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    [h=2]Spammers Abuse Medium.com to Spread ‘Pirate’ Scams[/h]

    Scammers are using the online publishing platform Medium to spread links to supposedly pirated movies and TV-shows. The issue plagues many platforms, but as one of the world's most visited websites, Medium is an ideal tool to lure prospective pirates into signing up for dubious subscriptions.


    Founded in 2012 by former Twitter CEO Evan Williams, online publishing platform
    swiftly became the go-to place for many authors.


    The site has featured works of renowned writers, politicians, high profile activists, major companies, as well as average Joes.


    Today, Medium has millions of daily visitors, making it one of the 100 most visited websites in the world. The majority of these are drawn to the compelling and informative writings, but the site has proven a draw to scammy ‘pirates’ as well.


    Every week, hundreds, if not thousands of articles appear that promise people the latest pirated movies and TV-shows. Whether it’s a high-definition copy of Joker, Terminator: Dark Fate, or Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, it’s available. Supposedly.


    Here’s an example of a Joker movie that was promoted this week, but there are
    many more




    People who click on the links are often disappointed though. They typically point to a page where people can start a stream instantly, but after a generic intro, they are required to sign up for a “free account,” that requires a credit card for ‘validation’ purposes.


    Needless to say, this isn’t a good idea. Aside from the obvious copyright issues, these services don’t promise what they offer. After all, many of the pirated films they advertise are not available in high-quality formats yet.


    The goal of this strategy is to have these links show up high in search results. A site like Medium has a good reputation in search engines, and as a result, the articles promoting these scams are more visible in search results than the average pirate site.


    This appears to be an effective strategy, especially since Google has started to push down results from known pirate platforms.


    This practice is not new either. Many other reputable sites, including
    Google Maps
    , and others, have been abused in a similar fashion in the past.


    TorrentFreak reached out to Medium and the company informed us that it’s a free and open platform that allows anyone to share stories and ideas. However, it takes swift action after any alleged infringements are reported.


    “We fully comply with the DMCA and all other relevant copyright laws,” a Medium spokesperson said, pointing to its
    DMCA policy


    “When we discover bad actors, both through manual and automatic detection, they are assessed in terms of our policies and rules against those behaviors, and removed from Medium.”


    These types of scams aren’t a major problem for copyright holders, as it will mostly result in disappointed and frustrated pirates. However, prospective pirates who fall for them may eventually be charged for something they didn’t sign up for.


    For Medium this scam practice could lead to unexpected problems as well. Google received hundreds of takedown notices for
    Medium.com links
    over the past several weeks which, in theory, makes it a candidate for a downranking penalty. Unless Google reviews sites manually before applying a penalty, of course.



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    [h=2]Disney+ Heralds a Whole New World of Pirating (and Some of It Is Legal)[/h]

    The first time I heard about it, I didn’t think it was possible. “You’re telling me you’re going to have access to every Disney movie? I call BS.” But I was wrong. And it wasn’t just Disney movies — there were also The Disney Afternoon TV shows, various Disney Channel specials, and a bunch of other programs I’d never even heard of. Only this wasn’t Disney+.


    This conversation took place seven years ago — back when Netflix Instant was getting started. I was in college at the time, and my dorm’s resident pirate had used BitTorrent to illegally obtain something like 300 GB of Disney content. At the time, it was hard for me to understand how that much piracy was even possible. My computer’s hard drive didn’t even have that much disk space, and the thought of consuming even a small fraction of that content made me feel like the Champion of All Couch Potatoes.


    Fast forward to the present. We are now just a few days away from the launch of Disney+, and today’s technology makes the world of 2012 look like a Conestoga wagon at the start of the Oregon Trail. In the past few years, Netflix has grown from 27 million subscribers to 140 million subscribers, streaming quality has increased to support astounding 4K or even 8K resolutions, and there are now numerous other streaming services competing with Netflix.


    The launch of Disney+ will have a huge impact on the streaming services market. But it will also impact internet piracy. The rise of Netflix and increased demand for video content correlated with a substantial downswing in video piracy. This makes sense. Internet piracy is driven by four primary factors — price, convenience, availability, and conscience. Generally speaking, content that is expensive, hard to access, and hard to use is more likely to be pirated than content that is cheap, easily accessible, and easy to use.


    This explains why Game of Thrones is the most pirated show ever. The show is only available to consumers who either subscribe to HBO as part of an expensive cable TV package, which might not even include on-demand viewing and which almost certainly requires consumers to pay for tons of content they don’t want, or to people who pay $15 a month for HBO Now, who might only be interested in that one show.


    Neither option is particularly attractive, which explains why season 7 has been pirated over a billion times and why the season 8 premiere was downloaded nearly 55 million times within 24 hours of its initial broadcast. On the flip side, those same piracy factors explain why Steam appears to have reduced video game piracy. The service sells games cheap, has convenient features like cloud saving and unlimited downloads, and a low barrier to entry.


    It’s easy to understand why the rise of Netflix is associated with a decrease in video piracy. Netflix is cheap, more convenient than traditional piracy, and it contains a handful of features that simply can’t be found on The Pirate Bay like bookmarking your place in an episode or series, a powerful recommendation engine, and list features.


    Disney+ places us at the precipice of a piracy proliferation. It is among the first services in a new wave of streaming competitors and a harbinger of dark times ahead. The problem is not Disney+ itself but the new wave of Netflix competitors that Disney+ brings with it including Apple TV+, HBO Max, NBC’s Peacock, Discovery/BBC, and Quibi. That’s on top of the already existing services like Hulu, CBS All Access, and Prime Video. Whereas Netflix used to be a cheap one-stop shop for content, the world of Disney+ is one where subscribers have to pay close to $100 a month to access all the content they’re interested in. They’ll also have to install countless apps on each of their devices and switch from app to app to find what they want.


