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Found 31 results

  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. https://torrentfreak.com/isps-dump-vpn-after-legal-threats-from-big-media-150624/
  2. Following a European trend, the Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor has ordered local ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. Without a separate court order, two domain names of the popular torrent site have been added to the national blocklist. As the arch-rival of many copyright groups, The Pirate Bay has become one of the most censored websites on the Internet in recent years. Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site and the list continues to expand. This week Russia’s telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor issued an update to the country’s blocklist adding two Pirate Bay domain names. Following a complaint from Mosfilm, one of the largest European movie studios, Russian ISPs are now required to block access to thepiratebay.se and thepiratebay.mn. Interestingly, there is no separate court order against The Pirate Bay. Instead, the domains were added to an existing injunction targeting tushkan.net, which was offering a pirated copy of Mosfilm’s movie “The Road to Berlin.†Under Russian law, copyright holders can add domain names to an injunction if their content appears on other sites as well. In addition to The Pirate Bay domains, a dozen other sites were added in the same update. Technically, The Pirate Bay can request a removal from the blocklist after they remove all links to the film in question. But considering the site’s stance on taking down content, this is not going to happen. Pirate Bay Blocked While the order aims to deprive millions of Russians from visiting the popular torrent site, it will be rather ineffective for now. Two weeks ago The Pirate Bay added several new domain names and four of those remain readily accessible. It is clear, however, that Russia is not averse to taking measures against websites that are accused of facilitating copyright infringement. Hundreds of websites have been blocked in recent years and there are calls to ban various circumvention tools including VPNs and TOR as well. The first step in this direction was set last week when an anti-censorship website from a local human rights group was blocked, and similar crackdowns may follow in the near future. https://torrentfreak.com/russia-orders-isps-to-block-the-pirate-bay-150603/
  3. The High Court has granted an application by The Publishers Association to have several major 'pirate' eBook sites blocked at the ISP level. The action, a first for book publishers, requires BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE to block sites including Ebookee, LibGen and Freshwap within 10 days. Rather than tackling unauthorized sites with direct legal action, major entertainment industry companies are increasingly attempting to disrupt ‘pirate’ operations with broader strokes. One of the favored tools is site blocking, a technique that has gathered considerable momentum in Europe and the UK in particular. More than 120 domains are currently blocked by the country’s major ISPs, largely thanks to action taken by the movie and music industries plus soccer body The Premier League. This week the pool of organizations to succeed in site-blocking legal action deepened with the addition of The Publishers Association (PA). The group, which has more than 100 members with combined revenues of £4.7 billion, went to the High Court to demand the blocking of several eBook focused download sites. They are: Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre and Freebookspot. According to the PA its investigations found that over 80% of the material made available by the sites infringes copyright. In total the sites are said to offer in excess of 10 million titles. In response the PA and its members claim to have sent close to one million takedown notices directly to the sites and requested that Google remove 1.75 million related URLs from its search results. In common with all previous similar actions initiated by the MPAA and BPI, The Publishers Association (with support from the Association of American Publishers) sued the UK’s leading ISPs – BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE – under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Presenting a case which demonstrated mass infringement on the eBook sites in question alongside evidence that the major ISPs have “actual knowledge†that their subscribers are infringing copyright, the PA argued that the sites should be blocked without further delay. After consideration, yesterday the High Court handed down its ruling in favor of the publishers. The outcome was never really in question – UK ISPs have long since given up defending these cases. “We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognizes the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites,†says Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The PA. “A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.†The ISPs listed in the injunction now have 10 days in which to implement a blockade. High Court injunctions represent a new anti-piracy tool for The Publishers Association. In addition to its regular takedown work with search engines such as Google, The PA is also involved in City of London Police’s Operation Creative, run out of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU). Last year PIPCU acted on The PA’s behalf by taking down a domain operated by eBook site OnRead. The full list of sites to be blocked in the UK is now as follows: — New: Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre and Freebookspot. Previous blocked: popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, isoplex.isohunt.to, watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com and g2g.fm, Bursalagu, Fullsongs, Mega-Search, Mp3 Monkey, Mp3.li, Mp3Bear, MP3Boo, Mp3Clan, Mp3Olimp, MP3s.pl, Mp3soup, Mp3Truck, Musicaddict, My Free MP3, Plixid, RnBXclusive, STAFA Band, watchseries.lt, Stream TV, Watchseries-online, Cucirca, Movie25, watchseries.to, Iwannawatch, Warez BB, Ice Films, Tehparadox, Heroturko, Scene Source,, Rapid Moviez, Iwatchonline, Los Movies, Isohunt, Torrentz.pro, Torrentbutler, IP Torrents, Sumotorrent, Torrent Day, Torrenting, BitSoup, TorrentBytes, Seventorrents, Torrents.fm, Yourbittorrent, Tor Movies , Demonoid, torrent.cd, Vertor, Rar BG, bittorrent.am, btdigg.org, btloft.com, bts.to, limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me, torlock.com, torrentbit.net, torrentdb.li, torrentdownload.ws, torrentexpress.net, torrentfunk.com, torrentproject.com, torrentroom.com, torrents.net, torrentus.eu, torrentz.cd, torrentzap.com, vitorrent.org.Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T and The Pirate Bay.ly https://torrentfreak.com/high-court-orders-uk-isps-to-block-ebook-sites-150527/
  4. Copyright holders around the world are doing everything in their power to stop Popcorn Time. Following the UK example, Israeli media companies have now obtained a court order requiring major ISPs to block Popcorn Time websites. In addition, the rightsholders are pondering whether to have the application's ports blocked as well, which may get messy. Branded a “Netflix for Pirates,†the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people over the past year. The application has some of the major media giants worried, including Netflix which sees the pirate app as a serious competitor to its business. Since Popcorn Time is powered by BitTorrent it is hard to stop the downloads directly, but copyright holders can go after the websites that offer the application. In Israel the local anti-piracy outfit ZIRA went down this route. The group, which represents several media companies, applied for an ex parte injunction ordering local Internet providers to block access to the websites of several Popcorn Time forks. This week the Tel Aviv court granted the application, arguing that the application does indeed violate the rights of copyright holders. The copyright holders are pleased with the outcome, which shows that services such as Popcorn Time are infringing even though they don’t host any files themselves. “The Popcorn Time software provides users with a service to stream and download content on the Internet, including Israeli movies and foreign movies and TV series with English subtitles, without having any permission from copyright holders to do so,†attorney Presenti told local media. The ISP blockades will prevent people from downloading Popcorn Time in the future. However, applications that have been downloaded already will continue to work for now. To address this, ZIRA’s lawyers say the are considering additional steps including the option to block the ports Popcorn Time uses. While that may be effective, it may also block other traffic, especially if the app switches to more common ports such as port 80. Israel is the second country to block access to Popcorn Time websites. Last month the UK High Court issued a similar order, which also targeted the domain names of various APIs the applications use. https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-israeli-isps-to-block-popcorn-time-websites-150521/
  5. A broad coalition including Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, ISPs and anti-piracy organization Rights Alliance have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the issue of online infringement. The agreement, which is the result of efforts by Denmark's Ministry of Culture, will see the companies working together to defeat piracy, promote legitimate content, and make the Internet a safer place. While action against online infringement takes place on many levels, parallel large-scale initiatives with broader aims are increasingly being employed by entertainment industry companies. Outside of “three strikes†style programs, “follow the money†is perhaps the next best well-known. This type of initiative, carried out with the assistance of big brands, advertising companies and payment processors, aims to strangle the finances of ‘pirate’ sites. As seen last week, there are also tandem efforts to portray unauthorized sites as “unsafe†places for netizens to frequent. The overall message is that pirate sites are run by criminals, consumers should not support them, and money is best spent with legitimate content providers. Denmark has become the latest country to embrace these ideals via a Memorandum of Understanding titled ‘Code to Promote Lawful Behavior on the Internet’ signed by some of the world’s biggest online players. Google and Microsoft are the most recognizable international technology signatories and all the big Hollywood studios make a proxy appearance via anti-piracy group Rights Alliance. Broadcasters and cinema companies are also represented. The interests of more than 40,000 composers, songwriters and music publishers are served by rights group Koda and payment companies including MasterCard and Diners Club are also on board. Local ISPs have signed through the Tele Industrien group. According to the Ministry of Culture the MoU represents the beginning of a collaborative mechanism designed to tackle digital challenges on five key issues. 1. To help make the Internet a safe and legal platform for consumers and businesses. 2. To stress that copyright is an important cornerstone for growth and innovation. 