for at this year's MOBOs and Best New Act at the Q Awards, Sam prepares to release his brand new single Like I Can out on 8th December. Back from a sell-out US tour, Sam is home again and following a stunning performance on Later. With Jools Holland, he will embark on his headline UK tour after kicking off the awards season in style. Still to come with two more nominations each are the American Music Awards where Sam will be performing and the MTV EMAs where he's nominated for Best New and Best Push. The wins and nominations coincide with the news of Sam's 2015 North American arena & theatre tour, where he will headline 16 venues including the iconic Madison Square Gardens. In less than 6 months Sam's album In The Lonely Hour has sold over 2.8 million copies worldwide putting Sam on track to be the biggest selling new artist of the year. Sam is currently touring the UK, his 2015 North American tour begins on January 9that the Fox Theatre in Atlanta and ends at Rogers Arena in Canada on 4th February. SAM SMITH AUTUMN NORTH AMERICAN TOUR Jan. 9 ' Atlanta, GA ' Fox Theatre Jan. 10 ' Nashville, TN ' Grand Ole Opry House
 Jan. 12 ' Washington, D.C. ' Patriot Center
 Jan. 13 ' Philadelphia, PA ' The Liacouras Center
 Jan. 15 ' New York, NY ' Madison Square Garden
 Jan. 17 ' Boston, MA ' Agganis Arena
 Jan. 19 ' Montreal, Canada ' Bell Centre
J Jan. 20 ' Toronto, Canada ' Air Canada Centre
 Jan. 22 ' Detroit, MI ' Masonic Temple
 Jan. 23 ' Chicago, IL ' UIC Paviliion Jan. 24 ' St. Paul, MN ' Roy Wilkins Auditorium
 Jan. 26 ' Denver, CO ' 1st Bank Center
 Jan. 30 ' Los Angeles, CA ' The Forum Jan. 31 ' San Francisco, CA ' Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
 Feb. 2 ' Seattle, WA ' KeyArena
 Feb. 4 ' Vancouver, Canada ' Rogers Arena Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  12. String of patches and updates help restore the game's online network; Release date for PS Plus Edition still unclear. Evolution Studios, the studio ultimately responsible for the prolonged connection problems affectingDriveclub, has said that the "majority" of the game's players will now be able to connect online. Driveclub's launch two weeks ago was marred by severe connection problems due to errors within the game's netcode. Many players were unable to play the game online, while the free PS Plus edition has been delayed. Representatives for Evolution have since been proactive in engaging with the community, frequently updating its Facebook fan page and releasing several patches to help restore connections. On Saturday, the studio suggested it had overcome one major hurdle, writing: "We're still improving server performance to get all of you enjoying full online connectivity together, but the majority of Driveclub players should now be able to connect and play online." It added: "We will continue to keep you informed as we make progress and we know we've said this before but we mean it: We know how frustrating it is when you can't get connected and we feel it too. We are working flat out to get online sign-in, multiplayer racing and leaderboards running smoothly for everyone, all of the time." Prior to the release of Driveclub, Evolution and Sony had agreed to release a free abridged version of the game to PS Plus subscribers. However, due to the online connection problems, coupled with the likelihood that a surge of new players would make matters worse, Sony decided to postpone the PS Plus edition. It is still unclear when the PS Plus edition will be released. Evolution Studios hasn't ruled out compensating those affected by the connection problems. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  13. It's the "largest and most comprehensive" DLC offering in franchise history, 2K Sports says. Paige is exclusive to the WWE 2K15 DLC pass ($25)2K Sports today outlined the wealth of add-on content coming to WWE 2K15, which will make up what the publisher calls the "largest and most comprehensive" DLC offering in the history of the professional wrestling franchise. The content on offer spans new single-player offerings, bonus playable characters such as Paige (only for people who buy the DLC pass), and lots more. You can see a roundup of the WWE 2K15 DLC below. All WWE 2K15 DLC will be available for the game's four platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, andPlayStation 4. 