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  1. #921
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    Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 09/09/19

    The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Dark Phoenix' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum'. 'Aladdin' completes the top three.

    This week we have one newcomer in our chart.

    Dark Phoenix 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) Dark Phoenix 6.0 / trailer
    2 (2) John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum 7.8 / trailer
    3 (5) Aladdin 7.3 / trailer
    4 (3) Men in Black: International 5.6 / trailer
    5 (4) Avengers: Endgame 8.7 / trailer
    6 (6) Godzilla: King of the Monsters 6.5 / trailer
    7 (8) The Secret Life of Pets 2 6.5 / trailer
    8 (7) The Dead Don’t Die 5.9 / trailer
    9 (10) Dumbo 8.6 / trailer
    10 (…) A.I. Rising 6.1 / trailer

    Torrentfreak.com

  2. #922
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    Large Russian tracker 7tor is closed for now

    From main page:

    Tracker 7tor is closed. Why is it unavailable now? What’s next?

    Hello everyone!

    I would like to thank everyone who participated in supporting the 7tor project. For almost a whole year, 7tor.org kept afloat precisely thanks to caring philanthropists (donators) who supported the project all this time. Thanks a lot!

    We started our journey on January 07, 2011. During this time, the resource has grown and counts more than 3 600 000 posts.
    For such a scale, the high-performance characteristics of the server that we rented are necessary.
    Unfortunately, in recent months support fund is not enough to pay for server, so on August 28, 2019, it stopped its work. We decided not to waste your donations and found another way.

    Starting today, we are beginning to collect your donations for new goal, which is to buy a server specifically for 7tor.org. It will be much more profitable for a resource to be on its own server, and we will not have to collect money for server rental anymore.

    Necessary server characteristics for the tracker: Intel Core i7-8700K, 64 Гб RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD (Samsung SSD 970 EVO)

    During a year, we need to collect $2000. If at the end of the term we don’t collect the amount we need, then all the money will be returned to the patrons (donators) back and the project will no longer exist. However, if we manage to collect money to buy a server during this time, the contents of the tracker will become much cheaper, because we will only have to pay for the Internet and proxies for 7tor.org to work correctly.

    If you would like to help the 7tor project resume its work on its own server, we will be very grateful to you!






  3. #923
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    Mangamura Uploader Pleads Guilty, Another Denies Charges

    Following the July arrest of the alleged mastermind behind massive 'pirate' manga site Mangamura, former contributors to the site are being rounded up. A man pleaded guilty this morning to uploading copyrighted images to the now-defunct site, while a woman who lived with him denied the same charges.

    After being founded in 2016, ‘pirate’ manga-focused site Mangamura was blamed for facilitating huge volumes of pirate downloads.

    Previously, local anti-piracy group CODA estimated damages to the manga industry of around $2.91 billion. That all came to an end last year, however, after the site mysteriously shut down.

    For those who contributed to the platform, the past is proving more difficult to leave behind. In July, alleded site mastermind Romi Hoshino, 28, was
    arrested in the Philippines when attempting to board a plane to Hong Kong. This morning, two alleged upoaders appeared in a Japan court facing charges of copyright infringement.

    The first, a 26-year-old man called Kota Fujisaki, pleaded guilty at Fukuoka District Court to uploading copyrighted images to Mangamura in violation of Japan’s copyright law.

    However, 24-year-old woman Shiho Ito pleaded not guilty to the same charges,
    Jiji reports.

    According to the prosecution, Fjisaki and Ito uploaded images from the 866th episode of blockbuster manga series One Piece to Mangamura. The infringement was reportedly actioned from Fujisaki’s home in May 2017, an address where Ito also lived at the time.

    The prosecution alleges the pair conspired with former site operator Hoshino to upload content to the site for the public to view without permission. It’s further alleged that Ito received payment for the uploads, cash that was used to cover the living expenses of the pair.

    The manga series ‘One Piece’ is proving somewhat of a magnet for police and prosecutors in the Mangamura case. Last month, police in Fukuoka arrested a 37-year-old man under suspicion of uploading images of the hit series to the same site, again in May 2017.

    Anime New Network
    reports that a man believed to be Adachi previously contacted the police trying to turn himself in for questioning. He was arrested at Fukuoka airport, after he arrived there from the Philippines via Taiwan.

    Torrentfreak.com

  4. #924
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    Cryptocurrency Startup Creates a Decentralized ‘Pirate Bay’ Alternative

    A new cryptocurrency startup that popped up recently aims to offer an indestructible alternative to torrent sites. With Quality Magnet Coin (QMC) the platform's users all share the torrent database, with help from the blockchain. Add in some incentives for quality contributors, as well as spam control, and Hollywood may have a scary problem on its hands.

    There’s no shortage of blockchain related file-sharing projects. We have covered quite a few in recent years, ideally those with an actual working product.

    While most offer novel solutions for marginal problems, a new project that recently crossed our path stood out.

    The goal of
    Quality Magnet Coin, QMC for short, is to build a large torrent magnet index that’s impossible to take offline, censor, or block.

    The core idea is fairly straightforward. The application uses the blockchain to create a decentralized database of torrent magnet links which doesn’t rely on a hosting service or domain name, making it virtually impossible to take down.

    “While other existing services and plans are focusing on Pay-to-Seed, that is, paying for uploading the actual data of the files to people who are downloading, we are focused on the creation of a decentralized and searchable database of files to download. Think of it as a decentralized Pirate Bay,” the QMC team tells us.

    In addition to keeping a record of all transactions on the blockchain, every user also stores the database of magnet files. This is constantly synced with the network to update it with new magnet links, and to remove those that are frequently voted as ‘bad.’

    Searching the QMT tool…


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

    QMC relies on its users to build the magnet database. Everyone is welcome to submit a magnet link to the database, but it comes with a catch. Submitting a link costs the user 1 QMC but in return, if the magnet is voted as good, they can get 5 QMC back after a month.

    This ‘investment’ concept acts as a double-edged sword. The costs prevent spammers from taking over the system, while the returns encourage people to share. At least, that’s the theory.

    QMC only just got started but they have a working project available. There are also more than 25 masternodes at the time of writing, which help to keep everything running smoothly. At the moment, 10% of the masternode holders have to vote a torrent as ‘good’ before a payment is made.

    When we tried the QMT application, which works, the program froze on a few occasions while searching. The team is aware that there may be some issues initially, but they plan to continue improving on it. The magnet search from the wallet itself seems to work smoothly.

    QMC


    Search results are presented in a basic list. This includes a download link to load magnets into any regular torrent client, plus a link to Instant.io, where they can be downloaded or streamed through WebTorrent.

    As for the magnet database, there are just over 5,000 magnet links at the moment, which is very limited. However, the QMC team is currently exploring partnerships with torrent sites to expand it more swiftly.

    That also brings up the inevitable legal issues.

    A lot of the magnet links point to copyrighted content, which is illegal to download or share. This may be a concern to rightsholders, but the QMC team stresses that the software and network itself is content neutral.

    “We have no intention of copyright infringement, just like TRON doesn’t for that matter – even though they want to pay users for seeding torrents,” they say, pointing to the BitTorrent/Tron partnership.

    “We simply would like information to be free and available to everyone. Information is always silenced based on political views or other means of pressure and we want to change that. What our users choose to post is up to them.”

    On the anonymity side, the wallet has built-in support for access over the Tor network, which users can enable in the configuration file.

    The QMC team itself hasn’t revealed any of its members to the public either, but notes that this may change in the future. A full whitepaper speccing out the project objectives and details is in the works as well.

    The QMC wallet and the QMT search tool are available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, with iOS and Android versions being planned for next year. The roadmap also includes other plans, such as an API to link torrent sites to the QMC database, and the option for private torrent trackers to accept payments in QMC.

    The roadmap


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

    It’s hard to tell where a project like this will go, and whether it can deliver on its promises. That said, if it manages to get widespread adoption, copyright holders are not going to be pleased.

    The QMC team, meanwhile, is moving full steam ahead. More information and background on the project is available in the
    Bitcoin Talk forums, or through the website that was put up this week.

    Torrentfreak.com

  5. #925
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    Influencing Younger Pirates is a Key Aim of ‘Get it Right’ Campaign

    People of all ages use the Internet to consume both licensed and unlicensed content. The recently revitalized 'Get it Right' anti-piracy campaign views younger people as a prime target for education, since not only do they pirate the most music, films, and TV shows, they also buy the most too.

