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  1. Providers who defied TV company demands to switch off their VPN services have caved in following legal threats. CallPlus and Bypass Network Services faced action from media giants including Sky and TVNZ for allowing their customers to access geo-restricted content. Their 'Global Mode' services will be terminated by September 1. Unlocking geo-restricted digital content is an activity carried out by millions every day, but the practice is frowned upon by entertainment industry companies. The large amounts of time, effort and financial planning that go into complex licensing agreements can be undone in an instant by a user of a VPN or ‘smart’ DNS service, opening up services like Netflix and breaking down barriers to U.S-based products such as Hulu. In April, media companies SKY, TVNZ, Lightbox and MediaWorks told several Kiwi ISPs that if they didn’t stop providing geo-unblocking services to their subscribers, legal action wouldn’t be far ahead. Within days and following claims of breaches of the Copyright Act, Unlimited Internet pulled its VPN service. However, CallPlus and Bypass Network Services stood firm and stated that they weren’t going to be bullied. Now, just two months later, both providers have caved in to the demands of the media companies. The news was revealed in the briefest of announcements posted to the NZX by Sky TV this morning. “The legal proceedings against ‘Global Mode’ service providers have been settled. As a result, from 1 September 2015, the ‘Global Mode’ service will not be available to any person for use in New Zealand,†the statement reads. The news will come as a blow to users of the ‘Global Mode’ service who will now have to find alternatives if they wish to continue accessing geo-locked content. While that will be extremely easy, Global Mode was a free product so it’s likely that additional costs could be on the horizon. InternetNZ, the non-profit group that oversees the Internet in New Zealand, says it is “deeply disappointed†by the news. “Global Mode was a great example of Internet-based innovation that challenged traditional content distribution models. It was by no means clear that the service was illegal, and we were keen to see the matter go before the courts to provide users and the industry with clarity,†said InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter. “Withdrawing the service and settling before court seems a worse outcome for all concerned. The media companies have said that they wanted to clarify their own legal rights over content – a settlement doesn’t achieve this, and leaves us all none the wiser.†Noting that both Internet users and innovation have “taken a back seat to entrenched old media interestsâ€, the InternetNZ chief called for a revised look at local copyright legislation. “This outcome makes it ever more important that we review New Zealand copyright law, to ensure that the interests of consumers and creators are appropriately balanced.†Those looking for the all-important details on why the companies backed down will be disappointed. The details of the settlement between the providers and entertainment companies are confidential. Submissions will be made to the court but they will not be for public consumption.
  2. The MPAA is refusing to hand over documentation discussing the legal case it helped Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood build against Google. According to the Hollywood group, Google is waging a PR war against Hollywood while facilitating and profiting from piracy. Late last year leaked documents from the Sony hack revealed that the MPAA helped Mississippi State Attorney General Hood to revive SOPA-esque censorship efforts in the United States. In a retaliatory move Google sued the Attorney General, hoping to find out more about the secret effort. As part of these proceedings Google also demanded internal communication from the MPAA, but the Hollywood group has been hesitant to share these details. After several subpoenas remained largely unanswered Google took the MPAA to court earlier this month. The search giant asked a Columbia federal court to ensure that the MPAA and its law firm Jenner & Block hands over the requested documents. The MPAA and its law firm responded to the complaint this week, stressing that Google’s demands are overbroad. They reject the argument that internal discussions or communications with its members and law firm will reveal Attorney General Hood’s intent, not least due to the Attorney General not being part of these conversations himself. According to the Hollywood group, Google’s broad demands are part of a public relations war against the MPAA, one in which Google inaccurately positions itself as the victim. “Google portrays itself as the innocent victim of malicious efforts to abridge its First Amendment rights. In reality, Google is far from innocent,†the MPAA informs the federal court (pdf). The MPAA notes that Google is knowingly facilitating and profiting from distributing “illegal†content, including pirated material. “Google facilitates, and profits from, the distribution of third-party content that even Google concedes is ‘objectionable.’ ‘Objectionable’ is Google’s euphemism for ‘illegal’,†the MPAA writes. The opposition brief states that for a variety of reasons the subpoenaed documents are irrelevant to the original lawsuit and are far too broad in scope. The MPAA’s initial searches revealed that 100,000 documents would likely require review, many of which it believes are protected by attorney-client privilege. The MPAA says that Google is trying to leverage the information revealed in the Sony hack to expose the MPAA’s broader anti-piracy strategies in public, and that this is all part of an ongoing PR war. “The purpose of these Subpoenas is to gather information — beyond the information that was already stolen via the Sony hack on which it relies — on the MPAA’s strategies to protect its members’ copyrighted material and address violations of law on the Internet affecting its members’ copyrights and the rights of others,†they write. “Moreover, Google openly admits that it opposes any order to keep these discovery materials in confidence, revealing its goal to disseminate these documents publicly as part of its ongoing public relations war.†Positioning itself as the victim, the MPAA goes on to slam Google for going after anyone who “dares†to expose the search engine’s alleged facilitation of piracy and other unlawful acts. “…the most fundamental purpose of these Subpoenas is to send a message to anyone who dares to seek government redress for Google’s facilitation of unlawful conduct: If you and your attorneys exercise their First Amendment right to seek redress from a government official, Google will come after you.†In conclusion, the MPAA and its law firm ask the court to reject Google’s broad demands and stop the “abuse†of the litigation process. It’s now up to the judge to decide how to proceed, but based on the language used, the stakes at hand and the parties involved, this dispute isn’t going to blow over anytime soon. It’s more likely to blow up instead.
