Invite Scene - #1 to Buy, Sell, Trade or Find Free Torrent Invites!

#1 TorrentInvites Community. Buy, Sell, Trade Or Find Free Torrent Invites, For Every Private Torrent Trackers. HDBITS, PTP, BTN, MTV, EMP, EXIGO, RED, OPS, TT, BIB, TTG, MTEAM, CHDBITS, CG, TIK, KG, FSC, BB, IPT, TL, GGN, AB, U2 etc.

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'piracy'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • Invite Scene Official Information
    • Announcements
    • Suggestions and Ideas
    • Member Introductions
    • Competitions
  • Invite Scene Premium Membership
    • Make a Donation: Grab Your Premium Membership Now
  • Invite Scene VIP Giveaways & Requests
    • VIP Giveaways
    • VIP Requests
  • Invite Scene Official Store
    • Invite Scene Store: The Official Store for Private Torrent Invites
  • Invite Scene Marketplace
    • Premium Sellers Section
    • Buyer's Section
    • Trader's Section
    • Webmaster Marketplace
    • Service Offerings
    • Other Stuffs
  • Invite Scene Giveaways & Requests Section
    • Giveaways
    • Requests
  • Invite Scene Bittorrent World
    • Private Tracker News
    • BitTorrent World Discussion
    • Private Tracker Help
    • Tracker Reviews
    • Open Trackers
  • Invite Scene SeedBox Forum
    • Exclusive SeedBox Sellers Section
    • SeedBox Sellers Section
    • SeedBox Reviews
    • SeedBox Discussions
  • Making Money
    • Monetizing Techniques
    • Crypto Currency
    • Free Money Making Ebooks
  • Webmasters
    • Website Construction
  • Invite Scene General Topics
    • The Lounge
    • Movies, TV, and Videos
    • Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, and MP3
    • General PC Chat and Help
    • Security Hive
    • Guides and Tutorials
    • Gamers Hangout
    • The Graphic Design
  • Invite Scene Deal Disputes & Limitations
    • Deal Disputes
    • Archives

Categories

  • Bug Tracker
  • Suggestions Tracker

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Website URL


Google+ Hangouts


Yahoo Messenger


Skype


Discord


AIM


ICQ


Interests

Found 197 results

  1. Every day Google processes more than a million takedown requests, sent in by dozens of specialized anti-piracy outfits. While most of these companies play by the rules, some insiders believe that a few intentionally submit bogus notices to boost their numbers. Four years ago Google decided to publish detailed statistics of all the takedown notices it receives for its search engine. Since then, the number of requests have skyrocketed. The increase in notices is partly the result of their public nature, with anti-piracy groups proudly revealing how many URLs they have removed. Over the past several years TF has spoken to insiders on condition of anonymity, and several mentioned that this PR-angle is hurting the validity of the requests. Some anti-piracy outfits are more concerned with the volume of requests than their accuracy. “There are a number of automated services sending endless duplicate DMCA Notices to Google,†said ‘Jack,’ the owner of a boutique takedown company. These duplicate requests include many URLs which have been removed previously (e.g. 1, 2, 3). This means that they don’t add anything in terms of effectiveness. However, Google does add them to the overall statistics. “Consequently, anti-piracy companies can make it look like they’re doing far more work than they actually are and thus improve their business development, sales or PR story,†Jack added. Whether the duplicate notices are intentional or just the result of a shoddy system will be hard to prove conclusively. But they do stand out, together with other dubious issues that boost the numbers. Earlier this week the operator of popular MP3 search engine MP3Juices.is alerted us to an increasing number of fake notices, listing URLs that were never indexed by Google at all. Instead of finding pages in Google’s search engine they list search terms such as the following from a recent takedown request: http://mp3juices.is/search?q=Kay+One+Intro&hash=2accae5374d2477fnprt4f These search pages are not indexed by Google, so can’t be removed. Also, MP3juices generates a unique hash for each search, but in the notices the same hash is used over and over again for different search terms. This means that the search URLs are generated through a simple script instead of being the result of actual searches. In addition, the same keywords are used across different sites, as the image below shows. “MUSO is the main offender, they’re sending dynamically generated (fake) URLs created by their poorly written script. They don’t even verify if the page exists,†MP3Juices informed TF. In addition, and this is the case for many outfits, most notices sent to Google are not sent to the site which actually hosts or links to the content. “Only a minority of the notices are directly sent to us, the vast majority are sent to Google even though we remove reported URLs quicker than Google does. We also replace the page with a message encouraging users to use Amazon MP3 as a legal alternative,†MP3Juices said. MP3Juices is not happy with the bogus takedown notices and plans to report the false claims to Google, not least since Google uses the takedown numbers to downrank websites in its search results. MUSO didn’t answer any of our specific questions regarding the non-existing pages and search results, but provided a generic statement. “We analyse over 12 million pages of content daily, across thousands of different hosting, streaming, P2P or search sites,†a MUSO spokesperson said. “We are focused on providing a fast, efficient and transparent solution, and we welcome correspondence with all sites with whom we work to remove content, including MP3Juices.†https://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-outfits-boost-numbers-with-bogus-takedown-notices-150628/
  2. Several organizations including domain name registrar Namecheap are asking the public to protest a new ICANN proposal that will ban private domain name registrations. The proposal was heavily lobbied for by various copyright holder groups, who want to make it easier to expose pirate site operators. In recent months copyright holders have been increasingly pushing for changes in the domain name industry. Groups such as the MPAA and RIAA, for example, want registrars to suspend domain names of clearly infringing websites. While this is unlikely to happen on a broad scale in the near future, a new ICANN proposal may put an end to private domain name registrations for some websites. A new proposal (pdf) will no longer allow ‘commercial’ sites, which could include all domain names that run advertisements, to hide their personal details through so-called WHOIS protections services. This change is backed by copyright holder groups including the MPAA, who previously argued that it will help them to hold the operators of illegal sites responsible. “Without accurate WHOIS data, there can be no accountability, and without accountability it can be difficult to investigate and remedy issues when individuals or organizations use the Internet in illegal or inappropriate ways,†MPAA’s Alex Deacon said recently. “Ensuring this data is accurate is important not only to the MPAA and our members, but also to everyone who uses the Internet every day.†On the other side of the spectrum, the proposal has ignited protests from privacy advocates and key players in the domain name industry. Digital rights group EFF points out that copyright holders can already expose the operators of alleged infringers quite easily by obtaining a DMCA subpoena. This is something the RIAA has done already on a few occasions. EFF further warns that the new rules will expose the personal details of many people who have done nothing wrong, but may have good reasons not to have their address listed publicly. “The limited value of this change is manifestly outweighed by the risks to website owners who will suffer a higher risk of harassment, intimidation and identity theft,†EFF’s Mitch Stoltz writes. Namecheap, one of the largest domain registrars, also jumped in and sent a mass-mailing to all their customers urging them to tell ICANN not to adopt the new proposal. “No WHOIS privacy provider wants their service to be used to conceal illegal activity, and the vast majority of domain owners are not criminals. Using a WHOIS privacy service is no more suspicious than having an unlisted phone number,†Namecheap CEO Richard Kirkendall notes “These new proposed rules would wreak havoc on our right to privacy online. ICANN is moving quickly, so we should too – contact them today and tell them to respect our privacy,†he adds. ICANN is currently accepting comments from the public and Namecheap is encouraging its customers to use the Respect Our Privacy campaign site to protest the proposed changes. Of course, Namecheap has more to worry about than the privacy of its users alone. The company itself operates the Whoisguard service and earns a lot of revenue through these private registrations. Thus far most of the responses received by ICANN have come in through the special campaign site, arguing against the proposal. The commenting period closes in two weeks followed by an official report. After that, the ICANN board will still have to vote on whether or not the changes will be implemented. https://torrentfreak.com/piracy-concerns-may-soon-kill-domain-name-privacy-150625/
  3. Trading standards officers and police are carrying out a crackdown across England, Wales and Northern Ireland against those who offer pirate and counterfeit products via Facebook. Interestingly, 'pirate' Android boxes have been targeted again, not only for streaming content illegally, but also for having "dangerous" chargers. Due to their prevalence among citizens of the UK, Facebook accounts have grown out to become much more than just a place to manage social lives. For some they’re providing a great way to distribute infringing content and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the authorities. Over the past several weeks enforcement officers have raided a dozen separate locations and are still involved in 22 investigations as part of a Facebook crackdown across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Operated by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team alongside the National Markets Group (with members the BPI, Federation against Copyright Theft and the Alliance for Intellectual Property Theft) Operation Jasper is manned by officers from police and government agencies and is reportedly the largest operation of its type. It is targeted at “criminals†who exploit social media to commit “copyright theft†and sell “dangerous and counterfeit†goods. In the past several weeks officers say they have raided 12 addresses although at this stage there are no reports of any arrests. Facebook itself has also been hit, with 4,300 listings and 20 profiles removed. Authorities say they have sent more than 200 warning letters and 24 cease and desist letters to those they accuse of infringement offenses carried out on Facebook. In addition to the usual counterfeit items such as t-shirts, tablets and mobile phones, ‘pirate’ Android ‘streaming’ boxes were targeted yet again. Earlier this month police and trading standards raided addresses in the north of England in search of the movie and TV show streaming devices, making at least one arrest in the process. This time around, however, officers appear to have another string to their enforcement bow. While noting that the Android boxes in question do indeed allow the illegal streaming of movies and sports channels, authorities say they also being targeted because they are supplied with ‘unsafe’ mains chargers. Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said that his officers have taken important action, especially against those who believe they can operate anonymously online. “Operation Jasper has struck an important psychological blow against criminals who believe they can operate with impunity on social media platforms without getting caught,†Harris said. “It shows we can track them down, enter their homes, seize their goods and computers and arrest and prosecute them, even if they are operating anonymously online. I commend the National Trading Standards e-Crime team and all other parties involved in this operation.†Nick Boles, Minister at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that consumers need to be wary of consuming pirate content. “Counterfeiting and piracy of trademarked and copyrighted materials harms legitimate businesses, threatens jobs and pose a real danger to consumers. That’s why we are taking strong action to stop these criminals through the Government’s funding of the National Trading Standards E-Crime Team,†Boles said. According to the government’s latest IP Crime Report, social media has become the “channel of choice†for online ‘pirate’ activity. In the past several months several of the leading torrent sites have had issues with their Facebook accounts. The Pirate Bay’s account was shuttered in December 2014 and in May and June 2015, ExtraTorrent and RARBG had their accounts suspended on copyright infringement grounds. https://torrentfreak.com/uk-authorities-launch-facebook-piracy-crackdown-150625/
  4. Cox Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, has asked the court to order anti-piracy firm Rightscorp to hand over its tracking source code. The ISP describes the company's settlement scheme as extortion and hopes to punch a hole in its evidence gathering techniques. Piracy monetization firm Rightscorp has made quite a few headlines over the past year. The company sends infringement notices to Internet providers on behalf of various copyright holders, including Warner Bros. These notices include a settlement proposal offering alleged downloaders an option to pay off their “debt.†Not all ISPs are eager to forward these demands to their subscribers. Cox Communications, for example, labels Rightscorp’s practices as an “extortion scheme†and refuses to cooperate. As a result, several copyright holders who work with Rightscorp decided to sue the Internet provider over its inaction late last year. Cox believes that this suit is an indirect way for Rightscorp to punish the company, as it explained to the court a few days ago (pdf). “Cox refused to participate in Rightscorp’s extortion scheme,†Cox informs the court, arguing that “Rightscorp retaliated with this lawsuit.†To mount a proper defense the Internet provider has demanded insight into the evidence gathering techniques employed by Rightscorp. Thus far, however, the company has failed to produce all requested information. “Now, Rightscorp refuses to produce key categories of documents related to its core activities. Rightscorp has not produced all of its source code modules used for detection of alleged infringements,†Cox writes. Evidence as presented in a Rightscorp letter The anti-piracy company maintains that it has already handed over all source code, but Cox says it can’t locate certain elements and points out that Rightscorp has made misleading statements in the past. “Rightscorp has repeatedly represented that ‘all the code’ has been produced; yet, Cox’s expert has identified multiple components missing from the code that Rightscorp has then belatedly produced,†Cox explains. In addition, Cox tells the court that Rightscorp failed to produce other documents that deal with how the company approaches alleged copyright infringers. They include a script that is used to guide Rightscorp agents in their phone calls, a Rightscorp employee handbook, plus letter templates for Rightscorp’s communications with ISPs. With various expert reports due soon, Cox has asked the court to issue an order compelling Rightscorp to immediately hand over all missing data and documents. While Cox does not state how it will use the source code, it’s presumed that its experts will point out various flaws. For example, Rightscorp presumably lists repeated copyright infringers by IP-address, which is inaccurate since Cox regularly changes subscribers IPs. Additional details on these and other issues are expected to be revealed this summer. https://torrentfreak.com/cox-wants-rightscorps-piracy-tracking-source-code-150624/
  5. 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. https://torrentfreak.com/the-dawn-of-online-music-piracy-150620/
  6. Apps such as Popcorn Time and Android devices pre-configured for piracy allow complete novices to pirate movies, TV shows and live sports with ease. This hasn't gone unnoticed by anti-piracy outfits included FACT and BREIN, who inform TorrentFreak they plan to tackle the threat. After one and a half decades of mainstream file-sharing, millions of people now have little trouble finding and consuming unauthorized content online. For many the process is no more difficult than browsing the web but due to its technical nature the majority still find it bewildering. Then along came Popcorn Time, software that turned viewing movies into child’s play for anyone with a PC, tablet or phone. But the idea behind Popcorn Time isn’t new. Advanced users of the popular Kodi software (previously known as XBMC) have been enjoying a super-charged Popcorn Time rival for many years. However, that largely requires the mastering of an often confusing third-party addon system. Inevitably, of course, that became streamlined too. Just as Popcorn Time works out of the box, custom installations of Kodi do too. These installers make the previously complex setup process a breeze and in doing so introduce a whole new audience of novices to piracy, just like Popcorn Time has. Of course, this simplicity hasn’t gone unnoticed by anti-piracy outfits. Legal action against Popcorn Time was common in 2014 and continued in 2015. No surprise then that those peddling ‘pirate’ Kodi variants (which have nothing to do with the team behind the project) are now getting more attention. The problem is availability and ease of use. Sold pre-configured in Android set-top box form on both eBay and Amazon, the devices are essentially a one-stop shop for not only pirate movies and TV shows, but also a streaming hub for live sports and PPV. Anyone can have one of these devices delivered next day and learn how to use it in under an hour. Oh, and they run Popcorn Time too. And Showbox. As a result, piracy has never been easier and anti-piracy groups are scrambling to stem the tide. Just last week a seller of ‘pirate’ Android boxes was raided by police in the UK and just days ago Amazon overreacted by banning the entirely legal Kodi software itself, presumably after a copyright holder complaint. Other attacks have been more targeted. Last year the Federation Against Copyright Theft filed a complaint against a popular live sports plugin for Kodi known as Sports Devil. But according to FACT, this was just the beginning of their crackdown on these piracy platforms. “Those engaged in piracy have always been quick to take advantage of technological advances to create new methods to profit from delivering stolen content to a wider audience. The proliferation of IPTV and set-top boxes which can stream content is no exception,†the anti-piracy group told TF. “We are working with our members and partners in law enforcement on addressing these threats and significant measures are being taken by all parties, including online market places, to address the availability of these devices, as well as the apps and add ons that facilitate illegal streams, and bring those responsible to account.†The ‘custom Kodi’ epidemic hasn’t gone unnoticed in the Netherlands either. Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN is currently engaged in legal action against Filmspeler.nl, a seller of “fully loaded†(a euphemism for “piracy configuredâ€) Android boxes. In fact, BREIN is so serious about ending the problem that the case is being sent to the European Court of Justice so that an opinion can be gained on whether streaming from illegal sources represents a breach of EU law. If BREIN wins it won’t end the problem, but it will draw a line in the sand in terms of how such products can be advertised and sold. “We will always look at any system that is aimed at providing access to copyrighted content without consent of the right holders and by doing so is causing damage to the earning potential of right holders and licensed platforms,†BREIN chief Tim Kuik told TorrentFreak. Finally, since these devices are increasingly being targeted at the non-tech savvy, is it possible that buyers are naive to the point that they don’t appreciate their dubious legal standing? Kuik thinks not. “We see that people using such systems tend to be aware they are getting access to unauthorized content even if they don’t know how it works technically,†the BREIN chief concludes. The big question now is what comes next, and what will be the industry’s response? That will become clear in the months and years to come but rest assured, the easier piracy becomes, the more vigorous the response will be. https://torrentfreak.com/when-piracy-gets-too-easy-expect-a-big-response-150620/
  7. The MPAA is refusing to hand over documentation discussing the legal case it helped Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood build against Google. According to the Hollywood group, Google is waging a PR war against Hollywood while facilitating and profiting from piracy. Late last year leaked documents from the Sony hack revealed that the MPAA helped Mississippi State Attorney General Hood to revive SOPA-esque censorship efforts in the United States. In a retaliatory move Google sued the Attorney General, hoping to find out more about the secret effort. As part of these proceedings Google also demanded internal communication from the MPAA, but the Hollywood group has been hesitant to share these details. After several subpoenas remained largely unanswered Google took the MPAA to court earlier this month. The search giant asked a Columbia federal court to ensure that the MPAA and its law firm Jenner & Block hands over the requested documents. The MPAA and its law firm responded to the complaint this week, stressing that Google’s demands are overbroad. They reject the argument that internal discussions or communications with its members and law firm will reveal Attorney General Hood’s intent, not least due to the Attorney General not being part of these conversations himself. According to the Hollywood group, Google’s broad demands are part of a public relations war against the MPAA, one in which Google inaccurately positions itself as the victim. “Google portrays itself as the innocent victim of malicious efforts to abridge its First Amendment rights. In reality, Google is far from innocent,†the MPAA informs the federal court (pdf). The MPAA notes that Google is knowingly facilitating and profiting from distributing “illegal†content, including pirated material. “Google facilitates, and profits from, the distribution of third-party content that even Google concedes is ‘objectionable.’ ‘Objectionable’ is Google’s euphemism for ‘illegal’,†the MPAA writes. The opposition brief states that for a variety of reasons the subpoenaed documents are irrelevant to the original lawsuit and are far too broad in scope. The MPAA’s initial searches revealed that 100,000 documents would likely require review, many of which it believes are protected by attorney-client privilege. The MPAA says that Google is trying to leverage the information revealed in the Sony hack to expose the MPAA’s broader anti-piracy strategies in public, and that this is all part of an ongoing PR war. “The purpose of these Subpoenas is to gather information — beyond the information that was already stolen via the Sony hack on which it relies — on the MPAA’s strategies to protect its members’ copyrighted material and address violations of law on the Internet affecting its members’ copyrights and the rights of others,†they write. “Moreover, Google openly admits that it opposes any order to keep these discovery materials in confidence, revealing its goal to disseminate these documents publicly as part of its ongoing public relations war.†Positioning itself as the victim, the MPAA goes on to slam Google for going after anyone who “dares†to expose the search engine’s alleged facilitation of piracy and other unlawful acts. “…the most fundamental purpose of these Subpoenas is to send a message to anyone who dares to seek government redress for Google’s facilitation of unlawful conduct: If you and your attorneys exercise their First Amendment right to seek redress from a government official, Google will come after you.†In conclusion, the MPAA and its law firm ask the court to reject Google’s broad demands and stop the “abuse†of the litigation process. It’s now up to the judge to decide how to proceed, but based on the language used, the stakes at hand and the parties involved, this dispute isn’t going to blow over anytime soon. It’s more likely to blow up instead. http://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-google-assists-and-profits-from-piracy-150617/
  8. A man has pleaded guilty to costing the film industry several millions of pounds after operating websites which allowed people to view content illegally. The offenses, alleged to have taken place between 2008 and 2013 and initially denied at a hearing in February, involve websites including the now-defunct FastPassTV. In May 2011, police reported seizing £83,000 and computer equipment following a raid in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The operation was a culmination of an investigation carried out by the Hollywood-funded anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). By the end of the month more details began to emerge, with TorrentFreak sources confirming that an operator of video streaming site known as ‘FastPassTV’ had been arrested. With hundreds of thousands of daily visitors the site was a significant player in the streaming market. However, FastPassTV did not store any content of its own, instead linking to movies hosted elsewhere. “Fast Pass TV does not host, store, or distribute any of the videos listed on the site and only link to user submitted content that is freely available on the Internet,†a notice on the website read. Somewhat typically the case dragged on through the legal system and it took more than four years to come to court. However, the case was more complex than it first appeared. At his arraignment in February 2015, Paul Mahoney from Carnhill, Londonderry, was not only charged with offenses connected with FastPassTV but also BedroomMedia, a discussion and linking forum he also operated. It’s alleged that the man generated £82,390 in advertising revenue from the criminal operation of both sites. Mahoney was also charged with two further offenses of conspiring with individuals known online as ‘Hunter Grubbs’ and ‘ADigitalOrange’ to defraud the movie industry. The 28-year-old pleaded not guilty to all charges and was bailed to appear at a later date. This week, however, Mahoney was back in court with an apparent change of heart, pleading guilty to all four charges. In what’s being described as the first prosecution of its type in Northern Ireland, Mahoney was re-arraigned Monday. He pleaded guilty to a charge that between April 2008 and May 2011 he conspired with others to operate websites which allow the public to view copyrighted movies without permission from rightsholders. Mahoney also pleaded guilty to a charge of generating £82,390 in advertising revenue between April 2010 and April 2013 from this websites FastPassTV and BedroomMedia. Finally, the 28-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiring with ‘Hunter Grubbs’ and ‘ADigitalOrange’ between May 2011 and April 2013. “Paul Mahoney operated websites over a number of years which knowingly provided illegal access to thousands of films, generating significant income for himself and causing the film industry millions of pounds of loses,†Kieron Sharp, Director General of FACT, informs TorrentFreak. Unusually, however, there will be no claim for compensation. FACT hopes that Mahoney’s prosecution alone will send a clear message to others thinking of embarking on the same line of business. “Websites of this kind cause untold harm to the UK’s creative industries. We hope that this prosecution will serve as a deterrent to others engaging in this type of criminality, and look forward to Mr Mahoney’s sentencing on 25th August,†Sharp concludes. https://torrentfreak.com/man-pleads-guilty-to-costing-film-industry-millions-through-piracy-150616/
  9. A man has pleaded guilty to costing the film industry several millions of pounds after operating websites which allowed people to view content illegally. The offenses, alleged to have taken place between 2008 and 2013 and initially denied at a hearing in February, involve websites including the now-defunct FastPassTV. In May 2011, police reported seizing £83,000 and computer equipment following a raid in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The operation was a culmination of an investigation carried out by the Hollywood-funded anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). By the end of the month more details began to emerge, with TorrentFreak sources confirming that an operator of video streaming site known as ‘FastPassTV’ had been arrested. With hundreds of thousands of daily visitors the site was a significant player in the streaming market. However, FastPassTV did not store any content of its own, instead linking to movies hosted elsewhere. “Fast Pass TV does not host, store, or distribute any of the videos listed on the site and only link to user submitted content that is freely available on the Internet,†a notice on the website read. Somewhat typically the case dragged on through the legal system and it took more than four years to come to court. However, the case was more complex than it first appeared. At his arraignment in February 2015, Paul Mahoney from Carnhill, Londonderry, was not only charged with offenses connected with FastPassTV but also BedroomMedia, a discussion and linking forum he also operated. It’s alleged that the man generated £82,390 in advertising revenue from the criminal operation of both sites. Mahoney was also charged with two further offenses of conspiring with individuals known online as ‘Hunter Grubbs’ and ‘ADigitalOrange’ to defraud the movie industry. The 28-year-old pleaded not guilty to all charges and was bailed to appear at a later date. This week, however, Mahoney was back in court with an apparent change of heart, pleading guilty to all four charges. In what’s being described as the first prosecution of its type in Northern Ireland, Mahoney was re-arraigned Monday. He pleaded guilty to a charge that between April 2008 and May 2011 he conspired with others to operate websites which allow the public to view copyrighted movies without permission from rightsholders. Mahoney also pleaded guilty to a charge of generating £82,390 in advertising revenue between April 2010 and April 2013 from this websites FastPassTV and BedroomMedia. Finally, the 28-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiring with ‘Hunter Grubbs’ and ‘ADigitalOrange’ between May 2011 and April 2013. “Paul Mahoney operated websites over a number of years which knowingly provided illegal access to thousands of films, generating significant income for himself and causing the film industry millions of pounds of loses,†Kieron Sharp, Director General of FACT, informs TorrentFreak. Unusually, however, there will be no claim for compensation. FACT hopes that Mahoney’s prosecution alone will send a clear message to others thinking of embarking on the same line of business. “Websites of this kind cause untold harm to the UK’s creative industries. We hope that this prosecution will serve as a deterrent to others engaging in this type of criminality, and look forward to Mr Mahoney’s sentencing on 25th August,†Sharp concludes. https://torrentfreak.com/man-pleads-guilty-to-costing-film-industry-millions-through-piracy-150616/
  10. Amazon has removed the popular media center Kodi from the app store claiming it facilitates piracy. The software, formerly known as XBMC, doesn't link to or host any infringing content, but third-party add-ons are giving the software a bad reputation. Taking “infringing†apps out of popular app stores is one of Hollywood’s key anti-piracy priorities for the years to come. Various entertainment industry groups frequently report “piracy-enabling†apps to Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, alongside requests for the stores to take them offline. The stores themselves also screen for potentially problematic software. Apple, for example, has notoriously banned all BitTorrent related apps. Increasingly, Amazon is also policing its app marketplace for possibly infringing content. A few days ago, this led to the removal of the popular media center Kodi, previously known as XBMC. “In reviewing your app, we determined that it can be used to facilitate the piracy or illegal download of content. Any facilitation of piracy or illegal downloads is not allowed in our program,†Amazon wrote to Kodi. “Please do not resubmit this app or similar apps in the future,†Amazon’s support team added. TF spoke with XBMC Foundation board member Nathan Betzen, who was surprised to hear Amazon’s decision. In recent months the project has worked hard to distance their brand from piracy, so Amazon’s accusation is a huge disappointment. The Kodi software itself is an entirely legal media center that doesn’t come with any infringing features or content. However, there are many third-party addons that allow users to stream pirated movies and TV-shows. The Kodi team is actively pursuing infringing addons and sellers who abuse the brand, and is also trying to obtain a trademark so they can go after these piracy promoters more effectively. “Most importantly, we’re working to finalize our trademark filing. Once our trademark is registered, it becomes dramatically easier to issue takedown requests with the various organizations that provide voice for these groups advertising and selling pirate boxes,†Betzen tells TF. “We always say we don’t care what our users do with the software, and we stand by that position. But we sure do hate it when companies destroy the name of our software in order to make a profit.†For Amazon to ban the app is “absurd†according to the Kodi team, because the company is still allowing vendors to sell boxes that are giving the software this bad reputation. “I assume I don’t have to tell you how absurd it is that Amazon won’t let us into their appstore, but they have no problem selling the boxes that are pushing the reason they won’t let us into their app store,†Betzen says. Removing Kodi may also hurt Amazon in the long run, according to Betzen. The application allowed many other third-party services that are currently not on Amazon, available to Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick users. “This is a bad decision on Amazon’s part simply because Kodi is one giant reason people buy Amazon Fire TVs and Amazon Fire TV Sticks. Compatibility with our software makes for a really simple backdoor for entering the Amazon ecosystem.†“I personally have sideloaded Kodi onto Amazon sticks for a number of my family members, who then found themselves also using Amazon Prime and many other Amazon services,†he adds. Coincidentally, around the same time Amazon booted Kodi from their market, Google decided to include it in the Play Store. According to the Kodi team this is yet another reason for people to leave Amazon hardware behind. “It’s going to be extraordinarily difficult for Kodi users to justify going down the Amazon hardware path and recommending the Amazon path to others,†Betzen concludes. People who are interested in trying out Kodi’s media player, which is available on most operating systems, can head over to the official site. https://torrentfreak.com/amazon-bans-kodi-app-over-piracy-concerns-150616/