    Compare that to the world of piracy, which is free, quick, and easy, and has seen its fair share of innovation over the years. The most notable piracy advancement is the development of Kodi, which provides users with quick and ready streaming access to virtually any content they might want. To make matters even worse for the streaming services, it is not even illegal to stream a copyrighted work.


    The Copyright Act makes it illegal to distribute a copyrighted work, but it is not illegal to view someone else’s illegal distribution. For example, if a bar owner broadcasts a Pay-Per-View fight without permission, the fight organizer can sue the bar owner. But the owner cannot sue the bar patrons for watching the fight. The same thing is true for streaming. It is illegal to distribute a stream of copyrighted materials, but it is not illegal to access a stream. That means one of the most powerful piracy deterrents no longer exists.


    Ultimately, the prevalence of piracy functions as a barometer of consumer satisfaction. The past few years have confirmed that piracy increases when consumers are frustrated with the price or convenience of a product or service. If piracy does pick up, I suspect that the major industry players will attempt to modify the Copyright Act to crack down on it, probably by outlawing the unauthorized streaming of copyrighted works and/or by requiring internet service providers to help content providers identify pirates. We can already see this approach in action. A few senators recently introduced a bill that would increase the penalties for making a work available for streaming. While these attempts will certainly discourage pirating, they won’t address the underlying consumer frustration.


    In the ideal scenario, the fragmented streaming marketplace and resultant consumer frustration would cause consumers to reject the multi-service model. This, in turn, would lead to consolidation where there are just a few services, but each would have a wealth of content offered at a reasonable price. Of course, it’s also possible that enough consumers buy into each of the streaming platforms that they remain profitable despite the inevitable increase in piracy. This would lead to even more services, and it would create an outcome that is similar to cable TV packages, with high costs and a relatively low density of desirable content.


    Disney+ officially launches on Nov. 12, but I can’t help but think of the service as a natural extension to the 300 GB data dump from 2012. The key difference is that in 2012, only a small fraction of Disney’s library was available for legal purchase, and even that was prohibitively expensive. That changes with the launch of Disney+.


    As consumers, the power rests in our hands. We get to decide which services are worthy of our money and deserve to succeed. Disney+ offers tremendous value and is exactly the kind of offering that can displace pirates. But with a horde of competitors in its wake, it remains to be seen whether Disney+ will lead to A Whole New (Pirate-Free) World or if it is just the first step on the road to Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Us.




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    [h=2]Disney CEO Addresses Disney+ Password Sharing and Piracy Concerns[/h]

    The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger says the company will be “mindful” of piracy and password sharing concerns when it launches its first direct-to-consumer streaming service Disney+ on Nov. 12. Asked about Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, who previously credited piracy with helping the streaming giant succeed, Iger said piracy is “obviously something we have to watch.” Despite an admission from Netflix product chief Greg Peters during the streamer’s quarterly call in October that Netflix would be looking into “consumer-friendly” ways to crack down on subscribers sharing login information — a practice that costs the company upwards of $1.5 billion annually — Iger sounds less concerned about password sharing, pointing to consumers’ ability to stream on four devices concurrently.


    “I think it’ll be similar to what others are doing. It’s obviously something we’ll be mindful of,” Iger told CNBC when asked about Disney’s approach to streaming piracy and password sharing. “We’re setting up a service that is very family friendly, we expect families to be able to consume it — four live streams at a time, for instance. We’ll watch it carefully with the various tools, technology tools, that we have available to us to monitor it. But it’s obviously something we have to watch.”


    During Disney’s fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday, where Iger said Disney+ was proving to be a four quadrant product with broad interest, Iger reported the four-stream feature was “very popular” among consumers when Disney+ was tested in the Netherlands.


    “We also saw that people’s interest in the product itself was very, very broad meaning across all of the brands,” Iger said on the call, pointing to the streaming service’s five main brands: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.


    “We learned that some of the features, including the 4K, the HDR movies were very, very popular,” Iger added. “The fact that you can have four concurrent live streams was very popular, the personalization was also quite popular, and most importantly, the ability to download without restriction was very, very popular.”


    According to “extremely positive” user feedback from the Netherlands’ test run, users were particularly pleased with the elegance and ease of the interface, as well as the quality of the overall experience, Iger said.


    “There were a few things, not just the fact that there was an enthusiasm for the service, but we had a good sense about how people were using it and what people were using it,” Iger noted on the call. “The demographics were far broader than a lot of people expected them to be. This is well beyond kids and family, clearly. This is a four quadrant product, with adult men and women as well as kids families watching or using the service.”


    Disney+ launches in the US Nov. 12.




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    [h=2]Sci-Hub & Libgen Blocked By Austrian ISPs Following Elsevier Complaint[/h]

    Austrian ISP T-Mobile has announced that following a supervisory procedure carried out by local telecoms regulator TKK, it has begun blocking two dozen Sci-Hub and Libgen related domains. The original complaint was filed against rival ISP A1 several months ago by publishing giant Elsevier. A1's blocking is also well underway.


    For well over a decade, entertainment industry groups have been developing legal processes to have allegedly-infringing websites blocked at the ISP level.


    The majority of these complaints have been initiated by movie and music companies but in recent years, other content distributors have sought similar blockades in order to protect their interests.


