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Found 6 results

  1. The Ultimate Ebook Library, TUEBL, is taking countermeasures against anti-piracy company MUSO for continued abuse of its DMCA takedown process. The ebook site is demanding the payment of a $150 fine, while threatening to ban MUSO's IP-addresses and restore previously removed books if the company fails to comply. Like many other Internet-based services, The Ultimate Ebook Library (TUEBL) has to process numerous takedown requests to make sure that pirated content is swiftly removed from the site. Unfortunately, not all requests they receive are legitimate. According to TUEBL there’s one company that stands out negatively, and that’s the London-based outfit MUSO. When browsing through the takedown notices TUEBL founder Travis McCrea stumbled upon several automated requests that were submitted by MUSO, each listing inaccurate information. The takedown notices were not merely incorrect, according to McCrea. They also circumvented the site’s CAPTCHA system, which is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This isn’t the first time TUEBL has noticed problems with MUSO’s takedown tactics. The company previously tried to remove several legitimately hosted titles, including a Creative Commons licensed book by Cory Doctorow. “A year ago, after another issue where they were sending requests without any of the required information, they had filed a wrongful DMCA request for one of our featured authors Laurel Russwurm, and we sent them a warning,†McCrea tells TF. “They further used our system to send a DMCA request for a book by Cory Doctorow. At that time we sent them an $150 invoice for our time reverting their improper DMCA request. When they didn’t reply, we let it slide… not wanting to make waves.†MUSO never paid the $150 ‘fine’ and TUEBL initially let them get away with that. But after the recent mistakes McCrea decided that enough is enough. On Sunday evening TUEBL sent the anti-piracy company an ultimatum. If MUSO fails to pay up, the company will be banned from sending further notices. In addition, hundreds of previously removed books will be restored. “Today we are going to insist that your $150 fine be paid, or we will cut off all MUSO IP addresses, computers, and/or servers from accessing our DMCA page. Emailed requests will also be rejected as SPAM and all requests to be removed will have to come directly from the copyright holder instead of MUSO,†TUEBL wrote to the company. MUSO has until 10PM PST today to respond, but thus far TUEBL hasn’t received a reply. The ebook library is still holding out for a peaceful resolution, but as the hours pass by this becomes less likely. Despite the current problems, TUEBL’s founder says that the site respects copyright and notes that the amount of infringing material on its server is less than one percent of all books. However, wrongful takedown notices are making it harder to keep the site clean. “DMCA abuse is a real threat to not only community websites like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and our own… but it also makes it more difficult to successfully process legitimate DMCA requests by authors who have had their copyright violated,†McCrea says. “We have decided to fight this, not in spite of authors and their rights regarding their work, but rather to protect authors and to ensure our automated system remains open for them to use for the rare cases that copyrighted material make it onto our site,†he adds. TF contacted MUSO for a comment on the allegations, but we haven’t heard back from the company at the time of publication.
  2. Six websites setup as "fan pages" to the popular Popcorn Time software have been shut down by anti-piracy group BREIN. All reportedly reached a financial settlement with the Dutch group and currently display a notice advising against the use of the so-called "Netflix for Pirates". Released in the first quarter of 2014, any minute now Popcorn Time will celebrate its one year anniversary. It’s been a roller-coaster ride for the various forks of the project after generating hundreds of headlines between them. Needless to say, many have focused on how the project provides sleek access to unauthorized content. Predictably that ease of use has proven most popular in the United States but interestingly Popcorn Time also proved itself a disproportionate hit in the Netherlands. Last September one fork reported 1.3 million installs in a population of just 17 million. No surprise then that Popcorn Time has appeared on the radar of Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. The Hollywood-affiliated group has been relatively quiet in recent months but is now reporting action aimed at stemming the flow of users to the popular torrent streaming application. Denouncing Popcorn Time as an “illegal serviceâ€, BREIN reports that it has recently shut down “six Dutch Popcorn Time sites†and reached a settlement with their operators. BREIN usually keeps the names of shuttered sites a closely guarded secret, but on this occasion has chosen to name four out of the six.,, and are now non-operational and currently display the warning message below as per their agreement with BREIN. This site has been removed by the BREIN foundation for propagating Popcorn Time Software. Popcorn Time encourages illegal use and uses an illegal online supply of films and television series. WARNING: Popcorn Time software uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology allowing users to both up – and download. Streaming, uploading and downloading of illegal content is prohibited by law and will therefore result in liability for the damages caused. NOTE: Uploading is illegal and causes greater damage than a single download. SUPPORT CREATIVITY: Go to and see where you can legally download and stream. According BREIN each site operator also agreed to pay a financial penalty relative to the circumstances of his or her case, but the big question is just how important these sites were. The answer in all cases is “not veryâ€. Firstly, none of the sites were affiliated in any way with either of the current large forks located at and None hosted the software either, instead preferring to link to their official sources. “We are not a part or makers of Popcorn Time. This is just a fansite. Not hosting content, merely linking to files hosted elsewhere,†an archive copy of reads. “ is a fanpage Popcorn Time,†that site declared before being targeted by BREIN. “ hosts no downloads of Popcorn Time on its server. has no links with the developers and designers of Popcorn Time.