2K Sports did not announce specific release dates for any of the packs, but mentioned that all should be released by early 2015. A $25 WWE 2K15 DLC pass, as rumored, will also be available for players, representing a 20 percent savings over buying content packs individually. WWE 2K15 DLC will include the following (descriptions courtesy of 2K Sports): Accelerator ($2) Players will gain instant access to all unlockable content available in the game (excluding downloadable content); 2K Showcase: One More Match ($10) Story focused on the rivalry between WWE Superstars Randy Orton and Christian in 2011; Playable WWE Superstars: Christian, Randy Orton, Edge, Mark Henry and Sheamus; Playable arenas from 2011: SmackDown®, Extreme Rules, Over the Limit, and Capitol Punishment; 2K Showcase: Hall of Pain ($10) Story focused on top matches for WWE Superstar Mark Henry; Playable WWE Superstars: Mark Henry, Big Show, Kane, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Sheamus, The Great Khali, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, and Ryback; Playable arenas: SmackDown (2011), Vengeance (2011), and WrestleMania 29; 2K Showcase: Path of the Warrior ($10) Story focused on the career of WWE Hall of Famer Ultimate Warrior; Playable WWE Hall of Famers: Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Sgt. Slaughter; Playable WWE Legends: Honky Tonk Man, Rick Rude, Macho King, and Colonel Mustafa; Playable WWE Superstars: Undertaker and Hunter Hearst Helmsley; Access to WWE Hall of Fame ring announcer Howard Finkel and WWE managers Jimmy Hart, Bobby Heenan, Paul Bearer, Sherri, Sid Justice, and General Adnan; Playable arenas: WrestleMania VI, VII and XII; SummerSlam (1988, 1990, and 1991); Saturday Night’s Main Event XXIV and Madison Square Garden; WCW Pack ($8) Playable WCW Superstars: Fit Finlay, Lord Steven Regal, Bam Bam Bigelow, Diamond Dallas Page, and Lex Luger; NXT Arrival ($7) Playable NXT Superstars: JBL, Adam Rose, and The Ascension (Konnor and Victor); Playable NXT Diva: Emma; New Moves Pack ($4) Moves Pack: More than 30 new moves, including an alternate version of Sister Abigail (performed from the ring corner and made popular by Bray Wyatt) and Multiple Gut Wrenches (made popular by Cesaro); WWE 2K15 DLC Pass ($25) Access to exclusive playable WWE Diva Paige; Accelerator (access to all unlockable content available in the game); Access to all three 2K Showcase stories (One More Match, Hall of Pain, and Path of the Warrior) WWE 2K15 releases October 28 for Xbox 360 and PS3, while the Xbox One and PS4 versions arelaunching on November 18. Earlier this week, 2K Sports revealed the WWE 2K15 soundtrack, which was curated by none other than coverstar John Cena. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  14. Check out the list of minimum and recommended PC specs for upcoming professional soccer game here. Publisher Konami has published the minimum and recommended PC system specifications for November'sPro Evolution Soccer 2015. You can see the both lists in the image above, which Konami shared on Twitter. PES 2015 launches November 11 for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. The FIFArival features World Cup hero Mario Gotze on its cover. In September, Konami revealed that the PS4 version of PES 2015 will run in 1080p, while the Xbox One version comes in at 720p. For more on PES 2015, check out GameSpot's previous coverage. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  15. New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that search engine results directly influence people's decision to pirate movies, or buy them legally. According to the researchers, their findings show how search engines may play a vital role in the fight against online piracy. In recent years Hollywood and the music industry have taken a rather aggressive approach against Google. The entertainment industry companies believe that the search engine isn’t doing enough to limit piracy, and have demanded more stringent measures. One of the suggestions often made is to remove or demote pirate sites in search results. A lower ranking would lead fewer people to pirate sources and promoting legal sources will have a similar effect. Google previously said it would lower the ranking of sites based on DMCA complaints, but thus far these changes have had a limited effect. A few weeks ago the company also began promoting legal options but this effort is in the testing phase for now. The question that remains is whether these changes would indeed decrease piracy. According to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, they can. In a paper titled “Do Search Engines Influence Media Piracy?