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  1. #1261
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    Thailand: highest punishment so far for IPTV boxes and streaming sites

    According to ThaiVisa.com, because of IPTV piracy, a Briton and a Thai were sentenced to a fine of three and a half years on probation, along with several fines totaling EUR 540,000. In addition, the Thai authorities have withheld illicit revenue in excess of € 208,000.

    Sold your own Android boxes: Football streaming via IPTV

    In Thailand, two men were recently sentenced. They had sold Android-based set-top boxes on the Internet. About it one could look over IPTV illegal recordings of the highest football league and other high-ranking sport events. The copyright of the English Premier League (EPL) was primarily infringed. The men have to pay a fine of 15 million baht (THB), which is the equivalent of almost 450,000 euros. In addition, the searches have seized assets worth 7 million Bath (208,000 euros). The suspects have to pay an additional three million bath fines for conducting their illegal operations in Thailand. That's the equivalent of almost 90,000 EUR.

    It is believed that the total amount of fines is the highest ever to be paid for copyright infringement in Thailand. In advance, the EPL had investigated in cooperation with the Thai Department of Special Investigations against the suspects.

    Police have taken several illegal portals off the net

    The first arrests took place in May 2017, when the police raided several properties in Bangkok. From the premises the streaming services "365 Sport" as well as the portals Thaiexpat.tv, Hkexpat.tv, Inoexpat.tv, Vietexpat.tv and Euroexpat.tv were operated. The websites are all no longer accessible. In the raid three suspects were arrested, later released on bail two men at the request of the British Embassy. Another suspect, against whom one investigates, has submerged, according to police. The Thai public prosecutors have issued a warrant for his arrest and other suspects involved in the streaming operations.

    Warning to all providers and users of illegal sports streams

    " This is one of the most comprehensive compensation for piracy crimes in Thailand and a clear warning to anyone involved in the illegal delivery of Premier League streams" said Kevin Plumb, director of the legal department of the Premier League to the press. According to Plumb, the attitude of many football fans on the subject of IPTV streams is currently changing in the Asian region. Anyone using piracy offers should be aware that organized crime members are making it available. In the case of a raid, the screen also remains dark. In addition, this would expose you to the risk of fraud and the contamination of your own hardware by malicious software. The Premier League was grateful to the courts and prosecutors for recognizing and supporting the importance of online piracy.

    Currently there are, according to media reports, even more cases in Thailand, where copyright infringement committed. These are still under investigation. Many Thai and foreign companies are affected by IPTV or streaming piracy.






  2. #1262
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    Tron: Evolution can no longer be installed because of DRM protection

    Disney released the PC Game Tron: Evolution in December 2010. Who has bought the game, now has the disadvantage. The game does not run anymore with the exception of the black copy. The manufacturer does not seem to be in the old game title, the legal buyers to help.

    Whether as a download or from the trade: Who wants to reinstall his legally acquired copy of the Windows Games Tron: Evolution, receives since 03 December 2019 only an error message. The corresponding key has expired. An Internet connection is absolutely necessary, it says there.

    Only the crack of Tron: Evolution can be reinstalled!

    After that, the next error message appears. The unlock code was revoked. The reason for the aborted installation process is quickly explained: Disney would have cost money to continue to protect old game titles using the SecuROM system. And because Disney did not renew the subscription, all SecuRom-protected games are now unusable. If they are already installed, everything is okay. However, with the exception of the RELOADED crack, a new installation is no longer possible.

    In the forum PCGamingWiki.com someone got an answer from SecuRom. One company blames the next. Unfortunately, Disney decided not to continue using SecuROM, responding to the buyer of the game at his request. The cancellation of Disney's DRM subscription has officially confirmed SecuROM to the requestor. Ideally, you should contact Disney to reclaim your money.

    The Disney Games & Apps support replied that the team was aware that the game was now unusable. Investigate this " hiccup ". But one can not say how soon the problem would be solved.

    Legal customers have once again the disadvantage!

    Conclusion: SecuROM could not prevent the release group RELOADED at that time from illegally circulating its black copy. The crack came out at the same time as the game was sold in stores and over the internet. The Gelackmeierten are now again the paying customers. Claims for a refund of the purchase price are after nine years rather doubtful. It remains to be seen if one of the gamers will go to court or get the crack.

    The sellers of the used version, which can be had on the German market from about six euros, can throw their cardboard box with the DVD in the bin, provided that Disney can not come up with a solution. But honestly, how realistic is that? German buyers have been particularly excited about the compulsory membership in "Microsoft Games for Windows - LIVE" including first and last name, full address and phone number. Without the data, the legal copy just will not work. What does that mean, except for the data collection passion of many corporations, some customers will have wondered.

    The game was in spite of the popular template from the movie Tron Legacy truly not a bestseller. That may also be one of the reasons why the Mickey Mouse Group prefers to save the fees for maintaining the copy protection. This GIF brings the problem with the handling of many companies with the paying clientele very nicely on the point!

    In the past, SecuRom has already caused heavy negative headlines. If you want to convince yourself, you should read this Wikipedia article for a moment. There, however, only the most important and well-known incidents are described. That is, there are many more ...



  3. #1263
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    EU Study Shows Online Piracy is Complex and Not Easy to Grasp

    The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has released a new study which suggests that piracy is dropping in Europe. While the research is limited to site-based piracy, it has some interesting findings. Countries with a lower average income per person visit pirate sites more often, for example. In addition, the study shows that awareness of legal options doesn't always decrease piracy.

    Research released by the
    EUIPO last week revealed that pirate IPTV services generate nearly €1 million in revenue per year. That’s in Europe alone.

    The figure confirmed that piracy remains a massive problem, but a second study also delivered some more positive news. From 2017 to 2018, access to pirated content across Europe dropped by more than 15 percent.

    This headline figure was undoubtedly welcomed by copyright holders, but the broader report deserves more in-depth analysis.

    For starters, the study only covers part of the piracy landscape. It is based on data provided by the piracy tracking company MUSO which solely looks at website visits. This means that apps, streaming devices, and IPTV services are not included.

    This may shed a different light on the piracy drop, as these untracked piracy channels have grown explosively in recent years. According to some, these streaming tools are the largest piracy threat at the moment. As such, it’s entirely possible that overall piracy levels didn’t drop, or could even have grown.

    When we asked EUIPO about this caveat, it informed us that MUSO’s data, together with that from the European Audiovisual Observatory and Eurostat, was chosen to get the most complete picture possible.

    “The MUSO database was chosen as a source of data to enable us to get as full a picture as possible of online copyright infringement in the EU to which the methodology could be applied,” EUIPO informed us.

    That makes sense, as the newer piracy tools are simply harder to track, so there may simply be no data available.

    While EUIPO’s ‘picture’ only covers part of the piracy landscape, it is very detailed and suitable for comparisons over time, based on a wide variety of variables. This provided some interesting insights, especially when it comes to regional differences.

    For example, total piracy, specified by the number of site visits per user per month, is by far the highest in Latvia and Lithuania. The relative piracy volume there is more than six times as high as in Finland, as can be seen below.