3. To work together to reduce financial crime, based on copyright violations. 4. To work together to promote the dissemination of legal products. 5. To contribute to efficient processes that can help to reduce copyright violations and associated crimes. In keeping with voluntary anti-piracy initiatives currently underway in other countries, signatories will also participate in discussion aimed at identifying new areas of cooperation. The shape of this Danish initiative looks familiar, with rightsholders applying the pressure and search engines, ISPs, payment processors and advertisers falling into step. While the emphasis is on consumer safety, it is clear that companies are being advised to do everything they can to disassociate themselves from “criminal enterprises†on the Internet. As part of the MoU, signatories agree not to “finance criminal activities†by offering support of any kind including giving them “exposureâ€, providing advertising revenue or payment processing services. “The companies and organizations that are part of this Code want to counter that their companies are associated with economic crime, based on copyright violations,†the code reads. In a statement announcing the signing of the MoU, the Ministry of Culture stressed the aims and importance of the broad agreement. “The code reflects a common desire to make a determined effort to ensure that the Internet is a safe and economically sustainable marketplace. It will help to create better conditions for growth and innovation for legitimate businesses and security and transparency for the users,†the Ministry said. Time will tell how far each signatory will be prepared to go and on what basis, but the companies involved are the biggest players around and having them all at the same table will be a powerful tool. https://torrentfreak.com/google-microsoft-mastercard-isps-sign-anti-piracy-agreement-150511/
  6. Every day thousand of Internet subscribers receive a piracy warning from their Internet provider. Increasingly, these notifications also include a settlement request ranging from $20 to hundreds of dollars. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ISPs should protect their customers from these invasive tactics. There are many ways copyright holders approach today’s “online piracy problem.†Some prefer to do it through innovation, while others prefer educational messages, warnings or even lawsuits. Another group is aiming to generate revenue by obtaining lots of small cash settlements. Rightscorp and CEG TEK have chosen the latter model. Their emails are sent as regular DMCA notices which many ISPs then forward to their customers, often with a settlement demand included. Both companies send millions of warnings to U.S. Internet providers every year, but how these are handled varies per ISP. Some, including Charter, forward the entire notice, while others such as Comcast strip out the settlement details. To find out more about the legality of these notices, and the options Internet providers and subscribers have, TorrentFreak sat down with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) staff attorney Mitch Stoltz. According to Stoltz, Internet providers should carefully review what they’re forwarding to their users. Under U.S. law they are not required to forward DMCA notices and stripping out settlement demands is in the best interest of the consumer. “In the U.S., ISPs don’t have any legal obligation to forward infringement notices in their entirety. An ISP that cares about protecting its customers from abuse should strip out demands for money before forwarding infringement notices. Many do this,†he says. “An ISP can also choose not to forward notices at all if they are deficient, misleading, or inaccurate,†Stoltz adds. Misleading notices The notices these companies send are designed to threaten and pressure the recipient, who is often not the person who downloaded the allegedly infringing material. “The problem with notices demanding money from ISP subscribers is that they’re often misleading,†Stoltz notes. “They often give the impression that the person whose name is on the ISP bill is legally responsible for all infringement that might happen on the Internet connection, which is simply not true.†Some of the notices mention disastrous consequences, such as excessively large jury verdicts against file sharers who previously had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. However, they forget to mention that these type of piracy cases almost never go to court. Similarly, ISPs rarely disconnect casual copyright infringers. “Rightscorp, for one, has never sued an accused file sharer. Having an ISP forward a demand for money also makes it seem like the ISP will cut off the subscriber if they don’t pay, which is also not true– most ISPs don’t ban customers just because a penny-stock outfit in Santa Monica asks them to,†Stoltz says. Legal repercussions? As a result of the threatening language many subscribers fear that they might be made bankrupt. The reality, however, is that nothing usually happens if they opt to ignore the threats. Stoltz advises people who receive a notice not to reach out to the sender. Instead, they should carefully consider their options and consult a lawyer if needed. “Circumstances vary, and it’s always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. Be cautious about communicating with any company or lawyer that accuses you of copyright infringement – they will use anything you say against you. Stop, think, and read carefully before you decide to send money or information.†In theory ISPs do have the right to disconnect an account after a subscriber receives multiple notices, but this is relatively rare. The same is true for lawsuits. As far as we know neither Rightscorp nor CEG TEK have taken a file-sharer to court. “They would rather scare a hundred people into paying $20 than spend thousands on a lawsuit against one person,†Stoltz says. The problem remains that even a minuscule chance of getting in trouble is enough for some to pay up. Some people just want the whole thing to go away, that’s what the settlement model is based on. The only way to make this threat disappear is for Internet providers to either strip the settlement demands, or simply toss all notices in the trash. https://torrentfreak.com/why-isps-should-stop-forwarding-piracy-settlement-demands-150502/
  7. The Motion Picture Association has obtained a High Court order requiring UK ISPs to block access to five sites that offer the popular Popcorn Time software. In addition, the Internet providers must block several more torrent and streaming sites. Following a series of blocking orders issued by the High Court, UK Internet providers Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin, BT and EE are currently required to restrict access to many of the world’s largest torrent sites and streaming portals. More than 100 websites have been blocked in recent years and today the court issued the first injunction against domains that offer no direct links, but only software. The order, obtained today by Hollywood’s Motion Picture Association, targets five popular Popcorn Time forks: popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, and isoplex.isohunt.to. In his order Judge Birss notes that the Popcorm Time software has little to no legal use. Instead, he mentions that it’s mostly used to download and stream pirated movies and TV-shows. “It is manifest that the Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its purpose. No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content,†Judge Birss writes. “The point of Popcorn Time is to infringe copyright. The Popcorn Time application has no legitimate purpose,†he adds. Over the past year Popcorn Time has become a major threat to Hollywood so it doesn’t come as a complete surprise that the applications are now being targeted. Previously the movie studios took down code repositories on Github, for example. In addition to the five Popcorn Time domains the order also lists the torrent and streaming sites watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com and g2g.fm. All sites will be blocked under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. After the ISPs gave up on defending their position in court, it is now a mere formality for copyright holders to have a pirate site banned. However, the blocking efforts are not without cost. Leaked information previously revealed that even an unopposed application for a blocking order costs copyright holders around £14,000 per website. This brings the total costs of the blocking efforts to well over a million pounds. All of the sites listed in today’s order are still accessible at the time of writing. It’s expected that the Internet providers will add them to their respective blocklists during the coming weeks. — The full list of sites to be blocked in the UK is now as follows: — New: popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, and isoplex.isohunt.to, watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com and g2g.fm. Previously blocked: Bursalagu, Fullsongs, Mega-Search, Mp3 Monkey, Mp3.li, Mp3Bear, MP3Boo, Mp3Clan, Mp3Olimp, MP3s.pl, Mp3soup, Mp3Truck, Musicaddict, My Free MP3, Plixid, RnBXclusive, STAFA Band, watchseries.lt, Stream TV, Watchseries-online, Cucirca, Movie25, watchseries.to, Iwannawatch, Warez BB, Ice Films, Tehparadox, Heroturko, Scene Source,, Rapid Moviez, Iwatchonline, Los Movies, Isohunt, Torrentz.pro, Torrentbutler, IP Torrents, Sumotorrent, Torrent Day, Torrenting, BitSoup, TorrentBytes, Seventorrents, Torrents.fm, Yourbittorrent, Tor Movies , Demonoid, torrent.cd, Vertor, Rar BG, bittorrent.am, btdigg.org, btloft.com, bts.to, limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me, torlock.com, torrentbit.net, torrentdb.li, torrentdownload.ws, torrentexpress.net, torrentfunk.com, torrentproject.com, torrentroom.com, torrents.net, torrentus.eu, torrentz.cd, torrentzap.com, vitorrent.org.Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T and The Pirate Bay. https://torrentfreak.com/court-orders-uk-isps-to-block-popcorn-time-150428/
