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  1. Today
  2. Under the umbrella of the BPI, major and independent recording labels in the UK have announced a key victory in their fight against so-called 'stream-ripping' sites and tools. Following a two-year process, this morning a judge at London's High Court ordered major ISPs to block access to several platforms, including two of the most popular - Flvto and 2Conv. https://torrentfreak.com/images/cassettapemusic.pngAs reported earlier this month, a group of record labels under the umbrella of the British Recorded Music Industry Ltd (BPI) and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), appeared at the High Court with a request for the country’s major ISPs to block several stream-ripping sites. In comments to TorrentFreak, BPI General Counsel Kiaron Whitehead confirmed that a process had taken place via an online hearing on February 3, 2021, with the aim of reducing piracy levels in the UK. According to a new communication from the BPI, Mr Justice Miles at London’s High Court has now rendered his decision, one that will be welcomed by the entire recording industry. High Court: Stream-Ripping Sites and App Infringe Copyright Law The full decision is yet to be published but according to a statement by the BPI, the High Court ruled that the operators and users of several ripping-related websites use the services of the ISPs to download copyrighted music in breach of copyright. As a result, the ISPs are required to block access to them, as they have done following many similar actions against regular torrent and streaming sites. In the application filed by companies including Warner, Sony, and Capitol Records, it was claimed that the sites 2conv.com, flvto.biz, 2Convert.net, H2Converter.com, H2Download.org, Flv2mp3.by, Flvtool.com, and Ytbapi.com, enable users to rip music from sites like YouTube, contrary to copyright law. Today’s release by the BPI mentions only 2Conv, Flvto, Flv2mp3 and H2Converter by name as candidates for blocking. Checks at the time of writing reveal that that 2Convert.net, Ytbapi.com, H2Download.org, and Flvtool.com are currently non-operational. “There are four currently active stream ripping sites to be blocked, varying in popularity – namely ‘Flvto’ (with an average 58 million annual UK visits over the last three years), ‘2Conv’ (25 million annual UK visits), ‘Flv2mp3’ (1.7 million annual UK visits) and ‘H2Converter’ (700,000 annual UK visits), plus the downloadable app provider ‘MP3 Studio’ (1.2 million annual UK visits),” the BPI notes. Case in Development For Two Years The music industry considers stream-ripping to be the most significant piracy threat. The BPI puts a price tag of £200 million in losses to music piracy in the UK overall, with a sizeable portion of that down to stream-ripping from legitimate platforms such as YouTube. As a result, the BPI says it has spent two years preparing the case against the stream-ripping platforms, eventually producing 3,000 pages of evidence in support of its application for a blocking injunction. Negotiations with the country’s largest ISPs – BT, EE, PlusNet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – were a key part of the process, with the BPI stating they took place over a period of months, with an application eventually brought under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. None of the ISPs opposed the case or attended the hearing after agreeing to comply with the Court’s decision. Second Application For Injunction – Cyberlocker ‘Nitroflare’ In a second application for injunction against the same Internet service providers, the labels also requested blocking of the cyberlocker site ‘Nitroflare’. In common with the judgment against the stream-ripping platforms, Mr Justice Miles found that both the operator and users of Nitroflare use the services of the ISPs to download copyrighted music, contrary to copyright law. As a result, the ISPs must also block access to Nitroflare. “ites like Nitroflare are deliberately designed to encourage and reward users to upload music and other valuable copyright material, and illegally share links to it with others who can then illegally download it,” the BPI’s statement reads. “Mr Justice Miles found that although music only represents around 10% of all files available on Nitroflare, the site warranted being blocked because it actively encouraged illegal sharing and it was highly unlikely that the site was being used for legitimate storage on a significant scale. The site also rewards those who illegally share music and penalizes those who do not share by deleting their files.” According to research carried out by the BPI for the period January 2018 to December 2020, Nitroflare received an average of 3.5 million annual UK visits over the three-year period. Decision Welcomed By The BPI “Illegal sites, including stream rippers and cyberlockers, rip hundreds of millions of pounds from the music economy in the UK every year and hold back the growth of the UK’s legal streaming market,” says BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor. “The BPI takes action on multiple fronts for labels and artists to ensure that platforms that use music pay fairly, but we would like Government to set a clear duty of care on digital platforms to prevent illegal content appearing on their services, and make it simpler, cheaper and faster for creators to take action against the illegal use of their work. This can make the UK the best country in the world to invest in music and to be a music fan.” BPI General Counsel Kiaron Whitehead, who led the litigation, describes both judgments as important, both legally and practically. “They are not a silver bullet, but they develop existing European law and represent a significant step forwards in copyright law in the UK,” he says. “We are grateful to the High Court in dealing with this group litigation so efficiently in an online hearing. The BPI will be taking further actions following these judgments.”
