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Found 17 results

  1. Hello Invite Scene, Well, It's time to find out The Best Hollywood Movies of 2014. Tell us which movies you have watched and why you liked them? Finally, let see which movies win the Big Hit. So, let the game begins! If you think of some other movies that is not in the list you can post it here, A little bit spamming is allowed!
  2. The MPAA is advising the U.S. Government's Internet Policy Task Force to help combat piracy, which they say poses a great cybersecurity threat. According to Hollywood, cyber criminals use pirated content as bait, to exploit citizens through malware and other scams. The major movie studios have been fighting piracy for decades, claiming that billions of dollars in losses are at stake. Increasingly, however, Hollywood has started to bring piracy onto the political agenda by describing it as a broader cybersecurity threat. Late last week the MPAA submitted its latest call to action, responding to a Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) request to identify cybersecurity threats. In their comments the MPAA stresses that the Internet has proven to be a tremendous tool for creativity and commerce, but that there’s also a downside. “Unfortunately, criminal enterprises are also using the Internet to hack into networks and computers for the purpose of stealing valuable data-whether personally identifiable information, trade secrets, or content,†the MPAA writes. Citing an entertainment industry backed report, the Hollywood studios note that pirate sites are using infringing content as bait for various sorts of scams. “They are also using Internet ads, as well as pirated content and software or other ‘bait,’ to fund their efforts and lure Internet users into revealing sensitive information, inadvertently download malware, or unknowingly becoming a node in a botnet,†MPAA adds. To help tackle the issue, the movie studios are hoping for “voluntary†cooperation from various stakeholders including Internet providers, search engines, payment processors, advertising networks and the domain name industry. As an example, the MPAA notes that search engines should promote legitimate sites in their search results, while removing or pushing down pirated content. The Government can also help these efforts by encouraging cooperation between the various stakeholders, as it did with the Copyright Alert System. The music industry agrees with Hollywood on most of these issues. In a separate set of comments the RIAA also stresses the importance of tackling the piracy problem in order to keep the public safe. “…rogue operators use the offer of infringing versions of our members’ sound recordings and music videos as the ‘candy’ to attract users that are necessary for them to create and exploit cyber vulnerabilities,†RIAA writes. “In light of this, any discussion addressing malvertising or trusted downloads should also address some of the roots of these problems.†In other words, both the RIAA and MPAA suggest that if the Government wants to increase cybersecurity, it has to help fight piracy. The question is, however, whether the movie studios and music labels are honestly concerned about people being infected by malware, or if they are simply using the angle to get piracy on the political agenda through the backdoor.
  3. A few months ago the UK Government legalized copying of MP3s, CDs and DVDs for personal use, as that would be in the best interest of consumers. A common sense decision for many, but leaked emails now show that Hollywood fiercely protested the changes behind the scenes. To most consumers it’s common sense that they can make a backup copy of media they own, but in the UK this was illegal until late last year. After consulting various stakeholders the Government decided that it would be in the best interests of consumers to legalize copying for personal use. Perhaps unsurprisingly, not all copyright holders were in favor of the legal changes. In fact, emails published from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack reveal that Hollywood wanted to stop the plans by urging UK Prime Minister David Cameron to keep Hollywood’s interests in mind. The first email mentioning the issue was sent January last year. Here, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton was informed that MPAA boss Chris Dodd wanted him to give Cameron a call. “Essentially, Dodd thinks (and we agree) it would be helpful for you to call Prime Minister Cameron if you are willing in order to ensure our position is fully considered,†the email from Sony’s Keith Weaver reads. According to Weaver it was still uncertain whether Hollywood’s concerns would be properly heard in Parliament. “This is because prior interactions with the U.K. government over the last few months have left us with no certainty that our concerns will be addressed in the proposal that will be presented to Parliament for an up or down vote in February,†he explained. Hollywood’s stance is that copying for private use should remain illegal if there are legal options available. “A private copy exception must not apply in the event there are commercially available services that achieve the same need,†Weaver wrote. Examples such as UltraViolet show that there is no market failure in the UK, and that private copying exceptions aren’t needed, in Hollywood’s view. On the contrary, technical protections and restrictions are needed for legal services to flourish. “We need to rely upon a legal framework that respects the technical protections necessary launch new consumer-oriented commercial services – this is key to our ability to make investments in films and great new TV shows,†Weaver added. From the emails it’s not clear whether or not Sony’s CEO called Prime Minister Cameron at the time. However, a few months later in June 2014 Lynton and Cameron had a meeting where the issue was prominently listed on the agenda, along with other anti-piracy issues. Despite the lobbying efforts at the highest level, the protests of the MPAA and Sony Pictures were not successful. After a brief delay the private copying exceptions eventually became law in October.
