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Thanos

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Posts posted by Thanos


  1. The Authors Guild believes that online services should do more to prevent book piracy. In a testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, the group is particularly critical of Google. It accuses the search engine of hurting authors by facilitating piracy, including the prominent promotion of pirate book stores through its shopping ads.

    The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property is actively looking for options through which the US can better address online piracy.

    Earlier this year, it held a hearing to see what could be learned from copyright policies in other countries. This week a new meeting was put on the agenda, which zoomed in on the effectiveness of the DMCA itself.

    This isn’t the first time that the US Government has heard stakeholders on the DMCA and many of the arguments, both in favor and against the law, have been brought up before. The overall theme is that online services are fine with the current system while rightsholders want online services to do more.

    One of the testimonies worth highlighting comes from Douglas Preston, president of the Authors Guild, which represents over 10,000 professional writers. Many of the Guild’s members are struggling due to piracy, he says, because the DMCA doesn’t work as intended.

    “The notice-and-takedown system is not working — at least not for authors, other individual creators, and small creative businesses,” Preston informed the Senate Subcommittee.

    Book Piracy is Rampant and the DMCA Does Little to Help

    The testimony continues by describing the book piracy landscape in detail. According to Preston, the number of piracy complaints has skyrocketed over the past decade, with pirate sites and pirate booksellers growing more and more popular.

    “It is nearly impossible to estimate the number of active pirate sites at any given moment,” Preston notes, while mentioning Ebook.bike, LibGen, Sci-Hub, Epub.pub, Graycity.net and Kissly.net as some of the worst actors.

    It’s clear that at least some of the sites don’t care about the DMCA. Even with much stricter legislation including ‘staydown’ and ‘filtering’ requirements, they would keep going. However, the Authors Guild believes that some online services have room to improve.

    Google’s Role in the Piracy Ecosystem

    Preston is particularly critical of Google. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as both parties previously met in court over a copyright dispute. That said, the Authors Guild doesn’t spare the search engine in its testimony to the Senators.

    According to the Authors Guild, search engines make pirate sites easily accessible. While the comments also apply to other search engines, Google is the only one that’s specifically named.

    Terms such as ‘free ebook,’ ‘download,’ or ‘ebook’ return a “bewildering variety” of links to pirate sites, the Authors Guild notes. That’s not limited to regular searches either, as Google shopping links also list pirate book stores or link to cheap pirated books on eBay.

    “Those Google Shopping buy buttons include links to pirate sites and pirate eBay sellers mixed in with legitimate vendors, sometimes even ranking above legitimate vendors in search results if the pirates have bought promotional placement on the page.

    “And since there is no way to tell a licensed ebook copy apart from a pirated copy, users will usually choose the cheapest offer not knowing that these cheap ebooks are in fact pirated copies,” the Authors Guild adds.

    Spot the Pirate Book…

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/pirate-book.jpg

    Copyright holders can take down the links by sending a DMCA request. However, the authors want more. Ideally, they would like shopping links to be carefully vetted. In addition, known pirate sites should be completely removed from Google’s search index.

    Removing Pirate Domains from Search Results

    The Authors Guild points out that Google does filter out other illegal content, including child pornography. Thus far, however, it has rejected rightsholders’ requests for the wholesale removal of pirate domains.

    “The Authors Guild has asked Google in the past to de-index sites like Ebook.bike and Epub.pub from search results for books, but we were only successful in getting them demoted so they don’t appear whenever a user searches for a book title on Google.

    “There is no reason for search engines and other legitimate platforms covered by the DMCA to continue linking to pirate sites—not when they clearly have abundant knowledge of the pirate nature of these sites,” the testimony adds.

    The authors are very critical of search engines. However, they also point out that other online services including Facebook, Linkedin, Scribd, Slideshare, and eBay can do more as well. Ideally, the DMCA would require these companies to take action.

    The Solution?

    According to the Authors Guild, the current interpretation of the DMCA doesn’t work. Online services should be required to do more. And if they don’t, they should be held liable.

    Preston says that the DMCA has allowed for-profit companies to grow and prosper “to an obscene measure” which hurts copyright holders, while “leaving individual creators poorer than ever.”

