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Voltage Pictures, the company behind the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker movie, must pay $21,557 to expose 2,000 alleged pirates. Canada's Federal Court ruled on the long running dispute between the movie studio and Internet provider Teksavvy this week, a decision that's crucial for future 'copyright trolling' efforts. More than two years ago movie studio Voltage Pictures took its legal crusade against pirating BitTorrent users to Canada. After targeting tens of thousands of people in the US, the company hoped to expose 2,000 Internet subscribers of Canadian ISP TekSavvy. The studio behind â€œThe Hurt Lockerâ€ argued that they have a solid case under the Copyright Act. The efforts led to objections from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) who demanded safeguards so Voltage wouldnâ€™t demand hefty fines from subscribers without oversight. The court agreed on this, but allowed the customers to be exposed. The only matter that remained were the costs associated with identifying the alleged pirates. According to Voltage these would only be a few hundred Canadian dollars, but Teksavvy claimed more that $350,000. This week the Federal Court ruled on the matter (pdf), settling the costs at $21,557. This includes $17,057 in technical administrative costs and $4,500 in legal fees associated with the IP-address lookups. The total sum translates to roughly $11 per IP-address, which is a tiny fraction of the thousands of dollars in settlements Voltage usually requests. The Court decided not to award any assessment costs, noting that both parties are intent on disparaging each otherâ€™s business practices. Taking claims from both sides into account it concluded that neither party should be rewarded for its conduct. â€œTekSavvy, without justification, has greatly exaggerated its claim, while Voltage has unreasonably sought to trivialize it based on unreliable and largely irrelevant evidence,â€ Judge Aronovitch writes. In the future it would be wise to agree on a fixed rate for linking IP-addresses to the personal details of subscribers before taking the matter to court, the Judge further notes. â€œThe best practice, in my view, would be for the rights holder to ascertain, in advance, with clarity and precision, the method of correlation used by the ISP, as well as the time and costs attendant on the execution of the work based, to begin, on a hypothetical number of IP addresses.â€ The verdict opens the door for more of these cases in Canada. The question is, however, whether the costs and the restrictions still make it worthwhile. University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, who followed the case closely, believes this troll-type activity may not be as financially viable as Voltage has hoped. â€œWith the cap on liability for non-commercial infringement, the further costs of litigating against individuals, the actual value of the works, and the need to obtain court approval on demand letters, it is hard to see how this is a business model that works,â€ Geist notes. Voltage, however, appears to be determined to continue its actions against the subscribers. The studioâ€™s lawyer is happy with the verdict and says the decision â€œconfirms the courtâ€™s commitment to facilitate anti-piracy and allow companies like Voltage to pursue pirates.â€ https://torrentfreak.com/exposing-canadian-pirates-costs-11-per-ip-address-150319/
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For the first time ever Google is now processing an average of one million removal requests per day. The new record follows an upward trend with copyright holders reporting more and more allegedly infringing search results in an effort to deter piracy. In the hope of steering prospective customers away from pirate sites, copyright holders are overloading Google with DMCA takedown notices. These requests have increased dramatically since Google began making the data public. A few years ago the search engine received just a few dozen takedown notices during an entire year, but today it processes millions of allegedly infringing links per week. Over the past months the number of reported URLs has continued to rise. Now, for the first time ever, Google has processed an average of more than one million URLs per day. Last week Google was asked to remove more than 7.8 million results, up more than 10% compared to the previous record a week earlier. The graph below shows the remarkable increase in requests over the past three years. To put these numbers in perspective, Google is currently asked to remove an infringing search result every 8 milliseconds, compared to one request per six days back in 2008. The massive surge in