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  1. #701
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    Zippyshare’s “Forbidden” Message Spreads to Spain

    The mysterious blocking efforts of popular file-hosting service Zippyshare continue to expand. After UK and German users were 'forbidden' from accessing the site, Spanish visitors are now getting the same treatment. The operators of the site, meanwhile, remain silent.

    Founded in 2006, file-hosting service
    Zippyshare has been around for well over a decade.

    The sharing hub, with an estimated 100 million users, is listed among the 500 most-visited sites on the Internet.

    However, in recent months Zippyshare began selectively closing its doors in several regions. In March we reported that
    UK visitors had been blocked, and a few weeks later German visitors got the same treatment.

    Instead of being welcomed by the regular homepage, they see a “forbidden” error in their browser, suggesting that the operators have specifically banned these regions.


    This month Zippyshare’s mysterious blocking efforts expanded to Spain. Visitors from Southern European countries, or anyone who accesses the site from a Spanish IP-address, can no longer access the site.

    The error message doesn’t explain what’s going on which has resulted in some simply presuming that the site has shut down, voluntarily or not. That’s certainly not the case though.


    Others believe Zippyshare is blocked or banned in Spain, noting that it can still be accessed through a French VPN server.


    While that’s closer to the truth, the site isn’t being blocked by ISPs. On the contrary, it appears that Zippyshare is responsible for the blocking here. For some reason, people from the UK, Germany, and Spain are no longer welcome.

    We tried to get a comment from the site’s operators this week but have yet to receive a response. Our previous inquiries also remained unanswered.

    One likely explanation is that Zippyshare took this step after some kind of legal pressure. It wouldn’t be the first time that a website has done this. Previously, several stream-rippers also blocked UK traffic, presumably over similar concerns.

    While we’re not aware of any concrete legal issues, the RIAA did report Zippyshare as a ‘notorious’ pirate site to the US Trade Representative late last year. That said, the site remains freely available in the US.

    Whatever the reason for or source of the localized blockade is, people can always find a workaround. The site can still be accessed through a VPN, as long as it’s not from a server in one of the blocked countries.

  2. #702
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    Kim Dotcom Begins Final Supreme Court Battle to Avoid US Extradition

    More than seven years after the dramatic arrest of Kim Dotcom and several of his former Megaupload colleagues, the quartet are making a final plea to New Zealand's Supreme Court. The hearing, expected to last five days, will determine whether an earlier decision to extradite the men to the United States should be upheld. For them, the stakes could not be higher.

    When file-hosting site Megaupload was shut down in 2012, few could have predicted the events of the years to follow.

    The arrest of founder Kim Dotcom and colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato in New Zealand, triggered dozens of legal processes, many designed to expedite, delay or indeed avoid the quartet’s extradition to the United States.

    Before it was closed, Megaupload claimed responsibility for around 4% of global Internet traffic. Much of this, the United States government claims, was pirated content, particularly movies, TV shows and music, costing US companies around US$500 million.

    Dotcom has persistently argued that as an online service provider, Megaupload should receive safe harbor protections in respect of the activities of its users. US authorities, on the other hand, see a massive criminal conspiracy for which the four should face justice on the other side of the world.

    At every step thus far, the New Zealand legal system has found in favor of sending the men to the United States.

    In December 2015, Judge Dawson in the District Court found that Dotcom and his associates were eligible for extradition. That decision was subsequently appealed to the High Court, with Dotcom and his now former colleagues launching an appeal alongside a demand for a judicial review.

    During February 2017, the appellants discovered that both of those efforts had proven unsuccessful. However, the men were granted leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal on two questions of law, including whether the High Court was correct to find that their alleged conduct amounted to an extradition offense.

    In July 2018, the Court of Appeal upheld the earlier decision that Dotcom and the others were indeed eligible to be extradited. Importantly, the Court considered whether copyright infringement can be a criminal offense in New Zealand and the United States.

    It was ultimately found that the alleged conduct of the men would breach various offenses under the Crimes Act 1961, meaning that extradition would be permissible. But this wouldn’t be a typical Dotcom matter if a final chance of appeal wasn’t grabbed with both hands.

    As a result, the case headed to the Supreme Court, where the final hearing is taking place over five days this week, beginning today.

    “In 2005 I created a website that allowed people to upload files to the cloud. At the time only small files could be attached to emails. Megaupload allowed users to email a link to a file. That’s it,” Dotcom
    wrote on Twitter this morning.

    “In 2019 the NZ Supreme Court decides if I should be extradited for this ‘crime’.”

    While lawyers for the accused are set to pick at every available thread in order to unravel the decision against their clients, early reports from the Supreme Court suggest already familiar themes.

    Grant Illingworth, representing Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk,
    told the Court that he would be arguing that the alleged offenses did not amount to a crime in New Zealand, meaning that they could not be extraditable offenses. But, even if they were, insufficient evidence had been produced to show that offenses had even occurred.

    “The district court judge misapplied the law at every stage of the judicial analysis,” Illingworth said, as quoted by

    “That constituted a serious miscarriage of justice. No higher court could have justified a finding of that kind, no matter how much they agreed with the outcome.”

    Interestingly – or perhaps worryingly – it appears that discussions over how Megaupload operated were conducted via analogies this morning. At issue was Megaupload offering content for download and, in some cases, rewarding uploaders for putting that content there in the first place.

    Justice Susan Glazebrook asked Illingworth whether it would be a breach of copyright if she photocopied a novel hypothetically written by one of her fellow judges and then sold it on a street corner. Illingworth said Megaupload didn’t make the copies, its users did.

    “They’re providing the photocopier, someone else comes along and uses the photocopier. They’re [Megaupload] not putting up a sign saying, ‘Please come and use our photocopier for illegal purposes,'” he said.

    Justice Joe Williams then elaborated on the analogy, alluding to Megaupload’s reward program.

    “What if I get a wheelbarrow and I convey the copies [of the novel] to the street corner, knowing that she’ll be selling them, and she and I have some kind of agreement to share the profits?” he said.

    Illingworth responded by saying it was never Megaupload’s intention to reward people for illegal behavior, it was all about rewarding them for increasing the site’s traffic.

    While the hearing is set to run until Friday, any decision will take months to reach. Even if extradition is upheld, it will still need the approval of New Zealand’s Minister of Justice Andrew Little to take place.

    His signature would mean that the men would be shipped to the US to face charges of copyright infringement, racketeering, and money laundering plus the possibility of years – even decades – in prison.

  3. #703
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    Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 06/10/19

    The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Captain Marvel' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu'. 'Us' completes the top three.

