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  1. As the result of a rather broadly interpreted court order, many innocent Cox Communications subscribers have been dragged into a piracy lawsuit. The account holders are involved because their current IP-addresses were used to download infringing content in the past, but some weren't even a Cox subscriber at the relevant time. Last year BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music sued Cox Communications, arguing that the ISP fails to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers. The companies, which control the publishing rights to songs by Katy Perry, The Beatles and David Bowie among others, claim that Cox has given up its DMCA safe harbor protections due to this inaction. The case revolves around the “repeat infringer†clause of the DMCA, which prescribes that Internet providers must terminate the accounts of persistent pirates. As part of the discovery process the music outfits requested details on the accounts which they caught downloading their content. In total there are 150,000 alleged pirates, but the court limited the initial disclosure to the top 250 infringing IP-addresses in the six months before the lawsuit was filed. Although the copyright holders provided time-stamps of the alleged infringements, Cox responded quite literally to the court order. This means that in addition to historical account information, they also handed over the personal details of current subscribers. In a recent court filing Cox explains the disclosure is not a mistake (pdf), and the ISP says it informed the current account holders that their information will be handed over to the music companies. In a letter informing the subscribers, Cox says that customer service is not allowed to assist them and that subscribers should contact a lawyer instead. “We regret being placed in the position of sending this letter, but want you to have every opportunity to protect your interests. We are not permitted to give you legal advice and encourage you to consult an attorney immediately,†Cox writes. Many of the current subscribers are surprised to be included and 32 have indicated that they object to having their personal data handed over. One of the subscribers asked the court to limit the scope of the order to the time-frame when the actual infringements took place, noting that he or she wasn’t even a Cox customer when the files were shared. “Cox intends to produce the personal account information of all customers assigned to the IP-addresses in question — even those who were not subscribers to Cox during the relevant time periods listed in the discovery request!†“This broad reading of the Court’s Order could drag dozens of innocent parties into this litigation,†the subscriber notes. Thus far Cox has not handed over any information related to subscriber who objected, awaiting further instructions from the court. However, the personal details of the other 216 account holders has already been disclosed. In addition to the current subscribers Cox also matched 139 historical IP-addresses to the relevant personal details. Aside from 17 customers who objected, these details were handed over as well. It’s unclear why Cox didn’t raise the issue of the current subscribers in court before disclosing their details. The information holds no value to the music companies who requested it, but is quite a burden to the account holders. The music companies previously stated that they don’t intend to sue any individual subscribers, but several are unaware of this promise and fear getting caught up in an expensive legal battle.
  2. After defeating the real Grooveshark the RIAA is now determined to do the same to a copycat site that claims to be its reincarnation. However, new court documents reveal that the lawsuit may be the start of a broader anti-piracy strategy, with popular Internet services such as CloudFlare and LeaseWeb being dragged into the fight. Earlier this month the long running lawsuit between the RIAA and Grooveshark came to an end. Facing hundreds of millions in damages, the music streaming service settled the dispute for $50 million while offering an apology for the mistakes that had been made in the past. The RIAA heralded the outcome as a major victory, but the joy didn’t last long. A few days after Grooveshark shut down unknown persons launched a new music service using the familiar Grooveshark brand. Recognizing the new service as a considerable threat, the RIAA didn’t waste any time taking countermeasures. The group filed a sealed application for temporary restraining and seizure orders, targeting the site’s domain name and hosting services. The court granted the RIAA’s request earlier this month and this week the documents were unsealed. They reveal how the music group intends to drag both Cloudflare and hosting provider LeaseWeb into the fight. In his declaration, RIAA’s VP Online Anti-Piracy Mark McDevitt describes the new Grooveshark as a “blatantly illegal†site that hides its true location behind CloudFlare’s service. “Because of the presence of CloudFlare’s servers, it is impossible to identify the location of the actual server supporting those aspects of the website absent the disclosure of this information by CloudFlare,†McDevitt writes (pdf). While CloudFlare doesn’t host any of the infringing files, it’s accused of helping Grooveshark to evade detection. The RIAA alerted