    Last month Creative Content UK (CCUK) switched up a gear with its Get it Right (From a Genuine Site) anti-piracy campaign.

    After declaring that copyright-infringement notices sent to mainly BitTorrent users via ISPs had “
    served their purpose“, the BPI and MPA-led initiative turned to ‘social influencers‘ to send the message that content should be consumed via official channels, in order to support creators.

    Popular YouTuber Caspar Lee featured in the first video, a move that was clearly aimed at younger consumers. That led us to consider whether future videos in the series, which are yet to be planned, would target a broader range of pirates – particularly older ones with whom Lee may not immediately resonate.

    Speaking with TorrentFreak, CCUK confirms that its own research has looked at pirates aged between 16 and 50 years old. However, those who fall into the lower age bracket appear to be a prime target, since they are the most prolific consumers of content, on both sides of the legality fence.

    “Our own research continues to show that 16 to 24-year-olds both consume and enjoy the most content of all types (film, TV, music, games, books, sport etc) – and that they also use unauthorized sources more than any other group – i.e. they use both genuine and dodgy sources,” the spokesperson notes.

    That’s not to say older consumers aren’t a problem, however.

    Those in the 25 to 34-year-old bracket still do their fair of pirating, as do those between 35 and 44. Even those crumbling away in the twilight years of 45+ pose infringement issues. However, these groups present sequentially diminishing patterns of infringing behavior, an indicator of why CCUK are looking to target those at the younger end of the scale.

    “Looking across all of the data, in addition to the key 16-24-year-olds, we think that it is particularly important to address young males (16-35 years of age), ABC1’s and parents/other influencers of children (especially in the 25-34 year old group) as all are more likely to use unauthorised sources and services than other groups,” CCUK adds.

    Targeting these age groups makes perfect sense for CCUK. Not only do they reach the most prolific infringers and consumers of legal content at the same time, those in the 25 to 34-year-old bracket – according to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics – are the most likely to have children, meaning any educational effect can be passed down.

    “Other industry research shows that the problematic behavior often begins when children are between 11 and 15 years of age,” CCUK notes.

    Given the scope of the campaign, the likes of Paul McCartney and Robert De Niro probably won’t feature in future videos, because despite being superstars in their own right, they are much less likely to resonate with younger people. Instead, CCUK seem likely to encourage more popular YouTubers and Instagram stars to take part, people to whom those of less advanced years can relate.

    “So, as we continue this phase of the Get it Right initiative, we will be working hard to use voices and messages around the content that they love – that will reach and speak directly to those groups,” CCUK adds.

    “Our work so far has shown clearly that this approach can get people’s attention and drive both behavior change and changes in attitude towards infringement. This is why we have such strong support from Government and industry to continue the work.”

    While CCUK and its backers BPI and MPA will have their own thoughts about using more aggressive tactics to deter piracy, campaigns like these tend to be much less offensive to the general public than “You Wouldn’t Download…” type messages.

    Time will tell if this one will prove any more effective in terms of legitimate content consumption but there doesn’t currently seem to be many voices in opposition, which on the Internet today is a great start.

    Torrentfreak.com

  6. #926
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    Cox Attacks ‘Proof’ in Piracy Liability Case, Requests Summary Judgment



    Internet provider Cox Communications has asked a Virginia federal court to rule that it's not liable for pirating customers. The company points out that the evidence, gathered on behalf of the RIAA, is fatally flawed. The music companies., however, disagree and request a summary judgment that will hold Cox liable for the alleged infringements.

    Last year Cox settled its piracy liability lawsuit with music rights company BMG.

    The ink on this agreement was barely dry when the ISP faced a similar and additional complaint. This time, it was up against 53 music companies, including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music.

    The rightsholders
    complained that Cox categorically failed to terminate repeat copyright infringers and that it substantially profited from this ongoing ‘piracy’ activity. All at the expense of the record labels and other rightsholders.

    A year later, thousands of pages of legal paperwork have been processed and the case is gearing up to a trial. However, if it’s up to Cox, there is little left to discuss there because the music companies’ evidence is fatally flawed.

    A few days ago, the ISP submitted a motion for summary judgment, requesting summary judgment on several key elements. Among other things, Cox argues that it’s not vicariously liable or directly liable for any copyright-infringing activity carried out by its users.

    Cox’s arguments are in large part directed at the proof the music companies have. Or to be more specific, the lack thereof. The company points out that the infringement notices, which were sent on behalf of the RIAA, are far from solid. In addition, the ISP says it never received any proper notices for more of the allegedly-infringed works.

    “Plaintiffs’ claims suffer from a fundamental and fatal flaw: a distinct paucity of proof. They simply cannot prove their case,” Cox writes.

    “In short, Plaintiffs seek damages for works they cannot prove were infringed, based on notices that did not identify fully 80% of those works. Moreover, they have no evidence that Cox knew about the infringement, obtained any direct financial benefit from it, or had the practical ability to prevent it, such that it could be secondarily liable.”

    Cox’s arguments can be quite technical at times, and some pages are completely redacted, but there are some interesting observations.

    For example, the company argues that the file-sharing evidence from BitTorrent users can’t prove that any subscriber actually distributed the infringing files. The evidence, provided by BitTorrent tracking outfit MarkMonitor, only ‘shows’ the metadata of a file in possession of a subscriber, matches that of a copyrighted track.

    “Here, Plaintiffs cannot prove ‘actual dissemination’ of any work to anyone—including their agent, MarkMonitor,” Cox notes.

    Another issue Cox raises is that for many of the claimed infringements in the suit, Cox never received a single notice.

    “Although Plaintiffs seek damages for alleged direct infringements of 7,057 sound recordings and 3,421 compositions, the RIAA Notices for recordings sent during the Claims Period contain only 1,998 unique Title and Artist combinations.”

    Based on these and a variety of other arguments, the ISP requests summary judgment. This means that, if granted, these will no longer be contested at trial.

    However, the pendulum, in this case, can swing the other way as well. The 53 music companies also filed a request for summary judgment. They ask the court to rule that Cox is contributory and vicariously liable for its pirating subscribers.

    The companies wave away any concerns and say that Cox willingly kept pirates on board to increase its profits.

    “[T]he record is clear that Cox had knowledge of its subscribers’ blatant infringement of Plaintiffs’ works and nonetheless assisted them with it. By consciously continuing to provide Internet service to known infringers, while ignoring its own copyright policies as written, Cox materially contributed to that infringing activity, and reaped substantial financial benefits as a result,” their request reads.

    “Accordingly, summary judgment should be granted holding Cox liable for contributory infringement and vicarious infringement, and the Court should reject its frivolous defenses.”

    Both sides’ arguments directly oppose each other and it will be up to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to determine if it grants any of the motions. If the Court grants neither motion, it will be up to a jury to decide during trial.

    Torrentfreak.com










  7. #927
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    Popular Torrent Site MKVCage Faces Lawsuit and Goes Offline

    Popular torrent site MKVCage, which also distributes torrents on other sites, is being sued by the makers of the action film Hellboy. Soon after the lawsuit was filed the site went offline, but for now it's unknown whether the downtime is related to the legal issues.

    A group of movie companies has been very active in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii over the past several months.

    Various copyright infringement lawsuits and DMCA subpoenas were filed against prominent players in the piracy ecosystem, ranging from
    Popcorn Time through YTS and Showbox.

    Today, we can add another target to the growing list, the popular torrent uploader/group
    MKVCage.

    MKVCage uploads its encodes across various torrent sites and has gathered a dedicated following over the past few years. The group also operates its own site at MKVCage.com, where the latest releases are also shared. However. over the past few days, this site has become unresponsive.

    The downtime started soon after the makers of the movie “Hellboy” filed a complaint at a Hawaii federal court. The movie company believes that the site is run by a person named Muhammad Faizan, who stands accused of promoting and distributing pirated copies of their movie.

    “Defendant Faizan operates an interactive website mkvcage.com and
    previously mkvcage.fun which includes a library of torrent files for copyright protected motion pictures, including Plaintiff’s. The torrent files can be used by a BitTorrent client application to download and reproduce motion pictures for free and without license,” the complaint reads.

    The filmmakers add that the defendant creates the torrent files that are made available on the website, including “Hellboy.2019.720p.HC.HDRip.x264-MkvCage.Com.mkv,” which are then distributed to the site’s users. The name of the site is often included in the title, to boost the site’s profile.

    “Defendant Faizan sometimes includes words such as’MkvCage.com’ in the titles of the torrent files he creates in order to enhance his reputation for the quality of his torrent files and attract users to his interactive MKVCAGE website,” the complaint notes.

