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Found 133 results

  1. A key strategy of the entertainment industries is to repeatedly warn pirating Internet users of their illegal behavior in the belief they will change their ways. However, co-chief of movie company Village Roadshow has just admitted that he's been caught breaking the law numerous times - and he still hasn't learned. As 2015 hits its mid-point, a handful of key strategies are clearly favored by the world’s largest entertainment companies. Perhaps the most prominent this year thus far have been efforts to have sites blocked at the ISP level. Most recently Australia went through the months long process of introducing the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 and last week the Bill passed the Senate. Earlier today the legislation received Royal Assent, meaning it is now firmly cast into local law. With attention now turning to which copyright holders will bring the first site-blocking action (hint: movie industry, within six months), another anti-piracy strategy is almost ready to fly. After the introduction of the United States’ “six strikes†program, in the coming months Aussie citizens are likely to be subjected to a similar “three strikes†regime. The idea is that after receiving an “educational†notice and then a “warning†notice, local Internet pirates will finally comply with the law before receiving a scary “final noticeâ€. This type of regime has the backing of some of the world’s largest entertainment companies, including the co-chief of Aussie movie giant Village Roadshow. However, despite giving the scheme his backing, Graham Burke has revealed that even people of his stature can be completely immune to government-backed educational efforts. In an interview published by SMH this morning in which he again calls for action against piracy, Burke notes that society wouldn’t say “Hey we’re not going to have legislation against drunken driving or high-speed driving or legislation against stealing.†Indeed, for driving offenses, Australia runs a demerit system, whereby each logged offense accumulates a set number of points. Get to 12 points and you’re at risk of getting your license suspended. But of course, the idea is that people will wise up before then and, more importantly, before they end up killing someone. At its educational core the demerit program is similar to the “three strikes†system, albeit with much higher stakes. Trouble is, it doesn’t work on Burke. In fact, he appears completely immune to the numerous opportunities granted to him by the government. “I got a note last night saying I’d been photographed by a camera in my car exceeding the speed limit and I’ve lost three points,†he told tech editor Ben Grubb. “As I’ve already lost nine points it’s rather worrying.†While Burke faces having his license suspended for failing to heed the warnings, three-time piracy offenders face having their details handed over to copyright holders who may decide to sue. Of course, Village Roadshow are the major Hollywood-affiliated movie company in Australia, so Burke himself will almost certainly have a hand in who gets sued and when. Fortunately, it seems that his company won’t make a habit of taking legal action. Burke says that they won’t be afraid to sue people “that act in a criminal way†but hopefully Village Roadshow “won’t have to sue too many peopleâ€. Indeed, Burke will hope that ‘pirates’ take their warnings more seriously than he has done, even though he will have faced fines for his transgressions and they will not. He would’ve preferred some punishment, he reveals, but is satisfied with the direction of the scheme. “A good agreement is when both sides are not deliriously happy but both sides are happy,†Burke says. “Am I thrilled? No. Do I think it’s a good code? Yes.†So now all eyes turn to September 1, when the new “strikes†code is set to begin. Will the public respond to the warning notices? Or will they bury their heads in the sand like Burke has done until it’s too late? https://torrentfreak.com/warning-strikes-dont-work-me-movie-boss-admits-150626/
  2. The copyright monopoly is based on the idea of an exchange. In exchange for exclusive rights, the copyright industry supplies culture and knowledge to the public. It turns out that the entire premise is a lie, as untethered creators are racing to provide culture and knowledge anyway. The copyright monopoly was reinstated in Great Britain in 1710, after having lapsed in England in 1695. It was enacted because printers (not writers) insisted, that if they didn’t have exclusive rights to boost profitability, nothing would get printed. (Do note the difference between books getting written on one hand, and getting printed and distributed on the other. It was printers, not writers and authors, that drove the reinstatement of the copyright monopoly through the so-called Statute of Anne.) The Parliament of Great Britain accepted this premise, and thus, the social contract of the copyright monopoly was formed: “In return for providing the only service that can make culture come into being for the benefit of the public, the publishers and distributors are awarded with time-limited exclusive rights.†Note the very important assumption here: if the exclusive rights – the copyright monopoly – don’t exist, there will not be any culture. This is the contract which governments have been acting on ever since: in exchange for providing a magic service that calls culture into being in the first place, the publishers have enjoyed exclusive rights that allow them to punish and withhold. The social contract between the public and the copyright industry is, that in exchange for exclusive rights, the publishers will make culture available, being the only ones who can supply such availability of culture. It turns out the entire premise is bullshit. With the advent of the Internet, we see that people are creating despite these exclusive rights, this monopoly, instead of because of it. Millions of creators – millions! – have publicly renounced their already-awarded exclusive rights by publishing under a Creative Commons license. YouTube alone receives 300 hours of new video every minute. This means YouTube alone provides 18,000 24/7 TV channels, most of which are not worth watching – in other words, just like the legacy TV channels. The notion that the copyright industry alone is capable of providing culture has been exposed as an enormous, audacious, bold-faced utter lie. So if you were the government, the buyer in this scenario, what would you do? The buyer who gives very valuable exclusive rights to the copyright industry who claimed that the existence of such a contract was the only way to have any culture available at all – what would you do now that it’s clear that you’ve been paying much much much too high a price? You would terminate the contract with this lying seller of public culture who demanded harmful exclusive rights in exchange for culture to be created. You would find another supplier who provided better terms to the public. And most importantly, you would not care about what the old seller – the copyright industry – had to say about your new negotiations. That’s now any other procurement works, after all: if you’re unhappy with a supplier, you find a new supplier, and obviously, the old supplier doesn’t get to have a say about the next deal with another supplier. There is no reason at all why culture and knowledge should work differently. In other words, there is no reason at all why the copyright industry should enjoy any exclusive rights at all, and in particular, there is no reason why they should have any say about having them revoked. They haven’t delivered on the social contract, so the contract gets revoked. End of story. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy. https://torrentfreak.com/the-entire-copyright-monopoly-idea-is-based-on-a-colossal-lie-150621/
