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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/27/2022 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    With the addition of more than a dozen new members, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) will soon close the book on a record year and a string of coalition successes. Through agreements with domain registries, collaboration with governments, and partnerships with enforcement agencies, including Interpol, ACE hopes to continue down this path in the year ahead. Five years ago, several of the world’s largest entertainment industry companies teamed up to create a brand new anti-piracy coalition. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) brought together well-known Hollywood companies including Disney, Warner Bros, NBCUniversal, media giants such as Sky and BBC, as well as streaming-based newcomers Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu. In the years that followed several other media companies were added to the roster. This year alone, 18 new members were announced, bringing the total count to 52. Perhaps more importantly, the coalition’s scope and reach expanded too. A major event in 2022 saw Qatari media company beIN join the coalition and with it, a new focus area for ACE – live sports streaming protection. Elsewhere, the global nature of the alliance was strengthened with new members from Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Explosive Growth Looking back at the progress made over the past 12 months, ACE head Jan van Voorn highlights “explosive growth” as a key achievement. He believes that a broad coalition, with tentacles all over the globe, increases the overall effectiveness of its anti-piracy efforts. “This growth dramatically increases ACE’s global network, including key partnerships with local law enforcement and other authorities, and its ability to shut down illegal piracy operations around the world,” Van Voorn tells us. “Piracy is a global challenge that requires a global approach, so bringing members from all over the world into one coalition makes us more effective and impactful at hitting the right targets.” Adding more members doesn’t magically increase the group’s effectiveness, of course. What it does, however, is open the door to collaboration with intermediaries, governments, and law enforcement agencies in other countries. This has been a key driver of many recent successes. Collaborating with Governments and Law Enforcement Confidential agreements with domain registrars and registries, for example, help to efficiently take down domain names. In addition, advertising companies and payment processors help to cut off revenue to pirate sites and services, when appropriate. “We continue to expand our impact through voluntary agreements with domain registries and registrars, fast-track procedures with social media companies, ad companies, payment processors, online marketplaces, etc., all over the globe. So, we work with all parties in the internet ecosystem,” Van Voorn says. The same strategy applies to governments and law enforcement. ACE has partnered with Interpol and Europol, for example, and also has full-time team members embedded within the City of London Police and the U.S. Government’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. Forging these relationships takes time but they eventually start to pay off. These collaborations are the key to unlocking the true potential of its alliance, ACE believes. This is a two-way street, as ACE also assists governments in local enforcement efforts. “Collaboration enables ACE members and the local content industry to speak to government officials with one voice about the need to better prioritize copyright enforcement. And governments are beginning to listen,” Van Voorn notes. Lean and Mean A larger organization doesn’t automatically make an alliance more effective, especially if interests and priorities begin to conflict. From the outside, however, it appears that ACE, which is led by the Motion Picture Association, is running a tight ship. Van Voorn believes that growing the alliance will make it more streamlined and effective. In the past, the anti-piracy efforts of media companies were siloed, even though the piracy threats they face are very similar. ACE’s overall strategy is to collaborate, share knowledge and resources, and then target the piracy problem as a united front. “There was a lot of duplication of effort, for many companies around the world, and we saw that we needed to do more together to avoid that duplication and build a global collation to deal with these issues in a much more cost-effective, but more importantly, in an impactful way.” This global approach helps to expand the alliance’s reach. It can easily shift focus between continents and share information back and forth. “ACE’s global network enables us to access pirate operators’ information quickly and escalate and streamline any new workstreams from a specific country or region to the rest of the world,” Van Voorn says. ACE typically starts by identifying and locating targets, and then prioritizing the big fish – larger piracy players ideally. The next step is to determine when and where to carry out potential enforcement actions, often with help from authorities. “The hierarchical nature of the piracy ecosystem means that when we take down the world’s largest piracy services, the ripple effect ensures that the lower-tier piracy services are also impacted.” A good example of an enforcement effort with a broad impact was the shutdown of HDFoxCDN, a Brazil-based pirate video CDN that offered access to a broad library of pirated content. With minimal effort, pirate sites could use its API to embed tens of thousands of titles. Piercing the Anonymity Veil Looking ahead to 2023, Van Voorn says that ACE will continue where it left off by adding more members in the new year. “ACE will continue its expansion, both by adding global members and expanding our focus on live sports content. Our enforcement actions will be designed to obtain the most significant impact by grouping actions by tactic, time, region, or language.” New enforcement actions against “Piracy as a Service” (PaaS) targets are already in the works. Taking down illegal streaming services also remains a priority. The key objective is to identify the ‘anonymous’ people behind these illicit operations. To do so, ACE will call on investigators and lawyers all over the globe to force breakthroughs. “Piracy operators use various technologies in an attempt to create anonymity. These people do business online and try to hide their identities. And as they can enlist the support of intermediaries from anywhere in the world, they can reside anywhere in the world. “So, breaking that anonymity and going after these operators is a challenge we fight daily. We will continue to expand our toolkit to break this anonymity and go after illegal services,” Van Voorn says. Attack Vectors ACE has filed several lawsuits over the years but that appears to be less of a priority now. ACE doesn’t confirm this as an intentional choice, but might be focusing more on immediate impact instead of drawn-out and expensive court battles. The coalition chooses its strategy on a target-by-target basis using a holistic approach, Van Voorn says. In other words, it chooses the enforcement option that is likely to have the most impact and success. “This can include engaging in open discussions by way of cease-and-desist notices on pirate operators, ensuring that illegal enterprises are voluntarily shut down, and criminal referrals to international and local law enforcement agencies. “We will also pursue litigation, where it is known to be effective in reducing piracy and increasing legitimate consumption of content,” Van Voorn concludes. Putting a Number on It? Interestingly, ACE has collected some large damages payments through its legal actions and many confidential settlements too. Unfortunately, the alliance wasn’t willing to share the total settlement amount or how gets distributed. This isn’t a surprise as the alliance carefully weighs the information it shares with the public. This also means that, in addition to the many reported successes, major setbacks may exist as well. When we asked ACE how many sites and services were shut down, we were informed that this data isn’t public either. Our own investigations show that at least 270 domain names have been taken over by ACE It is certainly possible that some of these sites returned under new domains or brands. At the same time, many of the largest pirate sites remain online, so ACE still has plenty of work left to do.