CloudFlare of this role early May and asked the company to take action, without the desired result. “In response to this notice, CloudFlare informed the RIAA that it had notified the operator of the website of the RIAA’s complaint, but did not discontinue providing its services to the website,†McDevitt writes. In an email seen by TF, CloudFlare informs the RIAA that it’s merely a pass-through provider, and that they’re not offering any hosting services. “Please be aware CloudFlare is a network provider offering a reverse proxy, pass-through security service. We are not a hosting provider. CloudFlare does not control the content of our customers,†the company replied. Even today, the new Grooveshark remains active on the domain name, and it’s still hiding behind CloudFlare. The site did lose its original domain name, which Namecheap seized after receiving the court order, but new domains are easily registered. It’s unclear at this point whether CloudFlare is actively refusing to comply with the restraining order that’s targeted at Grooveshark’s Internet service providers, but the company’s counsel did attend a court hearing yesterday to discuss the matter. Besides CloudFlare, the RIAA also names web company LeaseWeb, which they suspect of offering hosting services to the new Grooveshark. In its presentations to the court the RIAA lashes out hard against the Dutch company. “LeaseWeb has a long history of hosting major pirate sites. For example, LeaseWeb once hosted the notorious (and now shuttered) pirate website ‘MegaUpload,’ which was the subject of the largest criminal copyright law enforcement action ever undertaken,†McDevitt writes. “Other examples of LeaseWeb’s involvement with pirate sites are also well known in the antipiracy community,†he adds, after summing up several other examples. Neither CloudFlare nor LeaseWeb are named as defendants, but the language used makes clear that the RIAA isn’t happy with how they respond to copyright complaints. While is a relatively small fish, the case may set a crucial precedent for future anti-piracy efforts. With relative ease the Court has issued temporary restraining and seizure orders. If these hold up, more sites may be targeted in a similar fashion. This outlook may also be the reason for CloudFlare to have their say in the matter. As a service provider to some of the largest piracy havens, including The Pirate Bay, there’s a lot at stake.
  3. Piracy monetization company Rightscorp has published its results for Q1 2015 and they show that turning piracy into profit still isn't as straightforward as the company might've hoped. Despite protecting more copyrights, bringing more ISPs on board and settling more cases, the company still ended up with an operating loss of $929,768. For years entrepreneurs around the world have listened intently to entertainment companies and their tales of losing billions to piracy. Given the scale of the alleged losses, serious riches must lie in wait for the company with a workable solution. One of the outfits dreaming of piracy-into-profit alchemy are the folks at Rightscorp. They sign up rightsholders, track people sharing their content on BitTorrent, and send a bill to alleged pirates to make imaginary lawsuits go away. Unlike other ‘trolls’, however, Rightscorp only asks for around $20 per infringement, a relatively cheap deal considering the many thousands demanded elsewhere. While it sounds simple enough, the company can’t seem to make it profitable. They argue that it’s still early days (the company only went public in 2013) but the figures don’t lie. Last year Rightscorp lost $3.4 million and during the first quarter of 2015 and despite sounding as optimistic as ever, the company burned through yet more cash. In results published last evening, Rightscorp revealed that it had grown in several key areas during the first quarter, not least the number of copyrights the company has deals to protect. Including two new contracts signed in January for 250,000 copyrights, the company now has 1.5 million in its “authorized copyright catalogâ€. Currently, however, just 256,000 are in the full Rightscorp system. The number of ISPs cooperating in the scheme is up too, from 50 ISPs in March 2014 to more than 233 ISPs in March 2015. With that uplift of 466%, Rightscorp says it now has access to 15% of all homes in the United States and in the past two years has closed 200,000 cases of copyright infringement All in, the company reported revenues of $307,904 for Q1 2015, up 63% on the same period last year. But despite all the growth and positivity it also reported a $929,768 operating loss. The problem – a recurring theme for the company – are its costs. For the first quarter Rightscorp’s operating costs were in excess of $1.2m, a far cry from the $300K it brought in. The company blames part of the losses on fees it pays to copyright holders (roughly 50% of revenues) but that only accounts for $154K. On top the company has an expanding wage bill. In Q1 2014 that stood at $241,347 but in the same period this year those costs had increased to $335,073. Legal costs are also on the rise. In addition to all the usual advice needed to run a company, Rightscorp is currently being sued over the methods it uses to collect cash from alleged pirates. As a result legal costs for the quarter were $182,543, up from $114,242 in the same period last year. As the image above shows, the company’s current position doesn’t look good, a point raised last evening during a conference call with investors. “What could you say about the fact that the stockholder value has gone down about 80% in the last year, in spite of the fact that you’ve done two private equity raises?