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  1. #781
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    Cooperative ‘Copyright Troll’ Lawyer Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

    John Steele, one of the attorneys behind the 'copyright troll' law firm Prenda, has been sentenced to five years in prison. The attorney was one of the masterminds behind the fraudulent scheme that extracted settlements from alleged pirates. Because of Steele's cooperative stance, his sentence is significantly lower than that of co-conspirator Paul Hansmeier.

    Over the years, copyright trolls have been accused of involvement in various dubious schemes and actions, but there’s one group that has gone above and beyond.

    Prenda Law grabbed dozens of headlines, mostly surrounding negative court rulings over identity theft, misrepresentation, and even deception.

    Most controversial were the shocking revelations that Prenda itself produced adult videos and
    uploaded their own torrents to The Pirate Bay, creating a honeypot for the people they later sued over pirate downloads.

    The allegations also raised the interest of the U.S. Department of Justice, which indicted Prenda principals John Steele and Paul Hansmeier
    late 2016. The US Government accused the pair of various crimes, including money laundering, perjury, and wire fraud.

    As the case progressed both defendants signed plea agreements, admitting their guilt in the fraudulent scheme. Last month this resulted in a
    14 year prison term for Hansmeier, and today, John Steele learned of his fate.

    During a hearing this morning, U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen convicted Steele to a five-year prison sentence. In addition, the disbarred attorney must pay his victims little over $1.5 million in restitution.

    Today’s sentencing ironically comes 11 years after Steele was first admitted to the bar.

    The lower sentence, compared to Hansmeier, comes as no surprise. It was specifically recommended by the prosecution, which stressed that Steele didn’t shy away from the ugly truth of his crimes and was very cooperative following the indictment.

    “Unlike co-defendant Hansmeier, Mr. Steele accepted responsibility for his actions and immediately began zealously and passionately cooperating with the Government,” the prosecution said previously.

    “Even before the Government shared the evidence with the defense, Mr. Steele was in their office speaking to numerous law enforcement agents
    and prosecutors about everything he did. He never lied and never minimized his actions.”

    According to the US Department of Justice, Steele deserved a significant prison term. However, his cooperation and genuine remorse should be taken into account.

    Based on the sentencing guidelines Steele faced a potential prison sentence of more than 12 years, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Langner recommended five years in prison instead.

    Judge Ericksen went along with this recommendation. The Judge noted that courts “are not a tool in the box for anybody’s hustle,” adding that the five-year sentence was “imminently fair,” as the
    Star Tribune report.

    “I condemn the actions that you took in committing this crime. I congratulate you, however, on the actions you took” in responding to the charges, Judge Ericksen said.

    Although both Hansmeier and Steele have been sentenced, the Prenda saga is not completely over yet.

    Hansmeier
    previously informed the court that he is appealing both the sentence and conviction. The Prenda principal challenges the reasonableness of the sentencing and the application of the sentencing guidelines.

    A request from Hansmeier to await the result of the appeal as a free man was previously denied.



    Torrentfreak.com

  2. #782
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    Alleged Mastermind of Giant Pirate Manga Site Arrested in Manilla

    The alleged former operator of Mangamura, a site blamed for causing an estimated $2.9 billion in damages to the Japanese manga industry, has been detained in Manilla. According to immigration officials in the Philippines, 28-year-old Romi Hoshino was arrested Sunday when attempting to board a plane to Hong Kong.

    During April 2018, the Japanese government
    introduced emergency website-blocking measures aimed at reducing levels of copyright infringement in the country.

    Several ISPs responded by blocking three leading pirate sites including Mangamura, AniTube! and MioMio, all of which had huge followings in Japan.

    As the largest player, Mangamura was of particular interest. Founded in 2016, the manga-focused site was blamed for facilitating huge volumes of pirate downloads. Using a one-visit, one-infringement calculation, local anti-piracy group CODA estimated damages to the manga industry of around $2.91 billion.

    Just days after the web-blocking announcement Mangamura disappeared, but police in Japan said they were still focused on catching its operator. Authorities in the Philippines say that person is now in custody.

    According to an announcement from the Bureau of Immigration, on Sunday its agents arrested a Japanese-German-Israeli fugitive wanted by Japanese authorities for breaches of copyright law.

    An intelligence officer of the Bureau’s Fugitive Search Unit (FSU) is said to have identified 28-year-old Romi Hoshinko (aka Zakay/Sakay Romi) at Ninoy Aquino International Airport as the person wanted in connection with running Mangamura between January 2016 and April 2018.

    ABS-CBN published a photo of the arrested man on Twitter.

    https://twitter.com/ABSCBNNews/statu...49826155057152

    The allegations of infringement against Hoshino are several times greater than those leveled at Kim Dotcom and Megaupload. In this case, however, there won’t be a drawn-out extradition battle when expelling Hoshino, a foreign national, from the country.
    Philippines authorities say that after acting on a request from the Embassy of Japan in Manilla, the arrest of Hoshino was carried out in coordination with police in Tokyo. This will now lead to his deportation from the country.

    “His presence in the country is a risk to public safety and security,” said Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.

    “We are in close coordination with our foreign counterparts who send us information about criminals who might be hiding in the Philippines. Upon knowledge, we immediately seek, arrest, and deport these fugitives.

    “The Japanese embassy informed us that they will conduct the necessary coordination with the Israeli and German Embassy regarding the fugitive’s deportation to Japan,” he concluded.

    In the meantime, Hoshino will be detained at a detention facility in Taguig City.

    Torrentfreak.com

  3. #783
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    YouTube ‘Blocks’ Popular MP3 Stream-Ripping Sites

    Several stream-ripping sites have been unable to download and convert files from YouTube starting a few hours ago. It appears that the video streaming platform is actively blocking requests from these sites. While the reason for the sudden blocking efforts is unknown, the music industry would certainly welcome a more aggressive stance from YouTube.

    Free music is easy to find nowadays. Just head over to YouTube and you can find millions of tracks, including many of the most recent releases.

    While some artists happily share their work, the major record labels don’t want tracks to leak outside YouTube’s ecosystem. For this reason, they see YouTube-to-MP3-rippers as a major threat.

    Several prominent music companies have already taken legal action against key players in recent years. They managed to shut down sites such as
    YouTube-MP3, blocked others, and are currently involved in a civil lawsuit against FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com in the US.

    At the same time, music companies have repeatedly asked YouTube to step up as well. While the streaming site threatened several stream-ripping sites with tough language in the past, it hasn’t taken any strong countermeasures.

    However, it appears that this position may have changed. Several operators of YouTube-to-MP3 rippers have confirmed that the streaming service is actively blocking requests from their sites.

    “All my servers are blocked with error ‘HTTP Error 429: Too Many Requests’,” the operator of
    Dlnowsoft.com informs TorrentFreak. As a result, the stream-ripping site currently displays a “service temporarily unavailable, we will come back soon” error message.

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/youtunavail.png

    The site in question is not alone.
    Mp3-youtube.download, another stream-ripper, is facing a similar issue. According to its operator, something changed yesterday evening and users now see a ‘this URL does not exist’ error message when they try to convert a YouTube clip.

    The massively popular
    Onlinevideoconverter.com, which is among the top 200 most-visited sites on the Internet, appears to be affected as well. While videos from sites such as Vimeo can still be converted, YouTube links now return the following error message.

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/erroronlineconv.png

    None of the site operators we heard from was warned by YouTube in advance.

    We also reached out to the video streaming service for a comment and further details, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

    While YouTube’s efforts, intentional or not, are effective, they will likely trigger a cat-and-mouse game. The operator of a popular stream-ripper, who prefers to remain anonymous, managed to get around the blockade by deploying several proxy servers.

    Many other stream-rippers and YouTube converters such as FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com are still working fine as well, but it’s not clear whether they were actively targeted by YouTube.

    Torrentfreak.com

  4. #784
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    Sports Streaming Piracy Is Worth Millions to Sponsors

    Sports streaming piracy is seen as a major threat to the industry. However, new research suggests that there's also a significant upside to it. GumGum Sports and MUSO find that pirates add £1 million in 'uncaptured' sponsorship value for every Premier League game.

    The Premier League has been battling streaming piracy for a long time.

    In recent years, the prestigious football league successfully obtained court orders to block sites and streams, for example. In addition, it’s been involved in several prosecutions.