  2. 2 points
    For services that prefer not to be overwhelmed by DMCA notices or taken offline unexpectedly, 'offshore hosting' is usually considered a positive step. For a major anti-piracy group tackling pirate IPTV providers, 'offshore hosting' enforcement challenges warranted a recent "call to action" at the UN-mandated Internet Governance Forum. An awful lot has changed in the online piracy world over the last decade, but key fundamentals still underpin the entire ecosystem. Many platforms depend on IP addresses, domain names, and a functioning DNS, but none can exist without some kind of hosting facility. Numerous options are available, but service operators who value consistent uptime and a reduced chance of being linked to a piracy-facilitating server, tend to make their choices more carefully than others. Offshore Hosting One option is so-called ‘offshore hosting’ but what that actually means is open to interpretation. At a base level, it can mean that a server is based in a country that differs from that of the operator, but that in itself is nothing unusual. When that second country has a lax attitude to infringement and when third, fourth or fifth countries enter the mix in various ways, ‘offshore hosting’ takes on a whole new character, one of particular interest to pirates hoping to stay both online and unidentified. Of course, anything that helps pirates necessarily irritates those trying to stop them. Internet Governance Forum – IGF 2022 The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held this year’s meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Under the overarching theme ‘Resilient Internet for a Shared Sustainable and Common Future‘ the event spanned five days from November 28, 2022, reportedly attracting more than one thousand speakers and visitors from 160+ countries. The Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA) and beIN Sports, who together hold a key interest in tackling pirate IPTV providers, presented at IGAF 2022. AAPA described itself as a group that “lobbies for better antipiracy legislation and enforcement” while building “private and public partnerships to achieve more efficient and effective enforcement.” The AAPA/beIN presentation centered on the challenges of offshore hosting, and as the above image shows, multiple billion-dollar businesses are seeking solutions. Legitimate use of an ASN or a Subterfuge? “The hosting provider landscape continues to evolve and has become proliferated with companies using the term ‘offshore’ hosting,” the presentation’s introduction reads. “AAPA aims to highlight that many of these companies have become synonymous with cybercrime activities. Promoting safety for illicit activities in the knowledge they do not have to comply with national or international laws.” According to AAPA and member beIN, an offshore host is an entity that is likely to own no physical hardware itself while operating from “fake or questionable” headquarters in countries with poor intellectual property legislation. AAPA further notes that offshore hosts lease IP addresses from outside ASN-registered territory, while operating servers in the UK, EU and US. This topic warrants an article in its own right but AAPA’s example – an operation with a RIPE ASN, headquarters in Hong Kong, Seychelles IP addresses, and rented servers in the Netherlands – suggests significant challenges. DMCA Notices Are Ignored Another claimed feature of offshore hosts is their tendency to absorb DMCA notices rather than do much about them. An AAPA slide provides an example of how this feature is marketed to potential customers, and while they don’t mention the service by name, it wasn’t difficult to find. An operation known as Koddos is featured in the recent Counterfeiting and Piracy Watch List published by the European Commission. According to the report, it has “office locations in Hong Kong (China) and Seychelles. It is reported by rightholders to consistently ignore their takedown notices.” So how do offshore hosting providers manage to deflect DMCA notices when other platforms are expected to respond to them quickly, or else? The answer to that its relatively straightforward once a few terms are understood. DMCA > RIR > LIR > ASN > AS > Hosts The internet is not just a network, it’s a network of networks. Some very large internet networks (or groups of networks) are given the label Autonomous System (AS) since they serve the same assigned IP addresses and share a common list of other Autonomous Systems to which they connect. IANA, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, assigns an ASN (Autonomous System Number) to an AS so that it can be identified online. Cloudflare’s ‘post office‘ analogy explains the system perfectly. “Imagine an AS as being like a town’s post office. Mail goes from post office to post office until it reaches the right town, and that town’s post office will then deliver the mail within that town. Similarly, data packets cross the Internet by hopping from AS to AS until they reach the AS that contains their destination Internet Protocol (IP) address. Routers within that AS send the packet to the IP address,” the company explains. In respect of offshore hosts, AAPA’s example sees ‘Host Company 1’ applying for an ASN number via a Local Internet Registry (LIR), which in turn is a member of a Regional Internet Registry (RIR). Once the ASN is assigned to Host Company 1, it shares the same ASN with Host Company 2, and Host Company 3….and Host Company 4. From there they work as a team, behind a single ASN, as AAPA’s presentation shows. The real stinger here is that any DMCA notices have to be sent to the email addresses registered with the RIR and they have a tendency to go unanswered. Physical addresses registered to the companies are “fake or PO boxes” AAPA says, meaning that identifying who owns them can be difficult or even impossible. From an enforcement perspective, that’s less than ideal. AAPA reports that during the first six months of the football season, only 10% of the DMCA notices sent to one offshore hosting company were actioned. “There is no repeat infringer policy. Outreach is ignored and legal action cannot be taken because no one knows where this company is or who the owners are. One company hosts almost 50% of a broadcaster’s infringing streams,” AAPA’s presentation reads. Whether anything can be achieved in the short term is unknown but by delivering its presentation and “call to action” at the Internet Governance Forum, which operates under a United Nations mandate (pdf), the chances of connecting with powerful ears seems relatively high. If nothing else, an anti-piracy group venturing this far into ‘enemy’ territory, seeking to disrupt ASNs rather than simple IP addresses, adds a new dimension to this evolving battle.
  3. 2 points
    Artificial intelligence will undoubtedly trigger many copyright debates and legal battles in the years to come. Since it can still be used freely today, we took the opportunity to ask for its thoughts on online piracy and its role in today's society. Merry Christmas. Over the past several weeks, many people have toyed with the latest ChatGPT release and we’re no exception. The technology is impressive but has plenty of shortcomings, as is to be expected at this early stage. Still, for the TF headquarters, it offers a nice excuse to take Christmas Day off. That’s certainly progress. Our question: Write a Christmas story for TorrentFreak that explains the role online piracy has in today’s society. — The response: Christmas is a time for joy and celebration, but it can also be a time of reflection and contemplation. For many people, the holiday season is a time to think about how technology has changed the world and its impact on society. One area of technology that has had a huge impact on the world is online piracy. It has been around for almost two decades and has changed the way people access and enjoy media. Online piracy has allowed people to share and access large amounts of content without having to pay for it. This has led to a decrease in the traditional revenue streams of media companies, such as music labels, movie studios, and television networks. At the same time, online piracy has also provided unprecedented access to large amounts of content to people who might not otherwise have been able to afford it. In many cases, it has allowed people to enjoy content that would have otherwise been financially out of reach. In recent years, online piracy has become a hot-button issue. There has been a lot of debate over the ethics of piracy, with some arguing that it is wrong to take something without paying for it, while others argue that it is a form of free speech. No matter what side of the debate you fall on, it is clear that online piracy has had a major impact on society. From providing access to content to reducing the revenue streams of media companies, online piracy has become an integral part of today’s digital world. So this holiday season, take a moment to reflect on the impact of online piracy and how it has changed the way we consume media. There are sure to be many debates and conversations about it in the future, so get involved and share your opinion. — Ed. Not bad. The AI apparently doesn’t know that online piracy has been around for more than two decades. It is not yet aware that we disabled the comments either. Let’s see how it does next year. Screenshot below is from the OpenAI (Playground).