    The movie company obtained the name of the site’s alleged operator from Namecheap, in response to a DMCA notice. The same person is also listed as the registrant for the domains mkvcage.com, mkvcage.ws, mkvcage.cc and mkvcage.me, and used PayPal to pay for at least one of those.

    MKVcage in better times

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

    At this point, it is unclear whether the current downtime is a direct result of the complaint that was filed. MKVCage’s latest upload at external websites, such as
    1337x, was two days ago. We will update this article if more information becomes available.

    In addition to MKVCage, the same lawsuit also targets the smaller torrent site iBit.uno and its unnamed operator. TorrentFreak reached out to iBit, but a representative of the site didn’t want to comment on the allegations.

    The people behind both sites stand accused of contributory copyright infringement among other things, and Faizan also faces a count of direct copyright infringement.

    The movie company requests compensation for the damage it suffered. It also request an injunction, so it can request third-party services such as hosting providers, ISPs, search engines, and domain registrars, to stop facilitating access to the sites.

    The injunction request is quite broad and could affect a wide range of companies. At this point, however, it hasn’t been granted yet, so that can’t explain the current downtime.



    Torrentfreak.com

  8. #928
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    Popularity of piracy streaming services rises according to new report

    Netflix has dropped to second place in terms of global internet traffic, behind the combined total of web-based streaming services, according to the latest 'Global Internet Phenomena Report' from Sandvine. After long holding the top spot for bandwidth use, Netflix dropped to 12.6 percent of total downstream volume in the first half of 2019, behind a 12.8 percent share for other HTTP media streaming.

    The rise in usage of web-based streaming services from content owners, including cable companies and broadcasters also comes amid growing popularity of piracy services, according to Sandvine. The company said it has measured anywhere from 4 to 25 percent of subscribers accessing at least one illegal video stream on a weekly basis on ISP networks in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

    In the Americas, Netflix’s share of downstream traffic for the first six months of 2019 was 12.9 percent, down from 19.1 percent a year earlier. This puts it in third place behind HTTP media streaming and operator-delivered video. That reflects the growing consumption of other streaming options, both paid and free, with the biggest growth coming from operators’ own internet-delivered TV and video services, which accounted for 15 percent of downstream traffic in the region.

    YouTube was in fourth place with 6.3 percent, Playstation and Xbox Live downloads each took 2.6 percent, and Facebook accounted for 2.2 percent of downstream traffic in North America.

    Altogether, video accounted for 60.6 percent of total downstream volume worldwide, up 2.9 percentage points from 2018. Web traffic was the next biggest category, with a 13.1 percent share (down 3.8 points year over year), followed by gaming at 8.0 percent, social media at 6.1 percent and file sharing at 4.2 percent.

    The report also found that Google and its various apps including YouTube and Android accounted for 12 percent of overall internet traffic. BitTorrent, the file-sharing application widely used to download pirated content, is over 27 percent of total upstream volume globally and over 44 percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) alone. Facebook apps took 17 percent of downstream internet traffic in the Asia-Pacific region, versus 3 percent worldwide.

    Torrentfreak.com







  9. #929
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    Nintendo Wins Blocking Injunction Against Four Piracy-Enabling Sites

    Nintendo has booked a significant win against four websites promoting tools that allow protection built into its Switch console to be circumvented. According to a High Court order, five leading UK ISPs must now begin blocking the domains, including those operated by the infamous Team Xecutor.

    Every manufacturer of mass-market video gaming consoles has faced the possibility of piracy on their platforms.

    The tools to prevent piracy usually come as a two-man team of hardware and software trickery (technological protection measures) but these are often defeated, later if not sooner.

    Nintendo, in particular, has been struggling with piracy on its Switch console, facilitated by circumvention tools (particularly SX Pro and SX OS) promoted and made available to users via various websites.

    In an effort to tame the threat, Nintendo went to the High Court of England and Wales, requesting an injunction that would prevent subscribers of several major ISPs from gaining access to the sites in question.

    As is common in such cases, the ISPs themselves – Sky, BT, EE, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media – were the named defendants in the case. Nintendo (NCL) asked the Court to compel them to block team-xecutor.com, sx-xecutor.com (both operated by Team Xecutor) plus sxflashcart.com and xecuteros.com (previously stargate3ds.org).

    Most ISP blocking in the UK is the result of copyright infringement proceedings but Nintendo’s opening drive against the above sites is that they use the company’s trademarks without permission.

    Justice Arnold said that in his opinion it is “beyond dispute” that the sites use Nintendo’s marks in order to promote circumvention devices. He also agreed that the devices were made available to the public on the basis they would be used to provide access to infringing content, since they all mention piracy in promotional material.

    “The injunction sought is necessary to prevent, or at least reduce, substantial damage to NCL. It appears that substantial sales of the circumvention devices have been made in the UK, that substantial quantities of pirated games have been downloaded in the UK and installed on Switches using the circumvention devices and that NCL has sustained significant losses as a result,” Justice Arnold writes.

    “No alternative measures are realistically available to NCL since NCL has been unable to identity the operators of the Target Websites, who may well be abroad.”

    The Judge further notes that cease and desist notices sent by Nintendo’s lawyers were ignored by the target sites while hosting providers, “to the extent they could be identified”, also took no action.

    While noting that blocking can be easily circumvented, the Judge said that blocking can be effective in reducing traffic to the sites in question, acts as a deterrent, won’t be detrimental to the ISPs’ business, and is therefore a proportionate response to infringement.

    Torrentfreak.com


  10. #930
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    Nintendo Sues RomUniverse for Mass Copyright Infringement


    Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against the alleged operator of the popular pirate site RomUniverse. The game company accuses the site of brazen and mass-scale copyright infringement of its games and hopes to shut it down. RomUniverse, which also offers pirated ebooks and movies, sells paid memberships to those who want unlimited downloads.

    Last year Nintendo made headlines worldwide when it filed a lawsuit against the popular ROM sites
    LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co.

    The legal action effectively shut the sites down with many other platorms voluntarily following suit.

    Not all game pirate sites were shaken up by the legal action though.
    RomUniverse, a site that’s been around for a decade, saw its visitor numbers rise and announced that it would continue to offer Nintendo ROMs.

    Fast forward a year and Nintendo is now taking RomUniverse to court. In a complaint filed at a federal court in California, the Japanese gaming giant accuses the site’s alleged operator, Matthew Storman, of “brazen” and “mass-scale” copyright and trademark infringement.

    “The Website is among the most visited and notorious online hubs for pirated Nintendo video games. Through the Website, Defendants reproduce, distribute, monetize, and offer for download thousands of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games,” the complaint reads.

    Nintendo states that the site, which has 375,000 members, offers downloads for nearly every video game system it has ever produced.

    The complaint specifically notes that “hundreds of thousands of copies” have been illegally downloaded through RomUniverse, including nearly 300,000 copies of pirated Nintendo Switch games and more than 500,000 copies of pirated Nintendo 3DS games.

    Users of the site can download one file per week for free. Those who want more have to sign up for a paid membership. After an “upgrade” of $30, members are allowed to download as many files as they want. This includes games, but also ebooks and the latest Hollywood movies.


    As said before, RomUniverse wasn’t impressed by the legal threats Nintendo issued against other sites last year. This didn’t go unnoticed to the game publisher, which specifically mentions the operator’s defiance in its complaint.

    “In 2018, around the time that Nintendo successfully enforced its intellectual property rights against other infringing ROM websites, defendant Storman bragged that his Website would continue to offer Nintendo ROMs,” Nintendo writes.

    Through the lawsuit, which also lists a count of unfair competition, Nintendo hopes to shut RomUniverse down. The company also requests statutory damages of $150,000 per infringing Nintendo game and up to $2,000,000 for each trademark infringement.

    This means that, with dozens of copyrighted titles and trademarks on the record, theoretical damages are well over $100 million.

    Finally, Nintendo further asks for a permanent injunction ordering the site and its operator(s) to stop their infringing activities while handing over their domain names to the game publisher.

    Update: RomAdmin from RomUniverse informed us that he hasn’t received anything from Nintendo, no recent takedown notices either. The site does respond to takedown notices.

    “We’ve always immediately taken down questionable material, per their take down notices,” RomAdmin told TorrentFreak.



    torrentfreak.com

  11. #931
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    Major US ISPs Refuse to Discuss Repeat Infringer Policies

    Copyright infringement is becoming a big issue in the United States, not least because those labeled "repeat infringers" could potentially have their home connections suspended temporarily or even shut down completely. So what are the rules at the major ISPs serving the country, in their own words?

