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  1. #1361
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    Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 01/27/20

    The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Terminator: Dark Fate' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Joker'. 'Doctor Sleep' completes the top three.

    This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

    Terminator: Dark Fate 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:

    Most downloaded movies via torrents
    Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
    1 (1) Terminator: Dark Fate 6.4 / trailer
    2 (3) Joker 8.8 / trailer
    3 (…) Doctor Sleep 7.5 / trailer
    4 (2) 1917 (DVDscr) 8.6 / trailer
    5 (5) Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 6.8 / trailer
    6 (…) Playing With Fire 4.7 / trailer
    7 (4) Dark Waters (screener) 8.6 / trailer
    8 (6) Frozen 2 (DVDScr) 7.2 / trailer
    9 (10) Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood 7.9 / trailer
    10 (…) Just Mercy (DVDScr) 7.4 / trailer

  2. #1362
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    South Korea Requests Interpol Red Notice to Track Down Pirate Site Operator

    South Korean authorities say they have rquested their first ever Interpol 'Red Notice' in an effort to apprehend the suspected operator of a torrent site that indexed around 455,000 copyright works. Information released by the Ministry of Culture and National Police suggests that the unnamed person is Australian. Police are demanding his or her arrest and extradition.

    For the very first time in a copyright infringement case, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in conjunction with the National Police Agency has requested a so-called Interpol Red Notice.

    Red Notices detail people who are wanted internationally for serious crimes, typically murder, rape, child abuse or armed robbery, according to Interpol. However, South Korean authorities state that since serious copyright infringers can be jailed for significant periods, those with an arrest warrant filed against them can now be pursued internationally.

    “Previously, it was not possible to investigate copyright infringers residing abroad, so the investigation would have to be temporarily suspended and only the information notified to immigration,” the Ministry says.

    “But now, with a long period of two years in prison or in jail, a copyright infringer with an arrest warrant has been redeemed with the cooperation of the International Criminal Police Agency (Interpol) to arrest the wanted person and lead him to the country.”

    The name of the suspect hasn’t been released publicly but the Ministry of Culture states that they want their Interpol partners to apprehend the operator of a torrent site (simply referred to as ‘torrent—‘) that offered around 455,000 titles illegally and generated around 15 million visits per month. The only other detail is that the person is Australian and residing overseas.

    In its announcement, the Ministry of Culture revealed recent progress in its battle against large scale copyright infringers who allegedly distribute copyright works using overseas servers. After
    closing 25 sites in 2018, police say they arrested nine site operators in 2019, arrested a further six, and closed 20 illicit platforms.

    Those arrested include three detained for distributing 5,000 comic works and 20,000 pornography titles on sites utilizing overseas servers, plus two who “earned advertising revenues” by posting 100,000 comic works on foreign sites.

    In parallel, the Korea Communications Commission and the Korea Copyright Protection Office under the Ministry of Arts and Culture have been working closely to improve the country’s
    site-blocking mechanism. In common with other regions around the world, alternative domains, proxies and mirrors that quickly spring up after domains are blocked have been receiving special attention.

    As part of the overall crackdown, the National Police Agency is reportedly investigating gambling sites that place banner advertising on ‘pirate’ platforms while encouraging international cooperation against infringement, including strengthening ties with service providers and copyright authorities, plus Google.

  3. #1363
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    BitTorrent Owner Accused of Profiting From Movie Piracy

    A lawsuit filed against BitTorrent owner Rainberry Inc, TRON Foundation's Justin Sun, and one of his colleagues, is based in employment law. However, the allegations it contains could pique interest in Hollywood, with claims that movies including The Lion King were involved in a "fraudulent scheme" to "make a profit from the illegal piracy of those materials."

    In 2018, Justin Sun’s Rainberry Inc. successfully acquired BitTorrent Inc.

    While the name Rainberry is rarely used in public, company brands such as BitTorrent, TRON, and TRX are more easily recognized by the public, with controversy rarely far behind.

    Developments related to these various brands are usually followed closely by the cryptocurrency press, mainly due to Sun’s voluminous tweets that tend to focus on crypto matters, rather than the file-sharing activities of the uTorrent owner.

    This was also the case yesterday when sites including Coindesk began reporting on an employment law dispute that was quietly filed last October by a pair of former Rainberry Inc. employees. However, this development also has an interesting copyright angle that hasn’t been explained in detail.

    Richard Hall worked as a product manager at the company while Lukasz Juraszek was employed as an engineer, at least before they were dismissed. Their 70-page lawsuit is a trip through many serious allegations, including racism, threats, the witnessing of physical violence, and a number of closely related matters.

    However, concerns over Rainberry’s exposure to copyright infringement issues appear to lie at the root of the legal action.

    “Defendant Justin Sun and his hand-picked mainland Chinese-born subordinates were engaged in illegal piracy of copyrighted materials for defendant Rainberry Inc., in order to make a profit from the illegal piracy of those materials, as well as other illegal and unscrupulous activities,” the lawsuit reads.

    Both Hall and Juraszek characterize themselves as “whistleblowers” who were subjected to a campaign of harassment after they raised concerns over activity at the company. The lawsuit claims that their employment at Rainberry was terminated following their “outright refusal to engage in criminal violation of state and national statutes concerning piracy of intellectual property”, including Hollywood first-run films.

    Hall claims he was assigned by the company to work as Senior Director of Product Management on the emerging file-sharing product known publicly as BitTorrent File System (BTFS). He says he raised concerns with his superiors that depending on the architecture and implementation of caching and delivery algorithms, users of BTFS might be monetarily rewarded (via crypto tokens, such as BTT) for “unknowingly storing and distributing inappropriate content” and/or copyright-infringing material.

    These complaints, Hall suggests, resulted in him being demoted in a manner that prevented him from overseeing the BTFS product. Nevertheless, he says he sought out proposals from two law firms specializing in copyright law to provide estimates for a legal review of what Rainberry and TRON were preparing to do, specifically for BTFS and another product called BTFS Movie or BT Movie (the lawsuit uses both).

    However, the lawsuit claims that following discussion with Justin Sun, it was determined that no legal review would be carried out. According to Hall, he advised that the ‘Movie’ product should be renamed, so that outsiders wouldn’t be given the impression that the company was encouraging the illegal sharing of movies on the BTFS network.

    Shortly after, his employment was terminated on the basis that he was “not a fit” for the company, Hall claims.

    “[I]t become clear that Richard Hall was terminated because he raised legitimate legal concerns about the actual or potential for BTFS and associated BTFS Movie projects to be engaged in illegal activity and pirating of copyrighted materials that Justin Sun did not want to have investigated because it would delay the launch and reveal the illegal and nefarious activities in which the company was engaged,” the lawsuit reads.

    In July 2019, Lukasz Juraszek reports that he realized that BTFS was no longer a “demo app”. As a result he began to step up his concerns over the application because the company had no control over the content being posted on BTFS “which at the time was entirely hosted on TRON’s infrastructure.”

    According to him, the Movie app was then “handed off” to Rainberry’s “Mainland China” office for implementation “by end of July 2019.”

    In August 2019, Juraszek says he again raised concerns that illegal content could be downloaded from BTFS, that he was uncomfortable working on the project, and that attorneys should be consulted before further work was done on BT Movie. He later carried out his own investigations by accessing the TRON “BT Movie” website to check if illegal content could be found.

    According to him, he found a Chinese-subtitled version of The Lion King (which was still in cinemas) along with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Hobbs & Shaw, Avengers: Infinity Wars”, and “many, many others.”

    On August 20, 2019, following what appears to be several strained interactions with management on a variety of topics, Juraszek was reportedly dismissed for “sharing company information” with a third-party.

