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Found 7 results

  1. HBO has sent thousands of warnings to Internet subscribers whose connections were used to share leaked Game of Thrones episodes. While there are no legal strings attached for the affected subscribers, HBO hopes that some will think twice before downloading future episodes. Last week’s pre-release leak of four Game of Thrones episodes is one of the most prominent piracy cases in TV history. The first copies, leaked from a review screener, quickly spread across public torrent sites and were downloaded millions of times. While most piracy occurred through BitTorrent, HBO seemed mostly concerned with a few dozen people who watched a shoddy stream via Twitter’s Periscope. Behind the scenes, however, BitTorrent pirates were targeted as well. Over the past week HBO sent out a flurry of takedown notices to those who shared the controversial leaks in public. TF has seen several notices, which all come in the standard format. Through its anti-piracy partner IP-Echelon, HBO instructs Internet providers to relay the alerts to the account holder associated with the infringing IP-address. “1. Contact the subscriber who has engaged in the conduct described above and take steps to prevent the subscriber from further downloading or uploading HBO content without authorization.†In addition, ISPs may want to take additional measures such as disconnecting the accounts of repeat infringers. “2. Take appropriate action against the account holder under your Abuse Policy/Terms of Service Agreement.†As is always the case with DMCA notices, HBO doesn’t know the identity of the alleged pirates, so there are no legal strings attached. Nonetheless, HBO hopes that the warnings will deter some from downloading future episodes. And indeed, some users may panic when they see that their downloads were flagged. Not all warnings are effective though. Some DMCA notices were directed at VPN users who can’t be identified and never get to see the warnings in question. It’s clear that containing the Game of Thrones leaks is important for HBO, but the DMCA notices themselves are nothing new. The company has been sending these out for various shows over the years, they just never got much attention. https://torrentfreak.com/hbo-targets-torrent-users-over-game-of-thrones-leak-150419/
  2. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry says it is preparing to have several "infringing sites" blocked at the ISP level in Singapore. The move, which will target The Pirate Bay should it come back online, follows new legislation introduced last year aimed at smoothing the way for High Court injunctions. Domain blocking is now firmly established as one of the entertainment industries’ go-to methods for reducing online copyright infringement. Its use is widespread around Europe by both the music and movie sector. In Europe the most important legal decision was announced in March last year when the Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed that EU ISPs can be required to block access to sites engaged in copyright infringement. Elsewhere, individual countries are making their own decisions on how to move forward. Last July, Singapore legislators approved the Copyright Amendment Bill which allows copyright holders to obtain High Court orders forcing local service providers to block “flagrantly infringing†websites. Now, six months on, entertainment companies are ready to launch their first tests. IFPI regional director Ang Kwee Tiang confirmed that the music group will initially target three to five “infringing sites†over the next two months. “We are now actively looking into exercising this in the future,†he said. The sites to be targeted have not yet been revealed but it’s always been the understanding that The Pirate Bay would be tackled first. The site’s reputation as the “worst-of-the-worst†allows entertainment companies to present a relatively straightforward case to the courts. The rising number of blocking orders already granted elsewhere only add to the mix. “Now, The Pirate Bay has more than 6 million links. We take the screenshots and we show that these are not licensed. We’re going to show that The Pirate Bay has been blocked in nine or 10 different countries. I think that will be very convincing for our cause,†Ang said. However, with The Pirate Bay currently down, it’s possible that other targets will have to be selected in the first batch. Ang confirms that evidence is still being collated but he’s confident that a successful blockade will help to reduce piracy. “I divide (consumers) 80 to 20 – 80 per cent are average consumers, if they cannot get it easily and if a legal site offers it, they may go for the legal site,†he said. “The committed pirate is like a committed criminal. They will search for ways to circumvent. But once we have the website blocking, then we are free to tackle the 20 per cent.†The driving force behind the site blocking phenomenon can be found in the entertainment companies of the United States but following the SOPA debacle public discussion to progress site blocking has been fairly muted. That doesn’t mean nothing has been happening, however. In December it was revealed that behind closed doors the MPAA has been working hard to bring site blocking to the United States. Whether those aims will still be progressed following the somewhat embarrassing leaks will remain to be seen, but it’s likely the movie group won’t be steered off course for long. Overall, Hollywood definitely sees blocking as an important anti-piracy tool. The practice is endorsed by none other than MPAA chief Chris Dodd and internal MPAA research has found it to be effective. http://torrentfreak.com/ifpi-targets-pirate-domains-with-new-site-blocking-law-150113/