    Every single week, Internet users in the United States take to Reddit and other discussion forums seeking advice about copyright infringement notices.

    Whether the claims against them are true is often hard to assess, but many speak of receiving notices from their ISP which state that a third-party has caught them torrenting something they shouldn’t – usually movies, TV shows, or music.

    While any and all of them are able to speak directly to their ISP to find out what the notices are all about and what the consequences might be, many seem confused. Are they going to be sued, for example, or perhaps their Internet might get suspended or cut off completely?

    Most advice dished out by fellow internet users is (and I’m paraphrasing), “Dumbass – use a VPN”, but while that comprehensively solves the problem, it doesn’t answer the big questions.

    A common topic is how many notices a customer can receive from their ISP before things get serious. One might think this basic information would be easy to find but despite most major ISPs in the US stating that they don’t allow infringement and there could be consequences for receiving multiple complaints, more often than not their information pages aren’t specific.

    So, in an effort to cut through all the jargon and put all the relevant information into one article, on August 27 we approached several of the major ISPs in the United States – Comcast, AT&T, Charter/Spectrum, Verizon, and CenturyLink – with a list of questions, detailed below;


    • Your company forwards copyright complaints from rightsholders, based on their claims. How many complaints can a subscriber have made against their account before some action is taken by you, beyond simply forwarding the notice to the subscriber?
    • What is the nature of that action, i.e requiring to confirm receipt of the notice, taking a copyright lesson, promising not to infringe again, etc?
    • Once this stage has been completed, how many more complaints against an account will trigger any subsequent action, i.e a more serious warning, warning that an account could be suspended etc?
    • At what point would a customer with multiple complaints against their account be considered a ‘repeat infringer’?
    • At what point could an account holder expect a temporary account suspension? At this point, how would that suspension be lifted?
    • At what point could an account holder expect a complete termination of his or her service?
    • In respect of points 5 and 6, is the number of complaints a deciding factor or does a subscriber’s negative or positive responses and actions in respect of your efforts to prevent infringement also play a part?
    • Are you able to confirm that accounts have been temporarily suspended for repeat infringement and if so, how many?
    • Are you able to confirm that accounts have been permanently shut down for repeat infringement and if so, how many?


    We told the ISPs exactly why we were asking these questions and indicated that a response within seven days would guarantee their inclusion in this article. We extended the deadline to two weeks and beyond but not a single company listed above responded to any of our questions.

    In fact, none even acknowledged receipt of our initial email, despite one ISP requiring us to send emails to at least three people involved in their media communications team. It seems fairly clear this potato is simply too hot to pick up.

    That being said, we thought we should press on with at least trying to help subscribers.

    There are usually very few valid excuses for receiving multiple copyright infringement complaints. Some do exist, of course, but not knowing the precise mechanism for being dealt with under various ISPs’ ‘repeat infringer’ rulesets only makes matters worse.

    What we can do here is give relevant snippets/quotes from each ISP’s website and link to the page(s) in question, with a comment here and there. In no particular order:

    AT&T: In accordance with the DMCA and other applicable laws, AT&T maintains a policy that provides for the termination of IP Services, under appropriate circumstances, if Customers are found to be a repeat infringer and/or if Customers’ IP Services are used repeatedly for infringement (the ‘Repeat Infringer Policy’). AT&T may terminate IP Services at any time with or without notice to Customers.

    AT&T has no obligation to investigate possible copyright infringements with respect to materials transmitted by Customer or any other users of the IP Services. However, AT&T will process valid notifications of claimed infringement under the DMCA, and continued receipt of infringement notifications for Customer’s account will be used as a factor in determining whether Customer is a repeat infringer.

    TF note on AT&T: We can find no “Repeat Infringer Policy”

    CenturyLink: Company respects the intellectual property rights of others and is committed to complying with U.S. copyright laws, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (‘DMCA’). Company reserves the right to suspend or terminate, in appropriate circumstances, the service of users whose accounts are repeatedly implicated in allegations of copyright infringement involving the use of Company’s network.

    TF note: We have no idea what constitutes “appropriate circumstances.”

    Comcast/Xfinity: Any infringement of third party copyright rights violates the law. We reserve the right to treat any customer account for whom we receive multiple DMCA notifications from content owners as a repeat infringer.

    We reserve the right to move a customer account to the next step of the policy upon receiving any number of DMCA notifications from content owners in a given month, or upon learning that the account holder is a repeat infringer.

    You may receive an email alert to the preferred email address on your account or a letter to your home address. You may also receive an in-browser notification, a recorded message to your telephone number on file, a text message to your mobile telephone number on file, or another form of communication.

    Triggering steps under this policy may result in the following: a persistent in-browser notification or other form of communication that requires you to log in to your account or call us; a temporary suspension of, or other interim measures applied to, your service; or the termination of your Xfinity Internet service as well as your other Xfinity services (other than Xfinity Mobile).

    TF note on Comcast: The ‘repeat infringer’ policy is
    quite detailed and worth the long read.

    Cox Communications: Cox encourages responsible internet use. Our internet use policy is consistent with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and allows us to take steps when we receive notifications of claimed infringement.

    Repeated notifications of claimed violations on your account could lead to Internet service suspension or termination.

    If you continue to receive copyright infringement notifications on your account, Cox suspends your Internet service. In the Customer Portal, you may reactivate your Internet service up to two times.

    If your account continues to receive copyright infringement notifications, your Internet service is terminated.

    TF note on Cox: The repeat infringer policy is
    worth a read and is quite specific in parts, less so in others.

    Spectrum/Charter: TF initial note: The company doesn’t appear to have a dedicated ‘repeat infringer’ policy outside of its published “copyright violation” advice. While this is both detailed and helpful in many respects, it doesn’t give specifics on alleged ‘repeat infringers’.

    After noting that
    “Charter may suspend or disconnect your service as a result of repeat copyright violations,” users are sent to its Acceptable Use Policy page, which reads in part as follows:

    Spectrum reserves the right to investigate violations of this AUP, including the gathering of information from the Subscriber or other Users involved and the complaining party, if any, and the examination of material on Spectrum’s servers and network.

    Spectrum prefers to advise Users of AUP violations and any necessary corrective action but, if Spectrum, in its sole discretion, determines that a User has violated the AUP, Spectrum will take any responsive action that is deemed appropriate without prior notification. Such action includes but is not limited to: temporary suspension of service, reduction of service resources, and termination of service.

    Verizon: Pursuant to Section 512 of the DMCA, it is Verizon’s policy to terminate the account of repeat copyright infringers in appropriate circumstances.

    TF note: This appears to be the shortest
    ‘repeat infringer’ Policy of all the ISPs and is a good example of why we decided to ask all of the companies for their precise steps, so we could offer a little more detail to their customers.

    Sorry, we failed, but there’s probably a good reason for that.

    Summary: With several ISPs up to their necks in lawsuits filed by the RIAA alleging that they haven’t done enough to deal with “repeat infringers”, it’s perhaps no surprise that the companies ignored our requests for information.

    That being said, it’s of interest that several appear to be acting in a particularly vague manner – perhaps they’re already worrying that they’ll be next on the music industry’s list.

    In the meantime and in most cases, users will remain largely in the dark unless they do a lot of reading and research. And even that might not be enough.

    Torrentfreak.com

  12. #932
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    Piracy App ‘CotoMovies’ Shuts Down, Apologizes, and Exposes Users

    Popular movie piracy app CotoMovies has shut down following legal pressure. The app's developer has now issued an apology to filmmakers while urging former users to switch to legal services instead. To assist filmmakers in their enforcement efforts, CotoMovies states that it will transfer user data to the copyright holders, who plan to sue some.

    Last week we reported that the third-party
    iOS app store TweakBox had removed several movie piracy apps following legal pressure.

    One of the targeted apps was CotoMovies, a piece of software that provides unlimited access to pirated copies of movies and TV-shows, free of charge.

    The legal pressure came from the makers of the action movie “
    Hellboy” and clearly had Tweakbox worried. However, they were not the only ones under the spotlight. Soon after our article was published CotoMovies announced that it would shut down.

    Initially not much was known about the reason for this abrupt decision, although legal trouble seemed likely. Now, a few days later, we can indeed confirm that CotoMovies was urged to shut down by the makers of the films “Hellboy” and “Angel Has Fallen”.

