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Found 22 results

  1. The purpose of public libraries is exactly the same as the effect of file-sharing. You cannot defend one while opposing the other. Public libraries started appearing in the mid-1800s. At the time, publishers went absolutely berserk: they had been lobbying for the lending of books to become illegal, as reading a book without paying anything first was “stealingâ€, they argued. As a consequence, they considered private libraries at the time to be hotbeds of crime and robbery. (Those libraries were so-called “subscription librariesâ€, so they were argued to be for-profit, too.) British Parliament at the time, unlike today’s politicians, wisely disagreed with the publishing industry lobby – the copyright industry of the time. Instead, they saw the economic value in an educated and cultural populace, and passed a law allowing free public libraries in 1850, so that local libraries were built throughout Britain, where the public could take part of knowledge and culture for free. In other words, they made explicit exceptions to the copyright monopoly for the benefit of public access to culture and knowledge. In most copyright monopoly legislation today, it says explicitly that monopoly holders to not have any kind of right to object to their works being displayed, read, and lent from public libraries. This can be traced back to the insights of 1850. So how is this different from file-sharing? From manufacturing your own copies of knowledge and culture from others’ sources? Is it different at all? Yes, it is different. It differs in efficiency. Where public libraries can educate one citizen at a time from one original book, file-sharing has the potential to educate millions at a time with the same effort spent. Libraries and file-sharing do not differ in payment to copyright monopoly holders. You would frequently hear that authors are paid royalties when their books are borrowed from a library. This claim is not true. Authors do indeed get some slush money in most European countries, and this is based on library statistics, but it is no form of compensation for that library activity. The difference is crucial. Rather, that money “from libraries†is a unilateral cultural grant that happens to use library statistics for data. It is not true that authors get money when their books are borrowed from libraries. In some cases, they do, but that’s mostly a coincidence. When Harry Potter in Swedish is borrowed from a Swedish library, for example, J.K. Rowling does not get a single penny for that. (The translator does, though. It’s a grant to promote culture availability in the local language, not to reward the author.) So the equivalence – the connection between lending and compensation – can be trivially disproven through examples. Libraries and file-sharing do not differ in principle. The purpose of libraries was – is – to make culture and knowledge available to as many as possible, as efficiently as possible, for free – simply because of the greater socioeconomic benefit of an educated and cultural populace. How is this not file-sharing? So we can observe that public libraries and file-sharing differ in scale and efficiency – and only in scale and efficiency. Quite a bit, even. But that’s a quantitative difference, not a qualitative difference. I sometimes hear people trying to defend the copyright monopoly by saying that file-sharing makes public libraries too efficient, and therefore cannot be allowed. I can’t do anything but shake my head at that. That has to be a first in the public debate: Are those people actually standing up and demanding that public services, such as public libraries, be made less efficient, to have less output for the tax money spent on it? No. That does not make sense. And they deserve to hear it, to hear the absolute silliness of their own argument. You just cannot defend public libraries and oppose file-sharing at the same time. They are one and the same phenomenon. One is just vastly more efficient. In a quote from the 1850s that went past my information flow in February 2009, I noted that a publisher of the time had argued, paraphrased, that “you cannot possibly allow people to read books for free! If you pass this law, no author will ever make a penny from books again! Not a single more book will be written if you pass this law!†(Sadly, I have lost the source of that quote. If somebody recognizes it, I would love to re-source it.) Indeed, no book has been written since 1850. And no movie or piece of music has been created since large-scale file sharing with the Internet arrived around 1999. Either that, or these arguments are completely bogus, and there are only gains to be had from enabling the largest library ever created. History does repeat itself. As do the people trying to defend obsolete guild-like privileges, even across centuries. We have built the most amazing public library ever created. All of humanity is able to access the collective culture and knowledge of all of humanity, twenty-four by seven, as well as contribute to that collective pool. All the tools are already in place, all the infrastructure already rolled out, all the training already completed. Not a single tax penny needs to be spent to accomplish this. The only thing we need to do is to remove the ban on using it. Why are we letting a cartoon industry stand in the way of this? ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy. https://torrentfreak.com/you-cant-defend-public-libraries-and-oppose-file-sharing-150510/
  2. 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
  3. In the beginning of The Pirate Bay's history the site was in Swedish. It was made by Swedes for their community. Other countries had their own file sharing sites but they got shut down. I remember when one of the biggest Spanish file-sharing sites was shut down. These file sharers had nowhere to go but The Pirate Bay (TPB). All of a sudden the top list of TPB was flooded with Spanish content except for one peculiar audiobook. It was a Swedish language course. We decided to translate the site. Not just into English but into as many languages as possible. We found people from lots of countries to chime in and help. I remember the Portuguese translation especially interesting as it was carried out by a man from Brazil. We decided that we’d make two different buttons for the translation – one for Portuguese and one for Brazilian-Portuguese. These languages differ a little. The actual gettext translation file was the same though. There were words that had never been translated to Portuguese before (like “seederâ€, “leecher†and “torrent†as technical terms) and for us it was funny to see that Brazil, a former colony of Portugal, had a say in how their former mother state developed their native language. The Swedish translation gave me a similar experience. A Finnish person did most of the translation. Finland, which was part of, and ruled by, Sweden for a very long time, still has Swedish as an official language. A few words in the Swedish translation of TPB were so new that they had to be invented. Some ended up in dictionaries. And the same thing happened for the Norwegian translation. There are two of them, since Norway has two main languages. But the main Norwegian translation was done by a person who speaks the minority language (whom just happens to also be really good at the main language). It has an effect on how the language develops. A few years later another thing made me think quite a lot. During the height of TPB’s struggles I noticed that for the first time ever, more than 50% of the top 100 listing were things from India. Previously when TPB was localized for Sweden it felt natural that it had mostly Scandinavian or English things. But when it had become an international success, and the things being shared were not from where one thought they might be, it said something about the way the world is moving. I just watched the movie India’s Daughter. The movie is about a gang rape (and murder) in India in 2012. The first thing that struck me was that I wanted to put it up on The Pirate Bay’s frontpage to make sure that people all over the world could see it – especially in India. Why? It’s being censored there. It’s a film that everyone needs to see. But not only is there a copyright issue, but there’s also a country-wide ban on the movie. People have tried putting it up on YouTube multiple times, but YouTube always takes the movie down due to their need to follow court orders in India. This all puts things into perspective for me. De-centralized file sharing by virtue of peer-to-peer technology is obviously a way to get important information in and out of countries in a time of need. It’s a way to make sure that global data is not being blocked due to local corruption. It transcends the ideas of national borders. And it is highly political. It has multiple angles. I understand now that one of the key reasons for the US to fight file-sharing might be that they don’t want India to take over their place as the number one culture. If Bollywood passes Hollywood in interest, it will be a huge loss for the US. I am also upset that no one in TPB is doing their part. No one cares about politics anymore. It’s a technical site that is not helping a movement. I’m not talking about the file-sharing movement. But for me it’s strange that TPB is not promoting India’s Daughter to everyone globally. Especially on the international women’s day. Sharing is political. Words are political. Communication is political. And if we don’t use the powers and voices we have, we’re on the wrong side of the struggle. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Peter Sunde is the former spokesperson of The Pirate Bay. He’s currently working for the micro-payment service Flattr, the encrypted chat client Heml.is and several other technology startups. https://torrentfreak.com/peter-sunde-file-sharing-is-politics-propaganda-and-control-150314/
  4. Internet provider AT&T has obtained a patent to speed up BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic, while reducing the impact of these transfers on its network. Whether the invention will ever be implemented is doubtful though, as net neutrality proponents generally don't like "fast lanes." Despite the growing availability of legal services, unauthorized file-sharing continues to generate thousands of petabytes of traffic each month. This massive network use has caused concern among many Internet providers over the years, some of which decided to throttle BitTorrent transfers. Interestingly, AT&T believes the problem can also be dealt with in a more positive way. A new patent awarded to the Intellectual Property division of the Texas-based ISP describes a ‘fast lane’ for BitTorrent and other P2P traffic. Titled “System and Method to Guide Active Participation in Peer-to-Peer Systems with Passive Monitoring Environment,†one of the patent’s main goals is to speed up P2P transfers while reducing network costs. While acknowledging the benefits of file-sharing networks, the ISP notes that they can take up a lot of resources. “P2P networks can be useful for sharing content files containing audio, video, or other data in digital format. It is estimated that P2P file sharing, such as BitTorrent, represents greater than 20% of all broadband traffic on the Internet,†AT&T writes. To limit the impact on its network resources, AT&T proposes several technologies to serve content locally. This can be done by prioritizing local traffic and caching files from its own servers. “The local peer server may provide the content to peers within the same subnet more efficiently than can a peer in another subnet,†the patent reads. “As such, providing the content on the local peer server can reduce network usage and decrease the time required for the peer to download the content.†Patent drawing The ISP realizes that there may be legal concerns when it starts to serve downloads from its own servers, and notes that some “unlicensed†content may be excluded. In addition to caching files, the patent also describes a system in which BitTorrent traffic is analyzed in order to connect subscribers to peers that cause less congestion. “In an embodiment, pieces of the data file may be preferentially retrieved from peers closer in the network or peers having a lower network cost,†the patent reads. In other words, AT&T’s proposal reduces network costs while speeding up the transfers of its subscribers. It seems like a win-win for everyone involved, except strict net neutrality proponents who expect every bit to be treated equally. Given the big push for net neutrality it is unlikely that the ISP has intentions to test or implement the file-sharing “fast lane†in the real world. It’s hard to miss the irony here. The present net neutrality debate first started in 2007 when TF uncovered that Comcast was throttling BitTorrent traffic. Those same principles might now prevent a system that can speed up torrents. http://torrentfreak.com/att-patents-fast-lane-for-bittorrent-traffic-150219/
  5. RapidShare, once the most popular file-hosting service in the Internet, has announced that it will shut down next month. The company doesn't cite a reason for the surprising shutdown, but losing the majority of its users in recent years after the implementation of tough anti-piracy measures is likely to be connected. Founded in 2002, Swiss-based RapidShare was one of the first and most popular one-click file-hosting services on the Internet. Like most sites of this nature, RapidShare was frequently used by people to share copyright-infringing material. It was a relationship that got the company into trouble on various occasions. RapidShare fought many legal battles with entertainment companies seeking to hold the company liable for the actions of its users, and to top it off the site was called out by the U.S. Government as a “notorious market.†Hoping to clear up its image the company made tremendous efforts to cooperate with copyright holders and limit copyright infringements. Among other things, the company adopted one of the most restrictive sharing policies while (re)branding itself as a personal cloud storage service. The anti-piracy measures seemed to work, but as a result RapidShare’s visitor numbers plunged. The dwindling revenues eventually cost most of RapidShare’s employees their jobs. Today marks the beginning of the final chapter in RapidShare’s controversial history. The company just announced that it will shut down at the end of March and is recommending that users store their files elsewhere. “Kindly note that RapidShare will stop the active service on March 31st, 2015. Extensions of STANDARD PLUS and PREMIUM will be possible until February 28th, 2015,†RapidShare writes on its homepage. “We strongly recommend all customers to secure their data. After March 31st, 2015 all accounts will no longer be accessible and will be deleted automatically,†the company adds. TF asked the company for further details on the planned shutdown but we have yet to hear back. The most likely explanation is that RapidShare can’t sustain its business with the smaller number of users it has today. The demise of RapidShare marks the end of an era. Half a decade ago RapidShare was listed among the 50 most-visited sites on the Internet, with hundreds of millions of page-views per month, but in a just a few weeks it will be gone. http://torrentfreak.com/file-sharing-icon-rapidshare-shuts-150210/
  6. New revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that Canada's main electronic surveillance agency spied on millions of file-sharing downloads from some of the world's most popular sites. More than 100 sites including Dotcom's Megaupload were routinely monitored in a search for extremists. Being monitored online is a reality largely acknowledged by millions of file-sharers worldwide. Countless rightsholders, anti-piracy outfits, analytics companies and other interested parties crawl BitTorrent and other P2P networks every day, spying on downloads and gathering data. While the public nature of these networks is perfect for those looking to eavesdrop, individuals who use file-hosting sites are often under the impression that their transfers cannot be monitored by third parties since transactions take place privately from user to site via HTTP. That assumption has today been blown completely out of the water amid revelations that Canada’s top electronic surveillance agency has been spying on millions of downloads from more than 100 file-sharing sites. Led by the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s equivalent of the NSA, and codenamed LEVITATION, the project unveils widespread Internet surveillance carried out by Canadian authorities. A document obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and released to CBC News shows that in