†one caller questioned. “We think this is a great time to get involved with a company as a shareholder,†Rightscorp COO Robert Steele responded. “Fundamental investment thesis continues to be proven out. So with approximately 250,000 copyrights being monitored we generated $300,000 in top line revenue, there are 27 million Apple copyrights on iTunes, so this can be an enormous business.†But despite the optimism the company’s latest filing paints a bleak picture of the future. “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.†Only time will tell if Rightscorp will eventually be able to turn piracy into profit, but if current trends continue, each notice sent will only generate a loss. The secret may lie in increased volumes and economies of scale, but if the company feels under serious threat it may seek to up its $20 settlement fee to something more practical. Keep an eye out for that.
  4. Google's lawsuit against Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood is a crucial case for the future of SOPA-like Internet filters in the U.S. This week Digital Citizens Alliance, Stop Child Predators and others voiced their support for the Attorney General, suggesting that Google Chrome should be censored as well. Helped by the MPAA, Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood launched a secret campaign to revive SOPA-like censorship efforts in the United States. The MPAA and Hood want Internet services to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial law failed to pass. The plan became public through various emails that were released in the Sony Pictures leaks and in a response Google said that it was “deeply concerned†about the developments. To counter the looming threat Google filed a complaint against Hood last December, asking the court to quash a pending subpoena that addresses Google’s failure to take down or block access to illegal content, including pirate sites. Recognizing the importance of this case, several interested parties have written to the court to share their concerns. There’s been support for both parties with some siding with Google and others backing Hood. In a joint amicus curae brief (pdf) the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Computer & Communications Association (CCIA) and advocacy organization Engine warn that Hood’s efforts endanger free speech and innovation. “No public official should have discretion to filter the Internet. Where the public official is one of fifty state attorneys general, the danger to free speech and to innovation is even more profound,†they write. According to the tech groups it would be impossible for Internet services to screen and police the Internet for questionable content. “Internet businesses rely not only on the ability to communicate freely with their consumers, but also on the ability to give the public ways to communicate with each other. This communication, at the speed of the Internet, is impossible to pre-screen.†Not everyone agrees with this position though. On the other side of the argument we find outfits such as Stop Child Predators, Digital Citizens Alliance, Taylor Hooton Foundation and Ryan United. In their brief they point out that Google’s services are used to facilitate criminal practices such as illegal drug sales and piracy. Blocking content may also be needed to protect children from other threats. “Google’s YouTube service has been used by those seeking to sell steroids and other illegal drugs online,†they warn, adding that the video platform is also “routinely used to distribute other content that is harmful to minors, such as videos regarding ‘How to Buy Smokes Under-Age’, and ‘Best Fake ID Service Around’. Going a step further, the groups also suggest that Google should filter content in its Chrome browser. The brief mentions that Google recently removed Pirate Bay apps from its Play Store, but failed to block the site in search results or Chrome. “In December 2014, responding to the crackdown on leading filesharing website PirateBay, Google removed a file-sharing application from its mobile software store, but reports indicate that Google has continued to allow access to the same and similar sites through its search engine and Chrome browser,†they write. The Attorney General should be allowed to thoroughly investigate these threats and do something about it, the groups add. “It is simply not tenable to suggest that the top law enforcement officials of each state are powerless even to investigate whether search engines or other intermediaries such as Google are being used—knowingly or unknowingly—to facilitate the distribution of illegal content…†In addition to the examples above, several other organizations submitted amicus briefs arguing why the subpoena should or shouldn’t be allowed under the First Amendment and Section 230 of the CDA, including the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, EFF, the Center for Democracy & Technology and Public Knowledge. Considering the stakes at hand, both sides will leave no resource untapped to defend their positions. In any event, this is certainly not the last time we’ll hear of the case.