    Publishing giant Elsevier has emerged as a major player with arch-rivals Sci-Hub (‘The Pirate Bay of Science’) and Libgen (Library Genesis) as its key targets. Late last week, Austrian ISP T-Mobile revealed that it had begun blocking several Sci-Hub and Libgen related domains following a supervisory procedure carried out by local telecoms regulator TKK.


    The original complaint against more than two dozen domains was filed in the summer by Elsevier Ltd, Elsevier BV and Elsevier Inc. against rival ISP A1. The ISP took the decision to block the domains in July but due to concerns that blocking has the potential to breach net neutrality rules, it reported the case to TKK (Telekom-Control-Commission).


    Early August, TKK launched a supervisory process and both A1 and Elsevier were asked to participate. In September, TKK informed the parties of the results of its investigation which determined that 24 of the 27 domains listed in the original blocking request (listed below) were “structurally infringing”.


    In summary, the 24 domains either provided direct access to Sci-Hub or Libgen or provided proxy/mirror access to essentially the same content.


    Three domains – libgen.io, lgmag.org and bookdescr.org – were determined to be either inaccessible during the process or didn’t carry content owned by Elsevier at the time. After notification from TKK, A1 confirmed that it had lifted its blocks against the three domains in question.


    Following A1’s blocking of the listed domains, TKK says no end-users complained to the ISP that the blocks had been put in place or filed any official complaints with the telecoms regulator.


    So, after analysis of the nature of the sites and their conduct, TKK therefore ruled
    ) that blocking them at the ISP level would be the correct balance between the rights of Internet users and Elsevier’s rights to protect its intellectual property..


    Over the border, Elsevier previously obtained a 2018 Sci-Hub-blocking
    order in Germany
    . In March 2019, several French ISPs were told to do the same
    after similar action
    . In September, a Danish court
    handed down
    a similar ruling.


    The question remains, however, whether anti-piracy enforcement action alone will
    ever keep Sci-Hub down
    , particularly when universities are
    their business dealings with Elsevier and making the platform more relevant than ever.


    The full list of 24 domains blocked in Austria reads as follows:


    gen.lib.rus.ec, sci-hub.tw, sci-hub.se, sci-hub.ren, sci-hub.be, sci-hub.shop, libgen.unblocked.win, libgen.unblocked.lc, libgen.unblocked.vet, libgen.unblocked.la, libgen.unblocked.li, libgen.unblocked.red, libgen.unblocked.tv, libgen.unblocked.cat, libgen.unblocked.uno, libgen.unblocked.ink, libgen.unblocked.at, libgen.unblocked.pro, libgen.unblocked.mx, libgen.unblocked.sh, libgen.unblocked.gdn, libgen.unblocked.pet, scihub.unblocked.lc, scihub.unblocked.vet



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    [h=2]P2P: The declared dead live longer[/h]

    P2P vs. Sharehoster vs. Streaming: A new study by irdeto says that although the use of illegal streaming portals has increased. Nevertheless, at least 800 million P2P downloads per month are calculated for the previous year worldwide. The P2P file sharing exchanges have experienced a veritable boom in 2017, despite the high warning risk.


    In addition to irdeto, the Naspers group of companies also includes the Austrian software manufacturer Denuvo. Among other things, irdeto is an anti-piracy company and has its own goals. Therefore, the survey data should be treated with caution. According to irdeto, dangers such as malicious software are waiting for users on numerous illegal websites. Still, many users prefer to head to these sites, even though they know it carries some risk. For the survey, the consumption behavior of the surfers was evaluated in 19 nations. Web analytics companies have contributed their data to evaluate the traffic flow from 962 apparently illegal portals from January to September 2017.


    P2P vs. Sharehoster vs. Streaming: The different types of file sharing do not cannibalize


    Traffic generated in the United States from September last year through the consumption of illegal streams increased by 10 percent. P2P file sharing exchanges experienced a veritable boom in the previous year even without the mention in the media. Globally, over 800 million transfers were made there each month. The only exception was April 2017 with "only" 791 million downloads. According to the study, the two usage options do not take each other away from each other, but rather add them together.


    irdeto expects sporadic online pirates to dodge streaming portals, while power downloaders prefer P2P downloads. Especially when it comes to movies or TV series, it is enough for many users to be able to consume the works. Only a few want to keep the files of the movies permanently on their own hard disk.


    Peter Cossack, deputy head of cybersecurity services at irdeto, commented on the results as follows: "While many experts believe that P2P piracy has been overtaken by direct downloads (sharehosters) and streaming portals, the study clearly demonstrates that not done yet. P2P piracy continues to be a major threat to the industry, while copyright issues continue to grow overall. "Rising piracy is being driven by ever-increasing user bandwidth as well as the use of social networks by pirates. Social media play a major role in the illegal distribution of sports event streams, according to Cossack. All other forms of file sharing would not have decreased. This must be considered in the orientation of their own strategy in the fight against copyright infringement.




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    [h=2]It looks like 11,000 people pirated KSI vs Logan Paul in a YouTube streamer’s glasses[/h]

    It looks like 11,000 people pirated KSI vs Logan Paul through the reflection in a YouTube streamer’s glasses


    • YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul fought a blockbuster boxing rematch in LA on Saturday, with KSI only just snatching victory.

    • The match was broadcast on DAZN, a subscription sports streaming service. It wasn’t available to stream on YouTube.

    • But one YouTuber apparently found a way to stream the match on YouTube to thousands of viewers who didn’t want to cough up for a subscription – by filming himself watching the match with the reflection showing in his glasses.

    While thousands of viewers forked over their cash to watch YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul’s boxing rematch on Saturday, others were were finding creative ways to pirate the fight.