  3. Academic publishing company Elsevier has filed a complaint at a New York District Court, hoping to shut down the Library Genesis project and the SciHub.org search engine. The sites, which are particularly popular in developing nations where access to academic works is relatively expensive, are accused of pirating millions of scientific articles. With a net income of more than $1 billion Elsevier is one of the largest academic publishers in the world. Through its ScienceDirect portal the company offers access to millions of scientific articles spread out over 2,200 journals. Most large universities have licenses to allow staff and students to use ScienceDirect freely, but for outsiders most of the top academic publications are behind an expensive paywall. In common with other content behind paywalls, there are several specialized sites that allow the general public to download pirated copies of these academic works. The Library Genesis project for example, with libgen.org and bookfi.org, as well as the search portal sci-hub.org. These sites are particularly popular in developing countries such as Iran, India and Indonesia where access to research is not as common. However, this unauthorized use is not welcomed by academic publishers. According to Elsevier the company is losing revenue because of these sites, so in order to stem the tide the publisher has filed a complaint (pdf) at a New York federal court hoping to shut them down. “Defendants are reproducing and distributing unauthorized copies of Elsevier’s copyrighted materials, unlawfully obtained from ScienceDirect, through Sci-Hub and through various websites affiliated with the Library Genesis Project,†the complaint reads. “Specifically, Defendants utilize their websites located at sci-hub.org and at the Libgen Domains to operate an international network of piracy and copyright infringement by circumventing legal and authorized means of access to the ScienceDirect database,†it adds. According to Elsevier, the websites access articles by using unlawfully obtained student or faculty access credentials. The articles are then added to the “pirate†library, backed up on their own servers. Through the lawsuit the publisher hopes to obtain an injunction against the site’s operators, search engines, domain registrars and hosting companies, to take them offline as soon as possible. In addition, Elsevier is requesting compensation for its losses, which could run into the millions. Tom Allen, President of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), informs TF that websites such as Libgen pose a threat to the quality of scientific publications, as well as the public health. “Scholarly publishers work to ensure the accuracy of the scientific record by issuing corrections and revisions to research findings as needed; Libgen typically does not,†Allen says. “As a result, its repository of illegally obtained content poses a threat to both quality journal publishing and to public health and safety.†The court has yet to decide whether the injunctions should be granted, but considering outcomes in recent piracy cases there’s a good chance this will happen. For the time being, however, the Libgen and Sci-hub websites remain online. https://torrentfreak.com/elsevier-cracks-down-on-pirated-scientific-articles-150609/
  4. Police say they have smashed "a criminal group" involved with the unauthorized distribution of video online. Three men in their twenties and thirties have been arrested by Polish police and up to three sites are reported down. The action follows the shutdown of several 'pirate' sites in Poland last month and the arrest of a millionaire businessman. With web-blockades, domain seizures and payment processor interventions making headlines, campaigns to shut down individual sites have been less prominent than usual in the first half of 2015. But that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped. Just last week the popular BT-Chat was shut down in Canada following pressure from the MPAA and news from Europe suggests that at least two more sites have fallen in recent days following industry action. After a long investigation, police in Poland report that authorities swooped last week on individuals said to be part of a “criminal group†involved with the unauthorized distribution of video online, movies in particular. In an operation carried out by municipal police and officers from a regional cybercrime unit, several locations were searched including homes, offices and cars. Three men aged between 24 and 33 years-old were arrested in Wroclaw, the largest city in western Poland. According to police, 14 computers, 13 external drives, 40 prepaid cards, several mobile phones and sundry other items were seized during the raids. In addition to the images below, police have put together a video (mp4) of one of the targeted locations complete with a horror movie-style audio track for added impact. While police have not published the names of the domains allegedly operated by the men, two leading sites have disappeared in recent days without explanation. TNTTorrent.info and Seansik.tv were the country’s 160th and 130th most popular sites overall but neither is currently operational. The men are being blamed for industry losses of at least $1.3m and together stand accused of breaching copyright law which can carry a jail sentence of up to five years in criminal cases. For reasons that are not entirely clear, however, police are currently advising a potential three year sentence. The latest shutdowns, which also encompass torrent site Torrent.pl, follow police action in May which closed down eKino.tv and the lesser known Litv.info, Scs.pl and Zalukaj.to. With around 324,000 likes on its Facebook page eKino.tv was by far the most popular site but it seems unlikely that it will return anytime soon. Currently displaying “THE END†on its front page, its owner was arrested last month. Credit:Olsztyn.wm.pl Local media is connecting the closure to the arrest of a 49-year-old businessman who had been running a company offering “Internet services†and also Poland’s largest pirate site. According to authorities he made millions of dollars from the operation and laundered money by investing in the stock exchange. Those funds have reportedly been frozen. Also arrested were three accomplices, including a 36-year-old allegedly responsible for creating the database of movies and setting up a US company to assist with the site’s finances. They all stand accused of copyright infringement and money laundering offenses and face ten years in prison. https://torrentfreak.com/police-shut-down-yet-more-pirate-sites-in-ongoing-sweep-150601/
