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Russia Adopts Law to Block Pirate Apps and if Necessary, App Stores Too
Russia's State Duma has adopted new legislation that will enable copyright holders to take far-reaching action against apps facilitating access to pirated content. If the owners of the apps themselves fail to take action, the new legislation will compel services such as Google Play and Apple's App Store to remove the tools or find themselves blocked by local ISPs.
As torrent indexes and streaming portals continue to provide access to copyrighted content, there has also been a considerable increase in the availability of software applications that facilitate access to movies, TV shows and similar content.
These tools, which can be installed with minimal effort, often act as aggregators of content and presenting it in easy-to-use interfaces on mobile phones, tablets and similar devices. While the sources for this content can be handled with traditional takedown and blocking mechanisms, authorities in Russia have been seeking to take direct action against the apps themselves.
Following its third reading, Russia’s State Duma adopted new legislative amendments yesterday that will allow them to do just that.
How the New Law to Tackle Piracy Within Apps Will Work
After receiving a complaint from a copyright holder, local telecoms watchdog Roscomnadazor will have 72 hours to determine where the allegedly-infringing application is being hosted. This might typically be an official repository such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store but could also be a third-party distributor or website offering a similar service or functionality.
Roscomnadzor will then send an infringement notice to the platform informing it of the alleged violation while highlighting a requirement to limit the availability of the content identified in the notice. The app distribution platform will then have 24 hours following the receipt of the complaint to notify the application’s owner that an infringement complaint has been filed.
Within 24 hours of the developer being made aware of the details of the complaint, they will be required to prevent the specified content from being made available in their application. If they do not comply, the responsibility to prevent ongoing infringement will then fall back on the app distribution platforms themselves, requiring them to stop distributing the entire application.
In the event that the application distributor fails to take the mandated removal or blocking steps, Roscomnadzor will then be able to issue an instruction to have the distributor itself blocked by all Internet service providers in Russia, thereby preventing consumers from having access to the platform in its entirety.
“If the owner of the information resource [Google Play, Apple’s App Store] has not limited access to the software application, the information necessary for taking measures to restrict access to the software application is sent to telecom operators,” an announcement from the State Duma reads.
Last-Ditch Efforts to Soften the Law Were Ignored
In the original draft of the legislation, responsibility for blocking access to pirated content was limited to the developers/operators of the allegedly-infringing applications themselves. However, subsequent amendments expanded liability to application distribution platforms too.
Several trade groups made last-minute appeals to the State Duma requesting that measures to block distribution platforms be removed from the legislation but their calls went unheeded. As a result, there are now fears that key app distribution players could be negatively affected by the measures due to additional requirements to monitor for the alleged infringements of third-parties.
After two years in the making, the new law will be signed by President Vladimir Putin and into force on October 1, 2020.
Vapor Store Looks a Lot Like a Popcorn Time For Pirated Steam Games
Popcorn Time made thousands of headlines after being dubbed the 'Netflix for Pirates' and a new piece of software released this week could be making some early steps towards becoming its counterpart for pirated games. Like Kodi, Vapor Store doesn't come with any unlicensed media installed but after a simple tweak can provide access to a huge library of Steam games.
Websites are some of the most popular hangouts for pirates but over the past several years there’s been an increased appetite for app-based solutions.
Modified Kodi installations, for example, have proven popular for close to a decade but in 2014 Popcorn Time sparked a revolution by providing a Netflix-like experience for movie and TV show consumers.
Since then, dozens of Popcorn Time-like applications have appeared on the scene with varying levels of success but most have stuck to providing access to video content. This week, however, a new tool called Vapor Store debuted online targeting the video games niche.
As the image below shows, a fully-configured Vapor Store looks very much like a Popcorn Time for pirated games.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, Vapor Store developer ‘Sushy’ (who appears to be still at school) says that he’d always liked the idea of having a simple-to-use program to download games. So, putting his newly-acquired coding skills to the test, he embarked on this “challenging and rewarding” open-source project.
“Vapor Store is a program that simplifies downloading and installing games on Windows,” Sushy informs TF.
“All games are direct downloads [not torrents as is the case with Popcorn Time] and to use Vapor Store you will need to find a source that already has a list of games with download links and import them into Vapor Store. Vapor Store will generate a list based on the data from the site the user inserted.”
For legal reasons, this step is pretty important. While Popcorn Time comes ready-configured with all pirate sources and resources, Vapor Store does not. Users are required to input a source site to render it useful and it’s already an open secret that the software currently only works with video game download site Steamunlocked.
Once connected to that site, Vapor Store utilizes the database at IGDB, presenting game titles, previews and screenshots along with cover art.
“When you click on a game you get even more information such as a short description and some screenshots. To install a game the user simply needs to click on the ‘Download’ button and then Vapor Store will do its thing,” Sushy explains.
“Once the install is complete the game will automatically get added to the user’s library and from there they will be able to run the game.”
Vapor Store is still very much in development over at Github, with updates to its interface, storefront and ability to work with ROM sites on the horizon. The developer acknowledges that there are things still to be fixed but believes the tool has reached the stage where it can be tested by the public.
Vapor Store is currently limited by the slow download speeds associated with file-hosting sites and due to the nature of games themselves (which cannot be streamed in the same way video can), it does not enjoy the immediacy of its movie and TV show equivalents. From a technical perspective, people shouldn’t begin holding their breath anytime soon for that kind of functionality.
That being said, Vapor Store is an interesting concept that could be built upon in the future. It’s no Steam replacement at this early stage but has the potential to spark plenty of curiosity.
Team DrC Recruiting Releasers
Team DrC - Desi Rippers Club was formed in 2007 with the primary aim of serving quality rips to the users, focusing on standards and values now this respected team is recruiting rippers and Releasers to continue its odyssey
Interested Folks Please Click On the link below and apply
MoreThan.TV (MTV) News
Hiring new FLS
We are pleased to announce that we are looking to expand our staff team by recruiting a few new First Line Support members.
Tasks we need the most help with would include uploading, editing, merging, and deleting torrents after season packs are uploaded. We also need help finding season packs that are missing.
For these tasks we have various scripts that help resolve these things with relative ease. The position also comes with access to moderate comments, the forum, user requests, resolve staff messages, user reports, and operator privileges on our IRC channels.
Requirements to be eligible:
Be interested in editing torrents long term
Have knowledge of television series; movies would also be helpful but not required
Minimum of 1 hour of time to contribute, can contribute numerous times per week
Have some technical knowledge or interest to learn
Participate on IRC to communicate with the staff and offer user support
Be friendly and have the ability to maintain professionalism during tense situations
If the above sounds like you, please apply by sending a Staff PM explaining what you have to offer.