  3. Reddit users beware, the Web Sheriff is back in town, and he's coming after your submissions. In recent months copyright holders have increasingly targeted "infringing" Reddit links and the Web Sheriff is one of the most active senders. The Web Sheriff, aka John Giacobbi, has been protecting the Internet from pirates for roughly a decade. In the early days he became somewhat of a cult figure thanks to his polite style and trademarked letterhead. This set him apart from other anti-piracy crusaders who usually sent DMCA takedown requests with a more aggressive lawyer-like style. The Sheriff once had a lively discussion with The Pirate Bay folks, who then sent himthis invoice fax. Not much later relationships deteriorated even further after Giacobbi announced he would sue the site’s operators in the US, France and Sweden, but not much came of that. In recent years things have quietened down a bit, but The Web Sheriff and his deputies are still active. In recent years they have taken down over half a million URLs from Google alone. Most recently, the Sheriff has been targeting several Reddit.com pages. In one of the most recent complaints the Sheriff demands the takedown of a submission in the r/megalinks subreddit, linking to two parts of the movie Nymphomaniac hosted on Mega.co.nz. The request for removal was sent to Google last week but the search engine decided not to remove the URLs. It’s unclear why, but one reason for the inaction may be that the Mega links are no longer active. Not all links reported by the Web Sheriff are “infringing†though. Another recent submission shows that he also tried to get this submission take down, which points to a perfectly legitimate news article from Variety. This year copyright holders have increasingly targeted allegedly infringing Reddit links, Google’s data shows. The Web Sheriff is currently ranked second in number of URLs sent, placed after LeakID and before Disney. Even the MPAA went after Reddit a few weeks ago. The Hollywood group tried to take down the subreddit r/fulllengthfilms, but failed and drove hundreds of thousandsof eyeballs to the page instead. Thus far the Web Sheriff hasn’t booked any real successs either, but Reddit users are warned. The Sheriff is watching and will shoot down your submissions whenever he can. http://torrentfreak.com/oh-no-web-sheriff-targets-pirating-reddit-users-140907/
  4. The makers of The Expendables 3 are continuing their crackdown on everything piracy related. Movie studio Lionsgate has now started to warn downloaders of the film, with alerts also going out to seedbox users. Over the past few weeks movie studio Lionsgate has rolled out an unprecedented anti-piracy campaign to stop people from sharing leaked copies of The Expendables 3. Aside from dragging six file-sharing sites to court, Lionsgate sent out hundreds of thousands of takedown notices to websites that linked to pirated copies of the leaked movie. As a result all traces of the movie were completely wiped from many file-sharing sites. However, the movie studio still isn’t satisfied and is now going after individual downloaders as well. Lionsgate has started sending takedown notices targeting people sharing the movie via BitTorrent. The notices are being sent to various ISPs who are urged to forward them to the customers whose accounts were monitored sharing the movie. Interestingly, this also includes those who use remote servers known as BitTorrent seedboxes. While many believe that seedboxes keep them safe from the prying eyes of piracy monitoring firms, this is not always the case. Yesterday, a customer of the Canadian seedbox provider Whatbox received the following notice. Via an email Whatbox urged the customer to delete the file in question, or face account suspension. “A copyright complaint has been received for content existing on your account. To prevent account suspension, please delete the affected content within the next 24 hours,†the notice reads. TorrentFreak contacted Whatbox, who explained that this takedown procedure is standard policy. As an Internet access provider it properly processes all incoming requests form copyright holders. “When we receive a notice we check for the infohash and email the appropriate customer asking them to remove the file(s). Nothing is passed along to the copyright enforcement group except to confirm that the content was found and subsequently removed,†Anthony Ryan of Whatbox says. “If a customer causes a large number of copyright complaints, we reserve the right terminate their service with a prorated refund and 24 hours of complimentary service to backup all their non-infringing files,†Ryan adds. The above notice confirms that Lionsgate’s takedown efforts are now targeting individual downloaders, through their ISPs. The action appears limited to warning letters and at least for now there are no signs that Lionsgate will drag file-sharers to court. Nu Image, another studio involved in the production of The Expendables 3, hasn’t taken any legal action either. However, they are more familiar with the topic than Lionsgate, as they sued a record breaking 23,322 U.S. Internet users for downloading a copy of the first Expendables film. To be continued? The makers of The Expendables 3 are continuing their crackdown on everything piracy related. Movie studio Lionsgate has now started to warn downloaders of the film, with alerts also going out to seedbox users. Over the past few weeks movie studio Lionsgate has rolled out an unprecedented anti-piracy campaign to stop people from sharing leaked copies of The Expendables 3. Aside from dragging six file-sharing sites to court, Lionsgate sent out hundreds of thousands of takedown notices to websites that linked to pirated copies of the leaked movie. As a result all traces of the movie were completely wiped from many file-sharing sites. However, the movie studio still isn’t satisfied and is now going after individual downloaders as well. Lionsgate has started