    Total piracy by country and content type, 2018

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/totalpiracy2018.jpg

    The logical conclusion would be that piracy is far more prevalent in countries on the left. However, caution is warranted, as this only covers site-based piracy.

    Last week, the
    other EUIPO study showed that IPTV piracy is below average in Latvia, while it’s high in this report. On the other hand, site-based piracy is below-average in Spain, where IPTV piracy is thriving. And we haven’t even considered streaming boxes and apps.

    One major difference between site-based piracy and IPTV piracy is that the latter usually requires a subscription. In other words, people have to pay to pirate. That may, at least in part, be due to regional differences, as countries differ in their average income per person.

    The money element was also considered in the EUIPO study. Following statistical analyses, the researchers found that a lower income per capita is linked to more piracy. Again, this is solely based on website visits.

    “Among the socio-economic factors, the level of income per capita and the extent of inequality seem to have the greatest impact on consumption of pirated content: high per capita income and a low degree of income inequality are associated with lower levels of illicit consumption,” the report concludes.

    The link between income and piracy is not counterintuitive. That’s also true for the link that was found between social acceptance of piracy and piracy volume. What is surprising, however, is that awareness of legal services and piracy is absent for some content.

    EUIPO found that more awareness of legal TV services was linked to more TV piracy. For music, a similar trend was found, albeit not statistically significant. More awareness of legal movie services, on the other hand, was linked to less piracy, as expected.

    “It appears that the relationship between legal offer and piracy is a complex one and merits further investigation,” EUIPO concludes.

    Overall the EUIPO study provides some interesting views on the piracy landscape in the EU. While it only covers site-based traffic, it’s clear that piracy habits differ greatly from country to country, and that they’re not always easy to grasp.



    Torrentfreak.com

  4. #1264
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    Codex cracks Halo: Reach despite EAC, Steam and Xbox Live Protection

    The Release Group Codex has the crack of Halo in the course of yesterday: The Master Chief Collection: Reach from the Halo published . The game was provided with three different copy protection measures. But even EAC in combination with Steam and Xbox Live could not prevent the illegal distribution.

    Halo: Reach - Crack despite low selling price

    P2P Groups Riddick and elamigos have directly with their leaner versions refilled , the nature of the Codex cracking of Halo: Reach are based. Game makers and publishers had put a lot of pressure on premature circulation. But despite Steam in combination with Xbox Live and EAC, it took only a single day from launch to crack. For the Xbox Game Studios as a publisher, this is certainly too short, if you want to bring back the production costs in less than 24 hours. It can not be the selling price. The game costs 343 Industries in the Windows 10 Store and Steam just under 10 €. In 2004 Halo 2 released the last Halo FPS for Windows Vista.

    Start of a six-part series

    Halo: Reach is just the prelude to a series of games called The Master Chief Collection. Overall, after the release of all parts, you will be able to fight through six different halo games. Manufacturer Microsoft is not wrong to assume that there are many Windows users who played Halo on the Xbox 360 then and would like to repeat this experience on their Windows PC. The next part will be Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Yesterday's Game Halo: Reach does not need a super duper high-end graphics card to run. The hardware requirements have deliberately kept relatively low. The reactions from the community are rather positive. Only a few gamers complain because they have long wanted the crack of other games.

  5. #1265
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    Meet the Guy Behind the Libgen Torrent Seeding Movement

    Libgen and Sci-Hub, regularly referred to as the 'Pirate Bay of Science', are continually under fire. However, if all of the important data is decentralized, almost any eventuality can be dealt with. Today we meet the guy leading a new movement to ensure that Libgen's archives are distributed via the highest quality torrent swarms possible.

    Whenever Library Genesis (Libgen) or Sci-Hub hit the headlines, what tends to follow is a fracturing of opinion on where these sites sit in the piracy landscape.

    Both are best known for their massive archives of scientific articles and research papers. They are also notable for their absolute commitment to the spread of knowledge for the betterment of society as a whole. This means that even some otherwise staunch opponents of piracy pause for thought.

    While huge publishing companies want them gone, support for these platforms among the knowledge-thirsty can be robust. Just over a week ago, the passion for keeping Libgen alive became evident in a Reddit
    thread (posted by a user known as ‘shrine’) titled ‘Charitable seeding for nonprofit scientific torrents’

    “Libgen is a 33 terabyte scientific library with 2.4 million free books covering science, engineering, and medicine,” ‘shrine’ began.

    “It’s the largest free library in the world, servicing tens of thousands of scientists and medical professionals around the world who live in developing countries that can’t afford to buy books and scientific journals. There’s almost nothing else like this on Earth – they’re using torrents to fulfill World Health Organization and U.N. charters.”

    However, the torrents used by Libgen were not in good shape so ‘shrine’ began a movement to boost the quality of their swarms. The project was quickly spotted and then supported by two companies (Seedbox.io and UltraSeedbox.com) that offer ‘seedboxes’, effectively server-based torrent clients with plenty of storage space and bandwidth available – perfect for giving swarms a boost.

    The project gained plenty of traction and as a
    follow-up thread details, considerable success. Today we catch up with ‘shrine’ for some history, background information, and an interesting status report.

    “Ironically this all started when I saw the
    TorrentFreak article about [Libgen] mirrors getting taken down. I immediately decided I wanted to find a way to preserve and protect the collection,” ‘shrine’ says.

    “I started out, but realized that the Plex server in my living room wouldn’t be enough to back up the largest free library in the world. That’s when I wrote my plea to
    /r/datahoarder hoping for a few guys to help out. Once the project exploded my role since then has been coordinating the hundreds of seed donations out of my Google Doc and answering as many questions as I can.”

    Shrine is completely unconnected to the Libgen site but says he’s been a user for years. Before his project began he didn’t have a clear idea of how the site operated or what it took to keep it online but he’s now focused on two primary goals – back up Libgen and distribute the data so that people can find new ways to utilize it.

    “The collection we’re seeding now is 32TB (18%) of [Libgen’s] total collection, so it’s just the first step in preserving the project,” he says, pointing to
    Libgen’s stats page.

    We asked ‘shrine’ if any stats on swarm strengths were taken when the project began, so a comparison can be made today. He told us that an index for the collection didn’t even exist a week ago, so planning and coordination was difficult. However, some stats are available.

    “The first thing I did was find a way to scrape the torrents to motivate seeders and track progress. I started collecting data on November 30th using a
    very cool open source indexer on GitLab,” he reveals.

    Project data (Nov 30 to Dec 4)


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

    While the previously-mentioned seedbox suppliers provided a huge boost to the project, there are plenty of anonymous donors and supporters behind the scenes too, even people who had no previous experience of using BitTorrent.

    “I am overjoyed with the outpour of support. I have PMs from people who’ve never torrented before, have 1GB to spare, and want to know the best torrent client,” ‘shrine’ notes.

    “Scientists in the Reddit threads are sharing stories of how LibGen made their research possible. Unnamed cloud providers have pledged 100TB allocation on their servers. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from everyone.”

    Although ‘shrine’ regularly uses the term “we” in respect of seeding, he points out that he’s the project evangelist and there’s “nothing but Linux ISOs” on his own server. Nevertheless, the project has now turned into a movement, one that could have a profound effect on the overall free availability of scientific research.