  4. 2 points
    For rightsholders seeking to disrupt the pirate IPTV market, the European Commission's Piracy Watch List is an opportunity to name specific services and focus attention. This year's report does just that while also highlighting fundamental challenges. Pirate IPTV networks are international, technically complex, and inherently difficult to monitor. This potent mix underpins a "parallel black market." Since 2018 the European Commission has published an annual ‘Piracy Watch List’ detailing numerous piracy threats. Based on rightsholder input, sites and services considered particularly troublesome are publicly named to raise awareness, focus minds, and shape policy to meet the challenges ahead. The USTR publishes a similar annual report that operates along broadly the same lines and shares similar goals. This year’s Counterfeiting and Piracy Watch List features services including Mega and Fmovies. They are joined by several pirate IPTV providers that may attract additional attention over the next 12 months. IPTV: A Billion Euro Problem for the EU A new study estimates that pirate IPTV services illegally generate over a billion euros in annual revenue, in the EU alone. It’s not uncommon for industry-commissioned reports to face skepticism; they exist to support lobbying efforts, tighter legislation, and if all goes to plan, an increase in profits. The EC’s Piracy Watch List is used in the same way but reading between the lines, rightsholders face significant challenges that go beyond a large headline monetary sum. BestBuyIPTV – Persistent Pirates According to the EC’s report, BestBuyIPTV offers more than 10,000 channels sourced from 38 different countries, plus 19,000 VOD titles in multiple languages. For maximum convenience, it’s available on multiple operating systems and according to its own claims, services over 900,000 users, has 12,000 resellers, and a network of 2,000 restreamers. If the brand sounds familiar, there’s a reason for that. The MPA branded BestBuyIPTV a ‘notorious market’ back in 2018, noting that it was “likely” to be located in Italy. The MPA reported the service to the US Government again a year later, but in the 2021 ‘Notorious Markets’ report, Italy was no longer cited as a hosting location. “Utilizes reverse proxy services to mask the location of its hosting servers,” the report declared. Network configurations like this enhance security on millions of websites but can also hinder investigators looking for pirate servers. What happened next isn’t clear but in a follow-up announcement, the MPA said that BestBuyIPTV actually operates from Vietnam. All hosting locations are subject to change but one thing is certain. Similar providers and their hosts are being configured from the ground up with obfuscation in mind and according to reports seen by TorrentFreak, enforcement problems can be severe. Other Providers VolkaIPTV.com is another persistent IPTV provider on the EC’s Piracy Watch List. According to the latest report it operates from Algeria. Or maybe Morocco. It’s definitely popular in France though and depending on who provides the data, offers 7,500 TV channels or maybe as many as 9,000. As far as films and TV series go, the service has offered 17,000 and 1,000 respectively over the past few years, according to most reports. The location or identity of the current operator isn’t mentioned by anyone but according to beIN, which nominated the service for inclusion on the list (pdf), VolkaIPTV was founded by a Tunisian national in 2015. King365tv – Down? Out? Or Just Moving? King365tv is another IPTV provider causing regular headaches. LaLiga reported the service to the US Government in 2020 but didn’t elaborate with a precise country or location. Instead, it described this type of piracy as “particularly complex” and in most cases “organized cross-border crime,” with hosting, customer support modules, streaming and authentication servers rarely found in one place, or even one country. “To determine to which country an IPTV belongs, a professional on-site investigation is required in order to identify who are the IPTV administrators and their location,” LaLiga said. The new EC report says that King365tv reportedly operates from Algeria but the listed domains – theking365tv.pro and king365tv.com – are currently non-functional. Whether that’s the result of anti-piracy action is unclear but, at the time of writing, visitors to VolkaIPTV.com are immediately offered King365-branded IPTV packages on the front page. Logically these may trace back to Algeria. Or maybe Morocco. Significant Challenges Ahead As highlighted by LaLiga, it’s not uncommon for IPTV infrastructure to cross borders, but in reality, any part could be anywhere and when necessary, still report as being somewhere else. In any event, anti-piracy groups can’t monitor everything all of the time, or even close to that. Take the issue of source content, typically TV channels. These are captured all around the world and then sold to any number of intermediaries, who in turn may bundle those streams and sell them on to other interested parties, with their own individual goals. Selling subscription packages directly to users is one option but some prefer to access the market via a network of resellers, who in turn are often already involved in other networks doing the same thing. From the top to the bottom, from both technical and human perspectives, global IPTV is a network of networks that defies boundaries and fuels even more piracy. “This complex network of copying, re-selling, exchanging and re-streaming broadcasters’ content constitutes a parallel black market that explains the multiplication of a single stream of a TV channel, eventually available not only in hundreds of unlicensed IPTV services but also in illegal streaming websites and online content-sharing service providers,” the EC’s report explains. “Moreover, this complex network is the result of cooperation of illegal operators from various countries, making it difficult to find out the identity and precise location of an IPTV operator.” As touched on earlier, anti-piracy groups are all too aware of methods that mostly exist to frustrate enforcement. These issues can’t be solved overnight, but with the right kind of help, all things become possible. We’ll publish details of a specific high-level approach in the coming days.
  5. 2 points
    Italy's sustained ISP blocking campaign against IPTV services, web-streaming portals and other pirate sites, is stepping up to the next level. Rightsholders and government want to implement a rapid blocking system that will block live streams, football matches in particular, within minutes. A public consultation announced this week seeks additional input. Member states of the European Union must allow rightsholders to protect their rights. Enforcement measures are of “paramount importance” according to Article 3 of the Enforcement Directive. After 15 years of tuning across the EU, site-blocking injunctions are a priority enforcement tool. Rightsholder applications target ISPs with evidence of subscribers and pirate sites infringing their rights. Since the ISPs now have ‘actual knowledge’ of infringement, they block the sites while maintaining liability protection under Articles 12 to 15 of the E-Commerce Directive. Administrative Programs and Live Sports Blocking Italy operates an administrative blocking program in accordance with Article 14(3) of the E-Commerce Directive. Telecoms regulator AGCOM (“the authority”) often issues ISP blocking instructions within days of an application, but to tackle live sporting events transmitted via pirate IPTV streams, rightsholders demand more. Rapid blocking has been at the planning stage in Italy for some time, with a key focus on protecting Serie A, Italy’s top football/soccer league. Early this month, the introduction of ISP blocking “without delay and in real time” took another step forward and this week, AGCOM revealed the next stage. Rapid Blocking Put to Public Consultation During a December 20 meeting, AGCOM announced that new powers to counter the threats posed by live, unlicensed IPTV streams, would be put to public consultation. Under the umbrella of existing copyright protection regulations (Resolution no. 680/13/CONS – Italian, pdf), the focus will be the protection of football matches but will ultimately apply to all live sporting events (Resolution no. 445/22/CONS, Italian, pdf) “The text submitted for consultation provides for the possibility of inhibiting users’ access to pirated platforms and sites as a precautionary measure in the very first minutes of the broadcast of sporting events,” AGCOM’s announcement reads. IPTV Blocking and Proactive Measures While AGCOM’s statement shows overall intent, the important part is the reference to blocking as a ‘precautionary measure’. While it appears that some pirate IPTV streams are indeed detected ‘live’ and then subsequently blocked, Italy prefers an intelligence-based system, similar (if not identical) to the one already deployed in the UK. Due to continuous monitoring and identification of infringing IPTV streams, those most likely to transmit live matches will be known to AGCOM and its anti-piracy partners before games even begin, probably several days in advance and potentially earlier. From there it’s simply a case of ISPs blocking the IP addresses while anti-piracy partners monitor for blocking countermeasures. Consultation WIll Open for 45 Days AGCOM says it has always been a leader on the anti-piracy front, but new tools are needed to counter the “organized criminals” behind some online piracy operations. “All interested parties will be able to submit their observations on the measure, for 45 days from the publication of the draft resolution on the Authority’s website,” AGCOM concludes. The consultation will be published on the AGCOM portal
  6. 2 points
    Online piracy traditionally peaks during the holidays. Extra spare time fuels the search for free entertainment including Christmas movies, which experience their annual surge in demand. An analysis of recent piracy statistics shows that Home Alone is the most popular classic among pirates, followed by The Grinch. As the holiday season approaches, many people choose Christmas movies to get into the festive spirit. Given that some are considered classics in their own right, it’s no surprise that December viewings have become a beloved tradition for many families. In most cases, Christmas movies are watched through legal channels. Behind the curtains of some homes, however, holiday entertainment arrives through TCP packets and The Pirate Bay, neatly wrapped in an MP4 container. With just a few days to go until Christmas, we now reveal which Christmas classics are most popular among BitTorrent users. With help from IKnow, we scoured through millions of downloads to find pirates’ favorite films. Home Alone On Top Our data was collected over the past weekend and should be representative of average piracy activity during that time. Looking at the results, it wasn’t hard to spot a winner. The original “Home Alone” (1990) film undisputedly comes out on top. As seen below, the Top 5 also includes the Home Alone sequel “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (1992) in second place. The third Home Alone installment didn’t make the cut, however. “The Grinch” (2008) is another popular Christmas classic and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) is not too far behind. The Top 5 is completed by the 2003 comedy, “Elf”. It’s The Most Downloaded Time Of The Year Looking at the bigger picture, the overall download numbers are relatively modest. Home Alone was the only title in the top 100 of most downloaded films in our sample, and it was at the bottom of that list. We can clearly see, however, that the interest in these Christmas classics typically surges in December. When we look at last year’s data we see that Home Alone had a few thousand estimated downloads a day during the summer, shooting all the way up to 37,000 on Christmas day. The boost at the end of the year is definitely Christmas-related. The chart below compares Home Alone downloads in our sample during a week in August and one in December, showing the non-Christmas-themed classic “Finding Nemo” as a control. What About New Releases? Pirates are not just interested in older Christmas classics of course. New releases are also doing well. “Spirited” is by far the most downloaded release and the only one that has more downloads than Home Alone. “Christmas Bloody Christmas” and “The Boss Baby: Christmas Bonus” follow at a respectable distance. All data reported here are based on a sample of millions of torrent downloads from last weekend. These numbers are not exact nor do they include other forms of piracy, such as online streaming and direct downloads. Overall, it’s safe to conclude that there are still plenty of people who don’t mind breaking the law to fuel the festive spirit. Hollywood certainly doesn’t like this Scrooge mentality, but most pirates will likely see ‘sharing as caring’.
