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Found 11 results

  1. The iconic sitcom Friends aired its last episode more than a decade ago, but that doesn't mean Warner Bros. is letting people pirate the show without consequences. Over the past several weeks the movie studio has sent automated fines to alleged pirates, demanding $20 for the downloading of episodes from various torrent sites. Like many other Hollywood studios, Warner Bros. sees online piracy as a major threat to its revenues. Torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay represent a thorn in the side and the company is doing everything in its power to limit the damage. For Warner Bros. this includes targeting individual users of these sites. Not just to warn them that they are breaking the law, but also by demanding money from alleged pirates. Just recently the Hollywood studio started sending settlement demands to Internet subscribers whose accounts were used to download and share an episode of the popular sitcom Friends. While the series ended well over a decade ago, Warner Bros. is still keeping a close eye on possible infringements. In one notice, seen by TF, the recipient is accused of sharing an episode from season 2, which originally aired in 1995. The Hollywood studio says it “appreciates†that the alleged pirate is a fan of Friends, but notes that sharing copyrighted material is a serious offense. “Although WB understands and appreciates that you are a fan of its content, the unauthorized uploading and downloading of its copyrighted content is a serious matter,†the notice reads. “Your ISP service could be suspended if this matter is not resolved. You could also be liable for substantial civil penalties for copyright infringement.†To resolve the matter Warner Bros. offers the account holder an opportunity to settle the case, linking to the page below where the recipient can submit a payment of $20 to avoid further trouble. Settlement offer While $20 is relatively cheap, Warner Bros. writes that the real damage resulting from the unauthorized sharing is much higher. “The damage to WB from your conduct substantially exceeds $20, but in the interest of having you stop your infringement of WB content permanently, WB is prepared to make you this settlement offer,†the notice explains. Warner Bros. first started sending ‘fines’ to U.S. Internet subscribers two years ago. At the time the Hollywood studio informed us that it was meant as a “discouragement of future unauthorized activity.†However, the automated settlement offers haven’t been without controversy. Warner Bros. and Rightscorp, the company behind the scheme, have been sued for abuse and harassment by several accused downloaders. This is the first time that we’ve seen people being targeted for downloading video content that’s more than 20-years-old. Friends’ age makes it a rather unusual target, but also suggests that Warner Bros. is still generating decent revenue from the series. https://torrentfreak.com/warner-bros-demands-cash-from-friends-pirates-150608/
  2. Staff from four of the UK's most popular cinema chains have been given cash rewards for hindering the work of suspected movie pirates. Eleven individuals stepped in to interrupt nearly a dozen so-called 'camming' incidents on movies including Fifty Shades of Grey and The Theory of Everything. The interventions led to four arrests but things don't always go to plan. While the Internet provides an unrivaled distribution mechanism for illicit digital goods, cinemas themselves are often depicted as the front line against pre-release piracy. Just as the latest blockbusters air for the first time to an eager public, in their midst are individuals who aim to record movies and place them online for the enjoyment of others. And even as discerning consumers seek out pristine high-definition content, third-rate ‘cammed’ copies of movies are still gobbled up online. In an effort to mitigate the number of titles that end up on the Internet from UK sources, the Hollywood-funded Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) promotes the Take Action initiative. In place since 2006, this anti-piracy scheme is funded by UK film distributors via the Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) and encourages local cinema staff to catch ‘cammers’ in the act. In its latest report, FACT says that staff from four of the UK’s largest cinema chains – Cineworld, Odeon, Vue and Showcase cinemas – stepped in during the past six months to interrupt those suspected of recording movies including The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Grey and The Theory of Everything. In all 11 cinema employees were involved in a total of 11 incidents. Police reportedly attended on all occasions, leading to four cautions and three arrests. cambustersFor their efforts the cinema staff pictured right were invited to a ceremony hosted by Universal Pictures where they were presented with certificates and cash rewards. The precise amounts aren’t being released but for the period the maximum is £500 per person. However, FACT now reports that for a limited time more money is on the table. Any cinema staff who prevent and report unauthorized recording between 20th April and 30th June 2015 can expect to get paid a maximum of £1000. “FACT’s strategy, funded by the film distributors and put into action by cinema staff across the UK, seeks to identify and prevent the initial recording that seeds piracy globally,†says FACT Director General Kieron Sharp. “We continue to work together with UK cinema operators to support the success of the cinema experience and to allow continued investment by FACT’s members in exciting entertainment for all audiences.