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  1. Last week Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm lost his appeal against his hacking conviction in Denmark. With an August release potentially on the horizon but an unexpected situation still to be resolved in Sweden, Gottfrid is longing to get in front of a computer and back into the world of IT. But before then he wants to set the record straight. Last week and after a technically complex hearing, a jury at the Appeal Court in Denmark again found Gottfrid Svartholm guilty of hacking IT company CSC. The Pirate Bay founder now has no further opportunity to officially protest his innocence. Nevertheless, if all goes to plan and considering time served and his good behavior, Gottfrid could be up for parole middle to late August. But in cases involving the now-famous Swede, it will come as no surprise that there are complications. Gottfrid’s mother, Kristina Svartholm, informs TorrentFreak that the Swedish Prison and Probation service has requested a Nordic warrant for her son. The reason for this is that Swedish authorities sent Gottfrid to Denmark a month before his previous sentence was due to expire in 2013. This means that when he is released from Denmark later this year, he could be sent straight back to prison in Sweden to serve a few more weeks. But despite the setbacks, Gottfrid remains upbeat. “What Gottfrid wants to do now, more than anything else, is to get back to his developmental work within IT (graphics etc),†Kristina told TF. “And, of course, first of all: to sit by a keyboard again after nearly three years away from one.†With those days potentially just a few months away (even when taking the Swedish situation into account) some might sit back and accept their fate. However, Gottfrid is still intent on shining light on what he believes was a sub-standard investigation in Denmark and a poor decision from the court when it denied his appeal. According to Kristina, Gottfrid seriously questions the reports presented by the Danish police and is disappointed by their content, quality and lack of professionalism. “Clumsy amateurs†according to the Pirate Bay founder. In respect of the verdict itself, Gottfrid insists that it contains many “errors, mistakes and misunderstandingsâ€. There is even a suspicion that the judges decided on his guilt before the date of the verdict. “The final speeches from the defense/the prosecutor respectively were made Monday June 15, 2015. The judges and jury met Tuesday for voting. The verdict was presented Wednesday morning. WHEN was this verdict written?†Gottfrid questions. While the answer to that question may never be forthcoming, Gottfrid and Kristina remain determined to shine a light on the Danish investigation and what they both believe to be an extremely flawed legal process. To that end and in conjunction with Gottfrid, Kristina has penned a 2200+ word document detailing what they believe to be the key points behind an unfair investigation, criminal trial, and subsequent appeal. It covers plenty of topics, from the encrypted container found on Gottfrid’s computer to a chat log that became central to linking him to the case, despite it being highly edited by the authorities. Also of interest are the details of discussions secretly recorded by the police that potentially place Gottfrid in the clear, but were still ignored by the Appeal Court. The report can be downloaded here (RTF)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Emails from the Sony hack reveal that the MPAA asked its member studios to pay $165,000 each to upgrade the screening rooms of several U.S. embassies. American ambassadors could then utilize these private theaters as indirect lobbying tools by showing off Hollywood content to high level officials. Yesterday Wikileaks published a searchable database of the emails and documents that were released from the Sony hack. While a lot of ground was already covered after the initial breach, some new information is now bubbling up to the surface. One of the conversations that caught our eye mentions a request from MPAA boss and former U.S. senator Chris Dodd. In an effort to get foreign policy makers onside, the movie group asked its member studios to help fund an upgrade of the screening rooms in various U.S. embassies around the world. In an email from Sony Pictures Entertainment Head of Worldwide Government Affairs Keith Weaver to CEO Michael Lynton last March, Weaver explains that the studio had been asked for rather a sizable contribution. “I wanted to make you aware of a recent MPAA request, as Senator Dodd may contact you directly,†Weaver’s email begins. “Essentially, the request is for the member companies to consider upgrading screening rooms at U.S. Embassies in various countries (Germany, Spain, Italy, UK, and Japan)…†These rooms could then be used by the ambassadors to show off Hollywood content to invited high-level officials. “…the idea being that these upgraded screening rooms would allow American ambassadors to screen our movies to high level officials (and, thus, inculcate a stronger will to protect our interests through this quality exposure to our content),†Weaver adds. In other words, the MPAA wants to pay for an upgrade of the embassies’ private theaters, to indirectly protect the interests of U.S. movie studios abroad. It’s a rather interesting lobbying effort and one that doesn’t come cheap. The estimated cost for the project is $165,000 per studio, which means the total budget for the project is close to a million dollars. Unfortunately for the MPAA, Weaver suggested giving the project a miss and in a reply Lynton agreed. “While studios have supported efforts like this in the past, my inclination is that we pass on this financial commitment at this time (of course, applauding the idea/effort),†Weaver noted. In an email a few months later the issue was addressed again with additional details. In this conversation Weaver notes that the request is “not unusual†and that the studio supported a similar request years ago. “Apparently, donations of this kind are permissible,†Weaver writes. Again, Lynton replied that he was not inclined to support the project. It’s unclear whether any of the other members chipped in, or if the plan has been canceled due to a lack of financial support.
  5. Music industry group IFPI released its latest Digital Music Report today. Documenting the latest developments in the ongoing piracy battle, the report suggests that pirate site blockades are hugely effective. According to the music group it's now time for blocking orders to have a cross border effect. In recent years blockades of “pirate†websites have spread across Europe and elsewhere. In the UK, for example, more than 100 websites are currently blocked by the major ISPs. In recent weeks alone several new countries adopted similar measures, Australia, Spain and Portugal included. Opponents of this censorship route often argue that the measures are ineffective, and that people simply move to other sites. However, in its latest Digital Music Report music industry group IFPI disagrees, pointing at research conducted in the UK. “Website blocking has proved effective where applied,†IFPI writes, noting that the number of UK visits to “all BitTorrent†sites dropped from 20 million in April 2012 to 11 million two years later. The key to an effective blocking strategy is to target not just one, but all leading pirate sites. “While blocking an individual site does not have a significant impact on overall traffic to unlicensed services, once a number of leading sites are blocked then there is a major impact,†IFPI argues. For now, however, courts have shown to be among the biggest hurdles. It can sometimes take years before these cases reach a conclusion, and the same requests have to be made in all countries. To streamline the process, copyright holders now want blocking injunctions to apply across borders, starting in the European Union. “The recording industry continues to call for website blocking legislation where it does not already exist. In countries where there is already a legal basis for blocking, procedures can be slow and burdensome,†IFPI writes. “For example, within the EU, blocking The Pirate Bay has meant taking multiple legal actions in different member states and rights holders are calling for injunctions to have cross-border effect.†In addition to website blockades the music industry also stresses that other stakeholders should do more to help fight piracy. Search engines should prioritize legal services, for example, and advertisers and payment processors should cut their ties with pirate sites. While IFPI’s numbers suggests that BitTorrent piracy has decreased globally, it still remains a significant problem. The group estimates that there are still four billion pirated music downloads per year on BitTorrent alone. In other words, there’s plenty of blocking to be done before it’s no longer an issue, if that point will ever be reached.