    This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

    Captain Marvel is the most downloaded movie.

    The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.

    RSS feed for the articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.

    This week’s most downloaded movies are:

    Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
    Most downloaded movies via torrents
    1 (1) Captain Marvel 7.1 / trailer
    2 (…) Pokémon Detective Pikachu 6.9 / trailer
    3 (2) Us (Subbed HDRip) 7.2 / trailer
    4 (3) Avengers: Endgame (HDCam) 9.1 / trailer
    5 (…) Hotel Mumbai 7.8 / trailer
    6 (4) Shazam! (Subbed HDRip) 7.5 / trailer
    7 (6) Captive State 7.0 / trailer
    8 (…) Wonder Park 5.7 / trailer
    9 (8) Glass 6.9 / trailer
    10 (5) Deadwood 8.4 / trailer

  4. #704
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    SET TV Loses Lawyer and Goes Dark in Piracy Case

    SET TV, which stands accused of selling pirate IPTV subscriptions, has stopped responding in the lawsuit filed against the company by several Hollywood studios, Amazon, and Netflix. The company's lawyer has also withdrawn from the case due to a lack of payments and the company is now in default, facing hefty damages.

    Last year the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, the global anti-piracy alliance featuring several Hollywood studios, Amazon, Netflix, and other entertainment companies,
    sued Florida-based SET Broadcast, LLC.

    The company offered a popular software-based IPTV service and also sold pre-loaded set-top boxes.

    While it was marketed as a legal service, according to the ACE members,
    Set TV’s software was little more than a pirate tool, allowing buyers to stream copyright-infringing content.

    “Defendants market and sell subscriptions to ‘Setvnow,’ a software application that Defendants urge their customers to use as a tool for the mass infringement of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted motion pictures and television shows,” the complaint read.

    The ACE members were not the only rightsholders that complained. June last year Dish Network tagged on with another copyright infringement lawsuit against the company, and soon after,
    the IPTV service went offline.

    This was a blow to SET TV’s more than 180,000 subscribers and the company itself was hit hard as well. Last November it reached a settlement with Dish, agreeing to pay more than
    $90 million in damages and sign over its domain name.

    The case against ACE is not over yet though. Over the past months, it moved into the discovery phase and the copyright holders requested to depose owner SET TV owner Jason Labossiere and its employee Nelson Johnson, who are both listed as defendants.

    However, both parties failed to respond, as did SET TV as a company. Meanwhile, the relationship with their attorney Joseph Shapiro also went south. Outstanding invoices were left unpaid which prompted Shapiro to
    withdraw from the case.

    “Defendants have not paid invoices for attorney fees for more than five months and are unwilling to make any payment at this time or to commit to any payment plan,” the court was informed.

    “Additionally, relations between Defendants and Mr. Shapiro have degraded such that it is no longer feasible for Mr. Shapiro to represent Defendants in this case.”

    In April the court
    agreed to remove the attorney from the case, instructing SET TV to find new counsel. Despite this clear instruction from the court, none of the defendants responded.

    This left the ACE members with few other options than to
    request an entry of default against Set Broadcast. This was entered by a court clerk a few days ago, and if the company remains dark, it will likely lose the case.

    Now that the company is in default the copyright holders will likely submit a motion for a default judgment, proposing what they believe is an appropriate damages amount. This will likely amount to millions of dollars.

    Considering the earlier $90 million settlement with Dish, it’s doubtful that there is any money left to take.

  5. #705
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    Pirate Site Blocking Efforts Expand to Ecuador

    Ecuador's National Intellectual Property Service has ordered local Internet providers to block access to five Rojadirecta domain names. The blocking order was requested by Fox Latin America and Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional. Interestingly, the original Rojadirecta site is not targeted and remains freely available.

    Well over a decade ago copyright holders first went to court to block a pirate site. The target in
    this initial case, which took place in Denmark, was the Russian MP3 ‘store’ AllofMP3.

    The court eventually ordered local ISPs to block the site and soon after similar requests were made in countries all around the world.

    Earlier this year, the Motion Picture Association reported that
    4,000 websites have been blocked in 31 countries over the past several years. As rightsholders see blocking as an effective means to hinder pirates the list continues to expand, with the South American country Ecuador as the latest addition.

    Late last week Ecuador’s National Intellectual Property Service (SENADI) issued an administrative order requiring Internet providers to block subscribers from accessing several Rojadirecta websites.

    As one of the oldest and most prominent live streaming sites,
    Rojadirecta is a thorn in the side of many international sports organizations. In this case, the blocking order was requested by Fox Latin America and Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional.

    blocking order requires local Internet providers to block a total of five domain names;,,, and

    The blocking order

    This is the first blocking order of this kind in Ecuador that we’re aware of. According to reports, some ISPs are using DNS blockades, which are relatively easy to circumvent, but more evasive techniques are being utilized as well.

    Opponents of the blocking measures complain that they violate freedom of expression. They fear that more blocking efforts will follow, without proper judicial oversight.

    That said, SENADI’s order has a clear legal basis. The measure is permitted
    under the Organic Code on the Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation. In this case, ISPs were required to take action before June 6th, or face criminal liabilities.

    Blocking notice

    Interestingly, the list of targeted “Rojadirecta” domains doesn’t include the official website, which operates from Instead, it appears to be targeted at third-party sites that use the same name.

    At the time of writing is redirecting to, possibly in an attempt to circumvent the blocking efforts. and have stopped working entirely, as these domains were suspended by the domain name registrar.

  6. #706
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    India Court Hands Down Cricket World Cup Piracy Blocking Order

    The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup currently underway in England and Wales is set to conclude July 14, 2019. Rights to audio broadcasts are held by India-based Channel 2 Group but the company is facing competition from unlicensed 'pirate' streams. To combat this threat, the Delhi High Court has handed down a broad blocking order covering sites, radio platforms, ISPs, and even search engines.

    Over the past decade there have been dozens of orders requiring Internet service providers around the world to block access to copyright-infringing content.

    The majority of these orders have attempted to protect the movie and music industries but more recently live sports broadcasters have become involved.

    In most if not all sports-blocking cases, the content has been both audio and visual, such as live soccer matches to which the English Premier League owns the rights. However, a new blocking order out of India is attempting to block ‘pirate’ radio streams, delivered via the Internet.

    The application was made by
    Channel 2 Group Corporation. According to the company’s website, its founder is Ajay Sethi, a man with a passion for cricket, who launched “the first ever Radio over the internet – Cricket Radio.”