an effort to track down extremists the spy agency monitors up to 15 million downloads carried out by users around the world every day. According to the 2012 document, 102 file-sharing platforms were monitored by CSE. Just three were named – RapidShare, SendSpace, and the now defunct Megaupload. None of the sites were required to cooperate with the Canadian government since CSE had its own special capabilities. “A separate secret CSE operation codenamed ATOMIC BANJO obtains the data directly from internet cables that it has tapped into, and the agency then sifts out the unique IP address of each computer that downloaded files from the targeted websites,†The Intercept‘s analysis of the document notes. Once harvested those IP addresses are cross-referenced with vast amounts of additional data already intercepted by the United States’ NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ. Subsequent searches have the ability to show a list of other websites visited by those downloading from file-hosting sites. Further associations can then be made with Facebook or Google accounts (via Google analytics cookies) which have the potential to link to names, addresses and other personal details. It’s a potent mix but one apparently designed to weed out just a small number of files from millions of daily events. According to the LEVITATION documents the system has the ability to track downloads in countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and North America. Under law, CSE isn’t allowed to spy on Canadians, but IP addresses belonging to a web server in Montreal appeared in a list of “suspicious†downloads. Also monitored by CSE were downloads carried out by citizens located in closely allied countries including the U.S., UK, Germany and Spain. “CSE is clearly mandated to collect foreign signals intelligence to protect Canada and Canadians from a variety of threats to our national security, including terrorism,†CSE spokesman Andrew McLaughlin told CBC. While it may be of comfort for Canadians to learn that the government is only interested in a small number of files being exchanged outside the country’s borders, mass surveillance of this kind always has the potential to unnerve when mission-creep raises its head. http://torrentfreak.com/canadian-government-spies-on-millions-of-file-sharers-150128/
  7. Admins and uploaders know the risks, but when otherwise good citizens go to jail for sharing files it's a horrible moment for all involved. This week two young men from the UK were locked up for years, one for his acts as a teenager several years ago. What a complete and utter waste of life. Monday this week, Kane Robinson and Richard Graham, an admin and uploader of now-defunct file-sharing forum Dancing Jesus, had their lives turned upside down when they were handed jail sentences of 32 and 21 months respectively. The pair had got involved in Dancing Jesus years ago, when they were teenagers. The site dealt in leaked music, no one disputes that, but if you knew of Dancing Jesus before the site got raided you were in the minority. It was a niche site, to say the least. Still, the UK record labels claimed the duo had cost them around £240m ($378m) in losses. It appears the court believed them and as a result the pair are locked away at this very moment for a very long time indeed. Sadly that estimate can only be a dramatic exaggeration. If we are to believe claims from the other side of the Atlantic, the behemoth that was Megaupload – the subject of the world’s largest copyright case – ‘only’ managed to cost the entertainment industry an alleged $500m, and that’s the estimate of a notoriously aggressive US Government. Also, Megaupload hosted 12 billion unique files and had 100 million users. Dancing Jesus had 12,000 registered users and carried 22,500 allegedly infringing links. Robinson and Kane made no money from their activities, that much was accepted in court. Megaupload made an alleged $175m. The sums don’t add up, anyone can see that, but at this point, today, none of that means much to the pair staring at four gray walls with devastated families at home and ruined lives behind them. Ok, they knew what they were doing and many will argue that there needs to be some kind of punishment for distributing content to the public without permission, but this week’s sentences go way too far by most sensible standards. Before his incarceration, Graham told TF that he’d been taking school exams when the music industry first homed in on him, and since being arrested he’d gone on to university and obtained a degree. And leading up to Dancing Jesus, Kane Robinson was headhunted to run the official Arctic Monkeys website by the band’s manager. “Kane’s fansite (which ironically shared their tracks for free and gained the band a lot of exposure) was receiving a lot more traffic than theirs. He ran that for several months,†Kane brother Kyle informs TF. After the closure of Dancing Jesus, both men had put file-sharing behind them and were working in legitimate jobs. Dangerous? No. Violent? No. Dancing Jesus years behind them? No doubt. Compassion then? Not a chance. To underline the harshness of this week’s sentences we could compare them with cases recently before the UK courts. Consider the pilot who admitted to flying a plane whilst three times over the drink limit yet faces a maximum two years in jail? Or what about the sex offender caught file-sharing Category A-rated child abuse images on file-sharing networks? He got a 15 month suspended sentence just days after Robinson and Graham were given 32 and 21 months each. Instead, however, let’s take a look at a file-sharing case that concluded last week in Finland. It involved a 40-year-old man also accused of making copyrighted content available to the public – 964 video files, 49,951 music tracks and 573 other sundry files to be precise. Last week the court found the man guilty of copyright infringement, fined him 1,000 euros with 2,000 euros in legal costs. He was also ordered to pay damages to local music rights group Teosto to the tune of 1,500 euros plus 3,000 euros to IFPI. Jail wasn’t on the agenda. Whether this is a fair punishment for the offenses in hand is for others to decide. However, it seems unlikely that those with the ability to look beyond this week’s “£240 million losses†headlines will feel that it’s proportionate for two non-violent men to spend the next few Christmas Days behind bars. That said, in today’s legal climate it’s unrealistic to expect UK-based file-sharing site operators to simply walk away from a court without some kind of punishment, even if they did only operate a linking forum. But even then, several years in jail makes little to no sense for non-commercial operators, especially when supposed financial losses are either plucked from thin air or a product of highly speculative accounting. The lesson here is simple. The ground rules, at least in the UK, have changed. The last three big cases in the UK (SurftheChannel, Fast and Furious ‘cammer’, Dancing Jesus) were all private prosecutions by the entertainment industries and have all ended in prison time for the defendants. There is no reason to think things are about to change. In the meantime, people like Kane’s family are left trying to rally support on Facebook in an attempt to scrape together £5,000 in a GoFundMe fundraiser to finance an appeal aimed at achieving a more realistic sentence. In conclusion it now appears that anyone other than low-level UK file-sharers need to consider whether their “fun†hobby is really worth losing years of their freedom over. And of course, shameful as it might be, that’s the message the industry wanted to send all along. http://torrentfreak.com/hey-uk-jailing-file-sharers-for-years-is-shameful-141116/