  5. The best way for Hollywood to defeat piracy is by making content available, legally. To further this effort dozens of video on demand services have been launched throughout the world. However, not all of these services are happy with how the major studios treat them, and today we hear why. The account below comes from an employee of a mid-sized video on demand (VOD) service in Europe. To avoid repercussions from the major studios the author prefers to remain anonymous. — Exploitation On Demand Every once in a while wrongdoings are reported by whistleblowers. Motives are often political and have worldwide consequences. Today, we’re addressing a much more down to earth topic. We don’t pretend for a second that we’re changing the world but instead we’re shining light on what we consider to be wrongful practices destroying an industry. Our case is business centered, yet the industry we’re denouncing has damaged its fair share of individual liberties and has violated countless numbers of ethical principles. We’re talking about the Major Movie Studios. For quite some time we’ve been working with “Major Studios†such as Warner Bros, Walt Disney, Universal, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Paramount. We would like to refer to it as collaboration, but unfortunately it’s really been a one way street thus far. Money transits and the final destination is the Majors’ pockets We’ve been operating a video on demand service (VOD) for quite some time now, trying to make the best out of it. Eventually we grew tired of being shaken down at every turn and now feel it’s time to share the limitations that come with a deal in the “legit distribution†system. This may not be breaking news to some of you, yet we feel it’s important for people to understand how operating within the constraints imposed by the Majors works. While observing the latest productions coming out from Hollywood studios (Fast & Furious 7, Avengers, Transformers 4, Dumb and Dumber 2, Taken 3) you may have noticed that this industry is not very risk savvy, to say the least. In fact it hates risk. In recent years the studios’ strategy has been to buy rights to bestselling or comic books, plus games and kids toys to feed the public with a new episode every year. Another risk minimizing strategy is to pre-sell cinema-distribution rights in certain territories to finance film making. By this mechanism a film is basically paid for before it gets made. This system works for cinema distribution and was exported for home entertainment, where it affects our business. For a video on demand (VOD) operator to distribute any given catalogue, it must pay “Minimum Guarantees (MG’s)†to the studio. This allows one to exploit the catalogue. Mind you, you don’t get to choose what you pay for. That would be too simple. Output deals are the norm and in essence they mean you need to take every licensed film as part of a single deal. If you want the latest blockbuster, you must also take the latest winner of the Golden Raspberry awards, and take our word for it, there are some pretty unworthy films in there. These Minimum Guarantees are quoted in millions of dollars per deal, and as a result VOD services like ourselves have to operate on very small profit margins. On top of MG’s, distributors must also agree to pay revenue shares. Should the sales top the Minimum Guarantee on a given year the rev share kicks in. Revenue shares are usually in the studio’s favor (between 70% and 50% depending on whether we’re speaking of recent releases or old ones). If a given platform manages to recoup its costs it must also share its future revenue with the Rights Holder, while providing the majority of the value chain involved in a streaming service: Storage, streaming costs, platform development, DRM licenses and geoblocking tools. In the meantime, studios provide a license that costs them virtually nothing and they take the lion’s share of the deal for it. And we haven’t even started on release windows yet. Windows? If you thought that paying a fortune for a film allowed you to exploit it forever, think again. Usually the window for a film is 90 days. You got that right: platforms have 90 days to pay for a Minimum Guarantee if they expect to turn a profit on a film. And keep in mind most of the profit just gets funneled back to the studios anyway with the revenue share clause. After that a title simply gets pulled off their catalogues to allow for Pay-TV and linear TV distribution. The title can come back in the catalogue after 12 to 18 months, given of course that it’s properly paid for. This may seem like a lot to process, and it is, yet it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We will probably write a follow-up to this article as these people are not acting as if they were selling entertainment; they’re behaving like they’re selling enriched uranium! Facilities that host servers on which films are kept have to be equipped as if they were a bank. If studio’s are looking to diversify they should consider giving Fort Knox consultancy services on security matters. More on that soon… We love films and originally started a VOD business hoping to provide a legit solution that would entertain millions. How will we ever be successful while we have to operate on such stiff policies? Well we won’t. It’s no wonder that streaming and P2P services are thriving: Majors’ constraints imposed on people who are trying to abide by their standards are just disabling anyone trying to be competitive enough and offer a comprehensive catalogue at a decent cost to the public. Until this framework changes no one will ever. With their own policies, the major movie studios are sawing at the branch on which they sit . They probably realize it to some extent. But they certainly don’t care enough to do something about it. Surely this is because piracy is not hurting them as much as they want us to believe. By cutting some slack to their partners they would have concrete tools to cut down piracy. They’re simply too comfortable to consider that as an option. https://torrentfreak.com/how-movie-studios-exploit-video-on-demand-services-150524/
  6. The Pirate Bay has lost one of its new domain names after an intervention from South Georgia's .GS registry. While the domain suspension wasn't unexpected and the proverbial Hydra has now lost one head, TPB says that it can easily grow some more. Earlier this week the Stockholm District Court ordered the Pirate Bay’s .SE domains to be handed over to the Swedish state, arguing that they were linked to copyright crimes. The Pirate Bay was fully prepared for the negative outcome and quickly redirected its visitors to six new domain names. Since then the site has been accessible through the GS, LA, VG, AM, MN and GD domain names, without even a second of downtime. Marking the change The Pirate Bay updated its logo to the familiar Hydra logo, linking a TLD to each of the heads. However, we can now reveal that one head has already been chopped off. The site’s .GS domain name has been suspended by the registry, and ThePirateBay.gs is now listed as “ServerHold†and “Inactive.†The Pirate Bay informs us that the .GS domain has indeed been lost, which didn’t come as a complete shock. In fact, one of the reasons to move to six domains was to see which ones would hold up. “We have more domain names behind, if needed. We are stronger than ever and will defend the site to the end,†the TPB team tells us. At this point it’s unclear for how long the other domain names will remain available. Hoping to find out more, we reached out to the respective registries to discover their policies on domains being operated by The Pirate Bay. The Mongolian .MN registry informs TF that they will process potential complaints through ICANN’s Dispute Resolution Policy, suggesting that they will not take any voluntary action. The VG Registry referred us to their terms and conditions, specifically sections 3.4 and 7.2, which allow for an immediate termination or suspension if a domain infringes on the rights of third parties. However, it could not comment on this specific case. “We will review any complaint and act accordingly. Please understand that we cannot make any predictions based on theoretical options,†a VG Registry spokesperson says. It won’t be a big surprise if several more Pirate Bay domain names are suspended during the days and weeks to come. That’s a Whac-A-Mole game the site’s operators are all too familiar with now, but one that won’t bring the site to its knees. https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-loses-new-domain-name-hydra-lives-on-150522/
