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  1. #1241
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    Gears Reloaded / OMI IN A HELLCAT IPTV Raid: Eye Witnesses Appear on TV

    Last week, the founder of pirate IPTV service Gears Reloaded, known on YouTube as OMI IN A HELLCAT claimed that he'd been raided by the FBI and the IRS who "took everything". Until now, however, we've only had his word for it. That changed during the past few hours when a OMI's neighbors appeared on local TV revealing that they saw the drama unfold.

    If US-based anti-piracy groups needed a recognizable local icon to rival the flamboyance of Kim Dotcom, last week they appeared to get one.

    Omar Carrasquillo – better known by his YouTube name OMI IN A HELLCAT – is the founder of ‘pirate’ IPTV service Gears Reloaded. Unlike his counterparts behind similar platforms, however, OMI never hid the fact that he was running one of the most recognizable brands in the business.

    OMI’s wealth, which included a huge house, the most blingy of jewelry, and a supercar collection to die for, was paraded all over his YouTube channel for everyone to see. But last week it came to an abrupt end. Gears Reloaded unexpectedly closed down and hours later
    OMI claimed he’d been raided by the FBI and IRS, allegedly for copyright infringement and tax offenses.

    When compared to any of OMI’s previous videos, his demeanor made it clear that something catastrophic had happened. Nevertheless, in the absence of any confirmation by the FBI, some people complained that the whole thing was an elaborate fake designed to generate clicks.

    Today, following a TV report from Fox 29, any notion that the raid existed only in OMI’s imagination has been dispelled. In the segment, a Fox 29 reporter is seen knocking on OMI’s front door, a home that was previously owned by former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop, Jimmy Rollins.

    While the TV crew appears to have received no answer, the channel did manage to speak with some of OMI’s neighbors who confirmed what the YouTuber had been saying all along.

    “[The FBI] had like bullet-proof vests on and they had guns drawn and they were very slowly approaching the house next door,” said neighbor Liz Ware.

    In respect of OMI’s supercar collection, which some doubters claimed were either still sitting outside or had even been moved by OMI for effect, another neighbor who saw the whole thing recalled what happened.

    “They loaded them off one by one through the course of about four or five hours,” said witness John Ware, who appears to be OMI’s next-door neighbor. “They took all the cars. Probably thirty of them.”

    Other than OMI’s claims, that the case against him revolves around Gears Reloaded and tax issues, there is still no official confirmation of the allegations against him.

    Last week the FBI refused to confirm or deny any operation and after prompting by Fox 29 yesterday, still declined to comment. It’s believed, however, that OMI is yet to be charged.

    Interestingly, in a
    video posted to YouTube a few hours ago by OMI himself, which shows part of the Fox 29 report, the YouTuber said that just a few weeks ago his people asked the IRS “if they were after him” and he was told they were not. However, he’s certainly not happy with the way his accounts were prepared by his tax advisor.

    “Back in September when I prepared my taxes, it just didn’t look right. I’m a 100% sure of this, I have 100% proof. I’m not just saying it, it just didn’t look right. My CPA [Certified Public Accountant] …she had access to all my bank accounts. She was only filing the 1099 [forms] that I received and shit didn’t look right,” OMI says.

    “I [said] ‘i’m making more money than what you’re filing’. Thank God I didn’t sign them because that would’ve been hiding money, that would’ve been way worse, way worse. We contacted the IRS to see if they were after me, the IRS sent back a letter to my CPA and said no, they weren’t after me.”

    OMI says that if he hadn’t been raided last week, there would be a payment plan in place by now, with around $2 million paid upfront in taxes and the rest paid in installments. Clearly, however, time had already run out and according to OMI, the assessment that streaming is something that won’t be acted on probably doesn’t stand anymore.

    “To all the other streaming services out there, this is proof that this is not considered a great area,” he adds.

  2. #1242
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    Onleihe: legal framework on the test

    On behalf of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels eV , GfK Entertainment conducted a study on on-line lending in public libraries. The survey is intended to provide approaches for sustainable regulations that should serve as a basis for the Federal Government's assessment of the legal framework for e-book lending by public libraries ("onleihe"), the interests of users, authors, libraries and publishers alike to reconcile. In particular, the services of publishers and authors should be duly rewarded.

    The Onleihe: Regardless of opening hours and location

    Since 2007, the divibib GmbH from Reutlingen has been offering a service for online lending of digital media under the brand name Onleihe . It is attended by individual as well as joint libraries from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Denmark, Belgium and France, as well as the international Goethe-Instituts. Users of a participating library can borrow the provided digital media through their library's website with their library card. With the eLibrary App alike are E-Books , E-Magazines, E-paper, e-audios and e-Music provided.

    Publishers and authors demand a fair framework

    Against the background that publishers and authors demand a fair framework for the on-line loan, a comprehensive study on the use of on-loan should serve as the basis for a political dialogue for possibly necessary, targeted measures for changes. The study was under the question: " Who lends what in libraries and especially online " and offers a 360 ° view of the on-line loan. The study results were presented yesterday by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels together with GfK Entertainment in Berlin.

    Study result: Onleihe reduces willingness to buy

    In a key statement, the study comes to the conclusion that the on-line loan reduces the willingness to buy book affine and purchasing power strong target groups in the book market. Here are the main study results at a glance:

    "A total of 2.6 million people borrow books and other media in Germany via the online loan. A total of 1.9 million lend e-books.
    Two-thirds of the on-line users are under 50 years old. They are thus above average compared to the total population. In addition, they are well-off and educated.
    Although on-line users are among the most active buyers in the book market. But just under half buy less or no books since they use the offer of the on-line loan. That's 45 percent for printed books and 46 percent for e-books.
    The majority of on-line users are satisfied with the scope and timeliness of the on-line offer."

    Demands are made for fairer license arrangements

    Nadja Kneissler, chairman of the Publishers Committee of the Börsenverein, demands fairer license regulations based on the study statements:

    "The study results clearly show that on-line use has a direct impact on the book market. In order to be able to continue providing a wide range of books and e-books in Germany, we need fair licensing regulations. The exceptions demanded by libraries for copyright on the on-line loan, the so-called barrier regulations, offer no fair remuneration for the services of publishers and authors and are therefore not a viable option for us. Instead, we demand that libraries be equipped in the future so that they can offer e-books for all involved under fair conditions. "

    Lena Falkenhagen, Federal Chairman of the Association of German Writers in ver.di, sees authors at a disadvantage, while financially strong mid-agers profit from the system:

    "One of the most important tasks of public libraries is the promotion of reading for children and adolescents. In particular city libraries play for theEschbach Book & E-BookReading promotion a central role. In order to be able to fulfill this task with the help of digital books, above all, a strategy geared to digital reading promotion is needed. As long as it is a matter of merely expanding the digital library offering, it is unbelievable that the rights of authors are

  3. #1243
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    Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has to testify before the New York district court

    Following a ruling by Judge P. Kevin Castel, Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov will testify in January in a New York district court . The US regulator SEC stopped with its injunction almost at the last minute the issue of Gram Token. The respondent parties have already responded to their complaint in court . All in all, three senior Telegram employees have to undergo a survey.

    The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) halted the launch of the Telegram Open Network (TON) and the issue of the Token Gram. TON Issuer Inc. and Telegram's operating company are now trying to defend themselves legally.

    Pavel Durov defends himself against injunction

    Several senior officers were summoned to court. Previous attempts to contact the SEC for issuing its own token failed. Now, about 1.5 years after the announcement of the issue, the SEC has overturned the process without any warning . It is feared that the US market would be flooded with this new currency. In addition, wholesalers could acquire the token to trade. All this leads to an unregulated circulation of large amounts of money at the start of the TON. In advance, investors had been able to sell shares worth a total of 1.7 billion US dollars.