sending takedown notices targeting people sharing the movie via BitTorrent. The notices are being sent to various ISPs who are urged to forward them to the customers whose accounts were monitored sharing the movie. Interestingly, this also includes those who use remote servers known as BitTorrent seedboxes. While many believe that seedboxes keep them safe from the prying eyes of piracy monitoring firms, this is not always the case. Yesterday, a customer of the Canadian seedbox provider Whatbox received the following notice. Via an email Whatbox urged the customer to delete the file in question, or face account suspension. “A copyright complaint has been received for content existing on your account. To prevent account suspension, please delete the affected content within the next 24 hours,†the notice reads. TorrentFreak contacted Whatbox, who explained that this takedown procedure is standard policy. As an Internet access provider it properly processes all incoming requests form copyright holders. “When we receive a notice we check for the infohash and email the appropriate customer asking them to remove the file(s). Nothing is passed along to the copyright enforcement group except to confirm that the content was found and subsequently removed,†Anthony Ryan of Whatbox says. “If a customer causes a large number of copyright complaints, we reserve the right terminate their service with a prorated refund and 24 hours of complimentary service to backup all their non-infringing files,†Ryan adds. The above notice confirms that Lionsgate’s takedown efforts are now targeting individual downloaders, through their ISPs. The action appears limited to warning letters and at least for now there are no signs that Lionsgate will drag file-sharers to court. Nu Image, another studio involved in the production of The Expendables 3, hasn’t taken any legal action either. However, they are more familiar with the topic than Lionsgate, as they sued a record breaking 23,322 U.S. Internet users for downloading a copy of the first Expendables film. To be continued? http://torrentfreak.com/lionsgate-targets-downloaders-of-expendables-3-leak-140826/
  5. Google is promoting legal movie services to people who search using piracy related keywords such as torrent, BitTorrent, DVDrip and Putlocker. In what appears to be a bid to steer pirates on a straight course, prominent ad banners are placed above search results, pointing people to Google Play, Netflix, Hulu and other video platforms. Over the past few years the entertainment industries have repeatedly asked Google to step up its anti-piracy efforts. One of the most often heard complaints is that pirated content sometimes ranks better than legal alternatives. Copyright holders want Google to remedy this situation by promoting legal content through higher placement in search results. “Search engines should address the distortive search practices that result in listings and rankings that favor substantially infringing sites,†the MPAA complained earlier. While it seemed that Google had rejected the boosting of legal offerings in results, it appears that the company is now taking measures to address copyright holder concerns. Google has quietly rolled out an update that places banner ads for Google Play and other content platforms above the regular search results if people search for piracy related terms. The banners in question show up on searches for a title of a movie or TV-show in combination with keywords such as “torrent,†“BitTorrent,†or “DVDrip.†As shown below, the first organic result is still a “pirate†site, but the legal options are now clearly visible through the inserted banner. “Breaking Bad Torrent†Initially these new ads were displayed in most of the US and UK. The availability was limited after TorrentFreak reached out to Google before the weekend, but they are still visible to us from a California IP-address. It’s unknown how Google picks the keywords but the banner is also shown when searching for the video format “avi†and even “putlocker,†a popular file-hosting service. The ads do not appear when searching for the movie or TV-show titles alone. They are specifically triggered by the extra ‘piracy’ keyword. For example, the banner shows up when searching for “Noah DVDrip†but not for “Noah DVD,†“Noah rent“, “Noah buy†or Noah paired with a random word. Noah DVDrip In addition to piracy related keywords the ads also appear for more generic searches where pirate sites traditionally rank very high. These include words such as “download,†“watch,†“online†and “view†which often have unauthorized sites in the top results. The “Noah watch†search below is a good example where a banner is placed above the first result, which in this case links to infringing material. Noah Watch TorrentFreak contacted Google but the company couldn’t say why the ads are displayed for these piracy related keywords. A spokesman did confirm that the ads appear for “various searches†and that they are the same format as the Knowledge Graph ads that were rolled out late last year. “These ads will appear after various searches that include specific movie, TV, and music titles,†a Google spokesman told us. Since the availability of the banners was limited overnight the company may still be experimenting with the setup. Unfortunately, Google couldn’t comment further on our findings. Promoting legal content through ads would make sense for Google, as that would satisfy some of the copyright holders’ demands without changing the actual search results. On top of that, it can be quite useful to users as well. Whether the banners will be able to steer people away from pirate sites has yet to be seen though. http://torrentfreak.com/google-targets-pirate-searches-promote-legal-content-140721/