    How the lawsuit will progress from here is unclear but the former Rainberry employees are demanding $15 million in damages. For his part, Justin Sun is mounting a vigorous defense, demanding that the complaint is dismissed in its entirety and the plaintiffs paying his costs.

  4. #1364
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    ‘The US Shouldn’t Sanction South Africa for Copying US-Style Fair Use’

    Several US entertainment industry groups are unhappy with South Africa's copyright policies, including plans to adopt a fair use exceptions inspired by US law. The complaints triggered a review into possible trade sanctions by the US Government. This is totally unwarranted, opponents now say, highlighting that South Africans have just as much right to fair use as Americans.

    A few months ago, the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) started an in-depth inquiry into South Africa’s copyright policies and plans.

    The US Government launched this official review following complaints from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA).

    The coalition of prominent rightsholder groups, including the MPA and RIAA, informed the USTR that they’re not happy with how South Africa addresses copyright issues. Lacking enforcement of online piracy was prominently mentioned, as well as the country’s approach towards fair use.

    The fair use angle has triggered a wide range of responses from stakeholders who sent their thoughts to the USTR a few days ago.

    South Africa plans to introduce a fair use provision into law that is largely based on the US model. According to the IIPA, this is dangerous, as the country can’t rely on 150 years of existing case law. In addition, the new provisions are even broader than the US variant while they arrive on top of the existing ‘fair dealing’ system, the group warns.

    The public submissions show that several rightsholders are siding with IIPA, but there’s also overwhelming pushback from public interest groups, organizations, and legal experts.

    Pretty much all critics of the IIPA’s stance explain that South Africa’s fair use proposal is largely the same as the US model. The problems signaled by the IIPA are overblown, they argue, adding that South Africans should enjoy the same freedoms as Americans.

    There’s not enough space to highlight all protests, but we will provide a short overview of some of the opposition’s responses.

    The Internet Association, which represents many large technology companies including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Spotify, strongly urges the USTR to reject the IIPA’s fair use complaints.

    “South Africa’s fair use measure is modeled on U.S. law and includes a standard four-factor test that strikes an appropriate balance between the interests of authors, creators, and users,” the Internet Association writes. ​

    “If the U.S. does not stand up for the U.S. copyright framework abroad, then U.S. innovators and exporters will suffer, and other countries will increasingly misuse copyright to limit market entry.”

    Wikipedia’s parent company Wikimedia also chimes in. The organization stresses that fair use has allowed US creators and consumers broader access to knowledge. The South African fair use proposal is very similar and by no means a threat, they add.

    “While we respect the need to ensure that copyrighted works are properly protected abroad, the reasonable exceptions and limitations included in the draft amendments to South African copyright law are not going to erode that protection any more than the century-long tradition of fair use has in the United States.

    “[]It makes little sense to prevent South African citizens from the freedoms that have long been held by citizens in our own country,” Wikimedia notes.

    The African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA) stresses than many countries have been able to enjoy fair use for decades. Not allowing South Africans the same right is a breach of constitutional rights.

    “A developing country like South Africa, that wants to improve its copyright law by modeling it on the US copyright law and other progressive copyright regimes, should be encouraged and affirmed, not punished for doing so,” AfLIA writes, urging the USTR to stop its review.

    The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) agrees with the other opponents. The group compared the US and South African fair use texts and found “no substantive differences.”

    Any additional exceptions in the South African proposal follow the model that already exists in US copyright law and can draw on existing jurisprudence, the IFLA adds.

    Peter Jaszi, Emeritus Professor of Law at the American University’s Washington College of Law, sees no roadblocks for the fair use proposal either.

    “It seems anomalous that the creative industries in a country where fair use is a venerable part of the law would object to another nation’s decision to adopt it as part of an effort to promote domestic innovation,” Jaszi says.

    Finally, the South African government is not being swayed by the IIPA’s concerns either. In its submission, it cites other US businesses, including Google, that support its plans. In addition, South Africa stresses that it has a widely-respected tradition of judicial competence and independence when it comes to intellectual property law.

    A complete overview of all the responses, including those in favor of the IIPA, is available here. The USTR will take these into account when it makes it final decision on any possible trade sanctions or other recommendations.

  5. #1365
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    YTS Lawsuits Offer Clearest Sign Yet That Pirates Shouldn’t Trust Anyone

    One of the most common recurring questions in respect of downloading, sharing and even streaming, is whether service X or platform Y is 'safe' to use, from a copyright-infringement perspective. Recent developments show that no matter how safe users think they are, security is something that should never be taken for granted.
    When mainstream piracy was in its infancy two decades ago, the majority of file-sharers had no idea that they were even at risk from snoopers. Thanks to a massive wave of lawsuits from the RIAA in 2003, that perception soon changed.
    Somewhere around 2004, the MPAA embarked on a parallel campaign to drive the message home to pirates that the Internet is not anonymous.
    “If you can think you can get away with illegally swapping movies, you’re wrong,” the ‘You Can Click But You Can’t Hide’ posters read. “Illegally trafficking in movies is not just a dirty little secret between you and your computer. You leave a trail.”
    The MPAA also gave unquestionably good advice: the only way to guarantee that users weren’t caught for sharing pirated movies was not to share them at all. Of course, millions didn’t listen and by the time that VPNs really started to take off around 2006/2007, file-sharers were laughing into their keyboards.
    The biggest threat back then (as it is now) was sharing torrents without protection. Torrents are public and any rightsholder can monitor them before filing a lawsuit for damages. But by 2009 or so, when streaming sites had already embedded themselves as the next big thing, a whole new click-and-play generation had become complacent again, lulled to sleep by the perceived security offered by third-party hosting sources.
    Today, millions of people are streaming content via apps and so-called Kodi boxes, mostly with zero protection. The idea, if people even consider it, is that ‘pirate’ sites can’t or won’t give up their information. That is a dangerous assumption.
    As recently documented here on TF, there is a worrying situation playing out on YTS, one of the Internet’s most popular torrent indexes. Taking all the facts at hand and adding in some educated guesses, it seems that after being subjected to massive legal pressure, the owner of that torrent resource may be handing information on some of its users to movie companies.
    To many file-sharers, that might seem an outrageous proposition but when faced with multiple six-digit claims for damages, no one should expect anything different. Once the identity of the site’s operator became known to the movie company plaintiffs, the pressure seems to have increased to the point that skin-saving might now be the order of the day. That seems to have been the case at Cotomovies as well.
    The thing is, if a torrent site or app developer can be pressured in this way, so can any other site holding potentially incriminating user data. There can be little doubt that many file-hosting and streaming platforms carry detailed logs and if the proverbial hits the fan, they could be handed over. Even some so-called debrid download sites, that appear to offer enhanced security, state that they carry download logs for up to a year.
    The bottom line is that if users are expecting pirate sites (or even gray area sites like the now-defunct Openload) not to store their personal information or carry download and upload logs, they are effectively banking on a third-party’s security and their determination not to buckle under the most severe pressure imaginable.
    In 2020 and after almost two decades of aggressive litigation, it’s perhaps surprising that anyone is taking such things for granted. But people do. They use their regular email addresses to sign up for questionable services, access all kinds of pirate sites without using a VPN, use their personal PayPal accounts for payments and donations, and generally fail to take seriously what could be a very expensive exercise in complacency.
    As an example, just last week a user on Reddit reported that a copyright troll in the US had tracked him down with evidence that he’d shared 20 movies. To put that into settlement terms (to make a lawsuit go away) that could mean paying out $20,000, $40,000 or even $60,000 – a potentially life-changing or indeed life-ruining sum.
    A decade-and-a-half ago the MPAA’s “Click But Can’t Hide” campaign declared that the Internet is not anonymous. It was accurate (at least by default) but many people continue to believe that security isn’t important. The truth is, the Internet is getting less anonymous every single year and rightsholders know how to exploit that.
    Like the apparent YTS fiasco, expect more preventable ‘surprises’ in the months and years to come.