    Channel 2’s application at the Delhi High Court states that the company previously acquired the audio rights to the ICC Men’s World Cup, 2019. The agreement allows it to transmit audio coverage of Cricket World Cup matches (live, delayed, or highlights) via the Internet and private FM radio stations throughout India.

    Of course, while Channel 2’s agreement may be exclusive in theory, the company says that other entities are encroaching (or likely to encroach) on its rights as the tournament progresses. As such, it’s seeking protection from the Court to have such broadcasts blocked.

    In an
    ex parte interim order handed down by the Delhi High Court, the broadcaster appears to have been granted permission to do just that.

    In total there are 249 defendants in the case, two of which are government departments only present for administrative reasons and 247 for direct involvement. Just one is mentioned by name in the published order, lead defendant The remainder are not detailed but are variously described as follows:

    • Defendants 1-64 (URLs/Websites)
    • Defendants 65-68 (private radio platform operators)
    • Defendants 69-105 (Internet service providers)
    • Defendants 105-107 (Government departments) (108 absent from list)
    • Defendants 109-249 (Unknown defendants, to be determined)

    “The Plaintiff’s apprehension regarding the likely abuse of Plaintiff’s exclusive Audio Rights and intellectual property rights arises from previous instances of infringement of the Plaintiff’s exclusive broadcasting rights by various interested persons,” the order reads.

    “The said instances of infringement caused considerable financial loss to the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff is given to believe from its agencies that the Defendants arrayed herein will infringe the exclusive Audio Rights of the Plaintiff.”

    Channel 2 states that defendants 1-105 have no right to offer radio/audio broadcasts of any ICC Event, including those in the World Cup. As a result, they urgently need to be restrained from doing so, since the tournament has already begun. Defendants 69-105 must take measures to block the unlicensed streams provided by the infringing websites/services.

    Defendants 109-249 are so-called
    Ashok Kumars, which are the Indian equivalent of John Does. They are predicted to infringe on Channel 2’s rights so need to be dealt with quickly should they do so, the Court agreed.

    “The Plaintiff apprehends that if the Plaintiff were to wait and identify specific parties and collect evidence of infringement by such specific parties, significant time would be lost and the cricket matches may come to an end,” the order reads.

    “Irreparable injury, loss and damage, would be caused to the Plaintiff in such a scenario, which would be impossible to quantify in monetary terms alone.”

    As part of the interim order, search engines are also required to delete from their results any websites/URLs that provide access to infringing sites/streams. They must do so following a notification from Channel 2 itself.

    Given the broad nature of many blocking injunctions in this and other jurisdictions, not much of the above comes as a surprise anymore. However, there is a somewhat unusual addition to the order, which targets services that provide ball-by-ball and/or minute-by-minute updates on the status of matches.

    They may only do so “gratuitously only after a time lag of 15 minutes.”

    The interim order of the Delhi High Court can be found
    here (pdf)

  7. #707
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    Delhi high court cracks down on piracy, bans 30 torrent websites

    NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has banned around 30 torrent sites from using content that violate the copyright of film production companies such as Twentieth Century Fox and UTV Software Communication Ltd.

    The court has banned these sites from hosting, streaming, reproducing or distributing such content, including movies, music and shows.

    “This court is of the view that since website blocking is a cumbersome exercise and majority of the viewers/subscribers who access, view and download infringing content are youngsters who do not have knowledge that the said content is infringing and/or pirated, it directs the MEITY/DOT to explore the possibility of framing a policy, under which a warning is issued to the viewers of the infringing content...and cautioning the viewers to cease viewing/downloading the infringing material," Justice Manmohan said in his order dated 10 April.

    “In the event the warning is not heeded to and the viewers/subscribers continue to view, access or download the infringing/pirated content, then a fine could be levied on the viewers/subscribers," he added.

    The Delhi high court said the websites and their owners, partners, proprietors, officers, employees and all agents acting for or on their behalf should be permanently restrained from hosting, streaming, reproducing or distributing any cinematograph work or content having copyright.

    It also directed internet service providers, such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and MTNL, and the department of telecommunication (DoT) and the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) to issue a notification to telecom service providers to block access to the sites.

    In its order, the court also said that “mirror", or “hydra headed" websites, floated by rogue websites to provide the same content, should also be blocked to check piracy.

    To deal with this problem of “hydra headed websites; the plaintiffs shall file an affidavit confirming that the newly added website is a mirror/redirect/alphanumeric website with sufficient supporting evidence and an application under Order 1 Rule 10 to be impleaded as a party. On being satisfied that the impugned website is indeed a mirror/redirect/alphanumeric website of a Rogue Website(s) and merely provides new means of accessing the same primary infringing website, the Joint Registrar shall issue directions to ISPs to disable access in India to such mirror/redirect/alphanumeric websites in terms of the orders passed.

    The court said that a rogue website involved in streaming illicit or infringing material, should be examined with a “qualitative approach and not a quantitative one".

    It added that a website should not be judged on the “percentage of legitimate content", but on whether “the primary purpose of the website is to commit or facilitate copyright infringement", besides its “silence or inaction after the receipt of take down notices pertaining to copyright infringement".

    UTV Communications and Twentieth Century Fox had moved court seeking directions to ban torrent websites, such as RARBG, YTS, ExtraTorrent and Pirate Bay, which were involved in streaming pirated versions of original content produced by them.


  8. #708
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    La Liga Fined €250K For Breaching GDPR While Spying on Piracy

    Spanish soccer league La Liga has been fined 250,000 euros by local data protection agency AEPD. The penalty comes after La Liga deployed a controversial feature in its Android app which activated device microphone and location services in an effort to identify establishments airing matches without a license.

    With millions of fans around the globe, Spain’s La Liga soccer league is one of the most popular in the game.

    To allow fans to keep up with all the latest news, La Liga offers an
    Android app with a number of features including schedules, kick-off times, and the all-important results.

    Controversially, however, the app also has a surprising trick up its sleeve.

    After gaining consent from users, La Liga’s software turns fans’ phones into spying devices which are able to analyze their surroundings using the microphone, listening out for unauthorized broadcasts in bars and restaurants, for example. This audio, collected Shazam-style, is then paired with phone GPS data to pinpoint establishments airing matches without a license.

    The feature was outlined in the app’s
    privacy policy along with stated uses that include combating piracy.

    “The purposes for which this functionality will be used are: (i) to develop statistical patterns on soccer consumption and (ii) to detect fraudulent operations of the retransmissions of LaLiga football matches (piracy),” the policy read when
    first uncovered last summer.