  4. MPAA chief Chris Dodd has urged theater owners and customers alike to support WhereToWatch, a "one-stop shop" designed to quickly guide audiences to legal content. Following its launch everyone could access the resource but perhaps fittingly, users outside the U.S. now need a VPN to receive advice. At the same time as the Hollywood studios complain endlessly about piracy, the counter argument that they simply haven’t done enough to make content available legally online persists. Without a similarly complex system of release windowing and geo-restriction, the music industry has largely overcome those obstacles. Meanwhile, however, Hollywood appears largely hamstrung by its own business model, leaving itself open to criticism that it hasn’t done enough to provide legal alternatives to torrent and streaming sites. In an attempt to dispel claims that content simply isn’t available, the MPAA came up with WhereToWatch, a searchable database listing where movies and TV-shows can be watched legally. Due to poor coding the site initially proved impossible for Google and Bing to index, a situation that has improved somewhat since last November. Yesterday during a speech at CinemaCon, MPAA chief Chris Dodd again urged theater owners and customers alike to spread the word that in order in to protect the industry and its workers, consumers need to access content from legal resources. “That’s why we at the MPAA created – a one-stop shop, guiding your audiences to content quickly, simply, and – most importantly – legally. And if what they’re looking for is online, will show which sites and at what prices that film is available,†Dodd said. “On a broader level, this effort is also a crucial recognition of the changing technological landscape, and the need to continue evolving to meet the demands of our consumers,†he continued. “That will mean finding new ways to enable audiences to see movies where and how they want, while maintaining the magic and unrivaled appeal of the theater-going experience that has been this industry’s driving force for well over a century.†But while recognizing that consumers should be able to see content at a time and place of their choosing – a major complaint that has persisted for well over a decade – consumers wanting to find out where to watch that content legally are also faced with a dilemma. Since its triumphant launch in November last year, the operators of WheretoWatch have now chosen to give it the same treatment that Hollywood bestows on its movies – by geo-restricting it. For the hundreds of millions of citizens outside the United States who are also expected to consume film and TV content legally, the above message is nothing less than they’ve come to expect. Free and equal access to content is not something the major studios and their distributors are good at, and that is now reflected by the very resource that former senator Dodd spent so long championing yesterday. But never fear. Thanks to the wonders of tunneling technology, last evening TF was able to find a VPN exit node in Seattle that enabled us to sneak past the MPAA guard dogs. Once on we were able to search for a number of films and find out where we could obtain them legally. The irony was headache inducing. Overall it’s a ridiculous situation. The music industry largely managed to solve these issues years ago but for as long as users are forced to jump through hoops to obtain or even learn about the availability of legal content (not to mention waiting for extended periods, Australian style), piracy will persist. And when other MPAA strategies such as site-blocking and “three strikes†systems are already being exported to all corners of the globe at huge expense, one has to wonder why the obvious solution isn’t being taken first.
  5. The Motion Picture Association has written to Brazil's Justice Minister seeking exceptions to the country's fledgling “Internet Constitution". In a submission to the government the MPA says that the Marco Civil's current wording on net neutrality deprives courts of the opportunity to order the blocking of 'pirate' sites. The Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet (Marco Civil da Internet) is legislation that governs the use of the Internet in Brazil. Under development since 2009, among other key issues the Marco Civil is aimed at protecting online privacy rights and net neutrality principles. The law, which passed last April, was fast-tracked in the wake of revelations from Edward Snowden indicating that the U.S. had been spying on President Dilma Rousseff’s emails and phone calls, those of Brazil’s biggest oil company, and the communications of millions of citizens. After being in place for a year, Brazil is now rolling out the Marco Civil’s secondary legislation, with the Ministry of Justice announcing a public consultation process allowing stakeholders to contribute to the development of the law. One of the organizations getting involved is the Motion Picture Association, the international big brother to the United States’ MPAA. According to the MPA, which counts all the big movie studios among its members, the Marco Civil’s net neutrality provisions present an obstacle to rightsholders seeking to protect their content online. In a submission to Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo, the Motion Picture Association expresses concern that the legislation’s current wording is too tight and that exceptions need to be introduced in order to deal with online piracy. “[Our] position is that the regulation should contain cases of exception to the general rule of net neutrality, enabling the judiciary to determine that traffic to a given illegal repository can be blocked,†the MPA writes. “The aforementioned suggestion is based on the premise that an adequate service must be in harmony with the possibility of allowing the judiciary to block access to content that, based on judicial scrutiny, is illegal for any reason, from a case of child pornography and trafficking of illegal substances, to the case of systematic disregard for the consumer and violation of intellectual property rights.†The MPA notes that due to the borderless nature of the Internet anyone can access content from any location. This presents challenges on a national level when undesirable content is made available from other parts of the world, the group says. “For content hosted within a national territory a judge may issue a removal order, or in the case of breaches in the copyright field, the rightsholder can send a takedown notice to the ISP, requesting that the content is rendered unavailable,†the MPA states. “However, when the content is hosted in a foreign nation, the Brazilian court order may [not have jurisdiction] or produce the expected results for months, perhaps years, after the court order has been issued.†According to the MPA there is only one way to remedy this kind of impotence but the way the law is currently worded, the solution remains elusive. “In these cases the Brazilian courts only have only one option: to order service providers to implement technical measures to block Internet traffic when it has been established that services are illegal,†the MPA notes. “Without a clear provision for these techniques, in the midst of regulations, the current wording of the Marco Civil deprives courts of this possibility, leaving them unable to address such threats.†The net neutrality debate is a sensitive one and one that has the potential to seriously affect Hollywood’s interests. With that in mind the MPA and MPAA will be keen to ensure that any new legislation, whether overseas or on home turf, won’t hinder the pursuit and monitoring of online pirates.