  8. The UK's top IP advisor has published recommendations on how Internet service providers should deal with online piracy. Among other things, it's suggested that Internet services should search for and filter infringing content proactively. According to the report ISPs have a moral obligation to do more against online piracy. Mike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, has pushed various copyright related topics onto the political agenda since early last year. Previously Weatherley suggested that search engines should blacklist pirate sites, kids should be educated on copyright ethics, and that persistent file-sharers should be thrown in jail. In his latest proposal the UK MP targets information society service providers (ISSPs) including ISPs, who he believes could do more to fight piracy. The just-released 18-page report stresses that these companies have a moral obligation to tackle copyright infringement and can’t stand idly by. The report (pdf) draws on input from various pro-copyright groups including the MPAA, BPI, and the Music Publishers Association. It offers various recommendations for the UK Government and the EU Commission to strengthen their anti-piracy policies. One of the key points is to motivate Internet services and providers to filter content proactively. According to the report it’s feasible to “filter out infringing content†and to detect online piracy before it spreads. The UK Government should review these systems and see what it can do to facilitate cooperation between copyright holders and Internet service providers. “There should be an urgent review, by the UK Government, of the various applications and processes that could deliver a robust automated checking process regarding illegal activity being transmitted,†Weatherley advises. In a related effort, Weatherley notes that Internet services should not just remove the content they’re asked to, but also police their systems to ensure that similar files are removed, permanently. “ISSPs to be more proactive in taking down multiple copies of infringing works, not just the specific case they are notified of,†he recommends. “This would mean ISSPs actively taking down multiple copies of the same work which are hosted on its services, not just the individual copy which is subject to the complaint. The MPA believe this principle could be extended further still to ensure that all copies of the infringing work are not just taken down…,†Weatherley explains. This type of filtering is already used by YouTube, which takes down content based on fingerprint matches. However, the report suggests that regular broadband providers could also filter infringing content. Concluding, Weatherley admits that it’s all too easy to simply demand that ISPs take the role of policemen, but at the same time he stresses that they have a “moral responsibility†to do more. The UK MP presents an analogy of a landlord whose property is used for illegal activities. The landlord cannot be held liable for these activities, but he may have to take action if a third-party reports it. “If the landlord is told that the garage is being used for illegal activity, and that this information is from a totally reliable source, then does the landlord have a moral obligation to report it?†“I would argue that it is the duty of every citizen or company to do what they can to stop illegal activity and therefore the answer is, yes, the landlord should report the activity,†Weatherley notes. Weatherley also believes that protecting the rights of copyright holders has priority over a “no monitoring†principle that would ensure users’ privacy. That is, if the monitoring is done right. “There is also the question as to whether society will want to have their private activities monitored (even if automatically and entirely confidentially) and whether the trade off to a safer, fairer internet is a price worth paying to clamp down on internet illegal activity. My ‘vote’ would be “yes†if via an independent body …†Overall, the recommendations will be welcomed by the industry groups who provided input. The report is not expected to translate directly into legislation, but they will be carefully weighed by the UK Government and the EU Commission when taking future decisions. https://torrentfreak.com/uk-ip-chief-wants-isps-to-police-piracy-proactively-150331/
  9. Infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay has a new European block to contend with after a judge in Spain handed down a ruling against the site today. Local ISPs now have 72 hours in which to block the site, the first instruction of its type under the country's so-called Sinde Law. When it comes be being blocked on copyright grounds, no site in the world can come close to the ‘achievements’ of The Pirate Bay. The infamous ‘pirate’ domain is blocked in more than a dozen countries including the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Finland, Belgium and Portugal, to name just a few. After a ruling today from Madrid’s Central Administrative Litigation Court No. 5, the torrent site can now add Spain to its ever-growing collection. Due to the site’s failure to respond to rightsholder requests to remove links to copyrighted material in a timely manner as required by Spain’s copyright law, ISPs are now required to block their subscribers from accessing the site. According to a statement issued by Promusicae, the trade association that represents more than 90 percent of the Spanish recorded music industry, the decision comes two and a half years after the Association of Intellectual Rights Management (AGEDI) submitted a complaint against Neij LMT Holdings, the company behind several Pirate Bay-related domains. “It is the first blocking of a website dedicated to pirating music and other content that takes place in Spain under the so-called Sinde Law,†the group said in a statement. According to Elmundo the injunction requires ISPs to block thepiratebay.org, thepiratebay.net, thepiratebay.se and thepiratebay.com within 72 hours. Early this year ISP Vodafone blocked The Pirate Bay in Spain believing that it was required to do so. Amid confusion, Vodafone lifted the block and said it would wait for a warrant before blocking the site again. From early next week the site should be inaccessible to most Internet users in Spain, a situation likely to spark traffic to other key sites and the take up of VPN services. Like all countries in the world, Spain had a taste of a Pirate Bay free world after the site was shutdown in December 2014. Almost two months passed before it reappeared at the end of January. https://torrentfreak.com/block-pirate-bay-in-72-hours-spanish-court-tells-isps-150327/
  10. In a response to the draft code tabled to deal with the Australian online-piracy problem, some of the world's largest music publishers have presented a set of draconian measures. ISPs should not only use technology to spy on their own customers, but also to proactively block access to infringing content and websites. Following intense pressure from the Australian government, ISPs were warned that they had to come up with a solution to online piracy or face a legislative response. In collaboration with some rightsholders, last month a draft code was tabled by ISPs which centered on a three-strikes style system for dealing with peer-to-peer file-sharers using systems including BitTorrent. In a response to the code just submitted by the Australasian Music Publishers Association (AMPAL) – which counts EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music among its members – the companies accept that the proposals are moving in the right direction but suggest boosting them in a number of ways. Firstly, in an attempt to plug the so-called ‘incorporation’ loophole, the publishers say that all Internet subscribers should be subjected to the graduated response scheme, not just residential customers. While that suggestion could cause all kinds of problems for businesses and providers of public wi-fi systems, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AMPAL says it recognizes that the code requires rightsholders to do their own online monitoring of file-sharers. It’s a practice employed around the world in every jurisdiction where “strikes†systems are in place. However, the publishers would prefer it if the draft code was amped up to the next level. “The Code does not place a general obligation on ISPs to monitor and detect online copyright infringement,†the publishers write. “AMPAL submits that ideally the Code should include such a duty using ISPs’ monitoring and filtering techniques.†The publishers don’t elaborate on their demands but even in this form they are troubling to say the least. While rightsholders currently monitor only file-sharers distributing content without permission, in theory and to meet AMPAL requirements ISPs may have to monitor the activity of all customers. Not only that, the ‘filtering’ aspect would mean that ISPs become much more than mere conduits of information, a real problem for those seeking to avoid being held liable for infringing activity. But AMPAL’s plans for ISPs go further still. Not only should they be pro-active when it comes to monitoring and warning subscribers, ISPs should also use technology to actively block access to infringing content on other levels. “The Code does not require ISPs to block access to infringing material. AMPAL submits that ideally the Code should include provisions obliging ISPs to take such action following provision of the relevant information by Rights Holders and/or following discovery of copyright infringing websites by ISPs’ monitoring and filtering techniques,†the publishers write. Again, AMPAL provides no elaboration, but on face value these suggestions will horrify ISPs. The premise is that after being told by a rightsholder that specific content is infringing, ISPs should use filtering technology to stop its subscribers from sharing that content. Difficult – if not impossible. Furthermore, ISPs should be both responsive to rightsholder request and pro-active when it comes to the practice of blocking ‘infringing’ websites. Who decides the criteria for such blocking isn’t detailed, but presumably AMPAL feels well placed to do so and that the ISPs should do its bidding. When it comes to dealing with subscribers, AMPAL is also seeking penalties for those who persistently disregard infringement notices. The current proposals allow rightholders to request the details of errant subscribers after they get caught sharing content three times, smoothing the way for legal action. But AMPAL wants more. “AMPAL submits that ideally additional options should be available to Rights Holders in the form of sanctions or mitigation procedures to be imposed on Account Holders,†the publishers write. “Rights Holders are severely limited in the realistic damages that they can recover. Litigation in this area is costly and difficult particularly for the small to medium enterprises that make up a large proportion of all rights holders.†Describing the draft code as “an important initial stepâ€, AMPAL says that a revised code to incorporate its demands should be implemented in the future. “Only with a concerted effort by ISPs, Rights Holders and government can the damaging effects of online copyright infringement be addressed,†the trade group concludes. Finally, in its submission to the draft code the BBC expresses concern that subscribers could use VPN technology to circumvent the whole system. “The code is ill equipped to deal with consumers who spoof or mask their IP addresses to avoid detection, behaviour that we believe will increase as a result of an introduction of a notice scheme,†the BBC said. https://torrentfreak.com/music-group-wants-isps-to-spy-on-customers-to-stop-piracy-150324/