  6. #1366
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    U.S. Counters Appeal of Criminally Convicted ‘Copyright Troll’ Lawyer

    The US Government has asked the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to affirm the conviction of Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys behind the controversial Prenda law firm. The lawyer appealed his conviction and 14-year prison sentence but according to the federal prosecutors handling the case, it's clear that he lied to the courts to extract settlements from alleged pirates.

    Last summer, a U.S. District Court in Minnesota sentenced Paul Hansmeier to
    14 years in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release.

    Hansmeier was a key player in the Prenda Law firm, which pursued cases against people who were suspected of downloading pirated porn videos via BitTorrent.

    Hansmeier and fellow attorney John Steele went a step further though. Among other things they lied to the courts, committed identity theft, and concocted a scheme to
    upload their own torrents to The Pirate Bay, creating a honeypot for the people they later sued over pirated downloads.

    Both attorneys pleaded guilty but Hansmeier reserved the right to appeal, which he did at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

    In his brief, submitted last fall, Hansmeier admits that he abused legal discovery processes. However, he maintains that many of the accused subscribers were pirates. As such, the settlements with these people were legitimate and not fraudulent.

    There’s no dispute that there was foul play involved, but these matters should be addressed by civil and regulatory systems of justice and not by criminal law, Hansmeier’s lawyer argued.

    This week, U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Kirkpatrick responded to these arguments. According to the US, Hansmeier built a career suing thousands of people across the country, accusing them of pirating content he and his co-conspirators uploaded as bait.

    That some victims may have indeed shared infringing material is beside the point. According to the federal prosecutors, Hansmeier’s appeal is premised on a misunderstanding of the indictment’s claims.

    “Contrary to his claims, the indictment does not charge that the only lies in this case were made to courts. Far from it. Instead, Hansmeier’s lawsuits were fraudulent from the start,” the prosecution writes.

    “His scheme entailed lying to courts and using the courts to execute his scheme to defraud victims and making explicit misrepresentations and material omissions to those victims in order to exact quick settlement payments.”

    Thus, even though some victims may have broken the law, they were caught by someone who broke the law to catch them, and committed crimes in the process. Or as the prosecution puts it;

    “Even if theoretically those victims could be sued for copyright infringement, Hansmeier still misrepresented the nature of his lawsuits in order to exact payments. It was part of his scheme to use litigation to create the illusion of a legitimate civil action environment when, in reality, the entirety of the litigation was a scam and was intended to facilitate his shakedown.”

    In addition to the attempt to undo the conviction by framing his offenses as a civil matter, Hansmeier also disputed the court’s order to award roughly $1.5 million in restitution to the victims. This is in part based on the same logic. Since some victims did break the law, Hansmeier argues that the settlements were legitimate.

    The prosecution doesn’t agree with this either. While some may have broken the law, they are victims because Hansmeier’s lied and defrauded the court in order to get these settlements.

    On top of that, the former Prenda attorney signed a plea agreement where he specifically admitted to receiving more than $3 million in fraudulent proceeds from the lawsuits he was involved in.

    “Thus, he agreed that the people who paid him as a result of his copyright infringement lawsuits were fraud victims by acknowledging that the amounts they paid him were ‘fraudulent proceeds.’ He cannot now say that they were not,” the federal prosecutors write.

    Based on the above and various other arguments, the US Government asks the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to affirm the district court’s judgment.

  7. #1367
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    YouTuber Who Slammed Copyright Lawsuit Against K. Perry Hit With Copyright Complaint

    YouTuber Who Slammed Copyright Lawsuit Against Katy Perry Hit With Copyright Complaint From Perry’s Publisher

    Katy Perry's writers lost a $2.8m lawsuit against Christian rapper Flame last year over the use of a handful of notes. Musician Adam Neely published a hit video on YouTube slamming the lawsuit but in a bizarre twist, Perry's publisher Warner Chappell has now filed an infringement complaint against Neely. Not only have they claimed all of the advertising revenue from his video, they've turned the entire matter into an unbelievable trainwreck.

    In August 2019, a jury found that the writers of the Katy Perry hit ‘Dark Horse’ had infringed on the rights of Christian rapper ‘Flame’ over his 2008 track ‘Joyful Noise”. The $2.78 million judgment sent shockwaves through the industry, with Perry’s side describing the decision a “travesty of justice.”

    “The writers of Dark Horse view the verdicts as a travesty of justice. There is no infringement,” the statement read. “There was no access of substantial similarity. The only thing in common is unprotectable expression — evenly spaced ‘C’ and ‘B’ notes — repeated. People including musicologists from all over are expressing their dismay over this.”

    One of those who found the lawsuit ridiculous was musician and YouTuber Adam Neely, who
    posted a video on YouTube explaining why it made absolutely no sense. The video, in which he unequivocally supported Perry’s side, pulled in millions of views and as a result the musician was asked to comment by numerous news publications covering the case.

    Unfortunately, Neely himself now finds himself at the center of a copyright dispute as a result of his original video. In a new video posted to YouTube today, Neely recounts his journey following the case, noting that he strongly defended both Katy Perry and her publisher, Warner Chappell, in the belief that the lawsuit was bad for musicians, bad for creativity, and bad for the artform of music-making.

    Warner Chappell, however, appear to see things differently. Instead of quietly thanking their avid supporter, they have hit his video with a copyright complaint instead.

    “Katy Perry’s publisher, Warner Chappell, just claimed one of my videos. Warner Chappell did not hire me to make this video defending their platform in public and yet they have now claimed the advertising revenue for the video,” he explains.

    “That is, of course, an incredibly crappy thing for Warner Chappell to do. But it gets a lot weirder. Katy Perry lost that suit so where does that leave the copyright for Warner Chappell? Dark Horse was found to be infringing on Joyful Noise so why is Warner Chappell still able to claim my video and take my advertising revenue?”

    But Neely’s frustrations only increase after digging into the claim itself. It claims that Neely “used the melody” for Dark Horse in his video. However, the defendants in the Perry case previously stated that particular musical component of Dark Horse wasn’t a melody at all, but rather a background element to their track. The melody of Dark Horse never even appeared in Neely’s video – but the drama doesn’t stop there.

    The allegedly-infringing content according to Warner Chappell was found between 35 seconds and 44 seconds into Neely’s video. However, as the exasperated musician points out, that part of the track was actually a demonstration of a section of Joyful Noise, not Dark Horse.

    “[Warner Chappell] are claiming my video for a melody that they just lost a lawsuit defending. My video was all about how they should HAVE NOT lost the lawsuit because that melody was so minor as to not be copyrightable,” Neely says.

    Only adding insult to injury is that this wasn’t a claim actioned automatically by YouTube’s systems, but was actually filed manually by a human being. This, Neely suggests, means that whoever filed the claim couldn’t tell the difference between the melodies in the two tracks and ended up filing a complaint against the wrong one.

    This trainwreck is going to be hard to explain away…

  8. #1368
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    Tech Giants Warn U.S. Against EU Upload Filters and Site Blocking

    Global tech firms including Google, Twitter, and Facebook, are warning the U.S. Government against the threat of mandatory upload filters. Industry groups believe that the requirements mandated by the EU copyright directive harm the interests of US companies. In addition, tech companies are concerned about pirate site blocking developments in several EU countries.

    Last year there were fierce protests against the EU Copyright Directive which, according to opponents, would result in broad upload filters on the web.

    Despite this pushback, the directive passed, and individual EU member states are now working on implementing the text into local law.

    This includes
    Article 17 (formerly Article 13), which requires many online services to license content from copyright holders. If that is not possible, these companies should ensure that infringing content is taken down and not re-uploaded to their services.