  3. Despite being run by 'scammers' the EZTV website is still drawing millions of visitors per week. However, the site is getting little love from Google. The search engine has completely wiped the domain from its top search results, pointing out the hostile takeover instead. After months of trouble with a hostile takeover as the climax, popular TV-torrent distribution group EZTV called it quits last month. In the ten years since its founding the group had built up a reputation of quality and consistency, but today it is no longer active. Instead, EZTV’s domain is now run by an outsider who pretends that nothing has changed. On the site’s homepage people still see the latest TV-torrents. Initially these torrents were imported from other groups, but recently a person pretending to be EZTV’s Novaking announced that they had started releasing their own torrents again. “We have a great news for you. [eztv] has started releasing torrents again. No more nested/unneeded files/folders you have complained about. The same quality like before.†While unsuspecting users might fall for the impersonation, people in the know have cut their ties with the site. The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents, for example, are warning their users to look our for fake files and have disabled or suspended the official EZTV account. But it’s not only the torrent experts who have seen through the facade, Google has too. For many years the domain (later was the top listed result when searching for the term EZTV using Google. This is no surprise, considering that there are hundreds of thousands of backlinks to the site. Interestingly, however, the “official†domain has now been completely stripped from the top results. Even several pages down the domain doesn’t appear. It’s worth noting that the main domain was removed following a takedown notice from Lionsgate. However, usually other pages on the same domain quickly take its place, as happened to ExtraTorrent and others. The absence of the EZTV domain is remarkable and stands out when comparing it to other search engines. For example, roughly a week ago both Bing and DuckDuckGo continued to place on top. Today, both search engines still show the domain among the top results, although no longer in first place. With the site no longer being the top result in Google and elsewhere, search traffic to EZTV is minimal. Whether the site’s total traffic will also go down in the long run has yet to be seen. For now the site is still among the most popular torrent sites on the Internet, and many users either don’t know or don’t care who runs the show.
  4. 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.
  5. Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij has been released from prison today. Neij was the last person to serve a custodial sentence handed down after the Pirate Bay trial, marking the end of a controversial chapter in the site's turbulent history. Fredrik Neij, one of The Pirate Bay’s co-founders, was a key operator of the torrent site during its early years. In 2012 Fredrik received a 10-month prison sentencefor his involvement with the notorious site, which he initially avoided. Last November he was eventually arrested by Thai immigration authorities and later transferred to a prison in Skänninge, Sweden. Today, Fredrik’s jail term ended and a few hours ago he was released from prison. After serving two-thirds of his ten month prison sentence the 37-year-old was reunited with family and friends. TF spoke with a family member who was kind enough to share some pictures of Fredrik enjoying his newly gained freedom. Based on the pictures below, he is doing quite well. Fredrik is out, enjoying a beer For a while it was uncertain whether Fredrik would be released today. The Swedish authorities questioned whether the time he spent in Thai custody should count towards his sentence, but this dispute was eventually resolved. While Fredrik has been doing relatively well in prison, he clashed with the administration a few times. First, because he wasn’t allowed to print and again after a request to play games on an old Nintendo 8-bit console was denied. In recent months the Pirate Bay co-founder was also accused of hacking and his continued involvement with The Pirate Bay, but these allegations haven’t been made official. With his release Fredrik can put prison life behind him and focus on the future again. It is expected that he will return to his new home country of Laos, where he lives with his wife and kids. Today’s release marks the end of a controversial chapter in The Pirate Bay’s history, as Carl Lundström, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde and Fredrik have all served their sentences. Fredrik enjoying his freedom
  6. With nearly three million active users FrostWire is one of the most popular Android apps but a few hours ago the BitTorrent client and media downloader disappeared from the Play store. Google cites a YouTube related violation of the Developer Distribution Agreement. FrostWire has become a well-known file-sharing brand over the past decade. The application was first released in 2004 as a LimeWire fork, but underwent several changes over the years. Today it’s mostly a BitTorrent client, but it also offers the option to access content from YouTube. FrostWire is available on all major operating systems and does particularly well on Android where it has 2.9m active installs. Yesterday, however, the popular app was rendered unavailable. FrostWire developer Angel Leon informs TF that Google pulled the application citing a violation of the Developer Distribution Agreement. Unlike the recent ban by Amazon, the removal has nothing to do with torrents but was triggered by FrostWire’s YouTube integration. “After a regular review, we have determined that your app downloads, monetizes, or otherwise accesses YouTube videos in violation of the YouTube Terms of Service or YouTube API Terms of Service,†Google informed FrostWire while cautioning over the possibility of a permanent disconnection. “All removals are tracked. Repeated removals will result in app suspension, at which point this app will count as a strike against the good standing of your developer account and no longer be available on Google Play. After the first warning last Friday FrostWire submitted a YouTube-less app to get it re-listed. This worked, as the app was put back in the store by Saturday, but yesterday it was removed again citing the “YouTube†violation. “We’re pretty pissed by how Google is acting all bully on app developers,†Leon tells us in response to the recent troubles. The app’s users are not happy either. Many were happy to have the YouTube integration and berated FrostWire for removing it. To please these users the developers made a separate version with YouTube functionality that can be installed directly from the FrostWire site. “Our solution to pissed off users after Google forced us to remove YouTube integration from FrostWire, was to simply build another version of the app which didn’t disable the feature, and tell users to get the installer directly from our website,†Leon says. The YouTube situation was explained in the FrostWire client and more than a million people saw the notification over the weekend. Interestingly, Google doesn’t allow developers to promote apps outside the market so this notification had to go too. Facing these and other restrictions, the FrostWire team is growing increasingly frustrated but without solid competition there’s not much they can do. “Google is acting too much like a bully lately, they need to be put on the spot, and they deserve some serious competition in the mobile space,†Leon says. At the time of writing FrostWire is still unavailable in the Play store. If everything goes well, however, the app should be reinstated in the near future.