†Despite the successes, the number of incidents in the current reporting period is up on the previous set of figures published last year. Stats released in September 2014 reveal that there were seven “incidentsâ€, all of which were attended by the police. In five incidents the alleged cammers accepted police cautions, with just one incident leading to an arrest. Nine cinema staff picked up rewards. During the reporting period April 2013 to December 2013, a dozen alleged cammers of major movies were spotted in UK cinemas resulting in five arrests but no prosecutions. A total of 15 cinema workers picked up rewards. Although groups like FACT have a vested interest in publicizing the negative fates of alleged cammers, those with less than favorable outcomes are largely avoided. The most recent involved the November 2013 arrest and early 2014 trial of a man accused of attempting the world’s first in-cinema 3D recording of the movie Gravity. It didn’t go well. The case fell apart, with the judge commenting that “It ought to have been absolutely clear there was no legal basis for it.†Although the defendant, a Birmingham-based student, did enter a cinema with camera equipment, he did not record a moment of the film. Nevertheless, he was reported by cinema staff who called in the police. It’s not clear whether any reward was paid in that case. Also of interest is a December 2014 incident when staff at a Cineworld cinema dialed the national 999 emergency number after spotting a group of 12-year-old girls with iPhones and iPads at a showing of The Hunger Games, a movie mentioned in the most current rewards report. After a police search at the scene turned up nothing incriminating the girls were allowed back in. However, the teens waited outside, reportedly in tears, until their parents came to pick them up. It is not clear whether any cinema staff were given a reward for this incident either. While a little extra cash will no doubt be welcomed by some cinema staff and effective hindering of real pirates greatly appreciated by the studios, there is always a risk that the money available will cloud judgement. Nevertheless, police seem ever more willing to get involved. Documents previously obtained by TorrentFreak revealed that in 2008 there were 50 UK camming incidents, with police attending on just two occasions. If current figures are to be believed, in today’s climate they are almost guaranteed to respond. https://torrentfreak.com/cinema-staff-catch-movie-cammers-pick-up-cash-rewards-150423/
  3. The popular TV-torrent site EZTV is warning its users not to visit the old EZTV.it domain, which is operated by impostors. The company that grabbed the old domain at an auction offered EZTV a deal. However, the torrent release group refuses to be involved in any profit oriented partnership so has launched a counter-attack. Earlier this year EZTV ran into trouble with the Italian domain name registry NIC.it over some paperwork. Facing a looming confiscation of the EZTV.it domain name, they swiftly moved to a new home using the Swiss based EZTV.ch. Soon after the EZTV.it domain was suspended, but in a surprise move it became available again after a few weeks. Unfortunately for the EZTV crew it was quickly scooped up by domain squatters. The domain was allegedly listed for sale at an auction where the company EZCLOUD LIMITED (Ezcloud is the same name the real EZTV used in the Whois previously) bought it for a five digit number. They then relaunched the domain using it as a reverse proxy to serve content from the original domain, with their own ads. Instead of making clear that the site was a proxy, the owners removed all references to the real EZTV.ch domain, probably in an effort to keep the traffic on board. TF reached out to EZCLOUD director Hernandez Dominguez Emmanuel, hoping to find out more about their motivation, and we were informed that they initially planned to make a deal with the real EZTV. Emmanuel sent a business proposal to EZTV offering them a percentage of the profit they made from advertisements. The other option was to buy the domain back for a larger amount, but a partnership was preferred. “The business proposal to Novaking was straightforward: he pays us a slightly bigger amount than we have paid at the auction or we somehow partnership by uniting both entities: eztv.it and eztv.ch and we will earn in the course of the next months by percentage of the ads revenues,†Emmanuel tells TF. EZTV’s Novaking was not interested in making a deal and made that very clear in a short reply. “Have no idea why you are trying to sound like business oriented people. I have no interest in making some crappy deals with you simply being a reverse proxy. Have fun with the domain,†Novaking wrote in a quick response. In addition, EZTV banned IP-address of the impostor site so it could no longer act as a reverse proxy. However, this ban was circumvented and ETZV.it still displays recent torrents via a workaround. According to Novaking it’s obvious that the impostors have bad intentions. They want people to believe that they’re the real site so they can make a profit. “They basically want us to do all the work and they make money from it,†Novaking informs TF. To warn people he posted a note on the official site urging users to avoid the old domain. “The scammers who own eztv.it appear to be trying to fool users to think they are the main website,†the warning reads. “Take caution, and stop using their website, the correct domain is eztv.ch. Please inform your family and friends who may still be using the old domain,†it adds. In response, EZCLOUD posted a message on the site inaccurately claiming that they are the real deal. “The correct domain address is eztv.it as always! Please inform your family and friends who may be using other cloned domains.