    A source close to the fire informs TorrentFreak that both parties negotiated a possible ‘settlement’. While we can’t confirm that any damages were paid, CotoMovies is now offering a public apology to the filmmakers on its homepage.

    “I want to express my sincere regret to the owners of the motion pictures Hellboy and Angel Has Fallen as well as all rights holders for inducing and contributing to copyright infringements by my operation of the app CotoMovies,” the operator
    writes.

    The CotoMovies operator notes that he or she learned from the “stressful legal experience” and now understands what damage movie piracy apps can cause. Going forward, the app’s creator promises not to infringe on any copyrights while urging the app’s users to do the same.

    Needless to say, many users are disappointed to see their favorite app going offline. However, CotoMovies makes another statement that may be even more concerning. Apparently, the app’s creator agreed to transfer user data to the filmmakers.

    “I now plan to fully respect intellectual property laws and strongly urge those who used my app to use legal apps to watch movies. To this end, I have agreed to transfer to counsel for the rights holders user data and communications under my possession and control so that they can enforce their valuable intellectual property,” CotoMovies writes.

    The public apology and more

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

    It’s not immediately clear what type of user data the app retained but the filmmakers plan to target some. The makers of “Hellboy” and “Angel Has Fallen” have previously targeted individual pirates in court, but they want to set an example with streamers as well.

    TorrentFreak reached out to Kerry S. Culpepper, the attorney of the two movie companies to, find out more about their plans.

    “I am happy that the app operator was willing to take responsibility for her/his actions, apologize and take this app down. This is something you don’t see too much of lately – people taking responsibility for their actions,” Culpepper said.

    While the lawyer confirmed that they “more than likely” intend to go after CotoMovies users, Culpepper declined to comment on what type of data they have in their possession.

    What’s crystal clear, however, is that the movie companies’ legal pressure tactic is paying off.

    Jonathan Yunger, co-president of Millennium Media, which is the parent company of the movie companies that went after CotoMovies, is pleased with the progress they’ve made.

    “Millennium greatly values their and other’s intellectual property. Millennium cannot keep making new movies if people steal Millennium’s movies through apps like these,” Yunger informed TorrentFreak.

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

    Torrentfreak.com

  13. #933
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    Rojadirecta Puts Up Defense But Can’t Escape ISP Blockade

    A Danish court has ordered Internet provider Telenor to block access to the famous sports streaming site Rojadirecta. The order was requested by local anti-piracy group RettighedsAlliancen and Spanish football league La Liga. Rojadirecta, which filed its objections on paper without success, has yet to decide whether it will appeal.

    As one of the oldest and most prominent sports live-streaming portals,
    Rojadirecta is a thorn in the side of many international sports organizations.

    The linking site is operated by a Spanish company and initially had a good track record when it came to legal battles.

    Rojadirecta famously had its domain name returned after it was
    seized by the US Government years ago, and it has successfully fought off copyright holders in court.

    More recently, however, the tide began to turn. This year alone, Internet providers in several countries, including
    Ecuador and Peru, have been ordered to block the site. Last Friday, a court in Denmark did the same.

    The Danish case was handled by the local anti-piracy group
    RettighedsAlliancen, which worked in tandem with the Spanish Football League ‘La Liga‘. Earlier this year, they already managed to get blocking orders against nine other websites, but the court postponed a ruling on Rojadirecta.

    The reason for the delay was unusual. Contrary to pretty much every other website, Rojadirecta put up a defense. Among other things, the site argued that it’s not actively involved in selecting streaming links, as this happens automatically, and that many links actually point to authorized content.

    La Liga, however, countered that some of its content was definitely linked without permission, adding that Rojadirecta profits from facilitating copyright infringement. As such, it requested an injunction ordering local ISP Telenor to block the site.

    Telenor, which is the actual defendant, in this case, didn’t present any arguments.

    After reviewing the positions of La Liga and Rojadirecta, the court sided with the former. In its ruling late last week, the Court of Frederiksberg ordered Telenor to block the site. As is common in Denmark, this means that other ISPs will voluntarily follow suit.

    RettighedsAlliancen CEO Maria Fredenslund is happy with the outcome. It confirms that the blocking process is effective, she says, even when a targeted site puts up a defense.

    “Rojadirecta appeared in court and presented a defense but was convicted and blocked nonetheless – just like other illegal services. It stands to confirm that the blocking system works even if it is challenged, and of course we are very pleased with this,” Fredenslund says.

    Rojadirecta, on the other hand, is disappointed. A spokesperson informs TorrentFreak that it respects the outcome of the court proceeding. However, it is not happy with how RettighedsAlliancen and La Liga are selling it to the public.

    The site stresses that there is no ‘conviction’ of Rojadirecta. The case was a matter between the rightsholders and an ISP. The burden of proof in these cases is relatively low as the claimant only has to show that it’s likely that an infringement occurred, the site’s spokesperson notes.

    “The court has thus in the case merely made the assessment that RettighedsAlliancen has proven it likely that there have been illegal links at Rojadirecta and that the formal requirements for issuing a blocking injunction against the ISP were considered fulfilled,” Rojadirecta tells us.

    Rojadirecta further notes that it didn’t get much advance notice – Rettighedsalliancen informed the site little over a week before the hearing was scheduled.

    While the streaming link site managed to have a postponement put in place, it never had the chance to participate in an oral hearing. Instead, Rojadirecta was directed to submit its defense on paper.

    It’s clear that Rojadirecta is not pleased with the blockade and the site is still deliberating whether it will file an appeal.

    Aside from facing yet another ISP blockade, the damage for Rojadirecta as a business is minimal. The site has a relatively small userbase in Denmark, and since it wasn’t a defendant in the lawsuit, there are no damages that have to be paid.

    That could change if RettighedsAlliancen and La Liga file a case against the site directly, to decide whether it’s indeed operating illegally or not. We asked RettighedsAlliancen whether this was an option, but the group informed us that it has no comment on that for now.

    Rojadirecta is clear though. If RettighedsAlliancen and La Liga want the conviction they already claim they have, they need to fight the case on its merits.

    For now, however, the court found that there is enough ground to have Rojadirecta blocked in Denmark. According to local regulations the preliminary ruling will have to be followed up by a case of the merits. However, the targeted ISP may waive this, after which the order becomes permanent.



    Torrentfreak.com

  14. #934
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    Brazzers Wants Cloudflare to Identify YesPornPlease Uploaders

    MG Premium, a company operated by adult giant Mindgeek, is attempting to find out who is pirating its Brazzers-branded content. In a DMCA subpoena application filed in Washington, the company wants Cloudflare to reveal who is behind thousands of 'pirate' uploads on YesPornPlease.com - one of the world's largest porn sites - in some cases dating back to 2016.

    Mindgeek owns some of the most recognizable porn brands on the Internet, including Montreal-based production company Brazzers.

    In common with most content companies, piracy is a problem for Mindgeek and its subsidiary MG Premium Ltd. In August we
    reported how the company had used DMCA subpoenas in an effort to identify uploaders on many ‘tube’ sites. This month, MG Premium has returned for another bite at the cherry.

    In a DMCA subpoena application filed in Washington, MG Premium complains that “Cloudflare’s websites” YesPornPlease.com, Share.io, and a related domain are carrying infringing content to which the company owns the copyrights.

    “MG is the owner of numerous copyrighted audiovisual works. In the course of protecting its works, MG has determined that infringing copies of these works, posted at the direction of individual users and without authorization from MG, appear on Cloudflare, Inc.’s websites YesPornPlease.com, share.io, and ezcgwym5xp7ty.com,” the application reads.

    “Such infringements have been ongoing and MG has issued DMCA notifications to Cloudflare, Inc.’s DMCA Agent. All notifications have met the requirements of 17 U.S.C. 512(c)(3)(A) by setting forth, inter alia, a representative list of the copyrighted works that have been infringed and the identification and location on Cloudflare’s website of the infringing material.

    “MG now seeks to obtain a DMCA Subpoena to learn the identity of the individuals who are posting the infringing content,” MG Premium adds.

    The suggestion that the sites listed above are Cloudflare’s is obviously contentious. However, there also appears to be a subtle but important error in the application for a subpoena.

    While MG Premium is clear in requesting information relating to uploaders on sites including ‘share.io’, that domain appears to have been submitted in error. According to supporting documents, the company should probably be referring to vShare.io instead.

    Nevertheless, the application to unmask the uploaders of thousands of pieces of Brazzers content to the sites in question is pretty comprehensive and dates back more than three years.