  8. Movie studio Lionsgate is continuing its crackdown on sites and services connected to the leak of The Expendables 3. The additional sites now being targeted have not been approached directly - Lionsgate has chosen to go after their Internet service providers and domain name registrars instead. Today sees the official premiere of The Expendables 3, but what was supposed to be a celebration for the makers has turned into a fiasco. Three weeks ago a high quality leak of the film appeared online. This resulted in millions of downloads long before it reached the big screen. Fearing a massive loss in revenue, Lionsgate issued thousands of takedown requests to limit the leak’s availability and sued six file-sharing sites that allegedly failed to respond to these notices. It now appears that Lionsgate has more tricks up its sleeve. The owner of cloud hosting service filecloud.io informs TorrentFreak that he never heard from Lionsgate, yet the movie studio is now going after his DDoS protection provider Cloudflare and domain registrar Easyname. TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the notice, which is also believed to have been sent to the service providers of several other file-sharing sites. In the notice Lionsgate’s law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton requests that these companies render the sites in question unavailable. The law firm lists several allegedly infringing URLs and points out that the hosting providers and domain name registrars have to take responsibility. The following text comes from a notice Cloudflare and others received, accusing the company of potentially assisting a criminal operation and ignoring a previous notice. “In accordance with the DMCA, we have already notified you of the infringement, but you have continued to cause, enable, induce, facilitate and materially contribute to the infringement by continuing to provide your users with the means to unlawfully distribute, reproduce and otherwise exploit The Expendables 3,†the email reads. The same takedown notice was also sent to the domain name registrar Easyname, who were encouraged to “take action†against the allegedly infringing site under ICANN rules. In their notice Lionsgate appears to hint at a domain name suspension. “If you are the domain name registrar for the domain name referenced above, under ICANN rule 3.18.1, you are required to take reasonable and prompt steps to investigate and respond appropriately to any reports of abuse,†the notice reads. “You are hereby put on notice that despite Rule 3.18, and the website owner’s representation to you that it is not using the domain name ‘in violation of any applicable laws’, the owner is either directly infringing the rights of Lionsgate or contributing to such infringement through the distribution of the stolen work referenced above,†it adds. Lionsgate’s methods are unusual as the operator of filecloud.io was never contacted by the movie studio’s law firm. There were abuse mails sent by other outfits though, and the URLs listed in the takedown notice were already taken offline. This means that the infringing pages listed by Lionsgate were directed to a 404 page. The owner of filecloud.io informs TF that he’s not happy with the pressure Lionsgate has put on the companies he works with, especially since they failed to first contact the site itself. “It might be nice if these complaining entities actually checked that their emails have a valid claim before firing them off to everyone under the moon,†filecloud.io’s owner notes. “The majority of notices I get daily are dud but at least none of them go out of their way forwarding their gripe to everyone who has anything remotely to do with the site,†he adds. In this case the notices haven’t yet caused any trouble for filecloud.io, but it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which smaller companies are easily threatened to pull the plug on an accused site.
  9. 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 – Limetorrents.com, Billionuploads.com, Hulkfile.eu, Played.to, Swankshare.com and Dotsemper.com. 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. http://torrentfreak.com/lionsgate-can-seize-assets-filesharing-sites-court-rules-140809/
  10. Lionsgate has filed a lawsuit against six file-sharing sites that allegedly distributed leaked copies of The Expendables 3 film. The movie studio claims that the sites in question failed to respond to takedown requests. Lionsgate demands a permanent injunction to stop further distribution of the film, as well as seizure of the sites' domain names and bank accounts. expendablesLast week saw the leak online of the brand new Expendables movie. Scheduled for an August 15 U.S. release, Expendables 3 leaked in near DVD quality a full two weeks ahead. The timing and quality combined to make the leak one of the most prominent in recent years. The movie studios behind the film have been rather quiet, but behind the scenes they have been trying hard to limit the damage. Lionsgate in particular sent takedown requests to numerous file-sharing sites. While most sites complied by taking down infringing links or copies, some failed to respond. In response to this apparent lack of cooperation, Lionsgate has now sued the operators of six file-sharing sites – Limetorrents.com, Billionuploads.com, Hulkfile.eu, Played.to, Swankshare.com and Dotsemper.com. The complaint (copy below) filed at a federal court in California accuses the sites’ owners of direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. Limetorrents is the only torrent site in the lawsuit, and Lionsgate notes that the Expendables leak was still prominently available on the site when the complaint was drafted. “To date, the operator(s) of the site have not responded to Lions Gate’s demands. Rather, as of the date of this filing links to the torrents allow users to access ‘swarms’ where the Stolen Film is being shared remain on the site, including in the fifth-ranked position for ‘Movie torrents’ on the site’s home page,†the lawyers write. In the complaint, first reported by THR, the movie studio demands a wide range of measures. Lionsgate asks the court for a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction and a permanent injunction to stop the sites from further distributing the film. This includes a request to suspend the sites’ domain names, or transfer them to Lionsgate. In addition, the movie studio also wants all financial institutions who do business with the sites to freeze their assets. If granted, Lionsgate could severely damage the sites in question even if the operators remain silent. Finally, the movie company demands actual or statutory damages for the financial loss it has suffered. Since there is only one film at stake, the statutory damages are limited to $150,000 per site. At this point it is unknown whether Lionsgate is also investigating the source of the leak, which isn’t related to any of the sites listed in the complaint. A third option would be to go after individual filesharers, which Nu Image did when they sued 23,322 alleged pirates who shared the first Expendables movies. Thus far well over two million copies of The Expendables 3 have been shared via BitTorrent, so there are plenty of targets for sure. http://torrentfreak.com/lionsgate-su...orrentfreak%29
  11. All it took yesterday was a single article to trigger off a tidal wave of copycat reports across dozens of sites including the mainstream RT.com. Just to be absolutely clear - Britain HAS NOT decriminalized file-sharing and to suggest otherwise only puts people at unnecessary risk. File-sharing remains ILLEGAL in the UK, guaranteed. From next year people in the UK can download and share whatever they like. Movies, music and video games. You name it – it’s a free-for-all download bonanza with zero consequences other than four friendly letters asking people to try Netflix and Spotify. In fact, the UK government has even gone as far as decriminalizing online copyright infringement entirely, despite risking the wrath of every intellectual property owner in the land. That was the message doing the rounds yesterday in the media, starting on VG247and going on to overload Reddit and dozens of other sites. Even Russia’s RT.com got in on the fun. Except it’s not fun at all. It’s completely untrue on countless levels and to suggest otherwise puts people at risk. Let’s be absolutely clear here. Copyright infringement, whether that’s on file-sharing networks or elsewhere, is ILLEGAL in the UK. Nothing, repeat NOTHING, has changed. As detailed in our previous article, VCAP is a voluntary (that’s the ‘V’ part) agreement between some rightsholders and a few ISPs to send some informational letters to people observed infringing copyright. This means that the mainstream music labels and the major Hollywood studios will soon have an extra option to reach out to UK Internet users. However, whenever they want to – today, tomorrow or next year – any of the copyright holders involved in VCAP can still file a lawsuit or seek police action against ANYONE engaged in illegal file-sharing – FACT. What makes the original VG247 report even more inaccurate is its headline: “Britain just decriminalised online game piracy.