  7. HBO has started to crack down on paying customers who access the HBO Now service from outside the United States. Subscribers from countries including Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia who use VPNs and other unblocking tools are now being threatened with account terminations. In an effort to gain more subscribers HBOlaunched its standalone “HBO Now†service earlier this year. The subscription allows Americans to access HBO’s content, including Game of Thrones, without the need to have a television subscription. With the offer HBO hopes to drive people away from pirate sites, but it also created a new form of unauthorized use. As with Netflix and Hulu, many people outside the U.S. signed up for the service through VPNs and other geo-unblocking tools. Although they are paying customers, using HBO Now from outside the U.S. is not permitted under the company’s terms of use. While Netflix is still fairly lax about geo-unblocking, HBO is now cracking down on the practice. A few days ago thousands of VPN and proxy “pirates†started to receive worrying email warnings. “It has come to our attention that you may have signed up for and viewed video content on the HBO NOW streaming service from outside of the authorized service area (the United States, including D.C. and certain US territories),†HBO writes. “We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that the HBO NOW streaming service is only available to residents of the United States, for use within the United States. Any other access is prohibited by our Terms of Use.†HBO Now warning The emails in question target users all over the world, including Canada, the UK,Germany and Australia. Unless they were flagged by mistake, HBO will terminate the accounts of affected subscribers within days and without the option of a refund. HBO is cracking down on VPN and proxy pirates to protect the value of their licensing deals. If millions of foreigners use the U.S. version, local partners in these countries are going to complain. However, since legal options are often lacking there’s little doubt that many ‘unauthorized’ viewers will find less official ways to access the shows they love to watch. This time, however, HBO will not get a dime. https://torrentfreak.com/hbo-cracks-down-on-paying-vpn-pirates-150420/
  8. Netflix says that the company is pushing down piracy in countries where illegal sharing is prevalent. Part of its strategy is to determine the price of its service based on local piracy rates, so it can better compete in places where piracy is rampant. With nearly 60 million subscribers globally, Netflix is a giant in the world of online video entertainment. In terms of providing access to popular TV-shows and movies the company’s biggest competitor is piracy. Just a few weeks ago Netflix described the BitTorrent-powered Popcorn Time as a major threat. Interestingly, piracy also offers critical business intelligence to the company. For example, it uses local piracy statistics to determine what content it should offer in various regions. That’s not all though. During this week’s earnings interview Nexflix’s Chief Financial Officer David Wells said that a country’s piracy rate is a main factor in determining the service’s local price. “Piracy is a governor in terms of our price in high piracy markets outside the US,†Wells explained. “We wouldn’t want to come out with a high price because there’s a lot of piracy, so we have to compete with that,†Wells added. Another recurring issue is Netflix policies against VPN usage. While the terms of use have prohibited this for a long time already, the big crackdown on VPN users has yet to begin. According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, VPNs are used by paying customers, which isn’t such a big problem as piracy. “It’s certainly less bad than piracy,†Hastings said, quickly adding that it’s not something the company encourages. Ted Sarandos, head of content at Netflix, noted that the company continues to work with the studios to address the VPN issue but that it’s “kind of a whack a mole.†Instead, Sarandos prefers to focus on the positive battle against piracy, which he believes Netflix is winning. “The real great news is that in the piracy capitals of the world Netflix is winning. We’re pushing down piracy in those markets by getting access.†Sarandos noted. With the right pricing Netflix has indeed converted many pirates. The next step is to make VPNs obsolete, by offering content globally without any geographical restrictions. “The best way to make the VPN issue a complete non issue is through global licensing that we’re continuing to pursue with our partners,†Sarandos said. https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-sets-pricing-based-on-local-piracy-rates-150416/
  9. The first four episodes of the new Game of Thrones season have leaked online a day before the official premiere. The leaked episodes, which appear to come from review copies sent to the press, have been downloaded more than 100,000 times in just three hours. Starting a few hours ago several episodes of the new Game of Thrones season started to appear online. The copies were first spotted on the private torrent tracker IPT, but they soon made their way to more public sites such as The Pirate Bay, RARBG and KickassTorrents. At the time of writing the first four episodes of the new season have been posted online. One source informs TF that the leak most likely originates from review copies sent to the press. The leaks are a huge blow to HBO. In an effort to decrease piracy the company worked hard to ensure that the fifth season of Game of Thrones would premiere in 170 countries simultaneously. Today, however, pirates have scooped up the exclusive, releasing four episodes worldwide. While it came unexpected, many Game of Thrones fans have already spotted the early leak. During the first three hours the episodes were downloaded more than 100,000 times and this number is expected to increase to more than a million later today. The episodes that were posted online thus far are in standard-definition (SD) quality. Interestingly, some commenters note that they rather wait until HD copies become available, as they are used to watching the show in a better resolution. Over the past three years Game of Thrones has been the most pirated TV-show. Based on the popularity of today’s leaks, this will be no different in 2015. — Breaking story, more info may follow Game of Thrones Leaked S05E01 https://torrentfreak.com/first-episodes-of-game-of-thrones-season-5-leak-online-150412/
  10. The popular TV-torrent distribution group EZTV is going on a hiatus to perform a thorough security audit of its servers. The EZTV team informs TF that new shows won't appear online for a few days, until the team is assured that everything is functioning optimally. EZTV, the go-to place for many torrenting TV fans, has suffered its fair share of troubles in recent months. It started early December when the group’s site was knocked offline as collateral damage in the Pirate Bay raid. A month later the group lost its .it domain name, which was then taken over by impostors in March. To get back online and stay there, EZTV has had to move things around quite a bit. In response to these recent issues the EZTV team has decided to go on a small hiatus, so the current setup can be carefully inspected. This means that in the short term no new releases will go up on the site. “We are not releasing any new content at the moment due to a security audit of all our servers,†EZTV’s Novaking informs TF. “We just want to put things on hold to see where everything is at and make sure everything is running optimally,†he adds. The latest torrents were released on Monday and there is no ETA yet for when new ones will appear. The group is taking its time to carry out a proper audit and will do some code cleanup at the same time. As part of the security audit registered users have also received a request for a password reset. Initially this resulted in some issues where users were unable to login but Novaking notes that people who experienced this problem can get in touch via IRC. If all goes well EZTV may also reopen registrations again, which is something people have requested for a long time. Fueled by the lack of new content and the recent domain troubles, some users were suspicious when they saw a link to the Bitx video player in the torrent list. However, this is a new streaming player the group is testing and nothing to worry about. In a few days EZTV hopes to start releasing new content again. Until then, the group advises TV fans to turn to the ‘competition’ for their daily fix. “There are several other distribution groups people can use while we’re doing the audit,†Novaking says. https://torrentfreak.com/eztv-goes-on-hiatus-for-a-thorough-security-audit-150415/