†Considering the rift between both sides it seems unlikely that EZTV.it will be returned to its original owner anytime soon. For now it remains in possession of the impostors, something people should bear in mind. https://torrentfreak.com/eztv-impostors-hope-to-cash-in-on-eztv-it-150403/
  4. Countering the drastic growth of Popcorn Time in Denmark, local filmmakers are planning to go after the application's users. This means that all those sharing copyrighted movies via BitTorrent are risking hefty fines, or worse. After suing hundreds of alleged downloaders in the United States, the makers of Dallas Buyers Club expanded their legal campaign to Europe late last year. The first cases were brought in Denmark, with anti-piracy lawfirm Maqs demanding fines of roughly 250 euros per infringement. After collecting several successful payments the scheme is now getting traction locally, especially following reports that Popcorn Time has become more popular than Netflix. “You could say that the ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ letters have been a success in the number of inquiries that have come in,†Maqs’ lawyer Jeppe Brogaard Clausen told DR, noting that new letters are still being sent out for Dallas Buyers Club. One of the filmmakers interested in the “speculative invoicing†scheme is Danish producer Ronnie Fridthjof. Together with other industry players he’s determined to go after Popcorn Time users. “I had hoped that politicians and the police would take care of such matters, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened. When my business is threatened, I am more or less forced to do something,†Fridthjof tells TV2. While Popcorn Time is specifically mentioned as a target, the action will affect regular BitTorrent users as well. After all, Popcorn Time streams films by connecting to regular torrent swarms. The new fines are expected to be sent out this summer. The first ones will be around 1,000 to 2,000 Danish krone ($150 to $300), and will increase if recipients fail to respond. As a last resort the filmmakers are considering whether to take alleged pirates to court. According to some users streaming films via Popcorn Time is seen as something in a legal gray area. Fridthjof, however, has no doubt that it’s against the law. “It is absolutely crazy that people believe it is legal. It is in no way! It is comparable buying and selling counterfeit goods right next to an official store,†he says. Similarly, the filmmaker doesn’t buy the excuse that people use Popcorn Time because the legal services don’t have the latest films. That doesn’t justify grabbing something for free, he says. “We must be able to choose which business model we want, and it must not be guided by unlawful acts. We will not make a business model that competes with free content,†he says. Legal threats against Popcorn Time users are not new. In the U.S. lawsuits against BitTorrent pirates are quite common, and in Germany Popcorn Time related ‘fines’ have also been issued. Responding to these developments, various Popcorn Time variants have warned their users over possible legal repercussions and have started offering anonymizing options. Both popcorntime.io and popcorn-time.se now have built-in VPN support. For now there are still many people using Popcorn Time without anonymizing services, so there will still be plenty of people to fine. https://torrentfreak.com/filmmakers-demand-cash-from-popcorn-time-viewers-150330/
  5. The 'revolutionary' business model employed by the Internet pirate-chasers of Rightscorp Inc. is driving the company deeper into trouble with each passing year. Despite claims of protecting record copyrights and receiving settlements from record numbers of infringers, the company has just recorded a loss of $3.4 million for 2014. In copyright enforcement circles the terms ‘piracy’ and ‘profit’ are often cited in close proximity. Entertainment companies bemoan the alleged profits made by ‘pirate’ sites at the expense of creators, while the same entities claim that piracy is killing their business, even while making billions. Somewhere in the middle ground lie the groups that seek to turn piracy into profit by punishing the infringements of others. Traditional ‘trolls’ seek thousands from alleged Internet pirates via the courts, but companies such as Rightscorp Inc chase individuals for relatively tiny sums – $20 per shot – for unauthorized content downloads. It’s a strategy the company insists will eventually pay off but if the latest set of results filed by the Los Angeles-based outfit are anything to go by, investors should be wary of holding their collective