†If we’re still laboring under the illusion that VCAP is somehow the reason behind the government’s “decriminalization†of piracy, understand this – video game companies are not even part of the VCAP program. Worst still, the biggest financial punishment ever ordered by a UK court was a default judgment in 2008 issued to – wait for it – a person who illegally file-shared a single video game. The case was a farce, but the judgment stands and the law on which is was based has not changed. There is nothing stopping any video game company from doing this again once VCAP starts, properly this time. But why stop at video games? Porn companies/trolls aren’t involved in the VCAP scheme either and any of those could head off to court to obtain the identities of people they want to sue. It’s happening in the UK. There’s a VCAP-style scheme in the United States too, often referred to as “six strikesâ€, and that has done nothing to stop companies like Malibu Media filing lawsuits almost every day. Voluntary agreements avoid the complication of changing the law, that’s their entire point. They provide helpful mechanisms that the law does not already mandate. For example, UK ISPs are not expressly required to forward infringement notices to users under current law, yet VCAP means that some rightsholders, not all, will get that ‘right’. So which other sectors are not involved in VCAP so therefore cannot rely on the assistance it provides? Well, thousands of smaller record labels and film companies for a start. They tend to be outside the walls of the BPI and MPA so do not enjoy the fruits of their lobbying. While these smaller outfits tend to stay away from litigation, they could soon have fresh options. Piracy monetization firm Rightscorp works with many smaller companies and has recently indicated an interest in the UK. “We are getting a great reception from everyone we have spoken to [in the UK],†the company’s Robert Steele said in May. Whether Rightscorp will be able to pull this off is an entirely different matter, but since file-sharing of copyrighted material remains illegal in the UK, the company has a chance. The other issue is how the VCAP warnings will be presented to alleged infringers. While they have a focus on education, it would be incredible if they contained the text “The UK has just decriminalized file-sharing, that’s why we have sent you this letter.†It would be even more amazing if the ISPs agreed to pass them on if file-sharing was no longer an offense. While no laws have been changed, in some instances it’s probably fair to say that VCAP will make it less likely that people will be pursued by the major record labels and movie studios in the UK. It doesn’t eliminate the threat, however. Try this. Head off to your local Odeon, Showcase or UCI this coming weekend, set up a camcorder, and see if you can get a really sweet copy of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Begin uploading this to The Pirate Bay and while it’s seeding send an email to the Federation Against Copyright Theft containing your personal details. VCAP friendly letter incoming or a police raid? Yeah, thought so. http://torrentfreak.com/the-uk-did-not-just-decriminalize-file-sharing-140723/
  12. New research by economist Koleman Strumpf shows that there is no significant effect of movie piracy on box office revenues. This conclusion is based on data from 150 blockbuster movies that were released over a period of six years, using the popular Hollywood exchange as an indication for the revenue impact. Research into online piracy comes in all shapes and sizes, often with equally mixed results. Often the main question is whether piracy is hurting sales. A new study conducted by economist Koleman Strumpf is one of the most comprehensive on the subject so far. Drawing on data from a popular BitTorrent tracker and revenue projections from the Hollywood Stock Exchange he researches how the release of a pirated movie affects expected box office income. The research covers 150 of the most popular films that were released over a period of seven years, and the findings reveal that the release of pirated films on file-sharing sites doesn’t directly hurt box office revenue. “There is no evidence in my empirical results of file-sharing having a significant impact on theatrical revenue,†Strumpf tells TorrentFreak in a comment. “My best guess estimate is that file sharing reduced the first month box office by $200 million over 2003-2009, which is only three tenths of a percent of what movies actually earned. I am unable to reject the hypothesis that there is no impact at all of file-sharing on revenues.†So while there is a small negative effect, this is limited to one tenth of a percent and not statistically significant. Interestingly, the data also reveals that movie leaks shortly before the premiere have a small positive impact on expected revenues. This suggests that file-sharing may serve as a form of promotion. “One consistent result is that file-sharing arrivals shortly before the theatrical opening have a modest positive effect on box office revenue. One explanation is that such releases create greater awareness of the film. This is also the period of heaviest advertising,†Strumpf notes. One of the advantages of this study compared to previous research is that it measures the direct effect of a movie leak on projected box office revenues. Previous studies mostly compared early versus late leaks, which is less accurate and may be influenced by other factors. “For example, suppose studios added extra security to big budget movies which then have a delayed arrival to file-sharing networks. Then even if file-sharing has no impact at all, one would find that delayed arrival on file-sharing leads to higher revenues,†Strumpf tells us. Another upside of the research lies in the statistical precision. The data includes thousands of daily observations and relatively precise estimates, something lacking in most previous studies. The downside, on the other hand, is that the expected box office impact is estimated from the Hollywood Stock Exchange. While this has shown to be a good predictor for actual revenues, it’s not a direct measurement. In any case, the paper suggests that file-sharing might not be the biggest threat the movie industry is facing. Even if the negative effects were twice as big as the data suggests, it would still be less than the $500 million Hollywood spent on the MPAA’s anti-piracy efforts during the same period. http://torrentfreak.com/filesharing-doesnt-hurt-box-office-revenue-research-finds-140715/
  13. Here are the top 15 Most Popular File Sharing Sites as derived from our eBizMBA Rank which is a continually updated average of each website's Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast."*#*" Denotes an estimate for sites with limited data. 1 | DropBox 179 - eBizMBA Rank | 35,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 114 - Compete Rank | 314 - Quantcast Rank | 110 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 2 | MediaFire 351 - eBizMBA Rank | 22,500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 531 - Compete Rank | NA - Quantcast Rank | 171 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 3 | 4Shared 448 - eBizMBA Rank | 21,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 936 - Compete Rank | 239 - Quantcast Rank | 169 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 4 | Google Drive 550 - eBizMBA Rank | 18,500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *100* - Compete Rank | *1,000* - Quantcast Rank | *NA* - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 5 | SkyDrive 600 - eBizMBA Rank | 16,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *650* - Compete Rank | *550* - Quantcast Rank | *NA* - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 6 | iCloud 984- eBizMBA Rank | 9,500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 429 - Compete Rank | *1,536* - Quantcast Rank | 987 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 7 | Box 1,060 - eBizMBA Rank | 6,750,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 1,274 - Compete Rank | 1,028 - Quantcast Rank | 877 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 8 | Mega 1,303 - eBizMBA Rank | 6,500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 1,936 - Compete Rank | *NA* - Quantcast Rank | 670 