    This anti-piracy activity is no surprise as there’s a lot at stake. The broadcast rights for the Premier League are sold for billions of pounds. And when fewer people watch the games legally, the value of these rights goes down.

    Interestingly, however, not all companies that are involved with the Premier League, or sports broadcasts in general, are hurt by piracy. In fact, for sponsors, these unauthorized viewers are free eyeballs as they are generally not factored into their contracts.

    The scale of this uncaptured sponsorship value via pirate audiences has never been measured, but new research conducted by
    GumGum Sports, in partnership with MUSO, aims to fill this gap.

    The latter company is known for measuring piracy across the world and paired with GumGum’s sponsorship and marketing analysis, they were able to quantify the value of this rogue audience.

    In their study, the companies looked at eight matches of the previous Premier League season. They found that these matches had an average pirate audience of 7.1 million viewers across as many as 149 countries.

    Most of these unauthorized viewers came from China, where nearly a million people tuned in per match, followed by Vietnam, Kenya, India and Nigeria. The U.S. and the U.K. took 10th and 11th places among the piracy audience.

    These numbers were complemented with GumGum’s marketing and sponsorship insights. After factoring in the exposure of different brands in various regions, they came to the conclusion that there is £1 million in uncaptured sponsorship media value per match.

    The majority of value is linked to field-side LED advertising and the sponsorship placements on the front of the players’ jerseys. While pirates may not pay, they definitely see these sponsored messages.

    Jeff Katz, VP of Partnerships & Strategy at GumGum Sports, says that this research shows that there is a massive amount of sponsorship revenue which is currently overlooked.

    “Clubs and sponsors have never been able to quantify media exposure from unauthorized streaming, which over the years amounts to billions of dollars in unrealized value.

    “Now we have a unique data set that gives an advantage to brand sponsors while also enabling clubs to better demonstrate the value they’re driving on behalf of corporate partners,” Katz adds.

    The question remains who stands to benefit from these findings. Sponsors now know that they’ve had a lot of free eyeballs over the years, which is positive.

    However, they may end up paying more as a result, if the pirate audience is factored into future price negotiations for sponsorships. Although clubs may like the prospect, that’s obviously not what sponsors want.

    The real winners, perhaps, are the pirates. While we doubt that the findings will stop the Premier League and other sports rightsholders from cracking down on sports piracy, it shows that pirates do bring some value to the table.

    MUSO co-founder and CEO Andy Chatterley hopes that the findings will change the perception of pirates. He emphasizes that this audience should certainly not be disregarded.

    “Piracy audiences have too long been disregarded as offering no real value to rights holders and distributors, but the reality is that these huge audiences still see the same shirt sponsors and commercials as people watching the game via a licensed channel,” Chatterley says.

    In theory, it’s possible that the added value from sports streaming pirates might even outweigh the losses. But, to answer that question, one has to know how many pirate viewers would pay if unauthorized streams were not available. Perhaps that’s a good avenue to research next.

    Torrentfreak.com

  5. #785
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    Court Orders Cloudflare to Terminate Accounts of Pirate Sites

    An Italian court has ordered Cloudflare to terminate the accounts of several pirate sites. The ruling comes after a complaint from local broadcaster RTI, which successfully argued that Cloudflare can be held liable if it willingly fails to act in response to copyright infringement notices.

    As one of the leading CDN and DDoS protection services,
    Cloudflare is used by millions of websites across the globe. This includes many pirate sites.

    In recent years many copyright holders have complained about Cloudflare’s involvement with these platforms. RTI, a company owned by the Italian mass media giant
    Mediaset, took things a step further and went to court.

    RTI complained that Cloudflare offered its services to various pirate sites, which made available its TV-shows, including Grande Fratello (Big Brother), and L’isola dei Famosi (The Celebrity Island ).

    The broadcaster argued that Cloudflare could be seen, among other things, as a hosting provider under the e-Commerce directive (Directive 2000/31/CE) . And, since it was made explicitly aware of the infringing actions of its clients but failed to take action, the company could be held liable.

    US-based Cloudflare disagreed. It countered that the Italian court didn’t have jurisdiction and that the e-Commerce directive didn’t apply to foreign companies, but those objections were rejected.

    In a ruling handed down by the Commercial Court of Rome late last month, Cloudflare was ordered to immediately terminate the accounts of the contested pirate sites. These include filmpertutti.uno, italiaserie.tv, piratestreaming.watch, cinemalibero.red, and various others.

    In addition, Cloudflare was ordered to share the personal details of the site owners and their hosting companies with RTI.

    If Cloudflare fails to comply with any of the above, it must pay a fine of €1,000 for each day the infringements continue.

    While Cloudflare doesn’t see itself as a hosting provider, the Court concluded that it can be seen as such, under European law. Among other things, its “Always Online” service hosts various website resources even when the site’s servers go offline.

    This means that unlike an ISP, which merely passes on traffic, Cloudflare can be held liable for the infringements of its customers, if it deliberately fails to respond properly to copyright takedown notices or similar complaints.

    Interestingly, most of the pirate sites listed in the complaint are still online today. Some are redirecting to new domains, but Italiaserie.org is still operational using Cloudflare. We couldn’t see any RTI content on the site, however.

    According to RTI’s attorney Alessandro La Rosa, Cloudflare would violate the court order if any of the mentioned sites make RTI content available through its service. This would mean that Cloudflare is liable to pay €1,000 per day.

    The ruling from the Court of Rome can’t be appealed and there are also two similar proceedings against the company before the same Court. These were filed by RTI and Medusa Film (both companies of the Mediaset Group) and remain ongoing.

    Cloudflare did not immediately reply to our request for comment.



    The full list of affected domains as mentioned in the complaint reads as follows: filmpertutti.uno, piratestreaming.watch, cinemalibero.red, altadefinizione.review, guardaserie.watch, serietvu.club, casacinema.news, italiaserie.org, italiaserie.tv, cinemasubito.org, and ctrlhits.online.

    Torrentfreak.com

  6. #786
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    Two Pirate Site Operators Jailed For a Total of 66 Months

    Two men have been found guilty of running Usenet portal Town.ag. Following an investigation and massive police raids carried out in 2017, the men went on trial last month in Germany. The site's founder has now been sentenced to three years and eight months in prison, while the site's technical administrator was handed a year and 10 months inside.

    The popularity of Usenet – sometimes known as the newsgroups – has been on the wane for some years now.

    Nevertheless, the worldwide system is still home to astonishing quantities of pirated media, including movies, TV shows, music, games and software.

    In November 2017, following an investigation by local anti-piracy group GVU, authorities in Germany revealed that they hadn’t taken their eyes off this significant avenue of pirate supply.

    Sharing sites Town.ag and Usenet-Town were said to be at the center of the Usenet scene in the region, together facilitating access to well over a million copyright-infringing works. However, following raids in Germany, Spain, Netherlands, San Marino, Switzerland and Canada – carried out by a reported 182 officers from various agencies – the sites were shuttered.

    One of the key men behind Town.ag, who was arrested in Spain and extradited to Germany, has already been in custody for almost 18 months. He and another suspect went on trial in Dresden last month. According to GVU, 16 trial days were set aside, in part due to the “persistent silence” of one of the men.

    GVU announced this week that the pair have now been convicted, with the alleged head of Town.ag (Gerrit G) sentenced to three years and eight months in prison and the site’s technical administrator (Matthias E) receiving a prison sentence of one year and 10 months.

    “[Gerrit G) had the idea for Town.ag, which he implemented himself and with the help of other accomplices,” GVU said in a statement.

    “One of these accomplices was also in the dock in Dresden: Matthias E. was responsible for the technical side of the lucrative portal operation and carried out, for example, the server maintenance, but also provided copyrighted material on Town.ag.”

    GVU says it has been closely monitoring the local Usenet scene since 2015, noting that around 4.5 million visitors per month flocked to various portal sites in search of movies, TV shows, games, and eBooks. Interestingly, it also claims that two dedicated Usenet providers helped to fund the “criminal network” with sponsorship deals.

    The anti-piracy group says the massive raids in 2017 shook up the Usenet scene, with 20 Usenet portals shutting up shop in response. According to GVU, the effect was long-term, with all of the portals remaining offline today. Meanwhile, GVU says that its investigations will continue as criminal proceedings are ongoing.

