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Found 8 results

  1. BBC Worldwide has sent tens of thousands of takedown requests to Google this week, but not all reported links are as bad as they claim. In fact, the company is targeting the IMDb pages of several of its own shows, including Top Gear and The Game, as well as one of Dailymotion's homepages. In an effort to make piracy less visible, copyright holders send dozens of millions of takedown notices to Google every month. Unfortunately not all of these requests are as accurate as they should be. Due to the high number of often automated notices and the fact that copyright holders don’t check the validity of all requests, there are many questionable takedowns. This week BBC Worldwide reported a record number of infringing links to Google, targeting more than 25,000 webpages. We decided to go through the links and it wasn’t hard to find several URLs that are clearly not infringing. For example, one of the notices targets the IMDb pages of Top Gear, The Game and Top Fails. The Internet Movie Database is one of the prime sources for movie and TV fans to get information and doesn’t host or link to infringing content, so taking these pages offline only hurts the BBC. Perhaps even more worrying is that the same notice also lists the British home of the video site Dailymotion as “infringing.†While this page may have linked to unauthorized material in the past, it’s certainly doesn’t warrant the removal of the entire homepage. Unfortunately this notice is not an isolated incident. In recent years we’ve highlighted countless examples of takedown requests that censor legitimate content, often hurting traffic for the affected sites. The good news is that Google appears to have white-listed several domains, including the IMDb and Dailymotion. This means that while the links reported by the BBC were not removed, less prominent sites may not be so lucky. As mentioned previously the DMCA notice surge is a growing problem, with Google now removing more than a million links each day on average. Since Google and other websites can’t possibly verify every DMCA claim, the problem is only expected to increase. https://torrentfreak.com/bbc-wants-google-to-remove-top-gears-imdb-page-150509/
  2. Hoping to increase its revenues, BitTorrent Inc. added advertisements to the popular uTorrent client two years ago. What many people don't know though, is that these ads can be disabled by diving into the advanced settings. "Pimp my uTorrent" now comes with a one click solution to make this process less cumbersome. When BitTorrent Inc. announced its plan to add advertising to its flagship uTorrent client a small user revolt broke out. The people complaining were mostly annoyed that there would be no option to disable the ads. Luckily, BitTorrent listened to the feedback and decided that users would indeed get a chance to opt-out from the ads. Despite the initial complaints, nowadays most users probably aren’t aware of the opt-out settings. uTorrent previously reported that it’s serving billions of ads per month, quite a significant number. Even for those users who do know, uTorrent doesn’t make it very easy for them to remove the ads. They will have to mess with the advanced settings, search for the relevant variables, and change them one by one. The developer of the torrent optimized TV-calendar DuckieTV was confronted with this issue a few days ago when he introduced a friend to BitTorrent. After first installing uTorrent, he noticed that the client was littered with ads he disabled himself a long time ago. After manually changing several settings to strip the ads, he came up with the idea to automate the process. “I turned them off for my friend, and decided to try and see if I could automate the process the next day,†Schizoduckie tells TF. For DuckieTV, the developer previously reverse-engineered BitTorrent’s Torque and BtApp.js tools, which are able to talk to uTorrent via the browser. He therefore decided to see if the same code could also be used to change uTorrent’s settings. “I remembered that BitTorrent previously ran an experiment with btApp.js that fiddled with settings, so all I needed to do was hook up the settings functionality in my library and set up a page so users can disable ads in one click,†Schizoduckie says. Fast forward a few hours and “Pimp my uTorrent†was born. Pimp my uTorrent literally requires just one click to disable the ads on Windows clients. There is nothing to install as the page uses JavaScript to communicate with uTorrent. After the “pimping†is done, uTorrent might need to be restarted before the changes are visible. People who are not happy with the result have an option to reverse them with another click. It can’t get much simpler than that. Those who are interested in what the tool does can inspect the relevant variables here. A more detailed overview of all ad related settings and how these can be changed is available in the uTorrent forums. Happy pimping! http://torrentfreak.com/remove-utorrent-ads-in-one-click-with-pimp-my-utorrent-150215/