breaths. In a call with investors yesterday things appeared to start reasonably well. Rightscorp President, COO, CTO, and CFO Robert Steele began by reporting how well the company had performed in the final quarter of 2014. Total revenues were almost $242,000, up 56% from the $155,300 achieved in the same period of 2013. For the full year, things looked even better. From January 1 to December 31, 2014, Rightscorp pulled in close to $931,000 in revenues, that’s 187% up on 2013 when the company generated just $324,000. Steele said the growth in the company’s revenues can be attributed to two key areas. Firstly, the growing number of copyrights for which the company has contracts to extract settlements from customers. On December 31, 2013, Rightscorp were detecting infringement on approximately 30,000 titles but by the same date in 2014 that had skyrocketed to around 230,000. Secondly the company says it is getting more and more ISPs on board. It now claims to deal with 233 and has received settlements from customers of five of the top 10 US ISPs including Comcast, Charter, CenturyLink, Mediacom and Suddenlink. The idea is that more ISPs participating should mean more notices being forwarded and a more healthy bottom line for the company. But that’s only the theory. The problem for Rightscorp is that when compared to the revenue being generated from infringements, its costs are astronomical. It pays out around half of its revenues to its rightsholder clients, which in 2014 amounted to $465,364. But when one looks at the bigger picture that’s much, much less than half of the company’s problems. In 2014 the company spent around $139,000 on sales and marketing. Its wages bill increased from $637,000 in 2013 to almost $1.15 million in 2014. And last year its lawyers earned more too. In 2014 the company’s legal bills neared $481,000, that’s up from $355,500 in 2013. The increase is attributed to legal action being taken against the company, including harassment cases currently in the pipeline. All told, Rightscorp incurred operating expenses of $4,329,602 during the twelve months ended December 31, 2014, versus $2,134,843 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2013. So, with revenues of approximately $931,000, that’s a loss of around $3.4 million for 2014. The company lost ‘just’ $1.81 million in 2013. Nevertheless, Rightscorp still see their situation as positive. “We recorded our strongest year yet with an astounding 187% year-over-year growth,†Steele said. “We are confident that by focusing on these growth metrics, we will be able to capture significant growth ahead.†The company’s latest 10-K filing paints a more gloomy picture, however. “The Company has not yet established an ongoing source of revenues sufficient to cover its operating costs and to allow it to continue as a going concern,†the filing reads. “The ability of the Company to continue as a going concern is dependent on the Company obtaining adequate capital to fund operating losses until it establishes a revenue stream and becomes profitable. If the Company is unable to obtain adequate capital it could be forced to cease operations. Accordingly, these factors raise substantial doubt as to the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.†While the company’s accounts give cause for concern, the precarious situation is only amplified when one examines Rightscorp’s over-exposure to a limited number of copyright-holder clients. In 2014 a total of 76% of Rightscorp sales came from one client, BMG Rights Management. The company’s contract with Warner Bros. accounted for a further 13% of sales. If the former pulled the plug (and after a one year contract BMG only needs to give 30 days notice to do so) it could be game over for Rightscorp. https://torrentfreak.com/rightscorp-hemorrhages-cash-profit-from-piracy-remains-elusive-150311/
  6. The company behind the Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club is spreading its anti-piracy tentacles. After testing out the United States, Voltage Pictures is sending out cash demands in Europe. The company's lawfirm says that letter recipients "are happy to be made aware" they're acting illegally and are handing over the cash. For years lawyers for movie outfit Voltage Pictures have been writing to U.S. based Internet users demanding cash for alleged copyright infringements. Judging from its legal persistence the company has probably made some decent profits while doing so. Earlier this year Voltage began filing lawsuits against alleged downloaders of its hit movie Dallas Buyers Club. In common with all similar actions the end game is not a full trial but cash settlements from worried Internet account holders. But while there are millions of torrent users in the U.S., Voltage and its partners are now venturing overseas. According to Danish news site Berlingske, the Dallas Buyers Club piracy-into-profit model is now operating in Europe. In a letter obtained by the publication after being sent to an alleged Dallas Buyers Club downloader, veteran anti-piracy lawfirm Maqs demands a cash payment of around $250 to make a supposed lawsuit disappear. The lawfirm increases its chances of a ‘hit’ by writing to the ISP account holder but noting that payment should be made “if you, or someone in your household†acknowledges having downloaded or shared the movie. “We know that in a particular