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  1. Today, downloading a pirated music track just takes a few seconds. How different was this twenty years ago, when a single MP3 was stored on four 1.44 MB floppy disks. Journalist and book author Stephen Witt takes us back in time, with a brief history of how it all started. The Dawn of Online Music Piracy By 1994, the development of the first mp3 encoder was complete. Working at an audio research laboratory at Germany’s state-funded Fraunhofer Institute, engineers had labored for seven years and spent millions of dollars to develop a functioning prototype. The encoder was marvelous—by exploiting inherent flaws in the human ear, it could reduce the size of compact disc audio by more than 90%, with minimal losses in quality. But Fraunhofer had been outmaneuvered in the marketplace, and couldn’t generate sales. In desperation, they decided to distribute their encoder for free. They began by handing out floppy disks at trade shows and conferences. Soon, distribution moved to the Internet, with a limited-functionality DOS-based encoder posted on Fraunhofer’s FTP sites. The encoder was supposed to produce only low-bitrate files, and stop working after 20 uses. Quickly, it was cracked. By late 1995, USENET was awash with pirated music files. Most of these were simple demonstrations of the technology, not full songs. Modern conveniences make it hard to remember the limitations of media distribution of the time; bandwidth meant 28,800 bits per second over a screeching telephone line, and compressing an mp3 from a CD meant a dedicated hour of CPU resources, accompanied by the buzz of a whirring fan. The underground pirates of the Scene first adopted the technology in August of 1996. The pioneering group was Compress ‘Da Audio (CDA); their first release was Metallica’s “Until It Sleeps.†The full song was stored as a RAR file across four 3.5†floppy disk drives. These disks were then sent through the mail. Compress ‘Da Audio’s first releases, from the Affinity scene zine. afflinity 3 early mp3 releases By late August, the rival Digital Audio Crew (DAC) had moved into the space; they posted an mp3-ripping tutorial to USENET, along with a direct link to Fraunhofer’s FTP site, accompanied by the serial numbers needed to unlock the encoder. By the start of 1997, piracy had moved from floppy disks to campus servers, and processing power had doubled. Scene groups started releasing whole albums, not just individual singles. The files were no longer distributed through the postal service, but instead through IRC networks, FTP sites and even HTML links. The Scene celebrated a “0-day†mentality—one gained notoriety by being the first to post pirated material to the Net. With music, that meant getting inside the retail industry’s supply chain. The pioneering Scene group Rabid Neurosis (RNS) began infiltrating record stores, exploiting offset international release dates, and recruiting music journalists and commercial radio DJs. Music became available on the Internet weeks, sometimes months, before it was due in stores. In time, RNS became the dominant player, sourcing thousands of pre-release albums from Dell Glover and Tony Dockery, two workers at a North Carolina CD manufacturing plant. RNS’ first release, distributed on four 1.44 MB disks (NFO) A generation came of age in that IRC underground—for many users it was their formative experience online. Included were Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, who’d met in an chat channel, where they’d shared their frustrations with the inefficiencies of late-90s file-swapping. Fanning, 18, wrote 80,000 lines of code, for a new peer-to-peer platform he called Napster. Parker, 19, was deputized to promote it. In June of 1999, the software débuted. The golden age of online piracy had begun. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stephen Witt is a journalist from Brooklyn, New York. He’s the author of “How Music Got Free,†a well-researched book about the rise of music piracy and the key players that contributed to the early success of online file-sharing.
  2. Halo Online is an upcoming free-to-play version of Halo that will launch exclusively for players in Russia. However, following the leak of the game files a modding team developed its own ideas about who can access the game and when. Fighting back, Microsoft has just hit their Github project with a copyright complaint. Last week Microsoft announced the existence of Halo Online. The all-new game will provide a free-to-play online multiplayer experience on PC. “Halo Online is powered by a highly modified version of the Halo 3 engine and optimized for smooth performance on lower-end PCs,†the company said. While the announcement was welcomed by PC gamers everywhere, not all had reason to celebrate. Due to launch later in the spring, Halo Online is destined to be restricted to players in Russia only, at least for the foreseeable future. “Right now our focus is on learning as much as we can from the closed beta period in Russia. Theoretically, any expansion outside of Russia would have to go through region-specific changes to address player expectations,†the company said. Of course, ‘player expectations’ can take many forms but predictably not having to wait patiently in line while geo-restrictions are lifted is one of them. The first signs of cracks appearing came when a YouTuber called ‘Noble‘ uploaded footage after modders Gamecheat13 and Lord Zedd reportedly obtained a build of the title. Since then other modders have been dissecting Halo Online to unlock features, with one team creating a game launcher titled ‘ElDorito’ (a play on the ‘Eldorado’ main executable for Halo:Online) to ease the process. “We’re really working on building a framework for the game to be playable, as well as a custom console with a plethora of features we believe are necessary to the game,†team member Pyong told Se7ensins. With the launcher undergoing development via Github, things were progressing smoothly. Until yesterday that is, when Microsoft rolled out the big guns and stopped the project in its tracks. “We have received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorized activities relating to, copyrighted works published by Microsoft,†the company wrote in a DMCA notice to Github. While that statement is almost certainly accurate, the notice from Microsoft is somewhat confusing in that it refers to ElDorito being the company’s property. “The above copyright work(s) [ElDorito] is being made available for copying, through downloading, at the above location without authorization from the copyright owner or exclusive licensee,†the company adds. But whatever the ins-and-outs, Microsoft still feels it has a valid complaint and has ordered Github to disable access to ElDorito to “prevent the illegal reproduction and distribution of this copyrighted work(s) via your company’s services.†As can be seen from the image below, Github has already complied. While Microsoft were quick to hit the ElDorito project on Github, strangely there appears to have been less effort to take down the actual game files. The project’s wiki doesn’t host the leaked content, but it does offer a valuable pointer. “Since we can’t actually post the link to the Halo Online download, you’ll have to look for it elsewhere,†the wiki explains. The word ‘elsewhere’ helpfully links to a Pastebin page which in turn displays a link to where someone has uploaded the 2.1GB zip file. It probably won’t be there for long. But for those hoping that the ElDorito project will continue, that seems unlikely, at least in the short-term. The team is reportedly a bit spooked by Microsoft’s intervention and are waiting for things to cool down before making any decisions.