†the researchers ran two experiments where they let participants use a custom search engine to find a movie they wanted to watch. The respondents could pick from a list of 50 titles and received a $20 prepaid virtual Visa card as compensation. All search results were pulled from a popular search engine. In the control category the results were not manipulated, but in the “legal†and “infringing†conditions the first page only listed “legal†(e.g Amazon) and neutral (e.g IMDb) sites or “infringing†(e.g. Pirate Bay) and neutral sites respectively. While it’s quite a simple manipulation, and even though users could still find legal and pirated content in all conditions, the results are rather strong. Of all participants who saw the standard results, 80% chose to buy the movie via a legal option. This went up to 94% if the results were mostly legal, and dropped to 57% for the group who saw mostly infringing results on the first page. To Pirate or Not to Pirate TorrentFreak contacted Professor Rahul Telang who says that the findings suggest that Google and other search engines have a direct effect on people’s behavior, including the decision to pirate a movie. “Prominence of legal versus infringing links in the search results seem to play a vital role in users decision to consume legal versus pirated content. In particular, demoting infringing links leads to lower rate of consumption of pirated movie content in our sample,†he notes. In a second study the researchers carried out a slightly modified version of the experiment with college students, a group that tends to pirate more frequently. The second experiment also added two new conditions where only the first three results were altered, to see if “mild†manipulations would also have an effect. The findings show that college students indeed pirate more as only 62% went for the legal option in the control condition. This percentage went up gradually to 76% with a “mild legal†manipulation, and to 92% in the legal condition. For the infringing manipulations the percentages dropped to 48% and 39% respectively. To Pirate or Not to Pirate, take two According to Professor Telang their findings suggest that even small changes can have a significant impact and that altering search algorithms can be instrumental in the fight against online piracy. “The results suggest that the search engines may play an important role in fight against intellectual property theft,†Telang says. It has to be noted that Professor Telang and his colleagues received a generous donation from the MPAA for their research program. However, the researchers suggest that their work is carried out independently. As a word of caution the researchers point out that meddling with search results in the real world may be much more challenging. False positives could lead to significant social costs and should be avoided, for example. This and other caveats aside, the MPAA and RIAA will welcome the study as a new piece of research they can wave at Google and lawmakers. Whether that will help them to get what they want has yet to be seen though.
  16. Many people believe that by simply firing up a VPN their entire real-life identity can be instantly masked from outsiders. The truth is, however, that no amount of encryption or IP address obfuscation can save those who leave huge trails in their regular Internet activities. Last year, Philip Danks, a man from the West Midlands, UK, went into a local cinema and managed to record the movie Fast and Furious 6. He later uploaded that content to the Internet. After pleading guilty, this week Wolverhampton Crown Court sentenced him to an unprecedented 33 months in prison. The Federation Against Copyright Theft are no doubt extremely pleased with this result. After their successful private prosecution, the Hollywood-affiliated anti-piracy group is now able to place Danks’ head on a metaphorical pike, a clear warning to other would-be cammers. But just how difficult was this operation? There’s often a lot of mystery attached to the investigations process in a case like this. How are individuals like Danks tracked and found? Have FACT placed spies deep into file-sharing sites? Are the authorities sniffing traffic and breaking pirates’ VPN encryption? Or are they spending half an hour with Google and getting most of it handed to them on a plate? In Danks’ case, that appears to be exactly what happened. Something that many millions of people use online is a nickname, and Danks was no exception. His online alias in the torrenting scene was TheCod3r, and as shown below it is clearly visible in the release title. The idea behind aliases is that they provide a way to mask a real name. Military uses aside, adopting an alternative communications identity was something popularized in the 70s with the advent of Citizens Band radio. The practice continues online today, with many people forced to adopt one to register with various services. However, what many in the file-sharing scene forget is that while aliases on a torrent site might be useful, they become as identifying as a real name when used elsewhere in ‘regular’ life. The screenshot below shows one of Danks’ first huge mistakes.