  7. 2 points
    A new lawsuit filed in the United States claims that Cloudflare and NameSilo are liable for copyright infringements carried out by their customers. Adult entertainment outfit TIR Consulting accuses both companies of providing anonymity to pirate sites and profiting from infringements carried out by so-called 'repeat infringers'. cloudflareCompetition is almost inevitable in business and as a key driver of innovation, that’s mostly a good thing. Unfair competition, on the other hand, is rarely considered a plus. In a complaint filed in a California court this week, adult entertainment company TIR Consulting LLC says that it faces unfair and illegal competition from pirate sites. It’s a familiar story for rightsholders everywhere but this lawsuit is far from ordinary. TIR’s Enforcement Efforts Fail Since 2015, TIR has made its specialist content available via the website mistressharley.com (NSFW) and through authorized third parties under licensing agreements. In parallel, websites that sell pirated copies of TIR’s copyrighted videos compete in the same market by targeting TIR’s customers. Some use confusingly similar domains that are designed to mislead potential customers, TIR says. The complaint notes that at least two of these pirate sites use privacy services provided by the named defendants – Cloudflare and domain company NameSilo. TIR claims that enforcing its rights is all but impossible due to these privacy services. As a result, Cloudflare and NameSilo must be held liable for the infringements of their customers, along with Does 1-100 who are also liable in some way or another. 65 Videos in Total The complaint lists 65 URLs (“infringing links”) on the alleged pirate site mistress-harley.com. These same 65 URLs are said to “backlink” to manyvips.com but specific URLs are not listed in the complaint. The listed URLs appear to reference video content, but TIR uses trademark terminology instead. “Each of the 65 Infringing Links reflects the registered family of trademarks for ‘Mistress Harley’ all of which are owned exclusively by TIR,” the complaint reads. TIR further blends copyright and trademark law by claiming that Cloudflare “admitted that the accepted 65 URL(s) for the DMCA report on mistress-harley.com” includes the 65 “infringing links” referenced earlier under trademark law. The adult company later states that while its complaint covers 65 videos “made, paid for, produced and owned by TIR,” just four have been registered with the US Copyright Office. “No Interference with Anonymity” TIR says that pirate sites pay Cloudflare for “housing services” and a “guarantee that CloudFlare will do nothing to interfere with their anonymity and their cyber-theft.” According to the complaint, Cloudflare provides services to mistress-harley.com. mistress-harley-whois TIR says that pirates are able to sell copies of its videos on “domain sites” hosted by companies that sell and host domains, while “guaranteeing the anonymity of domain owners.” In this case, NameSilo is called out for offering a “free WHOIS privacy” service, which is used by mistress-harley.com and a second unlicensed platform, manyvips.com. “There is no question that this is not just an attractive service, but a necessary service for a pirate that wants to set up a site with illegal downloads,” the complaint notes. “Cloudflare – A Favored Tool For Infringers” After a rundown of services provided by Cloudflare, the complaint highlights the company’s privacy pledge: “[A]ny personal information you provide to us is just that: personal and private.” Cloudflare’s claim that it has never modified the intended destination of DNS responses “at the request of law enforcement or another third party” is also mentioned. The natural consequence of the above, TIR concludes, is that “CloudFlare is a safe holding space for website owners who are offering illegal content, and both sides know exactly what is being bought and sold.” TIR, Cloudflare and the ‘Mon Cheri’ Decision While bold, TIR’s allegations are nothing new. In 2018, Mon Cherie Bridals sued Cloudflare for failing to terminate customers identified as repeat infringers. The case was a pretty big deal and after three years of litigation, Cloudflare took the win and an important ruling on liability. The Mon Cherie decision is referenced in TIR’s complaint, but not in recognition of Cloudflare’s win. Instead, a statement made by Judge Chhabria in the earlier case (italics, below) is framed as undermining Cloudflare’s position. If Cloudflare’s provision of these services made it more difficult for a third party to report incidents of infringement to the web host as part of an effort to get the underlying content taken down, perhaps it could be liable for contributory infringement While TIR notes that the above is “precisely the basis for the claims” in this complaint, in Mon Cherie the Judge said that Cloudflare’s actions did not incur liability. Cloudflare Disclosure Led Back to NameSilo Since Cloudflare forwards DMCA notices to site hosts and informs complainants of the identity of the host, Judge Chhabria concluded in Mon Cherie that Cloudflare doesn’t make it harder to go after pirate sites. Indeed, the TIR complaint acknowledges that Cloudflare identified mistress-harley.com’s hosting provider (SECUNET, BG) and provided an abuse contact email address (abuse@cryptoservers.biz). When TIR sent a trademark/copyright complaint to the host but received no response, the adult company did a WHOIS lookup for cryptoservers.biz. It revealed NameSilo as the domain registrar and PrivacyGuardian.org protecting the registrant’s details. In response to a formal complaint, NameSilo’s abuse team reminded TIR that “..we are only the domain name registrar and cannot validate or control the content posted on the site.” PrivacyGuard’s policy advised TIR that in the event of a copyright or trademark dispute, “you should direct your complaint to the respective web site host for the domain.” ‘Pirate’ Mistress-Harley Still Active With Cloudflare reportedly offering similar advice to target the host itself, TIR appears to have lost patience and filed this complaint. “As a result of the piracy and infringement, TIR has suffered consistent lost profits and decreased sales, and has calculated this lost amount to be in the tens of thousands of dollars and growing exponentially every day,” the company notes. “This case raises the problem of service providers who continue to do commerce with pirate sites even after receipt of actual knowledge of repetitive acts of infringement on such sites. These Defendants profit by supporting and providing critical services to pirate sites despite being on notice that these customers are repeat infringers.” TIR says that Cloudflare and NameSilo “systematically failed to implement or enforce a repeat infringer policy” in the knowledge that many “lawful copyright and trademark holders” can’t afford to fight legal battles. “This undermines the entire purpose of DMCA,” the company adds. Causes of Action Since Cloudflare and NameSilo will undoubtedly respond to these claims in some detail, we’ll cover their responses in due course. In the meantime, the brief list below is included for reference, including links to law exactly as cited in the complaint. 1- Contributory Trademark Infringement – 15 U.S.C. § 1114 Cloudflare/NameSilo 2- Direct Trademark Infringement – (U.S.C. Not listed) Cloudflare, NameSilo, Does 1-100 3- Not listed/absent from the complaint 4- Contributory Copyright Infringement – 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) Cloudflare/NameSilo 5- Vicarious Copyright Infringement – 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) Cloudflare/NameSilo 6- Direct Copyright Infringement – 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) Cloudflare/NameSilo/Does 1-100 7- Unfair Competition – (link) Cloudflare/NameSilo At the time of writing, Cloudflare does not ‘protect’ mistress-harley.com’s server in any way.