  3. Hello fellow LTTi, Sorry for spamming this message. We would like to announce that, the interview was re-active to invite new users to get into this page. interviews will be handled by our staff. For those who qualify, and answer the questions in a rational and almost meets the requirements of the question, we will invite the user. If the answer like Ahmad Maslan, we will deny the request and ip will be banned forever. Can we talk about this story, send it wherever you like. Facebook, twitter or other social media you use. Address for the interview is:
  4. Windows NT 4.0 may be nearly two decades old but that doesn't mean that Microsoft wants its sensitive source code out in public. After ignoring a copy of the partially leaked code for several years, the company recently asked GitHub to take an unauthorized copy offline, with success. In February 2004 large portions of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 source code leaked onto the Internet. In a statement issued at the time, Microsoft said the breach didn’t come from inside. The company worked closely with the FBI to track down the source but these efforts were fruitless. Hoping to keep the leak under control, Microsoft also started issuing takedown notices to sites and P2P file-sharers, urging them to stop offering the code. However, like anything that leaks onto the Internet it’s pretty much impossible to remove something for good. Even today, several NT 4.0 copies are still floating around in the dark corners of the web. Up until a few days ago there was even a copy hosted on the popular developer platform GitHub. Posted by “njdragonfly†the leaked source code has been available there since 2011. Microsoft initially didn’t spot the infringing copy but it recently took action by sending GitHub a DMCA takedown notice. Microsoft’s takedown notice “We have received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorized activities relating to, copyrighted works published by Microsoft Corporation,†the company writes The notice proved to be successful. A few hours after its arrival the repository was made inaccessible. Those who try to access it now are redirected to GitHub’s standard takedown page. While it’s understandable that Microsoft doesn’t want its source code out in the open, it’s not as much as a security threat as it was a decade ago. Today, more than 10 years after it was first published, pretty much all exploits have been patched. That said, it’s worth nothing that after all these years Microsoft is trying to contain the leak. But perhaps that’s just for sentimental value. Windows NT 4.0
  5. With a DMCA notice sent to Github this week, Microsoft aimed to stop widespread access to its Russia-only version of Halo Online. But speaking with TF, the team leading the modding charge says that it will continue in its quest to provide a free version of the game without geo-restrictions. Last week Microsoft announced Halo Online, an all-new, free-to-play online multiplayer experience on PC. While the upcoming late spring release generated excitement, that was tempered somewhat by the revelation that the game will be restricted to players in Russia only, at least for the foreseeable future. The news was met with predictable resistance from the ‘modding community’, the hardcore few who prefer to play Halo on their own terms. After a leaked copy of Halo Online was obtained, a tool enabling exploration of the game was uploaded to Github. It didn’t stay there long. Microsoft hit Github with a DMCA takedown notice and the code platform responded by disabling access to the tool, titled ‘ElDorito’. Just before the weekend TorrentFreak caught up with the loose-knit ElDorito team who gave us the background to the leak and subsequent interest from Microsoft. “Microsoft is probably quite bothered by what we’ve done already as these files were leaked. We obtained the files from a user on 4chan’s /v/ board,†team member ‘Woovie’ told TF. Sure enough, even now a post by the 4chan user in question contains a still-live link to a file hosted by Microsoft partner Innova, helpfully titled ‘halo_setup-ru.exe’. No takedowns in this instance. “From there, user Emoose proceeded to create a hack that would allow the client to load files and thus get in game,†Woovie adds. “He has in the past done the same for Halo 2 and Halo 3 betas so he had experience with this. The files we have are definitely an early internal alpha. A lot of left over code from other Halo games.†The big question is whether the copyright move from Microsoft has put the team off continuing. Initially TF was told that might be the case, but subsequent discussion painted a very different picture. “In terms of DMCA/C&D mitigation, we have made redundant git backups on private and public git servers. This is to ensure we will always have one working copy. These are being synchronized so that data is always the same,†Woovie explains. “Further DMCAs may happen potentially, it’s not really known at the moment. Our backups will always exist though and we will continue until we’re happy.†So what is motivating the ElDorito team to carry on? Aside from a passion for Halo itself, the team seems perplexed by the Russian geo-restrictions and also what they believe could turn into a free-to-play game requiring in-game purchases for players to succeed. “We of course still don’t know 100% what items are purchasable with real money, but it would appear at first glance to have pay-to-win potential. We also of course want to play this game, which as far as we see, is a Russian market only game,†Woovie adds. Of course, all this could mean more action from Microsoft, but team member Neoshadow42 sees the modding of leaked files as more of a service. “As someone involved in game development, I’m sympathetic with some developers when it comes to copyright issues. This is different though, in my opinion,†the dev explains. “The game was going to be free in the first place. The PC audience has been screaming for Halo 3 for years and years, and we saw the chance with this leak. The fact that we could, in theory, bring the game that everyone wants, without the added on stuff that would ruin the game, that’s something we’d be proud of.†Refuting claims by some that the team’s actions might be damaging, Neoshadow42 says this case is different. “I don’t particularly see this as damaging, as some people have said. I don’t believe it for a moment, honestly. We’re working to improve people’s experience, bring it to those who wouldn’t have been able to play it anyway. I’d see that as a noble cause.†But isn’t this just the same as pirating any other game and making it free to play? “This whole project would be completely different in an ethical way if we had taken a paid game and reversed it for everyone to access for free,†Neoshadow42 insists. “At the end of the day, El Dorito aims to deliver exactly what everyone wants. The closest thing to a Halo 3 experience as possible, but on PC. If we can manage that, I’ll be more than happy.†
  6. There are persistent rumors going around that some file-sharers are doing everything they can to fly under the radar but when ruining privacy is so much easier, why bother? For those who couldn't care less about online security and have a burning desire to turn their online lives into a public free for all, here's our essential guide. Every single day one can hear do-gooders banging on endlessly about staying private on the Internet. It’s all encryption this and Edward Snowden that. Ignore them. They’re lunatics involved in a joint Illuminati / Scientologist conspiracy. No, what Internet users need is a more care-free approach to online surveillance, one that allows them to relax into a zen-like state of blissful ignorance, free from the “Five Eyes†rantings of Kim Dotcom. And there are plenty of real people already following this advice. Real events reported here on TF (and investigated by us over the past few months) have shown us that while operating in the world of file-sharing (especially if that involves releasing content or running a tracker) it is absolutely vital to lay down an easily followed trail of information. Here are some golden rules for doing just that. Naming convention If at all possible, file-sharers should incorporate their real-life names into their online nickname. Dave Mark Robinson