    AZAPI reports telegram for copyright to SEC

    According to the defense lawyers, there is an extensive willingness to cooperate with the authorities. One example is the active fight against terrorist groups in Telegram, which was also praised by the European Police Department EUROPOL . Pressure is currently also exercised by the Russian antipiracy organization Association of Copyright Protection in Internet (AZAPI) . This accuses Pavel Durov or Telegram, over innumerable Chat channels the users would exchange copyrighted material, Telegram's token can also be used as a reward for uploaders, AZAPI speculates. It requires the operator to effectively protect works (especially books) from unauthorized distribution and to block infringers. Telegram has not responded to previous requests, which is why the organization has turned to the SEC. Funnily speaking, Russian media have been reporting allegations of fraud by an AZAPI managing director since mid-October. Employees of Russian authorities had made an undercover appointment with him to bribe him with cash.

    Headquarters soon in Switzerland?

    According to local media reports, the operating company plans to move soon to the Swiss town of Zug. One wants to shift the head office as well as the research and development gradually to Switzerland. The Libra Association, which wants to release the cryptocurrency for Facebook, has also chosen Switzerland as its headquarters . Financial supervisor Finma has already confirmed that it is in negotiations with Telegram. However, the agency has paused its negotiations after the announcement of the injunction of the SEC.

    Messenger Wire and Sasera are also based in Zug. Unlike most other Messengers you can not use Sasera in vain. Due to its extremely high security, this paid app is to be used by employees on the executive levels of companies. In order to avoid terrorist attacks or other criminal actions using Sasera, potential users are screened by the Company, which precludes anonymous use.

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    Pirate IPTV Services Generate Nearly €1 Billion Per Year, EU Study Shows

    New research published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office shows that, in the EU, pirate IPTV services generate close to a billion euros in annual revenue. Illegal IPTV services are most popular in the Netherlands and Sweden, while UK subscribers bring in the most money.

    Increasingly, people are canceling their expensive cable subscriptions, opting to use cheaper Internet TV instead.

    While there are plenty of legal options available, there’s also a broad offer of easy-to-use set-top boxes, sites, and apps that are specifically configured to deliver pirated content.

    There are some free alternatives, but high-quality pirate IPTV services are often sold through a monthly or yearly subscription. This has created an industry that’s worth a lot of money. According to a new report from the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), nearly €1 billion in Europe alone.

    This is the result of an in-depth study of the IPTV ecosystem published by the
    EUIPO this week. The research reveals the prevalence of IPTV piracy, who the main players are, how they operate, and what business models are used.

    EUIPO looked at hundreds of allegedly illegal IPTV services and combined this with data from the Eurostat household survey data. Based on these figures, it estimates that pirate IPTV services generated €941.7 million annual unlawful revenue in the EU during 2018.

    The research further finds that IPTV piracy is a problem across all EU member states. On average, 3.1% of the EU population access these unauthorized services. This translates to a customer base of 13.7 million users.

    However, the scale of the problem varies from country to country. The Netherlands and Sweden have the highest percentage of pirate IPTV users, with 8.9% and 8.5% respectively. In Romania and Bulgaria, it’s far less common with 0.7% and 1.3% respectively.

    The average subscriber pays a little over five euros per month for a subscription, with rates varying across Europe. Most revenue is generated in the UK, France, and Germany. Together these three countries deliver more than half of the total income, €532 million.

    These statistics show that IPTV piracy is a major problem. EUIPO acknowledges this and provides a detailed overview of various actors in the ecosystem, as well as the legal remedies and enforcement options that are available.

    EUIPO’s definition of IPTV appears to be quite broad, as cyberlockers and the BitTorrent-powered Popcorn Time are mentioned as well. In general, however, most traditional IPTV services rely on direct streaming feeds and playlists.

    Regarding enforcement, EUIPO points out that EU law provides the means to go after developers, operators, and vendors of infringing services. Through civil and criminal actions against the alleged offenders, for example, or website blocking injunctions.

    In addition, facilitators could technically face legal problems as well. This includes blogs and YouTube channels that show people how to configure pirate devices, for example.

    “Depending on the level of involvement in the provision of illegal services, the facilitator can be co-liable for IPR infringement and can be prosecuted for aiding and abetting,” EUIPO notes.

    Whether individual IPTV users can be easily targeted remains an open question. According to EUIPO, requiring operators of illegal IPTV services to disclose information on their users could be incompatible with EU data protection law.

    The study is the most elaborate research into the illegal IPTV market to date. While it doesn’t arrive at any concrete recommendations, EUIPO’s Executive Director, Christian Archambeau, believes that understanding the ecosystem will help to raise awareness.

    “This is a market area in which infringing business models change quickly as they adapt to new technology and business opportunities. This research clarifies the technology used, the complex supply chains and legal issues.

    “It also casts much-needed light on a hidden area of an everyday activity, which is being exploited by organized crime, and should help raise awareness among EU citizens,” Archambeau adds.

    In addition to the IPTV study, EUIPO also released new data on the use of pirated content in EU countries. This reveals that there was a 15% decrease from 2017 to 2018. Music piracy, in particular, dropped very fast, 32% on average across the EU


  5. #1245
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    Court of Appeal Denies Kim Dotcom Access to Illegal Spy Recordings

    The New Zealand Court of Appeal has refused to grant Kim Dotcom access to his private communications captured illegally by the country's spy agency. The Court found that while the intercepted communications, which formed part of the Megaupload investigation, are 'relevant', the need to protect national security tips the scales in the state's favor.

    In the months leading up to the now infamous raid on Kim Dotcom’s New Zealand mansion and his cloud storage site Megaupload, the entrepreneur and his associates were under surveillance.

    Between December 2011 and March 2012, New Zealand authorities used the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) spy agency to snoop on the private communications of Kim and former wife Mona Dotcom, plus Megaupload co-defendant Bram van der Kolk.

    Since the GCSB is forbidden from conducting surveillance on New Zealand citizens or permanent residents in the country, the spying carried out against Dotcom was illegal. The GCSB admitted liability and will at some point pay damages, but Dotcom also demanded access to the recordings.

    In 2017, however, the High Court
    rejected Dotcom’s access request, stating that the release of the intercepted communications would not take place. Citing security concerns, the Court said that the public interest in not disclosing the information outweighed the benefits of disclosure.

    This denial triggered a claim by Dotcom to the Court of Appeal. The result of that process is now in and it’s more bad news for the Megaupload founder.

    “The intercepted communications are relevant, and there is a public interest in them being disclosed so they may be put to use in and for purposes of this proceeding. Natural justice and open justice are the two dimensions to the public interest in favor of disclosure,” a Court of Appeal statement reads.

    However, the Court believes that disclosure is not absolutely necessary for justice to be done in this particular case. Furthermore, it must also weigh the broader public interest and potential fallout that could harm national security, if the GCSB’s methods are compromised.

    “The GCSB has admitted liability; what is in issue is the quantum of damages for dignitary losses. Summaries of information already disclosed will permit a fair trial in this case. The GCSB’s claim that disclosure would harm national security and international relations is well-founded. The balancing exercise favors non-disclosure,” the Court concludes.

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    Planned .Org Registry Sale Puts The Pirate Bay at Risk

    The Internet Society is in the process of selling the Public Interest Registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital. The planned sale has raised widespread concerns over a possible price hike and suspensions of .org domains. This could also be relevant for many pirate sites including The Pirate Bay, which still operates from its original .org domain

    There are plenty of options for copyright holders to frustrate the operations of pirate sites, but one of the most effective is to attack their domain names.

    In recent years, various entertainment industry groups have called on the domain name industry to help out on this front.

    As a result, the MPAA signed a
    landmark agreement with the Donuts registry under which the movie industry group acts as a “trusted notifier” of “pirate” domains. A similar deal was later announced with the Radix registry.

    Not all registrars and registries are welcoming these types of voluntary actions. The Public Interest Registry (
    PIR), which oversees the registrations of .org domains, was previously asked by the RIAA to suspend The Pirate Bay’s domain name. However, the organization chose not to do so.

    Many registrars and registries don’t like the idea of acting as “content police.” Instead, they prefer these matters to be handled through the courts instead. This is one of the main reasons why The Pirate Bay, after more than 15 years, is still accessible on its .org domain.

    Ironically, the infamous torrent site moved to over a dozen other domains in the past, fearing a .org domain seizure. However, while many other the other domains were suspended or taken by court order, stands tall.