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 9 | ZippyShare 1,354 - eBizMBA Rank | 6,250,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,337 - Compete Rank | *NA* - Quantcast Rank | 370 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 10 | Uploaded 1,618 - eBizMBA Rank | 6,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,943 - Compete Rank | *NA* - Quantcast Rank | 292 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 11 | DepositFiles 3,183 - eBizMBA Rank | 4,750,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 4,709 - Compete Rank | *2,913* - Quantcast Rank | 1,927 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 12 | HighTail 3,231 - eBizMBA Rank | 4,500,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2,459 - Compete Rank | *4,297* - Quantcast Rank | 2,938 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 13 | SendSpace 3,272 - eBizMBA Rank | 4,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 5,790 - Compete Rank | 2,551 - Quantcast Rank | 1,474 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 14 | RapidShare 4,651 - eBizMBA Rank | 3,250,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 7,217 - Compete Rank | NA - Quantcast Rank | 2,084 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA 15 | FileCrop.com 10,031 - eBizMBA Rank | 3,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 14,239- Compete Rank | *NA* - Quantcast Rank | 5,823 - Alexa Rank | July 14, 2014. The Most Popular File Sharing Websites | eBizMBA
  14. The American Bar Association has released a detailed white paper advising the Government on how to tackle online piracy. The lawyers recommend several SOPA-like anti-piracy measures including injunctions against companies hosting pirate sites. At the same time, however, they advise against suing file-sharers as that would be ineffective or even counterproductive. For more than a decade copyright holders and the U.S. Government have been trying to find the silver bullet to beat piracy. This week the American Bar Association joined the discussion with a 113-page white paper. With their “call for action†the lawyers encourage Congress to draft new anti-piracy legislation and promote voluntary agreements between stakeholders. Among the options on the table is the filing of lawsuits against individual file-sharers, something the RIAA did extensively in the past. Interestingly, the lawyers advise against this option as it’s unlikely to have an impact on current piracy rates. According to the lawyers these type of lawsuits are also financially ineffective, oftentimes costing more than they bring in. In addition, they can create bad PR for the copyright holders involved. “While it is technically possible for trademark and copyright owners to proceed with civil litigation against the consuming public who [...] engage in illegal file sharing, campaigns like this have been expensive, do not yield significant financial returns, and can cause a public relations problem for the plaintiff in addressing its consuming public,†the lawyers write. “The [American Bar Association] does not believe that legislative action directly targeting consumers would prove effective in reducing piracy or counterfeiting at this time,†the white paper adds. While the above may be true for any of the cases that go to trial, various copyright trolls might tend to disagree as they have shown that targeting file-sharers can be quite lucrative. Pirates shouldn’t be too quick to cheer on the lawyers though, as the white paper also contains some pretty draconian suggestions. The American Bar Association says that future legislation should target infringing websites, and it names The Pirate Bay as an example. Since site owners are often unknown and therefore hard to prosecute in America, they advise a series of more indirect tactics. The lawyers are in favor of a “follow the money†principle where anti-piracy measures are targeted at strangling the finances of pirate sites. They call for legislation that makes it easier to cut off advertising, and to seize funds through banks or payment processors. In addition, the white paper calls for new legislation that would allow copyright holders to obtain injunctions against the hosting companies of pirate sites. The American Bar Association also considered similar injunctions against domain registrars and search engines, but it couldn’t reach agreement on these issues. Overall copyright holders will be pleased to see the recommendations put forward in the white paper, but it’s doubtful whether lawmakers will be quick pick them up. Several of the suggestions were previously listed in the SOPA and PIPA bills, so if these are ever drafted into legislation Congress can expect a lot of public backlash. http://torrentfreak.com/suing-file-sharers-doesnt-work-lawyers-warn-140713/
  15. Rightscorp, a prominent piracy monitoring firm that works with Warner Bros. and other copyright holders, claims that 140 U.S. ISPs are actively disconnecting repeat copyright infringers. While these numbers sound rather impressive, there's a lot more to the story. For more than a decade copyright holders have been sending ISPs takedown notices to alert account holders that their connections are being used to share copyrighted material. These notices are traditionally nothing more than a warning, hoping to scare file-sharers into giving up their habit. However, anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp has been very active in trying to make the consequences more serious. The company monitors BitTorrent networks for people who download titles owned by the copyright holders they work for, and then approaches these alleged pirates via their Internet providers. The ISPs are asked to forward Rightscorp’s settlement demands to the alleged infringer, which is usually around $20 per shared file. The settlement approach is a bigger stick than the standard warnings and according to Rightscorp it’s superior to the six-strikes scheme. And there’s more. The company also wants Internet providers to disconnect subscribers whose accounts are repeatedly found sharing copyrighted works. Christopher Sabec, CEO of Rightscorp, says that they have been in talks with various Internet providers urging them to step up their game. Thus far a total of 140 ISPs are indeed following this disconnection principle. “We push ISPs to suspend accounts of repeat copyright infringers and we currently have over 140 ISPs that are participating in our program, including suspending the accounts of repeat infringers,†Sabec says. During a presentation at the Anti-Piracy Summit in Los Angeles Rightscorp recently pitched this disconnection angle to several interested parties. Rightscorp presentation slide By introducing disconnections Rightcorp hopes to claim more settlements to increase the company’s revenue stream. They offer participating ISPs a tool to keep track of the number of warnings each customer receives, and the providers are encouraged to reconnect the subscribers if the outstanding bills have been paid. “All US ISPs have a free Rightscorp website dashboard that identifies these repeat infringers and notifies the ISPs when they have settled their cases with our clients. We encourage the ISPs to restore service once the matter has been settled and there is no longer an outstanding legal liability,†Sabec told TorrentFreak. Cutting off repeat infringers is also in the best interests of ISPs according to Rightscorp, who note that it is a requirement for all providers if they are to maintain their DMCA safe harbor. Rightscorp is indeed correct in stating that Internet providers have to act against repeat infringers. The DMCA requires ISPs to “… adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers.†However, legal experts and Internet providers interpret the term “repeat infringer†differently. For example, AT&T previously said that it would never terminate accounts of customers without a court order, arguing that only a court can decide what constitutes a repeat infringement. Comcast on the other hand, previously told us that they are disconnecting repeat infringers, although it’s not clear after how many warnings that is. Nevertheless, Rightscorp claims that their approach has been a great success and proudly reports that 140 ISPs are actively disconnecting subscribers. So does this mean that all U.S. Internet subscribers are at risk of receiving a settlement request or losing their Internet access? Well, not really. Most of the larger Internet providers appear to ignore Rightscorp’s settlement notices. Comcast, for example, does forward the notice but takes out the settlement offer. Verizon, AT&T and other major ISPs appear to do the same. Thus far, Charter seems to be the only major provider that forwards Rightscorp’s requests in full. The 140 ISPs Rightscorp is referring to are mostly smaller, often local ISPs, who together hold a tiny market share. Not insignificant perhaps, but it’s a nuance worth adding. http://torrentfreak.com/140-u-s-internet-providers-disconnect-persistent-pirates-140705/