  3. Copyright holders asked Google to remove more than 345,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine in 2014. The staggering number is an increase of 75% compared to the year before. While Google has taken some steps to downrank pirate sites, the rate at which takedown notices are sent continues to rise. In the hope of steering prospective customers away from pirate sites, copyright holders are overloading Google with DMCA takedown notices. These requests have increased dramatically over the years. In 2008, the search engine received only a few dozen takedown notices during the entire year, but today it processes more than a million reported “pirate†links per day. Google doesn’t report yearly figures, but at TF we processed all the weekly reports and found that the number of URLs submitted by copyright holders last year surpassed the 345 million mark – 345,169,134 to be exact. The majority of these requests are honored with the associated links being removed from Google’s search results. However, Google sometimes takes “no action†if they are seemed not to be infringing or if they have been taken down previously. Most takedown requests were sent for the domains 4shared.com, rapidgator.net and uploaded.net, with more than five million targeted URLs each. The UK Music industry group BPI is the top copyright holder of 2014, good for more than 60 million reported links. Despite the frequent use of the takedown process many copyright holders have stressed that the search giant should take responsibility and do more to tackle the piracy problem. Facing this harsh criticism from copyright holders, Google has gradually changed its attitudes towards sites and services that are often associated with piracy. October last year the company implemented the most significant change to its search algorithm to date, aimed at downranking sites that often link to copyright-infringing material. This significantly reduced the visibility of pirate links in search results and had a major impact on the traffic levels of some sites. However, Google also reminded copyright holders that they too can do more to prevent piracy. Without legal options it’s hard to beat unauthorized copying, is the argument Google often repeats. “Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply. As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services,†the company noted earlier. “The right combination of price, convenience, and inventory will do far more to reduce piracy than enforcement can.†In recent weeks tensions between rightsholders and Google reached a new high. After the MPAA issued a ‘snarky’ press release responding to Google’s downranking efforts, the company ended its anti-piracy cooperation with the Hollywood group. Not much later, Google sued Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood who secretly collaborated with the MPAA to get certain pirate sites delisted. http://torrentfreak.com/google-asked-remove-345-million-pirate-links-2014-150105/
  4. Google has been asked to remove half a billion copyright-infringing URLs since it started counting three years ago. The listing of pirate sites in Google's search results has turned into a heated conflict, which the search engine and copyright holders have yet to resolve. In the hope of steering prospective customers away from pirate sites, copyright holders are overloading Google with DMCA takedown notices. These requests have increased dramatically over the years. In 2008, the search engine received only a few dozen takedown notices during the entire year, but today it processes a million per day on average. Adding up the numbers reported in Google’s Transparency Report, we found that since the release of the report three years ago Google has been asked to remove over 500 million links to allegedly infringing webpages. The number of notices continues to increase at a rapid pace as nearly half of the requests, 240 million, were submitted during the first months of 2014. The graph below illustrates this sharp rise in takedown notices. Most of the reported webpages have indeed been removed and no longer appear in Google’s search results. As an example, more than two million Pirate Bay pageshave quietly been wiped from Google. TorrentFreak asked Google for a comment on the most recent milestone but the company has chosen not to respond on the record. Despite the frequent use of the takedown process many copyright holders aren’t happy with the way things are going. While Google does its best to comply with its obligations under current law, some industry insiders claim that the search giant can and should do more to tackle the piracy problem. The UK music industry group BPI, which is responsible for roughly 20% of all submitted URLs, points out that Google should do more to lower the visibility of unauthorized content in its search results. Despite promises to do so, the music group still sees very little improvement on this front “Despite its clear knowledge as to which sites are engines of piracy, Google continues to help build their illegal businesses, by giving them a prominent ranking in search results,†BPI told us last week. “Google can simply fix this problem by amending its algorithm. We hope they will respond positively to the invitation from Government to negotiate voluntary measures to do so.†The BPI and other copyright holders are pushing for some sort of agreement to implement more far-reaching anti-piracy measures. However, thus far Google maintains that it’s already doing its best to address the concerns of copyright holders. Last year the company released a report detailing the various anti-piracy measures it uses. However, the company also stressed that copyright holders can do more to prevent piracy themselves. Without legal options it’s hard to beat unauthorized copying, is the argument Google often repeats. “Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply. As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services,†the company previously explained. “The right combination of price, convenience, and inventory will do far more to reduce piracy than enforcement can.†While this standoff continues, copyright holders are expected to increase the volume of requests. At the current pace Google may have processed a billion URLs by the end of next year. http://torrentfreak.com/google-asked-remove-half-billion-pirate-search-results-141002/