    “For the period January 1, 2016 through the present, produce all documents and account records that identify the person(s) or entities that caused the infringement of the material described in the attached Exhibit B DMCA notifications to the DMCA Agent for Cloudflare, Inc. and/or who unlawfully uploaded MG Premium Ltd’s copyrighted works at the URLS listed in the notifications..,” the application reads.

    The information requested includes but is not limited to, names, email addresses, IP addresses, user histories, posting histories, physical addresses and telephone numbers.

    As pointed out when a similar application was filed by MG Premium in August, it remains unclear how much information Cloudflare holds on third party sites’ users and whether it’s in a position to hand much over.



    Torrentfreak.com

  15. #935
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    Manga Publishers Sue Pirate Site “Hoshinoromi” in New York Court

    Four of the largest manga publishers have sued 'pirate' site Hoshinoromi in a New York federal court. The Japanese companies accuse the site of blatant copyright infringement and request damages. According to the publishers, Cloudflare is helping the site's operators to conceal their identities.

    The popularity of pirated comics represents a thorn in the side to many publishers. Manga publishers, in particular, are faced with a constant stream of infringing copies.

    Over the past year, we have seen some enforcement actions on this front.

    For example, the Japanese Government jumped in and created a special task force to investigate the pirate site Mangamura, which shut down last year. Since then, several operators and uploaders have been
    prosecuted.

    However, when Mangamura went offline, many other sites were more than happy to take its place. This includes Hoshinoromi.org, which is particularly popular in Japan but does well outside its borders too.

    Hoshinoromi positioned itself as a successor to Mangamura and managed to build a rather impressive library of content in just a few months. According to its own stats from late July, it has 93,000 volumes or books in its archive, good for millions of pages.

    Faced with the rapid rise of the site, a group of some of Japan’s largest manga publishers is now taking legal action. In a complaint filed at a federal court in New York, Shueisha, Kadowaka, Kodansha, and Shogakukan, accuse the site of blatant copyright infringement.

    “This case is about willful and massive infringement of the Publishers’ manga,” they write. “Hoshinoromi is a pirate website operating at
    www.hoshinoromi.org, which organizes, promotes, and distributes unauthorized copies of the Publishers’ manga on a massive scale.”

    New York seems an odd choice as publishers are all from Japan and the website is also in Japanese. However, the companies note that Hoshinoromi uses a variety of US-based companies to conduct its business and hide the operators’ identities.

    “Cloudflare caches infringing content from both Hoshinoromi.org and the backend server, zakayloader.org (previously, worldjobproject.org). Cloudflare provides a reverse proxy to mask the server locations and operators,” the publishers write.

    Other US-based outfits used by the site are Twitter and Gab, the publishers explain, adding that the site itself is freely available to American visitors as well.

    Hoshinoromi.org

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

    Hoshinoromi allegedly used Twitter to advertise the site, making it clear that it was aware of the potential negative impact it has on legitimate sales.

    “When the old Manga Village closed, sales of manga went up, so the new Manga Village was revived, and profits will lower again!!!! What countermeasures are you going to take this time??,” the site previously wrote (translated) on its now-suspended Twitter account.

    The publishers add that, while the site is open about its pirating activities, it apparently doesn’t want other people to ‘steal’ from them. According to the complaint, it is actively blocking outsiders from ‘exploiting’ the site’s collection of pirated files.

    “Hoshinoromi has gone to great lengths to block competitor pirates and investigators from copying images in bulk. The operators of the site have no problem stealing and profiting from the Publishers’ manga, but they implement countermeasures to ensure that others do not do the same to them,” the publishers complain.

    With the lawsuit, the publishers hope to unveil the site’s operators and be compensated for the damages they have suffered. They list a total of 41 works, which means that the theoretical statutory damages amount runs in the millions.

    While it’s not specifically mentioned, another goal of the lawsuit may be to urge or compel third-party intermediaries to take action. Cloudflare is specifically mentioned as a caching service, and the publishers make it clear that they would like to see all copies of their works removed from the company’s servers.




    Torrentfreak.com






  16. #936
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    Judge Recommends to Deny Summary Judgment vs Tor Exit Node Operator in Piracy Case

    A long running piracy lawsuit between a piracy-accused Tor Exit Node operator and the makers of the Oscar-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club has yet to see a breakthrough. A Magistrate Judge from a federal court in Oregon recommends to deny motions for summary judgment filed from both sides. This means that a jury may eventually have the final say.

    Tor is an anonymity tool used by millions of people. Dubbed the “Onion Router”, it operates by sending traffic through various nodes, after which it enters the public Internet again.

    This setup makes the source of the traffic pretty much impossible to trace. However, it also means that people who operate a Tor exit node have their IP-address associated with a lot of traffic they’re not the source of.

    When pirates use Tor, for example, it will appear as if the copyright-infringing activity comes from the exit node address. While the operators are generally aware of this, recent history has shown that his can lead to serious liability issues.

    This is what Oregon resident John Huszar found out the hard way.

    Back in 2015, the company behind the movie Dallas Buyers Club filed a federal lawsuit against the IP-address 173.11.1.241. A few months later, this complaint
    was amended to list “Integrity Computer Services” as the defendant, and in 2016, it was eventually replaced with the company’s owner, John Huszar.

    While Huszar denied that he personally downloaded the film, there was a problem. Early on in the case, the filmmakers served a request for admissions, asking the defendant to respond to several statements. This request remained unanswered, which was a mistake, as it typically means that the court can then assume the statements are true.

    Dallas Buyers Club used this to its advantage. Among other things, the admissions stated that Huszar unlawfully distributed a copy of the Dallas Buyers Club movie, which seemed to open the door to a substantial financial claim.

    That would be true in most cases, but Huszar is not the only one who made a crucial error – Dallas Buyers Club did the same. As noted by US District Judge Michael Simon, earlier this year, Huszar wasn’t yet a named defendant when the filmmakers issued their request for admissions.

    Following this conclusion, Judge Simon sent the case back to Magistrate Judge John Acosta, who this week issued his report and recommendations on the motions for summary judgment from both the plaintiff and the defendant.

    First up is the film company, which requested a summary judgment finding that Huszar is guilty of copyright infringement. This request relied pretty much exclusively on the admissions which are no longer valid. As such, the motion was denied.

    “It is evident Dallas’s motion was reliant on Huszar’s admissions. Judge Simon’s withdrawal of the deemed admissions based on Huszar’s failure to respond to Dallas’s requests for admissions was fatal to Dallas’s motion,” Magistrate Judge Acosta writes in his recommendation.

    While this is great news for the defendant, there was a disappointment as well. Huszar also requested summary judgment, ruling that he is not liable. After a careful review, Judge Acosta denied this too.

    Among other things, Huszar claimed that he was shielded by the DMCA because he was acting as an ISP. However, Judge Acosta notes that to benefit from such protections, he has to show that he’s eligible for such immunity. This includes having a repeat infringer policy, of which the court found no evidence.

    Huszar further argued that the monitoring software used by the filmmakers
    was unreliable. While the defense provided an expert report to back this up, Dallas Buyers Club submitted an opposing report, which leads Judge Acosta to the conclusion that summary judgment based on the reliability of the evidence is not appropriate.

    This means that after a battle of almost five years in court, the case can still go either way. Judge Acosta’s recommendations are not the final judgments. They will be referred to a District Judge who has the final say.

    After that, the case will likely move to trial. If that the case, it will be up to a Jury to decide whether the Tor exit node operator is guilty or not.



    Torrentfreak.com

  17. #937
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    Plex is a Pirate’s Dream But Could Also Build Bridges to Legal Content

    Popular media server Plex is an entirely legal tool to arrange movies, TV shows and other content and present them in a Netflix-beating interface. Some have described Plex as a pirate's dream, especially when its augmented with little-known third-party 'pirate' services. But Plex also has grand plans that could help to build bridges between content pirates and media companies that might otherwise prove impossible.

    A little while back, Bijan Stephen over at The Verge published a
    well-received piece on the topic of Plex, the popular media server software. It’s well worth a read for those who aren’t already familiar with this incredibly sleek tool.

    For those in need of a quick summary, Plex comes in two parts. A server component that does all the hard work behind the scenes on the host computer and a client, which can be typically run on a smart TV, Firestick-like device, tablet, phone or indeed another computer. The latter is used to access the former.

