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  1. Police say they have smashed "a criminal group" involved with the unauthorized distribution of video online. Three men in their twenties and thirties have been arrested by Polish police and up to three sites are reported down. The action follows the shutdown of several 'pirate' sites in Poland last month and the arrest of a millionaire businessman. With web-blockades, domain seizures and payment processor interventions making headlines, campaigns to shut down individual sites have been less prominent than usual in the first half of 2015. But that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped. Just last week the popular BT-Chat was shut down in Canada following pressure from the MPAA and news from Europe suggests that at least two more sites have fallen in recent days following industry action. After a long investigation, police in Poland report that authorities swooped last week on individuals said to be part of a “criminal group†involved with the unauthorized distribution of video online, movies in particular. In an operation carried out by municipal police and officers from a regional cybercrime unit, several locations were searched including homes, offices and cars. Three men aged between 24 and 33 years-old were arrested in Wroclaw, the largest city in western Poland. According to police, 14 computers, 13 external drives, 40 prepaid cards, several mobile phones and sundry other items were seized during the raids. In addition to the images below, police have put together a video (mp4) of one of the targeted locations complete with a horror movie-style audio track for added impact. While police have not published the names of the domains allegedly operated by the men, two leading sites have disappeared in recent days without explanation. TNTTorrent.info and Seansik.tv were the country’s 160th and 130th most popular sites overall but neither is currently operational. The men are being blamed for industry losses of at least $1.3m and together stand accused of breaching copyright law which can carry a jail sentence of up to five years in criminal cases. For reasons that are not entirely clear, however, police are currently advising a potential three year sentence. The latest shutdowns, which also encompass torrent site Torrent.pl, follow police action in May which closed down eKino.tv and the lesser known Litv.info, Scs.pl and Zalukaj.to. With around 324,000 likes on its Facebook page eKino.tv was by far the most popular site but it seems unlikely that it will return anytime soon. Currently displaying “THE END†on its front page, its owner was arrested last month. Credit:Olsztyn.wm.pl Local media is connecting the closure to the arrest of a 49-year-old businessman who had been running a company offering “Internet services†and also Poland’s largest pirate site. According to authorities he made millions of dollars from the operation and laundered money by investing in the stock exchange. Those funds have reportedly been frozen. Also arrested were three accomplices, including a 36-year-old allegedly responsible for creating the database of movies and setting up a US company to assist with the site’s finances. They all stand accused of copyright infringement and money laundering offenses and face ten years in prison. https://torrentfreak.com/police-shut-down-yet-more-pirate-sites-in-ongoing-sweep-150601/
  2. Popular torrent site BT-Chat.com has decided to throw in the towel after receiving a hand delivered letter from the MPAA. The Hollywood studios argue that the torrent index is in violation of U.S. law, and accuse its operators of contributory copyright infringement. Over several years the Canada-based torrent index BT-Chat has grown to become one of the most popular among TV and movie fans. The site was founded over a decade ago and has been running without any significant problems since. Starting a few days ago, however, the site’s fortunes turned. Without prior warning or an official explanation the site went offline. Instead of listing the latest torrents, an ominous message appeared with a broken TV signal in the background. “Error 791-the internet is shutdown due to copyright restrictions,†the mysterious message read. Initially is was unclear whether the message hinted at hosting problems or if something more serious was going on. Many of the site’s users hoped for the former but a BT-Chat insider informs TF that the site isn’t coming back anytime soon. The site’s operators have decided to pull the plug after receiving a hand delivered letter from the Canadian MPA, which acts on behalf of its American parent organization the MPAA. In the letter, shown below, Hollywood’s major movie studios demand that the site removes all infringing torrents. “We are writing to demand that you take immediate steps to address the extensive copyright infringement of television programs and motion pictures that is occurring by virtue of the operation of the Internet website www.BT-Chat.com.