  3. Following a complaint from the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers, Italian authorities say they have carried out a "preventative seizure" of 10 'pirate sites' involved in the illegal distribution of newspapers, magazines and eBooks. The content was stored on foreign servers in violation of copyright law. https://torrentfreak.com/images/gdf-logo.jpgOver the past several years Italian authorities have been applying increasing pressure to multiple aspects of the piracy ecosystem. Those involved in the illegal distribution of movies, TV shows and live sports are the most common targets but in response to a push from local publishing companies, suppliers of pirated newspapers and periodicals are also prone to enforcement measures. New Operation Targeting Distributors of Editorial Content On Wednesday the Guardia di Finanza (GdF), a law enforcement agency under the authority of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, announced yet another operation designed to limit the spread of such content within Italy. “[The] Economic and Financial Police Unit of the Guardia di Finanza of Bari has implemented an urgent preventative seizure order, issued by the local Public Prosecutor’s Office, against 10 pirate websites through which the illegal distribution of newspapers, magazines and eBooks has taken place, in violation of copyright law,” a GdF statement reads. In keeping with the normal practice of hiding the names of the sites from public view, none of the nine sites have been named. GdF simply says that the platforms allowed people to download for free by providing links to content hosted on servers abroad. There is no indication that the seizure order has taken those foreign servers down or disrupted them in any way. Complaint Originally Filed By Publishers The action this week forms part of Operation “# CHEGUAIO!” which was launched following an initial complaint by the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers (FIEG). Running since 2020, the operation has reportedly led to the ‘seizure’ (blocking/disabling) of 329 Telegram channels responsible for illegally distributing editorial content in breach of copyright, in addition to the sites affected by this week’s action. In a statement, GdF welcomed the crackdown on the pirate sites. “This activity, carried out by the Economic and Financial Police Unit of Bari and coordinated by the local Public Prosecutor’s Office, confirms that the publishing piracy market represents a flourishing illicit business,” GdF said. “It involves a vast audience of users who feed it, often unaware of the consequences, also of a criminal nature, to which they are exposed and of the enormous economic damage that this practice causes both to the holders of copyright and to the national economy in a broader sense. “Therefore, the investigative action carried out by the Guardia di Finanza of Bari continues in close synergy with the local judicial authority for the repression of this insidious criminal phenomenon that alters the dynamics of the market.” Pressure on Telegram Last April, FIEG President Andrea Riffeser Monti estimated that publishing companies were losing around 670,000 euros per day due to piracy. According to FIEG, a sample 10 Telegram channels were believed to have around 580,000 users, all obtaining newspaper content without paying the publishers. Following discussion with Telegram, FIEG said that the platform had deleted seven of the eight channels initially reported as infringing but the problem continued, resulting in many additional complaints since.