  5. Wiziwig, one of the world's largest streaming sports portals, shut down this week to the dismay of millions of fans. TorrentFreak caught up with the site's operators who told us a now familiar story. If only sports companies and broadcasters got their act together and fulfilled consumer demand, sites such as Wiziwig would never exist. Until our report yesterday it’s likely that Wiziwig, a streaming portal covering just about every spectator sport around, had flown under the radars of many readers. And that’s surprising. The site is ranked #1,546 worlwide by Alexa and is the 239th most-popular site in the UK. On Thursday the term ‘wiziwig’ was the 8th most popular search on, ahead of official sports broadcaster BT Sport. But the popularity wasn’t based on good news. Citing changes in Spanish law, Wiziwig had been forced to close just hours earlier. In the wake of the closure TorrentFreak caught up with the operators of this hugely popular site to find out about events leading up to its shutdown. Interestingly it’s what didn’t happen on the site’s first day offline that topped the discussion. Among dozens of other sports, Wiziwig carried links to live soccer games and as a result became somewhat of a magnet for companies such as the UK’s Premier League. New Year’s Day is a traditionally big date for UK soccer so coinciding with the first day of Wiziwig downtime, the site’s operators stood back and watched what happened. “What we noticed Thursday, and that’s what we’ve always been thinking, is that the Premier League has only been focusing on Wiziwig lately to take down streams, like those from [P2P streaming service] Sopcast for example,†Wiziwig told us. “If we added a Sopcast link for a game in the Premier League, then quickly that link was made inaccessible. On Thursday all Sopcast channels kept working all day, without any been taking down during the early kickoff, 3pm game and late game. Coincidence?†The idea that the soccer league had been using Wiziwig to find streams and have them taken down at source was confirmed when matches streamed from other sources also remained up. “Same applied with Veetle links, as when those previously appeared on Wiziwig they were quickly taken down. If we didn’t add them they were working all game long, while people could find them easily in Veetle. That also applied to several other links.†Aside from changes in Spanish law where the site was based, Wiziwig also reminded us of two serious events in the UK earlier in the year. In April the operator of sports streaming site was arrested by officers from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. That was followed by a September raid on the operator of the Coolsport streaming service. When all things were considered (Wiziwig’s Twitter account was shutdown by a complaint in December) the team felt that the timing was right to call it a day. But even though Wiziwig is no more, other sites are bound to try and fill the gap the portal has left in the market. These, Wiziwig’s operators say, wouldn’t even exist if more effort was put into getting official services to consumers. “We’ve seen in the past several years that people don’t get the right options to watch the sports and games they want to watch. Many sports events, and many games, aren’t available worldwide. The Leagues or competitions often don’t provide the right options for people to watch games in a legal way, which is also what we’ve seen from many replies on Twitter and Facebook,†Wiziwig explain. “People want to subscribe to some games, some PPV events, and don’t want long contracts. In many countries there are no options to watch specific sports events and competitions. So not just the big sports/leagues, but also for smaller events. “Then people decide to watch the online streams. A good example is the 3pm soccer games in England which aren’t shown on UK TV due to an old law designed to keep stadiums full. If the leagues fail to provide such options then websites like Wiziwig and [illicit] streams will always exist,†Wiziwig adds. With the site closed the team are now turning their attention to GetYourFixtures, a TV guide for sports with links to only official streams. “GetYourFixtures’ aim is to provide people with the correct TV info for all sports events, and if there isn’t a TV channel showing it then they want to give people the options to watch it officially online. “Maybe leagues and competitions will wake up and start working on providing decent PPV options, letting people pay for just a single game, a flexible way of watching sports. On TV, mobile or tablet: wherever they are, either free and supported with advertisements when there isn’t any TV coverage/legal pay option, or just for small fees. They should work together,†Wiziwig concludes.