  6. The Stop Online Piracy Act, an anti-piracy bill that would have granted the US government and private corporations extraordinary power to battle copyright infringement on the web, failed to pass in 2012. But according to emails uncovered by the recent Sony hack and recent news stories, the movie industry is still fighting to revive the bill, even pushing Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to make life uncomfortable for Google, one of the bill’s biggest detractors. And Google isn’t too happy about it. On Friday, the search giant filed legal papers in federal court against Hood, requesting that the court stop his demands for information from the company. The move came a day after the company had unloaded a rather pointed blog post complaining about apparent efforts by the Motion Picture Association of America to revive SOPA and push an investigation of Google through Hood’s office. It’s a complicated situation, and it shows just how fierce the battle was—and is—over SOPA. With movie industry lobbyists behind it, SOPA pushed for new ways of removing pirated movies and other content from the net. But internet companies fought hard to stop the thing, saying it would legalize online censorship. In 2012, over 115,000 websites—including WIRED, Wikipedia, WordPress, and Reddit—altered their pages in some way to protest the SOPA bill, with many of them voluntarily going dark. Millions of Americans also sent emails complaining about SOPA, and Google collected 7 million signatures for an online petition protesting the bill. And still the fight goes on. According to a recent story from The Verge, hacked Sony emails showed that the Motion Picture Association of America and six major studios have joined forces to revive the SOPA legislation. The studios budgeted $500,000 to pay lawyers, The Verge reports, and the MPAA set aside an additional $1.17 million for the campaign. According to a later story from The New York Times, the MPAA instructed its law firm, Jenner & Block, to attack Google specifically. As The Times reports, the MPAA pitched Mississippi State Attorney General Hood, and Hood delivered a letter to Google making various accusations against the company, with most of it ghost-written by Jenner & Block. In October, Hood also sent Google a 79-page subpoena demanding 141 documents and 62 interviews from Google, as well as anything that might be construed as “dangerous content†on Google’s network. And this is what Google is trying to stop. “In order to respond to the subpoena in full, Google would have to produce millions of documents at great expense and disruption to its business,†Google’s suit reads. For Sherwin Siy, vice president of Legal Affairs for Washington, D.C.-based public interest group Public Knowledge, the subpoena sets a bad precedent. “The MPAA may have asked an attorney general to go after Google,†he says. “What happens when the MPAA is worried about a smaller entity? Maybe they won’t even need a state AG, they could send some other complaint and get a service that is actually legal to shut down because they just can’t afford to deal with it.â€
  7. Hollywood still has concerns over the popular Popcorn Time application. One of the main "Netflix for Pirates" forks has just moved through three different hosting companies in two weeks, after an anti-piracy group raised alerts. In addition, a new leak reveals that Hollywood was also behind the 'voluntary' shutdown of the original application earlier this year. This year Popcorn Time became an instant hit by offering BitTorrent-powered streaming inside an easy-to-use Netflix-style interface. The breakthrough app had Hollywood concerned but luckily for them the developers shut it down after a few weeks, saying that they wanted to move on with their lives. It was never revealed whether Hollywood forces had threatened the developers, but an MPAA update that surfaced as part of the Sony leaks now reveals that this was indeed the case. In the MPAA’s “first quarter update,†sent to the movie studio heads in March, the group stated that it had “scored a major victory in shutting down the key developers of Popcorn Time.†The MPAA added that the investigative and enforcement actions required collaboration on three continents, which they hoped would prevent Popcorn Time from becoming a “major piracy threat.†Unfortunately for Hollywood the threat didn’t go away. The Open Source project was quickly picked up by others and in recent months several popular forks gained steady user-bases., one of the most-used forks, has since turned into a bigger threat than the original application. As a result, Hollywood is trying its best to dismantle it. Previously the fork had its domain name suspended and over the past few weeks found itself being kicked out by various hosting providers. Complaints from the Hollywood backed anti-piracy group BREIN were to blame. The hosting troubles resulted in long periods of downtime, which isn’t good for morale among the developers. “We had a tough two weeks with a few shut downs that came unexpectedly. We moved our service through three different hosting companies in these weeks,†the team tells TF. “All caved after a few hours to a day or two, after ‘some’ copyright organization contacted them, saying suddenly that they don’t want to host our ‘illegal’ domain. We were shocked actually to see how quickly these organizations work.†While might have been down, they’re not out yet. The team is determined to keep its software available and will be releasing new updates to the app today. “BREIN is on our backs? Well, we found a new hosting company which we hope will be more cooperative, and we’re releasing updates for both Windows and Mac today to show everyone that business is as usual.†“No one said it was gonna be easy, but what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, and we’re not into dying… ;-),†the team concludes. Whether other Popcorn Time forks have had similar problems recently is unknown, but the above makes it clear that Hollywood is still determined to crush these popular apps.