household is a computer where this [piracy] has occurred from. That is why we have been asked to contact these people by the film company,†Clausen said. In further comments the lawyer acknowledges that the Internet account holder may not be the infringer and that it could’ve been a child, neighbor, or other third-party, but whether targets will understand the implications of this remains to be seen. These days chasing down individual file-sharers is almost unheard of in Denmark, so it’s unclear whether targets of Voltage and its Danish partners will be aware of when they’re liable and when they not. Unsurprisingly the early signs indicate that some people are simply paying up. “Some [letter recipients] are happy to be made aware that they have done something illegal. They have recognized this, paid us, and learned their lesson. It is positive and also the response that we have hoped for,†Clausen says. As is common in these cases, some letter recipients have told the lawfirm that they have open wifi that could’ve been used by anyone. Some claim they don’t even have a computer. Responses from others are more predictable. “A few have responded aggressively and negatively to the letter, and several have not responded at all,†Clausen adds. But for all groups, there is a deadline. Maqs informs its targets that if no payment is made in 15 days, it may “be necessary to institute legal proceedingsâ€. Given past experience it seems unlikely that will transpire but Maqs says that all options remain open. “It is a choice by the rights owner, whether one wants to go to court with this later,†Clausen concludes. It comes as no surprise that Denmark has been introduced to so-called mass BitTorrent lawsuits and if predictions hold out, expect many more European countries to become similar targets in 2015. ------------------------------ Source: Torrentfreak ------------------------------
  7. TorrentFreak has learned that several porn companies have teamed up to target alleged file-sharers in the UK. ISP Virgin Media has been ordered by the High Court to hand over the personal details of around 800 subscribers. Lawfirm Wagner & Co, which handled previous cases for copyright troll GoldenEye, is handling the case. It’s been more than seven years since so-called copyright trolls first tried their luck with the British public. UK lawfirm Davenport Lyons, a company that attempted to mislead future targets with a semi-bogus high-profile damages ‘ruling’, went into administration early 2014 but not before its partners were disciplined for targeting innocent people. The follow-up debacle involving ACS:Law was widely documented, with owner Andrew Crossley being forced to close down his business after being suspended by the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority for misconduct. After misleading the courts, bankruptcy was just the icing on the cake. None of this was a deterrent to porn outfit GoldenEye International. They embarked on a similar scheme, sending letters to alleged file-sharers and demanding hundreds of pounds in settlements to make supposed lawsuits go away. However, GoldenEye learned from its predecessors by proceeding with caution and staying largely under the radar. But quite predictably and despite legal bluster and empty threats, the company took not a single case to court. So today, quite possibly due to the tendency of the public to pay up rather than become linked with embarrassing porn movie titles, the porn trolls are back once again in the UK. TorrentFreak has learned that last year four porn producers teamed up in an effort to force ISP Virgin Media to hand over the names and addresses of more than 1,500 subscribers said to have downloaded and shared adult content without permission. The companies, none of which appear to be based in the UK, teamed up with Wagner & Co, the London lawfirm also working with GoldenEye. They are Mircom International Content Management & Consulting Ltd, Sunlust Pictures, Combat Zone Corporation and Pink Bonnet, Consultores de Imagem LDA. Mircom International Content Management & Consulting Ltd are active in Europe, particularly when it comes to demanding cash settlements from alleged file-sharers in Germany. Sunlust Pictures is an adult movie company founded in 2009 by former porn actress Sunny Leone, who – entirely unsurprisingly – has featured in copyright trolling cases in the United States. Combat Zone Corporation is an adult movie company based in California. They’re no strangers to the cash settlement model either. TorrentFreak contacted Mark Wagner at Wagner & Co to find out what his clients hope to achieve in the UK, but unfortunately our emails went unanswered. The company doesn’t appear to have a working website and its address relates to a house in residential area. Fortunately, Virgin Media were rather more accommodating. In the past the ISP has been criticized for not doing more to protect its subscribers’ personal details but it turns out the battle with Wagner & Co has been going on for some time. “We have contested the validity of Wagner & Co’s claims (ongoing for 12 months), asking the Judge to thoroughly review the application and the supporting evidence. We have challenged the reliability of the software used to obtain evidence of infringement (FileWatchBT) and the accuracy of the data collected,†spokesperson Emma Hutchinson told TF. But despite