    Torrentfreak.com

  7. #787
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    Apple Needs to Tackle ‘Pirate’ Music Apps, Labels Insist

    Apple needs to do more to prevent unauthorized apps that deliver music to users in unlicensed ways appearing on its App Store. That's the demand from the Recording Industry Association of Japan and several other industry groups in a communication sent to Apple recently.

    The popularity of smartphones and their accompanying software ecosystems have given rise to large volumes of applications that appear to infringe copyright.

    With its side-loading ability, Android is by far the most affected platform, with apps easily installable on millions of devices granting access to unlicensed content, including music, movies, and TV shows.

    However, even when apps are pre-vetted for availability on Google Play or Apple’s App Store, some rogue tools slip through the net. This situation is unacceptable to most rightsholders but given the manner in which music is often consumed these days, recording labels tend to be the most dissatisfied.

    This has prompted a large coalition of music-focused industry groups, headed up by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), to write to Apple demanding change.

    In a joint request the RIAJ, the Japan Association of Music Enterprises, the Music Publishers Association of Japan, and the Federation of Music Producers Japan, to name just four, seek assurances from the US-based tech giant that it will “tighten up” its processes to prevent “unauthorized” streaming apps ending up on its platform.

    According to the industry groups, “unauthorized” means any app that allows a user to stream music in “ways that fall beyond the intention of the music’s copyright and neighboring right holders.”

    The groups don’t offer any specifics but it seems extremely likely that given the pressure on sites and tools that rip, source, or otherwise cull content from YouTube, these are prime candidates for Apple’s attention.

    “The recent torrent of Unauthorized Music Apps flooding the industry is enabling users to listen to music for free, resulting in these app operators to gain unfair profits through advertising sales,” the groups write.

    “These operators are not only committing copyright infringement, but also stealing profit from the music’s rightful copyright owners and legitimate service providers—profit that they would have otherwise gained through CD sales, downloads, and streaming.”

    That CD sales are placed at the head of the list is unsurprising. Despite much of the world ditching plastic discs in favor of digital streaming, Japan still has a love affair with the format, albeit one that’s on the wane.

    According to figures published by the RIAJ, 88.65 million CDs were produced in Japan during 2018,
    down 13 percent on the previous year. That’s compared to 52 million units sold across the entire US during 2018. In 2014, around 85% of music sales in Japan came from CDs. Around 54% of consumption now comes from streaming.

    The RIAJ acknowledges that Apple removes “unlicensed apps” from its App Store in response to takedown requests. However, removed apps sometimes reappear on the platform after being disguised as new tools. As a result, the RIAJ wants to be involved in the app approval process, to ensure that rogue software doesn’t appear on the App Store.

    Calling for Apple to “strengthen its review process”, the RIAJ says the US company should begin “contacting and working with RIAJ for apps suspected to be Unauthorized Music Apps” while expediting takedowns for tools that violate Apple’s own terms and conditions.

    “The music industry associations and music streaming service providers will continue to discuss and engage in efforts to tighten control over Unauthorized Music Apps, strive to build an honest and fair market, and demand speedy amendment of the Copyright Act that regulates leeching sites and apps,” the RIAJ concludes.

    Torrentfreak.com






  8. #788
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    Judge Denies $10K Default Judgment Against Alleged Pirate

    Adult entertainment company Malibu Media recently requested a default judgment of more than $10,000 against an alleged pirate. While the accused man didn't put up a defense, a federal court in New Jersey denied the request, noting that an IP-address alone is not sufficient evidence.

    In recent years, file-sharers around the world have been pressured to pay significant settlement fees, or face legal repercussions.

    As the most active copyright litigant in the United States, adult entertainment outfit Malibu Media has been on the frontline of these efforts in recent years..

    The company, widely known for its popular “X-Art” brand, has gone after thousands of alleged offenders. Many of its targets eventually pay up and those who fail to respond can face costly default judgments.

    New Jersey resident Joe Park found himself in the latter category. The man was named in a Malibu Media lawsuit last year and failed to respond. Not just to the settlement requests, but also to the lawsuit filed at the New Jersey District Court.

    Without a response, the complaining party can request a default judgment. This is exactly what Malibu Media did. It submitted a motion arguing that it’s entitled to $10,500.00 in statutory damages for copyright infringement and an additional $559.99 in costs.

    In many cases, courts grant default judgment requests, as there is no defense. This has allowed Malibu Media to collect dozens, if not hundreds of default judgments. However, in the present matter, U.S. District Court Judge John Michael Vazquez decided otherwise.

    In an opinion released this week, Judge Vazquez denied the motion, concluding that Malibu Media isn’t entitled to anything.

    The denial is based on a culmination of rulings in similar BitTorrent piracy cases. While Malibu Media portrayed the defendant as a persistent copyright infringer, the Court is far from convinced.

    “The Court is not satisfied that Plaintiff has sufficiently demonstrated that the named Defendant actually committed the complained of acts of infringement,” Judge Vazquez writes.

    The Court doesn’t deny that it has jurisdiction or that the defendant was properly served, as it required. However, after reviewing several relevant decisions in similar cases, it is not convinced that there is enough evidence to show that the defendant is liable.

    Among other things, the opinion cites a ruling from U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who previously denied a subpoena requested in a similar case filed by Strike 3. This highlighted that the IP-address evidence used in these cases is “famously flawed” and not trustworthy.

    Judge Lamberth also criticized the litigation effort in general, accusing the “copyright troll” practice as a “high-tech shakedown” where courts are used “as an ATM.”

    Judge Vazquez further cites last year’s Cobbler Nevada v. Gonzales case. Here, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that identifying the registered subscriber of an IP-address by itself is not enough to plausibly claim that this person is also the infringer.

    “Plaintiff will have to show something more than merely tying Defendant to an IP address in order to sufficiently establish copyright infringement,” Judge Vazquez notes.

    This ‘something more’ can be quite a stumbling block for these cases, as the rightsholders often have little or no evidence to tie the infringements to a person, other than an IP-address.

    The Court realizes that this puts Malibu Media in a tough spot, but sees no other option than to deny the motion for a default judgment.

    The ruling is significant in the sense that, without any defense arguments from the accused pirate, a court refused to grant a default judgment. While this is by no means the end of these type of lawsuits, it certainly represents another setback for the ‘copyright troll’ efforts.

  9. #789
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    DISH Sues Hosting Company & ‘Pirate’ IPTV Customer

    US-based broadcaster DISH Networks is suing yet another IPTV provider in the United States, but with a twist. In a lawsuit filed at a Delaware federal court, DISH claims that East IPTV illegally retransmits its channels via the Internet. However, the broadcaster is also suing East's hosting provider, for failing to respond to numerous takedown demands.

    Broadcaster DISH Networks is emerging as one of the most litigious companies in the world when it comes to tackling unlicensed IPTV providers.

    A lawsuit filed this week in a Delaware federal court has the company targeting Serverlogy Corporation and several John Does, “together doing business” as East IPTV.

    The twist here is that Serverlogy Corporation is a hosting company, reportedly offering bandwidth to a client running an IPTV service, but one that failed to act following numerous copyright infringement complaints regarding its customer.

    East IPTV’s website is a professional affair, giving visitors the impression that it’s a legitimate service. DISH sees things differently, however, stating that the service is guilty of direct copyright infringement due to channels licensed to DISH being illegally broadcasted via the East IPTV service.

    The suit claims that the people behind East IPTV capture live DISH programming and transcode it for streaming over the Internet, shifting it to other servers operated by the company for delivery to end-users. Customers can buy a set-top box with a one-year subscription for $199.99 and additional $99.99 subscriptions for each subsequent year.

    The lawsuit states that DISH has been sending infringement notices concerning East IPTV to content delivery networks (CDNs) for some time, with at least two CDNs removing DISH’s content in March and June 2018. However, the broadcaster says that East IPTV interfered with these efforts by moving their channel offerings to other providers.

    Overall, 34 infringement notices demanding that East IPTV cease and desist its activities were sent by DISH between January 2017 and the date of the lawsuit. This means that East IPTV as “actual knowledge” of its infringements, DISH says.