    The question is whether things will remain this way, as PIR is in the process of being sold to private equity firm Ethos Capital. At the moment, PIR is part of the Internet Society, which is critical of stringent copyright policies, but its new owner may see things differently.

    Possible policy changes are also a concern many organizations and groups have. A few days ago, EFF, Wikimedia, Internet Archive, Creative Commons, Demand Progress, and several others,
    sent a letter to Internet Society President Andrew Sullivan, urging him to stop the sale.

    The groups are concerned that Ethos may raise domain name prices and that it will implement rights protection mechanisms. In addition, they caution that domain names could be suspended for alleged illegal activity, without any judicial oversight.

    Ethos will have “the power to implement processes to suspend domain names based on accusations of ‘activity contrary to applicable law’,” the letter reads.

    The organizations are concerned that this will put NGOs at risk. However, the same issues are very relevant for The Pirate Bay as well. After all, that will be one of the prime candidates for a voluntary domain name suspension.

    Thus far there is no indication that Ethos has any plans to do so. However, if we look closely at the company we do notice something worth sharing. Erik Brooks, the founder and CEO of Ethos Capital,
    served (or serves) on the board of the Donuts registry.

    Yes, that’s the same Donuts the MPAA has an agreement with to suspend copyright-infringing domains. Brooks joined the board after that deal was struck, but it’s an interesting observation nonetheless.

    TorrentFreak reached out to both the Internet Society and Ethos Capital for further details but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

    We doubt that The Pirate Bay is worried about any of this. While it may become more likely that they’ll lose their original .org domain sometime in the future, the site always has alternatives ready. We have little doubt that they still have a few lined up, just in case.

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    ‘Pirate’ IPTV Reseller Boom Media Wants $250,000 in Donations to Fight Lawsuit

    Former 'pirate' IPTV reseller Boom Media is being sued in the US by broadcaster DISH Network. A defeat could cost tens of millions of dollars but that's not all. Boom Media owner John Henderson says what DISH really wants is information on his suppliers and customers, so he want to take the case to trial. To finance that, however, he needs at least $250,000 in donations.

    Until recently, Boom Media was one of the most active and recognizable ‘pirate’ IPTV reseller brands available to the public.

    Operating in the United States under the name Boom Media LLC, the company acted as a reseller for IPTV subscription services including MFG TV, Beast TV, Nitro TV, Murica Streams, Epic IPTV, Vader Streams, and OK2.

    reported early November, this attracted the unwanted attention of DISH Network and partner NagraStar, who teamed up to sue Boom Media LLC and son and mother team John and Debra Henderson.

    The broadcaster claimed that the Boom Media service, which was allegedly operated from John’s home, received payments from customers via accounts operated by mother Debra. This operation, DISH said, resulted in willful violations of the company’s rights under the Federal Communications Act.

    While some of DISH’s similar lawsuits have dragged on for some time in court, there’s evidence to suggest that in addition to obtaining cash settlements from targets such as Boom, the broadcaster views such litigation as a stepping-stone to further litigation against their associates. And, of course, more settlements.

    John Henderson certainly believes this is the case. In an expletive-ridden video posted to YouTube this week, he says that DISH and NagraStar want to break him down in their hunt for information on others involved in the IPTV supply and consumption chain.

    He says he’s not comfortable with that at all so he wants to take the fight to DISH in order to prevent that from happening. But of course, that will take money – lots of money – and he wants that to be donated by former customers and other interested parties.

    “I set up a GoFundMe to help me pay for legal fees. The point of that is i’m gonna take this shit to a trial by jury, that’s my intent. So basically, the lawyer just to start is $15,000,” he says.

    “The basic point is in order for me to get any kind of settlement, I have to turn over information on fucking everything, everything I’ve ever known, and I’m just not comfortable doing that. Yeah, so you bought [subscriptions to IPTV services through Boom] but they have the right to subpoena Google and PayPal.”

    The $15,000 to get started is, well, just that. The GoFundMe currently has a target of $250,000 but whether that sizeable amount will cover the costs of lengthy litigation is up for debate. Nevertheless, Henderson says that by biting back, he can stop DISH from getting his customers’ details and sending them demands for cash settlements for alleged piracy.

    “What they’ve done with these cookie-cutter lawsuits is that they’ve turned them into a stream of revenue for themselves. This isn’t really about fucking lawsuits and protecting anything at this point, it’s about getting information to send you a fucking letter demanding $3,500, which is what they’ve been doing with everyone.

    “Everyone has settled, no one has taken them to trial, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it unfolds,” he says.

    Henderson acknowledges that the legal process is going to cost “a shit-load of money” but if people don’t want to support him, “that’s fine”. However, he warns that these types of cases can set a precedent and handing over the information is something he wants to avoid, to protect everyone in the supply and consumption chain.

    “I think I have some valid points why they shouldn’t be able to get that information at all. That’s really all there is to it, I’m asking for support. I think resellers across the fucking globe should be jumping on this because whatever happens to me, does affect you because now they can say ‘we got this from Boom Media’, this is the way it worked out, now you must settle,” he adds.

    Henderson believes that IPTV providers themselves should also take an interest in a successful outcome to the case because if resellers are no longer a legal target, they won’t have any reason to give up information on their suppliers.

    “The only reason that people are getting snitched on is because resellers are pussies, I mean that’s just the way it is,” he claims.

    Boom Media: We need $250,000 to fight DISH lawsuit

    “I have [the GoFundMe] up for $250,000. I know that when TVAddons was going through this, that’s pretty much how it went. They just bled them dry,” Henderson says.

    While TVAddons did have a huge
    legal dispute with DISH that undoubtedly cost founder Adam Lackman a lot of money, Lackman insists that he never handed over his users’ data to DISH. That suggests there may be a way out of Henderson’s situation without compromising his suppliers and former customers but only time will tell if a jury trial can deliver the type of victory that avoids that.

    If it even gets that far, that is.

    While a quarter of a million dollars is a significant sum, Henderson fully expects to face tactics designed to break his ability to fight back. Already he claims that DISH is attempting to get a gag order to prevent him from telling the world “what garbage they are for suing an innocent woman, my mother, knowing goddamn well she had nothing to do with anything.”

    Until he gets served with a gag order, however, he’s not shutting up at all, he insists. Meanwhile, he says that DISH is generating money from a “stupid tax”, a reference to all the IPTV and IKS (Internet Key Sharing) users to whom DISH sends letters and receives settlements in return.

    The fundraiser’s goals

    “They [DISH] want everything from me. They want my soul, they want all the information, they want me to roll on everyone, which isn’t even really possible but I’m not gonna do it,” Henderson

    “I’m fully prepared to go to war over this shit but I’m gonna need financial help. Obviously, everyone knows I’m out of business, that’s the way it is. I’m not a millionaire, I’m not a billionaire, I’m barely a thousandaire.”

    Henderson doesn’t provide any proof, but claims that Vader Streams – a pirate IPTV provider that was targeted by the MPA-backed Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment
    earlier this year, “snitched on everyone, they snitched and they rolled over and they gave up everything.” Prior to the settlement agreement, Vader said it would not compromise customers.

    Henderson says he doesn’t want to go down the disclosure route but DISH is on record wanting Boom Media to do just that. In addition to a permanent injunction against the company, it wants Boom’s domain name plus “all hard copy and electronic records” regarding persons involved in the entire “Rebroadcasting Scheme”.

    At the time of writing,
    the GoFundMe has raised $700 of its $250,000 target.

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    Japan implements copyright reform: harder punishments planned

    The copyright reform, which the government of Japan presented in early 2019, is to be implemented in large parts, as the portal Sumikai reports . On Wednesday the vote took place. The new laws are expected to come into force during the next year. But there is still need for clarification in some points.

    Japan wants to do more in the fight against online pirates

    The reform of the copyright there should curb online piracy in Japan. Anyone who uses anime, computer games, e-books, manga, music or software illegally in the future must expect harsher sanctions. The Tokyo government also wants to punish the upload much harder. In August , it was said that linking to black copies should be punished with imprisonment of up to five years. The download was said to imprisonment of up to two years.

    In March of this year, the Parliament moved the talks on the grounds that it was necessary to revise the bill again. The reform of early 2019 has caused many critics to go too far for the censorship of the Internet and the planned sanctions. They fear a significant interference with the freedom of expression of their fellow citizens.