  11. After The Pirate Bay switched to CloudFlare's SSL service it is no longer being blocked by most UK Internet providers. Subscribers of BT, EE, Virgin and TalkTalk can reach the site without problems via the default https address. The "bug" also affects secure versions of other blocked sites, but not all. Following a series of blocking orders issued by the High Court, several UK ISPs are required to restrict access to many of the world’s largest torrent sites and streaming portals. The most prominent target of these blocks is without doubt The Pirate Bay. As one of the most visited sites on the Internet it has been a thorn in the side of the entertainment industries for years. The Pirate Bay was one of the first sites on the UK blocklist and access has been barred since 2012. Or rather should have been barred. For a few weeks most UK Internet subscribers have been able to access TPB just fine. Ever since the site switched to CloudFlare and made the securehttps://thepiratebay.se version default, it has become widely accessible again. TorrentFreak did a quick round among subscribers of various ISPs and found that The Pirate Bay is no longer blocked by Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BT and EE. At the time of writing only Sky appears to block the site consistently. As a result, The Pirate Bay’s direct UK traffic is steadily increasing. The Pirate Bay is not the only site that’s widely accessible again. The same applies to the https versions of Torrentz.eu, Rarbg.com, Isohunt.to and various other ‘blocked’ sites. For some sites, including Kickass.to and Extratorrent, the results vary per ISP. The operator of the Pirate Bay proxy ilikerainbows.co, which had its own domain name added to the blocklist last week, believes that the unblocking relates to the use of https strict. “I believe it’s because of how CloudFlare works, Simply put when you enable HTTPS Strict on CloudFlare they remove the HTTP Header from the request during HTTPS Connections, thus when they try to inspect the header to a list of ‘banned’ websites it won’t register,†Rainbows’ operator tells TF. “So any site that uses CloudFlare, has a properly configured and signed SSL Certificate and enables HTTPS-Strict under CloudFlare should be able to evade the ban that’s imposed by Virgin and perhaps other providers,†he adds. What further complicates the matter is the fact that it’s harder to block The Pirate Bay by its IP-address, as the true location is hidden by CloudFlare’s network of addresses now. While it may be harder to block sites, it’s not impossible. Sky appears to have no trouble keeping sites blocked, although that probably requires some rather advanced and invasive monitoring tools. TF asked several ISPs for a comment on the issue and Virgin Media informed us that they still comply with the court order. “Virgin Media is required to block certain sites by the UK High Court. As a responsible ISP, we comply with court orders addressed to us,†a spokesperson informed TF this morning. Virgin’s comment suggests that the https version of TPB is not covered by the order at all, and that it was previously blocked by IP-address. However, Virgin couldn’t comment on this suggestion. We’ll update this article as more information comes in. Torrentfreak
  12. The UK website blocking bonanza has started to move in a dubious direction. Several Internet providers are now blocking access to websites that provide a list of Pirate Bay proxies. The sites in question do not host or link to any infringing material themselves and are purely informational. Following a series of High Court orders, six UK ISPs are required to block access to many of the world’s largest torrent sites and streaming portals. The blocks are somewhat effective, at least in preventing subscribers from accessing the domains directly. However, there are also plenty of workarounds. For many sites that are blocked one or more proxy sites emerge. These proxies allow people to access the blocked sites and effectively bypass the restrictions put in place by the court. The copyright holders are not happy with these loopholes and have asked ISPs to add the proxies to their filters, which they have done on several occasions. However, restricting access to proxies did not provide a silver bullet either as new ones continue to appear. This week the blocking efforts were stepped up a notch and are now targeting sites that merely provide an overview of various Pirate Bay proxies. In other words, UK ISPs now restrict access to sites for linking to Pirate Bay proxies. Among the blocked sites are piratebayproxy.co.uk, piratebayproxylist.com andukbay.org. Both sites are currently inaccessible on Virgin Media and TalkTalk, and other providers are expected to follow suit. TF spoke with Dan, the operator of UKBay.org, who’s baffled by the newly implemented blockade. He moved his site to a new domain to make the site accessible again, for the time being at least. “The new blocks are unbelievable and totally unreasonable. To block a site that simply links to another site just shows the level of censorship we are allowing ISP’s to get away with,†Dan says. “UKBay is not even a PirateBay proxy. It simply provides links to proxies. If they continue blocking sites, that link to sites, that link to sites.. there’l be nothing left,†he adds. One of the other blocked sites, piratebayproxy.co.uk, doesn’t have any direct links to infringing material. Instead, it provides an overview of short Pirate Bay news articles while listing the URLs of various proxies on the side. Apparently, providing information about Pirate Bay proxies already warrants a spot on the UK blocklist. It is not a secret that the High Court orders give copyright holders the option to continually update the list of infringing domains. However, it’s questionable whether this should also include sites that do not link to any infringing material. To our knowledge, it is the first time that this has happened. The new additions were made as part of an existing High Court order that allowed copyright holders to block The Pirate Bay, a Virgin Media spokesperson informs us. “Under the conditions of the original court order, the rightsholders have the authority to change the specific URLs or IP addresses that must be blocked by all major ISPs – not just Virgin Media. Such changes happen on a regular basis. There is no ‎extension or amendment to the original court order,†Virgin says. As with earlier updates, the most recent changes are being made without a public announcement, which means that we don’t know precisely how many sites were added. We will update this article if more details arise. Torrentfreak
  13. Under pressure from the Australian government, local ISPs have now published proposals on how to deal with the issue of online piracy. Drafted together with entertainment companies, the draft sees subscribers warned three times before further action is taken. After developing a reputation for being some of the most prolific online pirates around, last year Australian citizens were told by the government that enough is enough. Since years of negotiations between ISPs and entertainment companies had gone nowhere, service providers were told to propose voluntary measures to deter and educate pirating subscribers or have one forced upon them by law. With a deadline looming, telecoms body the Communications Alliance has now published its draft proposal on behalf of its ISP members. Titled “Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Codeâ€, the 34-page document hopes to pacify rightsholders and their allies in government by outlining a graduated response mechanism to deal with file-sharers. “The Copyright Notice Scheme Code is designed to facilitate a cooperative industry-led copyright notice scheme through which Internet Service Providers and the owners of copyright works will work to deter the practice of online copyright infringement and inform consumers about available and lawful content alternatives,†the draft begins. “The Code provides for the creation of a copyright notice scheme under which ISPs will accept reports (in a prescribed format) from Rights Holders. The reports will identify Internet Protocol addresses that a Rights Holder alleges have been used to infringe copyright in online work of the Rights Holder. The reports will request that the relevant ISP notify the relevant Account Holders of the alleged infringements.†According to the draft there will be three types of notice. Step 1: Educational Notice Warnings received by subscribers for their first alleged offense are designed to be educational. The notice will advise that a rightsholder has observed an infringement while detailing the content involved plus a time and date. The notice will acknowledge that the account holder is not necessarily the infringer and will contain assurances that no information about the subscriber has been shared with a third party. Recipients will be warned, however, that they are now at a greater risk of being exposed to rightsholder legal action. Any questions about the notice can be sent to the Copyright Information Panel, an adjudication body comprised of ISP and rightsholder representatives. Step 2: Warning Notice Second notices sent to errant subscribers are framed as a warning. Like educational notices they will detail the alleged infringement but will also underline the fact that the subscriber has already received an Educational Notice. At this stage no information about the subscriber will be passed to rightsholders but will contain a stern warning. “Receipt of a further notice may result in a Rights Holder instituting court proceedings against the Account Holder, including a preliminary discovery application to obtain the Account Holder’s details,†the draft reads. Any questions about the notice can again be directed towards the Copyright Information Panel. Step 3: Final Notice In addition to detailing the alleged infringement, subscribers will be reminded that they have already received Educational and Warning notices. The subscriber will be required to acknowledge receipt of a Final Notice (via registered letter or popups) and will be advised that rightholders may go to court to obtain their identity. ISPs will make a record that a Final Notice has been sent to the subscriber but will not be required to send any further notices to an account holder who receives a Final Notice within 12 months of receiving an Educational Notice. Challenge Notices Subscribers who feel they have been wrongly accused can file a Challenge Notice with the adjudication panel. An appeal will cost the subscriber AUS$25 but will be refunded if the appeal is upheld. Fees may also be waived if the panel believes that would be appropriate. Punishments and costs The document makes no mention of punishments such as throttling, suspensions or disconnections, so they are now clearly off the table. Who pays for the system – a big sticking point throughout several years of negotiations – also appears to be unresolved. “Rights Holders and ISPs are cooperatively undertaking further work to quantify the costs of meeting the specific operational responsibilities and processes required by the Scheme and determine how these costs should be fairly apportioned between ISPs and Right Holders,†the draft reads. If the proposals (pdf) in the draft are accepted the scheme could be in place as early as September but the big question remains. Will entertainment companies also help Aussies to break the piracy habit by providing better and cost-friendly legal alternatives? http://torrentfreak.com/aussie-isps-advocate-three-strikes-solution-to-piracy-150220/