  17. New research reveals that BitTorrent swarms can be slowed down significantly by malicious peers. Depending on the number of seeders and the clients they use, download rates can be decreased by 1000%. The attacks are possible through an exploit of the BitTorrent protocol for which the researchers present a fix. BitTorrent is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to share large files over the Internet. The popular file-sharing protocol is used by dozens of millions of people every day and accounts for a substantial amount of total Internet traffic. This popularity makes BitTorrent an interesting target for attacks, which various anti-piracy companies have shown in the past. One of these possible attacks was recently unveiled by Florian Adamsky, researcher at the City University London. In an article published in “Computers & Security†Adamsky and his colleagues reveal an exploit which allows attackers to get a higher download rate from seeders than other people. In technical terms, the exploit misuses BitTorrent’s choking mechanism of clients that use the “Allowed Fast†extension. Attackers can use this to keep a permanent connection with seeders, requesting the same pieces over and over. The vulnerability was extensively tested in swarms of various sizes and the researchers found that three malicious peers can already slow download times up to 414.99%. When the number of attackers is greater compared to the number of seeders, the worse the effect becomes. The impact of the attack further depends on the download clients being used by the seeders in the swarm. The mainline BitTorrent clients and uTorrent are not vulnerable for example, while Vuze, Transmission and Libtorrent-based clients are. TorrentFreak spoke with Adamsky who predicts that similar results are possible in real swarms. Even very large swarms of more than 1,000 seeders could be affected through a botnet, although it’s hard to predict the precise impact. “If an attacker uses a botnet to attack the swarm, I think it would be possible to increase the average download time of all peers [of swarms with 1,000 seeders] up to three times,†Adamsky tells us. “If most of the clients would have a vulnerable client like Vuze or Transmission it would be possible to increase the average download time up ten times,†he adds. In their paper the researchers suggest a relatively easy fix to the problem, through an update of the “Allowed Fast†extension. In addition, they also propose a new seeding algorithm that is less prone to these and other bandwidth attacks.
  18. A California federal court has granted Lionsgate's request for a preliminary injunction against six file-sharing sites that distributed the Expendables 3 leak. As a result, all bank accounts and other financial assets will be frozen. In addition, the sites' domain names are also at risk. Two weeks ago a high quality leak of the upcoming Expendables 3 film appeared online. Fearing a massive loss in revenue, movie studio Lionsgate issued thousands of takedown requests to limit the film’s availability. While most sites swiftly removed links to the pre-release leak, according to the studio some did not respond at all. Late last week Lionsgate sued the operators of six file-sharing sites that allegedly failed to remove the infringing files –,,,, and Lionsgate accused the sites of several copyright infringement offenses and asked for a permanent injunction to stop further distribution of the film, as well as seizure of the sites’ bank accounts and other assets. Yesterday the case appeared before Judge Margaret Morrow at the California federal court. None of the file-sharing sites had responded to the allegations and the judge granted Lionsgate’s request for a broad preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction prevents the sites from hosting and linking to copies of the movie. The same applies to all companies that provide services to or in connection with the sites, which means that the sites are at risk of losing their domain names. In addition, the court also ordered that all bank accounts and other financial assets of the sites can be frozen. “All banks, savings and loan associations, payment processors or other financial institutions, payment providers, third-party processors and advertising service providers of Defendants or any of them must, upon receiving notice of this Order, immediately locate all accounts connected to Defendants,†the injunction states. The seized funds may be needed to compensate Lionsgate for the losses it suffered as a result of the leak, the judge argues. “Such an asset freeze is appropriate in this case to preserve Lions Gate’s right to such recovery against Defendants, who are trafficking in the Stolen Film and may secret assets to insulate them from judgment,â€Judge Morrow notes. This is not the first ruling in favor of the movie studio. Earlier this week Lionsgate also obtained permission to subpoena various third-party web services including Google, Cloudflare and GoDaddy to obtain personal details on several of the defendants. With the preliminary injunction, Lionsgate now has the potential to severely cripple the accused file-sharing sites. Whether it will be enough to stop the distribution of the leaked film has yet to be seen. Thus far all six sites remain operational and links to the Expendables 3 leak are still widely available.