  6. The UK's top IP advisor has published recommendations on how Internet service providers should deal with online piracy. Among other things, it's suggested that Internet services should search for and filter infringing content proactively. According to the report ISPs have a moral obligation to do more against online piracy. Mike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, has pushed various copyright related topics onto the political agenda since early last year. Previously Weatherley suggested that search engines should blacklist pirate sites, kids should be educated on copyright ethics, and that persistent file-sharers should be thrown in jail. In his latest proposal the UK MP targets information society service providers (ISSPs) including ISPs, who he believes could do more to fight piracy. The just-released 18-page report stresses that these companies have a moral obligation to tackle copyright infringement and can’t stand idly by. The report (pdf) draws on input from various pro-copyright groups including the MPAA, BPI, and the Music Publishers Association. It offers various recommendations for the UK Government and the EU Commission to strengthen their anti-piracy policies. One of the key points is to motivate Internet services and providers to filter content proactively. According to the report it’s feasible to “filter out infringing content†and to detect online piracy before it spreads. The UK Government should review these systems and see what it can do to facilitate cooperation between copyright holders and Internet service providers. “There should be an urgent review, by the UK Government, of the various applications and processes that could deliver a robust automated checking process regarding illegal activity being transmitted,†Weatherley advises. In a related effort, Weatherley notes that Internet services should not just remove the content they’re asked to, but also police their systems to ensure that similar files are removed, permanently. “ISSPs to be more proactive in taking down multiple copies of infringing works, not just the specific case they are notified of,†he recommends. “This would mean ISSPs actively taking down multiple copies of the same work which are hosted on its services, not just the individual copy which is subject to the complaint. The MPA believe this principle could be extended further still to ensure that all copies of the infringing work are not just taken down…,†Weatherley explains. This type of filtering is already used by YouTube, which takes down content based on fingerprint matches. However, the report suggests that regular broadband providers could also filter infringing content. Concluding, Weatherley admits that it’s all too easy to simply demand that ISPs take the role of policemen, but at the same time he stresses that they have a “moral responsibility†to do more. The UK MP presents an analogy of a landlord whose property is used for illegal activities. The landlord cannot be held liable for these activities, but he may have to take action if a third-party reports it. “If the landlord is told that the garage is being used for illegal activity, and that this information is from a totally reliable source, then does the landlord have a moral obligation to report it?†“I would argue that it is the duty of every citizen or company to do what they can to stop illegal activity and therefore the answer is, yes, the landlord should report the activity,†Weatherley notes. Weatherley also believes that protecting the rights of copyright holders has priority over a “no monitoring†principle that would ensure users’ privacy. That is, if the monitoring is done right. “There is also the question as to whether society will want to have their private activities monitored (even if automatically and entirely confidentially) and whether the trade off to a safer, fairer internet is a price worth paying to clamp down on internet illegal activity. My ‘vote’ would be “yes†if via an independent body …†Overall, the recommendations will be welcomed by the industry groups who provided input. The report is not expected to translate directly into legislation, but they will be carefully weighed by the UK Government and the EU Commission when taking future decisions.
  7. In recent months Hollywood has pushed Netflix to ensure that VPN users can't access their services. Netflix honors these requests, but according to CEO Reed Hastings there's a better way to deal with the issue. The company would like to get rid of Hollywood's geographical restrictions entirely and render 'VPN piracy' obsolete. After years of waiting, Netflix officially launches in Australia today. As a result, the tens of thousands of Aussie “VPN-pirates†who already used the U.S. version through a loophole, can now use it legally in their home country. While Netflix’s rollout is a step in the right direction, the content selection will also be somewhat of a disappointment to those who are used to the U.S. offering. Because of complicated licensing agreements Netflix has a much more limited content library Down Under. For the movie and TV studios geographical licensing agreements are a core part of their business. However, it also means that many Aussie pirates won’t be canceling their VPN subscriptions just yet. Speaking out on the controversial VPN use, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that the problem can be fixed if the industry starts to offer the same content globally, without artificial barriers. According to Hastings the VPN issue is a relatively small problem compared to traditional forms of piracy, and relatively easy to make obsolete. “The VPN thing is a small little asterisk compared to piracy,†Reed notes. “Piracy is really the problem around the world.†According to Netflix the ‘VPN pirates’ are willing to pay, they just can’t get what they want through their local Netflix. “The basic solution is for Netflix to get global and have its content be the same all around the world so there’s no incentive to [use a VPN]. Then we can work on the more important part which is piracy,†Hastings says. The availability issue is fixable, Hastings believes, although it’s questionable whether Hollywood is ready to switch to global licensing deals. Lacking availability is at the root of both traditional and VPN piracy and Netflix hopes that the industry will address this problem. If that’s done, they can focus on those pirates who simply don’t want to pay. “The key thing about piracy is that some fraction of it is because [users] couldn’t get the content. That part we can fix. Some part of piracy however is because they just don’t want to pay. That’s a harder part. As an industry, we need to fix global content,†Netflix’s CEO says. Hastings’ comments are in line with the stance of Europe’s Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip. The EU commissioner previously called for the abolition of Netflix’s geographical restrictions in Europe, labeling them as “discriminationâ€.