  4. Last year, games cracker EMPRESS told pirates that if they wanted Denuvo-protected games cracked and placed online, they would have to help fund that. While controversial, over the past few weeks this proposal has been overshadowed by a catastrophic social-media-fueled meltdown that has culminated - if reports are to be believed - in EMPRESS being targeted by the police. A couple of decades ago, online piracy was a relative niche pastime enjoyed by relatively few people. Dominated by music and software, consumers were largely grateful for whatever they could get their hands on, supplied by largely nameless individuals with a “sharing is caring” philosophy. Today, however, the landscape is dramatically different. Many pirates have become discerning consumers, demanding only the highest quality content neatly presented in fault-free or functionally-specific packages. Around that, a cult of personality has developed around some of the best known ‘pirate’ brands, from distributors such as The Pirate Bay through to Scene groups known only by a series of initials. While the original founders of The Pirate Bay were able to skillfully manage their reputations while being known by millions of pirates, Scene groups have taken a different approach. By providing no useful information about themselves, it has mostly been difficult for pirate consumers to interact or even criticize them. However, when other pirates with a fresh outlook have dared to step into the spotlight more recently, the jarring glare of social media has presented a whole new set of problems. A Shift in The Game Cracking Scene For many years, the removal of copy protection from games was the domain of largely faceless groups operating in the shadows of ‘The Scene’. Unknown to the vast majority of pirates, these collectives have enjoyed a level of security by default. However, in more recent times, the ability to crack, release and distribute cracked content independently has lured some crackers much closer to the surface. As a result, they have become more accessible to fans and detractors alike, with serious security implications. In 2018, this led to the demise of Voksi, a Bulgaria-based cracker who rose to fame on sites including Reddit, who reportedly ended his work after being visited by officers from Bulgaria’s General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime. According to him, this happened at the behest of Irdeto – the new owner of the infamous Denuvo anti-tamper technology. While this could’ve happened to anyone, it’s hard to imagine that Voksi’s significant public profile didn’t play a major part in his downfall. But in common with many similar situations over the years, it hasn’t prevented others from following a similar path. Case in point – the larger-than-life Denuvo cracker EMPRESS. EMPRESS Takes Things to a Whole New Level Last year we reported how games cracker EMPRESS burst onto the scene with a plan to crowdfund the cracking of Denuvo titles. Straight off the bat, EMPRESS showed a remarkable lack of concern by confirming what appeared to be sensitive information, including that EMPRESS and another group, C000005, were actually one and the same. Links to another group, CODEX, were also revealed/claimed. Since then, EMPRESS has delivered previously Denuvo-protected titles as promised but somewhat bizarrely, these achievements have been accompanied by masses of superfluous drama. Instead of maintaining a low profile, EMPRESS has become increasingly outspoken, restating connections to CODEX and even PARADOX (PDX), a group that has existed in some form or another for more than 30 years. Labeling them all as “pathetic” probably wasn’t a great start but things were only just getting started. Fellow Denuvo-crackers CPY (which have considerable standing in the Scene) were branded “selfish and ignorant” and then attention turned to repackers including the world-famous FitGirl, whose work appears to have irritated EMPRESS intensely. Stop Hogging The Limelight In an interview with Wired published this week, EMPRESS responded to the repacking issue by noting that these entities, Fitgirl included, are somehow able to get the credit for releasing games to the public, rather than EMPRESS, who is doing “the REAL work”. So, in an effort to take the spotlight away from people like FitGirl, EMPRESS decided to cap the download speed of ‘her’ latest release, to prevent speedy repacks. This didn’t go down well with fans. And it wasn’t well-received by FitGirl either. “As many of you could see, the Immortals: Fenyx Rising repack was listed in Upcoming Repacks list for almost a day already. Why is it still not up? You would never guess, EMPRESS intentionally limited the uploading speed of her seedbox to 200 KB/s and feeding the same chunks to the crowd, so no one would download the ISO before others,” FitGirl wrote. “And why did she do it, you ask? The answer is mind-blowing: she hates all repackers for ‘stealing the spotlight’ from her work. Yes, you’ve read it right,” FitGirl added. “It’s against common logic and piracy ethics.” In response, FitGirl announced a boycott of EMPRESS releases. “I can’t allow myself to be a puppet of a person, whose main agenda seems to be ‘I am the only Denuvo-cracker in the world, praise me’. Well fuck that. I’ll let other repackers with less strict principles to deal with her works.” Cult of Personality Incompatible With Longevity? The problems mentioned by FitGirl are actually just the tip of a very large iceberg but surprisingly few issues relate directly to the cracking of games. Somehow, the personality and divisive opinions of EMPRESS (or simply those being presented online) appear to be fueling the dramas upon which social media often thrives. And as usual, nothing good has come of it. Threads discussing EMPRESS have descended into chaos, with supporters jostling with detractors over the perceived size of the EMPRESS ego and whether or not some of her philosophical musings (1,2,3) are best aired on forums dedicated to cracking or somewhere else far, far away. Either way, these issues have now become irretrievably entwined with her persona resulting in both hostility and an extremely toxic environment. And according to EMPRESS at least, the ultimate damage has now been done. “Finally Caught By The Police, Good Job Everyone” In a post under her new Reddit handle of ‘InfinityGoddess’, a few hours ago EMPRESS told the masses on the CrackWatch subreddit that the worst-case scenario had unfolded. Pointing the finger at FitGirl, fellow repacker ‘Masquerade’ and “all the beautiful non toxic community here”, EMPRESS said that some people on Reddit had reported both her and her real address to the authorities.