    While controversial, La Liga felt that it was on solid ground in respect of the feature and its declaration to app users.
    AEPD, Spain’s data protection agency (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos), fundamentally disagrees.

    As a result, AEPD has hit La Liga with a
    significant 250,000 euro fine for not properly informing its users in respect of the ‘microphone’ feature, including not displaying a mic icon when recording.

    The data protection agency said that La Liga’s actions breached several aspects of the EU’s
    GDPR, including a failure to gain consent every time the microphones in users’ devices were activated.

    In a statement, La Liga says it “disagrees deeply” with the AEPD’s decision and believes the agency has “not made the effort to understand how the technology works.” Announcing it will go to court to challenge the ruling, La Liga says it has always complied with the GDPR and other relevant data protection regulations.

    Noting that users of the app must “expressly, proactively and on two occasions give their consent” for the microphone to be used, La Liga further insists that the app does not “record, store or listen” to people’s conversations.

    “[T]he technology used is designed to generate only a specific sound footprint (acoustic fingerprint). This fingerprint only contains 0.75% of the information, discarding the remaining 99.25%, so it is technically impossible to interpret the voice or human conversations. This footprint is transformed into an alphanumeric code (hash) that is not reversible to the original sound,” La Liga says.

    AEPD has ordered La Liga to introduce new mechanisms to ensure that users are properly notified when the anti-piracy features of the app are in use. However, La Liga says it has no need to implement them because at the end of the current season (June 30, 2019), the functionality will be disabled.

    “La Liga will continue to test and implement new technologies and innovations that allow us to improve the experience of our fans and, of course, fight against this very serious scourge that is piracy,” the league concludes.

  9. #709
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    Aussie Blocking Juggernaut Continues With 105 More ‘Pirate’ Domains

    Village Roadshow, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox and several other studios have obtained yet another injunction to block pirate sites in Australia. The order, handed down by the Federal Court this week, lists 104 domains spread over 76 sites, all of which must be blocked by the country's ISPs.

    Last December, Australia’s Federal Court
    issued an injunction in favor of Village Roadshow, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount, Columbia, Universal, and Warner, requiring local ISPs to block 181 pirate domains linked to 78 sites.

    Soon after, the same companies (plus Australian distributor Madman and Tokyo Broadcasting) returned to court with a
    new application to block 79 “online locations” associated with 99 domains.

    In common with previous blocking applications, local ISPs including Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG, Vodafone, plus their subsidiaries, were asked to prevent access to the platforms, stated as all being located overseas. In all, 52 Internet service providers were listed in the application.

    This week, more than six months after the original documents were filed, Justice Nicholas in the Federal Court granted an order under Section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968 in favor of the studios.

    The order appears to have changed slightly since the original application. It now lists 104 domains spread across 76 allegedly-infringing platforms. Many of the sites are well-known torrent and streaming services, including StreamCR, Torrenting, TorrentLeech, AnimeHeaven, and HorribleSubs, to name just a few.

    It’s extremely unusual for any sites to mount any kind of defense against blocking but earlier this year, Socrates Dimitriadis – the operator of –
    did just that.

    “My site is just a search engine that refers users to third-party websites,” he explained in a letter to the Court.

    That appears to have held no sway with the Judge. Greek-Movies is the 15th site listed in the injunction, with ISPs required to target its main domain ( and/or its IP address, using DNS, IP address or URL blocking, or “any alternative technical means”.

  10. #710
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    DISH and Bell IPTV ‘Pirates’ Pressed to Settle Or Face Legal Action

    NagraStar, a join venture between DISH Network and Kudelski Group, is going after people who use pirate IPTV services to access DISH and Bell TV programming. The company is demanding $3,500 settlements and cautions that those who don't cooperate can expect legal action.

    Traditional file-sharing pirates are no stranger to settlement demands from copyright holders. For over a decade, companies have been monitoring BitTorrent swarms in an effort to extract cash from alleged infringers.

    These efforts have now carried over to IPTV streaming pirates. Generally speaking, it’s impossible for rightsholders to see who’s using pirate IPTV services unless the provider is willing to hand over customer details. This is exactly what’s happening.

    The IPTV settlement campaign is run by NagraStar, which is a joint venture between DISH Network and Kudelski Group. While some rightsholders try to keep these efforts out of the public eye, NagraStar has a
    public website explaining in detail what they do.

    The company is already known for demanding settlements from and filing lawsuits against people who decrypt satellite signals including IKS (Intenet Key Sharing) pirates. As Cord Cutters News
    spotted, this has now carried over to pirate IPTV subscribers.

    NagraStar’s efforts focus on people who obtain programming from DISH Network and Bell TV, without permission. These generally are subscribers of unlicensed IPTV services. These subscriber records are not public, but some vendors hand them over when they are caught.

    “When NagraStar settles with pirates who operate online services that sell illegal content, we commonly receive transaction evidence of all the sales made to end users and secondary resellers. NagraStar uses this information to send letters and emails proposing a settlement amount to avoid litigation,” NagraStar explains.

    The company says that these settlements are needed to recoup the losses it suffers from these pirate IPTV services. The demands aren’t cheap either. Pirate subscribers typically get a settlement offer of $3,500 while resellers of unauthorized IPTV subscriptions have to cough up $7,500.

    NagraStar knows that many of the targeted subscribers may not realize that they are doing something wrong. However, on paper there appears to be little clemency, aside from the offer to pay the settlement in monthly installments for those who can’t afford to pay at once.

    In addition, people who are willing to hand over illicit streaming devices or pirate set-top boxes can get a discount. The same is true for those who are willing to give up their credentials to piracy forums, which NagraStar will likely use to gather further intel.

    The company stresses that its letters are not a scam. Ignoring a settlement demand isn’t wise either, it states, noting that the case will then be escalated to its legal team.

    “Choosing to ignore this letter will result in your referral to our legal team. This usually leads to a lawsuit, which results in a judgment that is public record,” NagraStar writes.

    “In court, every illegal purchase made can carry a hefty fine of up to $10,000. It is in your best interest, as well as NagraStar’s, to settle this matter outside of court with a pre-suit settlement offer to avoid heavy fines and to keep this matter confidential.”

    This threatening language is self-serving, of course, and aimed at motivating people to pay up. That said, the risk of a lawsuit is indeed legitimate. NagraStar has previously filed several lawsuits against vendors and individual pirates.

    NagraStar’s website also features several testimonies from pirates, or statements of compliance, as they are called. This includes a “
    Rocket IPTV” pirate, and a former subscriber of an unnamed pirate IPTV service.

    While its unlikely that NagraStar will pursue legal action against all who ignore the letters, disregarding the settlement demands is not without risk.