    Instead of continuing on the same foot, the authors want a “takedown and staydown” policy. This can be achieved by changing the interpretation of the current law or by proposing new legislation.

    “Congress could enact a new provision that provides that a takedown notice applies to every full-length, identical copy of the particular work. In other words, one notice does not result in one takedown, but in the removal of all current and infringing copies of that work,” it suggests.

    This proposal is not new but whether Congress is open to it is questionable. Last month the US Copyright Office released its detailed report on the state of the DMCA. This specifically recommended not to implement any “staydown” requirements.

    A copy of the full testimony from Authors Guild President Douglas Preston is available here (pdf).

    Source: Torrentfreak.com


  2. Google Translation:

    News

    Dear Users !!!!

    Great opportunity for ratio improvement !! Whoever revives a dead torrent and keeps it in the seed for a week will be credited with 500 Bp and a 10 Gb upload !!

    n-Force Staff.


  3. Google Translation:

    Free Leech Days

    All torrents are golden free between 2020-06-05 00:00:00 - 2020-06-08 00:00:00. (Please do not hit 'n' run, keep the torrents seeded! for at least 60 hours)


  4. Several Hollywood studios and Netflix have filed a complaint with Github over the pirate streaming app 'Movies Time'. The companies claim that the Microsoft-owned platform hosts not only the application itself but the website used for its distribution. In response, the operator of Movies Time has already taken evasive action.

    MPA logoEver since the rise of Popcorn Time more than six years ago, developers have been coming up with similar-looking clones to try and grab a slice of the market.

    Given the massive reach of Android, which can be found running on phones, tablets and set-top devices, this operating system is the weapon of choice for most coders. As a result there are hundreds of apps available online today that provide ostensibly free access to pirated movies and TV shows.

    The Motion Picture Association, which these days includes Netflix, and the global anti-piracy coalition ACE, have been working hard to hold back the tide but like the little boy and the dam, plugging a hole at a time seems a neverending task.

    A New Android-based Target for the MPA
    The latest target for the MPA is Movies Time, a relative newcomer to the space having appeared online less than a year ago. The developer identifies variously as Prince Sharma and/or Audionetime and markets his app as follows:

    movies-time.png“Tired of annoying ads interrupting your entertainment? Not anymore!! We at Movies Time welcomes you to the world of hassle free entertainment.

    “Movies time is the most awaited app where you can get access to latest movies, web series and LiveTv on your fingertips ‘free of cost’,” the blurb reads.

    “Add movies and web series to your watch-list from our largest library including Bollywood, Hollywood, Tollywood, Punjabi and much more on the go on your smartphone.”

    This, of course, is a problem for the MPA and this week it became a problem for Github too.

    “We are writing to notify you of, and request your assistance in addressing, the extensive copyright infringement of motion pictures and television shows that is occurring by virtue of the operation of the infringing service titled ‘Movies Time’,” the MPA complaint to Github reads.

    “Movies Time is a software application – specifically an APK – that is preconfigured to provide unauthorized access to copyrighted motion pictures and television shows; a user need only download the APK, and on launch it will allow the user to search for, select and stream large numbers of copyrighted motion pictures and television shows, without any further configuration by the user, and all without authorization.”
     

    According to the MPA, Github provides ‘supporting services’ to Movies Time including hosting its repository, hosting its website, and hosting the app (APK). As a result it asked the Microsoft-owned platform to take preventative action.

    “Movies Time – your customer – blatantly infringes the MPA Member Studios’ copyrights and countless other copyrights. Indeed, copyright infringement is so prevalent on Movies Tim that infringement plainly is its predominant use and purpose,” the MPA complaint reads.

    “By this notification, we are asking for your immediate assistance in stopping your customer’s unauthorized activity. Specifically, we request that you cease providing all supporting services to Movies Time, by (1) removing or disabling access to the infringing Website, and (2) removing the APK from your Repository…”

    DMCA Takedown Complete But ‘Movies Time’ Pops Up Elsewhere
    The MPA provided Github with a list of infringing works and asked the platform to consider the repeat infringer provision of the DMCA and breaches of its own acceptable use policy. All this appears to have been enough for Github which has now disabled access to the repository and the Movies Time website.