should become DaveR at a minimum, but for greater effect DaveMR should be used. As adding in a date of birth allows significant narrowing down of identities, DaveMR1982 would be a near perfect choice. This secret codename can then be used on any torrent site, but for best effect it should be used across multiple trackers at once so the user is more easily identified. But let’s not think too narrowly here. As an added bonus, Dave should also ensure that the same nickname is used on sites that have absolutely nothing to do with his file-sharing. EBay profiles and YouTube accounts are perfect candidates, with the latter carrying some personally identifying videos, if at all possible. That said, Dave would be selling himself short if he didn’t also use the same names on….. Social media If Dave doesn’t have an active Facebook account which is easily linked to his file-sharing accounts, he is really missing out. Twitter is particularly useful when choosing the naming convention highlighted above since nicknames can often be cross-referenced with real names on Facebook, especially given the effort made in the previous section. In addition to all the regular personal and family information readily input by people like Dave, file-sharing Facebook users really need to make sure they put up clear pictures of themselves and then ‘like’ content most closely related to the stuff they’re uploading. ‘Liking’ file-sharing related tools such as uTorrent is always recommended. File-sharing sites When DaveMR1982 signs up to (or even starts to run) a torrent site it’s really important that he uses an easy to remember password, ideally one used on several other sites. This could be a pet’s name, for example, but only if that pet gets a prominent mention on Facebook. Remember: make it easy for people, it saves so much time! Dave’s participation in site forums is a must too. Ideally he will speak a lot about where he lives and his close family, as with the right care these can be easily cross-referenced with the information he previously input into Facebook. Interests and hobbies are always great topics for public discussion as these can be matched against items for sale on eBay, complete with item locations for added ease. Also, Dave should never use a VPN if he wants his privacy shattered, with the no-log type a particular no-go. In the event he decides to use a seedbox he should pay for it himself using his own PayPal account, but only if that’s linked to his home address and personal bank account. Remember, bonus points for using the same nickname as earlier when signing up at the seedbox company! Make friends and then turn them into enemies Great friendships can be built on file-sharing sites but in order to maximize the risks of a major privacy invasion, personal information must be given freely to these almost complete strangers whenever possible. In an ideal world, trusting relationships should be fostered with online ‘friends’ and then allowed to deteriorate into chaos amid a petty squabble, something often referred to in the torrent scene as a “tracker dramaâ€. With any luck these people will discard friendships in an instant and spill the beans on a whim. Domain registration Under no circumstances should Dave register his domains with a protected WHOIS as although they can be circumvented, they do offer some level of protection. Instead (and to comply with necessary regulations) Dave should include his real home address and telephone number so he is easily identified. If for some crazy reason that isn’t possible and Dave is forced to WHOIS-protect his domain, having other non-filesharing sites on the same server as his file-sharing site is always good for laying down breadcrumbs for the anti-privacy police. If the domains of those other sites don’t have a protected WHOIS, so much the better. Remember, make sure the address matches the home location mentioned on Facebook and the items for sale on eBay! Conclusion As the above shows, with practice it’s easy to completely compromise one’s privacy, whether participating in the file-sharing space or elsewhere. In the above guide we’ve simply cited some genuine real-life techniques used by people reported in previous TF articles published during the last year, but if you have better ideas at ruining privacy online, please feel free to add them in the comments. Torrentfreak
  7. French Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin has presented the country's new framework for dealing with online piracy. In addition to the graduated response system and site blocking, draining the financial resources of pirate sites will become a priority through greater cooperation with advertisers and payment processors. Across Europe countries are continuing their struggle with online piracy but France was the first brave enough to introduce a system of warning file-sharers. The so-called Hadopi law received widespread coverage, with praise and criticism arriving from many corners, but the big question of whether the process has been effective has never been definitively answered. Whatever the program’s achievements, if any, the French are still looking to reduce online copyright infringement in an attempt to boost the creative sector. Now the government has announced the next wave in its continuing anti-piracy drive. Fleur Pellerin, France’s Minister of Culture and Communication, has now presented a paper to the Council of Ministers outlining a plan of action against all sites involved in online piracy. The range will be broad, to include sites that not only stream or offer copyrighted material for download, but also those that “take advantage†of pirate content in other ways. The first part of the program is a familiar one. In common with the United States and the United Kingdom (1,2)where similar programs have been in place for some time, France will seek to deprive piracy related websites of their revenue streams with a particular focus on those that utilize advertising. On March 23 at the Ministry of Culture and Communication, advertisers and advertising agencies will come together with representatives from rightsholder bodies to sign an anti-piracy charter. The agreement will formalize a commitment to keep advertising off platforms deemed to benefit from online piracy. The next phase also mirrors developments elsewhere, particularly in the United States under pressure from government. Being able to process payments is crucial for some online file-sharing sites, particularly those in the file-hosting sector that rely on subscriptions to stay afloat. Moves already taken by Visa, MasterCard and PayPal are already underway elsewhere and negotiations in France will now commence with a view to the signing of an agreement in June 2015. Continuing on the financial front the French Government says it will mobilize to fight against those benefiting from illegal channels of revenue and will consider “all the tax consequences of these activities.†Site blocking is another anti-piracy method utilized extensively elsewhere and it’s clear that the French wish to follow the same path. Blocks against a handful of sites already exist but the Minister of Culture says that enhanced judicial efficiency and a system to monitor the effectiveness of these and other measures will be introduced. Effectively rightsholders will still have to go to court to get sites blocked, but unlike the UK where they are relatively free to keep adding sites to blocklists as and when they see fit, in France they will still have to go back to court for enhanced blocking, if a site moves domain or introduces proxies for example. Also on the cards is a sharpening of coordination between departments responsible for dealing with online piracy. To this end the Ministry of the Interior will assume responsibility for the direction of the fight against cybercrime. Finally, the government will look at the role that sites like YouTube play in the distribution of unauthorized content. Sites will be expected to streamline their processes in ways that make it easier for rightsholders to monitor and remove unauthorized material. Whether these measures will prove to be a boost to the entertainment sector remains to be seen, but it’s now clear that a coordinated and revenue-attacking response to dealing with piracy is now developing on a global scale.