    In brief (and from a video consumption perspective) people can dump all of their properly named movies and TV shows into a folder, adjust a few settings, wait a minute or three and have this uninspiring bleak landscape…

    Before…


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/image-98.png

    ….transformed into something like this:

    After…

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/plex-shot1.png

    Users of software like Popcorn Time or Showbox will probably wonder what all the fuss is about – but that’s only if they haven’t used Plex.

    When properly configured (and it isn’t hard) its search and curation features blow Netflix’s out of the water. Search by genre, actor, director, running time – almost anything is possible. As a bonus, Plex has one of the most beautiful interfaces ever made for media consumption.

    What Plex doesn’t have, when people first install it, is any movie or TV show content in its library – especially of the kind shown above. The company behind Plex is completely above board, providing a tool that’s no more responsible for piracy than Windows or Android. Nevertheless, plenty of users build their own self-hosted Netflix-beaters with Plex, sometimes with the help of others.

    The article in The Verge explains how some Plex users solve this problem by teaming up with other Plex users to share their own libraries. It a system that operates in a manner not dissimilar to the way smaller BBS admins of yesteryear traded and obtained content for their own platforms.

    As The Verge put it, “as streaming offerings become more expensive and convoluted, people are setting up their own smaller, more intimate platforms.” And indeed they are, but there’s more to this rodeo.

    There is a side to Plex use (copyright holders and indeed Plex itself will argue ‘abuse’) that isn’t small at all. It doesn’t involve sharing any of your own content either, it’s a simple case of handing over a few dollars, euros, or pounds and suddenly everything is a click away.

    If one knows where to look, so-called P4S (Plex For Share) services are available that make Netflix’s multi-billion dollar offering look like a second-class citizen. And after handing over the cash or requesting a free trial, users can be accessing huge – HUGE – libraries of content in a matter of minutes.

    The smaller and cheaper shares (a few hundred movies and TV shows, a handful of simultaneous users) are probably being run on home connections. The bigger and more expensive ones are entirely more professional, offering thousands of video files to many concurrent users.

    Just as an example, one particular service (for less than $10) per month, lists more than 11,000 movies in HD and above (including 4K) plus 2,000 TV shows. Others prefer to list content in terabytes, with more than 200TB not being particularly uncommon. These big boys utilize CDNs to ensure content is delivered seamlessly to subscribers, wherever they may be.

    The big deal here isn’t just the volume of content available, it’s the nature and breadth. Given that professional P4S offers don’t have politics to deal with or business models to protect, the movies on offer range from old classics to the very latest blockbusters. And Friends will not be removed because somebody offered a better deal.

    The world of Plex shares is nothing new and for those thinking that their existence should be kept under the radar, it’s already too late. Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN, which is affiliated with Hollywood studios, has already
    taken action against people offering these services to the public. The cat is well and truly out of the bag, it’s just a question of how far it will run.

    But while Plex might be a pirate’s dream, the company is doing some very
    interesting things to ensure that rightsholders get in on the act. Late last month, Plex announced it had struck a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution to supply free, ad-supported movies and TV shows to Plex users.

    The company reportedly has plans for its software to become a “one-stop-shop” for content and has grand plans to begin reselling subscription content in 2020 along with video on demand products. This opens up the possibility of introducing pirates to premium products in an interface they are already very familiar with.

    While some will naturally object, this could be clever bridge-building in action. Big content companies would never try to tempt pirates by putting movies or TV shows on The Pirate Bay, for example, but Plex and the company behind it are so neutral, politics can be kept to a minimum. Let’s see how it plays out, things could get very interesting.

    Torrentfreak.com

  18. #938
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    UK ‘Pirate’ IPTV Users’ Favorite Channels “Are Free-to-Air”

    TV viewers in the UK are blessed with a wealth of channels provided free-to-air, such as the world-famous BBC and ITV selections. Interestingly, however, the operator of a 'pirate' IPTV service says that people are increasingly turning to platforms like his to access the same channels due to a better viewing experience.

    While the TV licensing system in the UK is viewed as an unpopular tax by many citizens, millions hand over money every year in order to receive broadcasts into their homes.

    For the sum of 154.50 for a color TV license and 52 for a black and white equivalent, residents can potentially obtain access to dozens of channels via satellite (Freesat) or antenna (Freeview), none of which come with a subscription charge. In fact, those who don’t pay the license fee can still receive them, just not entirely legally.

    Of course, those subscribing to a ‘pirate’ IPTV provider gain access to thousands of channels, including all the premium channels that would otherwise add hundreds of pounds of costs to the average bill.

    There’s no doubt that gaining access to Sky’s premium offerings for next to nothing is an attractive proposition for customers. However, a UK-based IPTV provider informs TorrentFreak that these aren’t always the most popular channels with his subscribers.

    Perhaps surprisingly, when looking at the Top 10 most-watched channels on the service, BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 all get a prominent position. Every single one is not only available for free (license permitting) via satellite or antenna but also available via the Internet for UK residents.

    TF was able to review data from the IPTV provider’s panel which listed the service’s most popular streams from a few weeks ago. It showed that the most-viewed channel was ITV HD with just over 16%, with BBC1 HD in second place with close to 13%. National Geographic, a non-free to air channel, sat in third with just under 10%, closely followed by free to air Channel 4 HD.

    Of the top 12 most popular channels listed in a provided chart, six are already free to air – ITV, BBC1 One, Channel 4, BBC Two, 4seven, Channel 5, ITV2, E4, Quest Red, and Quest. So why the inflated interest in channels already covered by a TV license and free-to-air?

    The IPTV provider said it polled some customers, with a number of interesting reasons reportedly coming up, most of which appear to center around service-related issues. Firstly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, users of Freeview complained about not being able to get a good enough signal.

    The digital Freeview service is supposedly available to 98% of the population but anecdotal evidence suggests that many are left with a poor signal, a reduced channel offering, picture break up, or not being able to receive the service at all.

    Freesat (satellite) users can usually overcome most of these issues but many televisions don’t come with an appropriate tuner and in all cases, an external satellite dish must be installed, which presents another barrier to entry.

    IPTV services, on the other hand, require a broadband connection and a cheap subscription, no external equipment (satellite dishes, antenna, or tuners) required.

    It could be countered that several of the main BBC channels can be acquired via the Internet using the BBC iPlayer, which unquestionably provides a first-class service. However, online offerings from ITV (ITV Hub), Channel 4 (All 4), and Channel 5 (My5) only come in SD quality and in some cases, that’s a best-case scenario.

    Most of the rest of the channels in the ‘free’ range (outside the regular TV license fee) have no online offer at all but an IPTV service can provide them all, in most cases in HD quality.

    Only adding to the hassle of going legal is the fact that most if not all of the above channels’ online offerings now require registration, meaning that users have to have accounts with them all to receive them on a TV. On the other side, a subscription with an IPTV provider requires a single sign-up.

    According to the provider, users don’t like to have accounts with all of these different official suppliers and they don’t enjoy the low-quality images on offer from their online portals, even if they are free to access. They also prefer the flexibility of being able to watch channels on any device they like, rather than being restricted to the platforms supported by various providers.

    A UK user with experience of all of the systems above confirmed that while having Freeview or Freesat is a nice option, switching from app to app to receive other channels on various devices is a sub-standard experience when compared to that offered by unlicensed providers. He also questioned whether “any harm was being done” to the legitimate providers by accessing their channels from an IPTV provider.

    “I pay my license for the BBC and I don’t use up any of their Internet [bandwidth]. I watch all the adverts on everything else same as everyone. Where’s the negative, I don’t see any?” he said.

    In common with the provider we spoke with, the TV viewer pointed out that having everything in one place (a single IPTV subscription) is much more convenient than having to switch around various sources, even if that means paying a few pounds per month.

    So while some people clearly latch on to unlicensed IPTV subscriptions for premium content usually offered by companies such as Sky, it seems that at least, in this case, convenience is also playing a big factor.

    Torrentfreak.com

  19. #939
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    Lawsuit Targets Best Buy & Staples For Sellin “Pirate Devices” & Givin “Piracy Advice

    A lawsuit filed in Canada targeting Best Buy, Staples and other retailers, claims the companies knowingly sold "pirate devices" to customers. Filed by Super Channel owner Allarco Entertainment, the suit further alleges that staff gave advice to customers on how to pirate content or have devices modified to do so. While currently unnamed, the lawsuit states that up to 50,000 customers could potentially become part of the legal action.

    Thousands of retailers around the world sell Android-based set-top devices that are able to stream Netflix and other services to customers’ homes.