    Chicago law firm ‘
    The Russell Firm‘, which has experience with defending people accused of piracy, including in this matter, urges recipients to take the letters seriously.

    “Whatever you do, do not ignore the letter. Legal matters don’t get cheaper with time. They get more complicated and more expensive,” the law firm advises, noting that they offer a free consultation.

    NagraStar, for its part, points out that a lawyer is not required to settle a claim. The company stresses that its associates will do their best to negotiate a reasonable settlement offer, whatever that may be.

  11. #711
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    Fragmented Streaming Landscape Keeps Piracy Relevant, Research Suggests

    Streaming video services are, in theory, great competitors to pirate sites and services. However, when you have to sign up for half a dozen subscriptions to watch your favorite movies and shows, something is wrong. New research suggests that this fragmented streaming landscape is keeping piracy relevant.

    There is little doubt that, for many people, streaming services have become the standard for watching movies and TV-shows.

    This is no surprise, since subscription-based streaming services are among the best and most convenient alternatives to piracy at this point.

    There is a problem though. The whole appeal of the streaming model becomes diluted when there are too many ‘Netflixes.’

    More choice wouldn’t be a bad thing if all these services offered a broad library of content. The problem, however, is that all have different ‘libraries’ and exclusive productions are becoming more and more common.

    Since most households have a limited budget for online entertainment, consumers have to choose which services they want. This is a problem that keeps getting worse, especially now that Apple and Disney are planning to release their own streaming platforms soon.

    The irony of this situation is that the platforms, which are supposed to make piracy obsolete, are in fact keeping it relevant. This has been argued anecdotally in the past, but research by piracy research firm MUSO among 1,000 UK adults, shows that this is indeed happening.

    The vast majority of all surveyed consumers, 80.4%, feel that they’re already paying too much for content streaming. At the same time, 64.2% of the people who took part in the survey are not willing to pay for any more streaming services this year.

    Even more worrying is that more than half of all respondents, 50.8%, said they were likely or very likely to use unlicensed platforms to search for content that’s not available to them. In other words, they are considering to pirate video in order to get what they want.

    “This research shows that people will inevitably seek it elsewhere via unlicensed platforms, but this does, however, create further opportunities for content owners to understand this audience with meaningful and valuable insights,” MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley notes.

    “With most people only subscribing to only a couple of services, it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens with the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+. Will consumers ditch an existing service for one of the new ones? Or will Apple struggle to crack the TV market again?”

    While it’s easy to blame rightsholders and streaming platforms, this puzzle isn’t easy to solve.

    Ideally, there would be a single platform where people can access everything they want, similar to pirate sites and services. The problem is, however, that this won’t bring in enough revenue, at least not at the subscription rates we have now.

    That said, there has to be a better option than to keep adding more and more services and fragmenting the steaming landscape?

    In any case, the flawed argument that people have no ‘excuse’ to pirate because there are plenty of legal alternatives is weakening every year. Yes, pretty much everything can be accessed legally, but people need deep pockets to do so.

    It appears that the people who benefit the most from increased fragmentation are the operators of pirate sites and services. That’s probably not what Hollywood intended.

  12. #712
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    Red-Hot Vetements Fashion Brand is Selling an $845 Pirate Bay Hoodie

    According to the latest Lyst Index report of the world's hottest fashion brands, Switzerland-based Vetements is a Top 10 player, just behind Versace. Bizarrely, one of its latest 'creations' is a Pirate Bay hoodie, on sale for the bargain price of just $845. Ladies and gentlemen are advised to form an orderly queue, credit cards in hand please.

    The Pirate Bay is the most recognized pirate site on the Internet. It has endured the roughest of high seas for more than 15 years and is still going strong.

    The site’s logo, pictured right, has been published on thousands of websites and for many, its familiar tape-and-crossbones logo is both iconic and rebellious.

    Enter stage left storming fashion brand Vetements. Previously based in Paris, the “design collective” has been making waves all over the world and is currently listed as one of the world’s hottest brands, just a single place behind Versace in the
    latest Lyst Index.

    Hoping to climb even further up the greasy pole that is high fashion, Vetements is now selling a Pirate Bay-themed hoodie that shamelessly rips off the site’s logo. Buyers can pick one up for the
    bargain price of $845.

    While the full ship emblem on the front isn’t an exact replica of the original, it’s so close as to make very little difference. Those squinting to read the text along the bottom are advised it reads “Vetements Free Downloads”, in case anyone doesn’t recognize this is a Pirate Bay-themed hoodie, of course.

    The back of this stunning piece of high-fashion cloth is adorned with an alphabetically-sorted list of countries of the world. While that’s perhaps expected given The Pirate Bay’s reach, Sweden – the site’s birthplace – is completely absent.

    The big question here is whether someone in the setting department screwed up and left Sweden out, or is this one of those clever fashion things that’s designed to provoke conversation. The Pirate Bay can be found everywhere except Sweden? That works – on a couple of levels.

    But of course, now we’re getting sucked in and this was probably Vetements’ plan all along. Keep in mind this is a company that sells a t-shirt
    with a DHL logo on the front for several hundred dollars. And people buy them in droves.

    For at least one person responsible for the creation of The Pirate Bay, this act of fabric-based piracy is definitely not acceptable.

    While Marcin appears to make his position clear, he seems more irritated by the extortionate price than the fact that Vetements is attempting to profit from the site’s image. Either way, this can only lead to yet more publicity for the file-sharing movement and – sigh – Vetements.

  13. #713
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    Radiohead Responds To Extortionate Hacker By Releasing Hacked Recordings For Charity

    Radiohead has always taken a more thoughtful, less kneejerk approach to how it handles the kinds of situations that many others in the recording industry tend to respond to by freaking out. Back in 2007, in the midst of the worldwide freakout over piracy, Radiohead released a surprise album, telling fans they could pay what they wanted to download it (while also selling a more expensive "box set", giving its biggest fans a good reason to pay extra. The band has also been supportive of file sharing and even leaked some of its own tracks via BitTorrent.

    So perhaps this following story shouldn't be seen as too much of a surprise (though, I imagine it was a surprise to whoever hacked Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke). As noted in that parenthetical, someone apparently hacked Yorke, and somehow got access to a set of 18 minidiscs of somewhat random/eclectic material that Yorke had recorded in the 1996/97 timeframe, when the band was working on its seminal Ok Computer album. The hackers apparently then asked Yorke/Radiohead for $150,000 not to release the material. The band chose not to give in to the hackers, who then did leak the material. However, soon after the material was leaked, the band announced (via
    Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's Instagram) that the band was now officially "releasing" that material on Bandcamp for £18 (or more) and donating any funds raised to Extinction Rebellion (a climate change advocacy group).