    “I only know there is no way to take the books back once they’ve been seeded. It’s a permanent library card for the world,” ‘shrine’ concludes.

    Update: Seedbox.io reports they have some significant additional support for the project.

    “Alongside our wonderful provider at NFOrce.nl we are going to sponsor up an entire server which will be big enough to hold the entire libgen project in full. Lets get this thing well seeded for the future so others can benefit from it!”

    Torrentfreak.com

  6. #1266
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    IPTV Service Easily Circumvents First Canadian Piracy Blockade

    Through the Federal Court, Bell, Rogers, and Groupe TVA recently obtained the first Canadian pirate 'site' blocking order. The companies argued that ISP blockades are an effective way to deal with copyright infringing sites and services. While that may be true to a certain degree, the targeted GoldTV service simply switched to a new domain and continues to offer its services.

    Last month Canada’s Federal Court approved the
    first piracy blockade in the country.

    Following a complaint from major media companies Rogers, Bell and TVA, the Court ordered several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV.

    A few days after the order was issued the first blockades were active. These prevent GoldTV customers from accessing the IPTV portal directly, as intended. As we’ve seen in the past, however, not everyone affected is giving up that easily.

    Faced with the blocking error, many users went looking for alternatives. Through various public forums, people asked for advice, which was never far away. At the same time, it appears that GoldTV’s operators also took action.

    Instead of relying on the blocked domains, GoldTV is now accessible through a new portal, using a fresh domain name. Instead of the edge.tm URL, several resellers are now publicly directing users to the beex.me domain, which isn’t blocked, yet.

    Whether that will last is doubtful, as rightsholders are also keeping a close eye on these changes. They previously added edge.tm to the complaint when GoldTV switched, and are likely to add the new domain to the blocklist as well.

    The Federal Court order allows the rightsholders to request ISPs to update their blocklists. To do so, they have to file an affidavit. Internet providers then have ten business days to file any objections. If there are none, the Court may grant the requested update without any hearings.

    This means that, in theory, this cat-and-mouse game can continue for months. This is similar to what we have seen with site blocking efforts in other countries. However, there are other workarounds being discussed as well.

    IPTV Global Server, which describes itself as a GoldTV reseller, has created a
    detailed circumvention guide for customers. Aside from updating the URL, the company points out that switching to a VPN is a more permanent solution.

    “As evident in the court case itself, bypassing this block is not difficult, and simply requires you to use a VPN when accessing Gold (Global) services. Alternatively the host can change the portal URL at anytime to bypass the block,” Global writes.

    The reseller links to two VPN services which it has “partnered” with and provides affiliate links, which help the company to bring in some extra revenue as well.

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

    While Global’s guide is useful to blocked GoldTV users, the company’s decision to create a URL that directly links to the latest access portal could potentially result in its own domain name being blocked as well.

    The court order allows any (sub)domain to be added to the blocklists, as long as its sole or predominant use is to facilitate access to GoldTV’s services. While a generic VPN wouldn’t immediately fit that category, a dedicated ‘circumvention’ guide likely would.

    At the time of writing it’s unclear whether any of the rightsholders have already submitted proposed additions to the blocklist.

    What is clear, however, is that the blocking case is far from over. Last week, Internet provider TekSavvy
    filed an appeal. Among other things, the company argued that the Court’s order undermines the open Internet to “protect the profits and business models of a handful of powerful media conglomerates.”

    Torrentfreak.com

  7. #1267
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    The Pirate Bay Moves to a Brand New Onion Domain

    The most famous torrent site in the world, The Pirate Bay, has ditched its old and mostly unreadable Onion domain for something more recognizable and potentially more permanent. The switch was reported to TorrentFreak after Pirate Bay proxy sites noticed extended downtime on the old domain.

    The Pirate Bay has been operating one of its original domains – thepiratebay.org – for well over 15 years. During that same period, it has also burned through countless others due to anti-piracy action all around the globe.

    The Pirate Bay is also one of the most blocked platforms on the planet for the same reason, something that has led to the creation of hundreds of proxy sites, set up to facilitate access to the index, regardless of which official domain is in use.

    Last evening the operator of a site that
    indexes links to some of these proxies told TorrentFreak that their owners had noticed that The Pirate Bay’s Onion site had been down for several hours, which is unusual. After further investigation, it was discovered that the site had switched from the extremely messy uj3wazyk5u4hnvtk.onion to piratebayztemzmv.onion.

    Accessible via the Tor browser, for example, Onion domains grant access to the so-called ‘dark web’, which is a fancy way of describing sites and services that aren’t visible using a normal search engine or accessible by regular means. In the case of TPB, being hidden inside the Tor network also provides extra security for the raid and lawsuit-prone index.

    While there has been no official announcement from TPB’s operators about the Onion domain switch, the new address can now be seen when hovering over the ‘Tor’ link on the site. Exactly why the site’s operators made the change isn’t entirely clear, however.

    The new Onion domain is certainly easier to read than the old one, but still not easy to remember. That being said, it is an improvement over its predecessor and now is probably a very good time to get everyone familiar with it.

    As reported here recently, the Internet Society is in the process of selling the Public Interest Registry which currently controls The Pirate Bay’s .org domain. As a result, there are concerns that the new owners may throw the infamous domain overboard on copyright grounds.

    If that does indeed happen, the Onion domain will certainly come in handy, as will the hundreds of pre-existing proxy sites currently doing a dance around dozens of blockades, all around the world.

    Torrentfreak.com

  8. #1268
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    Anti-Virus Vendors Flag uTorrent and BitTorrent as a “Threat” Again

    The popular BitTorrent client uTorrent is currently being flagged as a threat by several anti-virus tools. The issue affects the desktop client as well as the Web version and the BitTorrent Mainline client. According to the anti-virus vendors, the flags were likely triggered by bundled advertisements or other unwanted software.


    After the TRON acquisition, uTorrent and BitTorrent’s social media channels have been predominantly ‘crypto’ oriented.

    The core audience of the file-sharing clients, which still consists of millions of users, remains mostly interested in downloading and sharing files though.

    This is something uTorrent still does well and the same is true for the BitTorrent Mainline client. However, new users of these clients have repeatedly been warned not to use the software by several leading anti-virus vendors.

    In the past BitTorrent Inc. classified such warnings as false positives which it could resolve relatively easily. While that may be true, it appears that the problem is rather persistent and likely more structural than some would think.

    After alarmed users reported the issue in uTorrent’s forums this week, we decided to scan the latest release for potential threats. According to VirusTotal, nine separate anti-virus vendors currently flag the software as problematic.

    This includes the popular Windows Defender, which labels the torrent client as a severe threat. While that sounds scary, the detailed description shows that it may include “Potentially Unwanted Software,” a term commonly used for adware.

    This is not the first time uTorrent has had this problem. Microsoft has flagged the torrent client in the past as well, as the dedicated Utorrent threat page shows as well. This flag was later removed, presumably after the software was updated, but now they are back in full force.

    Other anti-virus tools that warn users against uTorrent include Comodo, drWeb, Eset and Sophos, as the list below shows.


    It’s unclear what has triggered the recent warnings. According to VirusTotal, two anti-virus companies mention “Web Companion” as the problem. This likely points to Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware software, which is sometimes bundled with uTorrent.