    Shifting to Serverlogy, DISH describes the company as a CDN that markets and sells hosting solutions, through which is has “knowingly contributed to, and reaped profits from, copyright infringement committed by East,” causing great harm to the broadcaster.

    “Since September 11, 2018, Serverlogy has deliberately refused to take reasonable measures to stop East from using its services and servers to infringe on DISH’s copyrights —even after Serverlogy became aware of East’s specific and repeated acts of infringement,” the lawsuit reads.

    “DISH and Networks sent eight notices of infringement to Serverlogy advising Serverlogy of East’s blatant and systematic use of Serverlogy’s services and servers to transmit, distribute, and publicly perform the Protected Channels to Service Users.

    “Rather than work with DISH to curb this infringement, Serverlogy willfully blinded itself to East’s repeat infringement, failing to terminate them or take any action to remove or disable the infringing content.”

    As a result, DISH says Serverlogy cannot rely on the DMCA’s ‘safe harbor’ provisions. Not only did it fail to take steps in response to copyright complaints, the hosting provider does not have a registered DMCA agent either. On top, it has failed to adopt and reasonably implement a repeat infringer policy, DISH says.

    In summary, DISH is suing East IPTV for direct infringement and Serverlogy for contributory and vicarious infringement, while describing the hosting company’s actions as “willful, malicious, intentional, purposeful, and in disregard of and with indifference to the rights of DISH.”

    Alongside, DISH demands a permanent injunction against all defendants and statutory damages of up to $150,000 per registered work infringed, plus legal fees. At the time of writing, the East IPTV website remains in operation.

  10. #790
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    Aptoide Removes ‘Popcorn Time’ and ‘Showbox’ Apps Following Piracy Lawsuit

    Aptoide, an alternative marketplace for Android apps, has removed the popular Popcorn Time and Showbox listings from its repository. The company hasn't commented on its decision, but it follows not long after a lawsuit accused the marketplace of encouraging copyright infringement through these apps.

    Aptoide is a third-party alternative to Google’s official Play Store. Among other things, it allows users to install a variety of apps on their Android devices.

    The marketplace, which is operated from Portugal, recently accused Google of anti-competitive behavior after is was flagged as being insecure.

    The brawl with Google is not Aptoide’s only concern though. A few weeks ago the company was sued by two movie outfits; TBV Productions and Hunter Killer Productions. These are the companies behind the movies “I Feel Pretty” and “Hunter Killer” respectively.

    The movie outfits, which are not new to piracy-related lawsuits, accuse Aptoide of facilitating massive piracy. Specifically, the complaint states that the company induces, encourages and promotes the use of Popcorn Time and Showbox for blatant copyright infringement.

    Popcorn Time and Showbox are free applications that allow users to stream video. They both support BitTorrent streaming and are regularly linked to piracy. This has led to legal issues for developers in the past, and the two movie companies are now expanding this to the app marketplace.

    “Plaintiffs bring this action to stop the massive piracy of their motion pictures brought on by the software applications Show Box app and Popcorn Time,” the complaint reads.

    The movie companies note that Aptoide marks both apps as “Trusted” which means that they are “100% safe.” While that refers to potential security issues, the Plaintiffs see it as an endorsement.

    According to Aptoide’s stats the two apps are quite popular. Popcorn Time was reportedly downloaded between 500,000 and 3 million times, while Showbox is credited with 5 to 25 million downloads. No surprise, perhaps, as both apps are described as great sources to get free movies.

    The Showbox app is described as “all you’ll ever need to watch movies and tv shows for free” and “The app supports torrent downloads…” Popcorn Time’s description reads “The legendary app lets you stream and watch movies and TV shows for free…”
    Showbox on Aptoide

    According to the movie companies, it’s clear that Aptoide promotes the apps for infringing uses.

    “Defendant Aptoide promotes Popcorn Time and the Show Box app
    overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, for purposes of infringing Copyright protected content, including Plaintiffs’,” they write.

    From the complaint

    As such, the rightsholders demand statutory damages for the alleged infringing activities, which could reach $150,000 per work, as well as an injunction to stop Aptoide from offering these apps to the public.

    However, it seems that the injunction is no longer required as Aptoide has already removed the apps from its marketplace. The original Showbox and Popcorn Time URLs, which are listed in the complaint, now return an error.

    “We could not find the App you are looking for. Try to use the search form above to find your App,” the error reads.

    Several other Popcorn Time apps were removed as well, even though they were not listed in the complaint.

    It’s not clear when the apps were removed but it happened after the lawsuit was filed. The movie companies mention that TBV Productions, Inc. tried to get the apps removed before the complaint was filed, but to no avail.

    It appears that the legal action may have motivated Aptoide to spring into action. We reached out to the company for a comment on the app removal and the lawsuit, but at the time of writing we haven’t heard back.

    While the case remains ongoing for now, Aptoide’s recent actions suggest that it’s willing to resolve the matter. However, that likely means that they will have to keep a close eye on other apps as well, because a new Showbox was just added to their repository.

  11. #791
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    Fake MPAA Asks Google to Remove Thousands of URLs, Including MPAA.org


    This week we spotted an odd takedown request. None other than Hollywood's MPAA asked Google to remove MPAA.org from its search results. This wasn't the real MPAA though, but an imposter that has sent tens of thousands of takedown demands, mostly targeted at pirate streaming sites.


    In 2012, Google first published a Transparency Report for search-related copyright takedown notices.


    This rather enlightening database allows outsiders to check what URLs copyright holders want removed from the search engine.


    In recent years Google has processed more than four billion URLs. While most of these requests are legitimate, there have also been plenty of errors, mistakes, and in some instances; clear abuse.


    Most of the cases we covered in the past dealt with rightsholders targeting perfectly legal content, ranging from news articles, through open-source software, to Facebook’s homepage. Over the past year, however, we’ve noticed a different but equally disturbing trend.


    Among the millions of notices Google receives on a weekly basis, there are now quite a few ‘fake’ submissions. Fake, in this case, means that the submitter pretends to be or represent someone else. Someone who it clearly isn’t.


    We first spotted this late last year when imposters targeted many pirate sites with suspicious takedown requests. These were presumably sent by competing pirate sites, trying to remove the competition from Google’s search results. More recently, imposters even tried to remove a Netflix listing.


    Today we have another example that’s perhaps even more blatant. It involves the name of Hollywood’s very own anti-piracy group, the MPAA.


    In recent weeks Google received a flood of notices claiming to be from the Hollywood group. While the MPAA is based in the U.S., the notices in question are sent on behalf of “MPAA UK” and “MPAA Member Studios DE”.


    However, none of the listings below, including “MPAA Member Studios US,” are legitimate. It appears that someone is pretending to be the MPAA, sending takedown requests for tens of thousands of URLs.




    Fake MPAA’s
    Looking more closely at the takedown requests, we see a familar pattern emerge. The notices mainly target a small group of ‘pirate’ sites. For example, over 10,000 URLs of the Turkish movie streaming site Filmifullizle.tv were targeted in just one week, with most notices coming from fake MPAA’s.


    Filmmodu.com, and other Turkish streaming portals such as Yabancidizi.org, Fullhdfilmizleten.org, and Filmionlineizle.tv, get the same treatment, either by a fake MPAA or another scammer.


    Interestingly, these imposters are rather sloppy at times. On several occasions they put the infringing URLs in the “original works” box, labeling the MPAA’s homepage as the infringing content. Luckily for the real MPAA, Google didn’t remove it.




    Pirate MPAA?
    As we have highlighted in the past, these imposters are likely to be competing pirate sites, who want to take out the competition by making their opponents’ sites unfindable in Google’s search results. A clear case of abuse.


    At the time of writing, Google has complied with several of the fake takedown requests, removing the allegedly-infringing URLs. However, the search engine does appear to be aware of the problem, and has labeled some submissions as being fake.


    The imposter situation definitely doesn’t help the credibility of the takedown process. Google has its hands full and we imagine that the MPAA isn’t happy with the misuse of its name either.


    That said, the Hollywood group certainly isn’t alone in this. Several other rightsholders and anti-piracy organizations have imposters as well, including Marvel, Warner Bros., MarkMonitor, DigiGuardians, Marketly, and many others.