†None of the sites were particularly popular either. Alexa currently scores as the most visited of the bunch with a global rank of 205,405 and 3,215 in the Netherlands. is the least visited and ranked the 1.84 millionth most popular site in the world. Nevertheless, BREIN is warning that it will continue to take local “Popcorn Time sites†offline. Legal proceedings could be initiated against those who fail to comply and the anti-piracy group isn’t ruling out criminal referrals either. “For Popcorn-Time sites that entrench themselves in foreign countries including the illegal torrent sites which are used, BREIN cooperates with similar national and international organizations,†the group warns. Considering the Netflix-related news that broke mid-January, it was almost inevitable that BREIN wouldn’t wait long before positioning itself against Popcorn Time. In a letter to the company’s shareholders, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings specifically highlighted the Popcorn Time ‘problem’ in the Netherlands, describing the app’s popularity in the country as “soberingâ€.
  3. An anti-piracy outfit working on behalf of porn studios has surprised 'pirate' students with demands for cash. The University of California passed on the $300 threats from CEG TEK alongside suggestions to pay up, but advice given by a campus computer science professor could put even more people at risk. For more than a decade copyright holders have been sending out warnings and threats to people they believe have downloaded and shared content without permission. In 2015 the practice is now at unprecedented levels. While some might agree that targeting student pirates is fair game, it can cause issues. The RIAA got the ball rolling more than ten years ago but abandoned the practice amid public outcry – and after having new laws passed which compel educational establishments to deal with the issue or lose funding. But while receiving a notice about an unauthorized music download is one thing, receiving a threat over porn downloads is something entirely different. Nevertheless, students are now receiving cash demands from anti-piracy companies acting on behalf of the adult industry which include the titles of the movies allegedly downloaded. Two such cases have just been documented by the University of California in Santa Barbara. The University reports that the Associated Students Legal Resources Centerreceived two cases inside a week after students were sent threats by anti-piracy outfit CEG TEK via the University’s Information Technology Office and Cox Communications. The threats included demands for $300, which AS Legal Resource Center attorney Robin Unander told the University’s Daily Nexus were deterrent amounts and not designed to be compensation. “Right now it seems that the intent from CEG Tek is to make aware to students to stop,†Unander said. Sadly, Unander is seems unaware of CEG Tek’s business model. The outfit regularly demands much higher sums, up to several thousand dollars, and is very clear that payments are to be made to avoid legal action. Unander also advises students who are caught by CEG TEK to comply with the cash demands but CEG TEK have no history of ever carrying a threat through to its conclusion. Indeed, the company has no idea who they are targeting since their threats are forwarded by ISPs to users and only they know the identity of the recipient. But while the advice given above may be a little wide of the mark, comments made by UCSB computer science professor Giovanni Vigna are of greater concern. From the Daily Nexus: Computer science professor Giovanni Vigna said he thinks the students who allegedly downloaded the porn illegally made their usage easy to track by using a website like, which makes it accessible for anyone, including anti-piracy firms, to see what they have downloaded Of course, certainly isn’t offering porn downloads to anyone but it’s the subsequent advice that raises the biggest alarm. Things start off well, however. “If people use well-known content distribution networks, those users can be easily tracked,†Vigna said. Fair enough, but then Vigna suggests that if BitTorrent users only download and don’t continue to seed once the file is complete, they wouldn’t have received a threat. “After [students have] downloaded, they make [the files] available to the rest of the world and they usually raise a sort of alarm. If they would have probably taken the porn and movies out of their disk right away, they probably wouldn’t have been targeted,†Vigna said. The advice is poor. What many BitTorrent users don’t appreciate is that anti-piracy companies monitor torrents of their clients’ content all the time and they don’t care whether users have some or all of the file. Once people start participating in a swarm, whether that’s downloading, uploading or both (such is the nature of BitTorrent) they can and will be tracked by companies such as CEG TEK. While it’s now clear that the University of California forwards CEG TEK cash demands to students, they’re not the only ones. According to the Cashman Law Firm, Rice University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Stanford University, University of Michigan, Wisconsin University and the University of Alaska all comply with the company’s requests. Finally, other anti-piracy companies see an alternative solution to the problem of campus file-sharing. Yesterday digital fingerprinting company Audible Magic debuted a new version of its CopySense system. CopySense can monitor campus networks for users attempting to download and share content on peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent. Using a built-in database of digital fingerprints of music and movies, CopySense is able to detect attempts by users to download or share infringing content. They are then directed to a landing page informing them of the University’s network policies. “Sharing of non-copyrighted files on P2P networks is ignored, thus allowing the campus to embrace and allow P2P file sharing for non-infringing uses,†the company says. While that will be some comfort to users, the fact that everything they do is being spied on by Audible Magic will probably not.