  19. Outspoken movie director Lexi Alexander says that movie leaks, such as the recent one involving The Expendables 3, can happen as a result of directors and producers abusing their assistants. In a move further likely to irritate her Hollywood overlords, Alexander suggests that a high-security leaking mechanism could help to cut down on abuse. It’s pretty obvious that Lexi Alexander isn’t scared of rocking the boat. In an unprecedented move last month, the movie director was pictured holding up a sign calling for the release of Peter Sunde, an individual not exactly the movie industry’s most-loved man. But Alexander is no ordinary person or director. Instead of towing the usual line by decrying piracy as a scourge, the 39-year-old recently noted that several studies have found that piracy has actually benefited movie profits. For a movie worker this is a controversial stance to take, but rather than back off, Alexander only seems motivated to continue her abrasive approach. In new comments Alexander takes aim at Hollywood, this time referencing the recent leak of The Expendables 3. She doesn’t condone the leak, but instead looks at possible reasons why it ended up online. “The piracy issue makes me want to tear my hair out at times. I do not understand how so many of my filmmaker colleagues have bought into this MPAA propaganda. Recently these think tanks and organizations have popped up which are not officially associated with the MPAA, but definitely on their payroll,†Alexander begins. “But okay, you want to be mad at the kid in Sweden or Australia for uploading your movie? Go for it. Oh wait, in cases like Expendables 3 it’s actually someone here in Hollywood leaking it,†she notes. The idea that The Expendables 3 leaked directly from Hollywood is not new. Pristine copies like these simply aren’t available on the streets unless an insider has had a hand in it somehow, whether that interaction was intentional or otherwise. In some instances the motivation to leak, Alexander suggests, could be borne out of a desire to get even. Assistants to the higher-ups are often treated badly, so more consideration should be given to what they might do in return, the director notes. “It’s kind of like going to a restaurant and thinking twice about insulting the waiter or busboy because you’re afraid of what they’ll put in the food before they bring it back,†Alexander explains. “Imagine those famously abusive directors, producers or stars (#notall….) having to tone down the abuse, otherwise LOUD EVENT MOVIE # 5 will show up on The Pirate Bay with a little note that says: ‘Don’t bother seeing this in the theater. Everybody above the line was a monster to us’.†The thought that leaks might happen as a type of personal revenge is in itself the stuff of a Hollywood plot. However, just as it’s unlikely that a story about a movie leak would ever make the silver screen, Hollywood insiders involved in them also tend to escape criticism. In fact, history shows us that the *actual* leakers, whether that’s an assistant with a grudge or otherwise, are rarely – if ever – paraded around in public as criminals. That honor is usually reserved for the first uploaders and/or their ‘pirate’ allies. Still, Alexander feels it would be wise to keep those close to home in a good frame of mind. “Maybe the MPAA should drop some of their $$ on PSAs about the danger of abusing assistants: ‘If you kick me everyday, your film will land on Pirate Bay’,†she warns. Finally, in a move likely to further annoy the Hollywood brass, Alexander presents a “hypothetical†mechanism through which abused assistants could beat the bullies. “I’m not suggesting anything, but hypothetically, if there were an anonymous address people could send not-yet-released movie DVDs to, so someone else could upload them without a chance of it being backtracked to the source, then a whole bunch of abused and mistreated assistants wouldn’t be defenseless anymore,†she concludes. Due to the hugely controversial nature of her comments its difficult to judge how serious Alexander is with her suggestions. But, whatever the case, it’s safe to say that she’s one of a kind and likely to continue rocking the boat in future.
  20. Last week The Expendables 3 leaked online and thousands shared it illegally. While most sat in the shadows, David Pierce, an editor at The Verge, admitted to engaging in what amounts to the criminal distribution of an unreleased copyright work. Is it now OK to confess to jailable offenses as long as they're piracy-related? Last week’s leak of The Expendables 3 was a pretty big event in the piracy calendar and as TF explained to inquiring reporters, that is only achieved by getting the right mix of ingredients. First and foremost, the movie was completely unreleased meaning that private screenings aside, it had never hit a theater anywhere in the world. Getting a copy of a movie at this stage is very rare indeed. Secondly, the quality of the leaked DVD was very good indeed. Third, and we touched on this earlier, are the risks involved in becoming part of the online distribution mechanism for something like this. Potentially unfinished copies of yet-to-be-released flicks can be a very serious matter indeed, with custodial sentences available to the authorities. And yet this week, David Pierce, Assistant Managing Editor at The Verge, wrote an article in which he admitted torrenting The Expendables 3 via The Pirate Bay. PIRATE CONFESSIONS – UNCUT “The Expendables 3 comes out August 15th in thousands of theaters across America. I watched it Friday afternoon on my MacBook Air on a packed train from New York City to middle-of-nowhere Connecticut. I watched it again on the ride back. And I’m already counting down the days until I can see it in IMAX,†he wrote. Pierce’s article, and it’s a decent read, talks about how the movie really needs to be seen on the big screen. It’s a journey into why piracy can act as promotion and how the small screen experience rarely compensates for seeing this kind of movie in the “big show†setting. Pierce is a great salesman and makes a good case but that doesn’t alter the fact that he just admitted to committing what the authorities see as a pretty serious crime. The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 refers to it as “the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution.†The term “making it available†refers to uploading and although one would like to think that punishments would be reserved only for initial leakers (if anyone), the legislation fails to specify. It seems that merely downloading and sharing the movie using BitTorrent could be enough to render a user criminally liable, as this CNET article from 2005 explains. So with the risks as they are, why would Pierce put his neck on the line? Obviously, he wanted to draw attention to the “big screen†points mentioned above and also appreciates plenty of readers. It’s also possible he just wasn’t aware of the significance of the offense. Sadly, our email to Pierce earlier in the week went unanswered so we can’t say for sure. But here’s the thing. There can be few people in the public eye, journalists included, who would admit to stealing clothes from a Paris fashion show in order to promote Versace’s consumer lines when they come out next season. And if we wrote a piece about how we liberated aHonda Type R prototype from the Geneva Motor Show in order to boost sales ahead of its consumer release next year, we’d be decried as Grand Theft Auto’ists in need of discipline. What this seems to show is that in spite of a decade-and-a-half’s worth of “piracy is theft†propaganda, educated and eloquent people such as David Pierce still believe that it is not, to the point where pretty serious IP crimes can be confessed to in public. At the very least, the general perception is that torrenting The Expendables 3 is morally detached from picking up someone’s real-life property and heading for the hills. And none of us would admit to the latter, would we? Hollywood and the record labels will be furious that this mentality persists after years of promoting the term “intellectual property†and while Lionsgate appear to have picked their initial targets (and the FBI will go after the initial leakers), the reality is that despite the potential for years in jail, it’s extremely unlikely the feds will be turning up at the offices of The Verge to collar Pierce. Nor will they knock on the doors of an estimated two million other Expendables pirates either. And everyone knows it. As a result, what we have here is a crazy confession brave article from Pierce which underlines that good movies are meant to be seen properly and that people who pirate do go on to become customers if the product is right. And, furthermore, those customers promote that content to their peers, such as the guy on the train who looked over Pierce’s shoulder when he was viewing his pirate booty. “He won’t be the last person I tell to go see The Expendables 3 when it hits theaters in August,†Pierce wrote. “And I’ll be there with them, opening night. I know the setlist now, I know all the songs by heart, but I still want to see the show.†Pierce’s initial piracy was illegal, no doubt, but when all is said and done (especially considering his intent to promote and invest in the movie) it hardly feels worthy of a stay in the slammer. I venture that the majority would agree – and so the cycle continues.
  21. A Dutch marketplace for second hand eBooks is being allowed to continue operating after the Amsterdam Court dismissed complaints from book publishers. The Court ruled that "Tom Kabinet" operates in a legal gray area which requires further investigation. Meanwhile the used eBook business is booming. People who buy an MP3, digital movie or an eBook assume that they have the right to do whatever they want with it, but copyright holders see things differently. Platforms that allow people to resell digital goods are meeting fierce resistance from the entertainment industries, who view them as a threat to their online business models. For example, the major record labels previously pointed out that MP3s are simplytoo good to resell, as they don’t deteriorate in quality. Similarly, movie studioscomplained that the ability to sell “used†videos would kill innovation. The book industry is also concerned and in an attempt to counter this threat several publishers launched a lawsuit against Tom Kabinet, an online marketplace for used eBooks based in the Netherlands. The publishers fear that the site will negatively impact their business, and that it can’t prevent people from reselling pirated copies. The companies asked the Amsterdam Court for a preliminary injunction against Tom Kabinet, but the request was deniedthis week. The Amsterdam Court concluded that selling used eBooks is a legal grey area and not by definition illegal in Europe. Previously the EU Court of Justice previously ruled that consumers are free to resell games and software, even when there’s no physical copy. That case applied to licensed content, which is different from the Tom Kabinet case, so further investigation is needed to arrive at a final verdict. The court therefore dismissed the publishers’ claims and ordered them to pay €23.469,56 in legal fees. Tom Kabinet, meanwhile, is still allowed to facilitate the sale of used eBooks. It’s clear that the publishers didn’t get the result they hoped for. In fact, things have gotten worse, as Tom Kabinet’s visitor numbers have exploded. Shortly after the verdict was announced the site went offline because it couldn’t handle the surge in traffic. These connectivity issues have been fixed now, and the site’s owner is happy with the outcome thus far. “There is still a long way to go before legislation is clear on eBooks, but we’ve made a pretty good start,†Tom Kabinet informed TorrentFreak. The publishers on the other hand are considering further steps, and it’s likely that the case will head to a full trial in the future.