  16. The past year, the copyright industry appears to have calmed down a bit, thinking it won the file-sharing wars. At the same time, people sharing culture and knowledge have done the same thing. This conflict is far from over. The two sides in the conflict over sharing culture and knowledge have rarely been further from each other in their view of the world. On one hand, you have the copyright industry, now content thinking it won the war against the net generation – or net generations by now (plural). File-sharing has stopped growing, the copyright industry observes, and controlled streaming is growing exponentially. New technology has produced a better offering that outcompeted the inferior pirate alternatives, and in the end, people wanted to do the legal thing, the copyright industry argues. But this is very far from the truth. The only true part of it is that the number of people sharing culture and knowledge is no longer growing exponentially, but that’s because the habit is saturated. One-third of young people in the US and Europe today share culture – in violation of the copyright monopoly – daily or almost-daily. A phenomenon can’t keep growing exponentially forever in a finite population: eventually, everybody’s doing it, and that’s the point we have arrived at now. Apart from that, it is true that the copyright industry has produced better offerings: Pandora, Netflix, and HBO streaming. But so have the people who manufacture their copies without a license. The Pirate Bay is ten years old; almost as old as Microsoft’s Windows XP, to put it in context. (Anybody remember Microsoft?) Yet, despite HBO’s successful and profitable subscription model, record numbers of us get our latest fix of Game of Thrones delivered automatically directly to our desktop the instant it is available, courtesy of RSS torrenting and EZTV, or your own favorite supplier. And if we don’t like torrenting, but actually like streaming? Turns out that the pirate equivalents of the commercial offerings far surpass the simplicity, accessibility, and ease of use of the copyright industry’s technology – and that’s not even going into selection and absence of laughingly stupid “not available in your country†messages. From Popcorn Time to Zona, the happy amateur sharers are miles and leagues ahead of the copyright industry. The technology that the copyright industry claims “already has won the war†for that obsolete industry? Well, it turns out that the net generation could use the same technology to build a lot better services still. Teens today make absolutely no distinction whether services are “legal†or not; they just grab stuff from where it’s easiest. In this environment, people on the other side – the people manufacturing unlicensed copies of knowledge and culture, and sharing those copies in turn – have also taken a victory for granted. We’re getting our Game of Thrones, we’re getting our movies and porn as we always have, what’s the big deal? The Pirate Bay team was sentenced in a mock trial five years ago to largely no effect whatsoever (except for those poor individuals), the site itself is still up, and new great services for manufacturing our own copies of knowledge and culture are appearing by the month. Why bother fighting? This is long over, right? Not so fast. SOPA and ACTA was just two years ago, in 2012. They were struck back, but their obfuscated spawn are already appearing. We’ve seen and heard the acronyms TPP, TTIP, CISP, CETA, and others. The copyright industry keeps working, it just does so out of the sunlight. In the end, this is about the power of narratives, the greatest power anybody has ever had. And the copyright industry isn’t giving it up without a fight. The file-sharing wars are far from over. There may be a bit of silence on the fronts at the moment. Enjoy it, and prepare for what’s coming. http://torrentfreak.com/the-file-sharing-wars-are-anything-but-over-140629/
  17. Google has removed all links to Bayfiles, the file-hosting service created by the Pirate Bay's founders. For reasons unknown, people searching for the site can no longer reach it through the search engine. The site's operators are puzzled, but say that the change has very little impact on visitor numbers. Nearly three years ago Pirate Bay founders Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde launched Bayfiles, a new file-sharing venture. The site has been growing ever since and has accumulated a steady user base. Instead of using P2P transfers, Bayfiles users can upload and download large files directly from the site. Besides some issues with their payment provider, Bayfiles hasn’t run into any significant problems to date. However, very recently the site suffered a setback after it became impossible to reach through Google. Without explanation, Google wiped all of the tens of thousands of Bayfiles links from its search index. The search results below show that the file-hosting service is no longer featured as the top result and a more specific search reveals that all of the site’s URLs have been wiped. TorrentFreak spoke with the Bayfiles team who have no clue what’s going on. Their robots.txt allows the site to be indexed and other search engines such as Bing do so just fine. Perhaps they don’t like filehosting services that can’t be cut off from their payment provider, as we no longer have paid accounts,†the Bayfiles team suggests. Bayfiles never had a lot of traffic from search engines so there is no major impact on visitor numbers. Still, it’s never good to have your entire service removed by Google. The most likely explanation is that Google found Bayfiles guilty of some sort of violation for which the site has been removed from Google as a penalty. What type of violation that might be remains a mystery to the site’s operators. Penalty or not, Bayfiles will continue to serve files all around the world, free of charge.
  18. Google has removed all links to Bayfiles, the file-hosting service created by the Pirate Bay's founders. For reasons unknown, people searching for the site can no longer reach it through the search engine. The site's operators are puzzled, but say that the change has very little impact on visitor numbers. Nearly three years ago Pirate Bay founders Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde launched Bayfiles, a new file-sharing venture. The site has been growing ever since and has accumulated a steady user base. Instead of using P2P transfers, Bayfiles users can upload and download large files directly from the site. Besides some issues with their payment provider, Bayfiles hasn’t run into any significant problems to date. However, very recently the site suffered a setback after it became impossible to reach through Google. Without explanation, Google wiped all of the tens of thousands of Bayfiles links from its search index. The search results below show that the file-hosting service is no longer featured as the top result and a more specific search reveals that all of the site’s URLs have been wiped. TorrentFreak spoke with the Bayfiles team who have no clue what’s going on. Their robots.txt allows the site to be indexed and other search engines such as Bing do so just fine. Perhaps they don’t like filehosting services that can’t be cut off from their payment provider, as we no longer have paid accounts,†the Bayfiles team suggests. Bayfiles never had a lot of traffic from search engines so there is no major impact on visitor numbers. Still, it’s never good to have your entire service removed by Google. The most likely explanation is that Google found Bayfiles guilty of some sort of violation for which the site has been removed from Google as a penalty. What type of violation that might be remains a mystery to the site’s operators. Penalty or not, Bayfiles will continue to serve files all around the world, free of charge.