    Greenwood's writeup -- titled "Walter Sobchak vs Bunny's toe, as an amusing nod towards the extortion attempt in The Big Lebowski -- is worth reading:

    Subject: Walter Sobchak vs Bunny's toe

    We got hacked last week - someone stole Thom's minidisk archive from around the time of OK Computer, and reportedly demanded $150,000 on threat of releasing it.

    So instead of complaining - much - or ignoring it, we're releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion. Just for the next 18 days. So for £18 you can find out if we should have paid that ransom.

    Never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computer reissue) it's only tangentially interesting. And very, very long. Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn't it though?

    And yes, the file is quite large -- approaching 2GB -- and the band itself says it's not that interesting. But, of course, fans are interested, because that's what fandom is about. In fact, it's quite interesting to see that a bunch of fans have put together a
    crowdsourced Google Doccreating a track listing and annotation of what's in the files (though, they also have to explain that they weren't the ones who hacked Yorke's stuff in the first place). The notes themselves are kind of interesting:

    As with all such things, this could easily have turned into the band just complaining about a situation that basically everyone agrees is unfair and unpleasant. However, Radiohead, of all bands, appears to have been quick to turn what is undoubtedly a crappy situation into a positive one that both supports a charity they like and builds tremendous goodwill with fans (while making the hackers look awful).

    There's a key point in all of this that is worth noting, and it's one that we've tried to make for years about piracy: we're not arguing that piracy is somehow a good thing. However, we have argued that piracy happens. The question is how you respond to it, and whether or not you can turn it into a positive situation. Too many in the music industry have taken piracy and turned a bad situation into something worse -- pissing off fans, annoying people, and doing damage to their own brand. Radiohead has long realized it's better to do the exact opposite. That's not cheering on the hacking (or piracy), but noting that when a bad thing happens, you might as well figure out how to make the best of it.

    Radiohead has done that. I wish many others in that industry would do the same.

  14. #714
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    BREIN Criticizes Bullet-Proof Hosts, Forces Pirate Webcasters to Get Licenses

    In a relatively unusual action, Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN says it has forced three unlicensed Internet radio broadcasters to obtain licensing. A fourth has shut down. Other stations targeted by BREIN state that they're owned by their streaming platform, a matter that is complicated by its status as a so-called bullet-proof host set up to protect its customers' privacy.

    While millions of the world’s pirates are focused on sites offering movies, TV shows, music, videogames and software, many are enjoying unlicensed content without even knowing it.

    There are tens of thousands of radio stations on the Internet, most of which require licensing to operate legally. However, many operate on a hobbyist basis, with official paperwork and sanctioning left as a mere afterthought.

    For many, there are zero consequences for taking this approach but for several Netherlands-based Internet stations, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

    Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN informs TorrentFreak that following information provided by one of its members
    SENA, it successfully targeted four Dutch radio stations, or webcasters as they’re sometimes known.

    SENA helps artists and producers exploit neighboring rights and part of that effort involves webcasters/stations paying the group a license fee to operate. Once paid, stations are able to display the SENA logo to indicate they are above board. The four stations in question, all Netherlands-based according to BREIN, hadn’t paid the necessary fee.

    “The radio streams of the channels are provided by a hosting provider based abroad that is not affiliated with
    Stichting Webcasting Nederland and does not otherwise have the required licenses,” BREIN said in a statement.

    Following BREIN’s approach, three paid up. A fourth took the nuclear option and shut down. However, BREIN had other stations on its radar too, but they indicated their streaming host is the formal owner of their channels.

    The host, which BREIN says operates under the
    IDFNV and Microglo brands, offers Shoutcast and IceCast server hosting, among other things. The anti-piracy outfit says that the company failed to respond to a demand for it to obtaining licensing for the stations or shut them down. That probably didn’t come as a surprise.

    “A complicating factor is that host profiles itself as a ‘bullet-proof host’ and is based in the Seychelles,”
    BREIN explains.

    “In other words, the host will never provide data and states that it has nothing to do with Dutch or EU regulations. The host wants to make himself and his customers invulnerable to enforcement actions.”

    However, both sales portals for the host offer servers inside the EU and indeed the Netherlands, a “vulnerability” that BREIN may yet exploit. BREIN adds that licensors could also play a part, by refusing to do business with webcasters and stations that utilize such companies.

    “Licensors could make it a condition that licensees do not use hosts that deliberately also host unauthorized channels. After all, such hosts earn money from illegality and should not be supported by the legal providers,” BREIN says.

    This type of action is rarely publicized but BREIN chief Tim Kuik says his company has carried out this type of enforcement before.

    “It is not our job to license but we will enforce on the request of our participating right holders,” Kuik concludes.

  15. #715
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    Sky Streaming Service Uses ‘Pirate’ Subtitles on Chernobyl Episode

    The Swiss streaming platform of Comcast-owned broadcaster Sky is using fan-made subtitles on the final episode of the hit-series Chernobyl. The subtitles are credited to, a community that's been branded a 'pirate' site by many major copyright holders.

    Every day, millions of people enjoy fan-made subtitles.

    These files help foreigners to better understand English entertainment and provide the hearing impaired with a way to comprehend audio.

    The subtitles are often used in combination with pirated files. While helpful to many, they are a thorn in the side for major copyright holders, who see them as yet another threat to their business.

    As a result, fansub communities are increasingly portrayed as illegal operations. Several sites are now
    blocked by ISPs and site operators have been taken to court following copyright infringement allegations.

    Given this backdrop, it’s quite unusual to see one of the largest entertainment industry brands using these ‘pirate’ subtitles on its official streaming service. This is exactly what Comcast-owned
    Sky Switzerland is doing at the moment.

    Subscribers of the local Sky platform who watch the last episode of the hit series Chernobyl, with English subtitles enabled, see the following message appearing around the five-minute mark.

    “- Synced and corrected by VitoSilans –”

    The message is part of the credits that are typically added to fan-made subtitles. In this case, it clearly indicates that they were sourced from, a well-known resource for these type of subtitles and one that is blocked by ISPs in Australia.

    Looking more closely at the official video and the Addic7ed subtitles, we see that the timing doesn’t match. This suggests that the subtitle has been synced separately to fit the Sky video. However, the opening ‘credits’ were not removed.