    KSI and Logan Paul faced off a second time in the Staples Center in LA on Saturday evening, with KSI scraping a narrow victory. The match was streamed live on DAZN, a subscription sport streaming service. Viewers had to pay $19.99 for a month’s subscription, or $99.99 for a year’s subscription to watch the fight.


    Anyone trying to stream the fight illegally on YouTube or other streaming platforms quickly found their footage removed.


    It appears however that at least one YouTuber found a creative way to stream the fight without tripping the site’s copyright sensors.


    He filmed himself watching the fight while wearing glasses, which reflected his screen. Anyone watching his YouTube stream could watch the fight through the reflection of his glasses.


    Screenshots circulated on Twitter showed a live viewer-count of 11,000.


    Twitter user @xojayys was the first to tweet about the stream.

    Bruh I was watching the KSI vs Logan Paul fight through this guys glasses ???????? pic.twitter.com/tQWDp3scuA


    — Jayys ✹ (@xojayys) November 10, 2019


    Shout out to everyone who streamed the Logan Paul Vs. KSI fight ????????????


    Even if we had to watch the reflection off of your glasses #loganpaulvsKSI2 pic.twitter.com/Ab6kaTkSs8


    — bkf1re (@bkf1re) November 10, 2019


    so my friend watched the ksi vs logan paul fight through someone’s glasses, and ive never laughed so hard in my life ???????????????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/ffDpuqufys


    — adna (@asapadna) November 10, 2019


    Shout out to everyone who streamed the Logan Paul Vs. KSI fight ????????????


    Even if we had to watch the reflection off of your glasses #loganpaulvsKSI2 pic.twitter.com/Ab6kaTkSs8


    — bkf1re (@bkf1re) November 10, 2019

    Business Insider was not able to locate the stream at time of writing, and YouTube was not immediately available for comment when asked whether it had removed it.


    KSI and Logan Paul’s camps have yet to release official streaming figures, or numbers on how much streaming revenue the fight pulled in. Logan Paul and KSI’s first match in 2018 brought in an estimated $11 million in revenue.


    The piracy cost is likely to be high this time around. If 11,000 people streamed the match via this one YouTube’s glasses, Dazn is out of pocket by around $220,000 from that one stream alone. A rep for KSI said that the pair had decided to stream their rematch on Dazn, and not YouTube, because of the piracy risks.

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    [h=2]Hollywood Praises Australia’s Anti-Piracy Laws, But More Can Be Done[/h]

    In a recent submission to the US Trade Representative, the MPA applauds Australia's anti-piracy enforcement tools, including effective copyright laws. Hollywood's trade group notes that piracy rates are dropping. However, it adds that even more can be done on the anti-piracy front to keep copyright problems at bay.


    For years on end, entertainment industry insiders have regularly portrayed Australia as a piracy-ridden country.


    However, after several legislative updates, the tide appears to have turned. This is the conclusion reached by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in a recent report.


    The industry group, which is largely made up of Hollywood studios, along with the recently added Netflix, continuously monitors Australia’s anti-piracy efforts. In recent years, things have been going in the right direction.


    A short summary of its findings was recently reported to the US Government as part of the annual trade barriers consultation.


    The MPA’s overview is generally a summary of copyright challenges and shortcomings around the world. However, Australia is one of the few exceptions when it comes to anti-piracy enforcement. In fact, the industry group is rather positive about the progress the country has made.


    “Australia has developed excellent tools to fight online piracy, including effective laws allowing for no-fault injunctive relief against ISPs and ‘search engine service providers’,” the MPA writes in its report.


    The report points out that in recent years piracy rates have declined significantly Down Under. Pirate site blocking and other measures have helped to boost interest in legal subscription services, including Netflix, it suggests.


    The MPA is also positive about recent developments regarding takedown notices. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is currently considering the introduction of a mandatory takedown notice scheme, one that would be stricter than the DMCA-style standard which is common today.


    “This would include procedures for urgent take downs (extending to pre-release or new-release films and TV shows as well as live entertainment content), as well as ‘stay down’ obligations to ensure that content already identified as infringing does not quickly re-appear,” the MPA notes.


    The Hollywood-backed group supports this initiative and adds that companies who breach the new takedown standard should face “meaningful” penalties.


    Aside from the positive remarks in Australia, the MPA informs the US Government that there is room for improvement as well. For example, the police could offer more help with piracy-related investigations, something that’s lacking today.


    In addition, the MPA is worried about an ongoing Copyright Modernization consultation where further exceptions to copyright are being considered. This includes new definitions of fair dealing or fair use, which are seen as a threat by the industry group.


    “This consultation risks undermining the current balance of IP protection in Australia that has fueled the country’s creative industries, and could create significant market uncertainty and effectively weaken Australia’s infrastructure for intellectual property protection,” the MPA states.


    Closing out the list is a recommendation to propose tough anti-camcording piracy laws. While fewer illegal recordings are sourced from Australia today, the current penalties for this activity are simply not enough to act as a proper deterrent, the group says.


    The last request is far from new. The same demands have appeared in previous reports, as is the case with many of the recommendations throughout the MPA’s report, which are often copied verbatim year after year.




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    Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 11/11/19

    The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Dora and the Lost City of Gold' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘Joker'. 'Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw' completes the top three.