  8. The MPAA is urging the U.S. Government to defeat online piracy and has identified several countries where change is required. Australia is a priority according to Hollywood, so to change this situation better enforcement, improved legislation and stiffer penalties are required. The MPAA has published its latest submission to the U.S. Government. It provides an overview of countries the studios believe could better protect the interests of the copyright industry. The movie group lists more than two dozen countries and describes which “trade barriers†they present. In recent years the Obama administration has helped Hollywood to counter online piracy and with a letter, signed by MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd, the movie organization urges the Government not to drop the ball. “The US government must not falter from being a champion of protecting intellectual property rights, particularly in the online market,†Dodd told the United States Trade Representative. According to the MPAA there are more than two dozen countries that require special attention. This includes Australia, which has one of the highest online piracy rates in the world “Australia has consistently ranked amongst the highest incidence of per capita P2P infringement of MPAA member company films in the region,†the MPAA chief writes. One of the main grievances against Australia is the lack of thorough copyright laws. On this front the movie studios put forward a specific recommendation to draft legislation to deter ‘camming’ in movie theaters. “Australia should adopt anti-camcording legislation. While illegal copying is a violation of the Copyright Act, more meaningful deterrent penalties are required,†the MPAA notes. In recent years there have been several arrests of people linked to scene release groups who illegally recorded movies in theaters. However, instead of several years in jail they usually get off with a slap on the wrist. “For instance, in August 2012, a cammer was convicted for illicitly recording 14 audio captures, many of which were internationally distributed through his affiliation with a notorious release group; his fine was a non-deterrent AUD 2,000,†the MPAA writes. “These lax penalties fail to recognize the devastating impact that this crime has on the film industry,†they add. The MPAA hopes that the U.S. Government can help to change this legal climate Down Under. The most recent anti-piracy plans of the Aussie Government are a step in the right direction according to the Hollywood group. This is not the first time that the MPAA has become involved in Australian affairs. Previously a Wikileaks cable revealed that the American movie group was also the main force behind the lawsuit against iiNet. In addition to Australia, the MPAA also points out various copyright challenges in the UK, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden. The latter country is seen as a “safe haven†for pirates and lacks effective enforcement, as The Pirate Bay remains online despite the convictions of its founders. “The law [in Sweden] must also change in order to effectively curb organized commercial piracy, as evidenced by the difficulties thwarting The Pirate Bay – an operation the court system has already deemed illegal,†MPAA writes. MPAA’s full list of comments and recommendations is available here.
  9. Ed Sheeran is often ignored at dinner parties. The 23-year-old singer is a global phenomenon thanks to his albums + and x, which have won him several awards over the years. Another perk of fame is having celebrity pals, such as former Friends star Courteney Cox. It was the actress' laidback approach to stardom which Ed found appealing - especially as many of the people he encounters aren't as welcoming. "She's from Alabama, so it's bred into her, but everyone she surrounds herself with is the same. Jennifer Aniston's just as friendly. I'd only ever experienced the darker side of Hollywood and they give you faith in everything," he smiled to British newspaper The Daily Mail. "Everyone in LA introduces themselves with their first name, last name, what they do, who they work for, how many awards they've won, how much they earn - but only if they know who you are. "I've been ignored for a whole dinner party and then someone says, 'Oh, this is Ed, he does this,' and suddenly I'm being given all these cards. "Whereas the first time I went to Courteney's I brought my cousin Murray, who isn't a superstar - well, he is in my eyes, but he's not an actor or a musician. But everyone spoke to him and thought he was cool." It was Ed who introduced the star to her now-fiancé Johnny McDaid. He recalled a time Courteney visited a branch of British supermarket Tesco in her beau's home country of Northern Ireland and thought it was a "farmer's market". The redheaded star is also loved up with girlfriend Athina Andrelos, who is a culinary queen thanks to her job with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Ed has big plans for the future when it comes to his personal life, but is keen to wait until work slows down to act upon them. "Of course I want kids. I actually thought my career would plateau quicker than this. I thought I'd have a career in England, and it's quite simple to maintain that and home life. You tour for a month, then you make an album," he explained. "I thought, 'I can have kids early, I can get married early.' But now we're touring in Asia and South America and selling out gigs in Poland and Manila. It's going to be an amazing moment when I actually have a year to spend with someone." Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
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  11. Led by director Lexi Alexander, a collection of Hollywood directors, producers, actors, writers and other workers have teamed up in support of Peter Sunde. As the jailed former Pirate Bay founder prepares for his father's funeral, the insiders call for his uncuffing. "We oppose your imprisonment," they say in their video. The imprisonment of former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde has been going on since late May 2014, provoking a number of reports on the conditions under which he is being held. Despite being accused of non-violent crimes, Peter is being held in a high-security unit and without concern for his dietary needs. As a result he’s literally wasting away. Following the tragic death of his father who recently succumbed to a long-standing set of illnesses, the week delivered yet more bad news. Although the prison would allow him to attend the funeral, Peter was told he could expect to carry his father’s coffin wearing handcuffs. Understandably the news provoked much outrage. Why would a non-violent and now-frail man with with just a few days left on his sentence try to escape from not one but two prison guards? As that improbable situation was discussed among supporters online, a much less traditional support group were asking the same questions. Hollywood director Lexi Alexander has been a vocal supporter of Peter and earlier this year broke with the usual Tinseltown position by calling for his release. While her outspoken approach is uncharacteristic of a Hollywood worker, it may come as a surprise that she is definitely not on her own. During recent weeks the director and actress, who has several movies under her belt, called for other like-minded individuals in Hollywood to make themselves known. The result was the publication a few minutes ago of a video dedicated to the uncuffing, release and support of Peter Sunde. “We created this video in solidarity with Peter as he attends his father’s funeral today,†Alexander told TorrentFreak. “Originally I had planned to do this over the next few weeks, but when I heard about Peter’s father’s death yesterday, we scrambled and got it together within a few hours.