    These new requirements are welcomed by rightsholders but many tech companies see them as a threat. This week, several industry groups issued a warning about the negative consequences in their submissions for the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report.

    The Computer & Communications Industry Association (
    CCIA), which includes Amazon, Cloudflare, Facebook, and Google as members, is one of the concerned groups. According to the CCIA, Article 17 will have significant consequences for both online services and users.

    “Online services must implement filtering technologies in order to comply with the requirements under Article 17. While Article 17 avoids the word ‘filter’, practically speaking content-based filtering will be required if a service is to have any hope of achieving compliance,” the group writes.

    CCIA notes that Article 17 will result in a ‘notice-and-staydown’ obligation. This goes against the current global standards that provide online services with a safe harbor against copyright infringements committed by users.

    As a result, tech companies fear that they will no longer be able to operate freely in the EU. In some cases, that could mean that they can’t operate there at all. Contrary to claims from EU officials, CCIA believes that lawful activities carried out by users will be severely restricted.

    Technically speaking, fair use including memes and parodies will still be allowed. However, since these copyright exceptions can’t be determined by automatic filters, services may choose to remove more content than they have to.

    “Because algorithms used to monitor content on platforms cannot contextualize to determine whether the content was lawfully uploaded under one of the exceptions listed, the law requires platforms to err on the side of removing content,” CCIA writes.

    This is exacerbated by the concern that copyright exceptions apply to users, but not to the platforms, the tech companies argue. This means that online services can still be held liable for content users have posted lawfully.

    While it’s too late to stop the legislation now, CCIA urges the US Government to make EU member states aware of these concerns. Ideally, EU member states should ensure that the fallout from the new requirements is limited. For example, by requiring rightsholders to notify online services before they have to take action.

    This criticism is shared by the
    Internet Association (IA), which includes many of the same tech companies as members.

    “The EU Directive effectively requires internet services of all sizes to implement comprehensive content filtering systems, without regard for the inevitable consequences of such filtering,” IA writes.

    In addition to the critique on Article 17, both industry groups also flagged various European website blocking schemes and orders as problematic. In particular, those that take place without any oversight from courts.

    This includes Greece’s “Committee for Online Copyright Infringement” which issued various
    pirate site blockades after a similar attempt previously failed in court.

    The IA and CCIA both mention Italy’s
    site-blocking efforts as well. This is administered by the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) which can require ISPs to block sites without a judicial process.

    Finally, Russian
    piracy blocking efforts are mentioned too. These affect some of the tech companies directly, as it requires search engines to remove all links to allegedly infringing websites within 24 hours.

    “In practice, this law has resulted in overbroad removal and delisting requests for general-purpose websites that would not be subject to removal under Section 512 of the Copyright Act or other parts of U.S. copyright law,” IA writes.

    The tech companies hope that the US Government will take its concerns into account. Aside from the EU-focused issues, the full requests of both CCIA and IA highlight a variety of concerns in other regions as well.

  9. #1369
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    The Pirated Version of Oscar Nominee Ford v Ferrari Is a New Internet Phenomenon

    Ford v Ferrari has become one of the most popular searches online in the last couple of weeks, and now it looks like the number of downloads for the pirated version keeps growing every hour.

    While we won’t provide any links for obvious reasons, one BitTorrent site currently has thousands of users downloading the movie, and given how many alternative links are out there, it goes without saying that the number is substantially higher.

    At the time of writing, there are several versions of the Ford v Ferrari movie on BitTorrent sites, but the most popular appears to be BluRay 1080p release. More than one thousand users are currently downloading this over 10GB version of the movie from the said BitTorrent site.

    The largest BluRay release comes in a nearly 57GB package, and hundreds of downloads are under way right now as well.

    Needless to say, the XviD 1080 rips are recording a continuously-growing number of downloads as well, especially from users who look for a smaller version. Depending on the release, the XviD version of Ford v Ferrari starts at about 1GB and goes all the way up to 5GB.

    Ford v Ferrari is one of the most successful movies released lately, with an IMDB rating of 8.2 points out of a maximum of 10. It was nominated for four Oscars, namely best picture, film editing, sound mixing and sound editing.

  10. #1370
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    SaskTel sent out 30,000 copyright infringement notices to net customers in past year

    SaskTel sent out 30,000 copyright infringement notices to Internet customers in past year

    It turns out a lot of SaskTel customers are allegedly taking part in Internet piracy.

    Since January of 2019, SaskTel has sent out approximately 30,000 notifications to customers who are accused of engaging in downloading or uploading copyrighted material, such as movies.

    A SaskTel spokesperson said the number of notices the Crown issues has remained steady in recent years. Getting one of the notices does not mean a user is being sued by a Hollywood studio, but it could lead to a lawsuit down the road.

    SaskTel does not monitor the online activities of customers, but it is legally obligated under the Copyright Act of Canada to issue notices of alleged copyright infringement when it receives communications from copyright owners.

    David Fraser, a Halifax-based lawyer who specializes in Internet, privacy and technology law, warned SaskTel users that they shouldn’t take the copyright infringement notices lightly.

    “I would take it pretty seriously. I would not ignore it and I would not laugh it off,” said Fraser during a recent phone interview.

    “If I were to receive a notice in my house and to discover, for example, one of my kids was doing something like that, I would give them a talking to because I wouldn’t want it to go further,” he said.

    According to Fraser, copyright owners are able to track down SaskTel users by hiring companies that have technology to find the IP addresses that access movies through peer-to-peer file sharing software, such as BitTorrent clients. However, the copyright holder doesn’t know the user’s name, and SaskTel will not provide that information unless it receives a court order to do so.

    Those court orders have been filed in Canada, and it’s led to Canadians being sued.

    Fraser said Hollywood studios have filed thousands of lawsuits against individuals in Canada for piracy. Those lawsuits usually fall within the range of $5,000. Fraser represents Canadian residents who have been sued for copyright infringement. To his knowledge, he is not currently representing any Saskatchewan residents.

    He’s seen companies typically send multiple copyright infringement notices to individuals before they decide to sue.

    “If you’ve received one or two, there is a real possibility that if you keep on doing what it is that you’re doing, there’s enough of a possibility that you could be sued,” said Fraser. “And it’s going to be an expensive thing, because the reality is, once you’re sued you’re being sued. You can’t ignore it, because if you ignore it, then the Hollywood studio gets default judgement against you.”

    A default judgement happens when a defendant has not responded to summons or failed to appear in court.

    SaskTel said it has never released customer information through a court order involving copyright infringement.

    One way to avoid detection from copyright holders is using a virtual private network (VPN), which supplies an IP address that can’t be traced back to the user. Fraser said VPN companies don’t typically keep records of who is assigned an IP address, but he has heard of companies getting court orders requiring a VPN that did keep records to identify a user.

    Pirating copyrighted material is in breach of the Crown agency’s Internet acceptable use policy.

    According to the policy, no customer shall “upload, post, publish, transmit, reproduce, or distribute, in any way, information, software, literary work, or other material which is protected by copyright, or other intellectual property right, or any derivative works with respect thereto, without obtaining the prior written permission of the copyright owner or right holder.”

    With torrenting, users don’t just download the files. They can also upload them and share them with others.

    Getting a copyright infringement notice does not mean a customer’s internet access will be affected, but if piracy activities continue on an account, SaskTel says it can result in a suspension of service.

    Fraser’s advice for SaskTel customers who want to avoid getting in trouble with SaskTel or copyright holders is simply to not use BitTorrent, which leaves their IP address exposed when they engage in online piracy.

    “If you’re using BitTorrent, your computer is connected to and thus visible to perhaps hundreds of other computers that you don’t know,” said Fraser.

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    Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 02/10/20

    The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. '21 Bridges' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Ford v Ferrari'. 'Knives Out' completes the top three.