  8. In a response to the draft code tabled to deal with the Australian online-piracy problem, some of the world's largest music publishers have presented a set of draconian measures. ISPs should not only use technology to spy on their own customers, but also to proactively block access to infringing content and websites. Following intense pressure from the Australian government, ISPs were warned that they had to come up with a solution to online piracy or face a legislative response. In collaboration with some rightsholders, last month a draft code was tabled by ISPs which centered on a three-strikes style system for dealing with peer-to-peer file-sharers using systems including BitTorrent. In a response to the code just submitted by the Australasian Music Publishers Association (AMPAL) – which counts EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music among its members – the companies accept that the proposals are moving in the right direction but suggest boosting them in a number of ways. Firstly, in an attempt to plug the so-called ‘incorporation’ loophole, the publishers say that all Internet subscribers should be subjected to the graduated response scheme, not just residential customers. While that suggestion could cause all kinds of problems for businesses and providers of public wi-fi systems, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AMPAL says it recognizes that the code requires rightsholders to do their own online monitoring of file-sharers. It’s a practice employed around the world in every jurisdiction where “strikes†systems are in place. However, the publishers would prefer it if the draft code was amped up to the next level. “The Code does not place a general obligation on ISPs to monitor and detect online copyright infringement,†the publishers write. “AMPAL submits that ideally the Code should include such a duty using ISPs’ monitoring and filtering techniques.†The publishers don’t elaborate on their demands but even in this form they are troubling to say the least. While rightsholders currently monitor only file-sharers distributing content without permission, in theory and to meet AMPAL requirements ISPs may have to monitor the activity of all customers. Not only that, the ‘filtering’ aspect would mean that ISPs become much more than mere conduits of information, a real problem for those seeking to avoid being held liable for infringing activity. But AMPAL’s plans for ISPs go further still. Not only should they be pro-active when it comes to monitoring and warning subscribers, ISPs should also use technology to actively block access to infringing content on other levels. “The Code does not require ISPs to block access to infringing material. AMPAL submits that ideally the Code should include provisions obliging ISPs to take such action following provision of the relevant information by Rights Holders and/or following discovery of copyright infringing websites by ISPs’ monitoring and filtering techniques,†the publishers write. Again, AMPAL provides no elaboration, but on face value these suggestions will horrify ISPs. The premise is that after being told by a rightsholder that specific content is infringing, ISPs should use filtering technology to stop its subscribers from sharing that content. Difficult – if not impossible. Furthermore, ISPs should be both responsive to rightsholder request and pro-active when it comes to the practice of blocking ‘infringing’ websites. Who decides the criteria for such blocking isn’t detailed, but presumably AMPAL feels well placed to do so and that the ISPs should do its bidding. When it comes to dealing with subscribers, AMPAL is also seeking penalties for those who persistently disregard infringement notices. The current proposals allow rightholders to request the details of errant subscribers after they get caught sharing content three times, smoothing the way for legal action. But AMPAL wants more. “AMPAL submits that ideally additional options should be available to Rights Holders in the form of sanctions or mitigation procedures to be imposed on Account Holders,†the publishers write. “Rights Holders are severely limited in the realistic damages that they can recover. Litigation in this area is costly and difficult particularly for the small to medium enterprises that make up a large proportion of all rights holders.†Describing the draft code as “an important initial stepâ€, AMPAL says that a revised code to incorporate its demands should be implemented in the future. “Only with a concerted effort by ISPs, Rights Holders and government can the damaging effects of online copyright infringement be addressed,†the trade group concludes. Finally, in its submission to the draft code the BBC expresses concern that subscribers could use VPN technology to circumvent the whole system. “The code is ill equipped to deal with consumers who spoof or mask their IP addresses to avoid detection, behaviour that we believe will increase as a result of an introduction of a notice scheme,†the BBC said.
  9. Ed Sheeran has been told to cut Taylor Swift from his social circle by his girlfriend, according to reports. The Sing performer has been dating Athina Andrelos since early last year. But it seems the beauty has become increasingly concerned by his close friendship with the Shake It Off singer, who most recently thanked Ed during her Brit Awards acceptance speech. 'It's incredibly awkward for Ed, because Athina doesn't want Taylor anywhere near them or their social circle,' a source told the US edition of OK! Magazine. The 24-year-old has been friends with Taylor for a number of years and supported her on a leg of her 2013 Red Tour. But it seems the redheaded singer doesn't want to upset his new love, but at the same time can't imagine not spending time with the American. '[He] is respecting her wishes [but] he digs Taylor, too the insider continued. Ed regularly spends time with the 25-year-old and they even recorded a duet, Everything Has Changed. But it seems the straw that broke the camel's back for Athina could have been Taylor's gushing speech when she won International Female Solo Artist at the London awards ceremony on February 25. 'Honestly I know I wouldn't be up here if it wasn't for one of my best friends who took me to pubs and taught me how to make a good cup of tea and taught me everything I know about the UK,' she told the audience. 'I just want to say I love you Ed Sheeran.' However the blonde beauty may not be the only problem in Ed's relationship, as British newspaper The Mirror recently claimed that the couple were on the rocks because of his busy schedule. 'Things haven't been as good and Ed has just headed off on a world tour which will keep them apart for months,' an insider told the outlet.
