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  1. #1181
    Amias's Avatar

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    Feb 2018
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    Experts warn about the risks of The Mandalorian Torrents and Streams

    DISNEY PLUS is only available in a small number of regions worldwide, leading to huge numbers of fans streaming or downloading the shows exclusive to the streaming service – like Star Wars spin-off, The Mandalorian – storming up the charts on torrent sites. But security experts have cautioned against watching these shows using streaming sites, third-party add-ons to the Kodi media player, so-called Kodi Boxes, as well as torrents

    Disney launched its feverishly-anticipated streaming service, Disney Plus – stylised as Disney+ in the marketing, this month in the United States, Canada and Netherlands.

    The Netflix rival ships with a truck load of content from the House of Mouse, including its animated classics like The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, and Lilo & Stitch, as well as television shows like That’s So Raven, Even Stevens, Lizzie McGuire, and Hannah Montana.

    Not only that, but it also has movies and series inherited from the recent acquisitions from Disney, including every entry in the Star Wars series, the animated X-Men series from 2002, as well as all 665 episodes of The Simpsons. Documentaries from National Geographic like Free Solo also make the cut on the service, which costs $6.99 a month.

    However, it’s the original content created specifically for the Disney+ service that seems to be causing the biggest stir amongst fans. There is a documentary-style comedy-drama series based around the High School Musical films that launched the careers of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens called High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

    Disney has also created a live-action remake of The Lady and the Tramp, and the Star Wars live-action spinoff series The Mandalorian, which is directed by Jon Favreau‎ who also helmed the box office-busting The Lion King earlier this year.

    And its the original series that seems to be pushing Disney fans in countries where the Netflix-esque streaming service has yet to launch who are turning to illegal methods to make sure they’re up-to-date with the latest episodes, which are being rolled-out weekly to the $6.99 a month service.

    Torrent-focused blog TorrentFreak reports that “hundreds of thousands” of downloads and streams of Disney+ shows – in particular, The Mandalorian – have been recorded on torrent repositories and nefarious streaming sites. While The Mandalorian is not quite yet on the scale of Game Of Thrones, it notes that “the potential is certainly there.”

    HBO’s hugely-popular Game Of Thrones made history as the most pirated show in history. During its earlier seasons, the vast scale of the piracy was likely due to the fact that audiences outside of the United States had to wait weeks or months for broadcasters to put the latest season on the air. For the final few seasons, Sky TV broadcast the latest episode at the same time as it aired on HBO in the States.

    The fact that Disney+ isn’t launching in the UK until March 2020 serves as an incentive to break the law for some fans, TorrentFreak notes. That said, there are perfectly legal way to get access to the North America-only streaming service for the time being.

    After all, torrents and streams can put you at risk.

    Head of UK Cyber and Privacy at multinational accounting firm KPMG, Martin Tyley, talked about the risks thousands of Star Wars and Disney fans are taking when they rush to watch

    the latest shows using streaming sites, third-party add-ons to the Kodi media player, so-called Kodi Boxes, as well as torrents.

    Tyley told, “Those who have illegally downloaded material in the past will continue to do so, as a release date alone is rarely their motivating factor. However, for example, parents may feel pressured by their children to provide them with the latest shows, and this is where cyber-criminals look to exploit them.

    “The use of illegal streaming services, potentially offering access to all of these channels for a small monthly fee, opens people up to significant vulnerabilities. Hackers may be able to harvest credit card information or install malware on the device.

    “Once a hacker has access to an individual’s personal data, it is then processed, listened to, and may compromise any or all activity on that device as well as any other connected devices. Unfortunately, the user often has no real knowledge of how unsecure their device can be and can subsequently also expose their immediate friends, family or contacts with whom the owner is exchanging data with.”

    It’s worth noting this threat isn’t merely academic either. Hackers and cyber-criminals have used the popularity of shows to target a vast number of users looking for a particular show, or movie.

    For example, ahead of the start of Game Of Thrones season 7 on July 16, 2017, ransomware was introduced on The Pirate Bay designed to capitalise on the influx of users looking to download Game Of Thrones episodes for free. When users clicked on the page to download the torrent file, a malicious pop-under advertisement quietly redirected users behind their back and infected the machine with Cerber ransomware.

    Security firm Malwarebytes discovered the threat, which leveraged a number of vulnerable browser plugins to silently download the malicious payload to a system.

    Malwarebytes security researcher Jerome Segura said: "Popular torrent site The Pirate Bay was serving ransomware via a malvertising attack this weekend.

