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  1. #1281
    Amias's Avatar

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    Apple Hits Encryption Key With DMCA Notice, Panic Shuts Down the Jailbreak Sub-Reddit

    A sub-Reddit dedicated to jailbreaking iOS devices put itself into lockdown yesterday after several DMCA notices were filed against the discussion forum. Various sources reported that the notices were filed by Apple, in an attempt to hinder distribution of jailbreaking-related tools and information. While that remains unconfirmed, Apple did use the DMCA to take down a related tweet containing an encryption key.

    To most users of mobile computing devices such as phones and tablets, they exist to be used however the consumer sees fit. However, the majority are restricted to prevent the adventurous from doing whatever they like with their own hardware.

    To bypass these restrictions, users can utilize a so-called jailbreak tool. These unlock the digital handcuffs deployed on a device and grant additional freedoms that aren’t available as standard. As such, they are popular with modders who enjoy customizing their hardware with new features that otherwise wouldn’t exist.

    Since it is viewed as one of the most restrictive manufacturers, Apple hardware and software face almost continual ‘attacks’ from people wanting to jailbreak its devices. There are many communities online dedicated to this scene, including Reddit’s 462,000-member /r/jailbreak forum.

    Yesterday, however, chaos reigned after Reddit’s legal team received multiple DMCA notices against a number of threads detailing a pair of prominent jailbreak tools – Checkra1n and UNc0ver.

    “Reddit Legal have removed 5 posts (all release posts) for checkra1n and unc0ver. We don’t know what exactly was the copyright about. Admins never told us, we just saw their actions in our mod log,” a moderator
    explained.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, many linked the issues facing /r/jailbreak to an earlier drama on Twitter when an iOS hacker called S1guza published an Apple decryption key that led to his tweet being taken down following a DMCA notice. It took a few hours but the tweet was ultimately reinstated last evening. No specific reasons were given for taking it down, and none were provided for putting it back up.

    iPhone11,8 17C5053a sepi
    9f974f1788e615700fec73006cc2e6b533b0c6c2b8cf653bdb d347bc1897bdd66b11815f036e94c951250c4dda916c00

    — Siguza (@s1guza)
    December 8, 2019


    The Twitter takedown was sent by Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, a company that has acted on Apple’s behalf in the past. The notice itself, published on the Lumen Database thanks to Twitter, also provides no useful details as to why the tweet was targeted.

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/apple-dmca.png

    Since Apple was behind the takedown on Twitter and the most obvious culprit in respect of the DMCA takedowns on Reddit, many fingers were pointed towards the Cupertino-based company. However, despite the best efforts of the moderators on /r/jailbreak, Reddit’s admins would not provide the necessary information to identify who filed the DMCA notices or on what grounds.

    With uncertainty apparently the order of the day, moderators of the discussion forum took the drastic decision to put their platform into lockdown.

    “Locking down the subreddit to prevent new threads is one of the ‘standard’ responses moderators take to show the admins that the mod team isn’t playing, and that they are serious and ready to remedy the issue,” a post from the mods reads.

    “Too many DMCA notices eventually end up with a warn and a ban (or just a ban) from the admins to whatever subreddit these notices are being sent to.”

    While the DMCA notices in themselves are clearly the biggest issue here, unlike Twitter and Google, for example, Reddit does not routinely share DMCA notices it receives with an external database such as Lumen. If it did, the additional transparency would perhaps help to shine some light on the topic and prevent heavy self-imposed actions, such as the voluntary lockdown of the jailbreak sub.

    Moderators
    report that Reddit’s admins were initially unresponsive to requests for information and that a database that tracks DMCA notices sent to Reddit didn’t provide any helpful details on the sender of the notices.

    Last evening, however, one of the affected jailbreak developers ‘qwertyoruiopz’
    announced on Twitter that things were some way to being resolved on Reddit and the sub had been taken out of ‘lockdown mode‘.

    Soon after, a welcome response from Reddit’s admins was published, effectively signaling the all-clear.

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

    While the message was well-received, /r/jailbreak shouldn’t have been obliged to take such serious action to preserve its existence. The jailbreaking of iOS devices is considered legal in the US and the DMCA notices filed against Reddit clearly caught everyone by surprise.

    It remains unknown whether they were indeed sent by Apple so the possibility remains that they were sent by some kind of imposter, trying to unsettle the community. Nevertheless, it is good news that all complaints have been lifted due to the claims being invalid, as per Reddit’s admins.