    This week we have five newcomers in our chart.

    Ford v Ferrari 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:

    Most downloaded movies via torrents
    Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
    1 (…) 21 Bridges 6.6 / trailer
    2 (1) Ford v Ferrari 8.2 / trailer
    3 (…) Knives Out 8.0 / trailer
    4 (2) Terminator: Dark Fate 6.4 / trailer
    5 (…) Jojo Rabbit 8.0 / trailer
    6 (…) Dolittle 5.6 / trailer
    7 (3) Doctor Sleep 7.5 / trailer
    8 (4) Joker 8.8 / trailer
    9 (…) Midway 6.8 / trailer
    10 (5) Uncut Gems 7.9 / trailer

  12. #1372
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    Olympic Committee & Top Soccer Groups Urge US Govt. Action Over Pirate IPTV

    The International Olympic Committee and leading soccer organizations including FIFA and the Premier League are urging the United States Trade Representative to apply maximum pressure to Saudi Arabia over TV piracy. While beoutQ's illegal satellite broadcasts stopped last August, its set-top boxes now present an Internet-based pirate IPTV threat, the sports groups say.

    Each year the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) publishes its Special 301 Report that highlights countries that are considered to be failing when it comes to the protection of intellectual property rights.

    As part of the preparations for publication, the USTR asks for input from copyright holders, content distributors and other interested parties, which are then taken into consideration when deciding which countries appear in the final report. One of the hot topics in 2020 has its center in the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia.

    In 2017, a new broadcaster called beoutQ began transmitting from the country, mainly utilizing satellite communications. However, instead of licensing or producing its own content, beoutQ rebranded and rebroadcast content owned by Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sport. After much outcry and complaints from content owners globally, the USTR
    labeled beoutQ a “notorious market” in its 2019 Special 301 Report.

    In August 2019, beoutQ suddenly stopped broadcasting via satellite but that was not the end of the matter. With millions of beoutQ devices installed in homes, the IPTV-enabled devices are now being primarily repurposed as streaming boxes, delivering the same content as they did before but utilizing the Internet. According to some of the world’s leading sports leagues and bodies, this presents a clear threat to the industries they represent.

    In submissions to the USTR filed over the past few days, the International Olympic Committee, global soccer governing body FIFA, Englands’ Premier League and Spain’s La Liga, urge the USTR to keep Saudi Arabia on the Priority Watch List for 2020 on the basis that it denies “adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights.”

    The submissions begin with an outline of what each organization does and how beoutQ has affected their businesses. There is a level of déjà vu when reading the submissions by the Premier League and La Liga in that their collaboration is obvious, with entire sections cut and paste across the submissions. In that respect, they agree in exactly the same words that while the satellite broadcasting element isn’t an immediate threat, the IPTV capabilities are.

    “Although beoutQ ceased broadcasting in mid-August 2019 (though rumors continue to circulate about its possible return), piracy continues to run rampant in Saudi Arabia. IPTV apps providing access to vast swaths of pirated content continue to be available on the up to three million beoutQ set-top boxes reportedly in circulation in Saudi Arabia and the region, among other IPTV boxes in the Saudi market,” both submissions read.

    “For example, an independent report commissioned by the Premier League and several other sports rights holders and published in April 2019 revealed that one such IPTV app EVDTV, is itself based in Saudi Arabia. According to that report, contact details for the pirate service are publicly available on the app’s website,, which provides, inter alia, a phone number and location in Saudi Arabia.

    “Despite repeated complaints by beIN and other rights holders, Saudi Arabia has never brought criminal action against beoutQ, or its Saudi facilitators and supporters,” the pair add in unison.

    The FIFA submission is essentially an edited variant of the submissions presented by the Premier League and La Liga, with various paragraphs copied verbatim and others that are more specific to its role as a governing body. However, they all agree that after spending 15 months attempting to initiate a copyright infringement case in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ and its Saudi-based facilitators, it proved impossible to obtain legal counsel in the country.

    With no legal remedy available, the USTR should punish Saudi Arabia, the soccer groups insist.

    For its part, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says its policy is to ensure that the Olympics reaches the widest possible audience, by allocating broadcasting rights to television, radio, mobile and Internet platforms. It says that the majority of the revenue generated by these rights is pumped back into sports and supporting athletes, including those in the United States.

    The big issue in the Middle East and North Africa is that the IOC has licensed beIN, the official broadcasting partner that has been heavily targeted by beoutQ with its pirated broadcasts, which included the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games coming up, the IOC is concerned that its broadcasting partnerships could be undermined once again.

    “In view of this longstanding situation, the IOC respectfully requests that USTR maintain Saudi Arabia’s position on the Priority Watch List and engage with Saudi Arabia to encourage the Kingdom to protect and enforce the intellectual property rights of rights holders and to consider taking further appropriate steps in order to address the ongoing harm caused to rights-holders and broadcasters from this pirate activity,” the IOC concludes.

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    .CA Domain Registry Objects to Pirate Site Blocking Order

    The .CA domain registry CIRA has asked the Federal Court of Appeal to hear its objections against the first Canadian pirate site blocking order. According to the registry, these blockades jeopardize its mission to provide high-quality registry and DNS services, while noting there are more suitable alternatives.

    Last November, Canada’s Federal Court approved the first
    pirate site 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.

    This is the first blocking order of its kind in Canada but could be the start of many. While most of the targeted ISPs stayed quiet and didn’t even acknowledge receipt of our questions, TekSavvy chose to appeal the blocking injunction.

    The Internet provider is not the only organization that’s worried about the blocking order. Several others have raised concerns and some have now asked the Federal Court of Appeal if they can intervene in the case. This includes
    CIRA, the registry that operates the .CA domain name.

    The registry, which also provides DNS services for .PT, .SE, and .ES domains, says it didn’t previously intervene because it wasn’t aware of the proceeding. It only learned about the blockades after these were reported in the media.

    Among other things, CIRA is concerned that the website blocking injunction will interfere with the open Internet infrastructure. In addition, it will also bypass its authority by pointing Internet users to other locations when they try to access a .CA domain.

    “Ordering ISPs to intercept and redirect internet communications could conflict with CIRA’s longstanding commitment to maintain an open and effective internet architecture,” CIRA writes.

    “It could jeopardize CIRA’s mission to steward the .CA domain and to provide high quality registry, DNS, and cybersecurity services,” the registry adds.

    Ideally, more stakeholders should have been consulted before making such a drastic decision, the registry notes. In CIRA’s view, site blocking is not the answer to address infringing sites. It directly conflicts with the Telecommunications Act while there are better alternatives.

    One of the options suggested by CIRA is to identify the site owners through the WHOIS database. The organization says that it can provide such information when it’s compelled to do so by a Canadian court order.

    Possible measures could also include involving other third-party intermediaries such as hosting companies and payment intermediaries.

    “Any and all of those options are, while still extreme, more consistent with the Telecommunications Act and less intrusive into the technical architecture of the internet than the remedy sought from and granted by the Federal Court,” CIRA writes.

    Based on these and other arguments, the registry asks the Federal Court of Appeal to grant its motion to intervene in the case.

    Another organization that would like to be heard is the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (
    CIPPIC). The group, which is connected to the University of Ottawa, also believes that the site-blocking order should be reversed.

    “ISP-based website blocking is an intrusive remedy, incompatible with the right to free expression,” CIPPIC writes, adding that it also raises issues with the Copyright Act and the Telecommunications Act.

    Such orders should not be taken lightly and deserve more scrutiny than the Federal Court has offered so far.

    CIPPIC raises a variety of issues which it wants to argue in more detail. This also includes possible conflicts with net neutrality.

    “ISP-based website blocking orders have a significant potential to disrupt communications networks and interfere with network innovation,” CIPPIC writes.