  11. The popular TV-torrent site EZTV is warning its users not to visit the old EZTV.it domain, which is operated by impostors. The company that grabbed the old domain at an auction offered EZTV a deal. However, the torrent release group refuses to be involved in any profit oriented partnership so has launched a counter-attack. Earlier this year EZTV ran into trouble with the Italian domain name registry NIC.it over some paperwork. Facing a looming confiscation of the EZTV.it domain name, they swiftly moved to a new home using the Swiss based EZTV.ch. Soon after the EZTV.it domain was suspended, but in a surprise move it became available again after a few weeks. Unfortunately for the EZTV crew it was quickly scooped up by domain squatters. The domain was allegedly listed for sale at an auction where the company EZCLOUD LIMITED (Ezcloud is the same name the real EZTV used in the Whois previously) bought it for a five digit number. They then relaunched the domain using it as a reverse proxy to serve content from the original domain, with their own ads. Instead of making clear that the site was a proxy, the owners removed all references to the real EZTV.ch domain, probably in an effort to keep the traffic on board. TF reached out to EZCLOUD director Hernandez Dominguez Emmanuel, hoping to find out more about their motivation, and we were informed that they initially planned to make a deal with the real EZTV. Emmanuel sent a business proposal to EZTV offering them a percentage of the profit they made from advertisements. The other option was to buy the domain back for a larger amount, but a partnership was preferred. “The business proposal to Novaking was straightforward: he pays us a slightly bigger amount than we have paid at the auction or we somehow partnership by uniting both entities: eztv.it and eztv.ch and we will earn in the course of the next months by percentage of the ads revenues,†Emmanuel tells TF. EZTV’s Novaking was not interested in making a deal and made that very clear in a short reply. “Have no idea why you are trying to sound like business oriented people. I have no interest in making some crappy deals with you simply being a reverse proxy. Have fun with the domain,†Novaking wrote in a quick response. In addition, EZTV banned IP-address of the impostor site so it could no longer act as a reverse proxy. However, this ban was circumvented and ETZV.it still displays recent torrents via a workaround. According to Novaking it’s obvious that the impostors have bad intentions. They want people to believe that they’re the real site so they can make a profit. “They basically want us to do all the work and they make money from it,†Novaking informs TF. To warn people he posted a note on the official site urging users to avoid the old domain. “The scammers who own eztv.it appear to be trying to fool users to think they are the main website,†the warning reads. “Take caution, and stop using their website, the correct domain is eztv.ch. Please inform your family and friends who may still be using the old domain,†it adds. In response, EZCLOUD posted a message on the site inaccurately claiming that they are the real deal. “The correct domain address is eztv.it as always! Please inform your family and friends who may be using other cloned domains.†Considering the rift between both sides it seems unlikely that EZTV.it will be returned to its original owner anytime soon. For now it remains in possession of the impostors, something people should bear in mind. https://torrentfreak.com/eztv-impostors-hope-to-cash-in-on-eztv-it-150403/
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  13. 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/
  14. A federal court in New York has issued a paralyzing verdict against the Chinese-based DVD ripping company DVDFab. Ruling in favor of AACS, the licensing outfit founded by Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft, Intel and others, the court has issued an updated injunction granting the seizure of several domain names belonging to the software vendor. Last year the decryption licensing outfit AACS launched a crackdown on DRM-circumvention software. The company sued the makers of popular DVD ripping software DVDFab. It won a preliminary injunction based on the argument that the “DVDFab Group†violates the DMCA’s anti-circumvention clause, since their software can bypass DVD encryption. Initially DVDFab did not respond to the court, so the order was entered by default. However, after the injunction was issued the company responded in the name of Feng Tao, with a request for the court to revise its earlier judgment. One of the counterarguments DVDFab raised was that the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions don’t apply worldwide, and DVDFab was promising to no longer do business with U.S. customers. “It is well-established that the Copyright Act doesn’t apply extra-territorially,†the company argued, asking the court to quash the injunction or limit it to the United States. AACS contested the good intentions of DVDFab and showed the court that the software was still readily available to the U.S. public. According to AACS the circumvention software was still being offered and promoted though new domains and services. For example, new circumvention tools and services were offered from TDMore.com, BluFab.com, Boooya.org, DVDFab.de, and FabImg.net, among others. To stop DVDFab from bypassing the court order, AACS asked for an updated injunction to cover these new products and domains. This week District Court Judge Vernon Broderick ruled on the motions from both sides with AACS the clear winner The Judge argues that DVDFab’s explanations for the continued offering of software in the U.S. are not credible so has ordered the seizure of several new domain names. “Tao’s explanations for his continued trafficking of infringing products into the United States—the product is not his, the product was not created ‘primarily’ for AACS circumvention, or the product was not intended for U.S. users — is simply not credible. The record overwhelmingly demonstrates these statements are not true,†Judge Broderick writes. The injunction (pdf) bars DVDFab from distributing its software in public and allows AACS to seize seizure a wide range domain names. In addition, the company’s social media accounts are to be blocked and other services including online banks cut off as well. While the Judge understands that the DMCA doesn’t apply in other countries he argues that, considering DVDFab’s conduct after the initial injunction, it will only be effective if it applies worldwide. “It was not my intention to sweep within the Preliminary Injunction lawful conduct, i.e. entirely extraterritorial conduct. However, Defendant’s recalcitrant persistence in accessing the United States market makes clear to me that no more narrowly-tailored relief would be effective,†the Judge writes. As a result DVDFab will lose control over TDMore.com, BluFab.cn, BluFab.com, Boooya.org, DVDFab.de, DVDFab.cn, FabImg.net, Woookao.cn, and Woookao.com which were found to be in violation of the DMCA. Two other domains, TDMore.cn and Boooya.com, were not added as there’s not enough evidence that they are operated by the software vendor. There is no doubt that the broad injunction will severely impact the Chinese company. Aside from its domain names, the court also ordered payment processors to stop working with DVDFab, which will make it very hard for the company to sell its products anywhere in the world. https://torrentfreak.com/u-s-court-extends-global-shutdown-of-dvd-ripping-software-150323/