    Of course, with these type of applications there is more than one hole to plug. Movies Time has a domain, MoviesTimeApp.xyz, which previously linked to the website hosted on Github. While that was rendered useless yesterday, any visitors to that domain today are now given a ‘drive-by’ download of the Movies Time APK – whether they wanted one or not.

    Also, the MoviesTime Telegram channel remains in operation and its growing membership now exceeds 25,600 users, a figure apparently swelled by the Github takedown.

    Like many ‘pirate’ APKs, it’s interesting to note that MoviesTime may have a piracy problem of its own. A cursory search reveals several sites offering a modded version of the application which claims to have ads and banner placeholders removed and ads during playback disabled. The mod also states that analytics, unneeded permissions and root check code have been removed.

    Why any app would need the final pair in place is open to debate so perhaps needless to say, installing either variant isn’t recommended.

     


  5. Project Gutenberg, the world's oldest digital library, has been blocked by ISPs in Italy under the orders of the Court of Rome. The platform, which focuses on public domain books, appears to have been erroneously labeled a pirate site in an action targeting 28 domains and several Telegram channels.

    projectgutenberg-e1591183509878.pngProject Gutenberg, a volunteer effort to digitize and archive books, is sometimes described as the world’s oldest digital library.

    Founded in 1971, Project Gutenberg‘s archives now stretch to a total of more than 62,000 books, with a focus on titles that entered the public domain after their copyrights expired. The library does carry some and in-copyright books but these are distributed with the express permission of their owners.

    The project has an excellent reputation and its work is considered a great contribution to education and culture. However, it now transpires that the site has been rendered inaccessible by ISPs in Italy under the instructions of the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Rome.

    Project Gutenberg Chief Executive and Director posted an announcement to Twitter apologizing for the disruption of service while revealing that the surprise action had been taken by the Italian authorities.

     

    gutten-twitter.jpg
     

    Investigation was carried out by police financial crimes unit
    As the above shows, the action involves the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian police unit tasked with financial crimes. GdF is regularly involved in enforcement actions against pirate sites and with the assistance of the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Rome, is heavily involved in site-blocking decisions. Indeed, a court order published by Techdirt reveals that Project Gutenberg’s issues are directly linked to a copyright infringement case.

    Published in Italian, the document is a “notification of preventative seizure decree” actioned under Article 321 of the Italian Criminal Code. It lists a total of 28 domains including what appears to be many platforms dedicated to the distribution of pirated literary content.

    Unfortunately, however, Project Gutenberg has also been thrown into the mix for reasons that aren’t immediately clear.

    Gutenberg.org Declared an Illegal For-Profit Pirate Site
    The seizure/blocking notice states that all of the targeted domains “distributed, transmitted and disseminated in pdf format, magazines, newspapers and books (property protected by copyright) after having illegally acquired numerous computer files with their content, communicating them to the public, [and] entering them into a system of communication networks.”

    Similar allegations are made against eight monitored Telegram channels with the following explanation:

    “The investigation, conducted by a special unit of the Guardia di Finanza, has been developed in the context of monitoring the targeted Internet networks to combat economic and financial offenses perpetrated online.

    “In this context, the operators identified some web resources registered on foreign servers which make content and magazines available to the public early in the morning, allowing users to view or download digital copies,” the court document reads. (translated from Italian)

    Court Order Also Sent to Google
    The order from the Court of Rome was also sent to Google, a copy of which was acquired by TorrentFreak from the Lumen Database. The sender was Reccia Giovanni who is listed as a commander with the GdF. As the image below shows, Gutenberg.org is 15th on the list of allegedly infringing sites.

     

    GdF Gutenber.org complaint
     

    Despite Project Gutenberg’s best efforts, copyright holders still file plenty of DMCA infringement notices with Google complaining that it infringes copyright law. Luckily, however, the search giant doesn’t seem particularly interested in taking the complaints seriously.

    According to its transparency report, Google has received requests to have 1,110 URLs from Gutenberg.org deleted from its search results. The company took “no action” for 85.9% and marked the remaining 14.1% as duplicate requests, for which it also did nothing.