  11. As the result of a rather broadly interpreted court order, many innocent Cox Communications subscribers have been dragged into a piracy lawsuit. The account holders are involved because their current IP-addresses were used to download infringing content in the past, but some weren't even a Cox subscriber at the relevant time. Last year BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music sued Cox Communications, arguing that the ISP fails to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers. The companies, which control the publishing rights to songs by Katy Perry, The Beatles and David Bowie among others, claim that Cox has given up its DMCA safe harbor protections due to this inaction. The case revolves around the “repeat infringer†clause of the DMCA, which prescribes that Internet providers must terminate the accounts of persistent pirates. As part of the discovery process the music outfits requested details on the accounts which they caught downloading their content. In total there are 150,000 alleged pirates, but the court limited the initial disclosure to the top 250 infringing IP-addresses in the six months before the lawsuit was filed. Although the copyright holders provided time-stamps of the alleged infringements, Cox responded quite literally to the court order. This means that in addition to historical account information, they also handed over the personal details of current subscribers. In a recent court filing Cox explains the disclosure is not a mistake (pdf), and the ISP says it informed the current account holders that their information will be handed over to the music companies. In a letter informing the subscribers, Cox says that customer service is not allowed to assist them and that subscribers should contact a lawyer instead. “We regret being placed in the position of sending this letter, but want you to have every opportunity to protect your interests. We are not permitted to give you legal advice and encourage you to consult an attorney immediately,†Cox writes. Many of the current subscribers are surprised to be included and 32 have indicated that they object to having their personal data handed over. One of the subscribers asked the court to limit the scope of the order to the time-frame when the actual infringements took place, noting that he or she wasn’t even a Cox customer when the files were shared. “Cox intends to produce the personal account information of all customers assigned to the IP-addresses in question — even those who were not subscribers to Cox during the relevant time periods listed in the discovery request!†“This broad reading of the Court’s Order could drag dozens of innocent parties into this litigation,†the subscriber notes. Thus far Cox has not handed over any information related to subscriber who objected, awaiting further instructions from the court. However, the personal details of the other 216 account holders has already been disclosed. In addition to the current subscribers Cox also matched 139 historical IP-addresses to the relevant personal details. Aside from 17 customers who objected, these details were handed over as well. It’s unclear why Cox didn’t raise the issue of the current subscribers in court before disclosing their details. The information holds no value to the music companies who requested it, but is quite a burden to the account holders. The music companies previously stated that they don’t intend to sue any individual subscribers, but several are unaware of this promise and fear getting caught up in an expensive legal battle. https://torrentfreak.com/innocent-cox-subscribers-dragged-into-piracy-lawsuit-150615/
  12. The season finale of Game of Thrones has set a new piracy record, with 1.5 million downloads in eight hours, a number that will swell to over 10 million during the days to come. In addition, the episode is also on track to break the all-time record for the number of people sharing a single file at the same time. The fifth season of Game of Thrones has been the most-viewed so far, both through official channels and among pirates. With this in mind the season finale was expected to be a record breaker, and it didn’t disappoint. With the Internet abuzz over the latest plot twist and turns, many people turned to torrent sites to grab a pirated copy of the show, which appeared online shortly after the broadcast ended. Data gathered by TorrentFreak shows that during the first eight hours, the season finale has been downloaded an estimated 1.5 million times already. Never before have we seen this many downloads in such a short period of time, and last year it took half a day to reach the same number. Based on this figure, the download count is expected to increase to more than 10 million during the days to come. The lower quality 480p copies of the show remain by far the most popular among downloaders, followed by 720p and 1080p copies respectively. A brief inspection of the download locations shows that Game of Thrones pirates come from all over the world, as we’ve seen previously. The show is particularly popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and India. While HBO began warning individual downloaders earlier this year, the piracy demand appears to keep growing. In addition to the 1.5 million downloads the latest episode is also on track to beat the piracy swarm record. At the time of writing the Demonii tracker reports that 224,367 people are sharing a single torrent at the same time. 150,003 are sharing a complete copy of that particular torrent while 74,364 are still downloading. The current record stands at a quarter million active sharers, but this is usually reached later in the day. We will update this article in a few hours with an updated count. Over the past three years Game of Thrones has been the most pirated TV-show. Based on the number of downloads this season, the same result will be achieved in 2015. https://torrentfreak.com/game-of-thrones-season-finale-breaks-piracy-record-150615/
  13. Rightscorp has decided to squeeze more money from BitTorrent users it accuses of downloading Warner Bros. TV shows. In a move that's likely to be connected to the anti-piracy outfit's precarious financial position, 'fines' are being increased from $20 to $30. Interestingly, TF has also seen evidence that Rightscorp is targeting server hosting companies too. Most companies attempting to “turn piracy into profit†seek to scare ‘pirates’ by billing them for alleged downloads. These ‘fines’ can reach many thousands of dollars but companies like U.S. based Rightscorp took a decision to hit the bottom end of the market with demands of just $20 per shot. While this has attracted giants such as Warner Bros. to the fold, Rightscorp can’t seem to make money. Year after year the company expands the amount of business it’s doing, but at no point has the company been able to turn a profit, quite the opposite in fact. Just last month after the publication of its most recent financial results, TF noted that if Rightscorp is put under severe pressure it may have to increase its $20 fines to something more practical. We didn’t have to wait long. In a new notice targeting an alleged sharer of the TV show ‘Arrow’ this week, Rightscorp delivers a message from its client Warner Bros. Noting that the company understands that the recipient is likely a fan of the show, the notice warns of serious consequences. “Your ISP service could be suspended if this matter is not resolved. You could also be liable for substantial civil penalties for copyright infringement,†it reads. In all previous notices seen by TF, Rightscorp asks for $20 to make a potential lawsuit disappear. However, they’re now asking for $30 for “legal release†and the opportunity to “receive future digital content offers from [Warner Bros], should you choose to receive them.†At this stage it’s too early to assess whether this ‘pricing’ change will be applied across the board or if it will have any negative effect on the numbers of people choosing to settle. However, 50% more revenue would be welcome. During the past two years Rightscorp has reportedly closed 200,000 cases of infringement – at $30 rather than $20 each that’s a potential $2m extra in revenue. That being said, an additional factor concerns how much money Rightscorp will hand back to companies like Warner Bros. Previously a $20 ‘fine’ was split 50/50, with the content holder getting $10 and Rightscorp desperately trying (and failing) to make a profit from the remaining $10. Keeping the full $10 increase would be better news for the anti-piracy company although at current rates that alone won’t be enough for it to turn its losses around. However, help is on the horizon. Earlier this month Rightscorp announced the appointment of a new CFO. Cecil Bond Kyte will oversee capital raising and investor development with the goal of “maximizing shareholder value and strengthening the company’s balance sheet.†Finally, there are signs that Rightscorp may be expanding its targets. The company already sends hundreds of thousands of notices to household ISPs such as Charter and Comcast, but this week TF has seen evidence that at least one server hosting company has also received a ‘fine’ to pass on to a customer. “I am a web developer and recently my VPS was compromised by attackers who were using my VPS as a seedbox. Needless to say, I got a notice from my ISP [REDACTED] via a support ticket they opened,†a reader told TF. In this case Rightscorp also asked for $30 to settle a case involving a TV show but the person targeted won’t be paying the fine. Instead he quickly informed his provider that his server had been hacked and immediately had it shut down to avoid any further issues. “[Rightscorp] have no idea who I am, due to the fact that they were asking me to fill in my name, email, phone number and credit card info on their payment page! “It’s almost like knowingly jumping in a well,†our source concludes. https://torrentfreak.com/warner-bros-inflate-tv-show-piracy-fines-by-33-150614/