  8. Physical counterfeiters can receive up to 10 years in jail under UK copyright law but should online pirates receive the same maximum punishment? A new report commissioned by the government reveals that many major rightsholders believe they should, but will that have the desired effect? A new study commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) examines whether the criminal sanctions for copyright infringement available under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) are currently proportionate and correct, or whether they should be amended. While the Digital Economy Act 2010 increased financial penalties up to a maximum of £50,000, in broad terms the main ‘offline’ copyright offenses carry sentences of up to 10 years in jail while those carried out online carry a maximum of ‘just’ two. In 2014, Mike Weatherley MP, then IP advisor to the Prime Minister, said that this disparity “sends all the wrong messagesâ€, a position that was supported by many major rightsholders. The current report examines data from 2006 to 2013 alongside stakeholder submissions, both for and against a change in the law. “Many industry bodies argue that higher penalties are necessary and desirable and that there is no justification for treating physical and online crime differently. Other stakeholders suggest that these offenses are in fact different, and raise concerns about a possible ‘chilling effect’ on innovation,†the report reads. One key finding is that court data from 2006-2013 reveals that prosecutions under the CDPA have actually been going down and that online offenses actually constitute “a small, and apparently decreasing, fraction of copyright prosecution activity as a whole.†In fact, the Crown Prosecution Service didn’t bring a single case under the online provisions of the CDPA 1988 during the period examined. “While there have been prosecutions during recent years, these have either used alternative legislation (such as common law conspiracy to defraud) or been directed at clarifying the civil law position in the European Court,†the report notes. “It is not clear that alternative legislation provides a satisfactory solution. By definition it does nothing to improve case law or understanding of the copyright issues.†This lack of case law is seen as problematic by the Federation Against Copyright Theft. In recent years FACT has stepped away from public prosecutions under copyright law in order to pursue private prosecutions under other legislation such as the Fraud Act. “Public prosecutors have been reluctant for years to take online cases, not wishing to be the first to attempt what might end in failure I guess. As a result there is no case law,†says FACT Director-General Kieron Sharp. “We need to still prosecute these cases so we often take them forward as private criminal prosecutions. However, these are serious cases and the two-year maximum sentence available downgrades the case in the eyes of the court who in any event cannot impose a sentence reflective of the crime. “We therefore follow other legislation and thus ourselves do not establish case law, which leads the prosecutor in the next case to again dismiss the chances of success.†For its part the Open Rights Group’s submission cautions against overly aggressive punishments that not only have the potential to affect those operating on the boundaries, but also those seeking to innovate. “The proposals could have a larger effect on specific groups that operate at the limits of current copyright legislation, but are not mass infringers and would not be prosecuted under fraud,†ORG explains. “Many internet innovators, prosumers, online creative communities that create non-profit derivative works, fandom producers, etc. All these people – many of whom technically breach copyright in their activities – could find themselves facing prison sentences if making available carried a maximum sentence of ten years.†So should the law be changed? As usual, the answer is far from straightforward. “The argument put forward by the Open Rights Group and others, that physical and online offenses are not the same, is persuasive. However, the fact remains that these two offenses end up having a very similar detrimental effect on the rights holders, and the question remains whether the maximum penalties are set at an appropriate level,†the report notes. “Whilst it is true to say that a consumer (or ‘prosumer’) can rapidly distribute content internationally without any criminal intent, it is also true that the logistical barriers to criminal activity are much lower online; the amount of investment a criminally-minded person needs to make in order to generate a serious level of disruption and harm is far lower. “The absence of a suitable penalty for serious cases of online infringement (which are likely to be very much in the minority) is currently creating a distortion because it results in alternative legislation being used. Alternatives may be justifiable under the circumstances, but appear less well suited to the crime.†Another question addressed by the report is whether a 10 year sentence would act as a deterrent. Awkwardly for the government it points out that following the increase to a maximum 10 year sentence for physical piracy in 2002, prosecutions actually rose before falling away in 2008. “[The] data available on recent online offending is at such a low level that there is no deterrent case that can be made from it,†the report adds. But while a change in the law is certainly preferred by some, there are alternatives. The report points to the takedown initiatives currently being employed by major rightsholders, including website blockades via local ISPs. Also upcoming is the Creative Content UK program which will see the public warned and educated when they’re spotted infringing copyright online. Only time will tell whether a 10 year sentence will be seen as appropriate, but safeguards that only the most serious of crimes are viewed as worthy of a maximum sentence will have to be put in place, and that will certainly be more easily said than done. Penalty Fair? Study of criminal sanctions for copyright infringement available under the CDPA 1988 – is available here (pdf). It’s a long read but definitely worth the effort.
  9. In its ongoing crusade against sites said to infringe its copyrights, TV outfit ABS-CBN has just netted a couple of big wins. A pair of cases filed in a Florida district court have gone in the TV company's favor resulting in damages awards of $7m and the forfeiture of several domains. During 2014, ABS-CBN, the largest media and entertainment company in the Philippines, began a wave of legal action in the United States. Seeking millions in damages, ABS-CBN’s California-based division targeted a wide range of sites said to have offered its programming without permission. The company’s latest suit, filed in November last year, listed dozens of allegedly infringing domains. In a motion for default judgment filed in a Florida district court February 6, ABS-CBN outlined the alleged damages caused by the defendants in the case. “Defendants were the active, conscious, and dominant force infringing the ABS-CBN Marks and facilitating access to illegal copies of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works,†the company wrote. “When a user clicked on a link, the Defendants’ websites directed the user to a third-party server on which the content resided, and began to instantly stream a full-length video of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted content within a frame on the Defendants’ respective website for viewing.†This activity was designed to generate revenue, ABS-CBN said. “The large inventory of popular entertainment content available on Defendants’ websites, including full-length copies of daily programming and archived shows, was designed to attract users to the infringing content and, thus, increased Defendants’ profits from the advertisers who paid the Defendants based on the number of views that the advertising received,†the company added. While the defendants operating the sites had the opportunity to defend themselves, for whatever reason they chose not to. This placed them at the mercy of the Court and the result could hardly have been worse. On February 9, District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled in ABS-CBN’s favor, handing down a default judgment including a permanent injunction forbidding any further “advertising, promoting, performing, copying, broadcasting, performing, and/or distributing of Plaintiffs’ content or copyrighted works.†In order to give the injunction “teethâ€, Judge Ungaro ordered the defendants to hand over their domains to ABS-CBN within five days of the judgment. Failing that, registries currently in control of the domains were given 30 days to render them useless. “Upon Plaintiffs’ request, the top level domain (TLD ) Registry for [each of the domains], within thirty (30) days of receipt of this Order, shall place [the domains] on Registry Hold status for the life of the current registration, thus removing them from the TLD zone files maintained by the Registry which link the [domains] to the IP addresses where the associated websites are hosted,†Judge Ungaro wrote. The real pain, however, sits in the financial implications of the judgment. The Judge awarded ABS-CBN a total of $3,960,000 in damages and ordered interest to accrue until the amount had been paid in full. But the wins for ABS-CBN weren’t over yet. Two days later in the same Court, Judge Beth Bloom handed down another default judgment against the operators of PINOY-AKO.INFO and PINOY-TAYO.NET. In addition to a similar injunction, the TV company was awarded another $3,120,000 in damages, with both domains ordered to be handed over or disabled by their registries. Whether ABS-CBN will see a penny of this money remains to be seen, but the big penalties handed down are likely to serve as a warning to those running similar unauthorized sites. For some, such as the defendant in an earlier ABS-CBN case, the news comes too late. After being hounded by the TV company, in October 2014 the operator of and eventually signed a $10m consent judgment.