    “Any ISP-based website blocking order must therefore ensure it does not undermine the CRTC’s role, legislatively mandated under section 36 of the Telecommunications Act, for monitoring net neutrality and ISP interference with transmitted content”

    Both motions to intervene have yet to be reviewed by the Court and more may still be filed, also from rightsholders.

    Given the interest of these parties, it’s clear that the matter has triggered much broader interest than during the initial proceeding.

  14. #1374
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    Movie Companies File Lawsuits in Canada Targeting 3,348 Alleged BitTorrent Pirates

    Two companies behind the movies Angel Has Fallen and Rambo: Last Blood have filed lawsuits in the Federal Court of Toronto targeting 3,248 defendants said to have downloaded and distributed the movies in violation of copyright law. While the defendants' identities are currently unknown, once discovered they are likely to be hit with demands for cash settlements.

    In the United States, several companies are actively filing large volumes of lawsuits against alleged movie pirates, many of whom are said to have downloaded pornographic material.

    However, there is a growing trend of companies connected to mainstream movies aggressively enforcing their rights with a view to obtaining settlements against
    regular file-sharers, torrent site operators, and even app developers.

    Two companies involved in this area are Rambo V Productions, Inc. (Rambo: Last Blood) and Fallen Productions, Inc. (Angel Has Fallen). While mostly active in the United States, two lawsuits filed in Canada’s Federal Court of Toronto in recent days show that their litigation and cash settlement program is beginning to spread.

    Filed closely together on February 7, the two statements of claim are almost identical, differing only in respect of movie titles and IP addresses, plus dates and times when the infringing behavior allegedly took place. The Rambo V Productions claim targets 1,218 Doe Defendants, with Angel Has Fallen targeting 2,130.

    In common with all related complaints, the claims detail how BitTorrent technology works and how individuals participate in concert with other users in order to download and share movies online, without obtaining permission from the copyright holders.

    “Each Doe Defendant has unlawfully, and without the Plaintiff’s authorization or consent, utilized the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network to download and/or unlawfully offer to upload the Work thus infringing the Plaintiff’s copyright in the Work,” the claims read.

    In similar cases filed in other jurisdictions, it is common for each defendant to be referenced by a single IP address alongside an alleged date and time of infringement. In these cases, however, all defendants have two dates and times of supposed infringement logged against them, which are spaced several days apart. The reason for this becomes apparent in the following paragraph.

    “In accordance with the provisions of s. 41.25 and s. 41.26 of the Copyright Act each Defendant was notified of his or her Unlawful Acts by Notice,” the claims read.

    This is a reference to the provisions (
    1,2) in Canadian law that allow copyright holders to send warning notices to alleged infringers via their service providers. According to the plaintiffs in both cases, each Doe Defendant was sent such a notice but failed to take remedial action.

    “The First Notice informed each Defendant that they had been detected by forensic software as offering for upload the Work, and indicated that if the Work was taken down that there would be no action taken as against such Defendant. Each Defendant failed to respond, or refused to respond, to the First Notice and continued his or her Unlawful Acts,” they add.

    When no action was taken in response to the first notice, the plaintiffs claim that their counsel sent a second notice to the Doe Defendants, informing them that the copyrighted work was still being made available and that legal action could follow.

    “This Second Notice indicated that the work had not been removed and that legal action may be taken as against such Defendant. The Defendant failed or refused to respond to the Second Notice and has continued his or her Unlawful Acts,” the claims note.

    While one person is usually named as the customer of an ISP (the person who pays the bill) it is common for other people in a particular household to have access to the same Internet connection via a router. This means that the bill payer may or indeed may not be the person (the Doe Defendant) who committed any of the alleged infringements.

    The claims for both Rambo: Last Blood and Angel Has Fallen attempt to cover all bases by stating that even if the bill payer isn’t the direct infringer, he or she is ultimately responsible.

    “In that case, the customer should have, and ought to have, the knowledge of who was using the customer’s internet account at the specifically identified date and time,” the claims add. But the responsibility doesn’t end there.

    While acknowledging that some of the defendants may not be ‘direct infringers’, the plaintiffs state that through “negligence or wilful blindness” they “authorized others” to infringe after failing to exercise sufficient control over the use of their Internet connections when they knew that infringement was taking place.

    “Each Defendant was provided with prior notice (the First Notice) that such Defendant’s internet account was being used in a way that infringed the Plaintiff’s copyright, and yet such Defendant did nothing to prevent or cease the infringement. Each Defendant therefore knew or should have known that their internet account was being used contrary to s. 27(1) and s.27(2) of the Copyright Act,” both claims add.

    While the statements of claim state that defendants can be served in either Canada or the United States, both indicate that the listed IPaddresses are believed to be located in Canada and that damages and injunctions will be sought as part of the action.

    Excess Copyright‘s Howard Knopf believes that the plaintiffs will now attempt to obtain “Norwich Orders” to force the ISPs to hand over the identities of the individuals behind the listed IP addresses. At this stage it’s unclear whether any or all will fight back.

  15. #1375
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    Rightsholders Asked Google to Remove Five Million URLs

    Copyright holders have filed five million requests to delete URLs from Google's search results over the past several years. Roughly two-thirds of these requests indeed resulted in links being removed, while the search engine took no action at all for less than one percent. The Pirate Bay's homepage remains available as well, despite repeated attempts to have it deleted.

    The Pirate Bay is widely known for its refusal to remove content based on copyright infringement claims. Those who tried in the past found themselves mocked instead.

    This means that copyright holders have to find other ways to minimize the site’s impact. That includes sending takedown requests to search engines, to lower the site’s presence there.

    Most of these takedown notices are sent to Google, which receives requests to remove thousands of Pirate Bay links every day. These quickly add up and have now surpassed five million requests against URLs alone.

    Like many other pirate sites, The Pirate Bay has many proxy sites and previously used other domains as well. If we added all of these together, the totals would run into the dozens of millions.

    The vast majority of URLs were reported since 2016, when the iconic torrent site returned to its original .org domain name, as can be seen in the graph below.

    Targeted urls

    The figures reported in Google’s
    transparency report count all the URLs that were submitted by copyright holders. This also includes duplicate requests. In other words, it doesn’t mean that five million search results were removed.

    Of the 5,047,397 reported URLs, nearly two-thirds (66.5%) resulted in removed links. Little over 10% are duplicates that were sent in before by other copyright holders and 22.2% of the URLs were not indexed by Google in the first place.

    It may seem odd that copyright holders ask Google to remove content that isn’t in its search engine. However, the company previously explained that it accepts these requests, which are put on a
    preemptive blacklist, to ensure that they are not added in the future.

    When all of the above is taken into account there is still 0.8% left. These are reported URLs for which Google took no action. This can happen when the takedown request has clear errors, or if the reported URL isn’t copyright infringing.

    As we previously reported, rightsholders have repeatedly asked Google to remove’s homepage. However, since this doesn’t link to any infringing content, Google
    keeps this page in its search results.

    Google does, however, downgrade The Pirate Bay searches for some content. Because the site is repeatedly targeted, the search engine
    lowers its ranking in results for movies and other types of media.

    While five million targeted URLs is significant, it is by no means a record. Several other sites including,, and have been reported dozens of millions of times.

  16. #1376
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    Warhorse Studios Hilariously Infringes Pirates’ Copyrights to “Support the Developer”

    The developer of action role-playing game Kingdom Come: Deliverance has hilariously turned the tables on the cracking group that first put a pirated copy of its game on the Internet. With its tongue planted firmly in cheek, the Czech company is now selling limited edition metal posters of Codex's game-accompanying NFO file, hoping that sales of the high-quality knock-off will "support the developer".

    For developers of PC games around the globe there are three certainties – death, taxes and online piracy. While this trio are rarely the subject of amusement, developer Warhorse Studios is doing its best to satirize the latter.