  12. #792
    Amias's Avatar

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    Fake MPAA Asks Google to Remove Thousands of URLs, Including MPAA.org

    This week we spotted an odd takedown request. None other than Hollywood's MPAA asked Google to remove MPAA.org from its search results. This wasn't the real MPAA though, but an imposter that has sent tens of thousands of takedown demands, mostly targeted at pirate streaming sites.

    In 2012, Google first published a Transparency Report for search-related copyright takedown notices.

    This rather enlightening
    database allows outsiders to check what URLs copyright holders want removed from the search engine.

    In recent years Google has processed more than four billion URLs. While most of these requests are legitimate, there have also been plenty of errors, mistakes, and in some instances; clear abuse.

    Most of the cases we covered in the past dealt with rightsholders targeting perfectly legal content, ranging from
    news articles, through open-source software, to Facebook’s homepage. Over the past year, however, we’ve noticed a different but equally disturbing trend.

    Among the millions of notices Google receives on a weekly basis, there are now quite a few ‘fake’ submissions. Fake, in this case, means that the submitter pretends to be or represent someone else. Someone who it clearly isn’t.

    We first spotted this
    late last year when imposters targeted many pirate sites with suspicious takedown requests. These were presumably sent by competing pirate sites, trying to remove the competition from Google’s search results. More recently, imposters even tried to remove a Netflix listing.

    Today we have another example that’s perhaps even more blatant. It involves the name of Hollywood’s very own anti-piracy group, the MPAA.

    In recent weeks Google received a flood of notices claiming to be from the Hollywood group. While the MPAA is based in the U.S., the notices in question are sent on behalf of “MPAA UK” and “MPAA Member Studios DE”.

    However, none of the listings below, including “MPAA Member Studios US,” are legitimate. It appears that someone is pretending to be the MPAA, sending takedown requests for tens of thousands of URLs.

    Fake MPAA’s

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/mpaafake.png

    Looking more closely at the takedown requests, we see a familar pattern emerge. The notices mainly target a small group of ‘pirate’ sites. For example, over 10,000 URLs of the Turkish movie streaming site Filmifullizle.tv were targeted in just one week, with most notices coming from fake MPAA’s.

    Filmmodu.com, and other Turkish streaming portals such as Yabancidizi.org, Fullhdfilmizleten.org, and Filmionlineizle.tv, get the same treatment, either by a fake MPAA or another scammer.

    Interestingly, these imposters are rather sloppy at times. On several occasions they put the infringing URLs in the “original works” box, labeling the MPAA’s homepage
    as the infringing content. Luckily for the real MPAA, Google didn’t remove it.

    Pirate MPAA?

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/infringingmpaa.png

    As we have highlighted in the past, these imposters are likely to be competing pirate sites, who want to take out the competition by making their opponents’ sites unfindable in Google’s search results. A clear case of abuse.

    At the time of writing, Google has complied with several of the fake takedown requests,
    removing the allegedly-infringing URLs. However, the search engine does appear to be aware of the problem, and has labeled some submissions as being fake.

    The imposter situation definitely doesn’t help the credibility of the takedown process. Google has its hands full and we imagine that the MPAA isn’t happy with the misuse of its name either.

    That said, the Hollywood group certainly isn’t alone in this. Several other rightsholders and anti-piracy organizations have imposters as well, including
    Marvel, Warner Bros., MarkMonitor, DigiGuardians, Marketly, and many others.

    Torrentfreak.com

  13. #793
    Amias's Avatar

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    Magnificent BitTorrent Speed or Half-Baked Magic Beans?

    On July 9, BitTorrent Inc. released a much-heralded and new version of uTorrent that promises to make downloads faster while earningseeders BitTorrent Tokens (BTT). The big question is whether it delivers what it promises in the client. Our own initial tests suggest it does not.

    By now most people will be familiar with
    the news that BitTorrent Inc. recently released a new version of its dominant uTorrent client.

    The claims are that this will revolutionize torrenting, with people able to earn BTT in exchange for seeding. The plan is that this will make swarms more healthy because there is more bandwidth available. This, in turn, should speed up downloads – for BTT-spending uTorrent users, at least.

    The idea of a torrent client allocating bandwidth to peers via financial discrimination is contrary to the broad aims of the original BitTorrent protocol. As such it is a divisive and sensitive topic. Nevertheless, we wanted to find out more because if it does work, loyalty to tradition might be a thing of the past.

    As reported during launch week, all downloaders of the new uTorrent were gifted 10 BTT to bootstrap the system. One way or another, we were determined to make this value change. However, despite extensive seeding of in-demand and low-seeded torrents alike, it stubbornly remained the same, despite the client insisting that there were plenty of BTT-enabled peers in the swarms.

    Meanwhile, crypto-focused people appearing in BitTorrent CEO Justin Sun’s Twitter feed were apparently having huge success, raking in more than a dollar’s worth of BTT after seeding dozens of torrents during the first day.

    https://twitter.com/redpillblue1/sta...11047814848516

    This success raised a few eyebrows because one of our sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told us July 10 that after running two instances of the software, one with 6.5TB seeded and another with 1.1TB downloaded, he hadn’t made or lost a penny, with his BTT stubbornly sitting at 10 BTT. Some people just can’t catch a break, it seems.

    Of course, these uploads and downloads have to be made to and from BTT-enabled peers to count, so it’s possible (although a little improbable) that not a single uTorrent user with the feature enabled entered any of the swarms being serviced by the expert torrent user mentioned above.

    However, the crypto-minded Twitter user in Sun’s feed was kind enough to hand out some advice, including getting torrents from BitTorrent’s own ‘
    Now‘ index. That felt like a good idea since users of that resource might be more likely to be running uTorrent with BTT enabled than random torrent users elsewhere. Particularly those who prefer open-source software rather than the proprietary offering from BitTorrent.

    To allow us to do some tests over a number of minutes, we needed a reasonably-sized torrent from the Now resource. We picked a 416MB file called “Live From Brixton and Beyond” since most of the other files were too small to measure beyond a few seconds.

    Our aim was to find plenty of BTT-powered uTorrent users ready to boost our download speeds, spend some of our own BTT, potentially earn some BTT back, and test out exactly how much faster these downloads can go with this new system promising to change the world.

    To do this we downloaded the file detailed above six times in total – three times with BitTorrent Speed enabled and three times without. Each Speed-enabled download was followed by a non-Speed transfer directly after, to ensure that the swarm conditions stayed roughly the same throughout.

    Each ‘Speed’ download initiated would enable us to see the number of BTT-enabled peers in the swarm prepared to connect to us (the client provides this number), see the promised speed boost (it also provides that), then compare the promised boosts with the results of an equal number of downloads with everything turned off.

    The rough images below show the following: Our download reference number at the top, BTT balance, promised Speed boost in MB/s, number of peers (we allowed this to reach a minimum of 15 before taking a screenshot) followed by the percentage Speed boost.

    Underneath that are two further screenshots showing stats from the uTorrent client. The first reveals the download time elapsed with Speed turned on, the second with Speed turned off. All screenshots of transfers were taken as close to one second remaining as possible to show that no transfers were extended beyond the downloading phase, which would distort download times.

    Downloads 1 and 2


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/Speed1Final.png

    As the image above shows, 24 BTT-enabled peers wanted to do business with the promise of increasing download speeds massively. However, the “download speed increase” bar is next to useless as a measurement tool (particularly when a torrent is just starting) and as the final elapsed times show, the Speed boost – if there is any at all as a result of spending BTT – is pretty small.

    So, on to Downloads 3 and 4, the first with Speed, the second without. Again, it’s exactly the same file and as close to the same swarm as possible by executing both transfers immediately after the first batch.

    Downloads 3 and 4


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/Speed2Final.png

    The results show that the Speed-enabled transfer took 28 seconds less than the one without, but given the promises of massive speed boosts when the torrent first started, we can conclude that the figures in the client are misleading at best. So, onto downloads 5 and 6 as quickly as possible, to ensure a consistent swarm.

    Downloads 5 and 6


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/Speed3Final.png

    As the transfer stats for Download 5 show, the elapsed time (6m 16s) is remarkably consistent when compared to Download 1 (6m 14s) and Download 4 (6m 12s), a testament to the stability of the swarm. It’s worth noting that Download 4 (the fastest of the three) was a test with Speed turned off.