    The warnings are not limited to the uTorrent desktop client either. The BitTorrent Mainline client, which shares most of its code with uTorrent, is also flagged as harmful by eight anti-virus tools and uTorrent web by four.

    When similar issues occurred early last year, uTorrent parent company BitTorrent Inc. informed us that a “false positive” was triggered by one of their releases. However, if these are indeed false positives, they are recurring ones.

    We reached out to the company for a comment on our findings, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

    Any uTorrent users who receive the warning should proceed at their own risk. When we installed the most recent uTorrent we didn’t spot anything nefarious being installed but, in the past, we have noticed that the client was bundled with adware.



  9. #1269
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    WinRAR Nukes Pirate Keygen But is a “Good Guy” Towards Regular Users

    [I]WinRAR is one of the most recognizable pieces of software in history and one that's effectively free to use, forever. Nevertheless, the company behind the product still has to deal with infringement, something that was highlighted in a complaint filed against a keygen creator this week. That said, WinRAR informs TorrentFreak that no one should really need to use a pirated copy of its software.

    There’s a high probability that most people reading this article will be familiar with the image on the right.

    That’s because in computing terms, data compression tool
    WinRAR has been around for what seems like forever.

    Indeed, with its 25th birthday coming up next April, WinRAR launched before many of its users were even born. Nevertheless, it has stood the tests of time and according to the latest estimates, now has around 500 million users.

    Indeed, the company told us this week that WinRAR is the third most installed software in the world behind Chrome and Acrobat Reader. The reason for that, at least in part, is the company’s liberal business model.

    Perhaps the most curious thing about this ubiquitous tool is that while WinRAR gives the impression of being free, technically it is paid software. Users get a 40-day period to trial the tool and then, if they like it, they can
    part with cash in order to obtain a license.

    However, WinRAR never times out and relies completely on users’ inclination to pay for something that doesn’t need to be paid for to retain functionality. As a result, WinRAR has huge numbers of pirate users yet the company does pretty much nothing to stop them.

    Those who do pay for a license get rid of a ‘nag’ screen and gain a couple of features that most people don’t need. But for pirates (and the tool is massively popular with pirates), an unlicensed WinRAR still does what it’s supposed to, i.e unpacking all those pesky compressed pirate releases.

    Of course, there are people out there who would still rather not pay a penny to use a piece of software that is essentially free to use. So, in order to obtain a ‘license’ and get rid of the nag screen, they use a piece of software called a ‘keygen’ that generates one for them.

    The company behind WinRAR doesn’t seem to care too much about casual piracy but it is bothered about keygens. This week we spotted a lawyer for the company Win.rar GmbH filing a complaint with code repository Github targeting such a tool.

    “We have put in a licensing generation system that is impossible to decrypt (until now that is). This system works by our employees generating a unique .key file and the end user putting it in their WinRAR installation directory so in that way the product activates,” the notice states.

    “It violates our technological measures by the repo holding the source code and the compiled application to a custom-created keygen which is built to bypass our licensing generation system and allows end users to create their own unique .key files for no charge which therefore bypasses our technological measures.”

    The format of the DMCA notice is part of a growing trend. It doesn’t claim that the keygen copies WinRAR’s code but instead states that it violates the company’s rights by breaching the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. As such, the notice cannot be easily countered.

    “This GitHub repository violates a section of 17 U.S.C. 1201 which is a part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” the
    notice adds.

    “Since 17 U.S.C. 1201 doesn’t have a counter-notification process if GitHub does not provide one then appealing of this notice is improbable. GitHub is legally not required to provide an appeals system for anti-circumvention cases.”

    Github didn’t waste any time taking the repository down but before it disappeared, this is what it looked like. Notice the Chinese text at the top, which is of special interest.

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/image-171.png

    The author of the tool identifies as Double Sine or DoubleLabyrinth, hailing from Tianjin University in China. He or she seems to have created the keygen as a technical challenge but there is some irony to be found in the coder’s location.

    Since 2015, WinRAR has provided a completely free version of WinRAR for regular users in China. This, the company said, was to thank people for sticking with WinRAR over the years.

    “We are proud to announce that after years of hard work, we now finally provide a completely free Simplified Chinese version of WinRAR to individual users in China,” a
    note on the local website reads.

    “You can now officially download and use WinRAR completely free of charge from winrar.com.cn, without searching or downloading cracked products, or looking for illegal versions, or downloading from unsafe websites at risk of security.”

    Speaking with TorrentFreak, a representative from WinRAR’s marketing team couldn’t immediately elaborate on the specifics of the DMCA notice but noted that people shouldn’t really have a need to pirate its product.

    “Indeed this is an interesting case, as we also don’t see the necessity of using a pirated version of WinRAR instead of our trial version. We know that our licensing policy for end customers is not as strict as with other software publishers, but for us it is still important that WinRAR is being used, even if the trial period might be over,” the representative said.

    “From a legal perspective, everybody should buy at the end of the trial, but we still think that at least uncompressing content should be still possible as unrar.exe is open source anyway.”

    The company also highlighted the existence of cartoons and memes on the Internet which relate to WinRAR’s indefinite trial, noting that “we like all of them and it meets our sense of humor.”

    Perhaps more importantly, however, the company understands the importance of maintaining the positive image it’s earned by not persecuting users who use the product beyond its trial period. Going after them isn’t on the agenda but they would prefer people not to go down the piracy route.

    n the field of private users we have always been the ‘good guys’ by not starting legal actions against every private user using it beyond the trial period, thus we also don’t understand the need of pirated license keys for WinRAR,” the company concludes.

    Rival open source tools such as
    7-Zip offer similar functionality for free, no keygens needed or nag screens in sight. But, for the majority of users, WinRAR remains the tool of choice, even after a quarter of a century. It’s a remarkable achievement backed up by an intriguing business model.

    Torrentfreak.com

  10. #1270
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    Digital Marketing Agency Agrees to Stop Linking to Piracy Apps

    Digital Marketing agency Pebble Bridge has admitted being behind several websites that promoted piracy apps including ShowBox. The company has settled its lawsuit with several film companies and in a consent order the Indian company agreed not to engage in any piracy-related activities moving forward. Whether the company privately agreed to pay damages is not clear.

    Earlier this year, a group of companies including the makers of films such as “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” “London Has Fallen,” and “Hunter Killer,”
    went after the operators of various websites.

    In a lawsuit filed at a U.S. District Court in Hawaii, the movie companies accused several defendants of operating websites that promoted or linked to piracy apps including ShowBox and Popcorn Time.

    The apps, which are used by millions of people, all provide access to a library of streamable movies and TV-shows. These are published without permission, the rightsholders pointed out, which results in massive piracy.

    “Plaintiffs bring this action to stop the massive piracy of their motion pictures brought on by the software application Show Box,” the 58-page complaint began.

    The lawsuit targeted several defendants, who were all suspected of having ties to one or more piracy-related sites. One of these stood out in particular – digital marketing agency
    Pebble Bridge – which is an Indian LLP with a listed ‘office’ address in New York.