  10. Andrus Ansip, Europe's Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, wants to abolish geoblocking. Restricting user access to content based on their location, which Netflix, YouTube and others do, is discrimination, he says. "I want to pay – but I am not allowed to. I lose out, they lose out," Ansip notes. Due to complicated licensing agreements Netflix is only available in a few dozen countries, all of which have a different content library. The same is true for many other media services such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Video, and even YouTube. These regional blockades are a thorn in the side of Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market in the European Commission. In a speech this week he explained why these roadblocks should be abolished. “Far too often, consumers find themselves redirected to a national website, or blocked. I know this from my own experience. You probably do as well,†Ansip said. “This is one of many barriers that needs to be removed so that everyone can enjoy the best Europe has to offer online. It is a serious and common barrier, as well as extremely frustrating,†he added. The Commissioner is targeting an issue that lies at the core of the movie and TV industries, who license content per location. Ansip specifically mentions BBC’s iPlayer, but other services including YouTube, Amazon and Netflix have the same restrictions. The geoblocking restrictions are demanded by content creators, who want to sell the streaming rights on a regional basis. To enforce these licenses, users from outside of the designated countries are blocked. The Commissioner believes that this is an outdated concept which he likens to discrimination. If people want to pay for content, they should be able to, irregardless of where they live. “In the offline world, this would be called discrimination. In the online world, it happens every day,†Ansip noted. “I want to pay – but I am not allowed to. I lose out, they lose out.†“How can this be a good thing? We put up with the situation because there is not much alternative. Now it is time to do something about it,†he added. The artificial restrictions are not a market issue according to the Commissioner, but a matter of rights. These rights should be enjoyed equally and not just by the happy few who happen to live in a ‘licensed’ country. “There should be no exceptions. Everyone should be treated the same. This is a key principle that underpins everything we want to achieve,†Ansip said. The EU is currently discussing how copyright legislation in Europe should beoverhauled and the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market hopes that measures against geoblocking will be part of the new rules.
  11. The major movie studios are considering lawsuits against hosting providers in the U.S, and abroad. The MPAA specifically mentions the Dutch hoster LeaseWeb as a potential target, claiming that it frequently does business with pirate sites. LeaseWeb is surprised to be mentioned as a potential target and is not aware of any wrongdoing. Last month a leaked document from the MPAA exposed Hollywood’s global anti-piracy priorities for the coming years. The leak revealed where the movie studios would focus their efforts, with file-hosting and streaming sites among the top targets. The same data breach also included a more in-depth overview of the anti-piracy plans which were previously unreported. This new leak comes from an email the MPAA sent to the movie studio’s top executives October last year and provides additional background. One of MPAA’s main anti-piracy priorities are file-hosting services, often referred to as cyberlockers. As part of the strategy to deal with this threat the movie studios plan to sue the site’s hosting providers. The two items below reveal Dutch hosting provider LeaseWeb is named as one of the possible targets. The MPAA also leaves the option open to go after “recalcitrant†hosters in the United States, if these choose not to cooperate. - Litigation against a significant hosting provider in the Netherlands (e.g., Leaseweb). – Outreach to hosting providers in the US, where sufficient legal precedent exists (potentially to be followed by litigation against recalcitrant US hosting providers). In a specific section describing its strategy towards hosting services the MPAA also notes that it will put a “political spotlight and pressure†on hosting providers who make a lot of revenue from pirate sites. In addition the MPAA plans to make criminal referrals against hosting companies, accusing them of money laundering and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. Interestingly, it’s unclear whether the criminal route will be successful as the document mentions that the U.S. Government may be reluctant to take these on “given difficulty with Megaupload case.†LeaseWeb is surprised to learn that they are referenced in these MPAA documents. According to the company’s Senior Regulatory Counsel Alex de Joode there is no reason why they should be considered a target. “There is no basis or ground for the MPAA to target any LeaseWeb company as part of its anti-piracy strategy,†De Joode tells TF. “LeaseWeb companies that provide services to third parties have stringent policies to which cloud storage providers and video streaming sites must adhere, and which ensure rights holders can enforce their rights effectively. All LeaseWeb companies also have efficient abuse notification procedures in place, and act quickly upon takedown requests,†he adds. LeaseWeb operates various companies, also in the United States, but the MPAA’s plan suggests that a possible lawsuit would take place in the Netherlands. Thus far, however, LeaseWeb hasn’t seen any signs of or reasons for a potential lawsuit. In fact, they maintain a good relationship with the local Hollywood-backed anti-piracy group BREIN with which they have regular meetings in the Netherlands. “Neither BREIN nor the MPAA has informed any LeaseWeb company that the MPAA may consider any of the LeaseWeb companies a target as part of its anti-piracy strategy or why such may be the case. The only reason that we can think of for ‘LeaseWeb’ to be on the list is that we are a big brand and big player in the hosting business, and as a group of companies have a vast and fast network.†LeaseWeb is indeed a major player in the hosting business. It previously provided hundreds of servers to the now defunct Megaupload, and still serves many streaming sites and file-hosting services. For now, no lawsuits against hosting providers have been filed by the MPAA. Whether or not this will happen depends in part on the level of funding the major movie studios are willing to contribute to the laid out anti-piracy proposals.
  12. While making the rounds to publicize his new film "The Gambler," Mark Wahlberg told New York radio host Ralphie Aversa that his "next goal now is to get the movie made and start talking to Martin Scorsese about directing it." (The audio is available via Wahlberg was an executive producer on HBO's period drama, which starred Steve Buscemi as Prohibition-era Atlantic City kingpin Enoch "Nucky" Thompson and aired its fifth and final season this year. The actor is no stranger to television-to-film reboots -- he produced the upcoming "Entourage" movie with Stephen Levinson and writer/director Doug Ellin -- but "Boardwalk," if the project comes to fruition, would be Wahlberg's directorial debut. In the interview, Wahlberg comments on the end of Nucky by alluding to the possibility of a prequel: "We can always go back."