  15. The South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival is one of the largest and most popular in the United States. For more than a decade SXSW has been sharing DRM-free songs of the performing artists, 55 GB worth so far. This year's release is the largest thus far with 1,291 tracks totaling more than eight gigabytes. Since 2005 the SXSW music festival has published thousands of DRM-free tracks from participating artists. For some of the first releases the festival organizers created the torrents for the artist showcases themselves, but since 2008 this task has been in the hands of the public. In 2014 SXSW replaced the MP3 files with Soundcloud links, which complicated the archiving process. Luckily, this year all of the regular SXSW showcase MP3s are freely available again on the festival site for sampling purposes. In common with previous years, Ben Stolt has taken the time and effort to upload all of the MP3s onto BitTorrent with proper ID3 tags. The 2015 release is out now and comes in two torrents containing 1,291 tracks. That’s 8.42 gigabytes of free music in total, which is a new record. “These torrents include tracks that can be previewed on the SXSW website for SXSW 2015. This year’s includes 1,291 files totaling 8.42GB, making it the largest to date,†Stolt notes. All the tracks released for the previous editions are also still available for those people who want to fill up their MP3 players without having to invest thousands of dollars. The 2005 – 2015 archives now total more than 55 gigabytes. Every year SXSW torrents are a great success, with many thousands of music aficionados downloading gigabytes of free music across virtually every genre from both established acts and upcoming bands. This year’s SXSW music festival is currently underway in Austin, Texas and ends tomorrow. The torrents, however, are expected to live on for as long as there are people sharing. Torrentfreak
  16. The MetArt Network, a group of well-known adult websites, is cracking down on pirate tube sites. Through a series of lawsuits filed at a federal court in Seattle, Washington, the group hopes to take out Spankbang.com, Pornvideoxo.com, Pornburst.xxx and various other sites that host their videos without permission. Porn is huge on the Internet, and so is pirated porn. In common with other entertainment industries adult producers are battling with a constant stream of illegal content. Most of this content is enjoyed via so-called tube sites where videos can be streamed instantly. In an effort to put a stop to the unauthorized streams MetArt Network has decided to take several pirate tube sites to court. The group has filed ten lawsuits in Seattle, Washington, targeting the operators of Spankbang.com, Pornvideoxo.com, Pornburst.xxx, Sextvx.com and other streaming sites that offer their content without permission. The site owners are accused of various copyright and trademark violations, as well as unfair competition. According to MetArt the sites hide behind the DMCA while profiting heavily from the illegal videos they host. “The DMCA safe harbor provisions have been systematically abused by internet copyright infringers in an attempt to garner protection for pirate websites displaying copyrighted adult entertainment content without license or authority for free viewing to the public,†the complaint (pdf) reads. “Under a veneer of DMCA compliance, the owners and operators attempt to hide behind the safe harbor provisions while monetizing the website through premium membership programs and substantial advertising contracts.†MetArt points out that the site’s operators take no measures to ensure that pirated videos stay offline, nor do they enforce a policy to ban repeat copyright infringers among their users. Instead of taking proactive steps against piracy, the tube sites are “willfully blind†to the infringements while using MetArt’s brand to advertise its services, the adult group claims. “Defendants’ acts and omissions allow them to profit from their infringement while imposing the burden of monitoring Defendants’ website onto copyright holders, without sufficient means to prevent continued and unabated infringement,†the complaint reads. One problem MetArt faces is that some site owners hide behind private Whois registrations. The company has therefore asked the court for a subpoena against Whoisguard, Enom, CloudFlare and various other service providers so it can identify those responsible. Through the lawsuits MetArt eventually hopes to recoup damages which can run into the millions of dollars. In addition, they’re asking the court to transfer the sites’ domain names to stop future infringements. Whether the adult group’s arguments will hold up in court has yet to be seen but the cases will be watched closely by the adult industry as well as the major Hollywood studios, who face a similar ‘pirate’ steaming problem. Torrentfreak
  17. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are reportedly 'on the same page' about the birth of their baby. Justin confirmed he and his wife are having a baby at the end of January, following months of speculation. Their new arrival is thought to be due next month, and after a few discussions they have apparently come up with a plan for his or her birth. 'After some disagreement they are finally on the same page. Jessica doesn't want any family at the hospital, including [his mother] Lynn, until the next day ' so she and Justin can bond with the baby together,' an insider told the American edition of OK! magazine. The couple have chosen for the sex of their tot to be a surprise and have been doing all they can to prepare. Last month Justin was spotted visiting his wife on the set of her new movie The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea in New Orleans, and they have now reportedly decided not to spend any time apart. 'They're so excited. The more time they spend together preparing for the baby, the better their marriage has become,' the source said. 'With the due date just weeks away, Jess and Justin have freed up their schedules so they can enjoy this time together. They can't wait to welcome the baby and become a happy little family.' Justin confirmed the baby news to coincide with his 34th birthday at the end of January. He used Twitter to make the announcement, complete with comments such as '#BoyOrGirl #YouNeverKnow #WeDontEvenKnow (sic)'. This could have been a dig at media reports that the couple's baby will be a girl. He has been nothing but the doting husband during his wife's pregnancy and was seen looking after her during her 33rd birthday celebrations earlier this month. He also took the opportunity to post a gushing message about her online, calling her the 'goofiest and most bad-ass chick' he knows.
  18. Some have already noticed, right now we are on a week-old backup. Please hold on before uploading lots of torrents and stuff. Our main webserver has gone unpaid. We are working on trying to get it renewed, hopefully before it is wiped. Then we will switch back to that one, since it will be 1 day old, instead of 1 week Until then, we have restored this backup so that we at least have a working site, and dont have an unexpectedly long amount of downtime like last time. The site, tracker, and irc bot is now all working on backup server!