  8. 2 points
    After cheat maker EngineOwning was sued by Activision in January 2022, online taunts suggested that some of the defendants would never be found. Nearly a year later, around 30 names are on the docket, together facing allegations of copyright infringement and racketeering. For some of those defendants, the clock is already ticking toward a mid-January deadline. owning-racketeering Previously-named German corporate entities EngineOwning UG and CMN Holdings S.A are now listed alongside Garnatz Enterprise Ltd, a Belize corporation, according to Activision. Previously pseudonymous/anonymous defendants are further named as follows: Leon Schlender, Erick Pfeifer, Bennet Huch, Zain Jondah, Ricky Szameitat, Marcel Bindemann, Alexander Kleemann, Remo Löffler, Marvin Baotic Neumeyer, Hendrik Smaal, Charlie Wiest, Dennis Reissleich, Tyler Byrd, Simon Masias, Nicholas James Baldwin, Antonio Median, Eemy Cartigny, Pascal Classen, Manuel T. Santiago, Katerina Disdle Complex Case With Broad Geographical Spread Activision previously advised the court that it would serve the defendants under the Hague Convention. Several defendants retained counsel in the United States, with Activision noting that others could be found in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, or the Netherlands. In a recent order, District Court Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald ruled on a joint stipulation between Activision and defendants Rick, Schlender, Bulga, Kleeman, Richts, Gayduchencko, Frisch, Huch, Classen, Loffler, and EngineOwning UG, that requested more time to respond to the amended complaint. With the extension granted, the defendants must now respond on or before January 13, 2023. If they move to dismiss, a collective memorandum of not more than 14,000 words will be allowed in support of their motion, with Activision allocated the same for any motion in opposition. The order applies only to the defendants listed in the order dated December 19, 2022. The remainder will be handled separately or as the court sees fit.
  9. 2 points
    The U.S. Copyright Office has completed its public consultations on the use of technical measures to identify and protect copyrighted content online. The inquiries triggered responses from a wide variety of stakeholders, both for and against tools such as 'upload filters'. The Office cautions lawmakers against drastic decisions and sees more benefit in small tweaks and voluntary agreements. drastic measures and suggests tweaking the current DMCA instead. Updating the definition of “standard technical measures” should help to facilitate the implementation of these tools going forward. “Specifically, the Office recommends that Congress amend section 512(i) to 1) clarify that the terms ‘broad consensus’ and ‘multi-industry’ require the support only of the industries directly affected by an STM; 2) state that technical measures qualify as STMs if they are recognized as such by a broad consensus of copyright owners and service providers […] and 3) set forth a list of factors use in weighing whether a particular measure imposes substantial costs and burdens.” Whether Senators Tillis and Leahy will follow these recommendations remains to be seen. They previously suggested a more far-reaching proposal in the form of the SMART Copyright Act of 2022.
  10. 1 point
    .:: Materialize ::. Materialize | 3D Printing | 2023 Review TRACKER NAME : Materialize TRACKER URL : https://materialize.is/ CATEGORY : 3D Printing TRACKER TYPE : Ratio Based TRACKER SIGN UP : Invite Only MAINTAIN RATIO : Medium BONUS : Yes .:: Tracker Description ::. Materialize.is—is a tracker created in 2020, it is Luminance-based private tracker specializing in 3D printing. You can find good collection of contents including Free and paid .STL, .OBJ, CAD files, applications, and tutorials. The community is there is very good and helpful, and it has, 3833 torrent files. .:: Login Page ::. .:: Home Page ::. .:: Torrents ::. .:: Requests ::. .:: Upload ::. .:: Forum ::. .:: User Class ::. .:: Rules ::. .:: FAQ ::. .:: Bonus ::. .:: Donate ::. .:: Stats ::. RATING PRETIMES 7/ 10 SPEEDS 7/ 10 CONTENT 7/ 10 COMMUNITY 7/ 10 OVERALL 7/ 10
  11. 1 point
    Thanks, Happy New Year 2023!!! Greeting from Chile
  12. 1 point
    Funfile invite: 01 - like/ React - apply here with post and mention me @Thanos - add feedback after getting invite
  13. 1 point
    An Australian cheat developer who had his house searched and assets seized, has been ordered to pay AU$130,000 in profits to Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive. The man, who's linked to the once popular GTA 5 cheat “Infamous”, was previously found liable for copyright infringement by the Federal Court. In recent years, game companies have filed copyright infringement lawsuits against alleged cheaters, cheat makers, and sellers. GTA V developer Rockstar Games and its parent company Take-Two Interactive were among the first to go down this path four years ago. Infamous Lawsuit In 2018, the game companies filed a lawsuit in Australia, targeting several people believed to be linked to the popular “Infamous” cheating mod. This lawsuit stood out because the Federal Court of Australia signed off on several broad enforcement actions. Not only were the defendants restrained from any cheating-related activity, they were also the subject of a search and assets freezing order. With the orders in hand, a search party was permitted to enter several buildings and search, copy, or remove evidence including any computers and documents that were linked to the alleged offenses. The initial court documents listed the names of several people involved, which likely included aliases. As the case developed, Christopher Anderson emerged as the sole defendant. Anderson is also the person who had several items seized from his home, including laptops, an iPad and an iPhone. In addition, PayPal froze the developer’s funds, which presumably included profits from the cheating business. Liable for Copyright Infringement After the early fireworks, the case proceeded quietly in the background, while confidential filings kept the general public out of the loop. One of the key rulings was handed down last year, with the Federal Court concluding that Anderson infringed GTA 5’s copyrights. Justice Nicholas ruled that Anderson infringed Take Two’s copyrights by copying substantial parts of the GTA V software and authorizing cheat users to reproduce content without permission. In addition, the developer and users of the “Infamous” mod breached the software’s license agreement and terms of service. The court order also instructed both camps to reach an agreement on the profits generated from sales of cheats, plus interest, which Anderson should pay to Rockstar and Take-Two. AU$130,000 Profits and Interest After more than a year, both sides eventually agreed that the profits and interest add up to AU$130,000 (~$86,000). In an order issued law month, Justice Nicholas writes that Anderson must pay this amount within 30 days. The “Infamous” website went offline years ago and, as far as we know, never made a comeback. The court previously clarified that Anderson should destroy all copies. In addition, he must do everything possible to make previously sold cheats inoperable. “[Defendant shall do] all things necessary and desirable that are within his power to do to cause the Infamous Mod to be made permanently inoperable, including but not limited to permanently disabling any authentication service upon which the Infamous Mod relies,” Justice Nicholas wrote.