  14. Eircom was one of the first ISPs in Europe to implement a voluntary "three strikes" anti-piracy program but strangely it's now hiding the prospect of disconnections from customers. Together with music group IFPI, they also fail heavily on the piracy education front. More than five years ago the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) ended its legal action against local ISP Eircom when the ISP agreed to implement a new anti-piracy policy. The agreement sees Sony, Universal and Warner tracking Eircom subscribers online and the ISP forwarding infringement notices to customers uploading music without permission. Eircom promises to disconnect subscribers who are caught sharing three times. The entire point of this scheme and others like it is to inform Internet users that a “graduated response†is in operation. Whenever a notice is received users should be in no doubt they’re edging closer to being punished and ultimately cut off. For its part the music industry is clear. ‘Strikes’ regimes which don’t promise to disconnect or otherwise punish users are much less effective than those that have these measures. After all, who wants to be cut off by their ISP? But if that’s indeed the case, why then is Eircom keeping the prospect of disconnections out of its communications with alleged pirates? TorrentFreak has obtained one of the latest letters being sent out to Eircom subscribers. Received by a customer already on a warning, it begins normally enough. “Eircom has a long association with Irish music and we believe that artists deserve to be paid for the work they create. Most music files are protected by copyright and while it may be acceptable for them to be stored on a computer for personal use, it is unlawful to share those files without the copyright owner’s permission,†the letter reads. The warning goes on to note that sharing copyrighted music is a breach of Eircom’s terms and conditions and as such it’s the subscriber’s responsibility to ensure the connection is not used to breach copyright. Standard stuff so far. At this point one might expect Eircom to be getting into the details of its “three strikes†scheme implemented on IRMA’s behalf, informing the subscriber how after the third time sharing copyrighted material he or she will have their broadband connection terminated. Instead, however, the ISP makes no mention of it. “Please accept this letter as an advisory notice, and should no further activity as described above occur then no further action will be taken. The details of this notification will be retained for 12 months from the dates of this letter and will be deleted thereafter unless we receive an additional notification in that period,†the notice adds. And that’s pretty much it. No mention of a graduated response, no mention that subscribers will disconnected from the Internet. It’s a very strange approach considering the substantial sums of money spent by IRMA and Eircom to reach their “three strikes†agreement. So why the kid gloves? Since disconnecting customers is not exactly helpful to profitability, Eircom’s agreement with IRMA requires that the ISP isn’t put at a commercial disadvantage. To that end, IRMA has been locked in a five-year legal battle to force rival ISP UPC to also implement “three strikesâ€. Pending the outcome of that case, Eircom is currently the only ISP in Ireland promising to disconnect pirates. Playing that fact down in its letters to customers would certainly make commercial sense and stop those looking to jump ship. However, the other elephant in the room is that last year Eircom admitted it hadn’t disconnected anyone in four years of the “strikes†scheme. Add that to “weak†letters being sent out to customers and some might presume that disconnections are already off the table, at least unofficially. Still, there’s always the educational aspect to “graduated response†campaigns – you’ve been caught once so why not go straight now? As required by the IRMA deal, Eircom informs “strike†recipients where they can go to obtain legal music downloads – or at least that’s the idea. Sadly, in its infringement notices Eircom points them to eircom.net/legalmusic, a page that hasn’t existed for some time. A secondary educational effort in the letter sees the ISP encourage customers to completely remove file-sharing software and infringing files from their computers. “IRMA provides a program called ‘Digital File Check’ which can be downloaded from their website. It checks for and removes any infringing files and applications commonly used to share music illegally,†the letter notes. However, those following the link (www.ifpi.org/content/section_resources/digital-file-check.html) find it less than helpful. Links to the software on IFPI’s site send users round in a never-ending loop and the official domain DigitalFileCheck.com, for those who can be bothered to hunt it down, is completely dead. The situation is baffling. Why spend years pushing for this system yet execute it so poorly once it’s in place? Why then force other ISPs to do the same? It’s debatable whether these schemes have any effect at all, but if this is the model that’s no surprise. http://torrentfreak.com/isps-three-strikes-scheme-is-weird-and-broken-150214/
  15. Australian ISPs are working hard to present an anti-piracy code of conduct following intense pressure from the government. iiNet, the country's second largest ISP, reports confidence in meeting an April 8 deadline but whether the proposals will meet expectations remains to be seen. For years Australian citizens have complained of being treated as second class citizens by content companies who have failed to make content freely available at a fair price. As a result millions of Aussies have turned to file-sharing networks for their media fix. This has given the country somewhat of a reputation on the world stage, which in turn has put intense pressure on the Australian government to do something to reduce unlawful usage. After years of negotiations between ISPs and entertainment companies went nowhere, last year the government stepped in. ISPs were warned that if they don’t take voluntarily measures to deter and educate pirating subscribers, the government would force a mechanism upon them by law. With a desire to avoid that option at all costs, the service providers went away with orders to come up with a solution. Just last month Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull set an April 8 deadline, a tight squeeze considering the years of failed negotiations. Nevertheless, iiNet, Australia’s second largest ISP, feels that the deadline will be met. “We will have code; whether or not it gets the rubber stamp remains to be seen,†says iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby. “Dedicated people are putting in a lot of work drafting documents and putting frameworks together.†With just 120 days to come up with a solution the government’s deadline is a big ask and Dalby says there are plenty of complications. “There are issues around privacy, there are issues around appeals. There are issues around costs. There is a lot of work that needs to be done,†he says. Of course, these are exactly the same issues that caused talks to collapse on a number of occasions in the past. However, in recent months it’s become clear that the government is prepared to accept less stringent measures than the entertainment industries originally wanted. Slowing and disconnecting subscribers is now off the table, for example. Although there has been no official announcement, it seems likely that the ISPs will offer a notice-and-notice system similar to the one being planned for the UK. Subscribers will be informed by email that their connections are being used to share content unlawfully and will be politely but firmly asked to stop. An educational program, which advises users where to obtain content legally, is likely to augment the scheme. Who will pay for all this remains to be seen. ISPs have previously refused to contribute but with the government threatening to impose a code if a suitable one is not presented, compromise could be on the table. http://torrentfreak.com/aussie-isps-rushing-ahead-with-anti-piracy-proposals-150113/
  16. Starting today Canadian Internet providers are required to forward copyright infringement notices to their subscribers. This notification scheme provides a safe harbor for ISPs but is also expected to result in a surge in piracy settlement schemes. The new law further causes trouble for VPN providers, who are now required to log customers for at least six months. pirate-runningAfter years of public and private discussions, Canada started implementing a new copyright law in recent years. The law introduced great improvements in terms of fair use and non-commercial file-sharing, and also adopts a “notice-and-notice†policy for ISPs that goes into effect today, January 2nd. Under the new law Internet providers are required to forward copyright notices they receive from rightsholders to their customers. Providers who do not comply, including VPN services, face damages up to $10,000. The notice scheme creates a safe harbor for Internet providers, protecting them from copyright holder lawsuits. For Internet subscribers the effects are limited to warnings, which is less draconian than the “strikes†systems other countries have implemented. University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, who has been a critical follower of the copyright law changes, notes that despite its modesty people should be wary of the negative consequences these notices may have. “I think they’re generally a good solution – proven effective when used informally and far less draconian than takedown systems. That said, there is the danger of potential abuse that will be need to be monitored,†Geist tells TF. Among the most prominent concerns are the so-called settlement schemes where copyright holders ask pirating subscribers to pay a fee. These have become relatively common in the U.S. and are now expected to expand into Canada. One of the companies that helps rightsholders to collect settlements is CEG TEK, and they are already gearing up to enter the Canadian market. “We have been conducting tests in the Canada market and see positive results with ISPs. We look forward to a full-scale launch in the new year,†CEG TEK’s COO Kyle Reed informs TF. These settlement notices are a “significant concern†according to Professor Geist. He says that the law currently doesn’t prohibit copyright holders from sending them in, but that subscribers’ identities are shielded. “The law does not preclude the inclusion of a settlement demand, though Canada has a cap on liability for non-commercial infringement and the sender of the notice obviously does not know the identity of the subscriber,†Geist tells TF “ISPs would seemingly be required to send these notifications, but there is nothing in the law that would stop them from advising subscribers on the context of these notices,†he adds. The new notice-and-notice system also has a great impact on VPN providers. The new law requires them to identify pirating customers so they can forward the infringement notices. To be able to do so the companies have to retain access logs for a minimum of six months. This mandatory data retention is expected to lead to a customer exodus as it makes it impossible for providers to guarantee people’s anonymity, a key feature of any VPN service. As we pointed out before, the new law requires VPN providers to implement an extensive logging and notice policy to deal with takedown notices. This will prove to be quite costly or simply impossible, especially for smaller companies that are sometimes run by individuals. Many VPN providers assign shared IP-addresses to their customers, so even if they wanted to there is no option to accurately identify a copyright infringer. For these companies the only option will be to shut down, or move the company outside of Canada. During the months to come it will become apparent what impact the notice-and-notice system will have on businesses and customers.