†The MPAA makes its case by citing U.S. copyright law, and states that linking to unauthorized movies and TV-shows constitutes contributory copyright infringement. Referencing the isoHunt case the movie studios explicitly note that it’s irrelevant whether or not a website actually hosts infringing material. “It makes no difference that your website might not have infringing content on it, or only links to infringing content,†the letter says. The threats from Hollywood have not been taken lightheartedly by the BT-Chat team. While giving up a site that they worked on for more than a decade is not easy, the alternative is even less appealing. In the end thry decided that it would be for the best to shut the site down, instead of facing potential legal action. And so another popular site bites the dust… https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-threats-shut-down-popular-torrent-site-bt-chat-150529/
  3. Customs authorities in Hong Kong say they have shut down a "well organized" TV show piracy operation. Two men aged 25 and 46 were placed under arrest and a third key member is said to be at large. At this stage the group remains unnamed as their United States-based site is still online and proving difficult to shut down. When it comes to content being made available on file-sharing networks, TV shows have certainly stamped their position as one of the leaders in recent years. Often enjoying their premiere in the United States, TV shows are illegally downloaded all over the world just minutes after they air, disrupting local licensing and marketing strategies in an instant but giving fans want they want – without the premium price tag. Until these issues are fully addressed piracy will continue, with dedicated TV show releasing groups happy to fill in the gaps on availability and/or price – until they’re tracked down and stopped of course. To that end, Hong Kong customs authorities are this morning reporting success in shutting down what they describe as a “well organized cross-border†TV show piracy “syndicateâ€. Following an investigation carried out over the past three months, yesterday authorities arrested two men in two areas of the autonomous territory. One, a 25-year-old living in the Southern District, is said to be the group’s founder. Another, a 46-year-old, is being described as a “key memberâ€. A third, said to be the group’s ‘capper‘, is believed to be at large. According to a government release, four sets of computers were seized and TV shows were discovered stored on the equipment. Overall the group is suspected of distributing around 2,500 shows. Of interest, however, is that Hong Kong authorities are currently refusing to name the group or their site URL. That’s because the server is located in the United States and at the moment remains fully operational. Nevertheless, the operation is being declared a success. “This is virtually our first case in which we have discovered such a large quantity of television programs being uploaded to the Internet for downloading,†a Customs officer said. Under local copyright law anyone distributing an infringing copy of a TV show or other copyright work commits a criminal offense if that negatively affects the copyright owner. The maximum penalty is four years in jail and a fine of around US$6,500 per infringing copy. https://torrentfreak.com/well-organized-tv-show-piracy-group-shut-down-150512/
  4. After more than ten years, TS-Tracker, one of the oldest and most sought-after German trackers, was shut down by its staff yesterday. At the beginning of the year, they had to wipe their whole database under some shady circumstances and came back with a three-year-old one, and now it seems like they're gone for good, at least according to several staff members. TS is just the most recent of several large German private trackers (myT, HDS, quorks) that were voluntarily taken offline by their staff in the last few months. Coincidence? Well, maybe.