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  5. The effects of a DDoS attack that crippled NYAA, one of the largest anime torrent sites, continue today with fingers being pointed at everyone from the Japanese government to an anti-piracy group working with anime distributors. Subtitling site HorribleSubs, which was also affected, has its own ideas. Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attacks are a relatively common occurrence in the file-sharing community and something that many sites are subjected tothroughout the course of a year. They disrupt service and can often cost money to mitigate. Those carrying out the attacks have a variety of motives, from extortion and blackmail to “the lulz“, and a dozen reasons in between. Often the reasons are never discovered. During the past few days several sites involved in the unauthorized sharing of anime have been targeted by DDoS-style attacks. Swaps24 reported that Haruhichan, Tokyo Toshokan and AnimeTake were under assault from assailants unknown, although all now appear to be back online. A far more serious situation has played out at, however. The site is probably the largest public dedicated anime torrent index around and after being hit with an attack last weekend it remains offline today. The attack on NYAA had wider effects too. NYAA and leading fan-subbing site HorribleSubs reportedly shared the same hosting infrastructure so the DDoS attack took down both sites. That’s significant, not least since at the end of August HorribleSubs reported that their titles had been downloaded half a billion times. As the image above shows it now appears that HorribleSubs has recovered (andadded torrent magnet links) but the same cannot be said about NYAA. The site’s extended downtime continues with no apparent end in sight. This has resulted in a backlash from the site’s fans and somewhat inevitably accusatory fingers are being pointed at potential DDoS suspects. As far-fetched as it might sound, one of the early suspects was the Japanese government itself. The launch of a brand new anti-piracy campaign last month in partnership with 15 producers certainly provided a motive, but a nation carrying out this kind of assault seems unlikely in the extreme. Quickly, however, an announcement from HorribleSubs turned attentions elsewhere. “Chill down. It’s not just us. Every famous anime sites [are] getting DDoS attacks, but that doesn’t mean this is the end,†the site’s operator wrote on Facebook. “We have located where DDoS are coming from. It’s from ‪#‎Crunchyroll‬ and ‪#‎Funimation‬ Employees.†Funimation is an US television and film production company best known for its distribution of anime while Crunchyroll is a website and community focused on, among other things, Asian anime and manga. While both could at least have a motive to carry out a DDoS, no evidence has been produced to back up the HorribleSubs claims. That said, HorribleSubs admits that its key motivation is to annoy Crunchyroll. “We do not translate our own shows because we rip from Crunchyroll, FUNimation, Hulu, The Anime Network, Niconico, and Daisuki,†the site’s about page reads, adding: “We aren’t doing this for e-penis but for the sole reason of pissing off Crunchyroll.†Shortly after, attention turned to anti-piracy outfit Remove Your Media (RYM). The company works with anime companies Funimation and Viz Media, which includes the sending of millions of DMCA notices to Google. The spark came when the company published a tweet (now removed) which threatened to send “thousands†of warning letters to NYAA users once the site was back online. This doesn’t seem like an idle threat. A few weeks ago the company posted a screenshot on Twitter containing an unredacted list of Comcast, Charter and CenturyLink IP addresses said to have been monitored infringing copyright. Due to the NYAA downtime, RYM later indicated it had switched to warning users of This involvement with anime companies combined with the warning notice statement led to DDoS accusations being directed at RYM. TorrentFreak spoke to the company’s Eric Green and asked if they knew anything about the attacks. “The short answer is No. In fact we were waiting for [NYAA] to go back online to begin monitoring illegal transfers again. Sorry to disappoint but we had no involvement,†Green told TF. Just a couple of hours ago RYM made a new announcement on Twitter, stating that the original tweet had been removed due to false accusations. “Nyaa post deleted due to all the Ddos libel directed at this account. Infringement notices continue to ISPs, for piracy, regardless of tracker,†they conclude. Although it’s impossible to say who is behind the attacks, it does seem improbable that an anti-piracy company getting paid to send notices would do something that is a) seriously illegal and b) counter-productive to getting paid for sending notices. That said, it seems likely that someone who doesn’t appreciate unofficial anime sites operating smoothly is behind the attack. Who that might be will remain a mystery, at least for now.