  10. The MPAA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups keep hammering on Canada for its lacking anti-piracy enforcement. The groups label Canada a "safe haven" for both file-sharers and online pirate sites, and ask the U.S. Government to intervene. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has just published its latest submission to the U.S. Government, providing an overview of countries it believes should better protect the interests of the copyright industry. The IIPA, which includes a wide range of copyright groups including the MPAA, RIAA, BSA and ESA, has listed its complaints against a whole host of countries. As in previous years, Canada was discussed in detail with the recommendation to put it on the 2014 Special 301 ‘watch list’. One of the main criticisms against Canada is that the country offers a home to many pirate sites. The country recently revised its copyright law but that has done little to address this problem, IIPA believes. “Although there has been some improvement in recent years, Canada still has far to go to rectify its reputation as a safe haven for Internet pirates. Indeed, a number of the world’s most popular Internet sources dedicated to online theft of copyright material retain connections to Canada.†Among others, the report lists the popular torrent sites, and streaming portal as partially Canada-based. Canada’s inaction against these websites has forced copyright holders to request website blockades in other countries, IIPA claims. In addition, these pirate sites hamper the growth of legal services. “As long as these sites continue to use Canada as a base, efforts to provide a space within which legitimate, licensed services can take root and grow are undermined, not only in Canada, but around the world,†the report reads. According to the report Canada’s current copyright law lacks the ability to motivate hosting providers to stop dealing with this sites. Instead, IIPA argues that the law gives these companies “overbroad safe harbors.†“Clearly the legal incentives remain insufficient for Canadian providers of hosting services to cooperate with right holders to deal with massive and flagrant infringements carried out using their services,†they write. Aside from hosting pirate sites, IIPA characterizes Canada as a pro-piracy country in general. Canadians download more than twice as much pirated music per capita, according the copyright group. The “notice and notice†system that was implemented recently, where ISPs have to forward copyright infringement warnings to alleged pirates, is not expected to change much either they say. “… while the Canadian “notice and notice†system requires service providers to retain records on the identity of subscribers whose accounts have been used for unauthorized file sharing or other infringing behaviors, multiple repeat infringers will be delivered the same notice.†Ideally, IIPA would like to see a system where repeat infringers can be identified and punished if needed, similar to the “strikes†systems that have been implemented in other countries. The above is just the tip of the iceberg for Canada. Among other things, the groups also call for stronger border protections and limiting the copyright exceptions for educational use. The group ask the U.S. Government to “continue to press Canada†to address these and other issues that may hinder the growth of the copyright industry. “[The U.S. Government] should encourage Canadian authorities to do what they can to give service providers greater incentives to come together with right holders to make meaningful progress against online copyright infringement; but further legislative change is likely to be needed.†The IIPA’s full 2014 Special 301 recommendation report is available here. This also includes assessments from more than a dozen other countries, including Brazil, China, India, Russia and Switzerland.
  11. Download without slowing down shared network. Torrents slow down network more than anything else. TorX downloads it for you, so you don not slow the internet connection for others. No need to install a torrent client. With TorX you don not need to download any programmes, all you need is a common browser. Fast and secure downloading of torrents. It takes long time to download large torrents, Not with TorX! We will download your files in a blink of an eye! We do not support piracy, so, to prevent any abuse, our direct download links are individuals and cannot be shared, they will only be available from the IP address where the torrent was requested. For now you can only download torrents under 1.7 GB
  12. The Pirate Bay has risen from its digital ashes once again. TPB is back online today, more than seven weeks after its servers were raided . The notorious torrent site is operating from the familiar .se domain and it appears that the data loss is minimal. Early December The Pirate Bay was raided at the Nacka station, a nuclear-proof data center built into a mountain complex near Stockholm. After being down for two weeks the domain came back online waving a pirate flag on its temporary homepage. TPB later added a countdown to February 1st, alongside several hints that the site would come back online at that day. Today we can report that The Pirate Bay lived up to the comeback expectations, with a comeback one day ahead of schedule. A few minutes ago the site started serving torrents to the masses again, much to the delight of millions of users. The Pirate Bay’s homepage currently features a Phoenix. The look and feel of the site is familiar and the user accounts are working properly. The “Contact Us,†“RSS†and “Register†links are not operational yet and result in a 404 error. Based on the recent torrents is appears that the data loss is minimal. The latest upload was on December 9 last year, the same day TPB’s servers were raided. Whether or not mods and admins are able to access the TPB backend is unknown at the moment. Earlier this week TPB staff told us that they would be locked out. This would make the site easier to manage and the risk of being brought down for a third time. However, these planned “optimizations†caused mutiny among the site’s original staff members. WTC-SWE, one of the lead admins of The Pirate Bay, told us earlier this week that they are launching their own version of the Pirate Bay, which they believe is the real one. These “former†staff members will also relaunch the official Suprbay forums. Interestingly, is no longer listing Suprbay in its links section. To make the matter even more confusing, Pirate Bay’s downtime spurred the development of various spin-offs who all have a steady userbase of their own.’s is currently the largest, with millions of visitors per day and the number one spot for the search term Pirate Bay in Google. It will be interesting to see can reclaim these visitors during the months to come. Developing story… Updates will be added when we have more information.
  13. At any given point during the day dozens of millions of people are using BitTorrent to share pirated content, mostly movies and TV-shows. Pirate Cinema visualizes these transactions in an online art display, showing chunks of video of the most popular files as they arrive from all over the world. Somewhere in a datacenter in Austria there’s a dedicated machine that has only one mission: download and share the 100 most popular files on BitTorrent and turn these bits and pieces into a piece of art. The machine in question belongs to artist Nicolas Maigret and his Pirate Cinema project. Pirate Cinema has been on display for nearly two years in various venues, but this week the circle was completed when the piracy composition made its online debut. TF caught up with Maigret to learn more about the background and purpose of Pirate Cinema. He tells us that after completing several projects where the proposal was to represent networks in a physical form, he wanted to visualize how they’re used by millions of people around the world. “That’s where the Pirate Cinema concept started,†Maigret says. Over the past several years Maigret has worked on bringing it to life in various forms and this week Pirate Cinema started streaming online for the first time. Those who check out the stream see chunks of popular videos flashing by, gathered from around the globe in real-time. The video bits include the IP-address of the source, partially masked, and the country of origin. This is not without purpose. Maigret specifically includes this info to show how public these transfers are, and how easily they can be monitored. “On one hand this is in response to omnipresent users surveillance going on the Internet. More specifically here, on the file sharing networks, where people are monitored daily, resulting in real life lawsuits,†Maigret tells us. But Pirate Cinema is also a tribute to the Copy Culture that developed in the latest generations of computer users. The Copy Culture that is more common today than it has ever been before. “For the last 15 years, P2P networks have served as a great resource for mainstream content, but also for valuable rarities and unknown content that is hardly accessible otherwise,†Maigret says “File-sharing has been central in the access to culture worldwide. The Pirate Cinema tends to make those activities and dynamics tangible,†he adds. Aside from the online display there is also a live audio-visual performance. This live show is composed of 6 acts that each monitor a specific selection of torrents, such as the rise of porn on BitTorrent and the oldest torrent alive. Those interested in learning more about the project can check out the official site. Taking part in the online art project is also an option, but that comes at a risk.