  13. Sony may have withdrawn The Interview but not everyone is scared of releasing the movie. Author Paulo Coelho, whose book The Alchemist has sold in excess of 165 million copies, has just offered to buy the rights to the movie from Sony. He informs TorrentFreak that it would go straight on BitTorrent, for free. As has become customary in the past few weeks, the so-called Guardians of Peace hackers contacted TorrentFreak on Tuesday advising us of the latest release from their Sony hack. The tone on this occasion was different. Threats of destroying Sony’s business had given way to suggestions of 9/11 style attacks on locations daring to show the now-controversial movie The Interview. Under increasing pressure, last evening Sony decided to pull the film. “In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release,†Sony said in a statement. While it’s believed the US government will officially point the finger at North Korea today, not everyone is scared of being associated with the movie. In fact, BitTorrent-loving, Pirate Bay-supporting, best-selling author Paulo Coelho is interested in buying the rights – and then some. In a message to Sony this morning, Coelho – who offered to testify for the defense in The Pirate Bay trial of 2009 – laid down his offer. “I offer @SonyPictures 100k for the rights of ‘The Interview’ I will post it free on my blog,†the author announced. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Coelho confirmed that if successful he’ll make the movie available for free using BitTorrent. But what made him want to get involved in the controversy? “As a writer, freedom of information /distribution is important for me. You can’t bend to threats,†Coelho told TF. “Worse, you can’t give an excuse that [sony] decided to pull the plug fearing ‘terrorist attacks’. It is my understanding that what they really fear are email leaks.†While the amount offered by Coelho is small beans against a movie that could end up costing Sony $100m (hack costs not included), it’s being offered by an individual who knows all about leveraging file-sharing to his benefit. In 2007 Coelho sold in excess of 100 million books and since its release his novel The Alchemist has shifted more than 165 million copies. Extraordinary writing talent aside, Coelho is unusual in that he embraces piracy and is more than happy to let people download his work for free. In an earlier interview with TorrentFreak the Brazilian said that he wanted people to have the opportunity to ‘try’ his books for free, but some of his publishers wouldn’t agree to that right away. So, taking matters into his own hands, Coelho put his books onto BitTorrent and hosting sites to achieve his aims. “The ultimate goal of a writer is to be read. Money comes later,†he said. In fact, BitTorrent distribution is helping Coelho’s sales today more than ever before. “Adultery, my new book, broke all records this year, and I believe that one of the reasons was there being many copies on P2P sites,†the author says. Coelho concluded his offer to Sony Pictures this morning by suggesting he should be contacted via the company’s Brazil division. Whether a response will be forthcoming will remain to be seen, but in any event it seems unlikely that The Interview will remain dark forever. Although Sony has reportedly killed its theatrical and VOD releases and has “no further release plans†for the movie, in the piracy world forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. File-sharers are now very keen indeed to get their hands on the movie, which is known to be available in DVD screener format. Should that leak – and copies usually do – then there will be absolutely nothing that anyone can do about that, North Korea included. It won’t land on The Pirate Bay of course, but Coelho doesn’t think that will be too much of a problem. “Thanks isoHunt,†he concludes.
  14. Columbia Pictures has asked a Florida federal court to keep its anti-piracy policies secret forever. The records in question are part of the now closed case between Hotfile and the MPAA. Previously, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams ruled that the information should be unsealed in the public's interest. It’s been almost a year since Hotfile was defeated by the MPAA, but the case hasn’t yet gone away completely. Earlier this year the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the court to unseal documents regarding the workings of Warner Bros.’ anti-piracy tools. These documents are part of the counterclaim Hotfile filed, where it accused Warner of repeatedly abusing the DMCA takedown process. In particular, the EFF wants the public to know what mistakes were made and how these came to be. In September the Court ruled that the sealed documents should indeed be made public, and the first information was released soon after. Among other things the unsealed records showed that Warner Bros. uses “sophisticated robots†to track down infringing content. This week the MPAA submitted its proposed schedule (pdf) for the release of the other documents. With regards to Warner’s anti-piracy system they propose a wait of at least 18 months before more information is unsealed. By then Warner will have changed its systems significantly so that the information can no longer be used by pirates to circumvent detection. In the case of Columbia Pictures, however, things are more complicated. The sealed information of the Sony Pictures owned studio would still be beneficial to pirates for decades to come, the court is told. “Defendants have cited two specific pieces of information regarding Columbia’s enforcement policies that, if revealed to the public, could compromise Columbia’s ability to protect its copyrighted works,†the MPAA’s lawyers write. In a sworn declaration Sony Pictures’ Vice President Content Protection, Sean Jaquez, explains that the redacted documents describe broad policy decisions regarding online copyright enforcement that are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. “Columbia intends to continue to implement these confidential copyright enforcement policies indefinitely,†Jaquez writes. “These confidential enforcement policies will not become less sensitive over time because they reflect broad policy judgments, rather than specific implementation features of Columbia’s anti-piracy enforcement system that are likely to change as technology evolves or time passes,†he adds. To keep these secrets out of the public eye, the MPAA asks the court to keep the records relating to Columbia Pictures under seal indefinitely. If that’s too much, the information should remain secret for at least ten years. It’s now up to Judge Williams to decide whether the proposed timeframes are reasonable and whether Columbia can keep its anti-piracy secrets locked up forever. To be continued.
  15. Legal representatives for ISP iiNet say they want an anti-piracy tracking system put under the microscope. Hundreds of the Aussie service providers customers are at risk of being sent "speculative invoices" demanding cash for alleged infringements but iiNet definitely isn't going to give plaintiff Dallas Buyers Club an easy ride. Following a leak of the movie Dallas Buyers Club onto the Internet in January 2013, owner Voltage Pictures took the opportunity to extract cash payments from hundreds of US citizens said to have downloaded the movie. The practice is lucrative, so much so that the company is now testing the Australian market. Among others, Dallas Buyers Club LLC (DBCLLC) are targeting subscribers of iiNet, a local ISP with a reputation for defending its customers. (DBCLLC) recently applied to the Federal Court to have iiNet and others reveal the identities of people they say have downloaded and/or shared their movie without permission, but to date iiNet (which also owns fellow targeted ISPs Internode and Adam) is opposing the application for discovery. Earlier today the parties were in Federal Court in Sydney before Justice Nye Perram. DBCLLC wants iiNet to hand over its subscribers’ identities, but the ISP suspects that instead of giving targets their day in court the movie company simply wants to scare settlements out of them. According to ZDNet, Barrister Richard Lancaster, SC representing iiNet, told Justice Perram that the ISP needs to know more about the anti-piracy tracking system that was used to track the alleged copyright infringers. DBCLLC hired Stuttgart, Germany based outfit MaverickEye UG, an outfit that claims to provide “world-class surveillance†of intellectual property on the leading P2P networks including BitTorrent. The company also claims experience with other law firms operating similar pay-up-or-else business models. “Maverickeye UG work very closely with several law firms focused on the protection of intellectual property and specialized in filing legal claims against people who infringe on your intellectual property,†the company says on its website. It’s now also becoming clearer why DBCLLC selected iiNet as a target. In its prolonged legal battle with movie company Village Roadshow which concluded two years ago, iiNet said it would’ve handed over subscriber information had there been a successful application to the High Court. DBCLLC lawyer Ian Pike told the Court today that he will indeed be relying on those statements. Next Monday will see another hearing, this time on the issue of security and costs. To ensure that it’s not left with a huge legal bill, iiNet has requested that DBCLLC deposit AUS$100,00 (US$86,700) into a holding account in the event the movie company loses in its bid to obtain the ISP’s customers’ details. That amount is already in dispute with DBCLLC reportedly prepared to put forward just AUS$30,000 (US$26,000). During December another hearing will determine whether iiNet will be able to call Maverick Eye’s Daniel Macek as a witness to determine whether the company’s anti-piracy tracking system is up to the job of identifying an infringer. Then, during February 5 and 6, 2015, the full case will be heard. A win for iiNet could mean a significant setback for DBCLLC, while a victory could signal a green light to other companies plotting similar action. In the United States, DBCLLC demands payment of up to US$7,000 (AUS$8,000) from each person it targets.