†While a few of the people in the video have understandably chosen to remain anonymous, others have been very happy to show their faces. With the famous Hollywood sign in the background, first up, Julie Bush. “Julie Bush was pro-piracy before I even knew what file-sharing meant,†Alexander told TF. “She used to be a writer on the show Sons of Anarchy and now she’s writing a major property for Universal Studios: Robert Ludlum’s The Sigma Protocol.†Bush has written on a number of occasions about Hollywood’s “dumb†approach to piracy. “Many showrunners and executives I know not only pirate stuff all the time but also privately endorse the idea that piracy is good for the industry, a great way to advertise, and essential to building a healthy audience,†she explained last year. The gentleman holding up the sign calling for the un-cuffing of Peter is actor Ross McCall. He appeared in Band of Brothers, Alexander’s movies Green Street and Green Street 2, before moving on to star in TV series including Crash, White Collar and Luther. “The pretty blonde [0m 53s] is producer Catrin Cooper. Very outspoken about her opposition to criminalizing file-sharing,†Alexander continues. Cooper has worked in several roles on movies including Casino Royale, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Batman Begins. “The guy with ‘Free Peter Sunde’ on his shirt is a writer and actor named Edward DeRuiter, one of his movies was just released last month,†Alexander adds. “Then there’s Brent Weichsel, who against my advice decided to put his name and union on the sign. He’s Local 600 Camera Assistant.†It’s quite something and particularly brave for these individuals to put their name to the support of someone described by studio bosses as someone intent on the ruination of the industry. That said, and as clearly pointed out on one of the signs held up in the video, Hollywood workers are not only writers and directors, they’re also humans too. The video, which features writers and authors, directors, producers, a screenwriter, a cinematographer, an engineer and a dialect coach, is embedded below and available on Lexi’s blog.
  12. Kim Dotcom has lost his appeal to keep his worldwide assets hidden from Hollywood in advance of a Court of Appeal hearing in October. The Court ordered the Megaupload founder to hand the information to Hollywood lawyers, although they must obtain permission to further share the information. 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros are engaged in a huge battle with Kim Dotcom. They believe that legal action currently underway against the Megaupload founder could lead to them receiving a sizable damages award should they win their case. But Dotcom’s lavish lifestyle gives them concerns. The more he spends, the less they could receive should the money begin to run out. Those concerns were addressed by the High Court’s Judge Courtney, who previously ordered Dotcom to disclose the details of his worldwide assets to his Hollywood adversaries. Dotcom filed an appeal which will be heard in October, but that date is beyond the ordered disclosure date. As a result, Dotcom took his case to the Court of Appeal in the hope of staying the disclosure order. That bid has now failed. Dotcom’s legal team argued out that their client’s October appeal would be rendered pointless if he was required to hand over financial information in advance. They also insisted a stay would not negatively affect the studios since millions in assets are currently restrained in New Zealand and elsewhere. However, as explained by the Court of Appeal, any decision to stay a judgment is a balancing act between the rights of the successful party (Hollywood) to enforce its judgment and the consequences for both parties should the stay be granted or denied. While the Court agreed that Dotcom’s appeal would be rendered pointless if disclosure to Hollywood was ordered, it rejected that would have an effect on Dotcom. “[T]he mere fact that appeal rights are rendered nugatory is not necessarily determinative and in the circumstances of this case I consider that this consequence carries little weight. This is because Mr Dotcom himself does not assert that there will be any adverse effect on him if deprived of an effective appeal,†the decision reads. The Court also rejected the argument put forward by Dotcom’s lawyer that the disclosure of financial matters would be a threat to privacy and amounted to an “unreasonable searchâ€. The Court did, however, acknowledge that Dotcom’s appeal would deal with genuine issues. That said, the concern over him disposing of assets outweighed them in this instance. In respect of the effect of a stay on the studios, the Court looked at potential damages in the studios’ legal action against the Megaupload founder. Dotcom’s expert predicted damages “well below†US$10m, while the studios’ expert predicted in excess of US$100m. The Court noted that Dotcom has now revealed that his personal assets restrained in both New Zealand and Hong Kong are together worth “not less†than NZ$ 33.93 million (US$ 28.39m). However, all of Dotcom’s assets are subject to a potential claim from his estranged wife, Mona, so the Court judged Dotcom’s share to be around NZ$17m. As a result the Court accepted that there was an arguable case that eventual damages would be more than the value of assets currently restrained in New Zealand. As a result, Dotcom is ordered to hand the details of his financial assets, “wherever they are locatedâ€, to the lawyers acting for the studios. There are restrictions on access to that information, however. “The respondents’ solicitors are not to disclose the contents of the affidavit to any person without the leave of the Court,†the decision reads. As legal proceedings in New Zealand continue, eyes now turn to Hong Kong. In addition to Dotcom’s personal wealth subjected to restraining order as detailed above, an additional NZ$25m owned by Megaupload and Vestor Limited is frozen in Hong Kong. Next week Dotcom’s legal team will attempt to have the restraining order lifted.