    The company in question was allegedly connected to sites such as showboxforipad.com, showbox.fun, and show-box.pro. The company was also listed as the owner of terrariumtv.life, moviebox.software and mobrdo.mobi.

    In addition, the movie companies pointed out that an IP-address associated with Pebble Bridge was found sharing a copy of “London Has Fallen” via BitTorrent.

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

    After the complaint was filed, several of the mentioned sites stopped linking to any of the pirate apps. While Pebble Bridge didn’t respond to the allegations in court, it did start negotiations with the movie companies behind the scenes.

    A few days ago, this resulted in a consent judgment where the digital marketing agency, represented by two of its partners, admitted that it was indeed behind the mentioned sites. In addition, the company also took the blame for sharing a movie on BitTorrent.

    “Defendant Pebblebridge Technologies, LLP admits to describing and providing links to the Show Box app as described in paragraphs 45-88 of the Complaint and reproducing copies of the motion picture London Has Fallen as alleged in paragraph 207 of the Complaint,” the consent judgment reads.

    The judgment, which all parties agreed on, also includes a permanent injunction prohibiting Pebble Bridge and its partners from promoting or distributing any piracy apps going forward.

    “Defendant Pebblebridge Technologies, LLP, its designated partners Udatala Vinay Kumar and Mangilipudi Vishnudath Reddy, and those under its control are hereby permanently enjoined from promoting and or distributing movie piracy applications,” it reads.

    This specifically includes apps such as ShowBox, Popcorn Time, CotoMovies, MediaBox HD, Cinemabox, Moviebox, Terrarium, and Mobdro, as well as any software that’s affiliated with YIFY, YTS, RARBG, Torrentz2, NYAA.si, LimeTorrents, Zooqle; EZTV, and TorrentDownloads.

    Interestingly, the consent judgment doesn’t include a settlement amount. It is possible that the parties agreed to deal with this outside of court, but it’s not part of the court order. The same is true for a separate and similar consent judgment that was signed by a Pebble Bridge employee.

    This week’s orders are not the first in this case. Previously a Pakistani man agreed to pay a settlement
    of $150,000 for operating another ShowBox site, ‘latestshowboxapp.com’.



    Torrentfreak.com

  11. #1271
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    Digital Marketing Agency Agrees to Stop Linking to Piracy Apps

    Digital Marketing agency Pebble Bridge has admitted being behind several websites that promoted piracy apps including ShowBox. The company has settled its lawsuit with several film companies and in a consent order the Indian company agreed not to engage in any piracy-related activities moving forward. Whether the company privately agreed to pay damages is not clear.

    Earlier this year, a group of companies including the makers of films such as “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” “London Has Fallen,” and “Hunter Killer,”
    went after the operators of various websites.

    In a lawsuit filed at a U.S. District Court in Hawaii, the movie companies accused several defendants of operating websites that promoted or linked to piracy apps including ShowBox and Popcorn Time.

    The apps, which are used by millions of people, all provide access to a library of streamable movies and TV-shows. These are published without permission, the rightsholders pointed out, which results in massive piracy.

    “Plaintiffs bring this action to stop the massive piracy of their motion pictures brought on by the software application Show Box,” the 58-page complaint began.

    The lawsuit targeted several defendants, who were all suspected of having ties to one or more piracy-related sites. One of these stood out in particular – digital marketing agency
    Pebble Bridge – which is an Indian LLP with a listed ‘office’ address in New York.

    The company in question was allegedly connected to sites such as showboxforipad.com, showbox.fun, and show-box.pro. The company was also listed as the owner of terrariumtv.life, moviebox.software and mobrdo.mobi.

    In addition, the movie companies pointed out that an IP-address associated with Pebble Bridge was found sharing a copy of “London Has Fallen” via BitTorrent.

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

    After the complaint was filed, several of the mentioned sites stopped linking to any of the pirate apps. While Pebble Bridge didn’t respond to the allegations in court, it did start negotiations with the movie companies behind the scenes.

    A few days ago, this resulted in a consent judgment where the digital marketing agency, represented by two of its partners, admitted that it was indeed behind the mentioned sites. In addition, the company also took the blame for sharing a movie on BitTorrent.

    “Defendant Pebblebridge Technologies, LLP admits to describing and providing links to the Show Box app as described in paragraphs 45-88 of the Complaint and reproducing copies of the motion picture London Has Fallen as alleged in paragraph 207 of the Complaint,” the consent judgment reads.

    The judgment, which all parties agreed on, also includes a permanent injunction prohibiting Pebble Bridge and its partners from promoting or distributing any piracy apps going forward.

    “Defendant Pebblebridge Technologies, LLP, its designated partners Udatala Vinay Kumar and Mangilipudi Vishnudath Reddy, and those under its control are hereby permanently enjoined from promoting and or distributing movie piracy applications,” it reads.

    This specifically includes apps such as ShowBox, Popcorn Time, CotoMovies, MediaBox HD, Cinemabox, Moviebox, Terrarium, and Mobdro, as well as any software that’s affiliated with YIFY, YTS, RARBG, Torrentz2, NYAA.si, LimeTorrents, Zooqle; EZTV, and TorrentDownloads.

    Interestingly, the consent judgment doesn’t include a settlement amount. It is possible that the parties agreed to deal with this outside of court, but it’s not part of the court order. The same is true for a separate and similar consent judgment that was signed by a Pebble Bridge employee.

    This week’s orders are not the first in this case. Previously a Pakistani man agreed to pay a settlement
    of $150,000 for operating another ShowBox site, ‘latestshowboxapp.com’.



    Torrentfreak.com

  12. #1272
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    Google Sees DMCA Anti-Circumvention Notices Skyrocket

    Copyright holders are increasingly targeting Google with DMCA anti-circumvention notices. The number of complaints has already doubled compared to last year, and skyrocketed compared to the years before. The notices are particularly effective as there is no standard mechanism to file a counter-notification.

    A few weeks ago, we reported that the
    RIAA targeted several YouTube converters and downloaders by sending relatively rare takedown requests to Google.

    Instead of the usual DMCA copyright notices, the music group asked the search engine to remove various URLs for alleged violations of the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.

    This proved to be quite effective. After taking down the many links to FLVTO, 2Conv, Y2Mate, and Yout, the RIAA expanded its scope to other streamrippers. In total, the music group targeted hundreds of URLs in a few dozen notices.

    And the RIAA is not alone. Other copyright holders are using the anti-circumvention route as well. This includes game companies such as Nintendo and Rockstar Games, as well as Netflix.

    One upside for rightsholders is that there’s no official counter-notification option. This means that affected sites can’t easily complain when they are mistakenly targeted. However, there’s another major benefit as well.

    Some sites that don’t infringe any copyrights directly, can be seen as anti-circumvention tools. This gives rightsholders an extra option to remove URLs. To illustrate this, we only have to look at the RIAA’s recent takedown efforts.

    When the music group sent a standard DMCA takedown request to Google for
    several streamripper URLs in November, the search engine didn’t take these offline. However, a similar DMCA circumvention notice that was sent a few days later was successful.

    This may be why there has been quite an increase in these anti-circumvention notices lately. While Google doesn’t list these by default in its transparency report, we used the
    Lumen database to find out how many notices were sent this year.