  19. New data collected by piracy monitoring firm MarkMonitor shows that the latest Hollywood blockbusters are most frequently shared from Russia, with America and Italy trailing behind. Per capita the results are completely different. Here the United Arab Emirates is in the lead, followed by Israel and Estonia. It’s no secret that P2P file-sharing services are widely used to distribute pirated movies. However, less is known about the volume of these unauthorized transfers in various countries. New data published in a Dutch report detailing the impact of unauthorized P2P file-sharing on the movie industry reveals that in the Netherlands alone an estimated 78 million euros are lost due to movie piracy. The same report also provides some interesting statistics that shed some light o geographical file-sharing differences. During the first half of the year MarkMonitor, which is also the technology partner for the U.S. six strikes program, tracked 16 popular English language blockbuster movies. The list includes titles such as Frozen, The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The movies were monitored via both eDonkey and BitTorrent, with the latter having the largest audience. In total MarkMonitor found that these movies were shared 150,186,156 times without permission. Despite the focus on English language films, most pirated copies – more than 20 million – were shared from Russia. The bar chart below shows the full top 10 based on the absolute number of infringements that were detected, with the United States, Italy, Brazil and Spain completing the top five. It is of course no surprise to see these large countries on top. It gets more interesting when we look at the number of file-sharers per capita. In the United States for example, 12.5 million pirated copies were shared in a population of more than 310 million, which is roughly 4%. In Russia this percentage is much higher at 15% and in Australia it’s more than 16%. Not surprisingly, the list of countries that share the most pirated movies per capita is quite different. According to the report, the movies in the sample were relatively most shared in the United Arab Emirates, followed by Israel, Estonia, Greece and Italy. Australia, Qatar, Sweden, Singapore and the Netherlands complete the top 10. It has to be noted that the findings above are based on a sample that is biased towards Western content. This explains the absence of Chinese downloaders, who tend to share files through other channels. Similarly, the data doesn’t cover direct downloads and streaming sites which may be relatively more popular in other regions. That said, the numbers do give some more insight into the popularity of P2P movie piracy, or lack thereof, across various countries.
  20. New research carried out in Sweden has revealed that the percentage of young people who have never shared files is up by almost 40% since 2009. Those who share files daily is down too, a development the researchers say is a victory for the legal market, as opposed to entertainment companies using legal scare tactics. piracydownSweden has long been a central figure in the file-sharing phenomenon, not least due to its associations with the The Pirate Bay. As a result, for more than ten years sharing files has been a popular pastime with many young Swedes, much to the disappointment of the world’s largest entertainment companies. The Cybernorms research group at Lund University in Sweden has been in the news several times during the past few years as a result of its work with The Pirate Bay. On more than one occasion the infamous torrent site as renamed itself to The Research Bay in order for researchers to collect information on the values, norms and conceptions of the file-sharing community. Cybernorms have now revealed more of their findings which suggest that after years of escalation, online sharing by those in the 15-24 year-old bracket could be in decline. Survey responses from around 4,000 individuals suggest that the number of active file-sharers has dropped in the past two years. Those who share files daily or almost daily has decreased from 32.8 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2014. “It is a small but significant decrease,†Måns Svensson, head of Cybernorms at Lund University told SVT. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the decrease is the mechanism through which it was encouraged. Historically, entertainment industry scare tactics have been employed to try to reduce unauthorized sharing, but the researchers believe something much more positive is responsible. “What is interesting is that this is the first time we have been able to see that file-sharing has gone down but without that being associated with a conviction, such as the Pirate Bay ruling,†Svensson says. “If you listen to what young people themselves are saying, it is new and better legal services that have caused the decrease in file-sharing, rather than respect for the law. There has been a trend where alternative legal solutions such as Spotify and Netflix are changing consumption patterns among young people.†Also of interest is the apparent effect on up-and-coming youngsters who might otherwise have begun file-sharing themselves. The researchers found that between 2009 and 2013 the percentage of young people who had never shared files increased from 21.6 percent to 30.2 percent, a boost of well over a third. Interestingly, in that same four-year period, the percentage of young people who said they believe that people should not share files because it is illegal dropped from 24 percent to 16.9 percent. So, even while young people are sharing files less often, their acceptance of the standards presented by the law appears to be dropping too. In this case it does indeed appear that the carrot is mightier than the stick. Source : TorrentFreak.com
  21. The City of London police took down another search engine for downloads on file-sharing websites for linking to infringing material. The website was already blocked in the United Kingdom by some local ISPs after getting blacklisted alongside 20 other file-sharing services. Now, the website’s domain name was removed entirely, but it was back up the next day following legal complaints from the owners. Torrentz’s domain name registrar was approached by the City of London police, who asked the company to suspend the website for linking to illegal content as part of Operation Creative. However, the service is still live at other domain names. Despite the fact that the force’s demand had no legal force, many registrars still followed such requests anyway. The City of London police explained once again that after a website is confirmed as providing copyright infringing content, its owners or operators are approached by the police officers and offered the chance to engage with the police, change the online behavior and start to operate legitimately. In case a website fails to comply, the police can turn to other tactical options – for example, contacting the domain registrar to seek suspension of the website, or disrupting advertising revenue via an Infringing Website List (IWL) provided to companies involved in the sale and trading of digital advertising. Torrentz.eu is known worldwide as one of the largest search engines for BitTorrent files. The portal lets users search for material to download via BitTorrent protocol. In most cases, people search for unlicensed copies of TV shows and films like Game of Thrones and the upcoming X Men: Days of Future Past. However, the service also contains legitimate material, including installers for free open source software, as well as books released under the so-called “copyleft†licenses. The next day after the initial suspension, the website’s Polish host, registrar, was reported to change its mind about complying with the police request. Apparently, this happened after Torrentz’s lawyer contacted the company to complain. Another illustrative example of site resurrection is the court in the Netherlands that lifted a ban on notorious file-sharing service The Pirate Bay. The court had to admit that the practice proved “ineffectiveâ€. According to the European legislation, the ISPs should not have to take measures like blocking if they are disproportionate or ineffective.
  22. 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.