    "The ad network changes but the modus operandi remains the same.”

    And it’s not only downloads that run the risk of infecting your computer. Streaming sites are ideal locations for so-called watering hole attacks, where an incentive – like the ability to watch an episode of The Mandalorian for free, for example – lures unsuspecting visitors, Siege CEO Syversen has cautioned.

    Hackers use the increased volume of traffic to attack a high number of users and gain access to personal information on their computers.

    “They use that as bait,” he told Consumer Reports “It’s the internet equivalent of going to the bad part of town and buying a movie that fell off the back of a truck.”

    Aside from the dangers to your own internet-connected device, there are also wider implications for the industry. Those who enjoy The Mandalorian and want to see more from the hit fantasy drama series should not stream or download episodes for free, since this will hardly push Disney to commission more episodes.

  2. #1182
    Amias's Avatar

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    Feb 2018
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    Due to Disney’s Dumb Business Model, Everyone Is Pirating The Mandalorian

    On November 12, Disney+ launched in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. Audiences stayed up late to be the first to access this new streaming platform and watch Jon Favreau’s new Star Wars series, The Mandalorian.

    Social media lit up as Disney+’s users raved about the new show and its jaw-dropping first episode. The rest of the world, though, is expected to hang tight until the House of Mouse decides to graciously take our money and launch in our region.

    Yeah, right.

    As expected, The Mandalorian soared up the charts to become one of the most pirated shows of the year. Despite Disney’s best efforts to curb stomp the seeds, the torrents have avoided the mousetraps and unleashed the show to the globe.

    It’s unsurprising, really. Until the day when giant corporates realise the audience doesn’t give two s***s about international territories, licensing, blah, blah, piracy will continue to prevail. To quote Jeff Goldblum’s Jurassic Park character, Dr Ian Malcolm: “Life, uh, finds a way.”

    Much like the cause of every problem in a corporate structure, bureaucracy is the enemy that prevents evolution. The people at the top set up meetings to discuss other meetings and believe globalisation is a myth like climate change. It’s 2019. The Star Wars fan in Ghana is just as passionate as the one in the U.S. Fans will find a way to watch content, so it’s up to studios and networks to provide a portal that encourages them to pay for it.

    Even Netflix and Hulu were smarter than Disney+ with their in-demand content back in the day. The platforms launched in their respective territories and took a cautious worldwide approach. Rather than go gung-ho, they licensed their shows to networks and providers in other regions. That’s why you’d see the likes of Orange is the New Black and House of Cards on DStv, and The Runaways on Showmax.

    The challenge is when the platform finally launches in the territory, because who owns the content rights? This is where good lawyers and contracts are necessary from the get-go. It’s possible to sign deals for a specific timeframe or a show’s season, so it isn’t a permanent situation where another network holds the rights of a show forever.

    Naturally, Disney wants nothing more than to hold the rights to all of its content for long-term global domination, but it’s also losing out on money at the moment. The company has stated that it has no plans to bring Disney+ to South Africa or the rest of Africa for the next two years, so why hasn’t it licensed shows like The Mandalorian to Netflix, Showmax or DStv?

    Disney sure loves those box office receipts from the rest of the world when it releases Star Wars and Marvel movies in theatres, but it’s showing a middle finger to us right now. Well, fans are having the last laugh as they’re watching the shows anyway (and without paying). The thing is, will they want to pay for Disney+ when it inevitably launches in our region?

  3. #1183
    Amias's Avatar

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    Feb 2018
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    How Spotify and Apple Music will kill each other off and push all back to piracy

    A number of acts have accused Spotify of purposefully excluding their new songs from editorial playlists after they debuted the music elsewhere.

    Nicki Minaj has made similar claims after she premiered music from her 2018 album Queen on her own Apple Music Beats 1 radio show.

    While it makes a certain type of business sense for Spotify to hold back on promotion if an artist strikes a deal with their direct competitor, this latest round of complaints suggests that Spotify has extended this lack of promo to music that appears “anywhere in advance of Spotify” – in one case, a premiere on a music blog.

    Digital Music News viewed written correspondence from Spotify, explaining their “release parity” policy: they won’t promote any new music that appears “anywhere” in advance of it landing on their platform. This includes banning the music from their editorial playlists, inclusion on which drives huge first-week streaming numbers, which many artists rely upon for a strong chart debut.

    As Nicki Minaj pointed out last August when she copped similar treatment, this policy isn’t an across the board thing.