  14. 1 point
    After reaching consensus that isolated actions are ineffective in the fight against online piracy, around 20 companies, regulators, and government representatives have signed an agreement to form a new global anti-piracy coalition. Global Anti-Piracy Pact lists pirate IPTV as a key issue, noting that pirates today are "extremely dynamic" criminal organizations. When the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment launched in 2017 it signaled a new approach to anti-piracy enforcement. Rather than acting in isolation, ACE members pooled their resources, and today the results speak for themselves. Hundreds of sites have either been shut down or disrupted in the last five years, and new casualties are recorded every month, mostly every week. It’s no surprise that other industry players are taking notes and coming up with their own plans. New Coalition Sees Benefits of Teamwork Centered around South America-based non-profit organization CERTAL (Center for Studies for the Development of Telecommunications and Access to the Information Society of Latin America), the Global Anti-Piracy Pact (Pacto Global Antipiratería) was officially formed this month. Around 20 entities, including companies from the video and telecoms sector, plus regulators and government representatives, began promoting the initiative in November. A tour of South America was followed by a summit and a signing ceremony this month at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington DC. the implementation of the aforementioned blocking mechanisms.” Other Anti-Piracy Measures The parties acknowledge that the illegal offer of content has as its ultimate purpose the generation of illegitimate economic income for those who carry out such criminal activity, and there are no altruistic purposes. This extract from the agreement is followed by three common monetization methods – advertising, subscription payments, and the sale of preconfigured hardware devices. Signatories will be expected to establish “effective mechanisms” to demonetize online pirate services in respect of the above and “any other that may arise in the future.” The agreement further notes that content watermarking and similar systems are underutilized in South America, meaning that tracking pirated content back to the source can be more difficult. As a result, all rightsholders and distributor signatories must implement this type of technology and actively demand implementation by others in the chain. These solutions should be “mandatory” and should be considered a “basic necessary standard” to operate in the market. CERTAL says that “criminal organizations” are behind today’s piracy platforms. They are “extremely dynamic, constantly evolving” so can adapt almost immediately to technological changes.
  15. 1 point
    Hundreds of thousands of pirating BitTorrent users have been sued over the years. These cases rarely ever make it all the way to trial but, in a Florida court, this is about to happen. Before the trial starts, however, several outstanding issues have to be decided, including the use of the term "copyright troll" before the jury. company’s lawyers add, noting that the label is inaccurate and thus irrelevant. In a similar vein, the adult entertainment company also wants to exclude blogs, media, and other Internet coverage from the potential pool of evidence, as these contain subjective comments. “The Court should also preclude Doe from referring to any Internet blogs, media coverage, or articles on Strike 3 for any purpose,” Strike 3 writes. “The Internet and media articles target Plaintiff and its counsel and contain comments that are biased, slanderous, and prejudicial, and should not be referred to at trial for any purpose.” Going Forward The court has yet to decide on these and other requests to exclude evidence before a trial can get underway. In addition, both parties have submitted motions for summary judgment which could still impact the course of the case. Earlier this week the parties attempted to reach a settlement in court through a mediation process, but they eventually reached an impasse.
  16. 1 point
    The UK Government's Intellectual Property Office published new piracy guidance today, and it contains a small, easily missed detail. People who share their Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+ passwords are violators of copyright law. And it gets worse. The IPO informs TorrentFreak that password sharing could also mean criminal liability for fraud. Following a limited launch in 2007 with just 1,000 titles, Neflix now carries more than 6,600 movies and TV shows for the enjoyment of more than 223 million subscribers. There’s little doubt that Netflix password sharing contributed to the company’s growth and by publicly condoning it, the practice was completely normalized – globally. The message was clear – Netflix loves you, you love Netflix, and now all your friends love Netflix too. Thanks for sharing. Netflix and similar streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime and Disney+, still want you to love them, but password sharing? Not so much. Password Sharing is Not Love – It’s Piracy Five years after Netflix’s now-infamous tweet, the ground is shifting. For the first time in its history, Netflix subscription numbers decreased earlier this year and competition from rivals Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO and dozens of others is fierce. In the background and across the entire industry, ‘password sharing’ is receiving a reverse makeover. Nobody loves today’s ‘password piracy’ and within the ACE anti-piracy coalition, which includes all of the streaming services mentioned above, the situation is no different. Given the obvious sensitivities, ACE publicly prefers “unauthorized password sharing” as a descriptor and elsewhere the phrase “without permission” is in common use. In Denmark, anti-piracy group Rights Alliance describes password sharing as “not allowed” but this summer there was a small but significant step forward. “The extent of password sharing among Danes is therefore alarmingly high and eventually on a par with other forms of illegal consumption of content,” the group said. UK Government Declares Password Sharing Illegal Since password sharing is almost always a violation of streaming services’ terms of service, observers have tended to paint it as such. The general tone is that password sharing is not illegal per se but Netflix & Co. aren’t particularly fond of it anymore. In a low-key announcement today, the UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office announced a new campaign in partnership with Meta, aiming to help people avoid piracy and counterfeit goods online. Other than in the headline, there is zero mention of Meta in the accompanying advice, and almost no advice that hasn’t been issued before. But then this appears: TorrentFreak immediately contacted the Intellectual Property Office for clarification on the legal side, particularly since password sharing sits under a piracy heading. The IPO’s response was uncompromising, to put it mildly. Password Sharing is Illegal & Potentially Criminal Fraud has been the key charge in several big UK piracy cases over the last few years, despite the key offenses having a direct link to copyright law. Fraud is a criminal offense in the UK and a conviction could easily prevent or even end a career. On a ‘being reasonable’ basis, we ruled fraud out. According to the IPO, nothing can be ruled out. “There are a range of provisions in criminal and civil law which may be applicable in the case of password sharing where the intent is to allow a user to access copyright protected works without payment,” the IPO informs TorrentFreak. “These provisions may include breach of contractual terms, fraud or secondary copyright infringement depending on the circumstances.” Given that using the “services of a members’ club without paying and without being a member” is cited as an example of fraud in the UK, the bar for criminality is set very low, unless the Crown Prosecution Service decides otherwise, of course. A subscription streaming service pursuing a password-sharing subscriber for fraud might present itself as a legal option, but a PR disaster is never a commercial option, especially when password sharing could be ended today using technical means. So what else is on the table? Other Legal Options Other options mentioned by the IPO are directly linked to contract law and licensing, both of which govern subscriber behavior. So-called ‘terms of service’ are part of the agreement when people subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix. Of course, few people read every term in detail (including when the terms are varied via email) but Netflix’s agreement document grants specific rights to the subscriber under contract and copyright law, neither of which allows password sharing beyond specified limits. It’s of some interest that sharing a password can be described as “unauthorized” or “not allowed” by anti-piracy groups and rightsholders yet be considered a serious criminal offense under existing law. Either way, the Intellectual Property Office didn’t label password sharing illegal and a potential crime for no reason. Overall, deterrence seems to be the goal here. Criminalizing tens of thousands of people is a self-inflicted headache the UK doesn’t need and in practical terms, couldn’t begin to cope with. If streaming services really wanted to stop password sharing, they already have the means to do so. Whether they have the will is another matter. Update December 20, 2022: During the past few hours the Intellectual Property Office edited its advice. The announcement page no longer references password sharing in any way. The first image below shows the original. The second shows the edited version.