  14. The Pirate Bay raid and various technical issues have caused headaches for the three of the largest BitTorrent trackers over the past month, but all have now returned. In addition, the people behind OpenBitTorrent have launched a separate tracker to share the load and help to serve millions of torrent users. OpenBitTorrent, PublicBT and are three of the largest BitTorrent trackers on the Internet, coordinating the downloads of 30 million people at any given point in time. This means that these non-commercial services handle a staggering three billion connections per day – each. However, over the past several weeks the three trackers have been offline most of the time. While they have had their fair share of downtime in the past, it’s not often that these top trackers become unresponsive all at once. OpenBitTorrent was the first to go offline early December. The domain name, registered to Pirate Bay’s Fredrik Neij, disappeared without notice leaving many downloaders in the cold. Not much later the PublicBT and trackers folded too. The latter was hit by the Pirate Bay raid as collateral damage, alongside several other BitTorrent related services. During the weeks that followed the three trackers have worked hard on a comeback. There have been ups and downs, but now they’re all up and running again. TF spoke to the operators of OpenBitTorrent (OBT) who explained that server issues were the root cause of its initial problems. After a few changes behind the scenes, the tracker eventually found a new home at a befriended torrent site. “Through IRC we proceeded looking for a safe provider and we had an offer from a torrent site that was willing to let us use one of their servers for the tracker,†OBT tells TF. While the tracker is up and running for most people, there may still be some stability issues, we were told. “We are currently facing stability issues due to a large amount of users trying to connect to the tracker, so there might be some downtime until we stabilize.†In order to make the tracker ecosystem more resilient one of the OpenBitTorrent developers has now launched a separate tracker, The OBT team encourages torrent users to use both trackers. “We’re planning on sharing the peers of OpenBitTorrent with and have users also use that tracker as it will help lower the load of the tracker at this crucial stage,†OBT told us. During the weeks to come OpenBitTorrent’s operators hope things will normalize. In the meantime, they hope to revive some other Pirate Bay affiliated ventures including, but more on that later.
  15. Square Enix is continuously looking for new eager people to work on their next blockbuster release, Final Fantasy XV. Now they have opened a position for an online game planner who will be part in making of a huge online world. Required skills for the job are positive attitude, great motivation and knowledge of Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Other desired skills are experience of online management, game production, general management, game system designing and interests in PC gaming. Being a gamer is a a bonus too. The job summary also explains more about Final Fantasy XV and its groundbreaking technology, but doesn’t go into details too much. So, what could this be? Since the job offer seems to be related to PC environments, it’s possible they are planning some sort of mini games which are playable on browsers. It’s also possible that they are developing unannounced online features to Final Fantasy XV, but that’s just our speculation. Possibilities that we will never hear about this are also high because this could be a concept, which will be cancelled eventually.
  16. With the recent Lizard Squad DDoS attack on both PSN and Xbox Live leaving many new PS4 and Xbox One adopters unable to access online features during Christmas, console gamers, now more than ever are starting to wonder why on Earth they’re paying for online multiplayer. The logic being, “What the hell? I pay a premium price yet the network is still this vulnerable to DDoS attacks.†While I understand your frustration, that sort of mentality shows two things about you, neither of which reflect well on your intelligence. One, you don’t understand what a DDoS attack actually is and two, you’ve bought into the delusion that paying for Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus has actually been securing you a better online experience. Sorry, but you’ve been played. Let’s briefly discuss DDoS attacks and why they’re difficult to prevent. A distributed denial of service attack is essentially when some people spam a server with fake traffic, overloading the servers and shutting them down, which is what happened on Christmas. Essentially, the servers are overloading the same way some games have multiplayer issues at launch, except the traffic overloading the servers are not real, but generated. Regardless of whether a service is paid or free, there is very little that can be done to prevent a DDoS attack for numerous reasons. Even if a company chooses to buy additional servers to handle more traffic, groups like Lizard Squad can just spam them with more fake login requests to compensate and developing software to detect fake traffic could very easily fail, potentially blocking online access to real players and even if it was a really good algorithm, hackers would break it. No matter how good a system is, hackers (I use the term very loosely because Lizard Squad aren’t actually hackers) will always find a way to break them, regardless of whether it’s paid or free, which brings me neatly to the main point of this article. There’s a very good reason why I never purchased an Xbox 360 last generation. Even when I was a teenager, I never liked the idea of having to pay for online multiplayer because I always found it to be completely unfair for a major component of a game to be locked behind a pay-wall. I’m going to be blunt. I like the free games you get access to as a PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold subscriber and at least on the PS4, free to play games don’t require a Plus subscription which is good, but I’m sorry, paying for online multiplayer is fucking bullshit for numerous reasons. However, there is one inherent flaw in both PSN and Xbox Live that proves the point, but we’ll get to that later. Now on PC, most games are hosted on dedicated servers and have been for decades. Dedicated servers offer the best connections for reasons almost to numerous to explain, mainly that matches are hosted on their own individual servers independently, while eliminating host advantage because they run independently on a server, not through someone’s personal internet. The problem is that dedicated servers cost a fair amount of money since you’re actually buying or renting expensive hardware and many companies are allergic to the word cost, which is where the screwing of the gamer begins to arise. The much cheaper and ultimately worse alternative is peer-to-peer, which most console games ran on during the previous generation and this generation as well. P-to-P is not desirable because instead of running on individual servers independently, games are hosted through one player’s personal internet, not only meaning the connection is slower from the offset, but that the host will inherently have host advantage and if the host has bad internet, everybody receives lag. It’s definitely not a good system. Now on free services such as the Nintendo Network or PSN on the PS3, this is not a huge grievance because the service is free. Even if PC provides dedicated servers, P-to-P on a free network is fine. Now if all games on a paid service were hosted on dedicated servers, while not desirable compared to PC where it’s free, it would not be bad. However, that’s not what gamers are receiving with PSN and Xbox Live because despite pre-launch hype, barely any PS4 and Xbox One titles are running on dedicated servers (don’t tell me they are running on dedicated servers. Seriously, try to find a list of current gen games running on dedicated servers) which is where the money subscribers are paying should be invested. You aren’t getting the better online experience and PC gamers are getting better for free, so basically, you are paying for the sake of paying and in return, you receive the privilege of experiencing online multiplayer through P-to-P. Congratulations. Even with all that in mind, here’s the kicker. What you need to understand is that Sony and Microsoft do not provide servers for 3rd party games. Sony and Microsoft only deal with servers for their own exclusive titles. It’s up to publishers to provide the servers for their games. The network, whether it be PSN or Xbox Live, is simply the platform for which these servers run. It’s the connecting piece. It’s the platform for multiplayer. Obviously the publisher has to pay for servers. It’s not like Activision can just force Sony to cover the multiplayer costs for Call of Duty when it isn’t their own game. This means server costs for games are paid for by the publisher, not Microsoft or Sony. The publisher pays for the servers using the money they received from game sales, not from your subscription. This means the money you pay for online multiplayer access goes straight to the console manufacturer’s pocket for doing nothing and that’s the aforementioned inherent issue that can never really be resolved. This whole “I get better connections†spiel has to stop because gamers cannot just get a better connection on P-to-P depending on the network. The money you pay for PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold does not secure you better connections or dedicated servers. It’s merely there because Microsoft proved over the past decade that people will willingly pay for online multiplayer and damage control P-to-P, claiming they have better connections online because they paid money. That’s what Xbox fanboys have been claiming for years. Honestly, who could blame Sony for jumping on the bandwagon when Microsoft have been profiting from this behavior since the original Xbox? Hell, who can even blame Microsoft for profiting off idiots willing to pay, a lot of money per year I might add, for nothing. You are almost literally paying for nothing and now can you do? Two of the three consoles require a subscription for online multiplayer, damn near every game has multiplayer and nobody wants to buy a game and have content barred from them because they don’t pay a subscription, so you basically need to have Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus to access major gameplay features. Thanks to thick idiots happily paying for nothing for years, now everybody is getting fucked over for a subscription they should not be forced to own. Online multiplayer is a fundamental component of a game and fundamental game components should always be available to the player for free. You should not have to pay to play online multiplayer. To conclude, I’ll finish with one final statement addressed to those looking to damage control paying for online multiplayer. Console fanboys, if you believe that gamers need to pay a console manufacturer in order to get the best online experience, how come PC gamers get a better online experience than you for free? No answer? Exactly.