  16. A majority of the Dutch Parliament has backed a proposal to target online piracy through warning popups on "pirate" sites. The warnings should inform Internet users that they're breaking the law, while pointing out what the legal alternatives are. The opposition characterizes the plan as "stupid" and notes there are better ways to deal with the issue. ​ In common with many other countries around the world, downloading music and movies is hugely popular in the Netherlands. Up to a third of the population is estimated to download copyrighted content without paying for it. Until a few months ago the Netherlands was a relative safe haven for these “pirates†as downloading and copying movies and music for personal use was not punishable by law. In exchange for this “legalization†rightsholders were compensated through a “piracy levy†on writable media and hard drives. However, this changed after a recent verdictof the European Court of Justice. Since then, not much has changed. Copyright holders haven’t indicated that they want to target individual downloaders, and the authorities haven’t either. However, a new proposal put forward in the Dutch Parliament could change this inaction, with the suggestion that potential pirates should be warned via popup browser notifications. The idea comes from the VVD and PvdA, which holds a majority in the current Parliament. While the exact details still have to be worked out, the parties want visitors of torrent sites and other download portals to receive a popup warning telling them that they are breaking the law. Jeroen van Wijngaarden, Member of Parliament for the VVD, told NOS that the warnings should also refer people to legal content. “It should also state that there’s a legal alternative, to which the user should then be referred,†he says. Van Wijngaarden explains that these popups, which will presumably have to be implemented by local Internet providers, will increase the chance that people choose legal alternatives over pirate sites. The plan will be discussed in the Dutch Parliament tomorrow where there is bound to be strong opposition. Kees Verhoeven, Member of Parliament for D66, characterizes the popup proposal as “stupid†as it would require ISPs to become the Internet police. Instead of popups, the entertainment industries should fight piracy by increasing the availability of legal content, he believes. “It’s a stupid plan and shows a lack of knowledge of how people use the Internet and how they download. You don’t reduce illegal downloads with pop-ups, but with more legal supply,†Verhoeven says. Local Internet providers have yet to respond to the proposal, but considering thefierce opposition against the Pirate Bay blockade, it’s expected that they won’t be too keen on monitoring users’ “pirate site†visits.
  17. Like many other "hacked" celebrities, UK actress, model and television presenter Kelly Brook is not happy that her leaked nudes are being distributed freely on the Internet. To deal with the fallout she asked Google to remove her photos, claiming that the compromising selfies infringe on her copyrights. Since late August hundreds of photos of naked celebrities have leaked online in what’s now known as “The Fappening.†The leaks resulted in a massive takedown operation targeted at sites that host and link to the controversial images. As a hosting provider and search engine Google inadvertently plays a role in distributing the compromising shots, much to the displeasure of the women involved. Several celebrities threatened legal action against Google for its “unlawful activity,†demanding tgat the company should zap all their images. Others, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, used DMCA requests to remove the images from the public eye. The famous UK actress, model and TV presenter Kelly Brook now joins this group as one of the latest Fappening victims. Brook’s pictures leaked onto the Internet early October and last week she asked Google to remove three links to her pictures from search results, claiming that she holds the copyrights to the selfies. The images are allegedly hosted on, and according to Google’s transparency report the request is still “pendingâ€. However, during this week something unusual happened. For reasons unknown, Google has decided to remove all URLs of from its search results. Whether the pages were removed because of the leaked pictures, or for another reason, is unknown. Kelly Brook is not the only celebrity to ask Google to remove links, Argentinian singer Melina Lezcano did the same last week. TorrentFreak asked Google whether the removal of the entire domain name is due to its content or if there’s another reason, but we have yet to receive a response. Whatever the reason, Brook and Lezcano’s takedown requests are moot. Whether they will be relieved is doubtful though, as most of the Fappening photos are still being shared through thousands of other sites. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  18. Adele reportedly wants to ensure her new record is perfect in every way. The 26-year-old singer hasn't released an LP since her Grammy-winning 2011 offering 21. But according to songwriter Diane Warren, who has worked with Cher, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion in the past, Adele is working hard on crafting the perfect sounds for her third studio album. 'I flew to London to work on new stuff with Adele last year,' Diane told UK newspaper The Sun. 'We did some great songs but I don't know if they've made the record. I don't think anybody does. 'She has a mind of her own. Nobody rushes Adele or makes decisions for her, which is probably why she's a great artist. She wants to get it right.' In 2011 Adele underwent surgery to remove a polyp from her vocal chords. Apparently the procedure went so well, her voice remains flawless as she records tracks for her forthcoming LP. 'She was singing her a*s off when I was in the studio. Her voice was spectacular,' Diane noted. Adele is said to have been working with a number of famed musicians on the highly secretive album. UK newspaper The Mirror previously reported Adele is hitting the studio once again with the help of One Republic rocker Ryan Tedder, who's written hits for Beyonce Knowles and Leona Lewis. 'She is delighted to have such a talented writer and performer working with her and for Ryan it is a massive privilege,' a source told the outlet. The pair were reportedly been holed up in Air Studios in Hampstead, North London for a good portion of the summer. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  19. Beyonce Knowles has reportedly asked Jay Z to take better care of his health. The 33-year-old singer is said to be worried about her husband's weight and has apparently asked him to consider a diet following their On The Run tour. It's suggested the singing queen thinks her spouse could slim down by about 20lbs. 'She's so over his size and thinks it's ridiculous that he doesn't take care of his health,' a source claimed to the American edition of OK! magazine. Apparently the songstress is primarily concerned about the health issues Jay may face if he does not tone up. She is said to have put the pressure on the 44-year-old to lose weight immediately. 