    Distribution of excerpts of whole works legally

    A committee of the Japanese special office Bunka-chō (Office for Cultural Affairs) has also commented . According to the partial download of copyrighted works should not be prohibited or punishable. While one would legalize the distribution or download of individual images of a manga or hentai work, it would be in the same breath, the distribution of the entire issue or film under penalty.

    Planned introduction of copyright reform in 2020

    Bunka-cho, the special office of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, wants to complete the copyright reform by January next year. The bill will then be discussed by the government in January.

    However, the employees of Bunka-cho have pointed out on Wednesday that there is still need for discussion. So one must still clarify to what extent one wants to punish the complete Download of original works. Exceptions are parodies and derivative works such as Memes. In addition, it was announced that the local economy would suffer greatly from online piracy in Japan. The damage is serious.

    Reform wants to contain the shadow economy

    Some observers see the proposed reform in response to large illegal portals such as Mangamura, where links to over 600GB of black copies existed. In July 2019, the operator of was arrested. The site is no longer online. However, there are many other illegal websites that turn their content to this special-interest audience.

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    SET TV Operator and Manager Must Pay Millions in Piracy Damages

    Amazon, Netflix, and several Hollywood studios have added another victory to their legal track record. A federal court in California has granted a default judgment which orders the owner and an employee of the IPTV service Set-TV to pay over $7 million in piracy damages.

    The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the anti-piracy alliance featuring several Hollywood studios, Amazon, Netflix and other entertainment outfits, has declared war on pirate streaming services.

    The alliance is the driving force behind several lawsuits including the one filed against
    Florida-based IPTV service SET TV early last year.

    At the time, SET TV was a popular software-based IPTV service that was also sold pre-loaded with set-top boxes. While it was marketed as a legal service, ACE members framed it as little more than a pirate tool, allowing buyers to stream copyright-infringing content.

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

    Soon after the lawsuit was filed the IPTV service went offline, leaving its 180,000 subscribers behind. But that didn’t mean the case against SET TV, its owner Jason Labossiere, and employee Nelson Johnson, was over. ACE pressed on, hoping to get a judgment in its favor.

    Without any of the defendants putting up a defense, ACE booked its first victory a few months ago. The media companies submitted a motion for a default judgment against the company SET Broadcast, LLC, which the court granted.

    ACE celebrated the victory in public, but the matter wasn’t completely closed. The anti-piracy alliance managed to secure a judgment against the company, but not the two employees. To address that, the copyright holders went back to the court requesting another default judgment.

    This week the U.S. District Court for Central California granted their request. SET TV owner Jason Labossiere and employee Nelson Johnson, who both failed to put up a defense, were found guilty of willful copyright infringement.

    The rightsholders demanded the maximum in statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the 51 infringed works. The Court deemed this appropriate. The mentioned works were just a small sample so the actual damages “would likely be astronomically higher.”

    As a result, Labossiere and Johnson must pay $7,650,000 in damages. The two are jointly and severally liable, meaning that both can be required to pay the full amount if the other is unable to.

    In addition to the damages, the Court also issued a permanent injunction to prevent any future copyright infringement. Among other things, the men are prohibited from operating the Set TV Now service, as well as any website, system, software, or service that is substantially similar.

    With judgments against all defendants, the most recent order effectively ends the SET TV lawsuit. However, it’s certainly not the end of ACE’s legal campaigns.

  10. #1250
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    South Africa Faces US Trade Sanctions over Online Piracy

    The US Trade Representative has launched a review of South Africa's copyright protection policies, which could result in trade sanctions. The announcement follows a petition from the IIPA, which represents the MPA, RIAA, and other entertainment industry groups. The organizations are unhappy with how South Africa is handling the threat of online piracy and are demanding change.

    The entertainment industry is a major driver of the US economy, good for millions of jobs and billions in revenue.

    To protect this industry the US Government is keeping a close eye on copyright policies around the world.

    This often happens following referrals from industry groups. For example, earlier this year the US Trade Representative (USTR) was asked to take a close look at South Africa’s copyright track record.

    This request came from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). This coalition of prominent rightsholder groups, including the MPA and RIAA, informed the USTR that it’s not happy with how South Africa addresses copyright issues.

    In its submission the IIPA called for trade sanctions, recommending that the U.S. Government should suspend South Africa’s
    GSP trade benefits. According to the group, the country doesn’t do enough to protect the interests of copyright holders.

    “South Africa does not meet the GSP eligibility criteria primarily due to its weak copyright law and enforcement regime,” the IIPA noted.

    The USTR took the matter seriously and recently launched an
    official review of South Africa’s intellectual property rights protections, asking the public for input. If these protections are not deemed to be “adequate and effective” the country faces trade sanctions.

    “USTR has accepted a petition filed by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA). The petition alleges that the Government of South Africa does not provide adequate and effective copyright protection for U.S. copyrighted works,” the USTR announced.

    In recent years, copyright issues have already been on the political agenda in South Africa. Lawmakers have been working on a new copyright bill, which is close to being signed into law. However, according to the IIPA, this hasn’t delivered any progress. On the contrary.

    “This legislation will move South Africa further away from international norms by failing to establish a clear legal framework to provide adequate and effective protection of copyrighted material, especially in the digital environment,” the IIPA noted.

    The group strives for modern copyright laws and enforcement regimes around the world and notes that the African country falls short. Among other things, the IIPA would like South Africa to appoint special cybercrime inspectors and develop a cybercrime security hub, recognizing copyright as a top priority.

    While the US Government can’t write South Africa’s laws directly, trade sanctions might just help motivate the local Government to take action in the interest of US companies. That would certainly not be the first time.

    In 2017 the US Government sanctioned Ukraine following a
    similar referral from the IIPA. This triggered a wave of copyright-related actions in the country, after which President Trump decided to lift the sanctions last month.

  11. #1251
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    EBook Piracy Case Plaintiff Vents Frustrations, Judge Responds

    Earlier this year, author John Van Stry granted former Pirate Party leader Travis McCrea's wish to be sued over his eBook download platform The matter is now at the discovery stage but it's clear Van Stry's attorney has run out of patience with McCrea. After submitting a laundry list of complaints and frustrations to the court, things are now coming to a head.

    In March, US-based author John Van Stry
    filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Travis McCrea, the operator of eBook download platform

    To say early progress in the case was disorganized is something of an understatement. With a relatively inexperienced McCrea opting to defend himself, things were never likely to go particularly smoothly.

    Nevertheless, in September things appeared to get
    back on track, with McCrea eventually filing an answer to the complaint, pushing matters on to the next stage. Since then, however, the plaintiff and his attorney have grown increasingly frustrated with McCrea’s alleged conduct and tactics.

    Back in August during a scheduling conference, the court indicated a desire to keep costs as low as possible during the discovery process, to the benefit of both plaintiff and defendant. According to a motion to compel discovery filed by the plaintiff this week, however, McCrea is allegedly frustrating the discovery process.

    “Defendant has been acting at cross-purposes with the Court; bringing all progress in the case to a standstill by providing no response to discovery requests, much less any discovery; delaying by habitually requiring weeks and numerous emails from Plaintiff before Defendant responds to simple inquiries, such as indicating whether Defendant received the discovery requests,” the motion reads.

    What follows is a laundry list of complaints, too numerous to cover here in detail. In summary, however, there are many accusations that McCrea promised to do things he subsequently didn’t, including missing deadlines, failing to communicate properly, if at all, and generally bogging the process down.

    Van Stry’s attorney further accuses McCrea of “needlessly” driving up costs by “propounding discovery that Defendant never collected, and proposing a settlement requiring Plaintiff’s counsel to draft an agreement quickly, and then ignoring communications from Plaintiff regarding the same once drafted.”

    In respect of the settlement, McCrea is said to have proposed terms that suited Van Stry and a draft was drawn up and sent to McCrea in advance of the required date of October 11, 2019. On October 9, counsel for the plaintiff reached out to McCrea to confirm receipt of the agreement and asked when a reply could be expected.