    Without transparency from Reddit, however, the true nature of what happened is likely to remain a mystery. That being said, the moderators of /r/jailbreak deserve a big pat on the back for taking decisive action, quickly. Things could have really spiraled out of control but by showing good intent early on, things were brought back into line relatively quickly.

    Now, let’s see those notices to determine who sent them, and why.

    Torrentfreak.com

  2. #1282
    Amias's Avatar

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    USMCA Trade Deal Keeps DMCA-Style ‘Safe Harbor’ for ISPs

    The United States, Canada, and Mexico have signed a new trade deal that will replace NAFTA. The USMCA deals with a wide range of trade topics including copyright issues. Despite warnings from rightsholders and some lawmakers, the agreement offers liability protections for Internet companies, including a DMCA-style safe harbor provision.

    More than a quarter-century after the United States, Canada, and Mexico approved the NAFTA trade agreement, the North American countries have now signed off on a new trade deal.

    The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will accommodate changes in trade that the three countries have witnessed over the years, especially online.

    The road to this final deal wasn’t without obstacles. After agreeing on the text a year ago, new demands and proposed changes were tabled, some of which were included in the
    Protocol of Amendments that was published this week.

    The amendments don’t cover copyright issues, but the previously agreed text certainly does. For example, USMCA will require all countries to have a copyright term that continues for at least 70 years after the creator’s death.

    For Canada, this means that the country’s current copyright term has to be extended by 20 years. This won’t happen instantly, as the country
    negotiated a transition period to consult the public on how to best meet this requirement. However, an extension seems inevitable in the long term.

    Another controversial subject that was widely debated by experts and stakeholders is the DMCA-style ‘safe harbor’ text. In the US, ISPs are shielded from copyright infringement liability under the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, and the new deal would expand this security to Mexico and Canada.

    This expansion was welcomed by many large technology companies including Internet providers and hosting platforms. However, many major entertainment industry companies and rightsholder groups were not pleased with the plans, as they have been calling for safe harbor restrictions for years.

    US lawmakers also raised concerns. Just a few weeks ago the House Judiciary Committee
    urged the US Trade Representative not to include any safe harbor language in trade deals while the Copyright Office is reviewing the effectiveness of the DMCA law.

    As the USMCA negotiations reached the final stage, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
    weighed in as well, trying to have safe harbor text removed from the new trade deal.

    Despite this pushback, there is no mention of changes to the safe harbor section in the final amendments. This means that they will remain in the USMCA, much to the delight of major Internet companies.

    That said, copyright liability protection also comes with obligations. The agreement specifies that ISPs should have legal incentives to work with ISPs to ensure that copyright infringements are properly dealt with.

    This framework shall include “legal incentives for Internet Service Providers to cooperate with copyright owners to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials or, in the alternative, to take other action to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials,” the agreement reads.

    The USMCA specifically mentions that ISPs must take down pirated content and implement a repeat infringer policy if they want to apply for safe harbor protection. This is largely modeled after the DMCA law.

    The safe harbors for copyright infringement and the takedown requirements don’t apply to Canada as long as it continues to rely on its current notice-and-notice scheme. However, the country will enjoy safe harbors for other objectionable content, modeled after section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act.

    While the three North American countries have reached an agreement, the text still has to be ratified into local law and policy. So it may take some time before it has any effect.

    Commenting on the outcome, Canadian copyright professor Micheal Geist
    notes that the safe harbor for objectionable content is a win for freedom of expression. The additional 20-year copyright term is a setback, although the negative effects can be limited by requiring rightsholders to register for such an extension.

    On the other side, rightsholders are also pleased, at least with parts of the new agreement.

    “The USMCA’s provisions to strengthen copyright protections and enforcement will benefit the U.S. motion picture and television industry and support American jobs,” MPA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin says.

    Torrentfreak.com

  3. #1283
    Amias's Avatar

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    Fake: DMCA Notice Targeting Apple Jailbreaks on Reddit Was Fraudulent

    A DMCA notice that targeted Reddit's /r/jailbreak sub-Reddit earlier this week was fraudulent. Fingers were pointed firmly towards Apple on the basis it had previously targeted a tweet containing an encryption key. However, it now transpires that the notice sent to Reddit was created by an imposter. The targets of this malicious act are now calling on Reddit to share DMCA notices by default, to prevent abuse.

    Earlier this week, black clouds began to form over the passionate iOS jailbreaking community. Tolerated by Apple through gritted teeth due to legal protection under the DMCA, the company took the unusual step of sending a DMCA notice targeting a developer’s tweet containing an encryption key.