  17. In a landmark ruling handed down this morning the High Court has ordered several of the UK's leading ISPs to block websites dealing in counterfeit products. The decision follows legal action by Richemont, the owner of several luxury brands including Cartier and Montblanc. Following successful action by the world’s leading entertainment companies to have file-sharing sites blocked at the ISP level, it was perhaps inevitable that other companies with similar issues would tread the same path. Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A. owns several well-known luxury brands including Cartier and Mont Blanc and for some time has tried to force sites selling counterfeit products to close down. Faced with poor results, in 2014 the company wrote to the UK’s leading ISPs – Sky, TalkTalk, BT, Virgin Media, EE and Telefonica/O2 – complaining that third party sites were infringing on Richemont trademarks. Concerned that Richemont hadn’t done enough to close the sites down on its own and that blocking could affect legitimate trade, the ISPs resisted and the matter found itself before the High Court. This morning a decision was handed down and it’s good news for Richemont. The ISPs named in the legal action must now restrict access to websites selling physical counterfeits in the same way they already restrict file-sharing sites. The websites mentioned in the current order are cartierloveonline.com, hotcartierwatch.com, iwcwatchtop.com, replicawatchesiwc.com, 1iwc.com, montblancpensonlineuk.com, ukmontblancoutlet.co.uk . In addition, Richemont identified tens of thousands of additional domains that could be added in the future. A Richemont spokesperson told TorrentFreak that the ruling represents a positive step in the fight to protect brands and customers from the sale of counterfeit goods online. “We are pleased by this judgment and welcome the Court’s recognition that there is a public interest in preventing trade mark infringement, particularly where counterfeit goods are involved. The Courts had already granted orders requiring ISPs to block sites for infringement of copyright in relation to pirated content. This decision is a logical extension of that principle to trade marks,†the company said. Wiggin LLP, the lawfirm at the heart of website blocking action for the entertainment industry, acted for Richemont in the case. The company says that today’s judgment holds benefits for both rightsholders and consumers. “In a comprehensive judgment, the court has considered the enforcement methods that are presently available to trade mark owners when tackling infringement online. The court has concluded that Internet Service Providers play ‘an essential role’ and that the court can and should apply Article 11 of the Enforcement Directive to require the application of technical measures to impede infringement of trade marks,†Wiggin said. According to a comment sent to TF by Arty Rajendra, Partner at IP law firm Rouse Legal, the decision is likely to be appealed. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  18. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  19. In yet another round of silent actions against torrent sites, UK Internet service providers have initiated blocks following court orders against several major proxies. Among them is PirateProxy, a hugely popular Pirate Bay proxy that is currently the UK's 125th most-visited site. Meanwhile, police action continues. After years of legal action, arrests, and placing people like Gottfrid Svartholm and Peter Sunde behind bars, it became clear to copyright holders that trying to directly shutdown The Pirate Bay would not be easy. Instead they decided to target ISPs, companies that are responsive to legal threats in most corners of the world. In time, court orders rendered The Pirate Bay and similar sites blocked, but not for long. Proxy sites enabling access to the world’s largest torrent indexes soon began to thrive, but their time would also come. The biggest proxy battle anywhere on the planet is taking place in the UK, a country where it’s become almost a formality to have sites blocked at the ISP level. Today we can report that yet another silent round of blockades are being put in place. One of the main targets is PirateProxy, an extremely popular proxy service that’s particularly well known in the UK. The site was previously accessible at PirateProxy.net but moved to a new domain earlier in the year after its domain was blocked. The site switched to PirateProxy.in during April and successfully maintained its traffic. As can be seen from the Alexa chart below, PirateProxy is the 125th most popular domain in the entire country, an impressive feat for a site that offers nothing but a Pirate Bay block workaround. Notable too is the site’s placing in Ireland, where The Pirate Bay is also blocked by ISPs. As of this morning PirateProxy was the country’s 131st most-popular domain. However, visitors to the site through the major UK ISPs are now beginning to see the familiar “domain blocked†message. The example from Virgin Media, which confirms the existence of a court order, is shown below. Also under attack are the various proxy services available through Come.in, a portal which facilitates access to a wide range of torrent and other similar sites blocked by numerous European ISPs. In addition to sundry others, at the moment the site’s PirateBay, KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent, YTS/YIFY, TorrentReactor, BitSnoop and 1337x proxies are being subjected to UK blockades. This is the second time this year that multiple Come.in proxies have been targeted by rightsholders. Back in June its EZTV and YTS proxies were blocked in the UK but were re-established by the site’s operators who vowed to keep putting up new services to maintain service. While blocking proxies continues to be a key weapon of choice, proxies with UK-based operators have greater concerns. As reported in August, City of London police’s PIPCU unit arrested the operator of Immunicity and several other proxies. According to a police response to a Freedom of Information request obtained by TorrentFreak, he now stands accused of a wide range of crimes including breaches of the Serious Crime Act 2007, Possession of Articles for Use in Fraud, Making or Supplying Articles for use in Frauds and money laundering. While plenty of proxies still exist (including several which rotate at the bottom of The Pirate Bay homepage under ‘proxy’), others aren’t doing so well. Visitors to sites including TorrentProxies, Torrenticity, FenopyReverse, FirstRowProxy, GetPirate, H33tUnblock, KatProxy, LivePirate, Metricity, ProxyCentral, KickassUnblock and YifyProxy are greeted with a message from PIPCU that the domains are under police investigation. Finally, and despite efforts by the BBC to have all VPN users labeled as pirates, use of such services to evade blockades and enable geo-unblocking continues. The BPI, PirateProxy and Come.in were not immediately available for comments but we’ll update this report when they arrive. Update: The operator of PirateProxy informs us that a new domain is up and operational at PirateProxy.bz http://torrentfreak.com/largest-pirate-bay-proxy-more-blocked-by-uk-isps-140910/