Virgin Media’s efforts the High Court took the decision to side with Wagner & Co and order the ISP to hand over the details of its subscribers. While the situation is pretty grim, things could have been worse. “The original request was for double the number of addresses than we have been forced to disclose, now fewer than 800,†Virgin explain. “We advise any of our customers who receive a speculative letter from Wagner & Co, who also represented Golden Eye International in action against O2 customers last year, to seek independent advice from organizations such as Citizens Advice,†the ISP concludes. Restrictions placed on GoldenEye in previous procedures indicate that initial letters sent to Virgin customers by Wagner & Co and its clients will not be as aggressive as the ones sent out by ACS:Law and will not contain a precise settlement amount. However, it is guaranteed that cash will be requested at some point. Upon receipt of these “speculative invoices†there will be those who panic and pay up, and that’s their prerogative. But it’s highly likely that those who admit nothing and stand firm will pay what they’ve always paid in UK cases – absolutely nothing. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  8. The U.S. Government is going after Kim Dotcom's bank accounts, cars, art and other property. In a complaint filed at a Virginia federal court the Department of Justice argues that the property of the Megaupload and its founder should be forfeited as it was obtained through criminal means. Acting on a lead from the entertainment industry, the U.S. Government shut down Megaupload early 2012. Since then the case hasn’t progressed much. Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has been delayed until 2015 and most of the recent court proceedings dealt with how the seized assets should be handled. Dotcom tried to regain his possessions but this effort failed last month. Meanwhile, both the MPAA and RIAA have protected their claims on the Megaupload millions, and now the U.S. Government has joined in as well. In a complaint submitted at a federal court in Virginia the Department of Justice asks for a forfeiture of the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions, claiming they were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes. The filing starts with a brief summary of the indictment that was brought against Dotcom and his colleagues. According to the Government, Megaupload was a criminal organization set up to profit from copyright infringement. “The members of the Mega Conspiracy described themselves as ‘modern day pirates’ and virtually every aspect of the Mega Sites was carefully designed to encourage and facilitate wide-scale copyright infringement,†the U.S. attorney writes. The Government wants the seized properties to be handed over to the authorities, and claims it’s permitted under U.S. law. This includes the bank account that was used by Megaupload for PayPal payouts. The account, described as “DSB 0320,†had a balance of roughly $4.7 million (36 million Hong Kong Dollars) at the time of the seizure, but processed more than $160 million over the years. “Records indicate that from August 2007 through January 2012 there were 1,403 deposits into the DBS 0320 account totaling HKD 1,260,508,432.01 from a PayPal account. These funds represent proceeds of crime and property involved in money laundering as more fully set out herein,†the complaint reads. One of Megaupload’s bank accounts More than a dozen bank accounts are listed in total including some of the property they were used for to buy. The list of assets further includes several luxury cars, such as a 2011 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG with a “Wow†license plate, TVs including a 108″ Sharp LCD TV and artwork in the form of Olaf Mueller photographs. The Government claims that the possessions can be forfeited since they were obtained through criminal copyright infringement and money laundering, but Megaupload’s lawyer Ira Rothken disagrees. “Kim Dotcom and Megaupload will vigorously oppose the US Department of Justice’s civil forfeiture action,†Rothken tells TF. “The DOJ’s efforts to use lopsided procedures over substance to destroy a cloud storage company is both offensive to the rights of Megaupload and to the rights of millions of consumers worldwide who stored personal data with the service,†he adds. According to Rothken the U.S. ignores several crucial issues, including the Sony Doctrine and the fact that criminal secondary copyright infringement no longer exists. “The DOJ’s forfeiture complaint ignores the US Supreme Court’s protection called the Sony Doctrine provided to dual use technologies like cloud storage, ignores substantial non infringing uses of such cloud storage including by DOJ users themselves, and ignores the fact that Congress removed criminal secondary copyright infringement from the copyright statute in 1976,†Rothken says. Which side the District Court judge will agree with has yet to be seen, but with so many parties claiming their cut of the Megaupload assets it’s certainly not getting easier for Dotcom to reclaim his property. http://torrentfreak.com/u-s-government-wants-kim-dotcoms-cash-cars-140904/