  17. 1 point
    With the FIFA World Cup in full swing, U.S. law enforcement authorities appear to have seized the domain names of several popular sports streaming sites. The targeted sites, which include score808.com, hesgoal.com, freestreams-live1.com, and weakstreams.com, each have millions of monthly visitors. Sports piracy is prevalent around the world, with more than half of all sports fans regularly using unauthorized streaming services. Football, also known as soccer in some parts of the world, is particularly problematic. It’s seen as a gateway sport that turns fans of other sports into streaming pirates. This is of particular concern now that millions of pirates are tuning into the World Cup. Keeping this in mind, it’s no surprise that U.S. law enforcement authorities appear to have taken down some of the most used sports streaming piracy domain names today. Feds Seize Sports Streaming Sites A few hours ago, popular sites such as score808.com, hesgoal.com, 9goaltv.cc, freestreams-live1.com, weakstreams.com, and istream2watch.com became inaccessible. Most of these sites have millions of monthly visitors looking to stream sports content for free. That is not an option today. Instead, visitors are welcomed by a seizure banner, displaying the seals of U.S. law enforcement outfits. “This domain name has been seized by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) pursuant to a warrant issued by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, the banner reads, warning that offenders risk criminal prosecution. It’s not immediately clear whether the seizures were carried out through domain registrars, which include at least one foreign company, or the Verisign domain registry. However, the latter seems more plausible as Verisign oversees both .com and .cc domains. Seizedservers.com The domains’ nameservers were pointed at SEIZEDSERVERS.COM. These nameservers are controlled by the US Department of Justice and are often used to shut down sites as part of criminal proceedings. The same happened to several Z-Library domain names last month. The domain seizures haven’t been officially confirmed but it appears to be a coordinated attack on sports streaming sites. TorrentFreak reached out to the Department of Justice and the IPR Center but we received no immediate responses. Whether anyone has been arrested, as seen recently in the Z-Library crackdown, remains unknown. There are no immediate signs that any servers have been taken offline either. Domain Name Switch The seizures are undoubtedly a major blow to the sites, most of which have millions of monthly visits, but whether they will stay offline is unclear. Stream2watch, for example, has already moved to a new domain name at istream2watch.stream and remains accessible. Other sites may also attempt similar comebacks. This isn’t the first time that U.S. authorities have cracked down on sports piracy sites. In fact, one of the first rounds of domain seizures, back in 2012, targeted several popular sports streaming sites and was specifically timed around the Super Bowl.
  18. 1 point
    Russia has sent a record number of takedown requests to Google in the first half of this year. In the past, copyright infringement was the most cited reason for action but that has been replaced by 'national security', currently a top priority for Russia. Google, however, is wary of overbroad censorship and hasn't complied with most requests. Google processes millions of takedown notices every day, most of them filed by copyright holders. A separate stream of removal demands contains requests by government entities. These are not as common as copyright complaints, but across all Google platforms the numbers quickly add up. Government Takedown Transparency A few days ago Google quietly published its latest Government takedown transparency report. A closer look at the data reveals some interesting trends that reflect some of the global tensions where Russia takes center stage. During the first half of 2022, Google received 35,221 takedown requests from governments, targeting 387,152 items. This includes search engine links but also YouTube videos and articles on the Blogger platform. These numbers don’t say much in isolation. However, when we look at the country breakdown it becomes apparent that the vast majority of the requests come from Russia. From January to June, the country sent 21,841 takedown requests targeting 244,282 items. That’s 62% and 63% of the worldwide totals respectively. These high percentages are indeed notable, but it’s worth mentioning that the Russian Government has been the top takedown sender for a few years already. What stands out most is how Google responded to the recent requests. Google’s Rejections During the previous reporting periods, Google complied with most of Russia’s takedown demands. On average, roughly 10% of the notices resulted in “no action taken,” which signals that there’s something wrong with these demands. Over the past half year, this trend changed dramatically. As seen below, Google now rejects most takedown demands from Russia. More than 71% of all requests resulted in “no action taken”. That’s a drastic change that appears to be in part triggered by the Ukraine conflict. Some of these questionable takedown requests have already made headlines. For example, YouTube refused requests from Russia’s telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor to remove 27 YouTube URLs, most of which relate to the war in Ukraine. The content included political speeches, news coverage, and commentary that Google wasn’t willing to take offline. Russia wasn’t pleased with this refusal and a local court fined Google $372.5 million, a decision that’s still under appeal. This high-profile example is just one of many. In the latest transparency report, Google provides several other takedown examples that have raised questions. They include videos calling for protests against Russia. “We received requests from Rosco against 12 videos and 2 channels on YouTube calling for protests in Russia. The calls for protests were sparked by a general dissatisfaction with the current government,” Google writes, adding that it took down five that called for violence, leaving the others untouched. More Ukraine Angles Russia also attempted to have the apps from news outlets Dozhd and Echo of Moscow removed from the Play Store because it didn’t agree with its reporting on the Ukraine invasion. “We received requests from Roskomnadzor to remove from the Google Play Store the apps of media outlets Dozhd and Echo of Moscow. Roskomnadzor claimed that both apps ‘purposefully and systematically’ distributed false information about the war in Ukraine, including about how many Russian soldiers and Ukrainian civilians have died.” Google says that it refused to comply with the request because it could not properly verify the claim. The same is true for Russia’s request to take down a Compute Engine website that reports the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine. “We received a request from Roskomnadzor to remove a Compute Engine site that seeks to document casualties among the civilian population of Ukraine,” Google writes, adding that it didn’t remove the site “in part because the grounds for removal were not clearly linked to the content of the site.” The information shared by Google shows that the rise in “national security” removal requests is partly triggered by the Ukraine invasion. Russia clearly doesn’t agree with a lot that’s said and reported online, and aims to control the narrative. Piracy and VPNs Russia’s removal demands are not limited to the figures highlighted above. In 2017, the country also introduced a law that requires Google to remove links to VPNs, Tor, anonymizers, and proxies from its search engine. This legislation is part of an initiative that requires ISPs and search engines to block pirate sites and online publications that are deemed problematic by Russia’s standards. Google reports takedown requests under this “VPN law” separately. In the first half of 2022, Russia’s telecoms watchdog made 225 requests to remove a total of 682,612 URLs. Most of these were indeed delisted by the search engine. Interestingly, the above means that the number of items targeted through the VPN law is actually greater than those detailed in regular takedown requests.
  19. 1 point
    Italy's campaign against pirate IPTV will receive a big boost if new amendments are signed into law. ISPs must aim to block unlicensed streams immediately but certainly within 30 minutes. The proposal was signed by Senator Claudio Lotito, who happens to own top-tier football club Lazio and is currently the vice-president of Italy's Budget Commission. does Agcom manage reports with these timings during the weekend (when the matches are broadcast)? And who pays for management and operations?” A previous proposal submitted to the government said that AGCOM should receive one million euros annually to implement and manage an IT platform capable of administering this type of blocking. The proposal was ultimately shelved, but since the system would’ve been funded by taxpayers, it’s not hard to see a win-win situation for Italy’s football clubs. The eventual introduction of this type of blocking is inevitable, however. Who will end up paying for it on paper remains to be seen, but one way or another, the bill will always be covered by the majority of fans who buy match tickets, buy TV subscriptions, or simply pay their taxes.