    Also, these subs generally have a closing credit too. These are not visible during the episode on

    The Addic7ed team tells us that it doesn’t mind seeing their subs being used by major entertainment conglomerates. It has happened before and as long as it helps people to enjoy a movie or TV-show, everybody benefits.

    “When we started the project we wished that content would be available to a larger audience by breaking the language barrier or providing English subtitles for hearing impaired people, which would otherwise not enjoy videos as much. If this means that others take our work, so be it,” Addic7ed informs TF.

    “Professionals or not, our main objective was reached: more people enjoyed the show. Kudos to Sky for keeping the credits.”

    Sky Switzerland hasn’t responded to our request for comment at the time of publication. Whether the Addic7ed credit was left in intentionally is highly doubtful though. It seems more likely that someone forgot to remove it.

    In any case, the mention hasn’t gone unnoticed either. At least one person has alerted
    Sky via Twitter, but the company didn’t respond there either.

    Interestingly, this is not the first time ‘pirate’ subtitles have been used on a streaming service. In the past,
    Netflix was caught using “unauthorized” fansubs as well. In addition, American anime distributor Funimation previously used ‘pirate’ subs in their dubbing room.

  16. #716
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    ‘Copyright Troll’ Lawyer Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison

    Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys behind the controversial law firm Prenda, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. In addition, he must pay his victims $1.5 million in restitution. The attorney was one of the masterminds behind the fraudulent scheme in which Prenda created and uploaded porn movies to extract settlements from alleged pirates. The Pirate Bay played a crucial role in the case.

    In an effort to turn piracy into profit, copyright holders have chased alleged BitTorrent pirates through courts all over the world.

    This so-called ‘copyright troll’ model was also adopted by the firm Prenda Law. However, the lawyers involved began to break the law themselves.

    The firm was accused of all sorts of wrongdoing including
    identity theft, misrepresentation, and even deception. Most controversial was the shocking revelation that Prenda uploaded their own torrents to The Pirate Bay, creating a honeypot for the people they later sued over pirated downloads.

    This eventually caught the attention of the US Justice Department. In 2015 we first reported that two Pirate Bay co-founders had been questioned by Swedish police, acting on behalf of the FBI. The feds were interested in the honeypot evidence, to build a case against Prenda.

    A year later the investigation was finished, resulting in a
    criminal indictment against Prenda attorneys Paul Hansmeier and John Steele. The US Government accused the pair of various crimes, including money laundering, perjury, mail and wire fraud.

    Since then both defendants have signed plea agreements, admitting their guilt in the fraudulent scheme.

    Today the first of the two was sentenced. Paul Hansmeier appeared before a federal court in the District of Minnesota, where U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen sentenced the Prenda attorney to 14 years in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release.

    The Judge departed upward from the 12.5-year prison sentence the U.S. prosecutor
    recommended. In addition to the prison sentence, Hansmeier must pay his victims a total of $1.5 million in restitution.

    Among other things, Hansmeier instructed his brother to upload torrents of videos he produced himself. In doing so he misled the court, as he made it appear as if the videos were from a third-party company.

    Whether the people that were sued were indeed guilty wasn’t much of an issue. This means that many innocent people were likely targeted as well.

    “Hansmeier was generally content to take this step without investigating whether the subscriber was, in fact, the infringer. Hansmeier thus inflicted plenty of pain on persons who did not, in fact, download his pornographic bait,” the Government previously wrote.

    All victims of the Prenda scheme are all eligible for restitution. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Minnesota
    previously invitedthose who were affected by the fraudulent anti-piracy lawyers to come forward.

    John Steele, the second defendant in the Prenda case, is scheduled to be sentenced next month. The U.S. prosecutor previously stated that Steele has been very cooperative following his arrest so has recommended an 8-10 year sentence,
    as FCT notes.

  17. #717
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    Just Six Percent of Finns Say They Illegally Stream Movies or TV Shows

    An annual survey carried out in Finland has revealed interesting attitudes towards piracy. The majority of respondents believe that any form of piracy is unacceptable, with only 3% completely in favor. Overall, just 6% of Finns admit to streaming movies or TV shows from illegal sources.

    Trying to persuade the public to consume content online legally is a battle that’s been waged by the entertainment industries for close to 20 years.

    The advent of high-quality legal offers has made that task much easier in recent times but piracy levels continue to cause problems in many countries around the world. In Finland, however, the trend appears to be a downwards one.

    An annual survey carried out by market research company
    Taloustutkimus Oy reveals that the majority of citizens are against piracy, with 58% of the population believing it’s not acceptable in any form. That figure falls just 11% when considering unauthorized downloading for personal use.

    The most common form of illicit consumption was found to be streaming from illegal services, with 9% of respondents admitting that they do so. That’s down from the 12% returned in a similar study carried out last year.

    Interestingly, just six percent of respondents admitted to accessing unlicensed movies or TV shows from illegal online services. That’s down from 7 percent in 2018.

    Anti-piracy group
    TTVK, which published a summary of the study, says that illicit downloading has dropped overall.

    “Although illegal downloads are still the most common among the youngest age group [15-24], downloading has still dropped significantly,” TTVK notes.

    “According to the survey, 13% of people under 25 say that unauthorized downloading of Internet-based material is acceptable for their own use, but only nine percent of the age group themselves or a member of the family report doing this.

    “In 2015, the corresponding figure was 29%, so the consumption of Finnish entertainment seems to have moved more and more to legal channels as streaming services became more common.”

    As ‘pirate’ streaming services have developed, many have presented themselves with impressive Netflix-style interfaces. Popcorn Time was perhaps the most famous front-runner but now there are dozens of sites and apps that to the untrained eye are indistinguishable from legal sites.

    The study found that around a third of respondents have difficulty distinguishing between legal and illegal sites. Fortunately, close to six out of ten (57%) say they can do so easily, even if the rest remain unsure.

    For Finns, some clarity is available by visiting, a portal designed to help consumers find legal resources. However, the study found that awareness is weak, with only 6% of respondents having knowledge of the resource.

    In general terms, 84% of respondents regard copyright as an important issue, with just 3% believing it’s completely unnecessary. TTVK will also be pleased that 83% respondents feel that that copyright organizations are necessary, with 79% feeling they “are on the right track”.

    “In addition, Finns are very much in agreement that creative workers should receive compensation for the work they do, depending on how much of their works are utilized,” TTVK notes, referencing 91% of respondents.

    The full results of the 2019 survey can be viewed here, 2018 survey here.

  18. #718
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    ‘Pirating’ Cox Business Subscriber Can Remain Anonymous, Court Rules

    ISP Cox Communications recently agreed to identify thousands of business subscribers accused of sharing pirated material. The disclosure, part of the piracy liability lawsuit filed by several music labels, was protested with success by a lone business subscriber. The identities of thousands of other subscribers who didn't object will be revealed nonetheless.