  5. The popular image sharing service Imgur is facing millions of dollars in damages for failing to remove a series of copyrighted photos. The website is being sued by Seattle-based photographer Christopher Boffoli whose work remained available on Imgur, a month after he sent a takedown notice. When it comes to online piracy most attention usually goes out to music, TV-shows and movies. However, photos are arguably the most-infringed works online. Virtually every person on the Internet has shared a photo without obtaining permission from its maker, whether through social networks, blogs or other services. While this is usually not a problem with a picture of the average Internet meme, when it comes to professional photography there can be serious consequences. Earlier this year the Seattle-based artist Christopher Boffoli discovered that dozens of photos from his well-known “miniatures of food†series were being shared on Imgur. The photos were uploaded by a user named kdcoco who published them without permission. This type of infringement is fairly common and usually easy to stop through a DMCA notice. In this case, however, that didn’t produce any results, so the photographer saw no other option than to take Imgur to court. In a complaint (pdf) filed at a federal court in Seattle, Boffoli explains that he sent Imgur a DMCA takedown request on February 21. This seemed to work, as the image sharing site was quick to respond. “The images have been marked for removal and will be deleted from all of our servers within 24 hours,†Imgur quickly replied. But following this initial reply nothing happened. According to the complaint all of the images remained online for several months. “As late as September 2014 — more than 200 days after receiving Boffoli’s notice — Imgur had not removed or disabled access to the Infringing Content. To date, the Infringing Content is still accessible on Imgur’s servers,†the photographer’s lawyers write. Aside from the infringing behavior of the Imgur user, Boffoli holds the image sharing service responsible for continued copyright infringement. “Imgur had actual knowledge of the Infringing Content. Boffoli provided notice to Imgur in compliance with the DMCA, and Imgur failed to expeditiously disable access to or remove the Infringing Website,†The photographer is asking the court to order an injunction preventing Imgur from making his work available. In addition, the complaint asks for actual and statutory damages for willful copyright infringement. With at least 73 photos in the lawsuit, Imgur theoretically faces more than $10 million in damages. Thus far Imgur hasn’t responded to the complaint but at the time of writing the infringing photos are no longer available online. It’s not the first time Boffoli has sued an online service for failing to remove his photos. He also filed lawsuits against Twitter, Google and others. These cases were settled out for court under undisclosed terms. Time will tell whether Imgur will go for the same option, or if it will defend itself in court. http://torrentfreak.com/photographer-sues-imgur-for-failing-to-remove-copyrighted-photos-140929/
  6. In an attempt to remove Kate Upton's leaked nudes from Google's search results, her boyfriend Jason Verlander instructed his lawyers to send a DMCA takedown request. Interestingly, Google has rejected nearly half of the links in the Detroit Tigers pitcher's copyright complaint. Nearly two weeks have passed since hundreds of photos of naked celebrities leaked online. This “fappening†triggered a massive takedown operation targeting sites that host and link to the images, Google included. A few days ago Google received a request to remove links to Kate Upton’s stolen photos The request was not sent by Upton but by her boyfriend Jason Verlander, who also appears in a few of the leaked images. The notice includes hundreds of URLs of sites such as thefappening.eu where the photos are hosted without permission. It’s quite unusual for Google’s takedown team to be confronted with a long link of naked celebrity pictures. This may explain why it took a while before a decision was reached on the copyright-infringing status of the URLs, a process that may involve a cumbersome manual review. Yesterday the first batch was processed and interestingly enough Google decided to leave nearly half of all URLs untouched. The overview below shows that with 16 of the 444 links processed, only 45% were removed. The big question is, of course, why? Verlander’s takedown request Google doesn’t explain its decision keep the links in question in its search results. In some cases the original content had already been removed at the source site, so these URLs didn’t have to be removed. Other rejections are more mysterious though. For example, the thefappening.eu URLs that remain online all pointed to stolen images when we checked. Most of these were not nudes, but they certainly weren’t posted with permission. One possible explanation for Google’s inaction is that Verlander most likely claimed to own the copyright on the images, something he can only do with pictures he took himself. With Upton’s selfies this is hard to do, unless she signed away her rights. While browsing through the reported URLs we also noticed another trend. Some sites have replaced Upton’s leaked photos with photos of other random naked women. Google’s takedown team apparently has a sharp eye because these were not removed by Google either. Chilling Effects, who host Google’s takedown requests, just posted a redacted version of the original notice with Upton’s name removed. Unfortunately this doesn’t offer more clues to resolve this takedown mystery, so for now we can only guess why many of the links remain indexed. http://torrentfreak.com/google-refuses-remove-links-kate-uptons-fappening-images-140912/