  14. In recent months copyright lobby groups have pressured the domain name system oversight body ICANN to take action against pirate sites. The organization is not happy with these calls and wants them to stop, making it crystal clear that they are not the Internet's piracy police. In recent years copyright holders have demanded stricter anti-piracy measures from ISPs, search engines and payment processors, with varying results. Continuing this trend, various entertainment industry groups are now going after organizations that manage and offer domain name services. The most influential organization in this industry is without a doubt ICANN, the main oversight body for the Internet’s global domain name system. Among other things, ICANN develops policies for accredited registrars to prevent abuse and illegal use of domain names. Still, various copyright groups believe that the organization isn’t doing enough. In recent months the RIAA, MPAA and other copyright industry groups have encouraged the organization to strengthen its anti-piracy policies. However, ICANN is not eager to take on the role of piracy police. Earlier this week ICANN president Fadi Chehadé noted that “everybody†is asking the organization to police content, which is a trend they hope to change. Speaking out on the issue for the first time, ICANN’s Chief Contract Compliance Officer Allen Grogan emphasizes that they are not going to police the Internet to protect copyright holders. “ICANN has no role in policing content – it’s entirely out of our scope,†Grogan informs TF. “Our mission is to coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, and in particular, to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifiers,†he adds. While various copyright lobby groups suggest that ICANN has the ability and authority to take action against pirate sites, the organization itself clearly disagrees. “ICANN was never granted, nor was it ever intended that ICANN be granted, the authority to act as a regulator of Internet content,†Grogan says. Instead of letting the domain name industry decide what is allowed and what is not, copyright holders should fight their battles in court. According to ICANN, there are sufficient means to take on infringing sites through other venues. “It’s important people understand this and direct their content complaints to the institutions that are already in place to handle these issues, such as law enforcement, regulatory agencies and judicial systems,†Grogan notes. ICANN’s comments will be a disappointment to the MPAA and RIAA, who would have preferred an easy way to target the domain names of pirate sites. For now, their best option is to go through the courts, something we’re seeing more and more often these days. https://torrentfreak.com/icann-refuses-to-play-piracy-police-150612/
  15. Speaking at Midem yesterday, Andrus Ansip of the European Commission shared his vision for the Digital Single Market. Noting that geo-blocking is bad for business, Ansip said that opening up content across borders and providing good legal options is the best way to tackle piracy. "Our legislation is pushing people to steal," he said. Last month the European Commission adopted a new Digital Single Market strategy with the aim of improving consumer access to digital goods and services. Among other things the Commission says it plans to end the “discriminatory practice†of “unjustified†geo-blocking. “I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe,†Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. Another part of the strategy is to modernize European copyright law to enable consumers to more easily enjoy online content, such as accessing content they purchased at home in other countries across the EU. Speaking at music industry event Midem in Cannes yesterday, former Estonian prime minister Andrus Ansip who serves as Vice President for the Digital Single Market shared his vision for the strategy. “Our people have to get the possibility to buy content [across Europe] like they do at home and our businesses must get the possibility to sell across the European Union like they do at home,†Ansip said. “Today, we don’t have a Digital Single Market in the European Union. We have 28 relatively small markets and for small European companies it’s practically impossible to understand those 28 different [sets of] regulations.†Ansip underlined that what is possible in the offline world must be possible in the online world and key issues must be addressed if parity is to be achieved. “Today, the four basic freedoms in the EU – free movement of people, goods, services, capital – it’s a reality in a physical [world] but it’s not reality in the online world,†Ansip said. Describing the music industry as a “pioneer†that has grown out of disruption to largely abandon geo-blocking by enabling cross-border access, Ansip addressed concerns that the EU’s plans for modernization of copyright law are something to be feared by content creators. “I don’t think people here in this room or elsewhere have to be worried. Today, I would like to enjoy [film] masterpieces created by creators. I am ready to pay but because of copyright restrictions, because of geo-blocking, they are not accepting my money,†Ansip said. “Our aim is to create a win-win situation. I would like to enjoy, I will pay, creators will get more money. This is our way. We don’t want to destroy the whole copyright system based on a principle of territoriality. We have to allow cross-border access to digital content to all people, we have to allow portability.†Ansip said there are 100 million Europeans who would like to access content in other members states but they can’t because of geo-blocking. Around 271 million cross-border trips with at least one overnight stay are carried out by Europeans each year yet those people cannot always get access to the content they bought legally back home while doing so. This is just one indication that the law needs to change, but piracy itself will be challenged. “According to public opinion polls, 68% of film viewers say they are using [illegal] downloads. 20% of Internet users in the European Union are using VPNs to get access to digital content. That’s a huge amount of money that our creators are losing today, so of course we will pay more attention to ‘Follow the Money’ [anti-piracy strategy],†Ansip said. Assuring content holders that the EU Commission is not hostile towards copyright and rightsholders, Ansip asked the Midem audience to consider the 30% of Canadian Netflix users who use a VPN to access the U.S. version of the service. “In the European Union our creators are losing huge amounts of money because of piracy but honestly, somehow our legislation is pushing people to steal,†he said. “Take Spotify, for example. We can say that if somebody is able to provide services with better quality with higher speed, then people prefer to act as honest people. They are ready to pay. They don’t want to steal.†Highlighting the success of Norway in slashing piracy rates, Ansip says that was achieved by first offering access to quality legal services. “The European Commission wants to protect the rights of creators but first we have to provide legal access to digital content to all people. Then it will be more fruitful to tackle piracy,†Ansip said. When confronted with the reality that licensed services such as Spotify and Deezer exist while piracy persists, coupled with the perception that the EU Commission isn’t exactly “pro copyrightâ€, Ansip responded enthusiastically. “I can’t agree with you! I’m talking about 68% of [film viewers who pirate] who couldn’t care about this copyright because we are not providing legal access to digital content,†he said. “Some people say that if [the EU] cares about copyright then let’s deal only with law enforcement. To put 68% of people in jail is not really a good idea. I think that reforms are really needed.†It’s clear that the debate on the Digital Single Market is far from over and while it should end up as a positive for consumers, only time will tell how cooperative rightsholders will be throughout the process. https://torrentfreak.com/eu-copyright-legislation-is-pushing-people-to-piracy-150609/
  16. The former operator of the SurfTheChannel streaming site who received a landmark four year sentence in 2012 is facing another lengthy stretch behind bars. Anton Vickerman was released in 2014 but must now pay back £73,000 his site is said to have generated in advertising. Failure to do so by June 16 will trigger a further 21 month jail sentence. Three years after its birth in 2007, SurfTheChannel.com was among the most-visited streaming link websites on the Internet. The site enjoyed more than six million visits a day from 400,000 users who were mainly looking for the latest movies and the most popular TV shows. The site soon became the focus of an MPAA investigation carried out by the UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft. As previously documented the anti-piracy groups went to extraordinary lengths to pin down site operator Anton Vickerman and present their evidence to the police. After the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service declined to take on the case, the MPAA and FACT brought a private criminal prosecution against Vickerman. Accusing him of being involved in a Conspiracy to Defraud the Movie Industry, the tactic paid off. In August 2012 Vickerman was sentenced to an unprecedented four years in jail. Following an unsuccessful appeal that was rejected a year after his conviction, Vickerman was eventually freed in August 2014. But for the MPAA the matter was from over. Just months later in December 2014, Vickerman was called before the courts again under the UK’s Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). It was argued that the money Vickerman made from the site was a proceed of crime and whatever hadn’t already been disposed of must be forfeited to the state – if any could be found. While Vickerman insisted that all of the money was long gone, police financial investigators said the former site operator had placed money not only in the UK, but also other countries including Spain, Latvia, Cyprus and Tanzania. “Vickerman moved the money he made out of the UK and into accounts around the globe, but working closely with FACT we were able to unravel his trail of bank transfers running across international borders and demonstrate to the court that six years on this convicted criminal still had access to assets worth over £73,000,†said Claudia Celentano from the City of London Police Asset Recovery Team. Following a court ruling last December which ordered Vickerman to pay back £73,055.79, the clock has been ticking for the former site operator. He now has little over a week to repay the full amount or face being thrown back into jail for a further 21 months. Surf the Channel’s Anton Vickerman In desperation, Vickerman’s family and friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to try and raise the money. “As anyone who knows [Anton] personally will tell you he is a man who has been financially ruined by the legal battle with the powers against him and is not a man who has any money. Currently he lives on a council estate in the North West of England with his fiance working multiple jobs to try and put food on the table,†the appeal reads. “This means that on June 16 [Anton] will be sent back to prison for another ten and a half months which, when added together with his first unjust sentence brings the total to a six year prison sentence [Anton] will have served for the victimless ‘crime’ of owning and running a search engine.