    After McCrea’s own deadline passed without communication, on October 15 Van Stry’s legal team set a deadline of their own – October 18. McCrea reportedly got in touch on the day but then requested an amendment to the agreement, which was accepted and redrafted within hours.

    A new deadline of October 21 passed without communication so on October 23, counsel for the plaintiff asked McCrea, “If there is some impediment to executing the agreement, please let us know.” According to the filing, a response to that statement was never received.

    “Plaintiff can only speculate why Mr. McCrea would propose a settlement, making Plaintiff’s counsel scramble in order to achieve the objective after Plaintiff agreed to the settlement, and then ignore communication regarding the same, but such speculation by Plaintiff leads only to harmful motives on Mr. McCrea’s part,” the motion reads.

    According to counsel for Van Stry, McCrea “is simply failing to prioritize” the litigation he’s involved in. McCrea is reportedly moving house but the plaintiff believes that the case is “at least on par” with the former Pirate Party leader’s commitments in respect of moving and working.

    To highlight that McCrea isn’t taking things seriously, Van Stry’s team indicate they have been watching McCrea’s Reddit activity, noting that he’s had time to post “over 100 times” on the platform during October and November but not deal with the lawsuit efficiently.

    In closing, the author’s attorney asks the court to set McCrea a quick deadline to deliver his discovery responses.

    “Plaintiff is asking the Court to recognize Mr. McCrea’s behavior as unacceptable, and asking that Mr. McCrea be given a tight and strict deadline to fully respond to the interrogatories and RFPs or face consequences,” the motion concludes.

    The response from the court was swift. Two days later an order appeared on the docket ordering McCrea to take action or face the consequences.

    “Because of the apparent lack of progress in the discovery process in this case and the impending deadlines for the close of discovery and the filing of dispositive motions, the defendant is ordered to respond to the motion by 5:00 pm, Central (U.S.) Time, on December 2, 2019,” Judge Bryson writes.

    “In the absence of a response from the defendant by that time, the motion will be treated as unopposed, and the Court will take action based on the allegations in the motion.”

  12. #1252
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    Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 12/02/19

    The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Rambo: Last Blood'. 'Gemini Man' completes the top three.

    This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

    Gemini Man 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 (4) Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood 7.9 / trailer
    2 (3) Rambo: Last Blood 6.6 / trailer
    3 (1) Gemini Man 5.7 / trailer
    4 (…) The Irishman 8.4 / trailer
    5 (2) Angel Has Fallen 6.5 / trailer
    6 (6) It Chapter Two 6.8 / trailer
    7 (5) Joker (Subbed HDRip) 8.8 / trailer
    8 (…) Hustlers 6.5 / trailer
    9 (8) Ready or Not 7.0 / trailer
    10 (…) Abominable 7.0 / trailer

  13. #1253
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    Pirate Bay Replaced Its Iconic Logo to Get Some Extra Revenue

    The Pirate Bay has delivered some interesting logo changes in recent weeks. The torrent site temporarily swapped the good-old pirate ship to promote a VPN, a file-hosting service, and a blockchain project. While the site hasn't explained its motives it is, at least in part, an attempt to earn some additional income.

    To many people, the Pirate Bay logo is the icon of free entertainment. For more than 15 years, the site has been the goto place for pirate content.

    Although the site has faced regular downtime and connectivity issues in recent years, it remains online today.

    In recent weeks, however, we noticed that The Pirate Bay’s logo was regularly replaced with something else. This isn’t entirely new, as the site often used to swap the iconic pirate ship graphic to
    send a message.

    The more recent changes are noteworthy though, as they are – at least in part – used to generate revenue.

    The Pirate Bay never displayed standard ads on the site’s homepage. And while there are still no network ads, TPB has swapped its logo several times to promote the “Pirate Bay approved” VPN provider AzireVPN, as shown below.

    The VPN provider confirmed to TorrentFreak that The Pirate Bay asked to join its affiliate program, which it uses to generate some extra revenue. In addition to the homepage banner that appeared several times, there’s a “VPN” link to AzireVPN on all TPB pages as well.

    Another new logo that showed up recently promotes the file-hosting service It’s not clear whether this is an advertisement, or perhaps a promotion for a ‘friend,’ but there must be a good reason to show the banner.

    We reached out to to find out more but, at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back. As with the VPN, also has a sitewide link on the site, under the “filehosting” tag.

    Finally, there’s The Pirate Bay’s promotion of the blockchain project Hex, which describes itself as the first high-interest savings account on the blockchain. Like most crypto projects it’s not without controversy. However, TPB believes it can get something out of it.

    The torrent site currently displays a banner on its homepage which comes with a referral link. This means that TPB gets a 20% bonus minted for everyone who signs up through the site.

    It’s unclear whether the logo swaps are a temporary thing or if they will happen more frequently in the future. Over the past few weeks, the ‘promo’ logos have been appearing on an off, with Hex being the most recent addition.

    In any case, people shouldn’t be surprised to see a slightly different look when they access the TPB homepage.

  14. #1254
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    P2P lawsuit: District Court Munich makes unreal claims

    Although the warned one did everything possible to find the culprit, the judges are not satisfied. The court requires that he specify for the day who was present and used his WLAN. Until the investigation of the perpetrator, the Internet should be rigorously torn for all other users. The lawyer of the warned called the demands of the court as a veritable " psycho terror " and " blackmail ".

    Waldorf Frommer has been sued for Warner Bros.

    The District Court of Munich is currently negotiating a P2P lawsuit with the file number 132 C 9709/19. The subject of the discussion is the use of an illegal file exchange offer of copyright protected film recordings. There was no final verdict in the case. However, the court has already positioned itself by appropriate evidence and indicates an unusually severe gait. The parties are based on a submission to the European Court of Justice.

    The plaintiff, Warner Bros. Entertainment GmbH, is represented by the law firm Waldorf Frommer. It claims the defendants to pay damages and reimbursement of expenses for infringement of their copyrights. The initiated investigations into the provision of the controversial film in an exchange led to his IP address. Thus, the plaintiff reminded the defendant.

    The defendant assures his innocence: Neither had said film on his own computer, nor a file sharing software. In addition, the accused does not know the disputed work.

    The defendant states that in addition to the use of communication tasks such as WhatsApp and e-mail, his smartphone serves as an essential source of information. He keeps up to date via relevant news apps on the Internet.

    Defendant comes to secondary burden of presentation after...

    As part of its secondary burden of reference, the defendant refers to other persons who can also access his internet connection. These are his wife and his two sons. "For the assumption that the owner of an Internet connection is without the addition of further circumstances regularly the perpetrator of a copyright infringement committed by this connection, there is a lack of sufficient typicality of the course of events. Given the obvious possibility that the Connected Party will grant third parties access to his connection, there is no reasonable likelihood of accepting the perpetrator's liability , "says lawyer Ehssan Khazaeli of the law firm Von Ruedenwho handles the case in charge.

    ...court is, however: enough is not enough!

    The defendant has detailed his usage behavior and that of his family members. But since his investigation was also unsuccessful in the result, the court wrote that the explanations were too small.

    The court demands the "use of" reasonably "available investigative possibilities". In the first step, the connecting party should therefore "consider the possible perpetrators. For substantiation, therefore, it must be stated who was "at home" on the day of the claimed download time and who was able to access which computers. "

    In a second step, he should then confront the possible perpetrators with the alleged copyright infringement. In addition, one must demand an opinion of the perpetrators. It is not enough just to present the event to this person. It must also be made clear the expectation that the one who has to answer, his guilt. The confrontation with the known facts must therefore be supported by the will to know the actual or most likely offender. If several possible perpetrators, which result in the conclusion that it wanted to be nobody, would be exactly the same each again to confront. "

    The court questions whether, after the accused's speech, "serious talks" were actually held. According to the submitted opinion, "matching" the Internet user behavior understanding and "approaching" the possible perpetrators is not enough . " In addition, there is no problem in letting the internet access through to a clarification."

    Consequently, the court proposes a settlement in which the defendant has to pay the applicant a compensatory amount.