  6. The MPAA has asked Google to remove a Reddit community from its search results over piracy concerns. The movie industry group lists the "FullLengthFilms" subreddit in a recent takedown request, alongside several notorious pirate sites. Thus far Google has refused to take the page down, and Reddit hasn't taken any action either. Every week copyright holders send millions of DMCA takedown notices to Google, hoping to make pirated movies and music harder to find. Not all copyright holders take the same approach. Where the RIAA targets millions of infringing URLs per month, the MPAA only sends out a handful of notices. Instead of using dragnet scripts to take down everything that links to infringing copies, the movie industry group specifically targets homepages of ‘rogue’ sites and other high impact targets. In the latest DMCA notice, sent last week, Reddit ended up on the list. Like many other user-generated content sites, Reddit has plenty of links to copyright infringing material. In fact, there are several sub-communities that are dedicated to finding and publishing lists to pirated material. The subreddit r/fulllengthfilms is a good example. Here, users are encouraged to post links to their favorite movies, preferably from legal sources. However, pretty much all links point to streams of pirated films including “Gravity†and “The Wolf of Wall Street.†The MPAA is not happy with this growing list of movies. In their most recent takedown notice they ask Google to remove the entire subreddit from its search engine, because it contains a link to a camcorded copy of “Edge of Tomorrow.†MPAA’s takedown request Interestingly, Google has declined to action the MPAA’s takedown request. It’s not clear why the search giant refused to take it down, but one of the reasons may be that the MPAA did not limit their request to the “Edge of Tomorrow†posting. Instead, the movie industry group targeted the entire subreddit. These broad takedown requests are not uncommon as most of the MPAA’s takedown notices contain homepages of download portals or streaming sites. In some cases the infringing work listed in the takedown request no longer appears on these homepages, and the MPAA often fails to list the internal page it’s supposed to link to. With this strategy the MPAA has managed to remove the homepages of several popular sites from Google’s search results, including KickassTorrents. But Google doesn’t always comply. For the most recent DMCA notice it refused to take downmost links, including the Reddit one. It’s still unclear whether the MPAA also sent a takedown notice to Reddit. TorrentFreak asked Reddit for a comment on the news but we have yet to receive a response. At the time of writing the FullLengthFilms subreddit and the “Edge of Tomorrow†posting remain online.
  7. The American Society of Civil Engineers is cracking down on researchers who post their own articles on their personal websites. The publisher, which owns dozens of highly cited journals, claims that the authors commit copyright infringement by sharing their work in public. copyright-brandedOne of the core pillars of academic research is sharing. By letting other researchers know what you do, ideas are criticized, improved upon and extended. Unfortunately it’s not always easy for academics to share their work. Most of the top publications are being monetized by major publishers, which means that they are locked behind a paywall that’s not open to the public. To make their work easier to access, many researchers host copies of their work on their personal profiles, usually hosted by their university. Interestingly, however, this usually means that they are committing copyright infringement. This is because most of the top publications ask the authors, who work for free, to sign away all their copyrights if they want their paper to be published. While many journals allow this type of limited non-commercial infringement by the authors, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) clearly doesn’t. The professional association publishes dozens of journals and during the past few weeks began a crack down on “pirating†researchers. The publisher has hired the piracy protection firm Digimarc to police the internet for articles that are posted in the wild. As a result, universities all across the globe were targeted with takedown notices, which were also sent to Google in some cases. The list of rogue researchers is long, and includes professors from MIT, Stanford, Northwestern University, University of Washington, UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin–Madison and many international universities. In the takedown notices Digimarc writes that the publisher has authorized their company “to send DMCA Takedown notices to infringers that illegally post or sell ASCE content.†In other words, ASCE is branding their own authors as pirates because they’re sharing the own work. Below is an example of a takedown notice for a paper written by Ronaldo Borja, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford. In this case the article is still available on the Stanford website, and Google has also refused to take it out of their search results. The same is true for articles published on the websites of MIT and UC Berkeley. However, there are other universities which have indeed disabled access to the articles in question. Several articles posted on the websites of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Texas have disappeared, for example. University of Michigan Professor Radoslaw Michalowski also removed an article that was linked from his list of publications. The question remains whether ASCE is wise to target their own authors, and the universities who pay them. After all, the publisher relies on these very people to keep its journals filled. In any case, it’s a sad state of affairs for these researchers to put years of hard work into their articles, only to be told they can’t share them with the world. SOURCE: Torrentfreak.com