  6. Xbox One's preview program now assigns users a level based on their participation. When it's not causing issues with its unfinished features (hey, it's QA testing), Xbox One's preview program can be rewarding in and of itself--you get to try out cool new features not yet available to the general public. Apparently not satisfied with that, Microsoft is trying to turn testing system updates into a sort of game by tracking your stats and offering points. Preview program members will now find a new My Stats section in the Preview Dashboard app. From there, you can check out how many points you've earned, which in turn contribute to your level. A leaderboard tracks your progress against that of your friends (or other users, if none of your friends get preview updates), similar to the new gamerscore leaderboard released in this week's Xbox One update. Points are earned by completing quests, rating updates, and participating in surveys and polls. Fortunately for those who have been in the preview program for some time, you'll retroactively earn points for all of your past contributions. More things are coming to the My Stats page "soon," according to Microsoft, which also says you can earn rewards by participating. The preview program launched back in February, offering "select" Xbox Live users the chance to help test in-development features. We've seen these users get a variety of updates ahead of time since then; aspects of the update that went live for everyone this week have been available to testers since August. Should you want to join in, you'll unfortunately need an invite from Microsoft. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  7. It seemed that, at one point, Twitch was betrothed to Google – or so we thought. Now, however, Twitch has confirmed its betrothal to Amazon instead. We know that Amazon purchased Twitch for over $1 billion, although we don’t have an exact amount. The reason behind Twitch’s turn to Amazon had everything to do with money, according to sources informed about the acquisition. Simply put, Google didn’t value the company financially, and Amazon seemed to be willing to put out more money for the deal. Fire Phone manufacturer Amazon, Inc. decided to give 20% of its current cash amount ($5.06 billion) to buy the online video game streaming site. Some have said in recent days that antitrust issues provide a rationale as to why YouTube and Twitch didn’t seal the deal, although we’ve heard few details to justify this rumor. Although it seems that Google and Twitch would’ve had a better relationship than Amazon will with Twitch (in terms of integration), Amazon will certainly benefit from the deal. The Jeff Bezos-led company has been putting a lot of investment into its Amazon Fire TV and offering exclusive programs by way of Twitch on its Fire TV would certainly be one way to increase sales for the device. Perhaps Amazon’s got its Fire Phone in mind with the Twitch purchase; one way to increase mobile activity in Amazon’s favor on the new Fire phone is to make sure that users have mobile content worth viewing – the kind that prevents them from needing to surf the Web on YouTube. While Amazon’s hooked Twitch, it doesn’t seem likely that the new deal will have that large of an effect on Amazon’s Fire phone sales. While the phone has its share of Amazon fans who use Amazon to purchase nearly everything dear to them, a large number of US consumers have been turned off by the company’s AT&T-exclusive deal that sells the phone for $199 on-contract and $649 off-contract. Perhaps it’s the case that, when Amazon’s Fire phone drops in price permanently, former users who were turned off from the purchase may actually consider buying the phone off-contract.