  20. In a submission to the Australian Government on the issue of online piracy, the BBC indicates that ISPs should be obliged to monitor their customers' activities. Service providers should become suspicious that customers could be pirating if they use VPN-style services and consume a lot of bandwidth, the BBC says. After cutting its teeth as a domestic broadcaster, the BBC is spreading its products all around the globe. Shows like Top Gear have done extremely well overseas and the trend of exploiting other shows in multiple territories is set to continue. As a result the BBC is now getting involved in the copyright debates of other countries, notably Australia, where it operates four subscription channels. Following submissions from Hollywood interests and local ISPs, BBC Worldwide has now presented its own to the Federal Government. Its text shows that the corporation wants new anti-piracy measures to go further than ever before. The BBC begins by indicating a preference for a co-operative scheme, one in which content owners and ISPs share responsibility to “reduce and eliminate†online copyright infringement. Educating consumers on both the impact of piracy and where content can be obtained legally online would be supported by improved availability of official offerings. After providing general piracy statistics, the BBC turn to the recent leaking of the new series of Doctor Who to file-sharing networks which acted “as a spoiler†to the official global TV premiere. “Despite the BBC dedicating considerable resources to taking down and blocking access to these Doctor Who materials, there were almost 13,000 download attempts of these materials from Australian IP addresses in the period between their unauthorized access and the expiration of the usual catch-up windows,†the BBC write. So what can be done? In common with all rightsholder submissions so far, the BBC wants to put pressure on ISPs to deal with their errant subscribers via a graduated response scheme of educational messages backed up by punitive measures for the most persistent of infringers. “ISPs should warn any alleged copyright infringers through a graduated notification system that what they are doing is illegal and, at the same time, educate them about the law, the importance of copyright to funding content and services they enjoy and where they can access the material they want legally. However. if the consumers do not abide by the notifications then more serious action may need to be taken,†the BBC note. Those sanctions could lead to a throttling of a users’ Internet connection but should not normally lead to a complete disconnection. However, the BBC doesn’t rule that out, adding that such measures could be employed “in the most serious and egregious circumstances, as is the case in the United States.†While little in the foregoing presents much of a surprise, the BBC goes further than any other rightsholder submission thus far in suggesting that ISPs should not only forward notices, but also spy on their customers’ Internet usage habits. VPNs are pirate tools “Since the evolution of peer-to-peer software protocols to incorporate decentralized architectures, which has allowed users to download content from numerous host computers, the detection and prosecution of copyright violations has become a complex task. This situation is further amplified by the adoption of virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers by some users, allowing them to circumvent geo-blocking technologies and further evade detection,†the BBC explain. “It is reasonable for ISPs to be placed under an obligation to identify user behavior that is ‘suspicious’ and indicative of a user engaging in conduct that infringes copyright. Such behavior may include the illegitimate use by Internet users of IP obfuscation tools in combination with high download volumes.†While the BBC goes on to state that “false positives†would need to be avoided in order to “safeguard the fundamental rights of consumersâ€, none of this will sit well with Internet service providers or the public. Throwing around accusations of illegal activity based on the existence of an encrypted tunnel and high bandwidth consumption is several steps beyond anything suggested before. Site blocking The BBC says it supports the blocking of overseas infringing sites at the ISP level after obtaining a court injunction. Of interest is a proposal to use a system which allows for injunctions to be modified after being issued in order to deal with sites finding ways to circumvent bans. “It is important to have the ability to get existing injunctions varied by the court when defendants reappear in different guises, a useful tool in the United Kingdom,†the BBC writes. Who foots the bill? Who pays for all of the above has been the major sticking point in all Australian negotiations thus far. The ISPs largely believe they shouldn’t have to pay for anything, but most rightsholders – the BBC included – think that the costs need to be shared. “In light of the fact that a large inducement for internet users to become customers of ISPs is to gain access to content (whether legally or illegally), it is paramount that ISPs are required to take an active role in preventing and fighting online copyright infringement by establishing and contributing meaningfully to the cost of administering some form of graduated response scheme,†the BBC concludes.
  21. VAP, the anti-piracy association of the Austrian film and video industry, has sued four local ISPs after they failed to act on a request to block streaming portals Movie4k.to and Kinox.to. The IFPI says it is preparing legal action against the ISPs for their failure to block The Pirate Bay. Favorable rulings in both the European Court of Justice and the local Supreme Court earlier this year gave Austrian anti-piracy groups the power they needed to move forward on site-blocking. What transpired was an attack from two directions. The first involved VAP, the anti-piracy association of the Austrian film and video industry. The second was launched by the local branch of IFPI, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. In late July, VAP wrote to UPC, Drei, Tele2 and A1 with a request for the ISPs to block ThePirateBay.se plus streaming sites Movie4K.to and Kinox.to. Days later in a letter dated August 4, the IFPI asked five local ISPs to block access to four torrent sites – ThePirateBay,se, isoHunt.to, 1337x.to and H33t.to. Unfortunately for VAP and the IFPI, the ISPs were going to need more than just a letter to begin censoring the Internet. By mid August, with their deadlines expired, none had initiated blockades. That led to threats of lawsuits from both anti-piracy groups. With August now drawing to a close, VAP has made good on its word. CEO Werner Müller confirmed to German media that his organization has now sued four Austrian ISPs. Müller would not be drawn on their names, but DerStandard spoke with UPC and A1 who both confirmed receiving letters. “[The decision on blocking] should be left to the judgment of a judge, since in a specific case the rights of Internet users and the movie / music industry can be weighed more,†said A1 spokeswoman Livia Dandrea-Böhm. “We will now take a position in the time allowed by the court. Thereafter, the judge has to decide.†Of further interest is VAP’s decision to exclude The Pirate Bay from their legal action and only sue for blockades against kinox.to and movie4k.to. There are suggestions that this could prove an easier legal route for VAP as the local Supreme Court is already familiar with the operations of Kinox and Movie4K, sites similar in structure to the now defunct Kino.to, the site which originally prompted calls for blocks in Austria. However, The Pirate Bay will not escape so easily. The IFPI will tackle the infamous torrent site alongside others including isoHunt.to, 1337x.to and H33t.to. The music group is expected to sue several ISPs to force a blockade, although papers are still being drawn up.
