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Found 9 results

  1. Copyright holders asked Google to remove more than 345,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine in 2014. The staggering number is an increase of 75% compared to the year before. While Google has taken some steps to downrank pirate sites, the rate at which takedown notices are sent continues to rise. In the hope of steering prospective customers away from pirate sites, copyright holders are overloading Google with DMCA takedown notices. These requests have increased dramatically over the years. In 2008, the search engine received only a few dozen takedown notices during the entire year, but today it processes more than a million reported “pirate†links per day. Google doesn’t report yearly figures, but at TF we processed all the weekly reports and found that the number of URLs submitted by copyright holders last year surpassed the 345 million mark – 345,169,134 to be exact. The majority of these requests are honored with the associated links being removed from Google’s search results. However, Google sometimes takes “no action†if they are seemed not to be infringing or if they have been taken down previously. Most takedown requests were sent for the domains, and, with more than five million targeted URLs each. The UK Music industry group BPI is the top copyright holder of 2014, good for more than 60 million reported links. Despite the frequent use of the takedown process many copyright holders have stressed that the search giant should take responsibility and do more to tackle the piracy problem. Facing this harsh criticism from copyright holders, Google has gradually changed its attitudes towards sites and services that are often associated with piracy. October last year the company implemented the most significant change to its search algorithm to date, aimed at downranking sites that often link to copyright-infringing material. This significantly reduced the visibility of pirate links in search results and had a major impact on the traffic levels of some sites. However, Google also reminded copyright holders that they too can do more to prevent piracy. Without legal options it’s hard to beat unauthorized copying, is the argument Google often repeats. “Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply. As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services,†the company noted earlier. “The right combination of price, convenience, and inventory will do far more to reduce piracy than enforcement can.†In recent weeks tensions between rightsholders and Google reached a new high. After the MPAA issued a ‘snarky’ press release responding to Google’s downranking efforts, the company ended its anti-piracy cooperation with the Hollywood group. Not much later, Google sued Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood who secretly collaborated with the MPAA to get certain pirate sites delisted.
  2. Take a look at one of the new vehicles coming in next month's Zelda-themed DLC pack. Nintendo has revealed concept art of Link riding a new vehicle coming in Mario Kart 8's first DLC, and it looks suitably awesome. The Master Cycle has Link's signature Hylian Shield on one side, the Triforce symbol on its wheels, and--best of all--an Epona-looking horse head on the front. According to Nintendo's Twitter account, it also "has plenty of horsepower." (Jokes!) The first DLC pack, of which this is a part, is the Legend of Zelda pack. Launching in November, it adds Link, Tanooki Mario, and Cat Peach as playable characters, along with the F-Zero Blue Falcon as a playable kart. It also adds three other karts (one being the Master Cycle) and new tracks. A second DLC pack, the Animal Crossing pack, launches next May and includes the Villager, Isabelle, and Dry Bowser, in addition to other, unannounced content. Each of these packs will cost $8, or you can buy a bundle with both for $12. You can preorder them now, and by doing so, you'll get immediate access to some new colors of Yoshi and Shy Guy. Although this is the first post-release content to be sold for Mario Kart 8, the game received a free update in August that added new Mercedes-Benz vehicles for use in the game. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  3. After making headlines all over the Internet Google has decided to take down the sitelinks search box for The Pirate Bay. Perhaps worried that it may increase complaints from copyright holders, similar search boxes for other torrent sites have also been removed. This is how a search for The Pirate Bay looked like until yesterday, complete with a search box and prominent sitelinks. Today, the only things left are a few rather small sitelinks under the site description, as shown below.