    Lawyer: "Legal versions of the court recall psychoterror"

    The court's ruling Von Rueden commented on the settlement proposal of the court:

    "The owner of an Internet connection, in particular, can not be expected to reconstruct the exact daily routine of a day several weeks ago. For this purpose, it would be necessary that he creates motion profiles on the family members, in which he determines at any time of day or night, when, who is where and just accessing a computer. Or not. To require such a recording obligation would be absurd. [...] The limits of what is still reasonable in the context of the secondary burden of proof are exceeded where the defendant would be required to monitor the behavior of their family members. Monitoring the family members not only means an interference with the general right to privacy, but also poses the danger of a sensitive disturbance of the family structure.

    And further:

    "As far as the court points out, it is not enough simply to present the facts to the other user, but rather to demand that the one who commits himself to the act who is responsible for this (" express expectation ") should also take the latter for granted his. No one will assume that the connection owner would tell them this "just like that". So it is here: The defendant has reported the other connection users of the incident, in the expectation that someone confesses to the act. Also, the court's requirement to "confront all again" when no one is committed to doing so is likely to present an exaggerated understanding of the secondary burden of proof. The court expresses that it considers the secondary burden of

    "The fact that the court, after the details of the infringement could not be cleared to prohibit the use of the Internet connection entirely, actually turns out to be extortion. Also a duty of instruction without prior evidence is not according to the case law of the Federal Court. After the "expectation" of the follow-up owner was disappointed, this can at best now make real teaching obligations. "

    Submission of the case to the European Court of Justice is likely

    The Tribunal suggested, on the basis of Von Rueden's arguments , that if "no amicable settlement can be reached at a hearing and then, in a final decision, a diverging legal interpretation of the Tribunal, the Tribunal will consider a referral to the European Court of Justice and this does not seem unlikely at present. "However, it would be for courts that did not finalize decided, no submission obligation.

    Court insists on blocking the Wi-Fi connection for other users

    The court's legal interpretation implies that "a follow-up owner should check blocking of the connection for other users if his or her efforts to obtain information do not prove the actual perpetrator, and make this clear in his efforts. "The court does not see in it any blackmail. "The court finds obvious that the cease and desist letter is demanded and takes place in such a way that legal violations are no longer allowed from this connection. Why then the representation of the necessary consequences that follow from a lack of knowledge of the actual perpetrator, should not be used as a means of investigation, does not open to the court. "

    Lawyer: blocking the wi-fi password would be disproportionate

    Attorney Ehssan Khazaeli from the law firm VON RUEDEN , then clarifies the court and informs that blocking the Wi-Fi password for all users would constitute a "significant interference with the freedom of information of the respective access users " . "Demanding such an intervention from a family internet access user would be disproportionately disproportionate." He also refers to an adequate decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ, judgment of 15.09.2016, C-484/14, ZUM 2016, 965).

    Contrary to what the court says, it is unlikely that a connection owner who has made an infringement of the connection will be expected to block this connection, which is already personalized by Wi-Fi password for all users. This represents a significant interference with the freedom of information of the respective connection users . "If the connection owner forecasts that the Internet connection would be blocked for all users, if nobody is committed to doing so, this simply constitutes a disproportionate extortion (not in the criminal law). "

    It remains exciting...

    A final court decision is still pending. It will be exciting to what final decision the court will come. In advance, there was already a strong struggle in court for legal interpretations and their implementation.

  15. #1255
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    Premier League Piracy Case Ends In ‘Record Damages’, Suspended Sentences

    The Premier League says it has secured one of the highest copyright-related damages awards in Thailand's history after targeting individuals behind a major 'piracy network' in Asia. A British man and a Thai national pleaded guilty to infringement, paid the Premier League around £385,000, forfeited close to £180,000, and received suspended jail sentences totaling 3.5 years.

    With the rise of convenient web-based live streaming, in recent years the Premier League has found itself on the front lines of anti-piracy enforcement.

    While a significant proportion of its actions are targeted at illicit offerings available in the UK, the Premier League doesn’t shy away from tackling those who offer live games in other areas of the world too.

    The group, which operates top-tier football in England, says it launched an investigation which was taken on by Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation in 2015. That developed into a covert investigation in Hong Kong during 2017 targeting individuals behind various websites operating under the banner

    The trail eventually led back to an operation in Thailand which offered pirate streams and preloaded set-top boxes across southeast Asia including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.

    Raids were subsequently carried out by Thailand’s DSI at five locations including a residential address in Bangkok on May 11, 2017. Two British men were arrested and a Thai woman was detained at a later date.

    One of the men subsequently skipped bail but the remaining pair faced charges, including copyright infringement, relating to the unlicensed distribution of Premier League content and running a major ‘piracy network’ across Asia. Both pleaded guilty and have now been sentenced.

    The Premier League reports the pair have paid damages to them totaling THB 15 million (around £385,000) which, according to the League, is one of the highest damages awards for copyright infringement ever paid in Thailand.

    This is an addition to funds of almost THB 7 million (£180,000) that were seized by the state, THB 3 million (£76,800) in fines, plus suspended prison sentences totaling 3.5 years.

    “This is one of the most substantial compensations for piracy-related crimes in Thailand and is a stark warning to anyone involved in the illegal supply of Premier League streams,” says Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb.

    “Attitudes towards, and acceptance of, these types of operators in Asia is changing, which is good news for fans who watch Premier League content through legitimate channels.”

    This latest success for the Premier League can be added to the
    growing list of anti-piracy victories reported by the football group in recent times which include dynamic blocking injunctions and dealing with the sprawling problem of premium IPTV services.

  16. #1256
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    Cox Can Use ‘Copyright Alert System’ Evidence in Piracy Case, Court Rules

    The so-called six-strikes anti-piracy scheme in the United States may be dead, but it's about to be used as prime evidence in the lawsuit between ISP Cox and several music labels. A federal court in Virginia has denied a request from the labels to exclude the matter from trial, during which Cox is expected to argue that its own anti-piracy measures went even further than the industry-approved alternative.

    The so-called ‘Six-Strikes’
    Copyright Alert System was once praised as an excellent tool to address online piracy.

    Under the agreement, which included the major rightsholder groups MPA and RIAA, several large Internet providers in the US sent copyright infringement warnings to pirating customers.

    After repeated alerts, these subscribers would face a variety of ‘mitigation’ measures but their accounts would not be terminated. Although rightsholders and ISPs appeared happy with the deal, it was
    shut down nearly three years ago.

    Instead of cooperating with ISPs, several RIAA members then took another approach by filing lawsuits against Internet providers for not doing enough to curb piracy. This also
    happened to Cox, which was sued for failing to disconnect repeat infringers.

    The lawsuit between several music companies and Cox is scheduled to go to trial later this month. Interestingly, the ISP is now planning to use the aforementioned Copyright Alert System (CAS) as evidence in its favor.

    Cox was asked to participate in the voluntary anti-piracy scheme years ago but chose not to do so. According to the company,
    its own “strike” policy was already functioning well and perhaps even better than the industry-approved alternative.

    This line of reasoning is also relevant for the ongoing legal dispute, Cox believes. The RIAA members disagreed and previously asked the court to exclude it from the trial. However, according to a recent ruling from Judge Liam O’Grady, the ISP is permitted to use it in its favor.

    “Defendants are permitted to put on evidence about the Copyright Alert System as well as its own graduated response system, the Cox Abuse Ticket System,” O’Grady writes.

    In addition, Cox is also allowed to present evidence about the policies at other ISPs, as identified in related reports, as long as it is relevant to the case.

    This is a clear setback for the music labels which argued that the policies and actions of other ISPs and the CAS are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether Cox’s own anti-piracy system was reasonable or effective in comparison with other providers, they said.

    The court disagreed, however, but it also brought some bad news for Cox.

    The ISP planned to
    cite internal research to suggest that 96% of subscribers stopped receiving notices after the 5th warning. This was concluded in 2010 and resulted in the ISP’s belief that its “graduated response” system was effective.

    According to the music companies these conclusions, of which the underlying data is no longer available, were based on a “mess of misleading calculations.” As such, they wanted it excluded from the trial.

    Judge O’Grady agreed with the music companies. After reviewing the arguments from both sides, he concludes that there is no adequate foundation for the information presented in the “96% Stop By 5 Notices” evidence.