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

    At the time of writing, Google has received 6,281 DMCA anti-circumvention notices in 2019. These notices can contain multiple links, sometimes even hundreds. The number of notices has increased significantly compared to last year when 2,960 notices came in.

    In 2017 there were even fewer anti-circumvention notices, 921 to be precise.

    While today’s numbers are still very modest, there’s definitely a visible upward trend that hasn’t been reported before. This increase is all the more interesting because Google now receives fewer standard copyright takedown notices.

    TorrentFreak reached out to the RIAA to hear more about their motivation to use anti-circumvention notices, but the music group declined to comment on the issue.

    Considering the effectiveness of their campaign to remove steamrippers from Google’s search results, we expect the efforts to continue. And when more rightsholders discover this option, we expect the number of anti-circumvention notices to grow further still.

    Torrentfreak.com

  13. #1273
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    RIAA Shut Down DBR.ee, Now Obtains Subpoenas to Target Replacement

    The RIAA, IFPI, and Music Canada teamed up earlier this year to shut down file-hosting platform DBR.ee, claiming it infringed their members' copyrights. A replacement site, that later appeared at a new URL, is now being targeted by the RIAA after it obtained subpoenas against Namecheap and Cloudflare.

    In May 2019, TF
    discovered that the RIAA had obtained a DMCA subpoena which compelled CDN company Cloudflare to reveal the identities of several site operators using its services.

    Among the several domains listed was DBR.ee, a file-hosting site that had was utilized by some of its users for hosting pre-release music leaks. This clearly didn’t sit well with the RIAA and within a month of the subpoena being obtained, DBR.ee
    shut itself down.

    Initially it wasn’t clear if the subpoena and the closure were linked but soon after a message appeared on the site which advised that it had been shut down for copyright infringement following action by the RIAA, IFPI, and Music Canada.

    The DBR.ee shutdown notice


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/shutdb5.png

    Early September, however, a new site appeared. Sporting the DBREE name and graphics but located under a different URL (DBREE.co), the site seemed to want to pick up where the original had left off. It’s not currently known whether the same people are behind the resurrection but the RIAA appears keen to find out.

    Late November the RIAA obtained a pair of DMCA subpoenas at a Columbia federal court, one targeting domain registrar Namecheap and the other CDN service Cloudflare. Their aim is to uncover the identities of several site operators, DBREE.co’s included.

    “The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identity of the individual assigned to these websites who has induced the infringement of, and has directly engaged in the infringement of, our members’ copyrighted sound recordings without their authorization,” the subpoenas read.

    DBREE.co stands accused of infringement on three tracks – Lover by Taylor Swift, Under the Graveyard by Ozzy Osbourne, and Thailand by Lil Uzi Vert.

    FLACC.org, a music release blog that links to content hosted elsewhere, is also accused of infringing copyrights on three tracks from Celine Dion, Ed Sheeran, and Tech N9ne.

    Hiphopeasy.xyz, an album, single, and mixtape indexing site, is currently offline. Nevertheless, the RIAA claims it infringed the rights of Post Malone, Travis Scott, and Ed Sheeran. Another platform, identified by the RIAA as operating from Ovzy.xyz and its subdomains, is also inaccessible.

    As usual, the subpoenas require Namecheap and Cloudflare to give up every piece of information they hold on the site’s alleged operators. Both companies are also asked to consider “the widespread and infringing nature” of the sites to determine whether they are in breach of terms of service agreements or repeat infringer policies.

    Whether Namecheap or Cloudflare have any useful information to hand over to the RIAA remains to be seen but they are both expected to comply.

    Torrentfreak.com

  14. #1274
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    Filmmaker Wins Piracy Lawsuit Against YouTube and Google India

    YouTube and Google are liable for infringing the copyrights of Indian filmmaker Suneel Darshan, a local court has ruled. The video platform was ordered to pay compensation and must prevent similar infringements going forward. In its defense, YouTube argued that it's a neutral intermediary which responds to takedown notices, but that's not enough, the court concluded.

    Every week, YouTube’s users upload millions of hours of videos. As with any user-generated content site, this also includes copyright-infringing content.

    YouTube tackles this problem by processing takedown notices and using its Content-ID system to automatically remove allegedly infringing content.

    However, according to copyright holders, this is not good enough. That includes Bollywood filmmaker
    Suneel Darshan, who filed a lawsuit against YouTube and Google India in 2011. Now, eight years later, a local court has ruled in his favor.

    A few days ago, the District Court of Gurgaon held that the video platform did indeed infringe on the rights of the filmmaker. The Court issued an injunction preventing YouTube from violating his copyrights going forward and awarded roughly $700 in compensation.

    The ‘damages’ amount is relatively low, especially after a prolonged legal battle, but Darshan says that he is planning to file a separate case to claim his full losses. A copy of the verdict has not been published online, as far as we know.

    According to
    local media reports, YouTube and Google’s lawyers argued that the video platform was merely an intermediary, which should not be held directly liable.

    In addition, the companies pointed out that they have a functional DMCA takedown policy that allows any copyright holder to request the removal in infringing content by pointing out specific URLs. This is something the filmmaker failed to do.

    Darshan and his legal team held that YouTube and Google profited from the “unauthorized exploitation” of copyrighted works by sharing ad-revenue with the user who uploaded the content. As a result, the filmmaker lost part of his income.

    The Court eventually sided with the copyright holder ruling that if Google and YouTube were aware of the content, they could have located the URLs to remove the infringing videos.

    While the ruling is a setback for the video platform, the case is likely to be appealed. For now, however, the filmmaker is happy with the victory which he describes as an “encouraging judgment.”

    That said, the journey towards this victory has been prolonged and difficult. YouTube and Google pushed back hard, Darshan says,
    quoted by the Free Press Journal.

    “We faced many challenges while fighting this case. They made so many claims that it is not their jurisdiction and then they told me that I don’t hold the right to this content. So I had to prove my ownership, it is like parents proving that it is their child,” Darshan says.

    YouTube hasn’t commented publicly on the case yet. The company is currently involved in several copyright infringement cases, including two that are with the European Court of Justice, which are expected to have a broad impact.

    Similar to the Indian case, the top EU court will
    have to decide whether YouTube can be expected to go beyond responding to takedown notices that detail specific URLs.

    Torrentfreak.com

  15. #1275
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    The Pirate Bay is Trialing High-Quality Video Streaming Links

    Developments over the past few days indicate that The Pirate Bay may about to fully launch a brand new feature. In addition to traditional magnet links, many titles now feature a subtle 'B' button which allow users to stream movies and TV shows directly in the browser on a new site called BayStream.

    The Pirate Bay is well known for its huge database of magnet links which allow users to download most types of content imaginable.

    Over the past few days, however, the platform has been adding a brand new feature that will please those who prefer to access movies and TV shows instantly, rather than waiting for them to download.

    As the image below shows, in addition to the familiar magnet and trusted uploader icons displayed alongside video and TV show releases, the site also features a small orange ‘B’ graphic.

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/image-175.png

    In some cases (but currently not all), pressing these buttons when they appear next to a video release diverts users to a new platform called
    BayStream. Here, the chosen content can be streamed directly in the browser using a YouTube-style player interface.