    This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

    Dora and the Lost City of Gold 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 (…) Dora and the Lost City of Gold 6.0 /
    2 (10) Joker (Subbed HDRip) 8.8 /
    3 (1) Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 6.7 /
    4 (…) Primal 4.8 / trailer
    5 (2) The Lion King 7.1 /
    6 (3) The King 7.4 /
    7 (5) Toy Story 4 8.1 /
    8 (4) Spider-Man: Far from Home 7.8 /
    9 (8) The Peanut Butter Falcon 7.9 /
    10 (…) Danger Close 7.4 /


    Edited by dontpanicRendition
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    [h=2]Piracy was never killed by streaming… but it might be more valuable than you think[/h]

    For over a decade now, digital piracy has been affecting myriad content industries, and none has been more affected than the recording industry.


    After Napster and its like devastated incomes and normalized piracy, the advent of legal streaming sites like Spotify and Deezer appeared to solve the problem. Or did they?


    There seems to be a commonly held misconception within the music industry circles that nobody pirates music anymore. Well, the data says otherwise. It’s possible that what people are really saying is that since they started using said legal streaming services, they stopped downloading music illegally.


    Yet music piracy – like all digital piracy – has changed shape as technologies have developed.


    Ten years ago, torrents were the mainstay but, as of August 2019, MUSO’s data shows that torrents now only account for just 6.7% of all music piracy worldwide. Meanwhile, unlicensed streaming makes up 33.6% and stream-ripping sites 31.3%. [These figures refer to the total number of music-related piracy visits MUSO saw within the month.]


    Still, despite torrenting representing only 6.7% of the market, exclusively looking more closely at music titles on torrent sites unearths some eye-watering numbers.


    Sure, the latest Billie Eilish or Post Malone release would understandably see a spike in piracy levels in 2019, but what about older releases and back catalog?


    In just the single month of July 2019, Ed Sheeran album Divide (originally released two years ago) had over 612K downloads, Kanye’s The Life of Pablo (2016) had 280k and Lady Gaga’s debut The Fame Monster (2009) had over 202k.


    Three albums, picked at random, being illegally downloaded over a million times a month.


    Based on a typical iTunes or Amazon download retail price, this represents approximately $10m of lost revenue for the music business and its retailers.


    Again, just three albums, from torrents alone, picked at random, in a single month.


    And if recent back catalogs are still being plundered on torrent sites, heritage acts are not immune, either. It might have been released way back in 1973, but Dark Side of the Moon is still a perennial favourite – to the tune of 131k illegal downloads in July on torrent services. And while Sir Paul McCartney is not exactly short of a few dollars, he probably still won’t be delighted to learn that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was downloaded over 182k times via torrents in the same 31 days.


    It doesn’t take a forensic accountant to understand the scale of the related financial losses to rights owners, publishers and artists from this level of digital piracy. It has decimated the living of so many content creators and suppressed – if not directly reduced – wages in these sectors.


    One could argue that each illegal download is a sale lost, and moreover from an individual who has yet to subscribe to a paid streaming service. Without this subscription, digital revenue growth for the recording industry is hindered, and any real trickle down to creators negligible.


    More established names can absorb these losses – but for many, it is making it nigh on impossible to survive making work that pays any kind of decent living.


    So what can be done?


    We can no longer just write off piracy as ‘breakage’. By understanding demand, data, trends and behaviours we can manage it effectively, and a actually use it to create real measurable value.


    I’ve long argued that piracy is, by its very nature, a high-intent activity.


    You don’t visit piracy sites to casually browse: you visit because you’re a fan and want a specific release or title. There is insight into geographic content trends and city-level demand; data that is of vital importance for marketing, touring and wider release strategies.


    It’s also worth bearing in mind that as subscriptions to music services inevitably slow down – as we have started to see in Scandinavia – this too-long-ignored audience will become highly sought after. Here is an active music fan who may not already be subscribing to a streaming platform; that’s gold for digital advertisers and driving up paid subscriber numbers.


    With approximately 3.5bn people connected to the internet globally, and only around 10% of them paying for subscriptions to music streaming services, there is an enormous opportunity in converting more people to paid subscribers. Piracy is an obvious place to find them.


    Anti-piracy and content protection technologies are as crucial as they have ever been in stemming the illegal distribution of content but coupled with a data-led understanding of what, how and why people illegally download music they can garner significant insights and create value, growth and revenue.

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    [h=2]ACE Takes Down IPTVBox.plus and PlanetaTVonlineHD.com[/h]

    • ACE is at it again, seizing the domains of two popular Latin IPTV pirating service platforms.

    • The platforms were offering thousands of channels and popular TV series for a few dollars per month.

    • The global piracy scene is nowadays taking more blows than what it can cover, but it remains strong.

    ACE (Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment) continues its fight against pirating platforms, and we are reporting their little or bigger wins on a daily basis. This time, they have brought down IPTVBox.plus and PlanetaTVonlineHD.com. The websites are now redirecting to the ACE website, as it happens when a domain is seized by them. This means that both of the popular pirating IPTV platforms have reached the end of the road, and it’s implausible that we will see them recover or move to a new domain. When ACE targets a platform, they do so methodically, and usually, arrange the arrest of the operators too.


    IPTVBox.plus was mainly serving the Brazilian audience, offering 1000 standard definition channels for as low as $4.5 per month. The service also offered a more premium choice called “the master package”, which included 13000 SD, HD, and FullHD channels for $9.7 per month. The PlanetaTVonlineHD.com was also a glorified and renown platform in the piracy scene, which has been around since 2015. This service streamed popular shows like The Walking Dead, Prison Break, and the Game of Thrones, so naturally, it enjoyed a pretty sizable supporting community.