removal requests is not without controversy. Itâ€™s been reported that some notices reference pages that contain no copyrighted material, due tomistakes or abuse, but are deleted nonetheless. Google has a pretty good track record of catching these errors, but since manual review of all links is unachievable, some URLs are removed in error. Google says itâ€™s doing its best to address the concerns of copyright holders. Last year the company released a report detailing the various anti-piracy measures it uses. However, according to some industry groups the search giant can and should do more. For the RIAA the staggering amount of takedown requests only confirms the notion that the process isnâ€™t very effective. Brad Buckles, RIAA executive vice president of anti-piracy, previously suggested that Google should start banning entire domainsfrom its search results. â€œEvery day produces more results and there is no end in sight. We are using a bucket to deal with an ocean of illegal downloading,â€ Buckles said. The issue has also piqued the interest of U.S. lawmakers. Earlier this year the House Judiciary Subcommittee had a hearing on the DMCA takedown issue, and both copyright holders, Internet service providers, and other parties are examining what they can do to optimize the process. In the meantime, the number of removal requests is expected to rise and rise, with 10 million links per week being the next milestone. http://torrentfreak.com/google-asked-to-remove-1-million-pirate-links-per-day-140820/
A series of interesting piracy maps are making headlines this week. According to the data, "Cuban Fury" is the most downloaded film in Florida while "Awkward" beats Game of Thrones as most-shared TV-show in Texas. Amusing results, but are they accurate? Piracy is a hot topic, so when there are statistics to report the media is usually all over it. This week a series of intriguing maps has been doing the rounds. The data was first published by the piracy experts over at Movoto Real Estate. Based on a large sample of three million unique IP addresses collected over a period of 40 days they presented a map of the most torrented movies, TV-shows and games per state. This was quickly picked up by The Washington Post, Venturebeat and several other publications, who all shared the findings with their readers. TorrentFreak was ready to jump on the bandwagon too, but we couldnâ€™t help noticing a few odd results. What stands out immediately is that some of the most-downloaded movies in certain states are barely downloaded at all through torrent sites. â€œLa Grande Bellezzaâ€ in New Jersey, for example, or â€œCuban Furyâ€ in Florida. The same is true for â€œWitching and Bitchingâ€ which, according to the map, is very popular in Indiana and Tennessee. Are these movies really more often downloaded than blockbuster successes such as Divergent and X-Men as the map below suggests? Most pirated movies per state? The same odd results appear in the games and TV-show maps. Game of Thrones is by far the most downloaded TV-show in America, but for some reason â€œAwkwardâ€ is more popular in Texas and Louisiana. The same Louisianans also download the game â€œScribblenauts Unlimitedâ€ more frequently than popular releases such as Minecraft and Watch Dogs. Something is clearly amiss, so we took the unprecedented step of downloading the source data which is readily available. To our surprise, the maps in question donâ€™t represent the most-downloaded titles. Instead, they appear to reveal for which shows the download numbers differ the most when compared to the national average. This is completely unrelated to which movie, TV-show or game was downloaded the most. Whoops, not downloads Now back to our earlier question. Is â€œLa Grande Bellezzaâ€ really that popular in New Jersey? No, the actual data shows only 2 downloads in this stateâ€¦ Similarly, is â€œAwkwardâ€ the most pirated TV-show in Texas? Again, no, it has 232 downloads in the dataset compared to 2,554 for a single Game of Thrones episode. And we can go on and on. In fact, if we made a real map based on the actual download counts in the dataset, Game of Thrones would be the most downloaded show in each and every state, as expected. Confusingly, however, a map of the most pirated movies per state would list â€œBlood Widowâ€ on top in pretty much every state. This suggests that thereâ€™s an issue with the data itself too, as this movie is nowhere to be found in the list of most shared files on The Pirate Bay and elsewhere. The most likely explanation is that the researchers ran into a fake torrent file with bogus IP-addresses. Whatever the case, itâ€™s safe to say that the maps in question should be taken with a grain of salt, or a barrel of rum perhaps.