  7. Fears that teachers and pupils might breach Spain's new copyright law if strict guidelines aren't adhered to have led to some schools being presented with an enormous bill. The worldwide Motion Picture Licensing Corporation is now offering a blanket license to one region in return for a payment of $350,000 a year. In many countries there are exceptions to copyright law that allow those in education to use copyrighted material to further their studies. Those exceptions often have limits but copying for research, comment and reporting purposes are generally allowed while teachers are able to make multiple copies of content to hand out to their students. Following the tabling of a new intellectual property law in Spain, last December the Department of Education sent out a circular reminding schools that the showing of audiovisual content outside strict “fair use†parameters is completely banned. While airing short clips should be ok, the government had become concerned that schools stepping over the mark could be forced to obtain prior authorization to show content or might even find themselves being sued. That resulted in the decision-making body in the autonomous region of Galicia striking a private licensing deal with rightsholders from the movie industry. According to the existence of the deal was revealed in a letter (pdf) sent to schools this week by the local CEO of the worldwide Motion Picture Licensing Corporation. The letter revealed that MPLC was willing to license each student for the price of 1.25 euros per year. While that doesn’t sound much in isolation, there are 260,000 students in the region making a grand total of 325,000 euros ($350,000) to be sent to MPLC’s movie and TV show company members. The CIG-Ensino union has reacted furiously to the news and is now calling for local authorities to prohibit the collection of any monies and ensure that audiovisual resources for use as teaching and learning aids remain free. “[schools and teachers] should not to pay any tax for doing their job and should be able to continue using all kinds of tools that are needed to do their jobs as effectively as possible,†the union said. “It is incomprehensible to try to limit the task of educating exclusively to the use of the textbooks and reducing the use of resources such as film, music, documentaries in classrooms.†MPLC has not yet commented on the news.
  8. 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 and 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.
  9. The U.S. Government has won its civil forfeiture case against Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. As a result, the U.S. now owns Kim Dotcom's bank accounts, cars, art and other property worth dozens of millions of dollars. Megaupload's founder describes the ruling as unjust and says his team will file an appeal at a higher court. Following the 2012 raid on Megaupload and Kim Dotcom, U.S. and New Zealand authorities seized millions of dollars in cash and other property. Claiming the assets were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes, last July the U.S. government launched a separate civil action in which it asked the court to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants. Megaupload’s defense heavily protested the request but was found to have no standing, as Dotcom and his colleagues can be seen as fugitives. A few hours ago District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ordered a default judgment in favor of the U.S. Government. This means that the contested assets, which are worth an estimated $67 million, now belong to the United States. “It all belongs to the U.S. government now. No trial. No due process,†Dotcom informs TF. More than a dozen Hong Kong and New Zealand bank accounts have now been forfeited (pdf) including some of the property purchased through them. The accounts all processed money that was obtained through Megaupload’s alleged illegal activities. The list of forfeited assets further includes several luxury cars, such as a silver Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM and a 1959 pink Cadillac, two 108″ Sharp LCD TVs and four jet skis. The memorandum issued by Judge O’Grady repeats many of the allegations in the original indictment. It lists links to infringing materials that could be found on the site and claims that Megaupload purposefully obfuscated its illegal intent. Dotcom refutes these claims as “Hollywood nonsense†and maintains that Megaupload was operating legally and cooperated with copyright holders when required. “The default judgment is so thick with DOJ and Hollywood nonsense that one might think they drafted it,†Dotcom says. The New Zealand based entrepreneur believes that it’s been an unfair battle thus far, and with his assets now going to the U.S. it’s certainly not getting any easier. But while the ruling is a huge blow, it also opens up the possibility to have the case reviewed by a higher court. “For the first time we get the opportunity to test the decisions of this Judge at a higher court. Because of the way his previous rulings were designed he made an appeal impossible. But we now can and probably will appeal O’Grady’s decision on fugitive disentitlement and forfeiture,†Dotcom notes. For now, however, the successful forfeiture request is the U.S. Government’s first major victory against Megaupload. Meanwhile, Dotcom and his fellow Megaupload defendants are still waiting to hear whether they will be sent to the U.S. to stand trial. The extradition hearing will start early June, after a request from Dotcom’s lawyers to postpone it was turned down earlier this week.
  10. Since it's about time you were all updated on the current situation with the site, it's probably best to start at the beginning. You shall have the full story, nothing left out. Our first issue came when the PayPal account was frozen and all funds within. We have been fighting since the first day it was frozen to rectify the situation and free up the funds that were there. Since we operate on a smaller budget than most of our fellow sites, the funds were not substantial and equated to a little over 1 month of bills. Staff covered the bills of the site for as long as they could, but eventually something had to give. First on the culling list was the 10Gbit Auto Box which is why the Pre times have dropped quite a bit and another reason why the Auto is currently either not running or pretty patchy from time to time. Our second issue raised it's ugly head when we believe someone to have reported the Domain for not having the correct "Whois" info. This meant that it was subsequently suspended. This seems a common tactic these days to easily take sites offline. Our third and most recent issue was due to a staff member who had control of the server and the payment links being away on holiday. This meant that none of the other staff could access the payment info in order to pay for the server (again out of staff pockets) The server was suspended and we moved to an old back up as a temporary solution. So here we are with no funds and now no Domain and an expired server !...... Yeah Great ! But not to be beaten...... At the last minute, the payment information was able to be sent to another staff member who paid the bills, which enabled us to set about getting the server back online again. This was finally completed yesterday. We had funds in the BTC account so we managed to get hold of another Domain to use. The .me that we now operate under. The costly ddos protection for the site was also renewed at this time.. The following, further steps are currently being taken to get us back on track. A Mass Email is being sent to all accounts that have not logged in within 1 week. We will notify them of the change to our Domain and this will hopefully allow more users to find their way back home to us. We urge you to also let people know the new URL as and where you can. We are looking at new ways to accept donations. PayPal is hard to get away from and we pay many of our bills this way. Currently we are going to reactivate the Donate page, but donations can currently only be accepted in BitCoins (BTC) until we can find suitable methods for keeping a PayPal account unfrozen. We currently have a half assed plan to somehow convert BTC and transfer to a PayPal account and then pay bills, but one of the things that worries us is the lack of popularity in BTC. But at least it's a start right ? So there you have it. Our problems and, hopefully, our solutions. I understand their has been talk in IRC about our demise and the possibility of us vanishing. Please don't listen to it. We have come this far. We have been taken down before, Domains taken away from us and yet we keep bouncing back. This time will be no different. We are just in a dark place right now, but together, as a team, as a family, as a community ! We can come through it. We WILL come through it. //Staff
  11. 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.