  20. 1 point
    The European Commission has released its latest "Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List", providing an overview of 'notorious markets' located outside the EU. The report is largely based on input from copyright holders and includes The Pirate Bay and other usual suspects. File-hosting service Mega, one of the newcomers, is not pleased with its inclusion. Following the example of the United States, the EU began publishing its very own piracy watchlist a few years ago. The ‘Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List’ is compiled by the European Commission. As in the US, it relies on stakeholder groups to nominate several problematic sites and services for inclusion. The third iteration of the EU watchlist, published a few days ago, provides an overview of some of the most problematic sites and services. The Commission stresses that the list doesn’t “have any legal effect” and is merely based on “allegations” from stakeholders. However, being mentioned leaves a mark nonetheless. As in previous years, the EU Piracy Watch List includes a wide range of targets, including online marketplaces that are linked to counterfeiting. For this article, however, we will mainly focus on pirate sites and services. Progress The EU Commission starts with some positive news. Following the 2020 report, several of the mentioned pirate sites and services have disappeared. Bookfi.net, for example, which later operated from 3lib.net, is no longer online. This latest domain name was targeted in the recent Z-library crackdown and currently displays a U.S. Government seizure banner. The illegal IPTV service Electrotv-sat.com is no longer operating either and the same applies to cyberlocker Wi.to, and Youtubeconverter.io. The YouTube ripper was taken offline by Google through a WIPO domain name dispute Usual Suspects and Newcomers The European Commission’s latest Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List still includes plenty of targets, featuring many of the usual suspects. Torrent sites The Pirate Bay, Rarbg.to, Rutracker.org and 1337x.to are all mentioned, as they were two years ago. The same is true for cyberlockers Uptobox.com and Rapidgator.net, stream rippers Y2mate.com and Savefrom.net, plus other pirate sites including Sci-Hub, Libgen and Seasonvar.ru. The latest watch list also features several newcomers. These include YouTube downloader Snappea.com and the popular streaming portal Fmovies.to, both of which have millions of regular users. In addition, the Commission has added more ‘problematic’ hosting companies that allegedly facilitate piracy, including DDoS-Guard, and piracy-supporting services such as 2embed.ru and Fembed.com. Mega Problem One of the newcomers that stands out is Mega, the file-hosting service originally founded by Kim Dotcom. Today, Dotcom is no longer involved with the platform and Mega itself aims to be a law-abiding company. Unlike most pirate sites, Mega has a fully functional and transparent copyright takedown system. During the first three-quarters of 2022, MEGA removed more than 1.7 million files, which is less than 0.001% of all files stored on the platform. Thousands of users also had their accounts suspended for repeat copyright infringements. According to the EU report, however, a lack of upload filters and a recent Russian court decision still warrant its inclusion. “The stakeholders report Mega for the lack of preventive measures to avoid uploads of infringing content. According to their information, in January 2022, ISPs in Russia were ordered to permanently block the site following music rightholders’ actions,” the Commission writes. avoid a listing but being mentioned doesn’t have direct consequences. According to the EU Commission, the report mainly aims to encourage the operators and owners, as well as local governments and enforcement authorities, to take appropriate action to reduce online piracy.
  21. 1 point
    A man arrested by Swedish police in 2021 has been charged with crimes relating to pirate IPTV service, Smart IPTV. The indictment, which contains a seizure order worth $1.2 million, reveals the man was logged into email accounts and crypto wallets during a police raid. An earlier case, involving IPTV, an uncooperative defendant, and a crypto hardware wallet, delivered quite a surprise at the 11th hour. the earlier report, it was claimed that police had seized bitcoin worth SEK 358,000 ($33,400) from a wallet held on the man’s phone. That figure jumped to SEK 400,000 ($38,400) while the cash found in the envelope suddenly became cash found in a box. Whichever details were accurate, all reports agreed that the police were much more interested in some other numbers, ones that could potentially unlock a much bigger haul. All they needed was a minor miracle or a little cooperation. Hand Over The Codes? No, I Don’t Think So According to a photograph supplied by police and published by Expressen, officers needed access to codes to unlock the suspect’s Trezor hardware wallet, possibly a top-of-the-range ‘Model T’ variant, according to the company’s website. With just 14 tries left to guess a passphrase of up to 50 digits long, access to any digital assets seemed unlikely, so police asked the suspect to provide the code. “I do not know it. Or it’s clear I know, but I don’t want to say,” he told police. The device appeared to live up to its billing and no crypto was accessed. As far as a confession went, the man said he designed the IPTV service’s website and answered a few emails. People like him, he added, are simply on the front line. “It is illegal television. There are those at the top and it’s like a pyramid, and it’s us at the bottom who get hit,” he said. The prosecutor agreed. “We don’t know who is at the top of the pyramid. But he has an important role in the network,” Prosecutor David Ludvigsson said of the suspect. On Trial for Copyright Infringement, Accounting Issues Regardless of his claimed minor role, the man went on trial charged with copyright infringement. He also faced charges of improper accounting after failing to keep records of the money he received from selling illegal IPTV subscriptions. Film companies, including Nordisk film and SF, originally sought damages of SEK 13.5 million ($1.3 million), an amount that’s very close to that now being sought from the man reported by Rights Alliance this week. When that trial will take place is unclear, but the movie companies will be hoping for a better result this time around. The trial of the man who refused to hand over his codes took place earlier this year, and having considered the circumstances, the court preferred probation over a custodial sentence. While the Bromölla man would’ve welcomed that, he was then ordered to pay SEK 2 million ($192,000) in compensation to the rights holders. Police still hadn’t been able to gain access to the hardware wallet. On the last day of the trial, it was emptied to the tune of several million kronor.
  22. 1 point
    Powerful French movie industry groups have filed a lawsuit against several major ISPs. The action has the ultimate goal of blocking access to a quartet of file-hosting platforms - Fembed, Uqload, Upvid, & Uvideo. This is the first attempt to have so-called cyberlockers blocked in France but if successful, could undermine operations at dozens of other sites. service providers to block access to just four sites – Fembed, Uqload, Upvid, & Uvideo. Together these sites are good for millions of visits every month but the content delivery mechanism is key. Sources Fuel The Supply Chain If casual pirates were asked where they stream the latest movies and TV shows for free, well-presented sites featuring movie covers and organized categories would probably top the list. There are exceptions, but most of these sites don’t actually stream anything. Much like YouTube videos embedded in countless websites, content delivery is handled by remote servers that directly supply video to users, often via an embedded player. Some are dedicated to the supply of pirated content and never take anything down. Others present themselves as responsible actors in full compliance with the law. The film industry groups suggest this is a facade. They claim that Fembed, Uqload, Upvid, and Uvideo carry mostly pirated content which fuels third party sites. These often provide a Netflix-type experience but not a penny is seen by rightsholders. The complaint further alleges the existence of payment schemes. Upvid reportedly pays affiliates $22 for 10,000 video views although reports on webmaster forums suggest that getting paid at all can be an issue. A message that appeared on the Upvid.co domain in October offered some kind of explanation. Traffic to Upvid’s .co domain has been collapsing for some time, but it has many more domains, some with no traffic at all. Others show millions of visits per month, and it appears to be open for business, for now at least. Fembed also has plenty of domains in storage, unlike Uqload which may only have two. Nevertheless, the latter still draws at least a few million visits per month, with most of its traffic generated by users in France. These file-hosting sites are not the only content sources available to streaming portals and blocking them won’t end their businesses immediately. However, this is the first blocking action against file-hosting platforms in France and once rightsholders get over the first hurdle, they tend to return for more.
  23. 1 point
    Exchange TheScenePlaceor SceneTime Invite for PTP, HDBIts
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