  13. The MPAA recently fired shots across the bows of Popcorn Time forks by having their projects removed from Github. But what if a bigger and more advanced project existed, one with impressive extra features and impossible to monitor downloads? Following a $668m investment last year, it seems Hollywood is leaving well alone. Popcorn Time was embraced by millions following its debut earlier this year, but what if there was a similar looking service providing additional features but with a small monthly price tag? Visually, TVShowTime is clean and tidy. It allows the tracking of TV shows and provides associated content on top of community and social networking features. It’s easy to use – click a series from the 40,000 in its databases and one can quickly begin tracking – and watching. After adding a show – we chose Game of Thrones – TVShow Time gave us a link to buy the first season on DVD from Amazon. Links also appeared to download the subtitles in a convenient zip file. Simultaneously a big ‘play’ button marked “watch episode†sat invitingly in the middle of the screen. With a click a new page appeared. As can be seen from the screenshot, TVShow Time provides two options. The first is a free service offering calender and subtitling downloads, plus links to buy the shows from official online sources including Netflix and iTunes. The second allows the viewer to sign up to a $7.99 a month subscription with torrent downloading service When integrated with TVShow Time, users can access all their TV shows from BitTorrent networks in both 480p and 720p, and collect the resulting episodes from via HTTP download. Unlike standard Popcorn Time downloads, these are impossible for anti-piracy companies to monitor. The image below shows the first three already-filled-in torrent sources for Game of Thrones as directed by TVShow Time ( remains a “dumb†service and only takes instruction from users). So, what we have here, at least on the surface, is a Popcorn Time-style interface on steroids with a small price tag attached for downloads. However, while Popcorn Time is being developed pretty much for free and is visible on the radar of the MPAA, TVShow Time sits very much at the opposite end of the financial spectrum. According to reports 1, 2, TVShow Time, which operates more or less like many other streaming or torrent-like indexes (with social networking features attached), is sitting on a $668 million investment. The people who put up the money are hardly lightweights either. They include Jean-David Blanc (Allociné), Deezer founder Daniel Marhely, and telecoms giant Xavier Niel, said to be worth in excess of $8 billion. The situation provides an interesting contrast. While the hobbyists behind the several Popcorn Time forks find themselves in thecrosshairs of the MPAA, and amateur Swedish subtitlers get raided by the police, a company with massive investment can somehow offer similar functionality without incurring the wrath of the studios. But when potential rivals have this much influence, it’s probably easier to turn the other way – at least for now.
  14. Outspoken movie director Lexi Alexander says that movie leaks, such as the recent one involving The Expendables 3, can happen as a result of directors and producers abusing their assistants. In a move further likely to irritate her Hollywood overlords, Alexander suggests that a high-security leaking mechanism could help to cut down on abuse. It’s pretty obvious that Lexi Alexander isn’t scared of rocking the boat. In an unprecedented move last month, the movie director was pictured holding up a sign calling for the release of Peter Sunde, an individual not exactly the movie industry’s most-loved man. But Alexander is no ordinary person or director. Instead of towing the usual line by decrying piracy as a scourge, the 39-year-old recently noted that several studies have found that piracy has actually benefited movie profits. For a movie worker this is a controversial stance to take, but rather than back off, Alexander only seems motivated to continue her abrasive approach. In new comments Alexander takes aim at Hollywood, this time referencing the recent leak of The Expendables 3. She doesn’t condone the leak, but instead looks at possible reasons why it ended up online. “The piracy issue makes me want to tear my hair out at times. I do not understand how so many of my filmmaker colleagues have bought into this MPAA propaganda. Recently these think tanks and organizations have popped up which are not officially associated with the MPAA, but definitely on their payroll,†Alexander begins. “But okay, you want to be mad at the kid in Sweden or Australia for uploading your movie? Go for it. Oh wait, in cases like Expendables 3 it’s actually someone here in Hollywood leaking it,†she notes. The idea that The Expendables 3 leaked directly from Hollywood is not new. Pristine copies like these simply aren’t available on the streets unless an insider has had a hand in it somehow, whether that interaction was intentional or otherwise. In some instances the motivation to leak, Alexander suggests, could be borne out of a desire to get even. Assistants to the higher-ups are often treated badly, so more consideration should be given to what they might do in return, the director notes. “It’s kind of like going to a restaurant and thinking twice about insulting the waiter or busboy because you’re afraid of what they’ll put in the food before they bring it back,†Alexander explains. “Imagine those famously abusive directors, producers or stars (#notall….) having to tone down the abuse, otherwise LOUD EVENT MOVIE # 5 will show up on The Pirate Bay with a little note that says: ‘Don’t bother seeing this in the theater. Everybody above the line was a monster to us’.†The thought that leaks might happen as a type of personal revenge is in itself the stuff of a Hollywood plot. However, just as it’s unlikely that a story about a movie leak would ever make the silver screen, Hollywood insiders involved in them also tend to escape criticism. In fact, history shows us that the *actual* leakers, whether that’s an assistant with a grudge or otherwise, are rarely – if ever – paraded around in public as criminals. That honor is usually reserved for the first uploaders and/or their ‘pirate’ allies. Still, Alexander feels it would be wise to keep those close to home in a good frame of mind. “Maybe the MPAA should drop some of their $$ on PSAs about the danger of abusing assistants: ‘If you kick me everyday, your film will land on Pirate Bay’,†she warns. Finally, in a move likely to further annoy the Hollywood brass, Alexander presents a “hypothetical†mechanism through which abused assistants could beat the bullies. “I’m not suggesting anything, but hypothetically, if there were an anonymous address people could send not-yet-released movie DVDs to, so someone else could upload them without a chance of it being backtracked to the source, then a whole bunch of abused and mistreated assistants wouldn’t be defenseless anymore,†she concludes. Due to the hugely controversial nature of her comments its difficult to judge how serious Alexander is with her suggestions. But, whatever the case, it’s safe to say that she’s one of a kind and likely to continue rocking the boat in future.