  17. If there's one thing Old Man Empire taught us, it's never to meddle with a sociopathic whale. And he was gnarly seafarer with kippers for hands and a pipe permanently clenched between the two remaining gnashers he hadn't had prised from his face by a kraken off the Cape of Good Hope. Sadly the crew of The Essex, a similarly salty bunch, never met the kipper-fingered seafarer or had the chance to heed his sage advice. This new trailer for Ron Howard's In The Heart Of The Sealays bare the terrible consequences. Adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick’s Moby Dick origin story of the same name, Howard’s sea movie relays the misadventures of a whaling expedition led by Captain George Pollard, Jr. (Benjamin Walker) and first mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) after it comes out second best in an encounter with an angry sperm whale mid-ocean. Being adrift in small boats in the Pacific is something of a cinematic trend at the moment –Unbroken and Kon-Tiki also capture that “oh shit†moment when the wind drops and you’re suddenly 4000 miles from land with only a flying fish to gnaw on – but this one takes us to new and terrifying places. The South American landmass is still some distance when the food starts to run out... Howard’s strong cast also boasts Michelle Fairley, Charlotte Riley, Jordi Molla, Tom Holland, Sam Keeley and Cillian Murphy among those who either set sail or must deal with the aftermath. In The Heart Of The Sea drops anchor on March 13.
  18. The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death is almost upon us, and should you need a refresher on the mythology, Hammer have just released this handsome motion comic as a primer. Jeremy Irvine, who plays mysterious airman Harry in the follow-up to James Watkins' 2012 original, narrates the terrible tale of Jennet Humfrye and Alice Drablow... The new film takes place decades after Daniel Radcliffe’s ill-fated visit to Eel Marsh House. The Second World War is raging in Europe, and teachers Eve (Phoebe Fox) and Jean (Helen McRory) have been tasked with evacuating a dozen Blitz orphans from London to the isolated North-Eastern coastal village of Crythin Gifford, and specifically to that isolated house on the causeway, uninhabited for years apart from the malevolent shade of a certain Jenette Humfrye stalking its hallways. Also new to the area is RAF bomber pilot Harry (Irvine), posted not far from the teachers and the children. But he has a secret... Tom Harper (Peaky Blinders) is the director, working from a screenplay by Jon Croker. The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death is out in the UK on January 1.
  19. Though it was initially thought that American Sniper might generate some fresh awards chatter around Bradley Cooper, who threw himself into the central role, so far the film, about US Navy SEAL shooter Chris Kyle has largely picked up only a couple of gongs – and those either for the film or director Clint Eastwood. Still, the reviews from the US have been mostly positive. The latest trailer is online. Jason Hall adapted Navy SEAL Kyle’s book, subtitled The Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper In US Military History. That recorded Kyle’s career as a Texas-born shooter who notched the highest number of recorded kills for an American. But his dedication to his sights and his SEAL mates has an impact on his relationship with his wife (Sienna Miller), especially when he returns home to the States suffering what is eventually diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder. And, as the story explores, it impacted some of his fellow vets even more profoundly... American Sniper will be out here on January 16.