  5. Following news last week that streaming portal DreamFilm had been shut down, Swedish police have confirmed several file-sharing related arrests. Noting that there had been "significant seizures", police say that two well-known torrent sites have been shut down and five arrested under suspicion of copyright-related offenses. It’s been just over two months since Swedish police carried out a dramatic raid that took the infamous Pirate Bay offline. While the action certainly had an impact on its raid-proof reputation, the torrent site rose from the ashes two weeks ago with its databases largely intact. While that resurrection must’ve been a blow to Swedish authorities, action against torrent sites is far from over. As the investigation into The Pirate Bay and former operator Fredrik Neij continues, police have struck again in the notorious torrent site’s backyard. In common with December’s raid, local authorities are providing a bare minimum of details. “We have made ​​significant seizures, but I will not say more than that,†said prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist. It is known that five people are in police custody under suspicion of being involved in the unlawful distribution of copyrighted movies. While it’s yet to be confirmed, the investigation will almost certainly have been launched at the behest of the major Hollywood studios and local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance. One of the sites targeted is Tankafetast, Sweden’s second largest torrent site. It’s been hit before, at least a couple of times, but has always managed to reappear. This time the situation seems more serious. Also down is torrent site PirateHub and streaming portal Tankefetast Play. The latter is currently redirecting to the same political site as its namesake. PROMOTIONAL IMAGE PREVIOUSLY RELEASED BY TANKAFETAST While confirming that an investigation into PirateHub had been ongoing for some time, Ljungqvist did not reveal whether equipment such as servers had been seized in the latest operation. When quizzed about the downtime of the sites listed above, however, the prosecutor said that they’d been disabled by their operators. “It is not us who have taken down the sites, it is they themselves who did so in order to prevent further crime,†Ljungqvist said. dreamfilmIf that is indeed the case, the development has clear parallels with the news last week concerning streaming portal DreamFilm.se. The operators of that site reported that after one of their admins was arrested the site did a deal with police to close down voluntarily. While that didn’t go quite to plan, with some admins leaving to start a new venture with a similar name, it’s possible that the replacement URL won’t be reported on the old DreamFilm.se homepage for long. According to IDG, the prosecution in the case has now filed a motion at the district court in Linköping for that domain name to be forfeited. As reported earlier this week, two Pirate Bay domain names are also under threat, with authorities targeting the Punkt SE registry with pioneering legal action to have the domains revoked and/or seized by the state. http://torrentfreak.com/torrent-sites-shut-down-after-swedish-police-arrest-five-150213/
  6. hile the BitTorrent ecosystem is filled with uncertainty and doubt, researchers at Delft University of Technology have released the first version of their anonymous and decentralized BitTorrent network. "Tribler makes BitTorrent anonymous and impossible to shut down," lead researcher Prof. Pouwelse says. triblerThe Pirate Bay shutdown has once again shows how vulnerable the BitTorrent ‘landscape’ is to disruptions. With a single raid the largest torrent site on the Internet was pulled offline, dragging down several other popular BitTorrent services with it. A team of researchers at Delft University of Technology has found a way to address this problem. With Tribler they’ve developed a robust BitTorrent client that doesn’t rely on central servers. Instead, it’s designed to keep BitTorrent alive, even when all torrent search engines, indexes and trackers are pulled offline. “Tribler makes BitTorrent anonymous and impossible to shut down,†Tribler’s lead researcher Dr. Pouwelse tells TF. “Recent events show that governments do not hesitate to block Twitter, raid websites, confiscate servers and steal domain names. The Tribler team has been working for 10 years to prepare for the age of server-less solutions and aggressive suppressors.†To top that, the most recent version of Tribler that was released today also offers anonymity to its users through a custom-built in Tor network. This allows users to share and publish files without broadcasting their IP-addresses to the rest of the world. “The public was beginning to lose the battle for Internet freedom, but today we are proud to be able to present an attack-resilient and censorship-resilient infrastructure for publishing,†Dr. Pouwelse says. After thorough tests of the anonymity feature earlier this year, it’s now built into the latest release. Tribler implemented a Tor-like onion routing network which hides who is seeding or sharing files. Users can vary the number of “hops†the client uses to increase anonymity. “Tribler creates a new dedicated network for anonymity that is in no way connected to the main Tor network. By using Tribler you become part of a Tor-like network and help others become anonymous,†Dr. Pouwelse says. “That means you