  8. SMAIS, the Icelandic branch of the Motion Picture Association, has filed for bankruptcy. The board of the notorious anti-piracy group says that it suffered from mismanagement. In addition to tax fraud and falsified financial records, the group's CEO has admitted to embezzlement. Anti-piracy groups are often quick to label file-sharing sites as criminal organizations, but these outfits also have some rotten apples amongst their own. A few months ago we reported on the President of the Lithuanian Anti-Piracy Association LANVA, who was jailed for two years for drug trafficking. The boss of Iceland’s anti-piracy group SMAIS is not doing much better, it seems, as he stands accused of fraud and embezzlement. SMAIS is a local branch of Hollywood’s Motion Picture Association. The group recently failed to get The Pirate Bay blocked in Iceland, and has now run into the law itself. The organization’s board filed for bankruptcy after it discovered a wide range of serious problems. The group’s financial statements were falsified, the books were not in order, and taxes haven’t been paid since 2007. Making matters even worse, the board says that its CEO Snæbjörn Steingrímsson has admitted to embezzlement. This case is now under review by the Special Prosecutor, who has to decide whether a criminal investigation will be launched against the anti-piracy chief. The last time SMAIS made international headlines was last year, when the group pulled its Facebook page offline after four days. According to Steingrímsson, SMAIS didn’t have enough resources to handle the constant flaming comments from the public. What certainly didn’t help was that the launch of the Facebook page coincided with the news that SMAIS never paid for the film and game rating software they purchased from a Dutch company back in 2007. Considering the position the group is in now this is hardly a surprise. Whether Hollywood has plans to install a new anti-piracy group in Iceland if the bankruptcy goes through is currently unknown.
  9. With one of the largest eBook collections, Amazon is the place to shop for many paying readers. However, eBook pirates can now get their fix at the popular store too, via a new Chrome extension that places links to pirated copies into Amazon's pages. As one of the largest online retailers, Amazon is the go-to store for many people. Amazon became big by selling books and in recent years eBooks have become some of the fastest selling items. However, pirates are now directly targeting the company’s successful business model. With a new Chrome extension pirates are entering Amazon, effectively transforming it into a pirate ‘store.’ When the LibGen extension is installed, it adds a new row on top of the Amazon product page of books that are also available through unauthorized sources. The plugin uses data from the search engine which lists over a million books. Below is a screenshot of an Amazon book page, with a new row on the top linking to pirated downloads of the same title. LibGen, short for Library Genesis, lists a wide variety of pirate sources for most books, including direct downloads, torrents and magnet links. It appears to work well, although there are occasional mismatches where links to books with similar titles are listed. Needless to say book publishers are not going to be pleased with Amazon’s unofficial feature. Whether Amazon plans to take any action to stop the extension has yet to be seen. The idea to transform Amazon into a pirate site is not entirely new. A few years ago aFirefox plugin integrated Pirate Bay download links into the site, which also worked for music and movies. This plugin was quickly taken offline quickly after the news was picked up by the mainstream media. There are still other extensions floating around with the same functionality. Torrent This, for example, enhances Amazon with links to Pirate Bay download pages for all sorts of media, much like the “Pirates of the Amazon†plugin did.
  10. Microsoft and social network company Yammer entered into an acquisition agreement back in 2012, two years ago, but Yammer’s retained its independence up until now. During the negotiation/purchase period, David Sacks was CEO of Yammer. Sacks has remained the CEO of Yammer for the last two years, but Microsoft’s decided to pull the plug on Yammer and integrate the social network into its Office 365 offering. No details have been given at this time, except to say that Sacks announced his own departurefrom Microsoft yesterday: “Thank you to my current and former YamFamily for 6 years and to Microsoft for the last two. I look forward to new adventures.†Microsoft had this to say regarding Yammer integration into Office 365: “Since we acquired Yammer in 2012, we have been working together to bring the integrated benefits of enterprise social to all our Office 365 customers. As we’ve seen the Yammer experience extending throughout Office – giving people new ways to collaborate and work together – it’s now time to bring Yammer organization together with our Outlook and Office 365 Shared teams as the next logical step in delivering an integrated set of social, collaboration, and communication experiences that enable companies to work like a network.â€