  20. Pew study says online gaming is less welcoming to women than online dating sites, social networking channels, and comments sections. The Pew Research Center has released a new study about online harassment, and among the findings is that, of major online environments, gaming is the least welcoming for women. The study surveyed around 3,000 Internet users (both male and female), and only 3 percent of respondents said that online gaming was more welcoming toward women, compared to 44 percent who felt it was more welcoming toward men. "Most online environments are seen as equally welcoming toward men and women; the exception is online gaming," Pew wrote. Other online environments featured in the study included online dating sites/apps, social networking sites/apps, comments sections, and online discussion sites. You can see how the online gaming category compares to the others in the chart below. Pew also shared some of the responses that participants provided in the open-ended question section of the survey. Harassment through online gaming mostly was attributed to "sore losers" and name-calling, the research group said, adding that "many" respondents "easily brushed off the negativity." Below are some of the responses that Pew shared: "Someone was a sore loser in an online game and hurled threats and insults." "Nothing bad just someone didn't like how I was playing a game. The good thing is, on the computer, you can just leave!" "When someone is losing a game, the opponent will abruptly leave but not without calling me or others a vulgar name or comment." "A standard bully-type came into a video game broadcast that a friend of mine and I run and made offensive comments at the two of us, mostly referring to our breasts." "This happens too regularly in online games to remember a specific occurrence." This study comes as the topic of women in gaming has made headlines of late. Over the summer,Assassin's Creed publisher Ubisoft caught flak for its explanation as to why Assassin's Creed Unity has no playable female characters, while Magicka publisher Paradox said the industry should not shy away from talking about the topic. On top of that, another new study showed that the percentage of female game developers has more than doubled since 2009 to 22 percent, according to the latest data. In terms of the bigger picture, the Pew study found that 73 percent of adult Internet users have witnessed someone being harassed in some way, while 40 percent have personally experienced harassment. You can read the full report at Pew's website here. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  21. Tougher new laws outlined by Justice Secretary; "These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life." Feminist essayist Anita Sarkeesian has been subjected to online abuse for monthsPeople who abuse and harass others online could face up to two years in prison, if tough new measures are introduced in the UK. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling proposed the new laws in a Mail on Sunday article, claiming he would "take a stand against a baying cyber-mob." If enacted, the changes would allow sentencing of internet trolls to be taken to crown court, where the maximum penalty would be two years imprisonment. Under existing law, the maximum sentence for internet trolling is six months. The proposals were outlined amid regular attacks on celebrities and public figures via social media. Though Mr Grayling was speaking generally about online abuse, his comments also come in the wake of a protracted two-month abuse campaign against female game critics and developers. "These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life," Mr Grayling wrote. "No-one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence." Rape threats were made against the model Chloe Madeley last week, apparently in response to comments by her mother, Judy Finnigan, who spoke out against about the convicted rapist Ched Evans. "As the terrible case of Chloe Madeley showed last week, people are being abused online in the most crude and degrading fashion," Grayling added. ‘This is a law to combat cruelty – and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob. We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years." Within the games community, the feminist essayist Anita Sarkeesian has been subject of sustained abusefrom her detractors. She has previously had to vacate her home following death threats, and on at least two occasions there have been threats of bombings and massacres made against event organisers who have advertised her attendance. Other female games industry figures, such as Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn, have also been subjected to death threats. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  22. Harassment and abuse in games culture. We won't stand for it. In recent weeks, an increasingly fervent debate has raged online about video games. Some of this debate has focused on ethics in game journalism, but some of it has consisted of vicious and abhorrent attacks on individuals and groups within gaming, particularly on those calling for a more open and inclusive games industry. The GameSpot team is made up of a diverse group of passionate gamers who care deeply about the future of this medium. We have had many discussions internally over the last week about what should be said on behalf of the site staff regarding the recent events in the industry, and we felt it was important to release a short statement to make it very clear where we stand. Over its 18 years of existence, GameSpot has often commented on the cultural impact of gaming as the medium rapidly rose in popularity and significance. At the same time, GameSpot has always remained focused on one key thing: video games. We want this site to be a celebration of the medium, a great place to discover and discuss video games, and an inclusive place where any game fan should be able to share his or her voice. Although we consider any debate dealing with game journalism ethics to be vitally important, we do not condone any actions that are meant to harass, bully, or intimidate others. We also refuse to give oxygen to a disturbing minority who seek to use this debate as an excuse for their own appalling actions. We believe that gaming has a bright, inclusive future ahead of it, and the industry is strong and diverse enough to accommodate games and gamers of all types. However, the medium that all of us care for so much will only grow as long as we continue to treat people who make, play, and talk about video games with respect. Our own belief is that actions speak louder than words. We choose to lead by example — through the content we create, the staff we hire and the way we conduct ourselves — and to not feed the grotesque and appalling behaviour of some individuals. We are not planning further comment on this, but note that we will continue to reinforce our site’s zero tolerance policy for anything constituting harassment of our users, our staff, or indeed, anyone else, for doing nothing more than sharing an opinion or being different. NOTE: We've been having some issues with the comment system below. Feel free to discuss this over in Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  23. [uPDATE] After a few hours of outage, Sony's PlayStation Network service is now back online. [UPDATE] After going offline for a few hours, Sony's online service is now functional again, according to thePlayStation support page. Just a few days after it was taken down for routine maintenance, the PlayStation Network is again offline, this time due to some unspecified problems. The PSN status page on PlayStation's support website currently says the service is offline. It also offers a pretty standard, detail-light message to fans. "PSN is currently offline, and we are hard at work to resume service," it states. "At this time an estimate as to when PSN will be online is unavailable; however, we will update this article as soon as there's additional information. If you would like to receive a notice when PSN is fully restored, be sure to follow the official PlayStation Twitter account and our support Twitter account, @AskPlayStation." That Twitter support account sent out a tweet this afternoon informing users of the issues, and it, too, offered very little in the way of specifics: "We're aware some of you are unable to connect to the PSN. Thanks for your patience as we investigate." PSN was offline earlier this month in both North America and Europe. This followed downtime in August, which a group of hackers took credit for along with attacks on servers for, League of Legends, and other games. We contacted Sony regarding the downtime and were referred to the tweet referenced above. We'll report back with any additional updates we receive on PSN's status. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  24. Evolution Studios has deployed a new game update and server upgrades in a bid to ameliorate the connection woes. Driveclub developer Evolution Studios is "working around the clock" to fix online issues for the PlayStation 4 racing game, which was released nine days ago and is still facing problems. In a statement posted to the game's Facebook page, Evolution wrote that it's now deploying a new game update--alongside server upgrades--that should help improve server performance, as well as clubs and multiplayer functionality. "We are working around the clock to improve connectivity and will keep you informed as we continue to make progress" -- Evolution In addition, Evolution said it is "running essential diagnostics" periodically that should help the studio improve network performance. However, these tests "may disrupt online play," Evolution cautioned, noting that "this will be kept to a minimum." "We're glad that more of you are getting to play online but we are sorry that many players are still having a hard time getting connected," Evolution said. "We are working around the clock to improve connectivity and will keep you informed as we continue to make progress." Earlier this week, Evolution said that its "continual upgrades" to Driveclub's servers are "building a steady increase in performance," in turn allowing more and more players to connect. Driveclub's server woes were not anticipated. Game director Paul Rustchynsky said that he "had confidence" the game's release would go smoothly, based on performance testing held prior to launch. In the wake of Driveclub's launch woes, the studio has not ruled out compensating those affected by the connection problems. For more on Driveclub, check out GameSpot's review and what other critics are saying. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  25. "In order for us to invest in growth areas at Turbine, we have to eliminate some positions." Lord of the Rings Online and Infinite Crisis developer Turbine Inc. has eliminated an unspecified number of positions in what the Boston-area studio calls a routine move. The studio, owned by media giant Warner Bros., confirmed the layoffs in a statement. "As part of our normal business process, we're routinely looking at the strategic alignment of our company," a representative told Massively. "Unfortunately, in order for us to invest in growth areas at Turbine, we have to eliminate some positions. These are always tough decisions, which we don't approach lightly, but it's crucial that Turbine is structured in a way that reflects the current and coming marketplace." Lord of the Rings Online launched in 2007, and adopted a free-to-play model in 2010. The game has welcomed a bevy of post-release expansions, the most recent of which was 2013's Helm's Deep. Founded in 1994, Turbine Inc. was acquired by Warner Bros. in 2010. It is one of the Boston area's biggest studios. Others include Rockstar New England (Bully, Grand Theft Auto V), Harmonix (Rock Band, Dance Central), and Demiurge (Shoot Many Robots, Mass Effect for PC). BioShock creator Irrational Games is also located in the Boston area, but it effectively closed earlier this year. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post