no longer have any exposure in any swarm, either downloading or seeding,†he adds. Tribler_anonymous_downloading_in action__select_your_privacy_level_for_each_torrent The downside to the increase in privacy is higher bandwidth usage. After all, users themselves also become proxies and have to relay the transfers of others. In addition, the anonymity feature may also slow down transfer speeds depending on how much other users are willing to share. “We are very curious to see how fast anonymous downloads will be. It all depends on how social people are, meaning, if they leave Tribler running and help others automatically to become anonymous. If a lot of Tribler users turn out to be sharing and caring, the speed will be sufficient for a nice downloading experience,†Pouwelse says. Another key feature of Tribler is decentralization. Users can search for files from within the application, which finds torrents through other peers instead of a central server. And if a tracker goes offline, the torrent will continue to download with the help of other users too. The same decentralization principle applies to spam control. Where most torrent sites have a team of moderators to delete viruses, malware and fake files, Tribler uses user-generated “channels†which can be “liked†by others. If more people like a channel, the associated torrents get a boost in search results. triblernew Overall the main goal of the University project is to offer a counterweight to the increased suppression and privacy violations the Internet is facing. Supported by million of euros in taxpayer money, the Tribler team is confident that it can make the Internet a bit safer for torrent users. “The Internet is turning into a privacy nightmare. There are very few initiatives that use strong encryption and onion routing to offer real privacy. Even fewer teams have the resources, the energy, technical skills and scientific know-how to take on the Big and Powerful for a few years,†Pouwelse says. After the Pirate Bay raid last week Tribler enjoyed a 30% increase in users and they hope that this will continue to grow during the weeks to come. Those who want to give it a spin are welcome to download Tribler here. It’s completely Open Source and with a version for Windows, Mac and Linux. In addition, the Tribler team also invites researchers to join the project. Source : http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-a...orrentfreak%29
  7. The popular MP3 search engine MP3Juices has lost its domain name following a request from the UK's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. After yet another suspension, operators of other "pirate" sites are prepping for the worst and looking for new safe havens. Over the past few months City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content. The police started by sending warning letters to site owners, asking them to go legit or shut down. Late last year this was followed by a campaign targeted at domain registrars, asking them to suspend the domain names of several “illegal†sites. Most registrars have denied these suspension requests because they lack any legal basis, but some are cooperating. Yesterday another site fell victim to the police’s campaign after MP3Juices.com had its domain name suspended. The MP3 search engine was relatively popular with well over a million visitors per month. For now, these visitors will have to find an alternative as the site currently displays a prominent police banner. “You have tried to access a website that is under criminal investigation by the UK: Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) This site is being investigated for online copyright infringement,†the banner reads. The domain was suspended by domain name registrar Internet.bs, who previously suspended the domains of several other sites including Cricfree.tv. Interestingly, the latter was allowed to transfer its domain to another registrar after it threatened to take legal steps. TorrentFreak asked PIPCU for a comment on the latest domain suspension but we have yet to hear back. Increasingly, owners of alleged pirate sites are looking for safe registrars that won’t give in to complaints from authorities overseas. The Canadian registrar EasyDNS appears to be a safer choice, as the company protests PIPCU’s efforts fiercely. PIPCU is not happy with these non-cooperative registrars and a few weeks ago the police sent EasyDNS a threatening letter, suggesting that the company itself could be held liable for aiding and abetting a criminal operation. TorrentFreak spoke with a source who has been following the response of site owners to the recent domain perils, and he suggested that bypassing registrars altogether may become a new trend. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  8. Photo-sharing service's founder claims microblogging site threatened to cut off access to API if the startup did not abandon its trademark. Twitpic, a service that lets people share images on Twitter, announced Thursday it will shut down later this month after a trademark battle with the microblogging social network. Calling the announcement "unexpected and hard," Twitpic founder Noah Everett explained in acompany blog post that the decision was made after Twitter threatened to cut off Twitpic's access to its application programming interface -- the tools that allow developers to tap into Twitter's platform -- if the six-year-old startup did not abandon its trademark. The company filed its trademark application with the US Patent and Trade Office in 2009, but an "implied" threat of a disconnect from Twitter's API came from Twitter counsel during a recent "published for opposition" period, Everett wrote. "Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark, which we believe wholeheartedly is rightfully ours," Everett wrote. "Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic." A Twitter spokesperson noted the company's trademark concerns in a statement provided to CNET. "We're sad to see Twitpic is shutting down," the representative said. "We encourage developers to build on top of the Twitter service, as Twitpic has done for years, and we made it clear that they could operate using the Twitpic name. Of course, we also have to protect our brand, and that includes trademarks tied to the brand." Twitpic users will have until September 25 to export their photos and videos, Everett wrote. Launched in 2008, Twitpic was perhaps the best-established third-party image-sharing service for Twitter users, letting them link to photos in tweets. It's was a source of citizen journalism as tweeters spotted newsworthy events -- such as the Hudson River plane crash -- captured the action on their phone, uploaded images to Twitpic and shared the link on Twitter. However, in 2011, Twitter announced its own photo-sharing service, which competes directly with third-party photo services built on Twitter's API like Twitpic. http://www.cnet.com/news/twitpic-to-shut-down-blaming-trademark-battle-with-twitter/
  9. On the eve of the brand new season of Doctor Who, yesterday the BBC and Federation Against Copyright Theft teamed up to close a long-standing fansite. Following an in-person visit, Doctor Who Media shut down immediately. Its domain name will soon be taken over by the BBC. In just a few hours time the brand new season of Doctor Who will premiere, kicking off with the first episode ‘Deep Breath’. There’s been a huge build up in the media, but for fans who prefer to socialize and obtain news via a dedicated community, today brings bad news. Doctor Who Media (DWM) was a site created in 2010 and during the ensuing four and a half years it amassed around 25,000 dedicated members. A source close to the site told TF that since nothing like it existed officially, DWM’s core focus was to provide a central location and community for everything in the “Whoniverseâ€, from reconstructions of missing episodes to the latest episodes, and whatever lay between. But yesterday, following a visit by representatives from the BBC and Federation Against Copyright Theft, the site’s operator took the decision to shut down the site for good. “I had a knock at the door and a couple of guys were there. One from FACT and one from BBCWW [bBC Worldwide]. The FACT guy basically explained what the issue was, said that he was there to give a cease and desist and wanted the domain transferred,†the site’s operator informs TorrentFreak. With threats of executing an official search warrant and taking the matter to court if terms could not be reached, there was never any question of embarking on a losing battle. With the user database secured, an agreement was quickly reached to close down the site and transfer the domain. Interestingly, however, the domain name will not be going to FACT as is usually the case. Doctor Who Media’s operator told TF that it will be transferred to the BBC as there are trademark issues involved. “DWM may have been a major factor of my life for the past few years, but I wasn’t going to let it ruin me, so I agreed, signed, the guy wrote down his mobile number in case there were any issues and then they went. They were about as nice as you could expect given the situation. It’s only a job after all,†he concludes. The tip about the site’s shutdown came from a DWM user who told TF that he’ll be sad to see its doors close for the final time. “I can’t speak for others but having that content available really helped raise my interest level in Doctor Who. Often times, having watched stuff there led to me purchasing the exact same content on iTunes as well as all the various other content available for Doctor Who,†he explained. And now, all eyes turn to the season premiere tonight. As of yesterday, all but the final episode of the brand new season had leaked to file-sharing sites, although it’s worth pointing out that Doctor Who Media refused to carry any of that content. Will the leaks have a positive or negative impact on viewing figures? There’s only a few hours to find out, but it’s doubtful the BBC will be weeping following tonight’s episode. http://torrentfreak.com/bbc-fact-shut-down-doctor-who-fansite-140823/