    All of this is added on top of the recent closure of the Openload, Streamango, and StreamCherry file-hosting platforms, the shutting down of the Kodik, Moonwalk, and HDGO CDNs (content delivery networks), and the seizure of the VstreamTV.com, MaxTVLive.com, MyIQXTV.com, and JailbrokenBlackBox.com IPTV service platforms. If that sounds like a lot, remember, this is only what ACE managed to achieve in less than a month, and that’s pretty impressive. While big players always faced legal trouble, piracy in general never had to deal with a pressing environment of this magnitude, so ACE is really making the difference. That said, pirates are trying to find alternatives that are still operational or new platforms that pop up as replacements.


    As a website, we do not promote piracy, so we can’t directly provide you with URLs to pirated content. However, it is true that ACE still has much work to do, as there are at least 30 major streaming platforms still serving those in need. With all that is going on right now, we can say that the disruption for piracy is real. ACE has caused a disturbance, and is definitely playing a pivotal role in proactive prevention through discouragement. Let’s wait and see what they have up their sleeve for next week.



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    [h=2]Big tech urges US government to push back on safe harbour reform abroad[/h]

    Trade organisations for America’s tech sector have had a good old moan about the new European Copyright Directive, and other similar copyright reforms elsewhere in the world, in new submissions to the US Trade Representative.


    While the copyright industries have been busy calling on the US government to urge other countries to crackdown on an assortment of piracy sites – via the USTR’s annual notorious markets report – groups representing the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter want the opposite. The tech lobby outfits would much prefer it if the US government put pressure on foreign governments to ensure that new copyright laws don’t put too many new obligations onto their members.


    Submissions by both the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the Internet Association as part of the USTR’s review of barriers to US exports are particularly critical of the new European Copyright Directive. That, of course, increases the liabilities of user-upload platforms which host copyright infringing material as a result of the much talked about safe harbour reform, lobbied for by the music industry and contained in article seventeen of the final directive.


    “The recent EU Copyright Directive”, the CCIA reckons, “poses an immediate threat to internet services and the obligations set out in the final text depart significantly from global norms. Laws made pursuant to the directive will deter internet service exports into the EU market due to significant costs of compliance”.


    In its submission, the Internet Association argues that EU safe harbour reform puts European copyright law out of kilter with US copyright law.


    “The EU’s Copyright Directive directly conflicts with US law”, it argues, “and requires a broad range of US consumer and enterprise firms to install filtering technologies, pay European organisations for activities that are entirely lawful under the US copyright framework, and face direct liability for third party content”.


    Beyond the US, the tech giant repping groups also criticise copyright rules or reforms in other countries like Australia, Brazil, India and Ukraine. The copyright safe harbour in Australia has always been narrower than the US and Europe, and plans to expand it were put on hold pending the outcome of the then in development European directive.


    The Internet Association adds: “If the US does not stand up for the US copyright framework abroad, then US innovators and exporters will suffer, and other countries will increasingly misuse copyright to limit market entry”.


    The European directive is, of course, still be being implemented across the EU. It remains to be seen quite what impact it has on user-upload platforms. Throughout the lobbying process the music industry accused the tech sector of hyperbole and, sometimes, outright lying when it argued that the new liabilities would force platforms offline.


    Meanwhile, the music industry is hoping to export the EU safe harbour reforms to other countries, not least the US. We always knew that efforts to reform the American safe harbour would result in an even fiercer push back from big tech, and these new submissions confirm that is still definitely the case.

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    [h=2]UK Premier League scores big in battle against illegal streaming devices[/h]

    A recent case of the City of London Magistrate’s Court has become the first in the United Kingdom to definitively rule that the sale of illegal streaming devices constitutes a breach of copyright law.


    Illegal streaming devices / illicit set-top boxes, or just “ISDs”, are media-players (often in the form of set-top boxes) that have been pre-configured to provide access to streaming websites. Generally, such access will be in the form of hyperlinks, which then take users to platforms where they can freely access films, TV shows and live sports broadcasts that would otherwise require paid subscriptions. Needless to say, such websites host these copyrighted works without the authorisation of the copyright owner, and many have been closed in recent years under increasing legal scrutiny. However, the application of the law to the retailers of these devices, who are removed from the hosting of the websites themselves, had been less than clear.


    The UK case comes just over two years after a similar, landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice, demonstrating the readiness of the courts to intervene in order to protect the legitimate rights of copyright owners and suggesting a similar crackdown may be on Australia’s horizons.


    Premier League v Al-Silawi


    On 3 October 2019, Mr Ammar Al-Silawi, a 39-year-old man with a shopfront on Edgware Road in London, was sentenced to 300 hours of unpaid community service – the maximum criminal sentence available for conviction on two charges of copyright infringement and two charges of fraud. The trial had been heard on 12 September and was brought by the Premier League, the top tier football league in England, whose live sports broadcasts had been allegedly accessed through ISDs sold by Mr Al-Silawi.


    The trial came about following an investigation in July conducted by the Premier League, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (also known as FACT) and UK law enforcement agencies. As part of the investigation, FACT delivered Cease and Desist Notices to individuals, at 16 locations across the UK, who had been allegedly supplying unauthorised access to sports streaming content. Despite being served with such a notice, Mr Al-Silawi had continued to sell the devices in question – a factor which later contributed to the Court’s hard-line ruling against him.


    This case and the investigation that preceded it are indicative of the growing determination of copyright owners to tackle infringement at a grassroots level. It confirms that small-time sellers of such devices, who may once have felt safe from legal action in the shadow of larger players, are also culpable in the eyes of the law. Mr Al-Silawi was found guilty of copyright infringement under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (UK). As this provision is reflected in both the Berne Convention and its various domestic counterparts, the case is an important bellwether in terms of how similar situations may be treated internationally.