    Importantly, we can also see that during this final test the results were reversed over the previous one, with the non-Speed Download 6 trumping the BTT-powered Download 5 by 43 seconds.

    Finally, we decided to put two torrent clients into exactly the same swarm. One of the clients was uTorrent with Speed turned on, the other was a basic Deluge client. We loaded the same torrent into both and gave uTorrent a small head start, basically the time it took to move the mouse over to Deluge and trigger the start. This is what uTorrent promised as a boost;

    More than 320% speed increase offered…

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/speed-claim.png

    As the video below shows, uTorrent managed to connect to many more seeders than Deluge and the performance of each client differed quite a bit in other areas too. Crucially, however, the downloads in both clients finished within a second of each other.


    It’s important to note that there are many moving parts in any torrent swarm but the bottom line here is that when a BTT-enabled uTorrent client was placed in a swarm with many other clients with the same ability, it performed no better than one without, despite lofty claims to the contrary.

    Of course, we should also remind people that with Deluge (in this case) people won’t earn any BTT for seeding but we’ve already established that the figure of 10 BTT that we began with has never changed since the client was installed.

    Magic beans? People should taste them themselves before making their own minds up. Maybe they’ll taste better in future….we’ll see.

    Torrentfreak.com

  14. #794
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    UK Pirate Site Blocking Requests Have Stopped, For Now

    A few years ago, movie and music industry companies would regularly go to the UK High Court to demand pirate site blockades. These efforts, which were previously seen as an essential tool to combat infringement, have stopped for now. It appears other anti-piracy endeavors have priority instead.

    Website blocking is without a doubt one of the favorite anti-piracy tools of the entertainment industries.

    The UK has been a
    leader on this front. Since 2011, the High Court has ordered ISPs to block access to many popular pirate sites.

    Over time the number of blocked URLs in the UK has grown steadily to well over 1,000. This includes many popular torrent, streaming, and direct download sites, which remain barred today.

    We have covered these efforts extensively here at TorrentFreak. However, since
    late 2016 something appears to have changed. The movie industry’s MPA(A) and the music industry’s BPI suddenly stopped submitting new requests.

    The latest regular blocking order dates back nearly three years. While the Premier League did request some “dynamic” blockades of streaming related IP-addresses more recently, there have been no new efforts targeting traditional pirate sites.

    This lack of new blocking requests is striking, especially since the UK model is often used as a prime example of anti-piracy enforcement around the world. Just a few months ago,
    MPAA and RIAA argued that it should become part of a possible US-UK trade deal.

    “Website blocking has been successful in the United Kingdom with 63 music sites being ordered to be blocked following music right holders’ initiatives. On average this produces a reduction in the use of those sites by UK users by approximately 75 percent,” the RIAA said at the time.

    Despite this effectiveness, UK piracy site-blocking efforts have been rather stagnant. While older court order are sill updated with new domain names, no new sites have been targeted by the MPA(A) and BPI in years. As such, new pirate sites can flourish.

    TorrentFreak reached out to the MPA and BPI for a comment on this apparent slowdown. Neither organization gave a concrete reason for the absence of recent applications.

    MPA informed TorrentFreak that it will continue to use a range of different methods for its enforcement efforts around the world. That includes working with local enforcement agencies to refer criminal cases, offering consumers new and innovative ways to access content, as well as seeking court orders to block access to pirate sites.

    “The MPA will continue to use this range of methods as appropriate in the UK as we do around the world. Ensuring that filmmakers everywhere are compensated for their work and that revenues can be reinvested in new productions continues to be the number one priority for the MPA,” the group said.

    BPI also stressed that site-blocking remains part of its anti-piracy toolbox.

    “There are a very wide range of effective and complementary tools we use to reduce music piracy – site blocking is just a part of these,” a BPI spokesperson told us.

    BPI’s other tools include delisting infringing URLs from search engines, site demotion under the search engine Voluntary Code of Practice, direct litigation against sites, criminal investigations, disrupting money flows to pirate sites, anti-piracy partnerships with online platforms, and consumer education.

    The music group didn’t provide any details that explain why no new blocking orders were requested in recent years. However, it suggests that other tools are more appropriate at the current time.

    “The mix of techniques we use varies over time and reflects the most appropriate strategy for dealing with a given problem at a given time,” the BPI spokesperson says.

    “Having obtained High Court orders to block many of the major pirate brands, over the last few years other approaches have been effective to continue the reduction in music piracy. However, website blocking remains part of the mix and we will continue to use it in appropriate cases.”

    The question remains why site blocking is seen as less appropriate. Perhaps the rightsholders feel that requesting additional blockades is not worth the resources, compared to other anti-piracy initiatives.

    Part of the reason may be that the blocking orders can be quite expensive. Previously, it was
    estimated that an unopposed application for a section 97A blocking order is roughly £14,000 per website, while maintaining it costs an additional £3,600 per year.

    With well over a hundred sites blocked, the costs are quite significant, to say the least.

    While there haven’t been any new requests, the previously ordered blockades are still in place, of course. That being said, we have to note that these are not effective everywhere. When we tried to access The Pirate Bay on a Virgin connection this week, it was freely accessible.

    While the notorious pirate site may still be blocked on other ISPs, workarounds are not hard to find. At the time of writing PirateProxy.ch, aTPB proxy, is among the 150 most-visited websites in the UK.

    That said, rightsholders were never under the illusion that they can prevent the most determined pirates from accessing these sites. They simply want to dissuade casual pirates, and they feel that the current site blocking efforts are doing their job.

    Torrentfreak.com

  15. #795
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    Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 07/15/19

    The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Hellboy' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Alita: Battle Angel'. 'Shazam!' completes the top three.

    This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

    Hellboy 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 (3) Hellboy 5.3 / trailer
    2 (2) Alita: Battle Angel 7.5 / trailer
    3 (1) Shazam! 7.3 / trailer
    4 (…) Lying and Stealing 4.9 / trailer
    5 (…) Point Blank 5.7 / trailer
    6 (4) Shaft 6.4 / trailer
    7 (6) Dumbo 6.5 / trailer
    8 (…) Missing link 6.4 / trailer
    9 (7) Captain Marvel 7.1 / trailer
    10 (8) Escape Plan: The Extractors 4.5 / trailer

    Torrentfreak.com

  16. #796
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    Court Questions Whether Ebook ‘Pirate’ Site Operator Can Be Sued in Texas

    Earlier this year, author John Van Stry sued Travis McCrea, the former leader of the Pirate Party of Canada, over his eBook download platform, EBook.bike. The US-based author sued McCrea in a Texas court demanding more than $200,000 in damages and costs. In an order handed down Friday, a Judge questions whether the Court has personal jurisdiction over McCrea. Even if it does, the damages immediately available to Van Stry could be a relatively paltry $9,000

    Back in March, Travis McCrea, the former leader of the Pirate Party of Canada, faced mounting opposition against his eBook platform, Ebook.bike.

    Following in the footsteps of his similar creation TUEBL (The Ultimate eBook Library), Ebook.bike allows users to upload and download eBooks, some of which have turned out to be copyright-infringing.

    Despite McCrea taking content down following copyright notices, large numbers of authors
    weren’t impressed, with some urging legal action. McCrea responded by inviting someone to sue.

    Author John Van Stry took on the challenge by suing McCrea and alleged business partner Francisco Humberto Dias (doing business as ‘Frantech Solutions’) in a Texas court for direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement.

    “Mr. McCrea has a long and proud history of pervasive, blatant, and egregious violations of other persons’ intellectual property rights,” the complaint read.

    After the complaint was filed on March 27, 2019, the docket reports that McCrea was served on May 20. Eight days later, Van Stry requested the clerk to file an entry for default, which was actioned a day later. In June, Van Stry’s lawyers filed for a default judgment.

    Claiming direct, contributory, and vicarious copyright infringement in respect of 12 books written by Van Stry and allegedly distributed on eBook.bike, the author asked for $15,000 in statutory damages for each of the infringed works. He further demanded that McCrea should pay attorneys’ fees and costs.

    From the proposed judgment

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/image-89.png

    On Friday, Judge William C. Bryson handed down an order but it wasn’t a straightforward rubber-stamping of the proposed judgment and doesn’t lay the matter to rest. Since McCrea has chosen not to participate in proceedings thus far, the Judge writes that the Court must consider whether a default judgment can be handed down and if so, what form it would take.