    After releasing its action role-playing game Kingdom Come: Deliverance early 2018, the game was quickly cracked by infamous underground group Codex, who released the title online for consumption by the pirating masses. It’s unclear to what extent this event affected sales but within a week of its launch, it had sold a million copies, including more than 300,000 on Steam.

    With two million copies sold in the year that followed, Warhorse Studios clearly had a hit on its hands but this year the company showed that it also has a sense of humor. While publicizing a revamp of its headquarters in Prague, the company
    revealed that it had framed a copy of the information (NFO) file released by Codex with its pirate release, giving it pride of place near the company’s kitchen.

    This unorthodox move was met with delight by many of the developer’s fans while also gaining it respect among those who might not traditionally part with cash to enjoy its work. And now, just a month later, Warhorse is poking yet more fun at the piracy phenomenon with another hilarious stunt that may even see it raise a bit of extra cash.

    Offered at, Displates are
    described as “one-of-a-kind” metal posters “designed to capture your unique passions.” Their creators note that they’re “sturdy, magnet mounted, and durable enough to withstand a lifetime of intense staring.”

    So, if you’re into staring intensely at pirate-created artwork for an eternity, boy does Warhorse Studios have something for you.
    Pirate ASCII art, preserved on metal.

    Warhorse previously explained that it had upscaled the Codex NFO file using AI software, so it’s likely that these metal posters will be of exceptional quality. They are available in three sizes – medium, large, and extra-large – with the latter presented in quadriptych format – i.e four posters combined to make one big image. There’s also a range of colors.

    It’s obvious that Warhorse has a sense of humor but it also understands the piracy scene. Many so-called ‘scene’ release groups state that if you enjoy a pirated copy of a game, you should buy it to “support the developer.” With its metalized NFO offering, the developer states in the description that by buying the pirated poster, people will be “supporting the developer of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.”

    Pirating the work of pirates is a humorous concept, especially given that the NFO itself almost certainly enjoys copyright protection. Obviously Codex isn’t in any position to do anything about that, which makes the whole episode even more delicious. All that being said, Warhorse certainly doesn’t endorse copyright infringement.

    “In all honesty, putting up the CODEX Info was meant to be a joke and a form of self-irony. This doesn’t change the fact that piracy still harms various industries,” PR Manager Tobias Stolz-Zwilling told TF referencing the company’s NFO shenanigans.

    “But in the case of Kingdom Come: Deliverance we can rely on and be proud of a strong and loyal community that supported us way before release and even years after. Anyone who intends to pirate your game wouldn’t buy it anyway. All in all, we strongly believe that in a tense world and a tense industry, one should maintain a healthy sense of humor.

    “PS: Support your favorite developers – that way you ensure future games.”

  17. #1377
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    BitTorrent ‘Copyright Troll’ Lawsuits Skyrocket In Sweden

    The number of piracy lawsuits filed against alleged file-sharing pirates in Sweden hit a record high in 2019. In total, more than 60,000 IP-addresses of alleged BitTorrent users were targeted. The information was made available by the local Internet provider Bahnhof, which labels the 'copyright trolling' practice as extortion.

    Sweden is widely known as the birthplace of The Pirate Bay, without a doubt the most iconic torrent site on the Internet.

    However, in recent years the country has also evolved into a hotbed for copyright trolls. These use the same file-sharing technology to extract monetary settlements from suspected pirates.

    This ‘copyright-trolling’ phenomenon is driven by a select group of copyright holders. In court, they ask for permission to obtain the personal details of account holders, claiming that their IP-addresses are tied to infringing activity.

    The law firms involved represent a variety of companies, including the makers of familiar movie and TV titles such as ‘Angel Has Fallen,’ ‘Black Sails’ and ‘Spartacus,’ but also music, and adult entertainment.

    The first wave of these lawsuits in Sweden started almost
    four years ago but the practice has grown exponentially since. According to Swedish Internet provider Bahnhof, which has kept track of these developments, record numbers were reached last year.

    During 2019, a total of 140 new applications were submitted to the Patent and Market Court. This is up from 72 during the whole of 2018, and substantially more than the 27 applications that were filed a year earlier.

    Not only has the number of applications grown, but the cases also target more IP-addresses in total. In 2019, 60,368 IPs were targeted which is a 15% increase compared to 2018. Combined with the 2017 numbers, we see that more than 144,000 IP-addresses have been targeted over the past three years.

    It’s worth noting that this exceeds the number of targets in other, much larger countries, including the United States. While the US has a much larger population, the number of targeted IP-addresses in federal cases are at most a few thousand in a typical year.

    It may seem odd that an Internet provider is keeping track of these statistics. Especially when considering that Bahnhof has an entire
    website dedicated to the copyright trolling efforts, which it describes as extortion practices.

    However, Bahnhof is not an ordinary ISP. The company has been very vocal in opposing these legal demands and actively shields its subscribers from getting exposed. With success, as it simply doesn’t hand over any data.

    This dedication to protecting the privacy of subscribers is good PR for the company. Its competitors, however, will be less pleased.

    According to Bahnhof, four ISPs were requested to disclose data during the past year. Telia was the main target with 31,572 IP-addresses, followed by Com Hem (19,520), Telenor (9,276), and Tre (312).

    A significant number of the targeted IP-addresses were requested by adult entertainment companies, which results in settlement requests such as the one below.

    In the request, the account holder is offered a settlement of 7,000 Swedish Krona ($722). At the top of the letter, it prominently states that this is about “filesharing of an erotic movie”.

    According to Bahnhof, this type of language is likely used to invoke some extra shame, which may increase the likelihood of paying.

    As for the future, there is no sign that things will be slowing down anytime soon. Dozens of new cases have already appeared this year. Time will tell whether we will see another record in 2020.

    More information on these and other cases is available on
    Bahnhof’s website, which is regularly updated with new information.

  18. #1378
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    BPI Joins RIAA’s Takedown Battle Against YouTube Downloaders

    UK music group BPI has joined the RIAA in its effort to wipe YouTube download and ripping sites from Google's search results. Using language inspired by its US counterpart, BPI repeatedly argues that violates the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision. While the search engine has complied with the requests, the site remains easy to find.

    Late last year the RIAA
    started targeting YouTube ripping sites 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.

    The sites in question circumvent YouTube’s rolling cipher, which is a technical protection measure that protects audio and video from being copied without permission, the RIAA argued. As such, they should be removed from Google’s search results.

    Over the past months, the RIAA has ramped up its efforts, hoping to make it harder for users to find these sites. However, the YouTube rippers themselves weren’t sitting still either. They actively countered the RIAA’s notices by continuously using new URL structures.

    We highlighted this development in an article late last month, describing it as a
    game of whack-a-mole. While the RIAA was the only player on its side, it has now found an ally in its British counterpart, the BPI.

    A few days after our whack-a-mole article was published the BPI started sending similar DMCA anti-circumvention notices, targeting the same YouTube downloader the RIAA is after.

    Over the past several days, the UK group has sent over a dozen notices. The requests target over a hundred URLs from, which allegedly circumvents YouTube’s copyright protections.

    “To our knowledge, the URLs indicated provide access to a service (and/or software) that circumvents YouTube’s rolling cipher, a technical protection measure, that protects our members’ works on YouTube from unauthorised copying/downloading,” the BPI

    This is the same ‘rolling cipher’ the RIAA references, which is another indication that both groups work in tandem.

    In fact, the entire statement above is copied verbatim from the RIAA. The BPI only changed the American ‘authorized’ to the British ‘authorised’ and corrected the RIAA’s copyrighted ‘woks’ to ‘works.’

    This is the first time the BPI has sent multiple requests of this kind. When looking through the archive we did spot an older notice from October, but that was phrased differently (no cipher mention) and targeted only a single URL.