  4. In an attempt to remove Kate Upton's leaked nudes from Google's search results, her boyfriend Jason Verlander instructed his lawyers to send a DMCA takedown request. Interestingly, Google has rejected nearly half of the links in the Detroit Tigers pitcher's copyright complaint. Nearly two weeks have passed since hundreds of photos of naked celebrities leaked online. This “fappening†triggered a massive takedown operation targeting sites that host and link to the images, Google included. A few days ago Google received a request to remove links to Kate Upton’s stolen photos The request was not sent by Upton but by her boyfriend Jason Verlander, who also appears in a few of the leaked images. The notice includes hundreds of URLs of sites such as where the photos are hosted without permission. It’s quite unusual for Google’s takedown team to be confronted with a long link of naked celebrity pictures. This may explain why it took a while before a decision was reached on the copyright-infringing status of the URLs, a process that may involve a cumbersome manual review. Yesterday the first batch was processed and interestingly enough Google decided to leave nearly half of all URLs untouched. The overview below shows that with 16 of the 444 links processed, only 45% were removed. The big question is, of course, why? Verlander’s takedown request Google doesn’t explain its decision keep the links in question in its search results. In some cases the original content had already been removed at the source site, so these URLs didn’t have to be removed. Other rejections are more mysterious though. For example, the URLs that remain online all pointed to stolen images when we checked. Most of these were not nudes, but they certainly weren’t posted with permission. One possible explanation for Google’s inaction is that Verlander most likely claimed to own the copyright on the images, something he can only do with pictures he took himself. With Upton’s selfies this is hard to do, unless she signed away her rights. While browsing through the reported URLs we also noticed another trend. Some sites have replaced Upton’s leaked photos with photos of other random naked women. Google’s takedown team apparently has a sharp eye because these were not removed by Google either. Chilling Effects, who host Google’s takedown requests, just posted a redacted version of the original notice with Upton’s name removed. Unfortunately this doesn’t offer more clues to resolve this takedown mystery, so for now we can only guess why many of the links remain indexed.
  5. Amazon’s built a successful online retail business, as can be seen by Google’s own Shopping Express shipping business that has expanded in recent weeks to include Barnes & Noble local retail stores. But the new front today in the race to the top is mobile ads: mobile ads are a booming business, and search engine giant Google happens to be in an advantageous position to rise to the top. While Google still dominates the mobile ad space, the company’s mobile ad share is being chipped away by Facebook, whose 1.2 billion+ user base gives the social networking company more users to target, more data to catch, and more ads to send. With all the “likes†registered at Facebook on a daily basis, and all the photos, statuses, and discussions carried on at Facebook, the social networking site is poised to rise to the top to prevent Google from having all of the glory for itself. Well, Facebook may need to worry about a new company now: Amazon. In a report provided by the Wall Street Journal, Amazon has decided to enter into the mobile ad business with a new service called Amazon Sponsored Links. The new service aims to provide sponsored links (hence the name) from those who seek to advertise or promote their products or services. Whereas Google’s mobile ad share stems from its search engine and user searches, Amazon’s mobile ad share, and profits would come from the company’s data behind user buying activity and searches. When consumers use Amazon to search for and buy items, the company collects data behind their interests. This type of demographic, interest, and shopping and buying information can be used to target ads for the right users and thus, bring in more money. After all, a customer who likes shopping for shoe bargains will find shoe ads much more appealing than an ad about buying a smartphone or tablet. Someone who’s interested in books may also have an interest in cooking, so Amazon could appeal to consumers with multiple interests and increase the chances of user clicks on a sponsored ad at the online retailer’s website. Amazon’s already taking advantage of its massive user base, and the Amazon Fire phone now makes it easy to use the Fire phone’s “FireFly†feature to help a customer find any item in a local store on Amazon’s online retail site (and purchase it) within a matter of seconds. Amazon’s Sponsored Links will operate similar to the Google Adwords campaign, and Jeff Bezos and his company will roll out the service as early as the end of this year. Amazon just entered the smartphone race with its Fire phone offering that provides a 13MP camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), as well as a 4.7-inch Gorilla Glass display with HD resolution and four parallax cameras that provide a faux-3D motion that mimics that of Apple’s parallax motion in iOS 7. The Fire phone is currently available in the US exclusively through AT&T for $199 with a two-year agreement, and those who want to purchase the phone can buy it off-contract for around $649.