†If Vickerman can’t raise the money by next Tuesday, he will be sent to prison. However, that still won’t be the end of the matter. The 21 month sentence (with half deducted for good behavior) will not cancel out the requirement to settle the debt. “The debt is for life and survives bankruptcy, it never goes away,†his family explain. “On release [Anton] can look forward to being regularly dragged back before the courts to explain why he hasn’t paid in full, attachment of all earnings he makes, regular visits from bailiffs to seize any goods (not that he has any now having sold everything he could to pay some of the POCA debt) and, finally, further prison sentences if the UK Government decides that the interest on the debt has risen to a level that justifies more prison time.†FACT declined to comment for this article but Director General Kieron Sharp previously thanked police for their assistance in the confiscation proceedings. “FACT would like to thank the City of London Police for their assistance in pursuing confiscation proceedings against Anton Vickerman,†Sharp said. “This private criminal prosecution produced many difficulties, not least of which was how to uncover Vickerman’s hidden criminal assets without the authorized powers of a financial investigator.â€â€‹â€‹â€‹â€‹ Whether raising such a large sum of money in a week is a realistic proposition remains to be seen, but if Vickerman is to get any closure the debt (which is subject to interest at 8% per annum) simply has to be cleared. He’s managed to reduce it by £6,000 by “selling anything he owns of value†but that still leaves £67,000. “Help us stop this never ending persecution of a man who just wants the chance to rebuild his life and start afresh,†his family concludes. https://torrentfreak.com/surfthechannel-admin-facing-jail-again-over-unpaid-piracy-debt-150608/
  17. As Netflix prepares for a long-anticipated launch into Spain this year, the company's CEO has downplayed the effect piracy could have on his service. Speaking ahead of an October debut, Reed Hastings says that after years of engaging in piracy, Spanish Internet users are better prepared for his service. For years the global entertainment industries have bemoaned the state of Spanish market. Rampant online piracy meant that the country was regularly described as a piracy haven and its Internet generation a bunch of common thieves. Struggling economy aside, part of the problem in Spain (particularly on the video front) has been the lack of decent legal alternatives. Back in August 2011, rumors spread that Netflix was about to launch in the country after successes in the U.S. and Canada, but that never came to pass. Instead, just months later Spain was told by the United States that it would end up on a trade blacklist if it didn’t reel in piracy. In the years that followed the country did what it could to comply and earlier this year ordered the blocking of The Pirate Bay. Now, four years after its first attempt at breaking into the country, Netflix has confirmed it will launch in Spain later this year. Speaking in an interview with Spanish publication El Mundo, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says he’s excited for the launch which he believes will be one of the company’s best so far. “I think Spain will be one of our most successful countries. There is a high rate of Internet connectivity and a population that is accustomed to the use of electronic commerce and that has shown signs of being interested in our product. We are very optimistic,†Hastings says. But of course, piracy is a big part of the puzzle. Tech-savvy Spaniards have a long history of using every conceivable file-sharing system to grab content, in some cases a full decade before official vendors turned up in their country. However, the Netflix CEO isn’t fazed by the piracy problem. In fact, the company probably has a lot to be grateful for. “Well, you can call it a problem, but the truth is that [piracy] has also created a public that is now used to viewing content on the Internet,†Hastings says. He has a point. Pirates certainly have a clearer idea of what to expect from an online service so for many the switch could be fairly seamless. However, Hastings believes that on the convenience front, Netflix could even beat the pirates at their own game. “We offer a simpler and more immediate alternative to finding a torrent,†Hastings says. “In Holland we had a similar situation. That too was a country with a high rate of piracy. And the same thing happened in Canada. In both countries we are a successful service.†Somewhat refreshingly (and in contrast to the claims of most entertainment companies) Netflix isn’t scared of competing against ‘free’ either. “We can think of this as the bottled water business. Tap water can be drunk and is free, but there is still a public that demands bottled water,†Hastings says. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the service set to launch in Spain later this year won’t be the ‘full fat’ version consumers elsewhere (in varying degrees) are accustomed to. There will be a lot of content, but Hastings says that subscribers should expect a line up similar to that offered previously during the launch of the service in France and Germany. “In each country we have to start with a smaller catalog and begin to expand gradually as the number of registered users grows. In the UK, for example, we now have a fairly extensive catalog of TV series and movies after three years of activity there,†Hastings explains. “Our offering is expansive in Latin America too, but it is much easier to negotiate and acquire rights when you buy for a large subscriber base as we now have in the United States.†Only time will tell if the arrival of Netflix will begin to turn the piracy tide in Spain. For a cash-strapped nation with high unemployment every penny counts, but at an expected eight euros per month, Netflix should be within reach of a significant number of households. https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-chief-piracy-prepared-internet-users-for-us-150605/
  18. The MPAA is advising the U.S. Government's Internet Policy Task Force to help combat piracy, which they say poses a great cybersecurity threat. According to Hollywood, cyber criminals use pirated content as bait, to exploit citizens through malware and other scams. The major movie studios have been fighting piracy for decades, claiming that billions of dollars in losses are at stake. Increasingly, however, Hollywood has started to bring piracy onto the political agenda by describing it as a broader cybersecurity threat. Late last week the MPAA submitted its latest call to action, responding to a Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) request to identify cybersecurity threats. In their comments the MPAA stresses that the Internet has proven to be a tremendous tool for creativity and commerce, but that there’s also a downside. “Unfortunately, criminal enterprises are also using the Internet to hack into networks and computers for the purpose of stealing valuable data-whether personally identifiable information, trade secrets, or content,†the MPAA writes. Citing an entertainment industry backed report, the Hollywood studios note that pirate sites are using infringing content as bait for various sorts of scams. “They are also using Internet ads, as well as pirated content and software or other ‘bait,’ to fund their efforts and lure Internet users into revealing sensitive information, inadvertently download malware, or unknowingly becoming a node in a botnet,†MPAA adds. To help tackle the issue, the movie studios are hoping for “voluntary†cooperation from various stakeholders including Internet providers, search engines, payment processors, advertising networks and the domain name industry. As an example, the MPAA notes that search engines should promote legitimate sites in their search results, while removing or pushing down pirated content. The Government can also help these efforts by encouraging cooperation between the various stakeholders, as it did with the Copyright Alert System. The music industry agrees with Hollywood on most of these issues. In a separate set of comments the RIAA also stresses the importance of tackling the piracy problem in order to keep the public safe. “…rogue operators use the offer of infringing versions of our members’ sound recordings and music videos as the ‘candy’ to attract users that are necessary for them to create and exploit cyber vulnerabilities,†RIAA writes. “In light of this, any discussion addressing malvertising or trusted downloads should also address some of the roots of these problems.†In other words, both the RIAA and MPAA suggest that if the Government wants to increase cybersecurity, it has to help fight piracy. The question is, however, whether the movie studios and music labels are honestly concerned about people being infected by malware, or if they are simply using the angle to get piracy on the political agenda through the backdoor. https://torrentfreak.com/hollywood-piracy-poses-a-great-cybersecurity-threat-150602/
  19. Major UK Internet providers must block three additional sports streaming sites as part of a High Court order. The latest blocking round was issued on behalf of the Premier League and FA, targeting Rojadirecta, LiveTV and Drakulastream. The latter site also has its domain name under investigation by the EURid registry. Following a series of High Court orders six UK ISPs are required to block subscriber access to many of the largest pirate sites. The efforts started in 2012 and the list continued to grow in the years that followed. In the latest wave The Football Association and Premier League Limited achieved an extension of the UK blocklist with the addition of popular sports streaming sites Rojadirecta, LiveTV and Drakulastream. This brings the total number of blocked sites to 128 and more domains are expected to follow in the months to come. The new blocks, which haven’t been implemented by all ISPs yet, are believed to be an expansion of a High Court order against the streaming site Firstrow. This order provides the football associations with the option to continually update the list of infringing domains. TF contacted the Premier League for a comment on the latest additions but at the time of publication we hadn’t heard back. Interestingly, one of the targeted sites, Drakulastream, was also facing trouble on another front. This week the EURid registry suspended the site’s .eu domain pending a legal investigation. “The domain name is temporarily inactive pending the outcome of a legal activity. It might be that the status of the domain name changes in the coming days. This is a procedure that is still pending,†an EURid spokesperson informed TF a few days ago. However, Drakulastream later resolved the issue and the domain became active again a few hours ago. The blocked sports streaming sites are not the only ones to be added to the UK blocklist this week. A few days ago The Publishers Association won a court order requiring local ISPs to block various eBook sites. — The full list of sites to be blocked in the UK is now as follows: — New: Rojadirecta, LiveTV and Drakulastream Previously blocked: Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre, Freebookspot, popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, isoplex.isohunt.to, watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com, g2g.fm, Bursalagu, Fullsongs, Mega-Search, Mp3 Monkey, Mp3.li, Mp3Bear, MP3Boo, Mp3Clan, Mp3Olimp, MP3s.pl, Mp3soup, Mp3Truck, Musicaddict, My Free MP3, Plixid, RnBXclusive, STAFA Band, watchseries.lt, Stream TV, Watchseries-online, Cucirca, Movie25, watchseries.to, Iwannawatch, Warez BB, Ice Films, Tehparadox, Heroturko, Scene Source,, Rapid Moviez, Iwatchonline, Los Movies, Isohunt, Torrentz.pro, Torrentbutler, IP Torrents, Sumotorrent, Torrent Day, Torrenting, BitSoup, TorrentBytes, Seventorrents, Torrents.fm, Yourbittorrent, Tor Movies , Demonoid, torrent.cd, Vertor, Rar BG, bittorrent.am, btdigg.org, btloft.com, bts.to, limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me, torlock.com, torrentbit.net, torrentdb.li, torrentdownload.ws, torrentexpress.net, torrentfunk.com, torrentproject.com, torrentroom.com, torrents.net, torrentus.eu, torrentz.cd, torrentzap.com, vitorrent.org.Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T and The Pirate Bay. https://torrentfreak.com/uk-piracy-blocklist-expands-with-sports-streaming-sites-150531/