    Stichting Brein v Jack Fredewreik Wullems


    This decision[1] comes off the back of similar case heard in the European Court of Justice in 2017, in which the Court ruled that the sale of ISDs constituted a breach of Article 3(1) of the EU Information Society Directive.[2] This case was brought by Stichting Brein, a Dutch foundation that advocates for the protection of authors’ copyright rights, against Mr Wullems, who was found to have sold modified mediaplayers online (including on his own website,
    ). He had programmed the devices with add-ons that would direct the user to illegal streaming websites, marketing the devices as a way of accessing protected works for free:


    The main issue here, as in the case above, was whether or not the retail of these devices constituted communication of the copyrighted works to the public, this time as restricted under Article 3. The Court had previously held[4] that providing clickable links on a website that would take users to protected works did constitute an act of communication. In this instance, it extended that principle to the sale of ISDs which had been specifically programmed to facilitate unauthorised access to copyrighted materials.

    Consequences for pirates at home


    According to Creative Content Australia, in 2018 over 1 in 5 Australians were using an illegal pirated app on their media-players.[6] As of yet, the retailers of such devices haven’t been brought before the Australian courts. However, in April 2018 the Federal Court of Australia cracked down on websites offering illegal TV subscription services like those accessed on ISDs. The Court granted Village Roadshow and six Hollywood studios an injunction to block 16 sites that allowed unlawful streaming of channels such as Disney, Fox HD and various English Premier League football channels.[7] The ruling was made under section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), which was amended in 2016 to facilitate the blocking of online locations whose primary purpose (and more recently, primary effect) is copyright infringement.


    Similar to the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, Section 31(1) of Australian copyright legislation sets out the copyright owner’s exclusive right to communicate their work to the public. The infringement of copyright, including by authorising another person to do any act comprised in the copyright, is prohibited under section 36. Given the increasing focus on tackling internet piracy, it seems likely that local retailers of ISDs in Australia could soon be under fire.



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    [h=2]Netflix working on fingerprint lock to crackdown password sharing?[/h]

    Netflix, HBO Max & other streaming services working on features like periodic account password resets to crackdown password sharing


    Netflix has already begun facing heated competition from Disney Plus, HBO Max and other upcoming streaming services. But one issue that could potentially affect the revenue of all companies in the streaming business is the illegitimate password sharing and ways to crack down such practices are already in discussion.


    The production company has addressed the issue of password sharing and stated that they continue to monitor it. Moreover, the company also hopes to find a consumer-friendly way to face it and openly revealed that there were no big plans at the moment to overcome that hurdle. But that could change in the near or far future.


    A new report from Bloomberg's Gerry Smith reveals that companies like Netflix and HBO are already working on ways to stop users from sharing passwords among friends and families. Moreover, as Business Insider points out - potential new features already are being discussed to battle online piracy by Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).


    For those unaware, ACE is an industry alliance with Amazon, Netflix, HBO and Disney serving as the members. A few of the tactics currently discussed so far include: periodic account password resets and sending codes via message to access the account. ACE also seems to be contemplating restricting access to services based on a subscribers' geographical location.


    This feature would deny access to a user trying to use his account from a media device like Roku if the address he's situated in is not the same as the location listed in the account. However, that won't apply for mobile devices.


    The biggest feature that could possibly put an end to password sharing is fingerprint recognition. Users could face situations in future which requires them to place their fingerprint to access the account. Though the use of the lock has been discussed it's unknown if companies would go ahead with introducing such tactics.


    Introducing a fingerprint recognition wouldn't necessarily be a single feature since users would obviously be provided with other secondary options in case the scanning feature faces errors. But that may not resolve the issue or could rather worsen and affect the company's revenue.


    It must be noted that media conglomerates are being cautious in approaching this issue since it could easily lead to viewers abandoning services. Netflix, HBO and ACE didn't respond back when Business Insider reached out for a comment.



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    [h=2]Can Vinyl Save the Music Industry and Counter Piracy?[/h]

    Gen X, Gen Z and millennials are all buying into the vinyl hype, as sales increase steadily. In a time when most music is almost free and at your fingertips, however, will LPs play long enough to bring the music industry back in tune?


    Vinyl sales have been surging in the last few years, as CD sales stay flat and digital downloads decrease. In the United Kingdom, data from 2016 reveals that vinyl LP sales revenue surpassed that of digital downloads. And in the United States, LP sales are on par with the sales of CDs.


    In an era when so much music is at our fingertips through streaming services for under $10 a month, who is spending their hard-earned cash on vinyl? Streaming is currently the primary and cheapest way to buy music. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) database, paid subscription streaming services such as Spotify dominated music sales revenue in the U.S. in 2018, accounting for almost 50 per cent of revenue. But cassettes, CDs and digital downloads have all held that position in the past.


    Teens of the 1980s (now aged approximately 45 to 54) and the ‘90s (now aged approximately 35 to 44) were the two largest age demographics buying vinyl in 2018, accounting for 24 and 21 per cent respectively of new vinyl sales in the U.S., according to 2018 data from the RIAA.

    Vinyl’s lasting influence


    Sales data shows that cassettes first surpassed vinyl LP sales in the U.S. in 1983. Then CDs surpassed cassette sales in 1991.


    At that point, vinyl LPs disappeared from most music stores, remaining only a DJ specialty. They accounted for only 0.8 per cent of total music sales.


    Tim Ford, vice-president of purchasing at Sunrise Records, says he recalls feeling forced to buy CDs in the ’90s because they were cheaper than vinyl and more widely available for him as a broke teenager. Now, Ford and many other ’80s and ’90s kids are working adults with disposable incomes. Ford says 35-to-40-year-olds want music from their generation like their parents had.