    To begin, the Court needed to determine whether McCrea has entered an appearance in the case. That standard was apparently met after McCrea reportedly sent a signed email indicating that he was prepared to accept email service in the case. A later email from McCrea reportedly had him threatening a countersuit for libel and proposing an offer to settle.

    Email allegedly from McCrea presented to the Court


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/image-90.png

    The Court also needed to determine whether it has subject matter jurisdiction. While that was quickly established, the question of personal jurisdiction over McCrea appears less straightforward, which is a problem because, without that, any judgment would be void.

    In his order, the Judge explains that there are two bases for personal jurisdiction – general and specific.

    “General personal jurisdiction is available when the defendant’s contacts with the forum State are ‘continuous and systematic’,” the Judge notes, adding that specific personal jurisdiction “must be based on activities that arise out of or relate to the cause of action, and can exist even if the defendant’s contacts are not continuous and systematic.”

    In this case, the Court found that it “plainly” does not have general jurisdiction over McCrea as the complaint offered no evidence of that. “The question, therefore, is whether this Court has specific jurisdiction over Mr. McCrea based on particular acts relating to the cause of action having a sufficient relationship with the forum to support a finding of jurisdiction.”

    In summary, based on the claims and allegations in the complaint, Judge Bryson says he doesn’t have enough evidence before him to conclude that the Court has personal jurisdiction over McCrea and as such it will not be handing down a default judgment at this time.

    Instead, the parties have been told to file simultaneous briefs within 14 days, each detailing whether the Court has personal jurisdiction over McCrea, considering whether the injury to the copyright holder occurred in Texas, whether that injury is sufficient enough to imply a “substantial connection” with the forum/state, and whether McCrea knew that “his acts would be felt” by Van Stry in Texas. The Judge specifically asks both parties to consider McCrea’s residence outside the United States.

    All of that said and taking McCrea’s general non-participation in the process into consideration, the Court says that Van Stry’s factual claims are enough for it to find McCrea liable for copyright infringement in the 12 books. If personal jurisdiction can be established to the Court’s satisfaction, that leaves the matter of damages.

    While the excerpt from the proposed judgment above shows that Van Stry is demanding $180,000 in damages, the Judge cites $150,000 in his order. However, he also writes that no documentary evidence has been submitted to the Court which would explain why the amount is appropriate.

    Furthermore, Van Stry’s demands for a comprehensive injunction cause an additional complication, the Judge notes, since a copyright injunction cannot be served outside the United States and does not apply directly to conduct occurring outside the United States.

    “Such an injunction, if issued, would have to be framed so that it is directed only to conduct occurring within this country, which would be narrower than the full scope of the injunctive relief sought in the complaint,” the Judge writes. And that might be tricky since the relief being sought is extensive.

    Van Stry’s motion demands that McCrea should refrain from directly, contributorily or indirectly infringing his rights in the future, not only for the 12 books in the complaint but any others written by him.

    On top, there’s a request for caching and proxy services, web hosts, email providers, social media platforms and payment processors currently doing business with McCrea in connection with eBook.bike or similar platforms, to stop doing so, if those sites infringe Van Stry’s rights.

    A further request would require search engines to “prevent links to the Defendant’s accounts or websites, which distribute or encourage the copying and distribution of Works or other titles by the same author, from displaying in search results, and removing such links from any search index.”

    All that considered and if personal jurisdiction can be established, the Court is prepared to award damages, but not immediately to the level demanded by Van Stry.

    “[T]he Court would be prepared to hold that the plaintiff is entitled to a statutory award of $750 for each of the 12 works as to which he has alleged copyright infringement, for a total award of $9000, if the plaintiff were to elect to accept the statutory minimum damages award in lieu of a damages award calculated after a hearing,” the order reads.

    In the absence of such an agreement, the Judge says that the Court would not be prepared to go any higher without a further hearing to determine the appropriate amount of damages. In an effort to keep costs down for both sides, the Court is prepared to hold that hearing over the phone.

    Torrentfreak.com

  17. #797
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    ‘Repeat Copyright Infringer’ Case Against Cloudflare Can Continue, Court Rules

    In a case filed in California, Cloudflare stands accused of failing to terminate customers that have been repeatedly called out as copyright infringers. The case wasn't filed by Hollywood or the major record labels, but by two manufacturers of wedding dresses. The CDN provider tried to have the case dismissed recently but in a new order, the court refuses to do so.

    Popular CDN and DDoS protection service Cloudflare has come under a lot of pressure from copyright holders in recent years.

    The company offers its services to millions of sites, including some of the world’s leading pirate sites.

    Many rightsholders are not happy with this. They accuse Cloudflare of facilitating copyright infringement by continuing to provide access to these platforms. At the same time, they call out the CDN service for masking the true hosting locations of these ‘bad actors’.

    Cloudflare’s activities have also triggered some lawsuits. Just last week, we reported that an Italian court ordered the company to terminate the accounts of several pirate sites. In the U.S. there’s an ongoing copyright infringement case as well, which brought more bad news for the company a few days ago.

    The case in question wasn’t filed by any of the major entertainment industry players, but by two manufacturers and wholesalers of wedding dresses. Not a typical “piracy” lawsuit, but it’s a copyright case that could have broad effects.

    In a
    complaint filed at a federal court in California last year, Mon Cheri Bridals and Maggie Sottero Designs argued that even after multiple warnings, Cloudflare fails to terminate sites operated by counterfeit vendors. This makes Cloudflare liable for the associated copyright infringements, they said.

    Cloudflare responded to the allegations and in April it filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. The company said that the rightsholders failed to state a proper claim, as the takedown notices were not proof of infringement, among other things. In addition, the notices were not formatted properly.

    “Plaintiffs characterize their notifications as ‘credible’ without stating any facts that demonstrate their credibility. In any event, defective notifications, like those the plaintiffs sent to Cloudflare, cannot support any claim of actual knowledge,” Cloudflare argued.

    According to Cloudflare, the notifications “may or may not be true”. Without a court determining whether they are accurate or not, the company says they don’t “convey actual knowledge of infringement.” As such, the company doesn’t believe it can be held liable.

    District Judge Vince Chhabria disagrees, however. In an order signed a few days ago he denies the motion to dismiss. According to the Judge, the allegations and claims made by the wedding dress manufacturers are sufficient at this stage of the case.

    “Cloudflare’s main argument – that contributory liability cannot be based on a defendant’s knowledge of infringing conduct and continued material contribution to it – is wrong,” Judge Chhabria writes.

    “Allegations that Cloudflare knew its customer-websites displayed infringing material and continued to provide those websites with faster load times and concealed identities are sufficient to state a claim,” he adds.

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/denycloud.jpg

    Cloudflare also pointed out other deficiencies in the notices, and stressed that it’s not a hosting provider, but these comments were countered too. At this stage of the case, it’s enough to show that Cloudflare was aware of the alleged infringements, the Court notes.

    “The notices allegedly sent by the plaintiffs gave Cloudflare specific information, including a link to the offending website and a link to the underlying copyrighted material, to plausibly allege that Cloudflare had actual knowledge of the infringing activity,” Judge Chhabria writes.

    The denial of Cloudflare’s motion to dismiss means that the case will move forward. While the case has nothing to do with traditional pirate sites, any rulings could spill over, which means that other copyright holders will watch this case closely.

    Mon Cheri Bridals and Maggie Sottero ultimately hope to recoup damages for the losses they’ve suffered as well preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to stop all infringing activity.

    Cloudflare, for its part, will argue that it’s not actively participating in any infringing activity and that it merely has a role as a third-party intermediary, which is not liable for the alleged infringing activities of its customers.



    Torrentfreak.com

  18. #798
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    Premier League Wins New ISP Piracy Blocking Order

    The Premier League has won an injunction from the Commercial Court in Ireland to have live 'pirate' streams of its football matches blocked by local ISPs. Under the order, ISPs Eircom, Sky, Virgin and Vodafone will respond to real-time information supplied by the League's anti-piracy partners. The injunction mirrors a similar program previously established in the UK.

    Blocking websites associated with piracy is one of the most common tools deployed against unauthorized content distribution involving movies, TV shows, and music.