'She's worried about his cholesterol, his blood pressure, everything, and wants him to lose weight urgently,' according to the insider. Beyonce's own performances are notoriously high energy. Jay, on the other hand, keeps things low key and is 'very inactive'. She feels her love spends too much time in the studio or office. He did attempt a vegan diet with her in 2013, but the insider is claiming that he didn't do it properly. The couple decided to ditch animal products for 22 days around his birthday in December, with Jay telling fans all about their new eating plan via his blog. "It was surprisingly easier on me than I thought,' he enthused at the time. "Why now? There's something spiritual to me about it being my 44th birthday and the serendipity behind the number of days in this challenge; 22 (2+2=4) coupled with the fact that the challenge ends on Christmas day. It just feels right!' Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  20. Kanye West is reportedly trying to get Kim Kardashian to "soften" towards Beyoncé Knowles. Kanye and Beyoncé's husband Jay Z are good friends and have even been on tour together. However, their wives don't get on quite so well, with speculation the singer is not too impressed with the reality TV star. Earlier this year it was claimed that Beyoncé asked not to be seated too close to Kim at the MTV VMAs, but she's apparently now had a re-think. "As far as Kim's concerned, the damage is done - she thinks Bey only wants to be friends because she wants something from her now," an insider told British magazine Heat. "But Kanye would love for things to be better and it trying to get Kim to soften. Kanye's spoken to Jay privately and told him the approach may have to be public in some way - that's the way Kim is and not coming to the wedding was a huge snub." Kim and Kanye tied the knot in Italy in May and it had been thought that Jay would act as best man. In the end, the A-list couple didn't attend - in part thought to be because Beyoncé didn't want to appear on Kim's show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. "Kim's ignoring her calls so far. Bey's going to have to eat some serious humble pie to make up for all the public snubs she's made over the years and for missing her wedding," the source said. "She's certainly not going to forgive her just because Kim's a bit more famous now and Beyoncé's popularity has taken a hit." Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  21. Every Halo shooter (save for the first and Reach) has had a number attached to it, and the next original game in the series, Halo 5: Guardians, will be no different. 343 Industries boss Bonnie Ross hopes that isn't always the case, though, telling OXM that she would have even preferred that Halo 4 hadn't carried a number. "At some point, we do want to stop numbering. Especially on Xbox One," Ross said in the latest issue ofOXM (via Gamer Headlines). "If I had my druthers, we wouldn't have called Halo 4 that--we really look at that game as the start of where [Master Chief]'s going. At some point we need to drop the number and still [let you] know you've got a big story coming." Dropping the number for future games won't necessarily be indicative of Master Chief's presence (or absence) in them. In the case of a Halo game that carries a subtitle but no number, Ross said, "It might still be a Master Chief story. I'm just saying, at some point we don't want to be Halo 17, when Master Chief's like 80. We're not Final Fantasy, we can't do it. So we kind of open that door--it doesn't mean it'll be a Master Chief story or not. That's something for us to decide in the future." There have been three Halo games released sans number--Reach, Halo Wars, and Halo: Spartan Assault--but Reach is the only Halo shooter to have done so (and it was a spinoff, much like ODST). Master Chief will be playable in Halo 5, though he may not be the game's "primary character." That distinction could instead go to Agent Locke, whom we'll be getting acquainted with in the Halo: Nightfallseries that Halo: The Master Chief Collection buyers will get access to later this year. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  22. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  23. With the exclusive release of Thom Yorke's latest album BitTorrent developed itself into a paid music service. With over half a million downloads thus far the "experiment" has become a great success, and if it's up to BitTorrent the company will become an RIAA-certified music service in the near future. Last Friday Radiohead frontman Thom Yorkereleased his new solo album via BitTorrent. A few tracks were made available for free, but those who want the full album are charged $6. The new experiment is part of BitTorrent Inc’s bundles project, which allows artists to easily share their work with fans. While many artists tested the waters before Yorke, he is the first to ask for money directly from consumers. “If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of Internet commerce back to people who are creating the work. Enabling those people who make either music, video or any other kind of digital content to sell it themselves. Bypassing the self elected gate-keepers,†commented Thom Yorke on his decision to join. Fast forward a few days and the album release has turned out to be a great success. At the time of writing the number of downloads surpassed 500,000, and at the current rate this will have doubled before the end of the week. These numbers are for both the free sample and the full album, which are both being counted by BitTorrent. Thom Yorke doesn’t want the sales figures to become public but judging from the number of people sharing the torrent this lies well above one hundred thousand. “When the Bundle is downloaded using one of our clients, it pings back with a torrent added event which is how these are being counted. Thom Yorke has asked that sales figures remain undisclosed, which is his discretion,†BitTorrent spokesman Christian Averill told TorrentFreak. Now that BitTorrent Inc. has become a paid music service, a whole new world opens up. Will there soon be a BitTorrent release at the top of the charts for example? We asked BitTorrent whether they are considering becoming an RIAA-certified seller, and the company’s answer was an unequivocal yes. “Our vision is absolutely that Bundles will count toward all the usual industry accolades and charts. Again, it will be up to the publisher of the specific Bundle. But the numbers certainly merit the recognition,†Averill says. If that happens, BitTorrent sales will be eligible for RIAA’s gold and platinum awards as well as other charts. While some music industry insiders may need some time to adjust to the idea of BitTorrent (Inc) as an authorized music service, the RIAA itself doesn’t see any reason why the company can’t apply. “Music sales … on digital music services that are authorized by and reported to the record labels, whether paid for by the consumer through a subscription or free to the consumer through ad-supported services, are accepted for RIAA certifications,†RIAA’s Liz Kennedy tells TorrentFreak. Becoming RIAA-certified doesn’t happen overnight though. BitTorrent would first have to request the certification and a full audit is then required to receive an Authorized service stamp and a possible listing on “, a joint initiative of the RIAA and Music Biz, lists the leading authorized music services in the United States,†Kennedy explains. For BitTorrent this would be a great achievement. The company has had to withstand a fair amount of criticism from copyright holders in recent years, and recognition as an authorized music service will surely silence some of it.