(Quotes verbatim) i am not quiet sure how it happened, but even with putting my philosophical side aside, i think i pissed off the entire internet just by trying to control ‘MY’ own crack for 24 hour is actually something i am still not able to believe. In less than an hour, i will be dragged out of my home here with my lawyer, but considering i was caught red handed while preparing version 2 fix for my immortals crack, i don’t think there will be much of hope against it at all. i must repeat again, thank you a LOT fitgirl, and all her followers who enjoyed insulting and reporting me for the little stupid mistakes i did. there are no perfect person in this world, but i at least tried to do something ‘right’ out of all this. but no one saw it, and instead they only saw the negatives. At the time of writing, no one apart from EMPRESS knows for sure whether the above statement is true, partially true, or indeed a complete fabrication. That having been said, it cannot be argued that any of this (including what led to this statement) is good for the games cracking scene. Even if the authorities aren’t involved and Redditors aren’t to blame for what is being alleged, this kind of infighting – whoever may have started and/or perpetuated it – is the kind of destabilization that companies like Denuvo could only dream of. Apparently without Denuvo lifting a finger, a major player appears to have been forced out of the game, not by the most secure copy-protection system available today, but by a self-perpetuating grass-roots clash of personalities with a single pivotal mistake underpinning everything. The fact is that by becoming so accessible and accountable to the masses, games crackers and pirates of all kinds put themselves at risk. Most or indeed all of this slow-motion car wreck could’ve been avoided if the traditional firewall of crackers distancing themselves from pirate consumers had been maintained. But for now at least, the damage appears to have been done, and who is to blame is irrelevant. The big question is whether the same mistakes will be made again. Given what we’ve seen thus far, that seems likely
  5. A UK parliamentary inquiry has once again revealed that many music industry insiders are not happy with YouTube. The platform is a source of piracy and doesn't pay nearly enough to rightsholders, they claim. On top of that, it's also seen as an important reason why subscription services such as Spotify can't raise their prices. Meanwhile, labels continue to upload their music to YouTube. With the option to stream millions of tracks for a monthly fee, subscription services such as Spotify and Apple Music have proven to be a serious competitor to music piracy. In just a matter of years, these services have shaken up the music business to become the biggest source of revenue. UK Parliament Reviews Music Streaming Economy This sounds like great news, but many musicians are not happy. Many creators only see a tiny fraction of the streaming income, with much bigger percentages going to the labels. This topic, which is far from new, is now at the center of a UK Parliamentary inquiry on the economics of music streaming. After listening to hours of testimony it’s clear that the streaming landscape is complicated. There are various copyright holders involved and, for the artist, revenue can be severely limited depending on their contract. Another confusing matter is how money is shared among the various acts. This largely depends on the subscription income received by companies such as Spotify. In other words, more streamed ‘listens’ don’t automatically result in more revenue. These and many related topics were discussed in a UK parliament hearing over the past weeks where several prominent witnesses testified. They includes Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of the music industry group BPI. Among other things, Taylor was asked why a company such as Spotify, in which several record labels have a stake, pays so little per stream. This can be in part explained by the subscription revenues, which remain relatively low. The easy solution would be to raise prices, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. ‘YouTube Distorts Subscription Prices’ “There are various distortions in the market that have essentially reduced the amount of value that comes into the streaming economy. The first one is that, obviously, the consumer price has not moved in 10 years and has fallen behind inflation, but there are reasons behind that,” Taylor said. “The most important reason is competition with free services. You have services such as YouTube in the market that have huge numbers of users, which, for a lot of their content — all the content that is uploaded by their users — pay a fraction of what is paid for a stream on Spotify.” In other words, because people can stream music for free on YouTube, paid subscription services are reluctant to raise their prices. If they do, people may simply switch to this free alternative which generates less revenue. Piracy and the Safe Harbor Problem According to Taylor, there is a huge difference in the money earned ‘per stream’ from