    While that tweet was later restored, the takedown came as a complete surprise and the knock-on effect from this unsettling act would set the scene for the company getting blamed for additional similar acts, this time on Reddit.

    In the wake of the Twitter action, a moderator of the /r/jailbreak sub-Reddit revealed that Reddit’s legal team had removed five posts detailing iOS jailbreak releases checkra1n and unc0ver. All of the posts were deleted by Reddit’s admins after receiving a DMCA notice, ostensibly sent by Apple.

    What followed was an hours-long information blackout, during which /r/jailbreak’s moderators sought but failed to obtain information from Reddit’s admins. With a credible fear that more notices could be filed and as a result label /r/jailbreak as a repeat offender under the DMCA, its moderators put the forum into lockdown.

    Right from the very beginning there was no clear proof that Apple had sent any DMCA notices to Reddit, despite news headlines blaming the tech company for going to war against jailbreakers. It now transpires that waiting for proof would’ve been a more prudent option.

    As revealed by
    checkra1n development team member ‘qwertyoruiopz’, the notice that targeted his project was actually a fake.
    Update: The DMCA takedown that took the checka1n post down is fake.

    — qwertyoruiop (@qwertyoruiopz)
    December 12, 2019


    And, according to fellow developer ‘axi0mX’, the fake notice wasn’t particularly well constructed either.

    “We reviewed it and confirmed that it was someone impersonating Apple. It was not sent from their law firm, which is Kilpatrick Townsend. There are issues with grammar and spelling,” he
    revealed.

    “This notice was obviously not submitted in good faith, and it was not done by someone authorized to represent Apple. Not cool. They could be sued for damages or face criminal charges for perjury.”

    Being sued for sending a fake notice sounds like a reasonable solution in practice but history tells us, one
    particularly notable case aside, that is unlikely to happen. However, it’s clear that more can be done to mitigate the effects of malicious takedowns, starting with more transparency from Reddit’s admins.

    While the moderators of /r/jailbreak knew about the complaints early on, they were given no information about who sent them or on what basis. This meant that the people against whom the complaints were made weren’t in a position to counter them, at least with knowledge on their side.

    “My personal take on all this is that this should provide plenty of food of thought about the state of copyright laws in the US. A site like Reddit risks losing legal safe harbor protections if they don’t immediately act on such notices,” qwertyoruiopz
    says.

    “Not sharing the notices by default is however very bad policy on Reddit’s end; I would even call this a vulnerability. It allows for nefarious parties to create false-flag takedowns that spark can infighting and has chilling effects (albeit temporary) on non-infringing content.”

    There can be little doubt that Reddit takes its DMCA obligations very seriously, so it could be argued that taking down the posts in response to a complaint was the safest legal option. However, if a cursory review of the notices by those targeted revealed clear fraud within minutes, there is a very good case for those notices being shared quickly to ensure that the fraudulent notices don’t have the desired effect.

    While Reddit has shown no signs of sharing DMCA notices with the Lumen Database recently, quickly sharing them with those who have allegedly infringed would be a good first step.

    Torrentfreak.com

  4. #1284
    Amias's Avatar

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    Copyright Troll’ Bypasses Federal Court To Get ‘Cheap’ Piracy Settlements

    Strike 3 Holdings has been the most active copyright litigant in the U.S. this year but, during the summer, it suddenly stopped filing lawsuits in federal courts. Further research now reveals that the adult entertainment company moved its efforts to the state level, which can be a much cheaper option. However, several defense attorneys are protesting this move, noting that it's not allowed.

    Earlier this week we reported on a
    notable finding. For some reason, the two most active copyright litigants in the US had stopped filing new lawsuits in federal courts.

    Instead of seeing hundreds of new cases each month targeting alleged BitTorrent pirates, there were none.

    While the reason for this hiatus is unknown, we can now confirm that at least one of the companies hasn’t halted its efforts at all. Instead, it changed the venue, which isn’t without controversy.

    In the U.S, copyright-related court cases are exclusively a matter of federal law, which is something every first-year law student knows. You can’t bring a copyright suit in state court, period. However, that’s exactly where Strike 3 has moved.

    After filing over 1,000 cases in federal courts earlier this year, the adult entertainment company moved its activities to a Florida state court. In recent weeks, it has filed more than a dozen new cases.

    Although these cases relate to copyright infringement, Strike 3 submits them as a complaint for “a pure bill discovery.” This essentially means that it asks the court to give it the right to figure out who the defendants are.

    In this case, this means a subpoena directed at ISPs to identify the account holder that’s linked to the allegedly infringing IP-addresses. This tactic provides the same result as going through a federal court and allows Strike 3 to demand settlements as well.