  12. WordPress has scored an important victory in court against a man who abused the DMCA to censor an article of a critical journalist. The court agreed that the takedown request was illegitimate and awarded WordPress roughly $25,000 in damages plus attorneys fees. Automattic, the company behind the popular WordPress blogging platform, has faced a dramatic increase in DMCA takedown notices in recent years. Most requests are legitimate and indeed targeted at pirated content. However, there are also cases where the takedown process is clearly being abused. To curb these fraudulent notices WordPress decided to take a stand in court, together with student journalist Oliver Hotham who had one of his articles on WordPress censored by a false takedown notice. Hotham wrote an article about “Straight Pride UK†which included a comment he received from the organization’s press officer Nick Steiner. The latter didn’t like the article Hotham wrote, and after publication Steiner sent WordPress a takedown notice claiming that it infringed his copyrights. WordPress and Hotham took the case to a California federal court where they asked to be compensated for the damage this abuse caused them. The case is one of the rare instances where a service provider has taken action against DMCA abuse. The defendant, however, failed to respond in court which prompted WordPress to file a motion for default judgment. The company argued that as an online service provider it faces overwhelming and crippling copyright liability if it fails to take down content. People such as Steiner abuse this weakness to censor critics or competitors. “Steiner’s fraudulent takedown notice forced WordPress to take down Hotham’s post under threat of losing the protection of the DMCA safe harbor,†WordPress argued. “Steiner did not do this to protect any legitimate intellectual property interest, but in an attempt to censor Hotham’s lawful expression critical of Straight Pride UK. He forced WordPress to delete perfectly lawful content from its website. As a result, WordPress has suffered damage to its reputation,†the company added. After reviewing the case United States Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero wrote a report and recommendation in favor of WordPress and Hotham (pdf), and District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton issued a default judgment this week. “The court finds the report correct, well-reasoned and thorough, and adopts it in every respect,†Judge Hamilton writes (pdf). “It is Ordered and Adjudged that defendant Nick Steiner pay damages in the amount of $960.00 for Hotham’s work and time, $1,860.00 for time spent by Automattic’s employees, and $22,264.00 for Automattic’s attorney’s fees, for a total award of $25,084.00.†The case is mostly a symbolic win, but an important one. It should serve as a clear signal to other copyright holders that false DMCA takedown requests are not always left unpunished.
  13. Canada's new piracy warning notice scheme is young but already controversial. With one relatively small ISP sending more than 3,000 notices every day, copyright trolls have quickly jumped on the bandwagon with their own brand of crazy. Other notices are much more benign - and users know it. A change in the law means that when copyright holders spot Canadian subscribers’ Internet connections sharing content online without permission, ISPs must forward any resulting infringement notices to their customers. Following its introduction less than a week ago, the so-called notice-and-notice system is already being utilized by entertainment companies. Small but popular ISP Teksavvy confirms that it’s already sending out thousands of notices to its subscribers every single day. “With notice-and-notice, in early January 2015 we were receiving about 3000 copyright infringement notices each day,†the company confirms. But despite knowing about the system for some time (and the relevant Canadian laws which led to its introduction), it seems that rightsholders haven’t yet found the time to customize their takedown notices to accommodate the law of the land. “Many of [the notices] are formatted based on the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (‘DMCA’) requirements, although we expect that to change over time,†Teksavvy add. While the aims of a DMCA takedown notice tend to be understood internationally, there are companies involved in anti-piracy activities who make more explicit threats so should be more prepared. University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist has already spotted a particularly bad example. The ridiculous Rightscorp Inc. is a U.S. based anti-piracy outfit whose activities have been documented here many times. Their business model involves tagging cash demands onto takedown notices so it perhaps comes as no surprise that Canada has become the company’s latest target. However, instead of tailoring their demands to the Canadian market, Rightscorp have simply exported their U.S. model north. A notice obtained by Geist and sent by Rightscorp on behalf of music outfit BMG reveals the details. “Your ISP account has been used to download, upload or offer for upload copyrighted content in a manner that infringes on the rights of the copyright owner. Your ISP service could be suspended if this matter is not resolved. You could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement in civil penalties,†the notice reads. As Geist points out, the $150,000 claim is bogus since Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringement at $5,000 for all infringements. Disconnecting a user from the Internet is also out since there is no provision under Canadian law. Even the claim against music piracy is up for debate. “Given the existence of the private copying system (which features levies on blank media such as CDs), some experts argue that certain personal music downloads may qualify as private copying and therefore be legal in Canada,†Geist explains. The benign But while Rightscorp aim to scare Internet subscribers, it’s clear that other notices being received are much less worrisome. A copy of a notice sent to a Bell Aliant