    However, an intriguing lawsuit filed in Canada last week alleges that employees at some companies went too far with their sales promotion pitches by pushing the products for infringing purposes while advising potential buyers on how to pirate content with them.

    The lawsuit, filed in Federal Court September 11 by Super Channel owner Allarco Entertainment, targets Staples Canada, Best Buy Canada, London Drugs, Canada Computers, several related companies and up to 50,000 ‘John Doe’ customers.

    Allarco Entertainment alleges that one or more of the retailers and their staff (collectively described as “4Stores”) promoted, encouraged, or instructed prospective buyers of Internet streaming devices on how to use and/or modify them to obtain copyright-infringing content. As a result, the devices are described as “Pirate Devices” throughout the lawsuit.

    On a website promoting the case, Allarco has
    published a video as part of its 19-month-long “4 Stores Investigation” which claims to show employees at the defendant companies selling “pirate devices” in a way that contravenes several aspects of local law.

    The company says it has 100 hours of undercover recordings to back up its claims. The short video currently available has recordings of alleged staff members advising users to install Kodi, use Google to find Kodi “setup videos”, or even visit other sellers operating elsewhere that will configure the devices for piracy.

    Still from the video (Credit: Allarco)

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/image-117.png

    Super Channel CEO Don McDonald
    told CBC that his company showed the video to the four retailers in the spring but that didn’t bring the alleged behavior to an end.

    “I wanted them to be step up and be a champion in changing the culture. They didn’t see the light,” he said. “We want the stores to stop. We want the stores to say, ‘Hey this is wrong’.”

    While the lawsuit continually describes the set-top boxes as “Piracy Devices” – some of which had Kodi pre-installed – there’s no information in the lawsuit or accompanying video that specifically states that any had dedicated piracy software or services embedded at the point of sale.

    That important point will probably become evident as the lawsuit progresses but the complaint does note that “one or more” defendants breached the Copyright Act by “showing pirated programming to customers in their stores.”

    The lawsuit itself goes straight for the jugular, reading not dissimilar to many others that have previously targeted sellers of unambiguous dedicated ‘pirate’ devices or services.

    “The devices which are the subject of this action have been programmed to steal programming i.e. view the Plaintiffs Programming without authorization and without paying for it,” the complaint reads.

    “The 4Stores Defendants or one or more of them have offered for sale, sold, leased and continue to sell or lease Pirate Devices to John Doe Customers and advised, educated, counseled, encouraged, directed, induced, enabled and authorized John Doe Customers to achieve, download, install and operate services that result in the operation of the Pirate Devices and/or that enable and allow the John Doe Customers to access the Infringing Content.”

    The complaint, which also references up to 50,000 ‘John Doe’ customers as defendants, states that the 4Stores know their identities and as such, they will “be identified and added as identified parties following disclosure.” Allarco is seeking an order to have these customers served by mail.

    The TV company states that the alleged actions of 4Stores detailed above were designed to “encourage and increase” the sale of ‘Pirate Devices’, which would not have been sold had it not been for the “education” provided by the 4Stores staff. When combined, this created or contributed to a culture of “widespread copyright infringement” causing damage to the plaintiff.

    The complaint states that the customers of 4Stores who bought such devices and accessed infringing content breached the Copyright Act. At this stage, however, there’s no information that any evidence has been gathered to prove that happened. Nevertheless, the complaint alleges Contributory Infringement by 4Stores as a result of the companies inducing customers to infringe.

    Allarco further claims that the 4Stores defendants sold devices that are “designed or produced primarily for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure”, and/or “the uses or purposes of which are not commercially significant other than when used for the purposes of circumventing a technological protection measure.”

    Finally, there are additional claims that the defendants breached the Radiocommunication Act, Trademark Act (also with damage to goodwill), engaged in intentional interference with business, unjust enrichment, and counseling to commit an offense.

    In summary, Allarco is demanding interim, interlocutory, and permanent injunctions including, but not limited to, preventing the defendants from “communicating or facilitating the communication” of its works without permission, including by “configuring, advertising, offering for sale or selling Pirate Devices.”

    It also wants the Court to issue a ban on the 4Stores from “teaching, inducing, coaching or demonstrating to others including their own staff, friends and families how to steal or pirate the Plaintiff’s Works.”

    Torrentfreak.com

  20. #940
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    TekSavvy Protests Push for Pirate Site Blocking in Court

    Through the Federal Court, Bell, Rogers, and Groupe TVA are hoping to obtain the first Canadian pirate site blocking order. The companies believe that website blocking is an effective way to deal with pirate sites but Internet provider TekSavvy sees things differently. The ISPdescribes the proposed measures as ineffective and inappropriate.

    Pirate site blockades are gradually spreading across the globe. Thus far, Canada hasn’t joined the movement but that’s something Bell, Rogers, and Groupe TVA hope to change.

    In June, the three companies
    filed a lawsuit against the operators of a ‘pirate’ IPTV service operating from the domain names GoldTV.ca and GoldTV.biz. The companies argued that the service provides access to their TV content without licenses or authorization.

    Among other things, the rightsholders requested an interim injunction to stop the operators, who remain unidentified, from continuing to offer the allegedly-infringing IPTV service. This was granted last month, but despite the order, some of the infrastructures remained available.

    This resulted in a new request from the media giants, which could potentially lead to the first-ever pirate site blocking order in Canada. Specifically, the companies are calling for an interlocutory injunction order that would require several Canadian ISPs to block GoldTV domain names and IP-addresses.

    The request was discussed in Federal Court last Thursday and Friday. Since Rogers and Bell are also ISPs, the companies are also listed as respondents. Obviously, they didn’t object to their own demands. Similarly, there are no objections from Shaw, Eastlink, Fido, SaskTel, Telus, and Videotron either.

    With input from some of the Internet providers, the rightsholders drafted a blocking order that they hope to have approved by the Federal Court. It lists several domain names and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service and allows for more to be added.

    Domains and IP-addresses to be blocked

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

    The blocking technology that’s described in the order is fairly straightforward. Domain names would have to be targeted through DNS blocking or re-routing, and non-shared IP-addresses would have to be blocked or re-routed as well. All ISPs would be permitted to establish their preferred methods, as long as they are effective.

    Thus far there hasn’t been much opposition from ISPs. The only company that substantially objects to the proposed site-blocking scheme is TekSavvy.

    In written comments to the Court, the ISP points out that the request comes at a curious time as Canadian lawmakers are reviewing the appropriateness of such measures, as part of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review. Issuing a precedential injunction before this review is complete would be inappropriate, TekSavvy argues.

    Aside from leap-frogging the ongoing legislative process, the ISP also points out that the site-blocking measures violate net neutrality.

    “The plaintiffs seek this Court’s assistance to implement a draconian remedy that runs directly counter to the legislatively established principle of net neutrality,” TekSavvy notes in its written comments.

    The ISP doesn’t believe that the blocking measures will be very effective either. There are plenty of workarounds available, for example. The company further notes that it’s unclear whether GoldTV causes any harm and adds that the rightsholders have plenty of other options to go after the service.

    For example, they could target the sites through less invasive measures. By contacting its payment provider or hosting company, for example, or going after the Canadian domain name registry.

    “[The plaintiffs] ask this Court to deputize TekSavvy and other ISPs to protect the plaintiffs’ profits against some hypothetical (and unknowable) erosion from GoldTV’s services, yet they have not taken some of the most basic self-help steps open to them,” TekSavvy notes.

    Overall, the ISP sees website blocking as a draconian measure. While it seems fairly small and directed at a small service that’s no longer widely available, Teksavvy fears that granting the order will open the floodgates to much broader blocking requests.

    “If the plaintiffs were successful in obtaining a site-blocking order in this case, there is no question that they would use it as a precedent to obtain other site-blocking orders, whether in respect of copyright infringement or otherwise.”

    “TekSavvy could be faced with hundreds and even thousands of websites to block and monitor, exponentially increasing the costs of operating and maintaining a site-blocking system and overwhelming TekSavvy’s capacity,” the company adds.

    As such, Teksavvy asks the Federal Court to dismiss the motion. It’s the only third-party company that has done so. Fellow ISP Distributel also objected to the proposed language in the motion, but its complaint only deals with how ISPs are compensated for their efforts.

    The
    Wire Report notes that the Federal Court gave all parties until Wednesday to come to an agreement on the language of the proposed order. It’s clear, however, that TekSavvy is not coming aboard.

    After the hearings, the Federal Court will eventually have to decide whether to grant the blocking order or not. That’s expected to take a few more weeks.



    Torrentfreak.com

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