    This seems to suggest that while Google understands the business of Project Gutenberg and was able to respond appropriately, the combined forces of the Italian financial police, the court, and telecoms watchdog AGCOM (which handles blocking), aren’t able to tell the difference between a pirate site and a public domain library.


  6. Cox Communications' request to lower the massive piracy liability verdict issued by a Virginia jury has failed. The request for a new trial was denied as well. However, the court does agree that the damages should be issued per work if there are multiple copyrights involved, which means that the $1 billion figure may go down.

    cassettapemusic.pngLast year, Internet provider Cox Communications lost its legal battle against a group of major record labels.

    Following a two-week trial, a Virginia jury held Cox liable for its pirating subscribers, ordering the company to pay $1 billion in damages.

    Heavily disappointed by the decision, Cox later asked the court to set the jury verdict aside and decide the issue directly. In addition, the ISP argued that the “shockingly excessive” damages should be lowered. If that wasn’t an option, Cox wanted a new trial.

    These requests were fiercely opposed by the record labels and, after weighing the evidence from both sides, US District Court Judge Liam O’Grady decided over the matter this week.

    O’Grady’s 75-page opinion is mostly bad news for Cox. It starts by discussing the motion for judgment as a matter of law, which argues that the jury verdict should be set aside in exchange for a verdict by the court. The court, however, sees no reason to fully grant this.

    Cox argued that the evidence presented during trial doesn’t show that the ISP is liable for direct or secondary copyright infringement. The court disagrees. For example, when it comes to vicarious infringement, the record shows that Cox directly benefited from pirating subscribers.

    “Here, there was ample evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude, as this jury did, that Cox gained some direct financial benefit from the infringement, no matter how small,” Judge O’Grady writes.

    “The Court agrees with Plaintiffs’ argument that Cox’s treatment of repeat infringer accounts suffices as a causal connection between the infringement and financial gain. Internal emails among Defendants clearly establish a connection between infringing accounts and continued collection of revenue rather than termination.”

     

    Cox order
     

    While the vast majority of Cox’s arguments “fall flat,” according to Judge O’Grady, there is a small win for the ISP as well, one that could have large financial consequences. The court agrees with the ISP that damages should be issued per ‘work’ and not for each ‘copyright.’

    There are 10,017 copyrights listed in the case which were multiplied by $99,3830 in damages per work, which led to the final figure of $1 billion. However, that should be adjusted as there are some overlapping works as well, where one song is covered by multiple copyrights.

    The court explains that infringers shouldn’t be punished multiple times for one pirated track simply because there are more copyrights related to it. As an example, Judge O’Grady mentions mashups where tracks can easily have 20 different copyright holders.

    “It is difficult to fathom that Congress intended such dramatic discrepancies in liability for substantially the same conduct. As willful infringement exposes the defendant to a maximum of $150,000 per work infringed, that three-minute mash-up could cost a defendant $3 million,” Judge O’Grady writes.

    This means that Cox can go over the list of copyrights in the suit to see how many ‘works’ these cover. This could be substantially less than the 10,017 copyrights previously indicated.

    Moving on, the court reviewed the scale of the damages, which was set at $99,3830 per work. Cox summed up a list of arguments why this “historic” amount is “shockingly” excessive. However, the court notes that the amount wasn’t grossly excessive in light of the evidence. There was no “miscarriage of justice,” as Cox claims.

    The ISP knew very well what the requirements of the DMCA are, what the possible statutory damages could be, and how many works were infringed.

    “As there is no potential ambiguity in construing the statutory dollar amounts, and Cox was keenly aware of the volume of infringement notices it received, the product of these two values was reasonably foreseeable,” Judge O’Grady notes.

    “In sum, Plaintiffs were well within their rights to elect both a jury trial and statutory damages. After significant deliberation, the jury awarded $99,830.29 per work, well within the Act’s statutory range of $750.00-$150,000.00.”

    All in all, this means that the damages per work stay the same. Cox is not entitled to a new trial but the $1 billion damages award may be lowered based on the number of works that have more than one copyright.

    A copy of US District Court Judge Liam O’Grady’s Memorandum Opinion and Order is available here (pdf).