subscription services when compared to user-uploaded YouTube videos. In addition, pirate sites remain a problem too, and these generate no income at all. “Then of course the other big distortion in the market is piracy, which affects all artists, all labels and so forth. That costs about £200 million a year in lost revenues,” Talor notes. According to the BPI’s Chief Executive, safe harbors are causing this distortion. They allow companies such as YouTube to host music uploaded without permission, without being held liable. “The existence of the safe harbor changes the negotiation substantially. That is why you see that huge differential in per stream rates between user-uploaded content on YouTube, for example, and other streaming services.” In other words, Spotify and other subscription services are afraid to raise prices because they fear that people will flee to free alternatives such as YouTube and pirate sites, which will decrease the overall revenue. Spotify and Apple Agree This is not just how the BPI sees it either. In yesterday’s hearing Spotify’s Chief Legal Officer Horacio Gutierrez warned that the company has to strike a balance and ensure that “music doesn’t become unaffordable.” If that happens, Spotify could be “pushing them back into online piracy scenarios.” This was corroborated by Apple Music’s Elena Sega, BBC reports. She also highlighted YouTube as one of the outlets they have to compete with. “Competing with free is very difficult,” she said. “They don’t necessarily have licenses for all the music that they use, and they don’t need to.” These testimonies make it clear that YouTube is mostly seen as a problem by these insiders. While the platform has paid out billions of dollars to the music industry over the years, the payouts should be a lot higher, the reasoning goes. Labels Still Upload Their Music to YouTube This is an argument that has come up before. Unfortunately, however, the UK parliament members didn’t ask why the major record labels continue to upload their music to the site. If YouTube is such a problem, why use it then? Low payouts are not the only problem either, according to insiders. YouTube is also seen as the biggest source for stream-ripping, which is the music industry’s single biggest piracy threat. Many of the tracks that are ripped are uploaded by the labels themselves. The easy solution would be to stop uploading to YouTube altogether and load the Content-ID system with every music track on earth, so all user uploads are removed as well. But that’s not happening. This suggests that the music industry sees at least some value in YouTube. After all, why else would it support a site that keeps subscription service revenues low? The main issue here is that the music industry would like to get more money from YouTube. ‘Labels Should Take a Look at Their Own Business’ The Members of Parliament also questioned Katherine Oyama, Google’s Global Head IP Policy, who had an entirely different take on the matter. “Honestly, I was surprised and a bit disappointed by the testimony that I heard. Frankly, it does not reflect at all the individual relationships that we have with individual members of the BPI,” she said. Oyama reiterated that YouTube is paying billions of dollars to the music industry and that they are working hard to raise this revenue. At the same time, the company has built tools to allow copyright holders to remove infringing content from the platform. Instead of pointing the finger at YouTube, the major labels may want to take an honest look at their own business, indirectly hinting at the fact that some artists only get paid a fraction of streaming revenues. “I think maybe what was happening in the first panel today was a little bit of a distraction to alleviate hard questions about their own industry, frankly. It is true that not every artist is having the same experience. “I do think that there has been a lack, maybe, of some other voices as part of this process. We would be so happy to recommend some who can share some best practices about things that they are doing,” Oyama added.
  6. A class-action lawsuit filed by musician Maria Schneider and Pirate Monitor claims that YouTube restricts access to takedown tools and fails to act against repeat infringers. However, YouTube is steadily picking the case apart, including by identifying the operator of a "shell company" plaintiff whose earlier work will be familiar to fans of The Simpsons. Last summer, Grammy award-winning musician Maria Schneider and entity calling itself ‘Pirate Monitor’ filed a class action lawsuit against YouTube. They accused YouTube of failing in its copyright responsibilities by denying smaller artists from accessing its takedown tools (Content ID), failing to terminate repeat infringers, and profiting from piracy. YouTube was not impressed. In an early fightback, YouTube said that Pirate Monitor and/or its agents had opened bogus YouTube accounts to upload its own videos and then filed takedown notices against the same content claiming that its rights had been infringed. This, YouTube said, was a ploy to gain access to its Content ID system after Pirate Monitor had been previously denied. Case Management Statement Piled Pressure on Pirate Monitor Early January there were signs that the claims against YouTube were starting to unravel. YouTube said that there was no legal basis to allow Pirate Monitor to access Content ID and Schneider already has access to Content ID through her publishing agent, who had used it for years on her behalf. Furthermore, YouTube added that the original complaint failed to allege even a “single instance of infringement” for Schneider’s works and in any event, Schneider’s publishing agent had already granted YouTube a license to use all of her musical works, effectively negating all copyright claims. With arguments over discovery continuing, YouTube has now amended its counterclaim. The additional