    While the number of cases in state court is relatively modest, these cases target a substantially higher number of defendants per case. That’s also one of the main advantages. By filing a single case with dozens or hundreds of defendants, the filing fee per defendant is very low.

    In federal court, the company generally targets one defendant per complaint, which is far more expensive. And while Strike 3 mentions that it is requesting the information for a subsequent copyright lawsuit, it will likely try to get a settlement first.

    Another advantage is that the company doesn’t have to deal with the federal courts that are increasingly reluctant to grant discovery. Just a few weeks ago, Strike 3 was denied a subpoena, for example.

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/strike3-1.jpg

    The question is whether this shortcut is appropriate. While we have seen it being used in Florida a few years ago, it certainly isn’t common. And this time there is pushback as well.

    TorrentFreak spoke to several attorneys who represent defendants in these cases. They believe that Strike 3 is wrong to use the state court for this purpose. However, in several cases, the Miami-Dade County Court has already granted subpoenas against a variety of ISPs, including AT&T and Comcast.

    Attorney Jeffrey Antonelli and his firm
    Antonelli Law‘s local counsel Steven Robert Kozlowski objected to these subpoenas on behalf of several defendants. In his motion to quash he highlights a variety of problems, including the earlier observation that copyright cases don’t belong in a state court.

    “This Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the copyright claims at issue in the lawsuit which the subpoena to Comcast is premised upon. Federal courts have original and exclusive jurisdiction over civil actions arising under federal copyright law,” the motion reads.

    Another problem is that the purpose of the “pure bill of discovery” is to obtain facts or information a defendant has. However, the targeted ISPs are not defendants in these cases.

    Finally, the motions highlight that the IP-addresses may not even be linked to Florida, where the court is based. Strike 3 should have known this, as they always disclose the location in federal court. However, they may have omitted it on purpose, the defense argues.

    “In fact, Plaintiff’s failure to allege that Defendant has sufficient contacts with the state of Florida or is a Florida resident is likely a purposeful omission as Defendant is not a resident of Florida,” the motion to quash reads, showing that the IP-address is linked to Minnesota.

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

    TorrentFreak spoke to Florida-based attorney
    Cynthia Conlin who has dealt with these ‘trolling’ lawsuits, both in federal and state court. She believes that Strike 3 has moved its efforts to the Miami-Dade County court in an attempt to save costs.

    “The most obvious advantage in filing a multi-doe case is economic. Strike 3 need only pay a single filing fee to obtain identifying information for several dozen defendants, as opposed to $400 for each single-doe federal lawsuit,” Conlin says.

    In federal courts, these cases typically include one defendant. So filing 50 cases would cost $20,000 in filing fees alone. In the recent state court cases, all defendants are grouped in a single case, which is much cheaper.

    “By filing multi-doe suits, Strike 3 is increasing its odds of receiving settlements exponentially. So far it has filed 17 lawsuits in Miami-Dade County, and counting,” Conlin notes.

    While Conlin doesn’t believe that these cases are allowed in state courts, judges often sign off on the subpoenas since they are not well-versed in copyright litigation. This is a loophole Strike 3 tried to exploit.

    “Strike 3 would not be able to get away with filing a multi-doe lawsuit in federal court. Mass-doe cases have been done before in many federal jurisdictions, and the federal courts will no longer allow them. State court is the only place Strike 3 can get away with it,” she says.

    This isn’t the first time this maneuver has been carried out. A few other companies have done so and some argue that it’s a
    win-win for all, as it can result in lower settlements as well.

    Conlin and other defense attorneys don’t buy that and will continue to file motions to quash. At the time of writing, the Miami-Dade County Court has yet to rule on these subpoenas.

    Torrentfreak.com

  5. #1285
    Amias's Avatar

    Join Date
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    ‘Copyright Troll’ Bypasses Federal Court To Get ‘Cheap’ Piracy Settlements

    Strike 3 Holdings has been the most active copyright litigant in the U.S. this year but, during the summer, it suddenly stopped filing lawsuits in federal courts. Further research now reveals that the adult entertainment company moved its efforts to the state level, which can be a much cheaper option. However, several defense attorneys are protesting this move, noting that it's not allowed.

    Earlier this week we reported on a
    notable finding. For some reason, the two most active copyright litigants in the US had stopped filing new lawsuits in federal courts.

    Instead of seeing hundreds of new cases each month targeting alleged BitTorrent pirates, there were none.

    While the reason for this hiatus is unknown, we can now confirm that at least one of the companies hasn’t halted its efforts at all. Instead, it changed the venue, which isn’t without controversy.