  6. Twitter is concerned with getting new users involved in the social media activity that is common to veteran users. However, you may want to be careful as to what you “favorite†at the social media site from now on. According to a new report, Twitter is trying out a new experiment to get new “birdies†to become growing users on the social media site by using favored items of the people they follow as “retweets†on their own walls. This means that, personal or private items you favor will reappear so that all your followers (or friends and relatives) can see them. Some users are outraged at this, and see it as nothing more than the company’s way of exposing what its users are up to. At the same time, however, Twitter says that its new experiment is designed to help new users who may be overwhelmed by the nature of the site. If new users come to see old posts, Twitter believes, it may encourage them to share what they’ve seen, or provide some “favorites†that Twitter can then use to help these new users gain followers of their own. In other words, sharing begets sharing – or so the thought goes. For some individuals, however, the new Twitter is nothing short of invasive and embarrassing, after all, some things shouldn’t be retweeted, users have said. If someone “favorites†something that could be seen as embarrassing or unwanted on their own wall, and Twitter shares it with their followers, then they may have to give an explanation for a dirty joke or statement that was meant to be shared between them and a friend. Twitter looks to do this, whether or not its users agree. While it may seem like a bad move to Twitter users, however, the company’s concerned with the bottom line: it wants users to share, like, and engage in social activity on its site – and it’s prepared to get the ball rolling in order to see it happen. In some opinions, it isn’t any worse than OK Cupid’s and Facebook’s recent unsuspecting experiments on their users.
  7. For the first time ever Google is now processing an average of one million removal requests per day. The new record follows an upward trend with copyright holders reporting more and more allegedly infringing search results in an effort to deter piracy. In the hope of steering prospective customers away from pirate sites, copyright holders are overloading Google with DMCA takedown notices. These requests have increased dramatically since Google began making the data public. A few years ago the search engine received just a few dozen takedown notices during an entire year, but today it processes millions of allegedly infringing links per week. Over the past months the number of reported URLs has continued to rise. Now, for the first time ever, Google has processed an average of more than one million URLs per day. Last week Google was asked to remove more than 7.8 million results, up more than 10% compared to the previous record a week earlier. The graph below shows the remarkable increase in requests over the past three years. To put these numbers in perspective, Google is currently asked to remove an infringing search result every 8 milliseconds, compared to one request per six days back in 2008. The massive surge in removal requests is not without controversy. It’s been reported that some notices reference pages that contain no copyrighted material, due tomistakes or abuse, but are deleted nonetheless. Google has a pretty good track record of catching these errors, but since manual review of all links is unachievable, some URLs are removed in error. Google says it’s doing its best to address the concerns of copyright holders. Last year the company released a report detailing the various anti-piracy measures it uses. However, according to some industry groups the search giant can and should do more. For the RIAA the staggering amount of takedown requests only confirms the notion that the process isn’t very effective. Brad Buckles, RIAA executive vice president of anti-piracy, previously suggested that Google should start banning entire domainsfrom its search results. “Every day produces more results and there is no end in sight. We are using a bucket to deal with an ocean of illegal downloading,†Buckles said. The issue has also piqued the interest of U.S. lawmakers. Earlier this year the House Judiciary Subcommittee had a hearing on the DMCA takedown issue, and both copyright holders, Internet service providers, and other parties are examining what they can do to optimize the process. In the meantime, the number of removal requests is expected to rise and rise, with 10 million links per week being the next milestone.