    Whether the extra manpower will lead to any results has yet to be seen. With or without the BPI’s involvement, Mpgun continues to evade and bypass the takedown requests. For now, Google searches for terms such as “YouTube to MP3” and “YouTube downloader” still yield plenty of results, including Mpgun.

    In fact, when searching for “MP3 and MP4 YouTube converter,” Mpgun comes up as the first result.

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    New Wave Of Nintendo Anti-Piracy Complaints Helps Microsoft Too

    Nintendo has launched a new wave of DMCA complaints at Google in an effort to make piracy-enabling devices harder to find. In common with previous efforts, the gaming giant is making strategic use of DMCA anti-circumvention notices, to permanently delete listings from search results. Perhaps inadvertently, Nintendo also appears to be helping Microsoft too.

    While most if not all gaming companies have piracy issues to contend with, Nintendo is among the most aggressive when it comes to protecting its intellectual property rights.

    The company has a multi-pronged strategy that tackles the issue from almost every conceivable direction. When sites create archives of gaming ROMs available for download, Nintendo is happy to
    sue their operators and when entities are more difficult to pursue with direct legal action, it has taken to the courts to have ISPs block piracy-facilitating platforms.

    While it has many adversaries on the piracy front, the infamous Team-Xecutor is perhaps the company’s arch-nemesis. With its development of hardware and software solutions to skirt Nintendos technical protection measures, such as those available for the Switch platform, Team-Xecutor is now one of Nintendo’s priorities.

    Last November we
    reported that Nintendo had begun targeting Google with relatively rare DMCA anti-circumvention notices, which detailed URLs where Team-Xecutor and similar piracy-enabling products could be found.

    Since these notices aren’t easily countered, Google removed many listings from its indexes, meaning that anyone searching for Team-Xecutor’s SX OS and SX Pro products would find related pages more difficult to find. It now transpires that on this front, Nintendo is keeping up the pressure, firing off more and more complaints to Google in an effort to reduce the popularity of these products.

    In early December, following our last update, Nintendo sent a notice to Google
    targeting 91 pages on

    “The URLs listed below promote, and direct visitors to resellers of, circumvention software and devices called the SX OS and SX Pro,” the notice reads.

    “The SX OS and SX Pro is designed to bypass technological protection measures in the Nintendo Switch video game system and allows users to play unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video game files that are offered unlawfully via the Internet.”

    While that was certainly the case for many of the listed URLs, rival gaming companies also benefited from the notice. Intentionally or otherwise, Nintendo also requested the delisting of pages relating to modification devices for Microsoft’s XBox 360, including the Xecutor Sonos 360 sound module, for example.

    Another, a couple of days later,
    listed another 65 URLs, again targeting a mixture of Nintendo and Xbox-related products.

    While Team-Xecutor and sellers of the R4 range of backup cartridges are the main targets, these devices are distributed through networks of resellers, all of which Nintendo wants to render harder to find. Many notices in December also addressed this issue,
    targeting a range of sites selling Team-Xecutor and similar products.

    After a six week hiatus, this month Nintendo began sending notices again, largely following the same format as before by deleting specific pages on a range of sites from Google’s search results. While this is a nuisance for the targeted platforms, three in particular appeared to have made the mistake of offering circumvention devices on their homepages.

    As a result,,, and have all had their homepages
    deleted from search results. received the same treatment back in September 2019.

  20. #1380
    Amias's Avatar

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    Feb 2018
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    Don’t Use the Word ‘Did’ or a Dumb Anti-Piracy Company Will Delete You From Google

    In 2018, the owner of Two-Bit History, a site dedicated to computer history, wrote a successful article about mathematician Ada Lovelace, who some credit as being the first computer programmer. Sadly, if you search Google for that article today you won't find it. Some idiotic anti-piracy company had it deleted because it dared to use the word 'did'.

    Every hour of every day of every week of every year, anti-piracy companies send out DMCA notices to remove supposedly infringing content from the Internet.

    Many of these are legitimate takedown requests, targeting everything from movies and TV shows, to music, games, software and anything else that can be digitally reproduced. For copyright holders it’s a herculean task and as a result, mistakes can happen. The scale is such that it’s almost inevitable.

    Unfortunately, however, some ‘mistakes’ are so ridiculous as to be unforgivable, especially when they target completely innocent individuals hoping to make a difference with the positive spread of knowledge and information. Case in point: Sinclair Target, the owner of computing history blog, Two-Bit History.

    In 2018, Target wrote an
    article about Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron who some credit as being the world’s first computer programmer, despite being born in 1815. Unfortunately, however, those who search for that article today using Google won’t find it.

    As the image below shows, the original Tweet announcing the article is still present in Google’s indexes but the article itself has been removed, thanks to a copyright infringement complaint that also claimed several other victims.

    While there could be dozens of reasons the article infringed someone’s copyrights, the facts are so absurd as to be almost unbelievable. Sinclair’s article was deleted because an anti-piracy company working on behalf of a TV company decided that since its title (What Did Ada Lovelace’s Program Actually Do?) contained the word ‘DID’, it must be illegal.

    This monumental screw-up was
    announced on Twitter by Sinclair himself, who complained that “Computers are stupid folks. Too bad Google has decided they are in charge.”

    At risk of running counter to Sinclair’s claim, in this case – as Lovelace herself would’ve hopefully agreed – it is people who are stupid, not computers. The proof for that can be found in the DMCA complaint sent to Google by RightsHero, an anti-piracy company working on behalf of Zee TV, an Indian pay-TV channel that airs Dance India Dance.

    Now in its seventh season, Dance India Dance is a dance competition reality show that is often referred to as DID. And now, of course, you can see where this is going. Because Target and at least 11 other sites dared to use the word in its original context, RightsHero flagged the pages as infringing and asked Google to deindex them.

    But things only get worse from here.

    Look up the word ‘did’ in any dictionary and you will never find the definition listed as an acronym for Dance India Dance. Instead, you’ll find the explanation as “past of do” or something broadly along those lines. However, if the complaint sent to Google had achieved its intended effect, finding out that would’ve been more difficult too.

    here it is in its full glory.

    As we can see, the notice not only claims Target’s article is infringing the copyrights of Dance India Dance (sorry, DID), but also no less than four online dictionaries explaining what the word ‘did’ actually means. (Spoiler: None say ‘Dance India Dance’).

    Perhaps worse still, some of the other allegedly-infringing articles were published by some pretty serious information resources including:

    -USGS Earthquake Hazards Program of the U.S. Geological Survey
    (Did You Feel It? (DYFI) collects information from people who felt an earthquake and creates maps that show what people experienced and the extent of damage)

    – The US Department of Education
    (Did (or will) you file a Schedule 1 with your 2018 tax return?)

    (Did pangolins spread the China coronavirus to people?)

    Considering the scale of the problem here, we tried to contact RightsHero for comment. However, the only anti-piracy company bearing that name has a
    next-to-useless website that provides no information on where the company is, who owns it, who runs it, or how those people can be contacted.

    In the absence of any action by RightsHero, Sinclair Target was left with a single option – issue a counterclaim to Google in the hope of having his page restored.

    “I’ve submitted a counter-claim, which seemed to be the only thing I could do,” Target told TorrentFreak.

    “Got a cheery confirmation email from Google saying, ‘Thanks for contacting us!’ and that it might be a while until the issue is resolved. I assume that’s because this is the point where finally a decision has to be made by a human being. It is annoying indeed.”

    Finally, it’s interesting to take a line from Target’s analysis of Lovelace’s program. “She thought carefully about how operations could be organized into groups that could be repeated, thereby inventing the loop,” he writes.

    10 DELETE “DID”
    20 PROFIT?
    30 GOTO 10

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