subscriber and obtained by TorrentFreak is a good example. The subscriber had been downloading a DVD screener copy of the movie American Sniper on Thursday which took just 10 mins to complete. Nevertheless, that was enough to receive a standard U.S. DMCA notice from Warner Bros a few hours later. “We have received information that an individual has utilized the below-referenced IP address at the noted date and time to offer downloads of copyrighted material. The title in question is: American Sniper,†the Warner Bros. notice begins. “The distribution of unauthorized copies of copyrighted television programs constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 106(3). This conduct may also violate the laws of other countries, international law, and/or treaty obligations. The notice made no threats but did contain a request for the ISP to deal with the customer under its abuse policy. The ISP forwarded the notice but nothing was done to punish the recipient. From: Copyright Notification Date: Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at XX:XX Subject: Important notice regarding your Internet activity [******] The Government of Canada requires by law that all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) let their clients know when content owners contact them about possible unauthorized use of the content owner’s material such as illegal downloading of music, videos and games. As a result, we must let you know that we have received the below notification related to your account. We want to assure you that Bell Aliant as your Internet Service Provider played no part in the identification of possible unauthorized use of content but are only passing on the owner’s message as required by law. If you have any questions or need clarification please contact the content owner directly. For more information on why you received this notice visit . Thank you for your cooperation. The person who received the notice told TF that while he was surprised to have received one so quickly, his downloading habits won’t change. “I’ll continue to download, I’ll now be activating my VPN though whenever torrenting activity is going on,†he explained. “I suspect it’s a scare tactic that will work on most of the novice Canadians that download. I also suspect that roughly 90% of Canadians have downloaded something illegally, or know some who does for them.†It’s expected that most ISPs will handle notices carefully but if any reader receives any notices containing threats or aggressive language, please feel free to forward them.
  14. I feel like I should admit I’m the opposite of what you would call a Game of Thrones fan: I have never watched a single episode of the show or read any of the books. Nevertheless, Telltale Games ‘foray into the field of George R.R Martin´s fantasy epic left me very pleased. That is not to say this episode doesn´t pack fan service, but newcomers, although slightly puzzled at first, should come to piece everything together by the time the credits roll. Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron from Ice The first episode places you in the shoes of three characters belonging to the Forrester family, as they try to prepare for an imminent threat by forming alliances, discussing war terms and simply trying to survive. The action shifts back and forth between these protagonists, while also showcasing some familiar faces here and there, and you’re never left bored by staying with one for too long, as the story cleverly keeps you engaged with them. Then, when you least expect it, a fantastic cliffhanger comes out of nowhere and raises the value a couple notches. Seriously, it’s one you won’t want to miss. The decisions made this time around don´t feel like they have an immediate repercussion, but will rather affect the story in the chapters to come, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In any case, there are plenty of them with each character which should be enough to keep you going. Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron from Ice Dialogue, as we’ve come to expect from this studio, plays a vital role in determining what happens around you, but this time it takes a special significance since there aren´t many other tasks to perform. Quick time events and action sequences have been reduced to a minimum to allow character exposition and wordplay to take center stage, which makes this first episode, at least, quite different from other Telltale experiences like The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us. At any rate, it provides a unique experience which will keep you engrossed for the 2 hours it takes to finish. The game takes a somewhat serious stumble in the graphics department. These games are known for suffering from minor audio and visual glitches which never seriously bring down the experience, but this time around Telltale decided to implement a different art style to suit the visuals of the show and to make it look like it was oil-painted. The result is a muddled experience, with textures lacking definition and the anti-aliasing being all over the floor. Doors look way off and the characters have a weird glow to them, but nothing was ever too seriously ugly so as to detach me from the game, although these issues are indeed noticeable. As it has always been the case with these types of games, the replay value lies in picking different decisions as it progresses, and in this first episode the potential for different branches of events is promising, as some choices can be radically different from the others. Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron from Ice In short, Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones (what a tongue-twister!) manages to hit almost all of the right marks to start off a promising series. It has wit, its characters are deeply interesting and the events depicted will surely have serious repercussions. Although it does suffer from visual glitches and the lack of action may throw some people off, what lies underneath is another one of this studio’s great interactive adventures, and I can´t wait to see where they can take it from here.