  11. BitTorrent is looking to hire folks for a new BitTorrent TV product that could finally make use of its live streaming technology. BitTorrent Inc. is looking to revive its live streaming efforts with a new product name and new staff, if job offers posted earlier this month are any indication. The company shut down its previous live streaming test, dubbed BitTorrent Live, in February, and said at the time that it would shift its focus to mobile live streaming. Now, it looks like it may rebrand these efforts as BitTorrent TV. This is from a job listing for a senior product manager that was published two weeks ago: “This position is for the PM leader of the new BitTorrent TV product, among BitTorrent’s new initiatives that leverages the power of the BitTorrent peer-to-peer protocol. This product aims to introduce to the world a scalable, inexpensive live streaming technology.†Another job listing, posted at about the same time, includes the following: “We are looking for an advanced C++ engineer who will help develop a revolutionary new product that will bring peer-to-peer streaming to video broadcasting. You’ll have a chance to work directly with our founder, Bram Cohen, on this new type of peer-to-peer technology. You will be pushing the processing and networking limits of (…) hardware on mobile/embedded platforms.†Cohen’s work on live streaming has been a long time coming. Cohen, who invented the original BitTorrent protocol and now serves as BitTorrent Inc’s Chief Scientist, started to develop a new P2P-powered live streaming protocol that was focused on low-latency video transmission in 2008. In late 2011, BitTorrent began to test the technology by streaming live music sessions out of a studio it built in its own office. However, the problem with this approach was that it relied on a browser plug-in, which was too much of a hurdle for many users. In an email to testers, Cohen wrote in February: “After invaluable experience in real deployments, we found that requiring a browser plug-in is daunting to our users. Because of this, we are refocusing the product on mobile platforms… †BitTorrent’s Chief Marketing Officer Matt Mason announced separately in February that the company would introduce “a new mobile streaming application†in alpha stage later this year. All signs now point to this being BitTorrent TV. It’s still unclear what the app is actually going to offer, and a spokesperson quizzed about BitTorrent TV told me Monday that it is still “in an exploratory stage.†However, the job offers make it sound like BitTorrent Inc. is quite serious about finally turning Bram Cohen’s live streaming work into a product. The job offer of the Product Manager for BitTorrent TV, who is going to be in charge of releasing the product, stated that the job will be “critically important to the company.â€
  12. During the past 24 hours a brand new Pirate Bay blockade was put in place in Argentina following a complaint from the IFPI-affiliated music industry group CAPIF. Now, just hours later, the tables have been turned after hackers transformed CAPIF's website into a fully functioning and blockade-circumventing Pirate Bay proxy. There was a time when music and movie industry aggression against The Pirate Bay was met with aggression right back, with sites belonging to the MPAA, RIAA, IFPI and others targeted in retaliatory moves. In recent times, however, that kind of reaction has largely been on the wane. It’s not immediately clear why, but it’s certainly possible that supporters have become used to the world’s largest torrent site being under assault. And under assault it has definitely been, with web blockades now in place all over Europe. Yesterday the phenomenon spread to Argentina, where local music industry group CAPIF obtained a preliminary blocking injunction against the famous torrent site, the first of its type in Latin America. The order issued by the 67th District Federal Court compels eleven ISPs to block 256 Pirate Bay IP addresses and 12 domains, which will soon render The Pirate Bay pretty much inaccessible across Argentina. However, unlike their European counterparts, the Argentinians didn’t get the memo about not retaliating against music industry aggression. With the blockade now in place across several ISPs, it appears that local hackers have already turned the ban on its head in the most dramatic way possible. Right at this moment, CAPIF’s very own website is operating as a fully functioning Pirate Bay proxy site. Visitors to are greeted with the familiar TPB homepage and are granted full access to the site. It’s very likely that CAPIF will soon move to shut down access to the proxy, but already the damage will have been done. This act of rebellion has the potential to generate more headlines than the blockade itself, meaning that over the next couple of days all blocked Argentinian TPB users will know what a reverse proxy is and what they are capable of. Activism in support of torrent and file-sharing sites might be an art on the decline, but its ability to send powerful messages remains, especially when it turns the resources of ‘enemies’ right back against themselves. Update: After serving torrents for at least 10 hours the proxy has now been pulled offline.