  22. Following requests from a movie-focused anti-piracy outfit and the IFPI, Austria's largest ISPs were expected to block The Pirate Bay and other 'pirate' sites last week. But after deadlines passed without action, the entertainment groups are now preparing lawsuits to force the ISPs to cooperate. Following favorable rulings on website-blocking from both the European Court of Justice and the local Supreme Court, at the end of July several Austrian movie companies renewed their mission to have ‘pirate’ sites blocked at the ISP level. VAP, the anti-piracy association of the Austrian film and video industry, wrote to several local ISPs – UPC, Drei, Tele2 and A1 – demanding a blockade of three domains – ThePirateBay.se, Movie4K.to and Kinox.to. Just days later the IFPI signaled its intention to join the fray. In a letter dated August 4 and sent to five local ISPs, the music group set a deadline of less than two weeks for the service providers to block subscriber access to ThePirateBay,se, isoHunt.to, 1337x.to and H33t.to. After the VAP letter came talks between the anti-piracy outfit and the ISPs, but a deadline of August 14 expired last week with no blocking having taken place. While the courts have confirmed that in certain circumstances service providers can be required to block errant sites, it appears that the ISPs don’t want to take action based on mere requests from rightsholders. “We continue to believe that the decision to block websites or other Internet content should lie with the courts and legislators,†UPC told Austrian news outlet Future Zone. “We have sympathy for rightsholders and we are in full support of the creative industries. However, we offer our customers access to the Internet and have no obligation or right to choose which content is accessed.†Faced with blocking requests around Europe, most if not all ISPs have required a court order in order to restrict access to ‘pirate’ sites. Given this history, UPC’s reluctance comes as no surprise to VAP. Managing Director Werner Müller admitted last week that it was always unlikely that the ISPs would act without being legally required to do so. That means legal action, and VAP are ready for it. “There will soon be a lawsuit concerning blocking against two websites – kinox.to and movie4k.to – against four major domestic Internet providers,†Müller says. “The lawsuits are prepared and are waiting almost only on their delivery.†And, according to comments made by IFPI CEO Franz Medwenitsch, the music industry won’t be far behind. “As of today there has been no response from the service providers so we had our attorney begin the preparations for legal action,†Medwenitsch confirms. These web-blocking cases being brought against Austrian ISPs are of particular importance as they represent the first to take place following the March 27 ruling of the European Court of Justice. How that ruling is interpreted will be closely watched by rightsholders across the continent. http://torrentfreak.com/isps-face-lawsuits-failing-block-pirate-bay-140818/
  23. Austrian ISPs have been told they have just days to block not only The Pirate Bay but also Movie4K, one of the world's most famous streaming sites. The blockades, which were demanded by Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit VAP, are supported by recent decisions from both the Supreme Court in Austria and the European Court of Justice. pirate bayKino.to, one of Germany’s largest illegal streaming portals, was shut down during 2011 following the largest law enforcement action against of its type in Europe. But even with the site long gone the disruption it caused is about to affect The Pirate Bay and two other major sites. Just a month before Kino.to was dismantled in June 2011, Austrian ISP ‘UPC’ was served with a preliminary injunction ordering it to block subscriber access to the site. Verein für Anti-Piraterie der österreichischen Film und Videobranche (VAP) – the anti-piracy association of the Austrian film and video industry – had been on the warpath since 2010 and had finally got their way after UPC refused to comply voluntarily. But would blocking the site be legal? UPC insisted that it couldn’t be held responsible for a site it had nothing to do with. The ISP also maintained that there had been no court ruling determining that UPC customers who accessed Kino.to were breaking the law. To settle the matter once and for all the Austrian Supreme Court asked the European Court of Justice to clarify whether a company that provides Internet access to people using an illegal website could be required to block that site. On March 27, 2014, the ECJ handed down its decision. On UPC’s first point the Court said that EU law does not require a specific relationship between the person infringing copyright and the intermediary against whom any injunction had been issued. On the second point the Court said that proof of illegality was not necessary as the law exists not only to bring an end to infringement, but also to prevent it. The key point of the ruling was that ISPs can indeed be required to block access to infringing sites provided that injunctions are both balanced and proportional. As a result, earlier this month Austria’s Supreme Court found that the blockade against Kino.to, even though the site is long dead, was correctly applied. On the back of this ruling, this week VAP wrote to several local ISPs, UPC included, demanding a new blockade of three sites – The Pirate Bay, Movie4K and Kinox, a site that took over from Kino.to. “Letters dated yesterday have been sent to four large ISPs containing a request to block a small number of websites,†VAP Managing Director Werner Müller told Future Zone. On behalf of three local movie companies (Allegro Film, Wega Film and Epo Film) VAP has requested IP address and DNS blocks of the three sites but has given the ISPs very little time in which to carry them out, by this Friday August 1, to be exact. The Association of Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA) feels the deadline is far too restrictive. “The period given to the providers to act is ludicrously short. We see this as very problematic. Extreme pressure is being exerted,†Secretary General Maximilian Schubert said. “Two working days during the holiday season is just too little. To implement this by Friday we deem too difficult.†Interestingly, Schubert also sees differences between The Pirate Bay and the pair of streaming portals listed in VAP’s blocking request. “There is also legal content on The Pirate Bay,†Schubert said. Discussions between VAP and the ISPs are scheduled for later in the week, so whether the anti-piracy group will get its way immediately will remain to be seen. They’ve waited years already, another few days shouldn’t make much difference.
  24. For the first time, Los Angeles based anti-piracy firm CEG TEK has revealed the scope of their piracy monetization efforts. The company currently sends 1.1 million notices to U.S. ISPs per week. A massive number, but only a small percentage reaches the alleged downloaders. February last year, five U.S. Internet providers startedsending copyright alerts to customers who allegedly pirate movies, TV-shows and music. During the first year they sent out 1.3 millioneducational notices, warning account holders that their connection was used to share pirated content. However, its scope pales in comparison to what others are doing. TorrentFreak spoke with anti-piracy outfit CEG TEK, who also send out warning letters on behalf of copyright holders. However, their version comes with a sting. In addition to the traditional slap on the wrist their notices also include a settlement proposal, which can reach hundreds of dollars. These emails are sent as regular DMCA notices which the ISPs then forward to their customers. Little has been revealed about the scope of this program, but CEG TEK’s Kyle Reed now informs us that in 2013 they sent out 26 million notices to U.S. based Internet providers. The volume is expected to double this year as the company currently sends out 1.1 million notices per week. It’s an impressive number, but since not all ISPs are happy with the process only a small fraction of their customers receive the settlement offer to the respective account holder. CEG TEK currently sends out requests to 3,493 Internet providers and 342 of these forward the settlement offer, which is roughly 90%. This includes many small ISPs as well as companies and universities. Some providers forward the notice but without the request for a settlement. Comcast, for example, is known to do this. While CEG TEK prefers it if providers forward the entire notice, the stripped ones are also of value to their clients. “There are various levels of cooperation. Success doesn’t always mean getting a settlement from an account holder. Rightsholders are also happy when they can get their anti-piracy message out there,†CEG TEK’s Kyle Reed tells TorrentFreak. Interestingly, there are also various ISPs who don’t forward anything. According to their interpretation of the DMCA they are not obliged to send the notices to their customers. “Several Internet providers don’t comply at all. They simply ignore our notices,†Reed says. CEG TEK is not the only company to send these settlement requests as a DMCA takedown notice, Rightscorp does the same. Both companies have increased their output in recent years and major rightsholders such as Warner Bros. are in on the scheme. It’s an interesting trend, one that goes above and beyond the official Copyright Alert System. According to CEG TEK the approach is effective. The company has gathered data on how their notices influence piracy rates, which it plans to publish in the future. Whether that will be enough to make a dent in piracy rates remains to be seen though. http://torrentfreak.com/us-internet-providers-receive-1-1-million-piracy-settlements-per-week-140726/
  25. Earlier this year news broke that UK ISPs are set to team up with copyright holders to notify subscribers found sharing pirated material. Today the initiative has been announced officially, receiving praise from all parties involved. Despite the optimism it may take well over a year before the first warnings are sent out. In an effort to curb online piracy, earlier this year the movie and music industries reached agreement with the UK’s leading ISPs to send warnings to alleged copyright infringers. As we previously revealed, the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP) will only apply to P2P file-sharing and will mainly focus on repeat infringers. The monitoring will be carried out by a third-party company and unlike other warning systems there won’t be any punishments. The main purpose of the warnings is to alert and educate copyright infringers, in the hope they will move over to legal alternatives. The program was officially announced today and received support from all parties involved, including the UK Government which is financially backing the measures. Without exception they all praise the warning system and the accompanying educational campaign. “It is fantastic that the UK creative community and ISPs have come together in partnership to address online copyright infringement and raise awareness about the multitude of legitimate online services available to consumers. We are also grateful to the UK Government for backing this important new initiative,†the MPA’s Chris Marcich comments. Thus far BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have agreed to send warnings to customers whose connections are being used for unauthorized file-sharing. Commenting on the collaboration, all four ISPs praised the educational nature of the VCAP program. “BT is committed to supporting the creative industries by helping to tackle the problem of online piracy while ensuring the best possible experience for its customers. That’s why we’ve worked very hard with rights-holders and other leading ISPs to develop a voluntary programme based on consumer education and awareness which promotes the use of legal online content.†BT Consumer CEO John Petter says. Lyssa McGowan, Director of Sky Broadband, is equally delighted by the anti-piracy agreement. “As both a content creator and ISP, we understand how vital it is to tackle online copyright infringement in order to protect future investment in content. As a result, we’re pleased [...] to help make consumers aware of illegal downloading and point them towards the wide range of legitimate sites where they can enjoy great content,†she notes. The comments from the other ISPs, copyright holder groups, and the Government, are all variations on the same theme. The parties praise the new awareness campaign and note that the main goal is to convert consumers to legal alternatives through education. The question that remains, however, is how genuine all this positivity really is. While the scheme is being overwhelmed with praise, the parties also announced that the first warning emails will not be sent out before next summer, possibly even later. These delays are a thorn in the side of both copyright holders and the Government, suggesting that negotiations behind the scenes are less uplifting. This also shows in earlier comments from the Prime Minister’s IP advisor Mike Weatherly who said that it’s already time to think about VCAP’s potential failure. He suggested that the program needs to be followed by something more enforceable, including disconnections, fines and jail sentences. More background and details on the planned piracy warning are available in our previous VCAP overview article. http://torrentfreak.com/uk-isps-and-copyright-holders-praise-new-piracy-warning-system-140719/