  6. Piracy monetization service Rightscorp has provided investors with details of its end game with cooperative ISPs. Initially service providers are asked to forward notices to subscribers with requests for $20.00 settlements, but the eventual plan is to hijack the browsers of alleged pirates until they've actually paid up. Many rightsholders around the world are looking for ways to cut down on Internet piracy and US-based Rightscorp thinks it has an attractive solution. The company monitors BitTorrent networks for infringement, links IP addresses to ISPs, and then asks those service providers to forward DMCA-style notices to errant subscribers. Those notices have a sting in the tail in the shape of a $20 settlement demand to make supposed lawsuits go away. The company says 75,000 cases have been settled so far with copyright holders picking up $10 from each. Earlier this year the company reported that its operation cost $2,134,843 to run in 2013, yet it brought in just $324,016, a shortfall of more than $1.8 million. With the second quarter of 2014 now in the bag, Rightscorp has been reporting again to investors. TorrentFreak has seen a transcript of an August 13 conference call which contains some interesting facts. In pure revenue terms the company appears to be doing better, $440,414 during the first six months of 2014. However, operating costs were $1.8m compared to $771,766 in the same period last year. Bottom line – the company lost $1.4m in the first six months of 2014. Still, Rightscorp is pushing on. It now represents the entire BMG catalog, plus artists belonging to the Royalty Network such as Beyonce, Calvin Harris and Kanye West. And, as previously reported, it’s now working with 140 ISPs, some of which are apparently disconnecting repeat infringers. Interestingly, and despite the ISP removing settlement demands from infringement notices, Comcast subscribers are apparently handing cash over to Rightscorp too. How this is being achieved wasn’t made clear. What is clear is that Rightscorp is determined to go after “Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cable Vision and one more†in order to “get all of them compliant†(i.e forwarding settlement demands). The company predicts that more details on the strategy will develop in the fall, but comments from COO & CTO Robert Steele hint on how that might be achieved. “So we start in the beginning of the ISP relationship by demanding the forwarding of notices and the terminations,†Steele told investors. “But where we want to end up with our scalable copyright system is where it’s not about termination, it’s about compelling the user to make the payment so that they can get back to browsing the web.†Steele says the trick lies in the ability of ISPs to bring a complete halt to their subscribers’ Internet browsing activities. “So every ISP has this ability to put up a redirect page. So that’s the goal,†he explained. “[What] we really want to do is move away from termination and move to what’s called a hard redirect, like, when you go into a hotel and you have to put your room number in order to get past the browser and get on to browsing the web.†The idea that mere allegations from an anti-piracy company could bring a complete halt to an entire household or business Internet connection until a fine is paid is less like a “piracy speeding ticket†and more like a “piracy wheel clampâ€, one that costs $20 to have removed. Except that very rarely are Rightscorp looking for just $20. According to comments Steele made to investors, “very few†people targeted by his company pay a fine of just $20, even though that’s what most of them believe to be the case after Googling the company. “[For] most people, piracy is a lifestyle, and so most people are getting multiple notices,†Steele explained. “So we’re closing cases everyday for $300, $400, $500 because people got multiple notices.†One of the ways Rightscorp achieves these inflated settlements is by having a headline settlement fee of $20, but not applying that to a full album. By charging $20 for each and every album track, costs begin to climb. So, while someone receiving an initial infringement notice might think the matter can be solved by paying $20, after contacting the company they realize the matter is much more serious than first believed. At this point the company knows the name and address of the target, something they didn’t initially know. Now the pressure is really on to settle. Finally, we come to the question of success rates. We know that 75,000 cases have been settled overall, but how many people have simply ignored Rightscorp notices and moved on. One investor indirectly asked that question, but without luck. “At the moment we consider that trade secret,†Steele said.