  24. It’s been no secret to those following DC Comics movie adaptation closely thatSuicide Squad appeared to be a likely candidate for one of the studio’s upcoming (but unannounced) releases. The film was reportedly planned to enter developmentbefore Batman V Superman stole the studio’s momentum, but new reports claim that the film isn’t just moving forward, but Warner Bros. already has their eye on a director: David Ayer, the mind behind the Brad Pitt-led WWII tank film, Fury. The report comes from Variety, who claim sources have stated that Suicide Squad is most definitely one of the mystery projects with an announced release datebefore 2020. In addition, the studio views Ayer as the right man for the job, although no details are available on what stage the deal is in, if it has indeed been offered. While not particularly shocking, this report is encouraging news for a number of reasons. We’ve already laid out the evidence that WB and DC have been moving toward a Suicide Squad film for some time – and the animated Batman: Assault on Arkham was essentially a test run for the team – but Ayer brings more than just experience dealing with an “outnumbered team behind enemy lines.†For those unfamiliar with the “Suicide Squad†comic history (or the version recently seen on The CW’s Arrow), suffice to say a film adaptation would need to be fairly – for lack of a better word – ‘gritty’ to stay true to the source material. Following a team of former villains pressed into military service, the group of murderers, hired killers and all-around oddballs are forced to tackle missions almost guaranteed to cost them their lives. With the likes of Joker’s ‘girlfriend’ Harley Quinn, hired assassin Deadshot and the humanoid King Shark, the film has (understandably) seemed risky. When news of the film being put on hold broke, we speculated that Marvel’sGuardians of the Galaxy (a film centered on strange, non-traditional anti-heroes) could prove the property’s potential. Whether or not that’s the case, the added word that DC and WB were looking to release a number of smaller-budget comic book films alongside their Justice League blockbusters made the Squad a no-brainer. Given Ayer’s work directing crime films like Harsh Times, Street Kings and End of Watch, there’s no doubt he possesses the ‘edginess’ fans would hope for. But it’s his writing work that may get comic book fans excited: besides Fury, Ayer penned the scripts for Training Day, U-571 and more. There’s no word on whether Ayer would be re-writing Justin Marks’ (Top Gun 2, The Jungle Book) script, but it’s hard to imagine Ayer wouldn’t make some changes. Ayer’s talent for writing (and directing) ensemble casts that tend to operate outside the limits of traditional law enforcement likely brought him to WB’s attention – but the $80 million budget for Fury may not be the best indication of what to expect from a Suicide Squad movie. In fact, Fury seems the exception to Ayer’s usual style of filming straightforward, grounded action – something comic book movie fans might see as a welcome change of pace. Whatever version of the team is most likely to be adapted, one thing is clear: aSuicide Squad movie potentially penned by the mind behind Training Day, and directed with an eye for pull-no-punches, grounded action; that’s something few fans had expected. Until official word arrives, though, anything is possible. What do you think of this news? Is a writer/director like Ayer the kind of talent you would like to see handle the Suicide Squad, or did you have a different style in mind? We’ll keep you updated on the truth to this report as more information arrives. Fury opens in theaters on October 17th, 2014, for those curious to see what may lie in store for a Suicide Squad adaptation.
  25. After being challenged by Grande Communications, piracy monitoring outfit Rightscorp has withdrawn its request to identify the hundreds or thousands of customers who it earlier accused of piracy. The ISP is not letting Rightscorp walk away that easily though, and has asked the court for sanctions. For several months Rightscorp has been sending DMCA subpoenas to smaller local ISPs in the United States. Unlike regular subpoenas, these are not reviewed by a judge and only require a signature from the Court clerk. This practice raised questions because DMCA subpoenas are not applicable to file-sharing cases, which is something courts determined more than a decade ago. Perhaps unaware of the legal precedent, most ISPs have complied with the requests. Until last week, when small Texas provider Grande Communications stood up in court after it was asked to reveal the account details connected to 30,000 IP-addresses/timestamp combinations. Soon after Grande filed its objections Rightscorp decided to drop the request entirely. While ISP is pleased that its customers no longer have to be exposed, the company is not letting Rightscorp off the hook. In an advisory to the court (pdf) the ISP notes that Rightscorp’s actions suggest that it’s merely trying to avoid having a judge look at their dubious efforts. “The abrupt withdrawal of the Subpoena is consistent with the apparent desire of Rightscorp and its counsel to avoid judicial review of their serial misuse of the subpoena power of the federal courts,†Grande’s attorneys write. The ISP still wants Rightscorp to pay for the costs run up thus far. In addition, Grande also believes that sanctions for misusing the federal court’s subpoena powers may be in order. “The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California may consider ordering Rightscorp and its counsel to show cause why they should not be sanctioned for misusing the federal court’s subpoena powers,†the advisory reads. The ISP points out that if it hadn’t challenged the subpoena, the personal details of hundreds or thousands of subscribers would have been shared based on a faulty procedure. Since similar requests are being sent to other ISPs, the matter warrants further investigation. “It appears clear that Rightscorp and its counsel are playing a game without regard for the rules, and they are playing that game in a manner calculated to avoid judicial review. Hopefully, they will not be permitted to continue much longer,†Grande’s attorneys conclude. Rightscorp’s withdrawal of the subpoena also contradicts earlier comments the company’s CEO Christopher Sabec made to TorrentFreak. Sabec told us that the company believes that earlier decisions on the legitimacy of DMCA subpoenas in file-sharing cases were wrong, and will be overturned should the issue reach the Supreme Court. Apparently, this was a veiled threat, perhaps to discourage Internet providers from starting a battle that could get very expensive. Instead, with possible sanctions pending, things may now get expensive for Rightscorp.