  15. In this month’s issue of Nintendo Dream, Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai discussed the process of choosing characters for the game’s roster. Sakurai confirmed that he looked into featuring characters from unreleased new games at the very beginning of development. By the time the project proposal finished – which was May 2012 – “all characters were already decided.†As production continues, the team decides which characters to cut from the proposal given their priority. Speaking of cut characters, Sakurai revealed that there was one newcomer who was almost cut. We won’t reveal who it was just to be safe with spoilers, though most of you should know who the character is at this point. Head past the break for the character in question plus the full excerpt from Nintendo Dream. ND: When not you are not developing and there is a new title or character released, you are not thinking about “How about that one in the next Smash Bros?â€, right? MS: Absolutely not! I’m always thinking that doing Smash Bros. again will be impossible. Impossible, impossible…is what I always think, but I ended up making it again (laughs). But once I decide to do it, I’m very fast about creating moves and such. For example Greninja, even before his name was decided I received several illustrations. I took them home in the evening and around midnight I had already done all his actions, normal moves, special moves and pose-pictures and sent them around asking “What do you think?â€. ND: That’s incredible speed! By the way, when deciding on which characters to use, are you looking into unreleased new games? MS: At the very beginning I did that. This time our project-proposal is dated May 2012, at that time all characters were decided already. Then as production moves on we will say “We won’t put that character in†and cut out low-priority-characters. ND: That means in your project-proposal there are more characters than ended up in the game? MS: Yes, but I won’t tell which of course. ND: (laughs). We were wondering all the time “Which characters will be inâ€, and then the “long-time heroes†are announced just like that. We were wondering if that was the right way to announce them. MS: After all we were planning on including so many characters, in the end this pace of announcing them was enough. Each and every character has fans, we wanted to drop as few as possible. About the order of which character has priority, the characters that don’t have a new title coming up have an overwhelming disadvantage…even characters that we ended up including could have been left out if development had progressed differently. But even if 1 former character is left out, for the fans this is a huge thing. On our side, we are re-creating characters from the previous title, and keep on adding more, so the word “reduce†is not appropriate. There are cases where we simply couldn’t make it in the end, but on the whole we did a good job I think and the people at Bandai Namco Games did a great job. We had discussions on giving up on something many many times, Bowser Jr. was on the brink of being cut but the staff said “We’ll do our best!†and we made it. ND: Were there Smash Bros. or Nintendo-fans among the staff of Bandai Namco Games? SM: Of course. People who love Nintendo, people who love the characters, people who aren’t a fan of something specific but love games as a whole…it depends on the individual. ND: Was there something you didn’t ask for but got created because one of your staff was obsessed with it? MS: There are several cases of this. For example, Sheik’s movement is completely different to Brawl, someone made a proposal to me for those motions.
  16. Good news everyone !! Before of anything, we want to say thanks to this community and the user Inviter to authorise us to post our "products" here. We want to offer our seedboxes, in fact, we are here to revolutionize the world of seedboxes… We are offering seedboxes with a ridiculous price without lose the service and attention, and we want to be transparent and serious without lose the sympathy Our principal objective is to offer the best value on the market. These are our plans: And now, exclusively for users of this forum to try our products, we want to present 3 Free Trial Seedboxes with 300Gb each for a week, the firsts to post their solicitude will win the Free Trials, and after "the test", would be fine to post their impressions here, but it's absolutely optional... Good Luck !! and... Sharing is live... If you have some question or anything, just contact us on our webpage: or send an e-mail to Box4Seed Staff.
  17. Continuing his recent trend of looking unrecognisable from one film to the next, this new still fromEverest reveals a more hirsute Jake Gyllenhaal than we're used to. Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes also star in the moutaineering disaster drama, directed by Baltasar Kormákur (Contraband, 2 Guns). The story is of the 1996 events, made famous by Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air (already filmed as a TV movie with Christopher McDonald as Krakauer), in which three separate Everest expeditions ran into tragic difficulty in a sudden storm. Eight climbers died. This version of what happened is drawn from more sources than just Krakauer however, including other books and new interviews with the survivors. The screenplay is by William Nicholson (Gladiator, Les Misérables) and newcomer Justin Isbell. Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title are producers, and Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Clive Standen, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington also number among the impressive cast. Shooting took place in Italy and Nepal earlier this year, and Everest will be in UK cinemas on October 2, 2015.
  18. In preparation for the masked vigilante’s 2015 Netflix debut, two new images of Daredevil have been delivered by Santa to tide you over until the new year. Coming courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, the images see Charlie Cox’s Man Without Fear in and out of costume: first in his civilian guise as legal eagle Matt Murdock, then cleaning up the streets as his crime-fighting alter ego. If you’re wondering why the latter outfit is a little more ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ than Daredevil fans are used to, this is the prototype costume Murdock dons in his early days (and indeed the Frank Miller Man Without Fear run), before busting out the more iconic burgundy leather devil suit. In addition to the stills, Marvel’s Jeph Loeb dropped a couple of further hints about the show. “There aren’t going to be people flying through the sky; there are no magic hammers,†he said. “We’ve always approached this as a crime drama first, superhero show second.†Excited yet? Excellent. Marvel’s Daredevil will debut on Netflix in the new year.
  19. 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 ------------------------------
  20. While there is still no sign of The Pirate Bay, another major torrent site is starting to recover following the police raid earlier this week. The popular TV-torrent distribution group EZTV is starting to upload new shows again as some of its servers come back online. eztv-logo-smallEarlier this week Swedish police raided a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex in the city of Nacka. The target of the raid was The Pirate Bay but collateral damage caused several other torrent sites to go down as well. This included EZTV, the go-to place for many torrenting TV fans. After nearly two days of downtime EZTV is slowly starting to crawl back up. TF spoke to the EZTV crew who confirmed that several servers are up and running again and that the site’s services are coming back online. At the time of writing the main site is still offline. However, the upload bots are back in action and EZTV torrents are being uploaded again in other places such as and ExtraTorrent. In addition, EZTV proxies such as can now connect to the site’s backend IP-addresses. This means that these are showing new uploads again, as can be seen below. EZTV recovers eztv-back During the days to come EZTV hopes to recover fully and continue business as usual from the main domain. For Pirate Bay users there is no positive news to report yet. The site remains offline and there are no indications that it will return in the near future. There are several unofficial mirror sites that still work, but these have nothing to do with a possible comeback. These sites provide a minimal archive of old torrents, but there’s no new content being added as these all lack an upload feature. For now, many estranged Pirate Bay users seem to be flocking to other popular torrent sites. ExtraTorrent informed TF that they saw a 90 percent surge in user signups following the raid, while the number of downloads increased by a third. Most other sites that were hit by the raid remain offline. These include Torrage, the Istole tracker and Pirate Bay’s forum Suprbay. Torrent storage servie Zoink has fully recovered. torrentfreak
  21. Former Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde is a free man again. After more than five months he was released from prison this morning. Peter is expected to take some time off to spend with family and loved ones before he continues working on making the Internet a better place After being on the run for two years Peter Sunde, aka brokep, was arrested during a family visit in southern Sweden late May. Despite being accused of non-violent crimes, Peter was transferred to a high-security unit. His time in prison was tough. There was no concern for his vegan diet and he was struggling with depression. As a result Peter lost more than 15 kilograms. “The worst thing is the boredomâ€, Peter said in August, summing up his daily routine. “I have soy yoghurt and muesli for breakfast, which I was recently allowed to buy from my own money, as the prison doesn’t offer any vegan food.†Today Peter’s struggle in prison comes to an end. After more than five months he is now a free man again. A few hours ago he left prison to be reunited with his loved ones, and in a way, with himself. “My body just got re-united with my soul and mind, the parts of me that matters and that never can be held hostage. #freebrokep #brokepfree,†he Tweets. Although there is no denying that Peter was physically and mentally impacted by his stay in prison, he is now truly free. No longer a fugitive, the former Pirate Bay spokesperson can travel the world again. “Things will get easier once I get out,†Peter said previously. “I’ve been a fugitive for two years and could hardly go to conferences or would have to show up unannounced.†Now that his sentence has come to an end, Peter will probably take some time to gain strength and spend time with friends and family. After that, he will continue to work on his many Internet related projects including the micro-donation service Flattr and the encrypted chat application As always, activism remains a high priority too. “I’m brimming with ideas and that one of my main goals will be to develop ethical ways of funding activism,†he said in August. “You often need money to change things. But most ways of acquiring it require you to compromise on your ideals. We can do better than that.†Welcome back Peter!