  10. Government communication obtained through a Freedom of Information inquiry reveals that several people have asked the authorities to shut down The Pirate Bay. The requests were originally sent to the FBI, who were also contacted by a mother looking for advice on how to deal with the pirating father of her son. There is no doubt that copyright holders repeatedly press the authorities to take action against The Pirate Bay. So, when a Pirate Bay-related Freedom of Information request was sent to Homeland Security’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, we expected to see letters from the major music labels and Hollywood studios. Interestingly that was not the case. Late June Polity News asked Homeland Security to reveal all information the center holds on the notorious torrent site. Earlier this week the responses were received, mostly consisting of requests from individuals to shut down The Pirate Bay. In total the center received 15 emails, and all appear to have been forwarded by the FBI, where they were apparently first sent. Some of the emails only list a few pirate site domains but others are more specific in calling for strong action against The Pirate Bay. “Why don’t you seize all THE PIRATE BAY domains? Starting with thepiratebay.se. You have no idea how much good that would do to writers, artists, musicians, designers, inventors, software developers, movie people and our global economy in general,†one email reads. The emails are all redacted but the content of the requests sometimes reveals who the sender might be. The example below comes from the author of “The Crystal Warrior,†which is probably the New Zealand author Maree Anderson. “The Pirate Bay states that it can’t be held responsible for copyright infringement as it is a torrent site and doesn’t store the files on its servers. However the epub file of my published novel The Crystal Warrior has been illegally uploaded there,†the email reads. The author adds that she takes a strong stand against piracy, but that her takedown notices are ignored by The Pirate Bay. She hopes that the authorities can take more effective action. “Perhaps you would have more luck in putting pressure on them than one individual like myself. And if you are unable to take further action, I hope this notification will put The Pirate Bay in your sights so you can keep an eye on them,†the author adds. Most of the other requests include similar calls to action and appear to come from individual copyright holders. However, there is also a slightly more unusual request. The email in question comes from the mother of a 14-year-old boy whose father is said to frequently pirate movies and music. The mother says she already visited an FBI office to report the man and is now seeking further advice. Apparently she previously reached out to the MPAA, but they weren’t particularly helpful. “MPAA only wanted to know where he was downloading and could not help. I ask you what can I do, as a parent, to prevent a 14-year-old from witnessing such a law breaking citizen in his own home?†the mother writes. “It is not setting a good example for him and I don’t think that it is right to subject him to this cyber crime. Devices on websites used: www.piratebay.com for downloads and www.LittleSnitch.com so he won’t be detected. This is not right. Any help would be appreciated,†she adds. All of the revealed requests were sent between 2012 and 2014. Thus far, however, the Department of Homeland Security nor the FBI have taken any action against the Pirate Bay. Whether the pirating dad is still on the loose remains unknown for now, but chances are he’s still sharing music and movies despite the FBI referral. http://torrentfreak.com/feds-receive-requests-to-shut-down-the-pirate-bay-140801/
  11. The City of London police took down another search engine for downloads on file-sharing websites for linking to infringing material. The website was already blocked in the United Kingdom by some local ISPs after getting blacklisted alongside 20 other file-sharing services. Now, the website’s domain name was removed entirely, but it was back up the next day following legal complaints from the owners. Torrentz’s domain name registrar was approached by the City of London police, who asked the company to suspend the website for linking to illegal content as part of Operation Creative. However, the service is still live at other domain names. Despite the fact that the force’s demand had no legal force, many registrars still followed such requests anyway. The City of London police explained once again that after a website is confirmed as providing copyright infringing content, its owners or operators are approached by the police officers and offered the chance to engage with the police, change the online behavior and start to operate legitimately. In case a website fails to comply, the police can turn to other tactical options – for example, contacting the domain registrar to seek suspension of the website, or disrupting advertising revenue via an Infringing Website List (IWL) provided to companies involved in the sale and trading of digital advertising. Torrentz.eu is known worldwide as one of the largest search engines for BitTorrent files. The portal lets users search for material to download via BitTorrent protocol. In most cases, people search for unlicensed copies of TV shows and films like Game of Thrones and the upcoming X Men: Days of Future Past. However, the service also contains legitimate material, including installers for free open source software, as well as books released under the so-called “copyleft†licenses. The next day after the initial suspension, the website’s Polish host, registrar, was reported to change its mind about complying with the police request. Apparently, this happened after Torrentz’s lawyer contacted the company to complain. Another illustrative example of site resurrection is the court in the Netherlands that lifted a ban on notorious file-sharing service The Pirate Bay. The court had to admit that the practice proved “ineffectiveâ€. According to the European legislation, the ISPs should not have to take measures like blocking if they are disproportionate or ineffective.