  22. In a bid to tackle alleged infringement, popular music sharing platform SoundCloud is offering unlimited removal powers to certain copyright holders. Responding to a complaint from a UK DJ the company admitted that Universal Music can delete any and all SoundCloud tracks without oversight. The major record labels still see online piracy as one of the main threats to their industry. To counter this problem they are constantly monitoring the Internet for copies of their work being shared without permission. This also happens at SoundCloud, which in recent years became one of the most popular services for people to share music. As a legitimate service, SoundCloud helps copyright holders by accepting takedown requests. However, in some cases SoundCloud goes a step further. This is what DJ Mr Brainz discovered after his paid account was terminated due to repeated copyright infringements. Mr Brainz used SoundCloud to post copies of his radio show, which he believes drives more sales, but Universal Music disagreed and took down his files. To find out more about the alleged infringements the DJ asked SoundCloud for additional details, as Do Androids Dance reports. Quite surprisingly, however, SoundCloud couldn’t provide more information as the removals were carried out by Universal music directly. “Your uploads were removed directly by Universal. This means that SoundCloud had no control over it, and they don’t tell us which part of your upload was infringing. If you look at your tracklist it may help you find the Universal content they wanted blocked,†SoundCloud’s copyright team explained. “The control of removing content is completely with Universal. This means I can’t tell you why they removed your uploads and not others, and you would really need to ask them that question,†the SoundCloud representative adds. In other words, SoundCloud grants Universal Music the power to delete any and all content they deem to be infringing. This apparently happens without oversight or any record of what’s being taken down. This blanket removal power is especially problematic since the affected users don’t know what they have done wrong. Without any details on the allegedly infringed track, it’s pretty much impossible to file a counter notice. These type of broad takedown powers are not unique to SoundCloud. Previously YouTube has come under fire because the company allowed record labels to remove “disrespectful†videos or other non-infringing files the labels deemed inappropriate. The recent issues at SoundCloud are not an isolated incident either. Over the past several months many users have complained about an avalanche of takedown notices. After America’s DJ Kaskade had 70 percent of his SoundCloud tracks removed due to alleged copyright infringements, he said he would start his own music sharing site instead. “I will move forward with constructing my own portal where I can share what I like when I like,†Kaskade said. Despite the critique SoundCloud sees no wrongdoing. The company points out that users are free to dispute any inaccurate takedowns. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done. It is clear that SoundCloud is putting its users at a significant disadvantage here.
  23. European ISPs Can Stop Logging User Data, Court Rules The European Court of Justice has overturned Europe's data retention directive, arguing that it's disproportionate and a violation of people's privacy. The decision has far-reaching consequences for the collection of data from European internet users, including their IP-addresses. In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice has declared Europe’s Data Retention directive to be a violation of Internet users’ privacy. Under the Directive Internet providers and other telecom companies were required to log and store vast amounts of information, including who their subscribers communicate with, and what IP-addresses they use. The local authorities could then use this information to fight serious crimes, but it was also been frequently used by third parties, in online piracy cases for example. Today the Court ruled that the data collection requirements are disproportionate. In a case started by Digital Rights Ireland the Court effectively annulled the directive, and it’s now up to the individual member states to change local laws accordingly. “The Court is of the opinion that, by adopting the Data Retention Directive, the EU legislature has exceeded the limits imposed by compliance with the principle of proportionality,†the Court states. “By requiring the retention of those data and by allowing the competent national authorities to access those data, the directive interferes in a particularly serious manner with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data,†it adds. The judgement has far-reaching implications for large telecom companies, but also for smaller businesses including many VPN providers. With the new ruling these companies are no longer required to log extensive amount of user data as was required under the EU Directive. While many ISPs are waiting to see what local Governments decide, the Swedish provider Bahnhof immediately announced that it would wipe all subscriber data it stored. “Bahnhof stops all data storage with immediate effect. In addition, we will delete the information that was already saved,†Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung says. There’s also resistance against the Court decision. The Dutch Minister of Justice Fred Teeven, for example, wants local ISPs to continue storing user data for law enforcement purposes. The European Court of Justice judgement is a clear victory for privacy activists, but mostly for the public who will regain some of their online privacy. While the ruling specified that some data retention may be needed, broad and mandatory retention laws and NSA-style data dragnets are no longer the standard.