  22. Stock trader and penny stock expert Timothy Sykes has added a new way to make money to his already impressive repertoire. With the assistance of an anti-piracy tracking firm he will attempt to turn 'bits' into thousands of dollars, by suing BitTorrent users who shared his secrets on The Pirate Bay. Turning lead into gold used to be the business of the alchemist, but today the Internet is awash with ‘proven’ techniques allowing anyone to go from rags to riches, if only they have the right knowledge. One person prepared to share his skills with the world is Timothy Sykes. In 1999, while still in school, Sykes reportedly took just over $12,000 in Bar Mitzvah money and began trading penny stocks, transforming his investment into $1.65m before he hit 21. With dozens of articles documenting his fame and fortune, in 2011 Sykes launched his own website, It is here that others wishing to emulate his success are brought onboard with tempting offers such as the one below. Of course, the kind of knowledge that enables people to get rich super quick doesn’t come cheap. A few initial ‘lessons’ aside, Sykes sells DVD titles such as “TIMfundamentals†for $397+ shipping. TIMTactics weighs in at a few bucks shy of $500, as do others. Sykes promises that by following his techniques the money invested can be recouped with single good trade, but there are people out there who prefer to make money without the initial outlay. These people find happiness on The Pirate Bay where all Sykes’ content can be found just by searching for his name. But the money man is unhappy with people getting rich without the appropriate investment so he’s cooked up a new money-making scheme of his own in response. In a series of lawsuits filed at the Illinois Northern District Court, Sykes’ Millionaire Media, LLC is now suing eleven BitTorrent users who allegedly downloaded and shared his works without permission. Currently, all targets appear to be Comcast users. One of the lawsuits reveals that an individual was tracked by German anti-piracy company Excipio. He or she is accused of copyright infringement in the most aggressive terms. “Defendant is an egregious online infringer of Plaintiff’s copyrights. Indeed, Defendant’s IP address….was used without authorization to illegally distribute seven different copyrighted works owned by Plaintiff…,†the court filing reads. The seven files – PennyStocking, PennyStocking Part Deux, ShortStocking, TIMFundamentals, TIMFundamentals Part Deux, TIMRaw and TIMTactics – were all wrapped up a single torrent. The court papers don’t provide evidence of distribution of all of those titles but note that the defendant distributed a small “bit†of the whole package in “multiple infringing transactions.†“Through each transaction, Defendant distributed a ‘bit’ of the Infringing File. The PCAP shows Defendant’s IP address, and the ‘bit’ that was distributed. Excipio verified that the ‘bit’ that was distributed belongs to the Infringing File by calculating its hash value,†the papers read. Interestingly the hash of the file – 4f7fa6edd6bb1e13b5af478fbae4daafab968f51 – reveals an error in the evidence presented to the court. “The Infringing File is a zip file that contains a variety of both text and video files owned by Plaintiff,†adding “Excipio further downloaded a full copy of the Infringing File, unzipped it, and reviewed each of the seven works contained in it.†However, a cursory view of the hash in question reveals there are no ZIP files whatsoever inside the torrent, just plain video, audio and documents. Technicalities aside, it seems fairly clear what will happen next. Sykes’ chosen lawfirm – Schulz Law – are well known in copyright trolling circles. In fact, lawyer Mary Schulz was sanctioned by the court in a Malibu Media case, something she is now required to report to courts in which she is admitted to practice. For each infringed work, Sykes’ Millionaire Media, LLC demand statutory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. While the company “demands a trial by jury on all issues so triable†it seems likely that they’ll actually be looking for settlements from the 11 individuals they’ve targeted so far. Another way to turn a small investment into big money, then.