    “Spotify put Drake’s face on every playlist but told me they’d have to teach me a lesson for playing my music 10 minutes early on #QueenRadio,” Minaj wrote. “Even though they’ve been giving away my music for free for years and I am one of the top Spotify artists of all time.”

    This refers to an embarrassingly over-the-top promotional campaign for Drake’s Scorpion, which saw his face flood the cover of every Spotify playlist, including ‘Best Of British’ and ‘Rock’. The backlash from subscribers was so fierce that many demanded refunds for their ‘non-advertising’ tier – as this was clearly one big Drake promotion.

    “Spotify had to teach me a lesson but rewarded the man who has had an Apple radio show the longest; inadvertently helping the Apple platform the most,” Minaj tweeted.

    “They took away my promotion they had promised for the first couple of days because of this.”

    Spotify denied the claims, pointing out how they supported her with a Times Square billboard and included her music on their New Music Friday playlist, which all resulted in her single ‘Bed’ seeing an increase in Spotify plays. It’s a strong argument.

    When @ beyonce gives you Lemonade…

    — Spotify (@Spotify) April 23, 2019

    Spotify and Apple Music also heavily promoted Beyonce’s 2016 album Lemonade when it finally came to their streaming services in April, three long years after it was first released exclusively on Tidal.

    This is despite her husband owning a competing streaming service (Tidal) and her mocking verse on the song ‘Nice’ from The Carters’ album: “If I gave two fucks about streaming numbers woulda put Lemonade up on Spotify. Fuck you.”

    Chance The Rapper also struck a deal with Apple Music to exclusively host his Coloring Book album for two weeks, seemingly without any punishment from Spotify.

    So, even if we assume that Minaj was merely acting like a sore loser – a Times Square billboard is hardly Spotify burying her new record, plus she also accused Travis Scott, who beat her to the number one spot, of massaging the charts with merch bundle deals – these latest claims are still quite serious.

    As I said, Apple Music is a direct competitor. All’s fair, and all that jazz. But the music that Spotify refused recently to playlist had only appeared on a blog. Premieres on blogs are a huge part of the rollout campaign for most records, and in no way competition for future Spotify listens.

    These ‘exclusives’, where a song will sit on a blog for 24 hours or so before being widely disseminated, are good for both the music publications and the artists. Most labels coordinate such exclusives as part of an overall advertising campaign with a publication.

    Only the likes of Beyonce and Frank Ocean can drop music on an unsuspecting world and expect it to be shared by the press. If labels and artists begin to believe that previewing music on any other platform – be it Pitchfork, a local radio show, or a competing streaming service – will result in punishment from Apple Music or Spotify, they will get cold feet when it comes to any such pre-promotion.

    This will cut into the advertising revenue that blogs rely upon to exist, it will destroy the pre-release campaigns that artists and labels rely upon to properly promote an album – and it will kill off any of the ‘exclusive’ deals that the likes of Chance and co. strike with streaming services in order to make money from their music

    This latter scenario isn’t such a bad situation. As it stands, only the top tier artists such as Jay-Z, Chance, Kanye, Taylor, Rihanna, Frank, Drake, et al. can afford to purposefully limit their new records to one streaming service without cutting into their first week streaming numbers. These deals are good for the artists – Chance was paid half a million for a fortnight of exclusively – but terrible for fans, who found themselves having to subscribe to three different streaming services just to keep up. (Ever the Dad, Garth Brooks signed an Amazon Music exclusive for his record.)

    Disney+ launches in Australia next week, and its appeal is the exclusive catalogue of content it offers: Marvel, Star Wars, The Simpsons, The Great Muppet Caper. Likewise, Netflix and Stan compete based solely on exclusive deals.

    Viewers are trained to expect television companies to compete with each other – from free-to-air to streaming, this has always been the way. But music seems different, somehow. It’s in the waterstream. It’s carried through the air. It belongs to everyone. It’s older than language. And nobody is going to put up with streaming services that offer up every third new release, bouncing angrily between apps as they try to work out where they can listen to the new Childish Gambino record.

    They will just give up, and the foothold that Spotify, Apple Music have gained over the past five years will be lost – to piracy, to YouTube, to any easier option that presents itself. And if Spotify and Apple Music continue their game of mutually assured destruction, blacklisting artists, scrapping for exclusives, and trying to wipe out blogs and radio while they are at all, a better option will jump in and fill the gap. It always does.

    Music is valuable, but time is a non-renewable resource. If we can’t find something quickly and easily, we will start to look elsewhere.

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