    “Defendants have had ample time to produce such a foundation, and failed to do so. Discrepancies in numbers and figures as detailed in Plaintiffs’ briefs raise an alarming number of questions that demand the underlying data be produced, not just the emails Defendants offer in support,” O’Grady writes.

    With these and various other motions dealt with, the trial will soon get underway. While some boundaries have been set, there is still plenty left to argue over.

  17. #1257
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    Europol Seizes Over 30,000 Copyright Infringing Domains, But Which Ones?

    A coalition of international law enforcement agencies, including Europol, has announced its annual round of domain name seizures. Over 30,000 domain names were taken over this year, including some that were dedicated to online piracy. While these figures are impressive, no major pirate sites are missing in action.

    In 2010, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security began their first rounds of domain name seizures.

    Under the flag of “
    Operation In Our Sites” the authorities shut down a dozen file-sharing and streaming sites, as well as many sites that sold counterfeit goods.

    The action had a massive impact at the time. It resulted in several high profile arrests, including those of several NinjaVideo operators. However, they were not without controversy either.

    Several sites that were accused of piracy fought back. As a result, U.S. authorities had to
    return the domain name of sports streaming site Rojadirecta after a few months. And years later, the DoJ also dropped its case against torrent search engine Torrent-Finder.

    Despite this rocky start, Operation In Our Sites continued. In fact, the number of seizures only increased and by 2012 the campaign expanded internationally as well, with Europe joining in.

    Over the past years, the number of targeted domains continued to grow. Last year, the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center said it took down over a million domains in just a year. An unprecedented number, but one that didn’t draw any major headlines.

    Yesterday Europol announced its latest efforts. With help from international law enforcement agencies, it seized 30,506 domain names. According to the organization, these domains distributed counterfeit and pirated items.

    Among other things, the sites reportedly offered pirated movies, illegal television streaming, music, software, counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other illicit goods. In addition, officials also arrested three individuals while freezing more than €150,000 from various bank accounts and online payment providers.

    While these numbers are impressive, today’s Operation In Our Sites doesn’t have the media impact it had in the early days. Of course, there are news outfits rehashing Europol’s
    press release, noting that thousands of pirate sites have been taken offline, but that’s about it.

    What stands out most is that, in recent years, we haven’t been able to spot any pirate sites that were affected by such seizures. This, despite the fact that well over a million domains were seized.

    There’s no separate breakdown for the number of pirate and counterfeit domains. We assume that the majority of the affected domain names were linked to counterfeiting instead of piracy, but still, both categories are mentioned.

    The lack of visible impact stands in major contrast to the first year when only a few dozen domains were targeted. At the time, that lead to months of news coverage, lawsuits, and even questions from high profile politicians, including
    US Senator Ron Wyden.

    TorrentFreak reached out to Europol to find out what the most recent piracy targets were, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back. It’s clear, however, that Operation In Our Sites hasn’t targeted any major pirate sites in recent years.

    The big question is why. How does Europol pick its targets? And if it’s so easy to seize tens of thousands of domains, why do these major enforcement agencies only focus on smaller sites?

  18. #1258
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    Russia Blocks Shutterstock Domain, Restricting Access to Legit Copyrighted Content

    Russia Blocks Shutterstock Domain, Restricting Access to Legitimate Copyrighted Content

    Russia's website blocking system, which is frequently used to prevent access to copyright-infringing content, is now blocking access to legitimate copyrighted images on Shutterstock. According to telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor, an image considered insulting to the state resulted in and two IP addresses being blocked by the country's ISPs.

    Many countries around the world have systems in place to block access to copyright-infringing content and even entire sites.

    Russia’s system is particularly streamlined and has resulted in large volumes of pirate sites being rendered inaccessible to the country’s citizens.

    However, Russia’s blocking system isn’t only used to protect rightsholders. It’s regularly used to prevent access to terrorism-related material and other content considered dangerous to the public or even insulting to the state.

    On November 28, 2019, US-based stock footage site Shutterstock appeared on Russia’s registry of banned domains. Authority for the blocking was granted by the Prosecutor General’s Office on November 13, 2019, and as shown in the image below, covers one domain and two IPaddresses.


    At first view, one might consider this to be a copyright infringement issue. However, those who visit the URL detailed at the top of the notice will find what appears to be an image of a Russian flag placed in the middle of a pile of excrement. Russian authorities do not take kindly to their national symbols depicted in such a fashion and have laws in place to prevent it.

    As a result, Russian ISPs are now blocking two Shutterstock-related IP addresses (one in Germany, one in the Netherlands) which are both operated by cloud company Akamai. Whether other sites using the same IP addresses are also being affected is currently unclear.

    For good measure, Russia is also targeting the domain. As highlighted by Russian digital rights GROUP
    Roskomsvoboda, which first reported the news, this is particularly problematic since rather than tackling just a single URL, a whole HTTPS subdomain is in the register.

    While overblocking is never welcome, the great irony here is that while the Russian blacklist is often used to protect the rights of content creators, it is now effectively restricting their ability to do legitimate business in Russia via Shutterstock. Whether the company will remove the image to resolve the matter remains to be seen.

  19. #1259
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    qBittorrent v4.2.0 has been released

    qBittorrent v4.2.0 was released.
    There were no significant user facing changes since the previous RC release. The full v4.2.0 changelog follows.
    ATTENTION: This release uses the libtorrent 1.2.x series. It saves fastresumes a bit differently than the 1.1.x series, which are used so far in the previous versions. If you run it and then downgrade to a previous qBittorrent version then your torrents will probably start rechecking.