  23. After more than a month of downtime the popular MP3 search engine MP3Juices made a comeback this weekend. The site, which had its .com domain name seized by UK piracy police PIPCU, is now back in action operating from a new domain. Over the past few months City of London’s PIPCU anti-piracy unit has been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content. One of the most-used tactics is to contact domain name registrars, asking them to suspend allegedly infringing domain names. This has resulted in the “shutdown†of a few pirate sites, with the MP3 search engine MP3Juices one of the most recent targets. With millions of visitors each month MP3Juices was one of the largest sites of its kind, but that changed in September when the site lost its domain name. After the suspension weeks went by without a sign of life from the operators, until this weekend. Yesterday MP3Juices returned using a new .to domain name. The surprise comeback was announced through the site’s official Facebook page. “We are back Have fun, post any errors/problems below,†the status update reads. The unexpected resurrection was welcomed by many of the site’s followers, who were delighted to see their favorite MP3 search engine back in action. MP3Juices is back At the moment it’s unclear why it took more than a month for the site to move to a new domain. TorrentFreak asked the MP3Juices team for a comment on the comeback and their future plans, but they have yet to respond. While PIPCU’s domain name suspension was bypassed by MP3Juices, it certainly wasn’t without damage. The site has lost most of its users, with many going to, a site that launched last month. The team informed TF that they created their site for those who miss the old site. It offers a search engine similar to the original service, and has grown to 150,000 daily visitors in just a few weeks. So the end result of PIPCU’s actions is that they damaged one site, but inspired the launch of another. Whether the actions of the police have actually resulted in less copyright infringement is doubtful, as availability of pirated content has increased.
  24. The Federation Against Copyright Theft has taken action a popular piece of software by having it removed from Github. The open source SportsDevil tool enabled the free steaming of live sports events from around the world. FACT informs TF that despite it not providing any of its own content, SportsDevil was "likely" committing an offense. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds of sites offering either illegal sports streams viewable via embedded players or indexes of links to the same. It is these resources that were leveraged by SportsDevil, a piece of open source software popular in the various XBMC/Kodi and TVMC communities. Under development at Github, SportsDevil’s aim is to present its tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of users with links to external video sources via a convenient interface, covering everything from live NFL, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey and motorsports, combat sports such as UFC and boxing, plus football and soccer from both sides of the Atlantic. This week, however, SportsDevil’s reign on Github was brought to an end following action from UK-based anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft. While FACT is closely affiliated with Hollywood studios, it also represents the rights of major sports broadcasters and rightsholders including The Premier League, British Sky Broadcasting Ltd and BT Sport. In its takedown notice, FACT explains what SportsDevil does and why it should be taken down. “The files found at the following locations facilitate linking to sites known to provide access to streams of infringing content. The sites are subsequently scraped for links to various broadcasts including those whose copyrights belong to FACT members,†the group explains. In addition to the ZIP files for the project, FACT targeted 47 configuration files enabling SportsDevil to pull links to content from sites such as FirstRowSports, and Cricfree, a site that was targeted by PIPCU earlier this year. TorrentFreak contacted FACT about the takedown and asked if this was the first piece of software to be taken down by the group. “This is not the first time and with development of technology, we don’t anticipate it will be the last,†FACT told TF. We also put it to FACT that although it’s pretty clear what SportDevil is designed to do, the tool itself is often far removed from actual infringing content and could be several steps down the linking chain. Does that present issues? “That’s the point of what we’re doing. The tool is creating alternative ways of accessing content, and we view that as a likely offense,†FACT said. Also of interest is the formatting of FACT’s takedown notice, which references neither UK law where its members are based nor US law where Github is located. “Our takedown notices are modeled on DMCA notices. In this particular case, they were adapted to comply with Github DMCA policy,†FACT confirmed. It’s worth noting that Github recently updated its takedown processes to give projects more time to ‘fix’ any issues following a DMCA complaint but it appears SportsDevil’s creators didn’t take up that opportunity. TF spoke with an expert on this type of software who told us that while its removal from Github will be a setback, it won’t mean the end of the tool. “If an addon’s repository is removed from GitHub, the addon author loses the ability to push further updates to the addon, so unless users install the author’s new repository (which they would have to do manually) further automated updates won’t take place,†he explained. Finally, we asked FACT if it intends to target more software tools in future. “Where we see a threat to our members’ content, we’ll continue to seek appropriate ways of dealing with it,†FACT conclude. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  25. Like many other "hacked" celebrities, UK actress, model and television presenter Kelly Brook is not happy that her leaked nudes are being distributed freely on the Internet. To deal with the fallout she asked Google to remove her photos, claiming that the compromising selfies infringe on her copyrights. Since late August hundreds of photos of naked celebrities have leaked online in what’s now known as “The Fappening.†The leaks resulted in a massive takedown operation targeted at sites that host and link to the controversial images. As a hosting provider and search engine Google inadvertently plays a role in distributing the compromising shots, much to the displeasure of the women involved. Several celebrities threatened legal action against Google for its “unlawful activity,†demanding tgat the company should zap all their images. Others, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, used DMCA requests to remove the images from the public eye. The famous UK actress, model and TV presenter Kelly Brook now joins this group as one of the latest Fappening victims. Brook’s pictures leaked onto the Internet early October and last week she asked Google to remove three links to her pictures from search results, claiming that she holds the copyrights to the selfies. The images are allegedly hosted on, and according to Google’s transparency report the request is still “pendingâ€. However, during this week something unusual happened. For reasons unknown, Google has decided to remove all URLs of from its search results. Whether the pages were removed because of the leaked pictures, or for another reason, is unknown. Kelly Brook is not the only celebrity to ask Google to remove links, Argentinian singer Melina Lezcano did the same last week. TorrentFreak asked Google whether the removal of the entire domain name is due to its content or if there’s another reason, but we have yet to receive a response. Whatever the reason, Brook and Lezcano’s takedown requests are moot. Whether they will be relieved is doubtful though, as most of the Fappening photos are still being shared through thousands of other sites. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post