  8. The RIAA has reached a new milestone in its ongoing efforts to get pirated content removed from the Internet. This week, the music industry group reported their 50 millionth URL to Google. Despite the search engine's swift removal policy, the RIAA sees pirated files reappearing almost immediately, calling it a ‘Groundhog Day’ for takedowns. Despite the growing availability of legal music services in many countries, record labels are facing a constant stream of pirated music. In an attempt to prevent stop these infringements, the RIAA and other music industry groups send millions of takedown notices to Internet services every month. Most of these requests are directed at Google. This week the RIAA reached a new milestone after notifying Google of the 50 millionth allegedly infringing URL, up from 25 million less than a year ago. The latest figures show that the 50 million links were spread out over 14,907 separate DMCA takedown notices. Most of the requests, nearly 2 million, were for URLs belonging to the cyberlocker search engine, which now operates under a new domain name. The MP3 download portals,, and complete the top five with between 1.3 and 1.6 allegedly infringing links each. RIAA’s takedown stats While Google swiftly removes infringing links from its search index, the RIAA remains unhappy with how the takedown process in general is working. One of the main issues is that several foreign websites simply ignore takedown notices, or put the links back under a slightly modified URL. “All those links to infringing music files that were automatically repopulated by each pirate site after today’s takedown will be re-indexed and appear in search results tomorrow,†RIAA CEO Cary Sherman said previously. “Every day we have to send new notices to take down the very same links to illegal content we took down the day before. It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ for takedowns.†For the RIAA and other copyright holders there are few options to deal with these ‘rogue’ sites. However, the music industry group believes that Google and other search engines can do more to prevent people from accessing pirate sites through their services. The RIAA believes that search engines should strike a deal with copyright holders to make sure that pirated files stay down through advanced filtering techniques. In addition the RIAA wants Google to lift all takedown limits, push down pirate sites in search results, promote legal sites and services, remove pirate terms from Autocomplete and completely remove “repeat infringers†from their search index. Google sees things differently and believes that it’s already doing enough. The company’s Senior Copyright Policy Counsel Katherine Oyama previously noted that copyright holders should consider better SEO, and focus on offering consumers what they want; decent legal alternatives. “The best way to battle piracy is with better, more convenient, legitimate alternatives to piracy, as services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated. The right combination of price, convenience, and inventory will do far more to reduce piracy than enforcement can,†she said. Over the past few months numerous copyright holders and lawmakers have increased their pressure on Google, but the search engine shows no intention of changing its policies. The longer the current standoff continues, the more likely it is that this issue will eventually be fought out in court.
  9. New research from Tennessee Tech University shows that certain forms of online piracy are linked to Internet addiction related problems. In addition, the research shows that high school students who pirate are more likely to have deviant or criminal friends. Over the past decade a lot of research has looked at the effects of online piracy, particularly on the revenues of various entertainment industries. Increasingly researchers are also examining the sociological links, causes and effects of copyright infringement. A new study conducted by Tennessee Tech University’s Jordana Navarro is a good example. With a large survey Navarro and her colleagues investigated the link between piracy, internet addiction and deviant tendencies. The results were published in an articletitled “Addicted to pillaging in cyberspace: Investigating the role of internet addiction in digital piracy,†which appears in the latest issue of the Computers and Human Behavior journal. The researchers conducted a large-scale survey among 1,617 students from 9th through 12th grade. The participants were asked a wide range of questions, covering their piracy habits, as well as scales to measure Internet addiction and association with deviant friends. The findings on the piracy side are comparable to many previous studies and show that movie piracy is most prevalent. Nearly 30% of the students admitted to pirating movies, and this percentage went down to 15% and 13% for music and software piracy respectively. One of the more interesting findings is the link between piracy and Internet addiction. Here, the researchers found that students who have more internet addiction related issues are more likely to pirate software. “Based on the results of the study, we can determine that high school students who have Internet-related problems due to addiction are more likely to commit a specific form of piracy involving the illegal downloading of software,†the researchers write. The same group of software pirates were also more likely to hang out with deviant friends. This measure includes friends who pirate, those who threaten others with violence online, those who send nude pictures, and those who have used another person’s credit card or ID without permission. “Not surprisingly, youth who committed this form of piracy were also more likely to have deviant peers. In other words, their behaviors were influenced by friends who committed similar or other deviant acts,†the researchers conclude. Interestingly, the link between Internet addiction and copyright infringement was only found for software piracy. High school students who pirated movies and music were not more likely to have these type of problems. They were, however, more likely to associate with deviant or criminal friends. “The remaining two forms of piracy for juveniles are not predicted by Internet addiction based on our findings. However, the results did support past findings that deviant peer association and piracy behaviors are significant related,†the researchers write. According to the researchers the results are a good first step in identifying how various problems and deviant behaviors are linked, which could be helpful to shape future educational efforts. Unfortunately, the paper doesn’t offer any explanations for the differences in the link between Internet addiction and various types of piracy. One likely explanation is that those who show more signs of Internet addiction simply spend more time on the computer, and are therefore more interested in software piracy and software in general. For now, it appears that some more follow-up research is needed before it’s warranted to send the first batch of kids to piracy rehab.