  20. Popular CDN service CloudFlare has denied allegations from the RIAA that accuse the company of aiding and abetting piracy. Warning against a SOPA-like precedent, the company has asked the court not to include CloudFlare in the restraining order which aims to stop a reincarnation of music service Grooveshark. After Grooveshark shut down earlier this month it was quickly replaced by a “new†Grooveshark, much to the annoyance of the major record labels. Headed by the RIAA, the operators of the new site were quickly taken to court. The group filed a sealed application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) targeting the site’s domain name and hosting services. The court granted the RIAA’s request earlier this month, allowing the music group to demand that hosting companies and registrars stop offering their services to the ‘rogue’ site. Namecheap swiftly complied and seized the initial domain name. However, popular CDN service CloudFlare refused to take any action, claiming that the TRO doesn’t apply to them. The new Grooveshark, meanwhile, moved to another domain and is still using CloudFlare’s services. Hoping to compel CloudFlare to comply with the order, the RIAA asked the court to expand it by specifying that the CDN service has to take action. According to the RIAA, CloudFlare is “aiding and abetting†piracy. However, in an opposition brief CloudFlare clearly disagrees. With help from the EFF, the company argues that even if it terminates its services, the ‘Grooveshark’ site would remain available. “Even if CloudFlare—and every company in the world that provides similar services—took proactive steps to identify and block the Defendants, the website would remain up and running at its current domain name,†CloudFlare argues (pdf). The request to include CloudFlare in the restraining order goes way too far, the company believes. If granted, this may lead to a snowball effect of orders against automated Internet services that are not actively assisting illegal activity. “Given that CloudFlare clearly is not in ‘active concert or participation’ with Defendants, it appears Plaintiffs are effectively attempting to expand the traditional boundaries of Rule 65,†the lawyers write. “That attempt, if accepted by this Court, could have implications well beyond this case. Other parties may seek the same remedy, using allegations of trademark or copyright infringement to obtain orders against the world.†The RIAA is demanding SOPA-like powers with its request, CloudFlare argues. The company highlights that the SOPA bill was turned down after heavy criticism, but that the RIAA is now acting as if it’s become law. “The [sOPA] bill was met with widespread public criticism from Internet users, technology companies, law professors, and software pioneers who helped create the Internet. Congress tabled the bill and did not advance it further,†CloudFlare notes. “Here, Plaintiffs ask the Court to construe its injunction power as though H.R. 3261 had in fact become law. But lacking explicit statutory authority for such an order against a nonparty, the TRO cannot be construed to reach so far.†CloudFlare therefore asks the court not to expand the restraining order. The company warns that any contrary ruling could set a dangerous precedent, putting many infrastructure providers and other services at risk. For the RIAA and other copyright holders the case is an important test for future anti-piracy efforts against other pirate sites. The new Grooveshark is barely getting any visitors after the initial hype, but it has certainly triggered a crucial legal battle. https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-were-not-aiding-and-abetting-piracy-100530/
  21. After defeating the real Grooveshark the RIAA is now determined to do the same to a copycat site that claims to be its reincarnation. However, new court documents reveal that the lawsuit may be the start of a broader anti-piracy strategy, with popular Internet services such as CloudFlare and LeaseWeb being dragged into the fight. Earlier this month the long running lawsuit between the RIAA and Grooveshark came to an end. Facing hundreds of millions in damages, the music streaming service settled the dispute for $50 million while offering an apology for the mistakes that had been made in the past. The RIAA heralded the outcome as a major victory, but the joy didn’t last long. A few days after Grooveshark shut down unknown persons launched a new music service using the familiar Grooveshark brand. Recognizing the new Grooveshark.io service as a considerable threat, the RIAA didn’t waste any time taking countermeasures. The group filed a sealed application for temporary restraining and seizure orders, targeting the site’s domain name and hosting services. The court granted the RIAA’s request earlier this month and this week the documents were unsealed. They reveal how the music group intends to drag both Cloudflare and hosting provider LeaseWeb into the fight. In his declaration, RIAA’s VP Online Anti-Piracy Mark McDevitt describes the new Grooveshark as a “blatantly illegal†site that hides its true location behind CloudFlare’s service. “Because of the presence of CloudFlare’s servers, it is impossible to identify the location of the actual server supporting those aspects of the website absent the disclosure of this information by CloudFlare,†McDevitt writes (pdf). While CloudFlare doesn’t host any of the infringing files, it’s accused of helping Grooveshark to evade detection. The RIAA alerted CloudFlare of this role early May and asked the company to take action, without the desired result. “In response to this notice, CloudFlare informed the RIAA that it had notified the operator of the Grooveshark.io website of the RIAA’s complaint, but did not discontinue providing its services to the website,†McDevitt writes. In an email seen by TF, CloudFlare informs the RIAA that it’s merely a pass-through provider, and that they’re not offering any hosting services. “Please be aware CloudFlare is a network provider offering a reverse proxy, pass-through security service. We are not a hosting provider. CloudFlare does not control the content of our customers,†the company replied. Even today, the new Grooveshark remains active on the Grooveshark.li domain name, and it’s still hiding behind CloudFlare. The site did lose its original domain name, which Namecheap seized after receiving the court order, but new domains are easily registered. It’s unclear at this point whether CloudFlare is actively refusing to comply with the restraining order that’s targeted at Grooveshark’s Internet service providers, but the company’s counsel did attend a court hearing yesterday to discuss the matter. Besides CloudFlare, the RIAA also names web company LeaseWeb, which they suspect of offering hosting services to the new Grooveshark. In its presentations to the court the RIAA lashes out hard against the Dutch company. “LeaseWeb has a long history of hosting major pirate sites. For example, LeaseWeb once hosted the notorious (and now shuttered) pirate website ‘MegaUpload,’ which was the subject of the largest criminal copyright law enforcement action ever undertaken,†McDevitt writes. “Other examples of LeaseWeb’s involvement with pirate sites are also well known in the antipiracy community,†he adds, after summing up several other examples. Neither CloudFlare nor LeaseWeb are named as defendants, but the language used makes clear that the RIAA isn’t happy with how they respond to copyright complaints. While Grooveshark.li is a relatively small fish, the case may set a crucial precedent for future anti-piracy efforts. With relative ease the Court has issued temporary restraining and seizure orders. If these hold up, more sites may be targeted in a similar fashion. This outlook may also be the reason for CloudFlare to have their say in the matter. As a service provider to some of the largest piracy havens, including The Pirate Bay, there’s a lot at stake. https://torrentfreak.com/riaa-drags-cloudflare-into-piracy-lawsuit-scolds-leaseweb-150527/
  22. Rightscorp, the piracy monetization company that works with Warner Bros. and other prominent copyright holders, goes to great lengths to reach allegedly pirating subscribers. The company offered Cox Communications a cut of the piracy settlements if they agreed to forward their notices, the ISP revealed in court. Piracy monetization firm Rightscorp has made headlines over the past year, often because of its aggressive attempts to obtain settlements from allegedly pirating Internet users. Working on behalf of various copyright owners including Warner Bros. and BMG the company sends copyright infringement notices to Internet providers in the U.S. and Canada. These notices include a settlement proposal, offering alleged downloaders an option to pay off their “debt.†Rightscorp’s practices haven’t been without controversy. The company and its clients have been sued for abuse and harassment and various large ISPs refuse to forward the settlements to their subscribers. Cox Communications, one of the larger Internet providers in the U.S. also chose not to work with Rightscorp. The ISP didn’t comment on this refusal initially, but now that Cox has been sued by several Rightscorp clients, it reveals why. In a statement that leaves little to the imagination, Cox notes that Rightscorp is “threatening†subscribers with “extortionate†letters. “Rightscorp is in the business of threatening Internet users on behalf of copyright owners. Rightscorp specifically threatens subscribers of ISPs with loss of their Internet service — a punishment that is not within Rightscorp’s control — unless the subscribers pay a settlement demand,†Cox writes (pdf). As a result, the ISP decided not to participate in the controversial scheme unless Rightscorp revised the notifications and removed the extortion-like language. “Because Rightscorp’s purported DMCA notices were, in fact, improper threats against consumers to scare them into paying settlements to Rightscorp, Cox refused to accept or forward those notices, or otherwise to participate in Rightscorp’s extortionate scheme.†“Cox expressly and repeatedly informed Rightscorp that it would not accept Rightscorp’s improper extortion threat communications, unless and until Rightscorp revised them to be proper notices.†The two parties went back and forth over the details and somewhere in this process Rightscorp came up with a controversial proposal. The company offered Cox a cut of the settlement money its subscribers would pay, so the ISP could also profit. “Rightscorp had a history of interactions with Cox in which Rightscorp offered Cox a share of the settlement revenue stream in return for Cox’s cooperation in transmitting extortionate letters to Cox’s customers. Cox rebuffed Rightscorp’s approach,†Cox informs the court. This allegation is something that was never revealed, and it shows to what great lengths Rightscorp is willing to go to get ISPs to comply. It’s not clear whether the same proposal was made to other ISPs are well, but that wouldn’t be a surprise. Cox, however, didn’t take the bait and still refused to join the scheme. Rightscorp wasn’t happy with this decision and according to the ISP, the company and its clients are now getting back at them through the “repeat infringer†lawsuit. “This lawsuit is, in effect, a bid both to punish Cox for not participating in Rightscorp’s scheme, and to gain leverage over Cox’s customers for the settlement shakedown business model that Plaintiffs and Rightscorp jointly employ,†Cox notes. Despite the strong language and extortion accusations used by Cox, the revelations didn’t prevent the Court from granting copyright holders access to the personal details of 250 accused copyright infringers. The case is just getting started though, and judging from the aggressive stance being taken by both sides we can expect a lot more dirt to come out in the months ahead. https://torrentfreak.com/rightscorp-offered-internet-provider-a-cut-of-piracy-settlements-150525/