  19. A new app for Android makes viewing torrents easier than ever before. After simply clicking on a magnet link, iFlix takes over, playing video and music in a clean interface. There's no need to wait for a torrent to complete and skipping can be achieved in just a few moments. Created by Romanian software engineer Vali (also known as 0x4139), iFlix is a torrent client designed to stream any magnet link in an instant. Unlike other clients there are no complex settings to manage and the app only springs into life once a magnet link has been clicked. It is incredibly simple to use. As can be seen from the image below, clicking a magnet link calls up the iFlix interface containing a list of files inside the torrent being accessed. Users simply pick a file and choose their preferred (and already installed) video player and in a matter of seconds the torrent begins to play. iFlix not only works well, it also has interesting roots. “We have this startup, which is an application for kindergartens (gradiapp.ro), and one of the features is that we connect mobile/web and all sort of apps to the cameras inside the kindergarten so that parents can watch their kids while there,†Vali tells TorrentFreak. “We were having problems streaming the data to mobile devices (bandwidth issues) until I decided to make some kind of tracker that keeps the data in chunks of five seconds. That tracker is a peer as well, and after we saw that it worked, we wanted to use it with generic trackers as well. “With a little tweaking it worked well, after that we spent like two months talking about legal concerns with all kind of lawyers, and we saw the potential that this can grow into a distributed computing grid based on its own keychain,†the dev explains. In common with all tools that attempt torrent streaming, iFlix performs better with well-seeded torrents. That being said, skipping around files with plenty of peers works surprisingly well and only once or twice did we experience any significant delay. The software also allows users to listen to music torrents and as expected these cue up even more quickly than video. As for the future, iFlix is likely to receive updates but is actually a stepping stone within another of Vali’s projects. “iFlix is a product that’s based on a platform that I am trying to create. This platform is intended to be a P2P compute grid based on the Bitcoin protocol where instead of computing hashes to mine coins you compute different tasks, e.g ‘fetch the first two chunks from the magnet:x†which iFlix does at this moment,†Vali explains. “At this moment the engine behind the platform is based on the Google SPDY protocol and the purpose of iFlix is to measure the scalability of the engine. “In the near future you can expect to see more products based on the same P2P platform. For example, imagine that you are skiing and directly streaming 2k video from your GoPro via P2P,†Vali concludes. iFlix for Android can be downloaded here. http://torrentfreak.com/iflix-instantly-watch-listen-to-torrents-on-android-150222/
  20. The Pirate Bay has welcomed several moderators back on board. After initial security issues were resolved site staff have now regained access to the backend. The moderators got to work right away and have already removed hundreds of fake torrents in an effort to restore the site to its former glory. The Pirate Bay has been back online for three weeks now and most of the site’s former users have found their way back. While the notorious torrent site appeared to function normally, things were pretty hectic behind the scenes. TPB had to switch hosting providers on several occasions after being kicked out following copyright complaints. At the same time, scammers were populating the site with fake torrents and scammy comments. Since TPB decided to restart without a moderator crew for security reasons, most fake torrents remained online for days, driving downloaders to malware and other malicious content. Locking out the moderators initially led to mutiny among the staff and concerns among users, but this week several long-time moderators came back on board. Close to a dozen moderators now have access to the site again and they started cleaning up the place right away. Spammer accounts were banned and hundreds of fake files have already been deleted. “I don’t know how many torrents have been removed so far, but it is in the hundreds. Some fakers had eight or nine pages under their account,†TPB moderator Agricola tells TF. The moderators describe the site as a “crap heap†and there’s still plenty of work to be done. However, for security reasons, no new “helpers†will be allowed to join. “No new staff will be recruited, so the helper status will be gone. The staff will only consist of moderators,†Agricola says. For the time being no new accounts can be registered, which makes the clean up a little easier. Spammers will have to use old existing accounts and these will become harder to find. Earlier this week TPB operator Winston told us that registrations will eventually be opened as well, but not before everything else is running smoothly. With the moderators back on board the site will slowly and steadily return to what it was before the raid, marking the end of some of the most challenging weeks in the site’s history. http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-mods-are-back-on-board-for-massive-cleanup-150220/
  21. There's no doubt that Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV-show in history, with copyright holders doing all they can to remove infringing copies from the web. However, these efforts can also go too far, something just witnessed by Australian pay TV company Foxtel. Last year Australian pay TV company Foxtel signed a deal with HBO to become the exclusive provider for Game of Thrones. This means that the popular TV-show will not be available online through other channels such as iTunes, a decision that may increase local piracy rates. Foxtel, for their part, sees the move as an important strategy to gain more subscribers. Looking forward to the fifth season of Game of Thrones, which starts this April, the company put up a teaser last Friday. “We hope you’re hanging onto the edge of your iron throne, because Game of Thrones is back…,†writes Foxtel in an airing schedule announcement. The article on Foxtel’s official site also includes a copy of the trailer for the fifth season. However, those who try to play the embedded YouTube video are in for a disappointment. “This video contains content from Home Box Office (Singapore) Pte Ltd, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds,†YouTube notes. GoT Trailer Blocked The Game of Thrones trailer Foxtel links to is claimed by HBO Singapore, which means that it can only be viewed in the Asian country and not in Australia, America, the UK or elsewhere. The video in question was likely flagged by accident as it makes little sense to put geographical restrictions on global trailers, which have the sole purpose to promote the show. HBO’s actions are not only a problem for Foxtel and the tvpromosdb channel they linked to, but also for the dozens of other YouTube users that had the trailers taken down. While some appreciate the irony of a blocked trailer on Foxtel’s website, it’s mostly sad to see yet another example of the mess that copyright holders make in YouTube’s Content-ID system. http://torrentfreak.com/youtube-blocks-game-of-thrones-trailer-on-copyright-grounds-150218/
  22. Having battery life problems on your Windows 8.1 laptop? These tips will help you squeeze the most juice out of your battery. You shouldn't have to be tethered to your desk to use your laptop. While battery life is improving, it still isn't perfect. If you've got a Windows 8.1 machine, these tips will help you squeeze the most juice of your computer's battery. Software updates Microsoft routinely issues patches and software updates to fix bugs and add new features to Windows. It's always a good idea that you are on the latest version of Windows. Not only will these updates helpkeep your system more secure, but they can sometimes also improve your battery life. To check for updates, go to the Charms menu by swiping from right to left on the screen or moving your mouse to the lower right corner of the screen. Then, click on Settings, select the "Change PC settings" option, followed by Updates and Recovery, and click the "Check for updates" box. Tweak power settings Microsoft has bundled various power saving options inside of Windows 8.1. These settings can be accessed from the desktop by opening the Control Panel, selecting Hardware and Sound, and clicking on Power options. Here you can choose a power plan from Microsoft or you can create your own. You can tweak things like brightness, when the display will turn off, and when the computer will go to sleep, among other things. Clicking on the "Change advanced power settings" will