    • FEATURE: Libtorrent 1.2.x series are supported now (glassez)
    • FEATURE: Add OpenSSL version to GUI and stackdump (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Add zlib version to GUI & stackdump (silverqx)
    • FEATURE: Use PBKDF2 for the GUI lock. You will need to set your password again. (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Rename "#" column to "Tier" in the tracker list (thalieht)
    • FEATURE: Allow setting larger checking memory usage in GUI (airium)
    • FEATURE: Converted remaining icons to svg (Bert Verhelst)
    • FEATURE: Replace CheckBox with Arrow in the side panel (Prince Gupta)
    • FEATURE: Log performance alerts from libtorrent (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Use native folder icon in content tree (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Move copy actions under a submenu (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Add "Socket backlog size" option (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Add "File pool size" option (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Allow styling with QSS stylesheets (Prince Gupta)
    • FEATURE: Add "Tracker entries" dialog (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Add availability column (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Use a randomized port number for the first run (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Enable Super Seeding mode once ratio/time limit is reached (thalieht)
    • FEATURE: Improve embedded tracker. Now it conforms to BEPs more closely. (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Add option to align file to piece boundary when creating new torrent (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Ability to open file or trigger torrect action via keypad Enter (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Add "Remove torrent and its files" option to share ratio limiting (thalieht)
    • FEATURE: Allow to select multiple entries in "banned IP" dialog (Chocobo1)
    • FEATURE: Reallow to pause checking torrents (thalieht)
    • FEATURE: Reallow to force recheck torrents that aren't fully started (thalieht)
    • FEATURE: Add "Preview file" double-click action (warren)
    • BUGFIX: Avoid performance penalty when logger is full (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Remove the max half-open connections option (thalieht)
    • BUGFIX: Center align the section labels in advanced settings (thalieht)
    • BUGFIX: Add documentation links to some advanced settings (thalieht)
    • BUGFIX: Impove DownloadManager code (glassez)
    • BUGFIX: Limit DownloadHandler max redirection to 20 (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Log DownloadManager SSL errors (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Force recheck multiple torrents one by one (glassez)
    • BUGFIX: Close context menu when content model is reset (glassez)
    • BUGFIX: Improve Properties widget (glassez)
    • BUGFIX: Prevent flickering preview dialog (silver)
    • BUGFIX: Rename "Prefer encryption" to "Allow encryption" (thalieht)
    • BUGFIX: Fix search icon placement when using RTL languages (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Avoid combo boxes extending to the right in Options dialog (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Fix speed limit not applying to IPv6 peers (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Log failed file rename errors (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Fix wrong "Time Active" value displayed (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Rename priority to queue in the context of torrents (thalieht)
    • BUGFIX: Update remaining size of ignored files to 0 (Thomas Piccirello)
    • BUGFIX: Move "Check for program updates" checkbox to the Behavior settings (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Improve error messages for URL seed (Chocobo1)
    • BUGFIX: Rename share ratio limiting options (thalieht)
    • BUGFIX: Fix country name misspelling (horgan)
    • PERFORMANCE: Faster/efficient way of handling updates in the Transfer list (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Bump Web API version
    • WEBUI: Use PBKDF2 for the WebUI password. You will need to set your password again. (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Use Javascript strict mode (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Remove autocorrect/autocapitalise from filepaths on WebUI (AceLewis)
    • WEBUI: Display warning when Javascript is disabled (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Remove mootools lib from login page (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Prevent login credential appearing in url
    • WEBUI: Load WebUI certificate & key from file path (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Add migration code for WebUI https related change (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Fix wrong element id being used (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Fix direction of Web UI sorted column icon (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Match WebUI About page to GUI (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Simplify tab logic (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Separate URL components before percent-decoding (glassez)
    • WEBUI: Capitalize event name (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Fix bug where input wouldn't always be focused (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Add Web UI support for escape key (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Fix broken image link (Tom Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Include application version in css/js url for cache busting (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Update WebUI img to use svg images (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Fix speed limit icon too large on WebUI (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Fix misaligned icons in STATUS list in GUI (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Drop legacy WebAPI support (glassez)
    • WEBUI: Allow WebUI Content tab to be sorted (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Encode torrent name before passing in url
    • WEBUI: Move WebUI Peers code to separate file (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Prevent WebUI tables from being highlighted (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Allow WebUI Trackers table to be manipulated (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Fix only the first newline char is replaced (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Fix missing semicolon in WebUI (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Add autocomplete attribute to WebUI (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Always use index.html as default page (CzBiX)
    • WEBUI: Set title attribute for all WebUI table cells (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Align WebUI login button to the right (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Use force refresh on WebUI logout (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Use a random number for WebUI cache busting (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Register protocol handler in WebUI for magnet links (Cory)
    • WEBUI: Add WebAPI session timeout settings (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Fix encoding of special characters (Tom Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Avoid word wrap in webui footer (airium)
    • WEBUI: Add advanced options in WebUI (Zhaoyu Gan)
    • WEBUI: Move WebUI copy actions under a submenu (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Add WebUI support for triggering context menus on mobile (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Implement tag management for WebUI (Vasiliy Halimonchuk)
    • WEBUI: Fix WebUI removing parameters from magnet links (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Enable by default the search tab (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Add context menu to Web UI search table (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Display files hierarchically in Web UI content tab (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Add ability to add and ban a peer from the Web UI (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Increase WebUI window heights (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Sort torrent names case-insensitively in webui (airium)
    • WEBUI: Support exclusions in WebUI table filters (Thomas Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Don't save preferences until all options are processed (Tom Piccirello)
    • WEBUI: Disable port selection when "Use different port on each startup" is selected (Chocobo1)
    • WEBUI: Remove max character limit of location path (Clément Pera)
    • RSS: Better widget for choosing file path in automated downloader (thalieht)
    • RSS: Allow to cancel/retry the fetching of feeds (glassez)
    • RSS: Add create subfolder option to RSS auto-download rules (Xegor)
    • RSS: Log "RSS Feed successfully downloaded" event (glassez)
    • SEARCH: Add default tooltip "Searching..." on tab creation. (paolo-sz)
    • SEARCH: Avoid crashes on torrent search (paolo-sz)
    • SEARCH: Add right click menu to SearchJobWidget (Chocobo1)
    • SEARCH: Rename label in search widget (Chocobo1)
    • SEARCH: Add more copy field actions to search widget (Chocobo1)
    • SEARCH: Remove buttons from search widget (Chocobo1)
    • SEARCH: Update python installer url
    • WINDOWS: Drop support for < Windows 7
    • WINDOWS: Allow headless builds on Windows (knackebrot)
    • WINDOWS: Add option to control qBittorrent process memory priority (Chocobo1)
    • LINUX: Add content_rating, release tags to appdata (Peter Eszlari)
    • LINUX: Update .appdata descriptions (Chocobo1)
    • LINUX: Use reverse DNS convention for metadata files naming (Chocobo1)
    • LINUX: Adjust open file descriptor limit on startup to max (Chocobo1)
    • MACOS: Drop support for < macOS 10.10 (Yosemite)
    • MACOS: Replace deprecated qt_mac_set_dock_menu() (Chocobo1)
    • MACOS: Add some padding to macOS app icon (Nick Korotysh)
    • OTHER: Raise minimum C++ version to C++14 (Chocobo1)
    • OTHER: Raise minimum Qt version to 5.9.0 (sledgehammer999)
    • OTHER: Drop support of libtorrent < 1.1.10 (glassez)
    • OTHER: Drop upgrade code from older saving systems (sledgehammer999)
    • OTHER: Update INSTALL dependencies (Chocobo1)
    • OTHER: Optimize PNG images losslessly with zopflipng (Peter Dave Hello)
    • OTHER: Optimize svg files using SVGO (sledgehammer999)
    • OTHER: QMake: Compile translations at build time (glassez)
    • OTHER: Drop support for "BC Link" format (Chocobo1)
    • OTHER: Lots of code refactorings, cleanups, improvements and optimizations (Chocobo1, glassez, thalieht)

  20. #1260
    Amias's Avatar

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    Feb 2018
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    Greece Jails First Pirate Site Operator For Five Years

    A man who faced four criminal prosecutions for copyright infringement has become the first person jailed in Greece for running a pirate site. After switching domains and evading enforcement efforts for a decade, the man has now been handed a five-year prison term by an Athens court.

    For almost a decade, an anti-piracy group in Greece has been trying to bring the elusive operator of pirate sites to justice.

    EPOE protects the rights of entertainment industry companies including those in the film and television sectors. It filed criminal prosecutions against the alleged operator of the site Greekstars four times since 2009 but the processes were never straightforward.

    According to
    EPOE, each time a complaint was filed, the operator closed down his site and then reappeared under new domain names, which were variations on the original Greekstar branding. The final criminal action was filed way back in 2012 but has taken years to come to a conclusion. Now, however, it is all over.

    After a legal process of years, in November an Athens court rejected the defendant’s protests of innocence, including that he was simply a user of the sites in question and had been wrongly accused.

    The court found the man guilty of criminal copyright infringement and sentenced him to five years in prison for running sites including and He had previously been found guilty of running a pirate site located at All of the sites linked to pirated content hosted on other platforms.

    This is the first time that an individual has been sent to prison for running a pirate site in Greece, a landmark event according to EPOE spokesperson Theodoros Petsinis.

    “This convicted criminal had been sued four times by us. Each time a lawsuit was filed and the investigation was initiated, he would change his domain name, that is, the name of the website, and continue illegal distribution,” Petsinis
    told local media. “Identical content with another website name. He has been elusive for four years sharing movies, music, books and video games.”

    According to Petsinis, the presiding judges decided not to levy a fine as part of the man’s punishment due to “mitigating factors”, including that fining someone already in prison would be “meaningless”.

    While this first prison sentence is a key moment for Greece’s entertainment companies, the problem of piracy in the country is far from solved. EPOE believes there are between 40 and 50 sites active in the country, with around five attracting the most traffic.

    The anti-piracy group previously entered a request for
    38 domains to be blocked by ISPs but Petsinis complains that most of the sites simply changed their domains, effectively out-maneuvering the action. And, despite the efforts, Greece remains under the scrutiny of the United States for not doing enough to counter copyright infringement.

    In its latest Special 301 Report
    (pdf), the USTR opted to keep Greece on the ‘Watch List’. It accused the government itself of using unlicensed software while conducting ineffective IP investigations and prosecutions. The USTR also criticized the country for having “persistent problems with criminal enforcement delays”, which could certainly apply to the Greekstars case.

    However, with this five-year prison sentence, Greece does seem to have addressed the complaints from the US that the scale of sentences for persistent large-scale copyright infringers is “insufficient”.

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