  9. Back in 2012, millions of dollars of Megaupload and Kim Dotcom assets were seized in New Zealand and Hong Kong, action designed to bring the Internet entrepreneur financially to his knees. That hasn’t been the case since, however. Dotcom has continued with his very public displays of wealth, living in one of New Zealand’s most expensive houses, flying around the country in helicopters, and bankrolling a brand new political party. All this, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros insist, are clear signs that Dotcom is disposing of wealth that will transfer to their hands should they prevail in their legal action against him – if there is any left of course. Last month the High Court’s Judge Courtney agreed with the studios and ordered Dotcom to reveal all of his global assets “wherever they are located†and to identify “the nature of his interest in them.†Needless to say, Dotcom has been putting up a fight, and has filed an appeal which will be heard in the second week of October. However, that date falls way beyond September 5, the date by which Dotcom has to comply with Judge Courtney’s disclosure order. During a hearing today at the Court of Appeal, Dotcom’s legal team argued that their client should not have to hand over a list of his assets in advance of the October appeal as several legal points needed to be aired during the hearing. According to Stuff, lawyer Tracey Walker said that the 2012 restraining order covered assets generated before that date, but have no scope moving forward. “The assets that they are talking about now are new assets that were created because of my entrepreneurial skill after the raid,†Dotcom explained previously. Dotcom has remained extremely active in the business sector since 2012, helping to create cloud storage service Mega.co.nz and then generating cash by selling shares in the company. The authorities and Hollywood are clearly trying to keep an eye on the money. In Court, Walker said that since $11.8 million was seized from Dotcom in 2012 and other funds are currently frozen in Hong Kong, the studios have a fund to draw on should they win their case. Revealing more about his current financial situation would breach Dotcom’s privacy, Walker added. Appearing for the US-based studios, lawyer Jack Hodder said the disclosure order was fully justified. Ending the hearing, the Court of Appeal reserved its decision on whether Dotcom will have to comply with the High Court ruling and disclose on September 9, or whether he will indeed be able to wait until after the October hearing. In the meantime the political mudslinging continues in New Zealand, with Kim Dotcom now preparing legal action against controversial blogger Cameron Slater who he accuses of publishing “200 plus smear stories†as part of a “character assassination†campaign handled by the ruling National Party. http://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-battles-keep-cash-sources-private-140827/
  10. At the third annual Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Awards, country legend Rosanne Cash will receive the Performing Arts award from fellow legendT-Bone Burnett. The Grammy-winning eldest daughter of Johnny Cash has notched 11 No. 1 country singles over the course of her lengthy career. The awards ceremony -- which will honor nine other outstanding people in a variety of fields -- takes places Oct. 16 in Washington, D.C. Alt-rock icon David Byrne and jazz genius Herbie Hancock have been presented with the award in the past.
  11. Ryushare File-Host Owner Arrested – Cash, Cars, Motorcycles Seized Another file-hosting site popular with pirates has bitten the dust. According to the Vietnamese government the operators of Ryushare were arrested for distributing "depraved culture", a reference to adult-related material. Reports from authorities say the site, which at its peak last year got close to breaking into the Alexa 500, generated profits of $6.2m. There are many hundreds, probably thousands, of file-hosting sites online, each serving their own area of the market. One only has to watch discussion on so-called warez forums to discover which ones are popular with pirates. Ryushare was one such site. Whether its operators deliberately influenced that is up for debate, but healthy affiliate and rewards programs certainly made it more attractive than similar sites without them. The site grew steeply in the latter half of 2012, peaking near the Alexa 500 at the turn of 2013. But while the mere existence of a reward program doesn’t signal a breach of the law, Ryushare clearly had other legal problems. Earlier this month the site completely disappeared alongside reports that its operators had been arrested. This weekend a more detailed report from the Vietnamese government stated that police had shut down an operation dedicated to the illegal distribution of pornography. According to the report, Nguyen Duc Nhat, the Vietnamese owner of Ryushare, was arrested along with three others. This led to the shutdown of the site which according to police had been operating 500 overseas servers. The alleged operators of Ryushare Authorities say that during its lifetime Ryushare generated profits of 132,000,000,000 Vietnamese dong, or $6.2 million for those who prefer less zeros. During the course of the arrests, police say they seized two cars, three motorcycles, five laptops and five accounts containing around $355,000. The Ryushare site remains offline and rumors of a resurrection have yet to come true. Authorities say the investigation continues.