open the door to even more customization options. Dim the display The display on your laptop uses a ton of energy. When you disconnect the power cord, it's best to dim the brightness down below half or to a level that is suitable for your eyes. This can be done by going to the Charms menu and select Settings. The brightness options are located above the keyboard icon and next to the volume menu. If your laptop includes it, you should also disable the automatic brightness feature, and dim the keyboard backlight. To do this, go to Settings, click on the "Change PC settings" option, tap on PC and Devices, followed by Display, and turn off the "Adjust my screen brightness automatically" slider. To dim the keyboard backlight, open the Charms menu, click on Search, type in "mobility," and select Windows Mobility Center. Turn off Bluetooth Even if you don't have a wireless mouse or speakers connected, having Bluetooth enabled will still draw power from your computer's battery. To disable the Bluetooth radio, go to Settings, click on the "PC and devices" option, and select Bluetooth. Disconnect any dongles As is the case with Bluetooth, a USB-connected device (such as a flash drive) will also drain your battery. If you aren't using the dongle or device, you should unplug it to prevent battery drain. If the power cord is unplugged, charging your smartphone or tablet via a USB port will also reduce your battery life. http://www.cnet.com/how-to/five-ways-to-improve-battery-life-on-windows/
  23. Tumblr users say they are witnessing a tougher response to music piracy by the blogging platform. A wave of complaints suggest that increased anti-piracy activity by the music industry is resulting in Tumblr more readily banning users as part of a "three strikes" policy. Founded February 2007, Tumblr now processes huge amounts of traffic. According to latest figures from the site it currently hosts more than 223 million blogs containing almost 104 billion posts. In common with all sites of a similar size, keeping on top of what every user posts is a formidable and near impossible task, even with the 300+ employees Tumblr has at its disposal. Nevertheless, effort does have to be made and when it comes to copyright issues the law demands it. The DMCA requires Tumblr to respond to copyright holder complaints by removing infringing content in a timely manner. According to the site’s users, however, a more aggressive response is now being pursued. A large number of recent complaints suggest that music group IFPI is making a renewed effort to target Tumblr in order to weed out users who post copyright music to the site. Since several users have posted Tumblr copyright notices citing IFPI complaints, it seems like a reasonable assumption. But what is really spooking users is Tumblr’s policy of terminating those who have three complaints lodged against their account. It’s been in place for some time but with enforcement against the site seemingly being ramped up, more people are falling into the trap. “As outlined in previous emails, we implement a strict three-strike policy against repeat copyright infringement. Your blog has received three strikes in an 18 month period. Consequently, your account has been terminated. In addition, any new accounts you create will also be terminated,†Tumblr told one user. Of course, anti-piracy bots don’t discriminate between content posted today or 18 months ago so any tracks they find can result in a notice to Tumblr and a subsequent “strike†against a user’s account. As a result, many users are now desperately trying to clear up their post history (using sites like trntbl.me) to avoid getting three strikes all at once. To find out what changes may have contributed to the panic TorrentFreak contacted Tumblr for further details. We’re yet to hear back (we’ll update this article when we do) but in the meantime its worth noting that the company updated its copyright notice policy last month. “After removing material pursuant to a valid DMCA notice, Tumblr will immediately notify the Subscriber responsible for the allegedly infringing material that it has removed or disabled access to the material,†it reads. “Tumblr will terminate, under appropriate circumstances, the Accounts of Subscribers who are repeat copyright infringers, and reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate any Subscriber for actual or apparent copyright infringement.†In order for users to be able to contest copyright complaints, Tumblr operates a counter-notification system. However, users including Stewardessme complain that on the third strike she was simply locked out. Her story also highlights the importance of contesting invalid claims early on. “Since the IFPI sent takedowns for two songs, that was two strikes, and I had a previous strike months earlier due to being erroneously accused of a copyright violation by Harper-Collins (the photo in question was not theirs),†she writes. “In my case, the time period between getting the two strikes for music and my account being terminated was zero time; I found out something was wrong when I tried to log into my account.†Since Tumblr is yet to publicly respond to the concerns of its userbase, TorrentFreak asked the company to comment on any changes that could have triggered what is now being perceived as a piracy crackdown. We’ll update here in due course. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7L5O9zeKEk http://torrentfreak.com/tumblr-panics-as-site-gets-tough-on-music-piracy-150216/
  24. Russia blocks websites on a very large-scale but citizens often circumvent those blocks using VPNs, TOR and other anonymizing tools. The country is now looking at ways of bringing this to an end, with Russia's main web-blocking body supporting a worrying proposal by a Russian MP to ban use of these tools Since 2012, Russia has had legislation allowing the country’s main telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor to maintain a list of domains to be blocked by ISPs in the country. While the usual serious crime suspects such as child abuse and terrorist sites are included, more controversial resources are also filtered, including sites that feature content about drugs and suicide. Also present are sites that fail to remove copyright content in a timely manner and in the past couple of years plenty of torrent, storage and links forums have been blocked. Of course, where there’s a block or filter there are people ready to circumvent them and it now appears that Russia is growing tired with the ease that citizens do so. Proposals from the Duma (lower house of parliament) now indicate that the country is considering how to further limit access to “banned†content. Speaking at Infoforum-2015, Russian MP Leonid Levin, who is deputy head of the Duma Committee on information politics, indicated that access to anonymization and circumvention tools such as TOR, VPNs and even web proxies, needs to be restricted. “One of the factors in the formation of the Internet environment in our country has become the authority for the pre-trial blocking of websites. It allows us to block sites banned in Russia quickly enough. At the same time the pre-trial blocking of anonymizing services deserves attention, such as access to the anonymous network Tor,†Levin said. By introducing restrictions on these systems, Levin added, it would restrict citizens’ access to blocked content, stop people transferring content anonymously, and also help to reduce the commercial distribution of malware. Levin also called for greater powers for the Roskomnadzor watchdog, an organization that also supports the idea of locking down anonymous networks. According to Vadim Ampelonskogo, Roskomnadzor’s chief press officer, the task won’t be easy but is technically possible. Describing the Tor network as a “den of criminals†and “ghouls, all gathered in one placeâ€, Ampelonskogo said Roskomnadzor would find a solution to block anonymous networks if it was supported by a relevant regulatory framework. Levin’s proposals to block anonymizing tools and networks is not new. In 2012 the topic was raised but came to nothing and in 2013 an initiative was launched by the FSB and received support from the State Duma. However, there is a growing feeling that Russia will eventually do something. According to figures cited by Russia’s RBC, 150,000 citizens use the TOR network with up to 25% of Internet users now using some kind of VPN. While Russia’s attack on encryption won’t be a surprise to many, other supposedly more free societies are also looking to crack down on the anonymous. In the wake of the recent attacks in Paris, Prime Minister David Cameron indicated that users of private services such as WhatsApp could be blocked or monitored if his government wins the next election. http://torrentfreak.com/vpn-and-tor-ban-looming-on-the-horizon-for-russia-150212/
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