  7. For the first time ever Google is now processing an average of one million removal requests per day. The new record follows an upward trend with copyright holders reporting more and more allegedly infringing search results in an effort to deter piracy. In the hope of steering prospective customers away from pirate sites, copyright holders are overloading Google with DMCA takedown notices. These requests have increased dramatically since Google began making the data public. A few years ago the search engine received just a few dozen takedown notices during an entire year, but today it processes millions of allegedly infringing links per week. Over the past months the number of reported URLs has continued to rise. Now, for the first time ever, Google has processed an average of more than one million URLs per day. Last week Google was asked to remove more than 7.8 million results, up more than 10% compared to the previous record a week earlier. The graph below shows the remarkable increase in requests over the past three years. To put these numbers in perspective, Google is currently asked to remove an infringing search result every 8 milliseconds, compared to one request per six days back in 2008. The massive surge in removal requests is not without controversy. It’s been reported that some notices reference pages that contain no copyrighted material, due tomistakes or abuse, but are deleted nonetheless. Google has a pretty good track record of catching these errors, but since manual review of all links is unachievable, some URLs are removed in error. Google says it’s doing its best to address the concerns of copyright holders. Last year the company released a report detailing the various anti-piracy measures it uses. However, according to some industry groups the search giant can and should do more. For the RIAA the staggering amount of takedown requests only confirms the notion that the process isn’t very effective. Brad Buckles, RIAA executive vice president of anti-piracy, previously suggested that Google should start banning entire domainsfrom its search results. “Every day produces more results and there is no end in sight. We are using a bucket to deal with an ocean of illegal downloading,†Buckles said. The issue has also piqued the interest of U.S. lawmakers. Earlier this year the House Judiciary Subcommittee had a hearing on the DMCA takedown issue, and both copyright holders, Internet service providers, and other parties are examining what they can do to optimize the process. In the meantime, the number of removal requests is expected to rise and rise, with 10 million links per week being the next milestone. http://torrentfreak.com/google-asked-to-remove-1-million-pirate-links-per-day-140820/
  8. Following a complaint from Microsoft, GitHub has removed the code repository of an app that provides access to unprotected Xbox Music tracks. The developer of the software is surprised by Microsoft's move, stating that the company itself is offering access to DRM-free music through its API. A few weeks ago Microsoft extended its Xbox Music API, allowing third-party developers to link their apps to the music service. This resulted in a range of new apps that provide access to Xbox Music tracks, but Microsoft is not happy with all of them. Earlier this week the company contacted developer platform GitHub, asking the company to remove all code related to the Audiotica download tool, which they did. In its takedown notice Microsoft explains that the app in question provides users with DRM-free music, something it is not allowed to do. Specifically, the app is said to violate the circumvention clause of the DMCA. “This code violates [...] the DMCA in that it allows users to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to copyrighted works by facilitating the unauthorized conversion of songs streamed via Xbox Music into DRM-free MP3s that can be easily shared online,†Microsoft writes. Microsoft explains that the application puts its licensing agreements with the major music labels in jeopardy. Under these agreements the company has to protect music tracks from being shared online without restrictions. “As part of Microsoft’s agreements with the copyright owners of the songs included in the service, Microsoft has both authorization from and an obligation to those copyright owners to control access to their works by employing an effective DRM system,†Microsoft notes. An interesting argument, since the tracks provided by Xbox’s Music service appear to be free of DRM. Xbox Music API TorrentFreak contacted Audiotica developer Harry who was unpleasantly surprised by Microsoft’s takedown notice. He notes that Microsoft itself is the one making it easy to access DRM-free music through the Xbox Music API. “Audiotica is programmed so users with an Xbox Subscription can download directly from Xbox Music. This is what surprised me about the takedown. Microsoft claims we can’t allow users to obtain DRM free music from their service, while they’re the one providing it,†Harry says. Microsoft most likely took offense to the fact that the application allowed users to download and store tracks. Although this might not technically be a form of “circumvention,†it does violate the API’s terms of service. The Audiotica developer says he will ask GitHub to reinstate his project, without the Xbox Music feature. The application will still be able to access music from other sources including YouTube, VK and Soundcloud. “Right now I will be filling a counter notice to bring it back. To avoid further problems with Microsoft I will be removing Xbox Music from the MP3 crawler engine and the downloader.†Microsoft’s takedown request follows a new trend in which copyright holders are targeting GitHub projects. Previously the MPAA successfully requested the takedown of two popular Popcorn Time forks. While both the MPAA and Microsoft don’t own any of the code, the alleged indirect infringements were sufficient to take the code down. http://torrentfreak.com/microsoft-gets-github-to-remove-infringing-xbox-music-app-140731/