  23. A long-running criminal case against a private torrent site and its hosting provider has come to an end. After more than three and a half years, the site admin was found guilty of copyright infringement but allowed to keep site donations. The site's webhost, who refused to take down the site without a court order, was completely acquitted. Following a complaint from Swedish anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån, in November 2011 police carried out raids in two locations against private torrent site TTi, aka The Internationals. In one location police targeted site owner Joel Larsson. In another, Patrik Lagerman, boss of web-hosting firm PatrikWeb, the company providing hosting for the torrent site. The case against Larsson centered around the unlawful distribution of copyrighted video content by his site’s users. Lagerman was accused of aiding that infringement after he refused to take the site down following a request (not backed by a court order) from Antipiratbyrån. The case dragged on for more than three and a half years but concluded earlier this month. The judgment was handed down yesterday and its one of mixed fortunes. Larsson previously admitted to being the operator of TTi and also the person who accepted donations from site members, an amount equivalent to around US$12,000. He also insisted that he never controlled the content shared by his site’s users. In its judgment, however, the court noted that files found on a confiscated PC revealed details of meetings with site staff indicating that Larsson fully understood that the site was involved in the exchange of infringing content. The Court found Larsson guilty of copyright infringement and sentenced him to 90 hours community service. If prison had been suggested by the prosecutor he would have served three months. The Court also seized several servers connected with the site but rejected a prosecution claim for the forfeiture of $12,000 in site donations after it was determined Larsson spent the same amount keeping the site running. For Patrik Lagerman, the site’s host, things went much better. Despite finding that Lagerman had indeed been involved in the site’s operations by providing hosting and infrastructure, he was deemed not negligent for his refusal to take down the site without a court order. He was acquitted on all charges. Commenting on the judgment, Sara Lindbäck at Rights Alliance told TorrentFreak that getting a conviction was the important thing in this case. “The person responsible for the illegal service was found guilty. That is the important part in the ruling. The illegal services are causing tremendous damages to the rights holders,†Lindbäck said. “In this case the person had also received substantial amounts in donations, in other words receiving money for content that somebody else has created.†Speaking on Lagerman’s acquittal, Lindbäck acknowledged that the situation had been less straightforward. “Regarding the hosting provider, the court did not find him responsible for copyright infringement. The legal aspects to the responsibility for hosting providers is of course interesting legally. We will now analyze the ruling further and see what consequences it can have in the future.†Rights Alliance did not reveal whether it intends to appeal, but considering the amount of time already passed since the arrests in 2011, that seems unlikely. https://torrentfreak.com/webhost-owner-cleared-of-aiding-torrent-site-piracy-150523/
  24. A few days ago it was revealed that Google is forwarding controversial settlement demands from copyright holders to its subscribers. Responding to the news, Google says the notices are forwarded in an effort to be as transparent as possible. However, the company adds that targeting individual downloaders isn't the best way to solve piracy. In recent years it has become more common for copyright holders to include settlement offers in the takedown notices that are sent to Internet providers. While most large ISPs prefer not to forward these demands, Google Fiber decided it would. A few days ago we highlighted the issue in an article. Before publication we reached out to Google for a comment, but initially the company didn’t reply. Now, a week after our first inquiry Google has sent a response. Google explains that it’s forwarding the entire takedown notice including the settlement offers in an effort to be as transparent as it can be. “When Google Fiber receives a copyright complaint about an account, we pass along all of the information we receive to the account holder so that they’re aware of it and can determine the response that’s best for their situation,†a Google spokesperson tells TF. This suggests that the transparency is seen by Google as more important than protecting customers against threatening and sometimes inaccurate notices. Overall, however, Google notes that targeting pirates directly is not the best solution to deal with the issue. “Although we think there are better solutions to fighting piracy than targeting individual downloaders, we want to be transparent with our customers,†Google’s spokesperson adds. Google doesn’t say what these better options are, but previously the company noted that piracy is mainly a pricing and availability problem. While transparency is often a good thing, in this case it doesn’t necessarily help Google Fiber customers. After receiving the notice they can either pay up or ignore it. If they choose the latter generally nothing happens, but recent history shows that there’s a legal risk involved. Last week the news broke that Rotten Records, one of the companies which sends settlement requests to ISPs, sued Comcast subscribers for ignoring these infringement notices. With the possibility of false accusations, it would probably be in the customers’ best interest if ISPs ignored the notices entirely, which some do. https://torrentfreak.com/google-targeting-downloaders-not-the-best-solution-to-fight-piracy-150522/
  25. Google Fiber is forwarding copyright infringement notices to its subscribers including controversial and automated piracy fines. Through these notices, rightsholders demand settlements of up to hundreds of dollars. Google's decision to forward these emails is surprising, as the company generally has a good track record of protecting consumer interests. Every month Google receives dozens of millions of DMCA takedown requests from copyright holders, most of which are directed at its search engine. However, with Google Fiber being rolled out in more cities, notices targeting allegedly pirating Internet subscribers are becoming more common as well. These include regular takedown notices but also the more controversial settlement demands sent by companies such as Rightscorp and CEG TEK. Instead of merely alerting subscribers that their connections have been used to share copyright infringing material, these notices serve as automated fines, offering subscribers settlements ranging from $20 to $300. The scheme uses the standard DMCA takedown process which means that the copyright holder doesn’t have to go to court or even know who the recipient is. In fact, the affected subscriber is often not the person who shared the pirated file. To protect customers against these practices many ISPs including Comcast, Verizon and AT&T have chosen not to forward settlement demands. However, information received by TF shows that Google does take part. Over the past week we have seen settlement demands from Rightscorp and CEG TEK which were sent to Google Fiber customers. In an email, Google forwards the notice with an additional warning that repeated violations may result in a permanent disconnection. “Repeated violations of our Terms of Service may result in remedial action being taken against your Google Fiber account, up to and including possible termination of your service,†Google Fiber writes. Below Google’s message is the notification with the settlement demand, which in this example was sent on behalf of music licensing outfit BMG. In the notice, the subscriber is warned over possible legal action if the dispute is not settled. “BMG will pursue every available remedy including injunctions and recovery of attorney’s fees, costs and any and all other damages which are incurred by BMG as a result of any action that is commenced against you,†the notice reads. Facing such threatening language many subscribers are inclined to pay up, which led some to accuse the senders of harassment and abuse. In addition, several legal experts have spoken out against this use of the DMCA takedown process. Mitch Stoltz, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) previously told us that Internet providers should carefully review what they’re forwarding to their users. Under U.S. law they are not required to forward DMCA notices and forwarding these automated fines may not be in the best interest of consumers. “In the U.S., ISPs don’t have any legal obligation to forward infringement notices in their entirety. An ISP that cares about protecting its customers from abuse should strip out demands for money before forwarding infringement notices. Many do this,†Stoltz said. According to Stoltz these settlement demands are often misleading or inaccurate, suggesting that account holders are responsible for all use of their Internet connections. “The problem with notices demanding money from ISP subscribers is that they’re often misleading. They often give the impression that the person whose name is on the ISP bill is legally responsible for all infringement that might happen on the Internet connection, which is simply not true,†he notes. While Google is certainly not the only ISP that forwards these notices it is the biggest name involved. TF asked Google why they have decided to forward the notices in their entirely but unfortunately the company did not respond to our request for comment. https://torrentfreak.com/google-fiber-sends-automated-piracy-fines-to-subscribers-150520/