New tax records reveal that the Center for Copyright Information, the outfit overseeing the â€œsix strikesâ€ copyright alert system in the US, cost $3 million last year. This figure is quite substantial as it translates to roughly $2 per individual piracy warning. February last year, the MPAA, RIAA and five major U.S. Internet providers started sending copyright alerts to customers who pirate movies, TV-shows and music. Through a series of warnings suspected pirates are informed that their connections are being used to share copyrighted material without permission, and told where they can find legal alternatives. These efforts are part of the Copyright Alert System which is headed by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI). The goal of this voluntary partnership is to educate the public and point alleged pirates to legal alternatives. While itâ€™s known that the costs of the program are split between the copyright holders and Internet providers, CCI has been reluctant to share any financial details. Luckily the IRS provides some insight on this front. TorrentFreak obtained the most recent tax filing of the six-strikes outfit which covers the companyâ€™s operations between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. The document reveals that the program cost nearly $3 million during that period. To put this figure in perspective, the CCI previously reported that 1.3 million noticeswere sent out during the first 10 months. This means that the cost per notice translates to roughly $2, which is rather high. Center for Copyright Informationâ€™s Form 990 Looking at how the money is spent we see that the only paid employee, CCI Executive Director Jill Lesser, received $320,000 in compensation. Another $350,000 went to Lesserâ€™s consulting firm, JAL Consulting, which was hired as an independent contractor. The RIAAâ€™s former lobbying firm Stroz Friedberg received $420,000 for theindependent expert analysis of the evidence gathering technology behind the project. After we uncovered the RIAA ties CCI later hired a second independent expert, but the results of this do-over have yet to be published. The largest independent contractor is the Glover Park Group, who handle CCIâ€™s communication. They received more than $680,000 over the reported period. American Arbitration, who handle the appeals of people who claim to be wrongly accused, was paid $245,000 for its services. Itâ€™s worth noting that the costs for the Internet providers are higher than the amount they pay to the CCI. The ISPs also spend money on the technical setup thatâ€™s required to handle the Copyright Alerts as well as extra customer support. It will be interesting to see how these costs develop over the years. CCI previously announced that more Copyright Alerts would be sent out this year, so itâ€™s expected that the average of $2 per warning will eventually reduce. Whether the copyright holders will ever be able to recoup their investments remains to be seen. http://torrentfreak.com/six-strikes-anti-piracy-scheme-costs-3-million-per-year-140729/
For the first time, Los Angeles based anti-piracy firm CEG TEK has revealed the scope of their piracy monetization efforts. The company currently sends 1.1 million notices to U.S. ISPs per week. A massive number, but only a small percentage reaches the alleged downloaders. February last year, five U.S. Internet providers startedsending copyright alerts to customers who allegedly pirate movies, TV-shows and music. During the first year they sent out 1.3 millioneducational notices, warning account holders that their connection was used to share pirated content. However, its scope pales in comparison to what others are doing. TorrentFreak spoke with anti-piracy outfit CEG TEK, who also send out warning letters on behalf of copyright holders. However, their version comes with a sting. In addition to the traditional slap on the wrist their notices also include a settlement proposal, which can reach hundreds of dollars. These emails are sent as regular DMCA notices which the ISPs then forward to their customers. Little has been revealed about the scope of this program, but CEG TEKâ€™s Kyle Reed now informs us that in 2013 they sent out 26 million notices to U.S. based Internet providers. The volume is expected to double this year as the company currently sends out 1.1 million notices per week. Itâ€™s an impressive number, but since not all ISPs are happy with the process only a small fraction of their customers receive the settlement offer to the respective account holder. CEG TEK currently sends out requests to 3,493 Internet providers and 342 of these forward the settlement offer, which is roughly 90%. This includes many small ISPs as well as companies and universities. Some providers forward the notice but without the request for a settlement. Comcast, for example, is known to do this. While CEG TEK prefers it if providers forward the entire notice, the stripped ones are also of value to their clients. â€œThere are various levels of cooperation. Success doesnâ€™t always mean getting a settlement from an account holder. Rightsholders are also happy when they can get their anti-piracy message out there,â€ CEG TEKâ€™s Kyle Reed tells TorrentFreak. Interestingly, there are also various ISPs who donâ€™t forward anything. According to their interpretation of the DMCA they are not obliged to send the notices to their customers. â€œSeveral Internet providers donâ€™t comply at all. They simply ignore our notices,â€ Reed says. CEG TEK is not the only company to send these settlement requests as a DMCA takedown notice, Rightscorp does the same. Both companies have increased their output in recent years and major rightsholders such as Warner Bros. are in on the scheme. Itâ€™s an interesting trend, one that goes above and beyond the official Copyright Alert System. According to CEG TEK the approach is effective. The company has gathered data on how their notices influence piracy rates, which it plans to publish in the future. Whether that will be enough to make a dent in piracy rates remains to be seen though. http://torrentfreak.com/us-internet-providers-receive-1-1-million-piracy-settlements-per-week-140726/