    Loading times appear swift when the content is actually available and as the screenshot below shows, the material appears to be sourced, at least in some cases, from torrent releases.

    BayStream.co in-browser video Player


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/image-176.png

    The new feature appears to be in its early stages of development and in tests doesn’t always perform as planned. In particular, accessing the ‘B’ links using various Pirate Bay ‘proxy’ sites can cause them to break with various errors. Nevertheless, when things go to plan (usually when selecting more popular content) the system appears effective.

    When one accesses the BayStream homepage directly, without using links found on TPB, what appears is a fairly plain file-hosting upload interface. It claims that files up to 20GB can be uploaded and stored on the platform and at least for now, there’s no mention of premium accounts or affiliate programs.

    BayStream upload page


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/image-177.png

    The big question, perhaps, is whether this is a Pirate Bay-operated platform or one run by outsiders. The familiar ‘
    Kopimi‘ logo at the bottom suggests that it could be someone who supports the ‘pirate’ movement but anyone can use the image freely, so that’s not the best pointer.

    Public sources reveal that the site does have other links to Sweden and in some cases entities linked, however loosely, to the Kopimist movement. But again, those don’t provide solid pointers to the nature or identities of the operators of the site.

    The Pirate Bay previously
    launched its own file-hosting platform, BayFiles, way back in 2011. That disappeared after the 2014 raid on a Stockholm datacenter but was later relaunched under new ownership.

    The addition of BayStream links to The Pirate Bay isn’t the first time that the world’s most famous torrent site has dipped its toes into streaming waters. In 2016, the site
    experimented with ‘Stream It!” links next to all video torrents, playable via a browser plug-in called Torrents-Time.

    Torrentfreak.com

  16. #1276
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    Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 12/09/19

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

    This week we have two newcomers in our chart.

    Ad Astra 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 (…) Ad Astra 6.9 / trailer
    2 (1) Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood 7.9 / trailer
    3 (2) Rambo: Last Blood 6.6 / trailer
    4 (4) The Irishman 8.4 / trailer
    5 (10) Abominable 7.0 / trailer
    6 (3) Gemini Man 5.7 / trailer
    7 (…) Doctor Sleep 7.6 / trailer
    8 (6) It Chapter Two 6.8 / trailer
    9 (7) Joker (Subbed HDRip) 8.8 / trailer
    10 (8) Hustlers 6.5 / trailer

    Torrentfreak.com

  17. #1277
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    Helix IPTV: Hackers Threaten to Expose Resellers & Customers

    Popular 'pirate' IPTV provider Helix Hosting appears to be facing a crisis after someone claiming to be a hacker posted a message on the service's homepage. According to the statement, Helix failed to pay a ransom so as a result, the personal details of customers and resellers, plus an owner's name, address and phone number, will be leaked online.

    Pirate IPTV providers have become a
    pretty big deal in recent years.

    Offering cut-price access to otherwise subscription TV channels, PPVs, and video-on-demand archives, customers have flocked to them in their millions.

    One popular provider operating in the space is Helix Hosting but if a message that appeared on the service’s homepage is anything to go by, the Christmas period may become memorable for all the wrong reasons.

    The statement, published hours ago on the official Helix Hosting homepage, claimed that Helix had been hacked and was being held to ransom. The implication of the message was typical: Helix should pay up to appease the attackers or face potential damage to their business.

    “Helix Hosting Has Been Hacked – They have had the option to pay a small amount to protect its customers or have all customer details leaked online putting you all at risk,” the message read.

    “They have chosen to not accept this offer and would prefer your details to be leaked online.”

    Pay up – or else

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/image-178.png

    The overall threat was to release the personal details of all customers and resellers of Helix but to “make it fair”, the proposed leak would also expose “at the least” one owner and/or staff member of the service along with their name, address, phone numbers, and IP addresses.

    While someone had clearly placed the message on the front page of the site, other areas of the Helix site remained functional for a while. At the time the ‘hacked’ notice appeared, Helix’s app and repo indexes were functioning normally and its web player login page was also accessible.

    However, as the minutes passed by, other aspects of the web portal were apparently disabled and the ransom message disappeared too. This morning, however, the ‘hacked’ message is back for all to see.

    Only time will tell how this episode will end and whether the threats to go nuclear on Helix over its failure to “pay a small amount” will be carried out. It’s also unclear what information Helix holds and what use that information would be to third-parties, even if it was leaked online.

    The warning currently on display still mentions a 23:00 deadline to pay the ransom but there is no indication of which day, country, or time zone that refers to. So, depending on the timing, the leak could’ve happened already, could be about to happen, or may not even happen at all.

    That said, giving in to blackmail is a big decision to make, especially when copies of data are easily made leaving attackers in a position to have a second bite at the cherry on a whim.

    Torrentfreak.com

  18. #1278
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    Texas Man Sued for Selling Pirate Boxes Advertised on Facebook

    Media giant ABS-CBN has filed a lawsuit against a Texas man who stands accused of of selling pirate streaming devices. The defendant, who allegedly promoted the boxes through various Facebook pages, faces millions of dollars in potential damages.

    ABS-CBN, the largest media and entertainment company in the Philippines, is continuing its legal campaign against piracy.

    Over the past several years, the company has singled out dozens of streaming sites that offer access to ‘Pinoy’ content without permission, both in the US and abroad.

    While these traditional sites remain a key focus for the company, ABS-CBN is expanding its scope in the US by going after an alleged seller of pirate streaming boxes.

    In a complaint filed at a federal court in Texas, the company accuses local resident Anthony Brown of selling and promoting pirate devices through the
    Life for Greatness website. By doing so, the man violates ABS-CBN’s rights, the company stresses.

    “Defendant has been engaged in a scheme to, without authorization, sell Pirate Equipment that retransmits ABS-CBN’s programming to his customers as Pirate Services,” the complaint, filed at the Southern District of Texas Court, reads.

    The media company notes that its own investigators purchased pirate equipment from Brown, which was then shipped from within Texas. These orders were likely placed at the Life for Greatness website, which remains online at the time of writing and is operated by ‘1700 Cuts Technology.’

    In addition, the complaint notes that the pirate devices were advertised and promoted through various Facebook pages. This includes two personal profiles and a business page for “
    Lifeforgreatness.”

    “Defendant has used several Facebook.com social media pages to advertise and promote the availability of the Pirate Equipment for sale by
    Defendant,” the complaint notes.

    The Facebook pages also remain online today. And indeed, the Lifeforgreatness account is used to advertise what appear to be pirate streaming boxes and subscriptions. This is in part carried out by utilizing footage that shows the logos of ABS-CBN and other major entertainment outfits.

    In a Facebook post, the box vendor
    writes that cable companies overcharge customers each and every day. By switching to one of the advertised boxes, people can cut their bills and still get the same channels, the post adds.

    “The box automatically updates on its own as well as provides content that you are currently paying between $4.99 to $300.00 a month for. The Smart to box have over 500,000 movies, TV shows and Live TV from every country the world including the USA,” the post adds.

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

    This is not an isolated incident. There are hundreds of similar businesses that (re)sell pirate boxes and subscriptions while advertising them on social media. The defendant, in this case, seems to be a relatively small fish with just a few dozen Facebook likes.