  15. Movie director Lexi Alexander wants to "occupy Hollywood" by bridging the gap between pirates and filmmakers. Sporting a banner to free Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, Alexander says that the criminalization of file-sharing is "pathetic", while calling out the losses claimed by the MPAA as "bullshit". It’s not every day that you see a Hollywood director holding up a “Free Peter Sunde†sign, but Lexi Alexander is on a mission. With her support for the Pirate Bay founder who’s currently locked up in a Swedish prison, Alexander hopes to reach out to the “other side†with whom she shares a common goal. Alexander is not a fan of the anti-piracy crusade the MPAA and other groups are waging against file-sharers. The massive losses that are claimed due to piracy are “bullshit†according to her. In fact, she believes that piracy may do more good than harm. “I get a little upset when I hear how hard my industry jumps into action, sparing neither time, manpower or resources, as soon as someone even hints at potential loss to the crown estate,†Alexander notes. “Piracy has NOT been proven to hurt box-office numbers, on the contrary, several studies say it may have boosted the bottom line,†she adds. In recent years the movie industry has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into expensive anti-piracy measures, nearly all of which are counterproductive according to Alexander. For example, as a German living in Hollywood she can’t watch German news online due to geographical restrictions and the same is true for U.S. shows when she’s visiting Germany. But thanks to the pirates, Hollywood director can easily bypass these restrictions. “But guess what, for every IP block, DRM and who-knows-what security feature Hollywood spends thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on, some piracy kid will undo it for free and within a couple of minutes.†“And this is my favorite part: I am 100% certain that the hacking of entertainment industry’s security features provides better entertainment for these kids than the entertainment we’re trying to prevent them from stealing. Let that sink in for a second, then try not to bust up laughing.†In a recent interview with Daily Record, Alexander describes criminalization of file sharing as “pathetic.†It is mostly an issue that keeps Hollywood’s “Fat Cats†busy, but not so much independent filmmakers. “The people who complain most about piracy in Hollywood are Fat Cats who did little to deserve their wealth or position. I doubt you’ll find many people on the anti-piracy train amongst film crews or indie filmmakers, unless they’re being paid a retainer,†she says. Contrary to what the MPAA and others may lead the public to believe, Alexander says that piracy is rather common among filmmakers. She herself admits to downloading films when there are no legal options available. “I download stuff myself, so do many of my colleagues here in Hollywood. Usually we do it only when we can’t find something on mainstream streaming services,†Alexander says. The movie director uses pirate sites to grab movies that are relevant for an upcoming meeting for example, something which has saved her on a few occasions. “I cannot tell you how often my ass was saved by some torrent site in those situations. And I assume that 99% of my Hollywood filmmaker colleagues or their poor assistants have found themselves on a piracy site for just that reason (if they deny it, they’re lying. The end.)†Despite her own piracy habits, Alexander doesn’t endorse the existing piracy status quo. In a blog post on her own site she notes that many of the people running pirate sites are just as motivated by greed as the people in Hollywood. The movie director considered reaching out to Kim Dotcom but concluded that his luxurious lifestyle makes him just like the Hollywood elite. The Pirate Bay team was second on the list, but this was scrapped after learning about historical connections with right-winger Carl Lundström. The movie director is nonetheless reaching out to all pirates with good intentions who put art and talent before the dollar signs. An “Occupy Hollywood movement,†as she describes it, and calling for Peter Sunde’s release, is her way to reach out to those who support this cause.