details appear to undermine the case against Pirate Monitor further still, with allegations that the company and its operator are behind an elaborate and unlawful scheme to manipulate YouTube to support a lawsuit. Amended Counterclaim – More Meat On The Bones Right off the bat, YouTube identifies the person it believes is behind Pirate Monitor Ltd/Pirate Monitor LLC – Hungarian film director and California resident Gábor Csupó. While not mentioned in YouTube’s filing, information online indicates that Csupó is the founder of animation studio Klasky Csupo, which produced shows like Rugrats, Duckman, Stressed Eric, and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. Klasky Csupo also animated The Simpsons cartoons that first appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show. The company continued its involvement in The Simpsons for its first two seasons. YouTube says that Pirate Monitor is refusing to cooperate with discovery but it has managed to determine that Pirate Monitor has no employees other than Csupó, who presides over an “inadequately capitalized shell corporation” that “disregards corporate formalities” and was set up for the purposes of the action against YouTube. “Csupó created Pirate Monitor LTD after his personal liability for the acts alleged herein first arose, and his misuse of the corporate form is continuing. As a result, Csupó is responsible, and personally liable for, not only his own actions, but the acts of Pirate Monitor LTD as well,” YouTube writes. According to YouTube, Pirate Monitor, Csupó and/or their agents opened YouTube accounts using bogus account information to upload videos. YouTube says this was done to mask the fact that those who subsequently filed copyright complaints to have the same content taken down were acting in concert. YouTube identifies two dozen accounts (all with Gmail addresses including the phrase ‘ransomnova’) that were created via an IP address in Pakistan and used to upload videos listed in the original complaint. At the time, YouTube says it was unaware of the connection between Pirate Monitor, Csupó, and the ‘Ransomnova’ accounts, so when it received around 1,800 DMCA takedown notices from Pirate Monitor and Csupó, it took the necessary action to remove the allegedly-infringing videos. It appears they were effectively taking down their own content, ostensibly to gain access to YouTube’s Content ID system. Pirate Monitor Not Responding to Discovery Requests YouTube says that Pirate Monitor and Csupó are in possession of information that would reveal their “unlawful scheme” but to date has refused to provide anything in response to discovery requests. “While withholding from YouTube all relevant information they possess, Pirate Monitor and Csupó have never denied that they and/or their agents were responsible for creating the Ransom Nova accounts. They have never denied that they and/or their agents uploaded through those accounts the very same videos that they then promptly claimed in DMCA takedown notices were infringing,” YouTube informs the court. But even without cooperation, YouTube says it already has “overwhelming evidence” that Pirate Monitor and Csupó operated the accounts, either directly or indirectly. YouTube says that the clips uploaded were mostly 31 seconds long and did not correspond to particular moments from the films they came from. Furthermore, they were given nondescript names, suggesting that the uploader didn’t intend regular YouTube users to find them. Nevertheless, Pirate Monitor and Csupó did manage to find them, and sent takedown notices within a few days of the uploads, despite many of the videos failing to clock up even a single view on YouTube. “In other words, Pirate Monitor and Csupó knew that the videos for which they sent takedown notices were on the YouTube service without having to actually view them. That is because Pirate Monitor and Csupó were responsible for having uploaded those videos in the first place,” YouTube notes. An Even More Significant Smoking Gun YouTube alleges that when Pirate Monitor, Csupó and/or their agents uploaded supposedly infringing videos to YouTube, they attempted to conceal their identities by uploading from a Pakistani IP address. However, when taking that same content down, they had no reason to do so, sending DMCA takedown notices from a Hungarian IP address. then, on November 12, 2019, YouTube says that someone logged into one of the Ransom Nova accounts – not from the usual Pakistani IP address – but from the same Hungarian IP address used to send the takedown notices. “In other words, RansomNova7 was sharing a computer and/or unique Internet connection with Pirate Monitor and Csupó in Hungary on the same day (and in fact, at almost the same time) that Pirate Monitor and Csupó were using that same computer and/or Internet connection to send takedown notices to YouTube,” the company alleges. This allegation is not new but YouTube now goes further by naming the individual behind the ‘RansomNova’ accounts. Based on email address information supplied to YouTube, the platform was able to identify Sarfraz Arshad Khan, a resident of Pakistan who advertises himself as a computer services freelancer with expertise in the promotion of content on YouTube. Khan’s LinkedIn profile is posted under the name ‘Ransom Nova’ and YouTube believes he was hired by Pirate Monitor and Csupó to upload the ‘pirate’ videos which were later taken down based on allegations that they infringed copyright. Prayer For Relief Based on the above, YouTube demands damages against Pirate Monitor LTD, Pirate Monitor LLC, and Gábor Csupó to compensate YouTube for the harm caused by their conduct. YouTube also requests damages against the same for acting fraudulently and requests an injunction to prevent any similar behavior moving forward. YouTube’s amended counterclaim can be found here (pdf)
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