    However, the rising consumption of pirate sources of live TV, particularly sports, has presented broadcasters with a new challenge.

    The Premier League has been attempting to
    solve this problem in the UK with so-called ‘dynamic’ blocking injunctions, one which allows servers to be blocked in real-time by ISPs, as matches are underway.

    Earlier this month it was reported that the League had filed an application to expand this effort to Ireland. Targeting major ISPs Eircom, Sky, Virgin Media, and Vodafone, the League sought permission to have these companies quickly respond to blocking demands.

    On Monday in the Commercial Court, after ISPs either supported or failed to oppose the application, the proposal was converted into Ireland’s first dynamic blocking injunction. It will aim to prevent consumers from accessing ‘pirate’ streams via IPTV services, websites, apps, and third-party Kodi addons.

    Counsel for the Premier League told the Court that the bulk of those the company is seeking to block access the company’s matches via set-top boxes.

    According to a report from
    Irish Times, the IP addresses of streaming hosts will be updated at least twice while matches are underway so that ISPs are able to prevent their subscribers from accessing the locations. Once the matches have ended, the blocking measures are supposed to stop.

    There is also a nod to due process, with hosting companies being told of the existence of the order enabling them to notify their customers (the alleged infringers) that their streams will be blocked.

    Targeted suppliers, almost certainly IPTV providers, are also given permission to apply to the court to have their servers unblocked, if any of their legitimate content is rendered inaccessible as a result of the injunction.

    In common with the applications in the UK, the order granted in Ireland was in part based on “confidential information” that only the court and the parties involved have access to in order to prevent technical circumvention of the order.

    The precise nature of that information isn’t clear but we’re informed that the blocking process is already well understood by outside parties, with providers able to take countermeasures and, if all else fails, end-users able to deploy VPNs.

    Torrentfreak.com

  19. #799
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    ‘Repeat Copyright Infringer’ Case Against Cloudflare Can Continue, Court Rules

    In a case filed in California, Cloudflare stands accused of failing to terminate customers that have been repeatedly called out as copyright infringers. The case wasn't filed by Hollywood or the major record labels, but by two manufacturers of wedding dresses. The CDN provider tried to have the case dismissed recently but in a new order, the court refuses to do so.

    Popular CDN and DDoS protection service Cloudflare has come under a lot of pressure from copyright holders in recent years.

    The company offers its services to millions of sites, including some of the world’s leading pirate sites.

    Many rightsholders are not happy with this. They accuse Cloudflare of facilitating copyright infringement by continuing to provide access to these platforms. At the same time, they call out the CDN service for masking the true hosting locations of these ‘bad actors’.

    Cloudflare’s activities have also triggered some lawsuits. Just last week, we reported that an Italian court ordered the company to terminate the accounts of several pirate sites. In the U.S. there’s an ongoing copyright infringement case as well, which brought more bad news for the company a few days ago.

    The case in question wasn’t filed by any of the major entertainment industry players, but by two manufacturers and wholesalers of wedding dresses. Not a typical “piracy” lawsuit, but it’s a copyright case that could have broad effects.

    In a
    complaint filed at a federal court in California last year, Mon Cheri Bridals and Maggie Sottero Designs argued that even after multiple warnings, Cloudflare fails to terminate sites operated by counterfeit vendors. This makes Cloudflare liable for the associated copyright infringements, they said.

    Cloudflare responded to the allegations and in April it filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. The company said that the rightsholders failed to state a proper claim, as the takedown notices were not proof of infringement, among other things. In addition, the notices were not formatted properly.

    “Plaintiffs characterize their notifications as ‘credible’ without stating any facts that demonstrate their credibility. In any event, defective notifications, like those the plaintiffs sent to Cloudflare, cannot support any claim of actual knowledge,” Cloudflare argued.

    According to Cloudflare, the notifications “may or may not be true”. Without a court determining whether they are accurate or not, the company says they don’t “convey actual knowledge of infringement.” As such, the company doesn’t believe it can be held liable.

    District Judge Vince Chhabria disagrees, however. In an order signed a few days ago he denies the motion to dismiss. According to the Judge, the allegations and claims made by the wedding dress manufacturers are sufficient at this stage of the case.

    “Cloudflare’s main argument – that contributory liability cannot be based on a defendant’s knowledge of infringing conduct and continued material contribution to it – is wrong,” Judge Chhabria writes.

    “Allegations that Cloudflare knew its customer-websites displayed infringing material and continued to provide those websites with faster load times and concealed identities are sufficient to state a claim,” he adds.

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/denycloud.jpg

    Cloudflare also pointed out other deficiencies in the notices, and stressed that it’s not a hosting provider, but these comments were countered too. At this stage of the case, it’s enough to show that Cloudflare was aware of the alleged infringements, the Court notes.

    “The notices allegedly sent by the plaintiffs gave Cloudflare specific information, including a link to the offending website and a link to the underlying copyrighted material, to plausibly allege that Cloudflare had actual knowledge of the infringing activity,” Judge Chhabria writes.

    The denial of Cloudflare’s motion to dismiss means that the case will move forward. While the case has nothing to do with traditional pirate sites, any rulings could spill over, which means that other copyright holders will watch this case closely.

    Mon Cheri Bridals and Maggie Sottero ultimately hope to recoup damages for the losses they’ve suffered as well preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to stop all infringing activity.

    Cloudflare, for its part, will argue that it’s not actively participating in any infringing activity and that it merely has a role as a third-party intermediary, which is not liable for the alleged infringing activities of its customers.



    Torrentfreak.com

  20. #800
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    Organized Crime Unit Orders Pirate IPTV Sellers to Cease & Desist

    The Covert Development and Disruption Team of the UK’s North West Regional Organised Crime Unit says it has issued cease and desist notices in England and Wales to people involved in the sale of 'pirate' IPTV subscriptions. The sweep took place Tuesday and also targeted sellers of modified set-top boxes.

    Over the past couple of years, it has become abundantly clear that entertainment industry groups are taking the rise of ‘pirate’ TV boxes very seriously.

    Where previously the supply of unlicensed content into living rooms mainly took place via hacked satellite and cable boxes, the latest threat is content delivered directly via the Internet.

    Thousands of live channels are now readily available via cheap monthly subscriptions, modified Kodi installations, or dedicated apps, all of which are considered a threat by small and large broadcasters alike.

    There are many civil strategies available for reducing the flow but in the UK, high-tier police forces are now getting involved. According to an organized crime unit based in the north of England, a wave of activity took place just this week.

    The North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) is a collaboration between police forces across Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, and North Wales. During Tuesday, the unit said it contacted people involved in the supply of ‘pirate’ IPTV subscriptions (sometimes known as ‘lines’) and the sale of modified set-top boxes.

    “Our disruption team have been working with GAIN (Government Agency Intelligence Network) & @ FACTUK & today issued cease & desist notices in Wrexham & Blackburn to people involved in the sale of illegal IPTV subscriptions & cracked online television boxes,” the unit said in a statement.

    GAIN is a multi-agency group that provides a mechanism for various agencies to work together and share information. More than four years ago it was
    involved in raid against several ‘pirate’ box sellers.

    FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) needs little introduction, as it has been involved in similar operations against a number of entities working in the ‘pirate’ IPTV arena, whether that’s via subscription-based services or modified set-top boxes.

    Early today, TorrentFreak sought comment from FACT chief Kieron Sharp on the events of yesterday. We asked about the nature of the campaign, whether it would be expanded to other areas, and requested further details on those targeted. We were also keen to know which laws are allegedly being broken.

    Due to the nature of the investigation and the involvement of various police units, Sharp couldn’t immediately offer a comment but we’ll update when we receive a more detailed response.

    The brief police statement does not make it clear whether those ordered to cease and desist are lower-tier players (resellers of subscriptions) or those closer to the top (IPTV providers), or a combination of both. The former seems more likely but in the absence of more detail, it’s impossible to say.

    The North West Regional Organised Crime Unit has now been involved in action against illicit streaming on at least two occasions in as many months.

    In June, its officers
    arrested the alleged operator of the Supremacy Kodi add-on repository after it was reported to the unit by FACT in association with the Premier League, Sky, BT Sport, and Virgin Media.

    Torrentfreak.com

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