    In the U.S, copyright-related court cases are exclusively a matter of federal law, which is something every first-year law student knows. You can’t bring a copyright suit in state court, period. However, that’s exactly where Strike 3 has moved.

    After filing over 1,000 cases in federal courts earlier this year, the adult entertainment company moved its activities to a Florida state court. In recent weeks, it has filed more than a dozen new cases.

    Although these cases relate to copyright infringement, Strike 3 submits them as a complaint for “a pure bill discovery.” This essentially means that it asks the court to give it the right to figure out who the defendants are.

    In this case, this means a subpoena directed at ISPs to identify the account holder that’s linked to the allegedly infringing IP-addresses. This tactic provides the same result as going through a federal court and allows Strike 3 to demand settlements as well.

    While the number of cases in state court is relatively modest, these cases target a substantially higher number of defendants per case. That’s also one of the main advantages. By filing a single case with dozens or hundreds of defendants, the filing fee per defendant is very low.

    In federal court, the company generally targets one defendant per complaint, which is far more expensive. And while Strike 3 mentions that it is requesting the information for a subsequent copyright lawsuit, it will likely try to get a settlement first.

    Another advantage is that the company doesn’t have to deal with the federal courts that are increasingly reluctant to grant discovery. Just a few weeks ago, Strike 3 was denied a subpoena, for example.

    https://torrentfreak.com/images/strike3-1.jpg

    The question is whether this shortcut is appropriate. While we have seen it being used in Florida a few years ago, it certainly isn’t common. And this time there is pushback as well.

    TorrentFreak spoke to several attorneys who represent defendants in these cases. They believe that Strike 3 is wrong to use the state court for this purpose. However, in several cases, the Miami-Dade County Court has already granted subpoenas against a variety of ISPs, including AT&T and Comcast.

    Attorney Jeffrey Antonelli and his firm
    Antonelli Law‘s local counsel Steven Robert Kozlowski objected to these subpoenas on behalf of several defendants. In his motion to quash he highlights a variety of problems, including the earlier observation that copyright cases don’t belong in a state court.

    “This Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the copyright claims at issue in the lawsuit which the subpoena to Comcast is premised upon. Federal courts have original and exclusive jurisdiction over civil actions arising under federal copyright law,” the motion reads.

    Another problem is that the purpose of the “pure bill of discovery” is to obtain facts or information a defendant has. However, the targeted ISPs are not defendants in these cases.

    Finally, the motions highlight that the IP-addresses may not even be linked to Florida, where the court is based. Strike 3 should have known this, as they always disclose the location in federal court. However, they may have omitted it on purpose, the defense argues.

    “In fact, Plaintiff’s failure to allege that Defendant has sufficient contacts with the state of Florida or is a Florida resident is likely a purposeful omission as Defendant is not a resident of Florida,” the motion to quash reads, showing that the IP-address is linked to Minnesota.

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

    TorrentFreak spoke to Florida-based attorney
    Cynthia Conlin who has dealt with these ‘trolling’ lawsuits, both in federal and state court. She believes that Strike 3 has moved its efforts to the Miami-Dade County court in an attempt to save costs.

    “The most obvious advantage in filing a multi-doe case is economic. Strike 3 need only pay a single filing fee to obtain identifying information for several dozen defendants, as opposed to $400 for each single-doe federal lawsuit,” Conlin says.

    In federal courts, these cases typically include one defendant. So filing 50 cases would cost $20,000 in filing fees alone. In the recent state court cases, all defendants are grouped in a single case, which is much cheaper.

    “By filing multi-doe suits, Strike 3 is increasing its odds of receiving settlements exponentially. So far it has filed 17 lawsuits in Miami-Dade County, and counting,” Conlin notes.

    While Conlin doesn’t believe that these cases are allowed in state courts, judges often sign off on the subpoenas since they are not well-versed in copyright litigation. This is a loophole Strike 3 tried to exploit.

    “Strike 3 would not be able to get away with filing a multi-doe lawsuit in federal court. Mass-doe cases have been done before in many federal jurisdictions, and the federal courts will no longer allow them. State court is the only place Strike 3 can get away with it,” she says.

    This isn’t the first time this maneuver has been carried out. A few other companies have done so and some argue that it’s a
    win-win for all, as it can result in lower settlements as well.

    Conlin and other defense attorneys don’t buy that and will continue to file motions to quash. At the time of writing, the Miami-Dade County Court has yet to rule on these subpoenas.

    Torrentfreak.com

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