    However, that doesn’t mean that ABS-CBN is holding back when it comes to its demands.

    The media company requests hundreds of thousands in damages for providing unauthorized access to its communication signals, which violates the Communications Act. In addition, it asks for $2 million in statutory damages for every trademark infringement.

    Interestingly, there is no copyright damages claim. However, the company does want the seller to halt his infringing activities and requests the court to impound the pirate devices.



    Torrentfreak.com

  19. #1279
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    Google’s Top UK “Where to Watch” Searches Weren’t a Piracy Concern in 2019

    Google has just released its Year in Search 2019 report which reveals what users searched for during the past year. Some of the most popular questions in the UK were "where to watch" followed by popular TV shows and events, something which prompted a warning from anti-piracy group FACT. But are these searches really a major concern anymore?

    That Google knows every detail of what its users search for is no secret – after all, the company itself processes all of the requests.

    Armed with this data, Google publishes its annual ‘
    Year in Search‘ report, the latest of which appeared yesterday. From our perspective, there were very few – if any – piracy-related aspects to report, something which should be encouraging to rightsholders.

    However, after the BBC
    published its take on Google’s UK search statistics, noting that several questions in the “How to” category were directed at how to watch sports events and TV shows, the Federation Against Copyright Theft took to Twitter to issue a warning.

    “Whether it’s a re-stream on social media, a piracy site, or using a TV-connected device, avoiding official providers to access content is illegal,” FACT
    wrote, linking to the BBC article.

    Of course, it is FACT’s job to draw attention to such things but we wondered, given that Google is quite specific about the top titles searched for in 2019, whether Google’s search results were worthy of particular panic. Or, indeed, whether “where to watch” searches should always be considered dangerous and piracy related. But first, some background.

    Over the past several years, copyright holders and anti-piracy groups have regularly complained that Google and other search engines help people find content online in a way that prioritizes pirated over legitimate content.

    That isn’t the company’s intention, of course, but there have been numerous instances of pirate sites appearing higher in searches than those offering licensed content. In the UK, Google and various industry players agreed to tackle this and similar issues with the
    signing of a voluntary anti-piracy agreement back in 2017.

    So, when placed alongside these top “how to” searches, has it worked?

    #1: How to watch Champions League Final

    This search clearly related to the match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool from which the latter emerged victorious, two goals to nil. However, the related Google search is particularly interesting since all of the top results showed users how to watch the match for free.

    While that might sound like a cause for concern, these results linked exclusively
    to completely legal streams offered via established broadcasters. Clearly, the incentive to pirate had been mostly eliminated by giving consumers what they want.

    #2: How to watch Game of Thrones

    As one of the most popular shows in living memory, it’s no surprise that Game of Thrones appears in Google’s top search lists for the UK. In past years, this kind of search would’ve likely displayed ‘pirate’ results prominently but that is no longer the case. In our tests we had to go through several pages of Google results with links to either buy the show or articles detailing how to watch the show legally first. Pirate results were not prominent.

    #5: How to watch KSI vs. Logan

    Given the controversy surrounding this pair of YouTube celebrities, searches on how to watch the fight were bound to score highly. However, a
    search for the fight yet again yielded pages and pages of legitimate sources or articles detailing how to access the bout legally.

    #10: How to watch Chernobyl

    The results displayed following a “where to watch Chernobyl” search are very similar to those that are returned following a similar Game of Thrones query. One has to skip through pages and pages of legitimate results to find any pirate sources and, on the way, the emphasis to go legal is clear.

    The legal choices, as they appear in Google’s results, are as follows: YouTube, Google Play, Amazon, NowTV, HBO, Sky, Hulu, iTunes, Showmax, DirectTV, HBONordic, HBOGo, and Verizon. Admittedly, not all of those are available to UK users, but that’s four pages deep into the results and not one pirate link in sight.

    Conclusion

    While this is a very limited sample, there does appear to have been a notable change in the way that Google displays its results in the UK when faced with a basic query of “where to watch X”. There is now a pretty clear bias towards legitimate sources in results presented in the first few pages.

    Of course, those that wish to refine their searches to actively seek out pirated content will have more immediate success, that’s the way searches work. However, it’s now more difficult to argue that users will be diverted to pirated sources when they’re seeking out legal options, at least for the samples listed above.

    It’s worth noting, however, that pirate users’ viewing habits are probably shifting. There is now less reliance on search engines and more emphasis on apps and tools that are designed to produce infringing results by default, which is the exact opposite of what Google offers in respect of the above.

    Torrentfreak.com

  20. #1280
    Amias's Avatar

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    Most Active Copyright Trolls Have Stopped Filing U.S. Piracy Lawsuits, For Now

    The two companies behind nearly all U.S. file-sharing lawsuits in recent years haven't filed any new complaints recently. Instead of submitting hundreds of new complaints, there are none. It's unclear why both companies have halted their efforts but it could have something to do with recent legal developments.

    While most piracy activity has shifted to streaming in recent years, U.S. courts have still been overloaded with BitTorrent related piracy lawsuits.

    This phenomenon, often dubbed as copyright trolling, started roughly a decade ago and remains ongoing.

    This scheme can be both simple and lucrative. Rightsholders file complaints against “John Does” who are initially only known by an IP-address. They then request a subpoena to obtain the subscriber details and demand a settlement from the account holder.

    In recent years, the vast majority of the U.S. lawsuits were filed by two adult entertainment companies; Strike 3 Holdings and Malibu Media. Together, they filed over
    3,300 new cases last year, which was an all-time record.

    Initially, it appeared that they would continue on the same course this year. During the summer we reported that Strike 3 alone had already filed over a thousand new complaints. However, in recent months that changed drastically.

    Looking through the federal court records we noticed that there was a notable absence of new cases from both Strike 3 Holdings and Malibu Media. Instead of filing hundreds of new cases, both companies haven’t been active for weeks.

    Strike 3 filed its latest complaint in early August, more than four months ago. Malibu Media had its latest filing spree in August as well and only submitted seven new complaints after that, most recently in October.

    Strike 3’s latest cases


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/strik3.jpg

    The sudden halt in activity is remarkable, especially since both companies have different legal teams. It’s also a clear deviation from previous years. However, there’s no clear explanation for the hiatus, nor do we know how long it will last.

    It could be that the companies are awaiting the outcome of certain legal proceedings. For example, in a few cases this year the court
    denied expedited discovery. This makes it impossible for the rightsholders to obtain the personal details of infringers.

    Strike 3 has appealed that ruling and may await its outcome before filing any new cases, to prevent wasting filing fees.

    In addition, there is the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from last year in the
    Cobbler Nevada v. Gonzales case. In that matter, the Court ruled that identifying the registered subscriber of an IP-address is by itself not enough to argue that this person is also the infringer.

    This Appeals Court ruling has also proven to be a setback for
    both Malibu Media and Strike 3 Holdings.

    Whether these legal developments are indeed a factor is unknown. Whatever the reason may be, we can already conclude that the all-time record for file-sharing cases in the U.S. won’t be broken this year. The current total is still under 2,000, with just three more weeks to go.

    Torrentfreak.com

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