  16. It's been revealed that major Hollywood movie studios including Disney, Paramount, Fox, Sony and Universal attempted to have torrent sites added to New Zealand's already controversial Internet child protection filter. Alongside ISPs' objections to the proposal, the Kiwi government rejected the request. Website blocking has become one of the music and movie industries’ favored weapons in their seemingly endless fight against online piracy. Blocks of torrent and other sharing sites are in place in many countries around Europe, mainly due to court injunctions forcing ISPs to take action against copyright infringement. While legal action is one way of introducing a blockade, other methods require much less time, effort and money. This week the spotlight was placed on the UK, where the government has pressured ISPs to introduce default-on filtering for their subscribers, ostensibly for the protection of children. The result ishuge overblocking and conveniently for the entertainment industries, hundreds – possibly thousands – of file-sharing sites wiped out with the correct settings. With the right level of knowledge these filters can be turned off, but other more serious national anti-child abuse mechanisms cannot. The UK’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) maintains a blocklist of URLs that point to sexual child abuse and criminally obscene adult content. Over in New Zealand the Department of Internal Affairs maintains DCEFS, the Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System. Both are run in cooperation with the countries’ ISPs with the sole aim of keeping the most objectionable material away from public eyes. Today, however, it’s been revealed that Hollywood attempted to broaden the remit of New Zealand’s DCEFS in order to protect their own interests. The Motion Pictures Distributors Association (MPDA) has a familiar sounding name and unsurprisingly has some well-known backers. Fox, Sony, Paramount, Disney, Universal and Roadshow are all members of the group which coordinates the distribution of movies in New Zealand. According to a RadioLIVE report, in order to prevent copyright infringement the studios requested access to the DCEFS child abuse filtering system. After obtaining government permission, Hollywood hoped to add their own list of sites to DCEFS so that by default subscribers to New Zealand’s main ISPs would be prohibited from accessing torrent and other file-sharing type sites. But in the face of objections from both the ISPs and the Kiwi government, Hollywood was forced to scrap its plans. “[The ISPs] were not prepared to agree to that extension and in any case it would have shifted the mandate somewhat from [the Department of Internal Affairs'] primary focus on preventing sexual abuse of young children,†Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne told the show. There can be little doubt that Hollywood believes web filtering is an effective mechanism to reduce infringement – MPAA chief Chris Dodd explicitly said soduring his speech at the International IP Enforcement Summit last month. But the notion that governments should treat the filtering of copyrighted content and child abuse in the same way is not only controversial but unlikely to win sympathy with the public.
  17. BitTorrent’s Chief Content Officer, Matt Mason, calls to Hollywood to help defend an open Internet There’s a lot of confusion in Hollywood about what the proposed FCC Net Neutrality rules mean, and what they will mean for the entertainment industry. Net Neutrality essentially means an open Internet where all traffic is equal, anyone can publish content, and everyone has access to media. Free expression, free innovation — our equal rights to both — are protected. This version of the Internet has fueled two decades of unprecedented economic and creative growth. The FCC’s Chairman, Tom Wheeler, is proposing that we close it down. A big vote takes place tomorrow and it’s expected that the FCC’s planned revisions to Net Neutrality will create a preferential fast lane for designated traffic. Consumers and companies with the deep pockets to pay for this fast lane will have the ability to access and distribute content at higher speeds. The entities that lack this purchasing power will be disadvantaged. The impact on innovation is obvious. It’s going to be hard to build a platform, application, or audience if you can’t get online. That means that the Internet’s current services are all we’re ever going to get. More than 100 technology companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, BitTorrent, and Amazon have written to US regulators, warning that the proposed Net Neutrality rules pose a “grave threat to the Internet.†A biased web inhibits growth. There may never again be a scenario wherein innovation could overtake an incumbent service; wherein a Facebook could supplant a Myspace. Our ability to create the next Netflix, YouTube, or even Google, will be compromised. The entire startup model is at stake. The next important innovations in entertainment simply won’t happen. In Hollywood, support for Net Neutrality hasn’t been so forthcoming. Perhaps it’s because there is a sense that this proposal will not impact the entertainment industry. Or maybe it’s because (at first blush, at least) a closed Internet can sound pretty compelling. Today, more than 7,500 movies are produced each year. The average consumer will watch just one hundred of those titles. There’s already too much product for too few eyeballs. An open Internet only compounds the issue. But a pay-to-play Internet can reduce audience fragmentation; funneling viewers away from independent streaming sites that can’t pay for access, and into larger, big-budget releases. As a result, the industry could operate more efficiently; producing fewer films, while simultaneously growing the audience for these marquee releases. A pay-to-play Internet fast lane can also keep competitors and business models at bay. No new content platforms or applications would emerge — unless they were capable of paying Verizon or Comcast for premium access. Hollywood can rely on Netflix, who’ve already put up the money for preferential traffic treatment. Google will remain an unchallenged, dominant player. New innovation will wither. The traditional way of doing business can continue unencumbered. All this might sound good to some people. But if an Internet with about as much choice as Taxi TV doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, or a good way for this town to continue to thrive, let’s consider the threat of closing the open internet. A closed Internet will cost us. Consider the retransmission battles that go on in Cable markets on a regular basis. Imagine it applied to the Internet. Under that model, we can expect Netflix — or the content provider of your choice — to be taken down or degraded until a new agreement is in place, and the provider (the consumer) pays up. Let’s also consider what an open Internet has meant for Hollywood so far, and why it might be worth protecting. An open Internet has made new financing, production, distribution and marketing models a reality. More users are being reached, and re-engaged, thanks to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. More films are being produced. The global box office hit a new record of $35.9 billion in the last year. And digital movie purchases surged 47%, now making up for declines in physical sales and rentals. If you look at the facts and figures, the industry is in the best shape it’s ever been in. It’s impossible to ignore the impact of the open Internet on film. It’s worth thinking about what’s at stake, beyond the lot. The Internet has ushered in a new era of funding, and with it, an emerging creative middle class; an unprecedented indie boom. The startups and platforms that fund our creative middle class are poised to disappear with Net Neutrality. Any studio or production company that can’t pay for access or funding will fail. The impact of a closed Internet is not abstract: something felt only in Silicon Valley, something for the government to work out. An unequal Internet is an Internet that’s unsustainable for film. Our shared creative future is worth fighting for. Hollywood, we need to hear your voice on this issue.