    Copyright holders are increasingly taking Internet providers to court, accusing the companies of failing to terminate repeat copyright infringers.

    Up until recently, the alleged pirating subscribers have remained anonymous. However, in
    the case between several music labels and Cox Communications, this position changed.

    Without direction from the court, the ISP
    agreed to reveal the identities of thousands of business subscribers whose connections were repeatedly used to share infringing material. These personal details are not being made public, but names, addresses, and other info will be handed over to the labels.

    It’s not clear what the rightsholders intend to do with this information but it’s unlikely to be in the interests of the accused subscribers. This didn’t sit well with one business subscriber,
    which protested the stipulated order in court.

    The “John Doe” company, an unnamed non-profit that provides hospital and medical care facilities, is one of the 2,793 affected business subscribers. The organization didn’t deny the piracy allegations but told the court that the infringements were made over its unsecured network, which is accessible to visitors.

    Before accessing this network all visitors had to agree to the terms of service, which specifically prohibited illegal downloading. Apparently, this wasn’t enough.

    The company states that revealing its identity to the record labels isn’t going to change anything. There is no record of who accessed the network at the time of the infringements, so tracking down the culprits is impossible.

    “Thus, disclosure of John Doe’s subscriber information will not lead to the discovery of the individual(s) who are alleged by Plaintiffs to have engaged in copyright infringement through the misuse of John Doe’s network in violation of the access agreement,” the company informed the court.

    Instead, the company argued that disclosure will breach its privacy rights under the Cable Communications Privacy Act. It therefore filed a request to prevent its personal info from being handed over.

    The music labels and Cox didn’t respond to this objection and after a thorough review of the arguments, US Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson decided to grant the objection. This means that the company’s information can’t be shared with the labels.

    “No response has been filed to this motion and the fourteen-day period for doing so has expired. Having reviewed the motion and supporting declaration, and there being no opposition, it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is granted, and defendant shall not be required to disclose John Doe’s subscriber information to the plaintiffs,” Judge Anderson writes.

    It’s unclear why there was no response to the objection, but it’s possible that the music labels and Cox preferred not to draw any more attention to the matter. Sacrificing the details of one subscriber likely outweighs having an extensive review.

    After all, there are still 2,792 business subscribers who didn’t object.

    Without any further pleadings, it remains unclear what the music companies plan to do with the subscriber information. Perhaps more will become clear once the case progresses.


  19. #719
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    Namecheap ‘Suspends’ Domain of File-hosting Service

    Namecheap has suspended the domain of file-hosting service The suspension follows a few weeks after the RIAA targeted the site and it wouldn't be a surprise if the music group's inquiry directly or indirectly spurred the domain registrar into action. is a popular no-nonsense file-hosting service that’s been around for roughly two years.

    Similar to other hosting services, people can use it to upload and share files. However, this week the site has been unreachable.

    Upon closer inspection, we found out that the downtime is the result of a domain name issue. It appears that the site’s registrar, Namecheap, has put the domain on “serverHold.”

    According to ICANN, the serverHold domain status is uncommon and “usually enacted during legal disputes, non-payment, or when your domain is subject to deletion.”

    This status is set by the domain registrar, Namecheap in this case, and informs the registry not to activate the DNS. As a result, the website in question will become inaccessible.

    It’s unclear why Namecheap took this action. We reached out to the company earlier this week, but haven’t heard back.

    The suspension may be related to an earlier issue. As reported last month, the RIAA obtained a DMCA subpoena ordering Namecheap to hand over the personal details of the owner of the domain name.

    “The website associated with this domain name offers files containing sound recordings which are owned by one or more of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use, ” RIAA wrote at the time.

    RIAA highlighted that a leaked track by rapper ‘Tyler, the Creator,’ titled ‘Earfquake,’ was shared on the site and requested the personal details of the domain owner from Namecheap.

    While the registrar is not known to suspend domains based on these type of allegations, it could be that this inquiry that raised some red flags. For example, it may have revealed that the WHOIS information was false. That can be reason for a suspension.

    Last week we reported on a similar issue, where a torrent site lost its domain name due to inaccurate WHOIS data.

    Whether something similar happened here remains unconfirmed. However, unless the operator of resolves the matter with Namecheap, the site’s domain name will remain suspended.

  20. #720
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    After RIAA Targets DJ & Producer Site Mixstep, Site Shuts Down

    A site created to allow DJs and producers to upload their work has shut itself down after being targeted by the RIAA. The operator of Mixstep informs TorrentFreak that despite banning errant users, tackling allegedly-infringing uploads is too much for the no-profit service.

    In recent weeks the RIAA has really stepped on the gas in an effort to tackle sites offering allegedly-infringing content.

    The music industry group’s current weapon-of-choice is the DMCA subpoena. These orders, which are easy to obtain and do not need to be scrutinized by a judge, give the RIAA significant discovery powers that help to identify the operators of online platforms.

    The latest site to be targeted by the RIAA is, an upload platform designed for audio works. Last week the powerful industry group told a Columbia federal court that the site was hosting content at a
    single URL which infringes one or more of its members’ copyrights.

    The RIAA says the URL linked to the Ed Sheeran/Justin Bieber track “I Don’t Care” but the location was already inaccessible the morning after the subpoena was obtained. Nevertheless, the RIAA now wants to identify the operator of the site.

    The subpoena orders domain registry Namecheap to hand over the personal details of the platform’s domain owner, including name, physical address, IP address, telephone, email address, payment, account history, and other information.

    TorrentFreak spoke with the operator of Mixstep who told us he wasn’t previously aware why the RIAA is targeting him. The site was never intended to host infringing content and was actually set up for the use of creators.

    “We made this project for DJs and producers,” he told TF.

    In common with many upload platforms – YouTube included – Mixstep has users who uploaded infringing content. However, the site has been working hard to take content down and has dealt severely with those who have abused the service.

    “We already banned a lot of users who uploaded illegal files,” the operator added.

    It’s not completely clear why the RIAA wants to identify the operator of the site but if its aim was to neutralize the platform, the music group has achieved that goal. With the service operated on a zero profit basis, its owner says it has run its course.

    “I think it’s enough to fight with all these [users uploading infringing files] so we’re going to shut down our project very soon. Anyway, Mixstep was a no-profit project,” he said.

    Visitors to the site now see the following message, so it may be ‘mission accomplished’ for the RIAA.

    The end of the show

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