    These consumers are used to the concept of owning music, but now they want vinyl, because they think it’s better quality, and they have the money for it.


    Michael Greaves is another example of this type of vinyl consumer; he was a DJ in the ’90s and has a collection of 1,200 CDs — many of which he bought eight for a penny. Now he works full-time as a music administrator and is an avid vinyl collector.


    Greaves says he buys vinyl because “with vinyl you get a warmth you don’t get with CDs.” There’s just something about the crackle of a vinyl record that makes people feel at home.


    Owning a physical Copy


    No artist is forced to put his or her music on streaming services and not every artist even has the legal right to do so. The popular albums of the ‘80s and ‘90s that aren’t being widely reissued are going for hundreds of dollars on resale sites.


    A mint-condition vinyl LP of De La Soul’s 1989 album 3 Feet High and Rising, for instance, is selling for more than $360 on Discogs. That album isn’t being widely reissued and is now unavailable on paid subscription streaming services such as Tidal, which is said to be because of artist and label disputes.


    The initial excitement about streaming services seems to have worn off since Spotify launched in Sweden in 2008. Consumers are now seeing flaws in streaming, one of them being that we can never be fully assured of access to their favourite songs without owning a physical copy of them.


    Andrew Winistorfer, editorial director at Vinyl Me, Please, a record-of-the-month club, says that young people today accept that you don’t own music. CD sales were at their height at the same time that music piracy became popular and almost destroyed the music industry.


    However, the young today still account for part of the new surge in vinyl sales. Winistorfer explains that vinyl is “the cooler way to have … a physical manifestation of this music that you like.”


    Willing to pay


    RIAA data shows that 25-to-34-year-olds and 18-to-24-year-olds accounted for 19 and 16 per cent respectively of U.S. new vinyl sales in 2018. This is valuable to artists who are not being paid what they’d like to be on streaming services. For artists, selling other merchandise has become increasingly important.


    Luckily for them, some fans are willing to pay for exclusive merchandise and experiences on crowdfunding platforms. A 2013 Indiegogo campaign for the Canadian band Protest The Hero raised nearly $450,000 to fund an album and 1,299 copies of the signed, limited-edition vinyl LP were claimed as rewards.


    Katy Perry has a vinyl record coming out soon. It’s a record-first release but her truest “Katy Cats” will surely snatch up those 4,000 copies quickly to be able to hold a piece of their favourite artist in their hands.


    Consumers have less control than they might think over what music they can access. What will happen if one day your favourite artist doesn’t have the resources, desire or legal right to keep your favourite songs up on a streaming service? What if you simply want to hold the music you love in your hands? Teens of the 80s and 90s would probably tell you to buy the album — on vinyl.



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    [h=2]‘Copyright’ Sting Targeting 15-Year-Old Backfires With Arrest Warrants & Record Sales[/h]

    A fake 'copyright agent' who instructed a 15-year-old Thai girl to make cartoon character krathong floats and then tried to extort her for alleged copyright infringement is watching his plan backfire spectacularly. Not only is a warrant out for his arrest but the publicity generated by the scam has massively boosted demand for the girl's products, which help finance her education.


    Loi Krathong is an annual festival celebrated in Thailand and some neighboring countries during which ‘krathong’ (decorated baskets) are floated on a river.


    Krathong float




    These beautiful items are often made by locals looking to generate relatively small sums to help support their families and in some cases fund their education. Sadly, there are others who see the creations as an opportunity to generate cash for themselves in an entirely more sinister fashion.


    According to local media
    , earlier this month a 15-year-old girl known as ‘Orm’ or ‘Orn’ (we’ll settle on the former) was contacted on Facebook by a stranger who placed an order for 136 krathong floats. The order carried specific instructions for them to be adorned with faces of
    cartoon characters
    owned by Japanese company


    When Orm took 30 completed floats to a local mall, at the request of a supposed “copyright agent” she was reportedly arrested by police for ‘copyright infringement’. She was told to pay a fine of 50,000 baht, around US$1,650, a figure that was later negotiated down to 5,000 baht, US$1,650, by her grandfather, a former policeman.


    “After receiving the order, I made krathong baskets from 8am to 1.30am the next day so that I could fill the order, only to be arrested,” Orm


    “Normally I do not make any basket with a copyrighted character. This customer stressed they wanted copyrighted characters. After being arrested I cried all night because I have never faced such legal action before.”


    The action against the teenager provoked outcry in the community after the chief of a local police station said it had worked with the ‘copyright agent’ on the sting operation, Bangkok Post


    However, all was not what it seemed. TAC Consumer PLC, which represents San-X,
    issued a statement
    stating that it had not participated in the operation against the teenager and had assigned one of its lawyers to the case. But worse was to come.


    After news of the scandal spread, other victims of the scam came forward,
    saying they too
    had been arrested and settled for even larger amounts having borrowed the money from family members. They identified the ‘copyright agent’ as the same man who targeted the teenager.


    When news reached local TV, a reporter helped to track down the ‘copyright agent’, who was discovered to be a local motorcycle taxi driver called ‘Nan’ whose wife sells meatballs in the area.


    Yesterday, as pressure mounted against local police, a commander announced that after 40 similar complaints were filed against the ‘copyright agent’, they would be
    arrest warrants by the end of the week. While that news will be celebrated in its own right, the knock-on effect of all the publicity is doing wonders for Orm’s work.


    After making 360 floats to sell during the Loy Krathong festival, people queued up to buy them. They sold out in an hour, making herself around 8,110 baht in profit, around US$267.00. She told local media she was “delighted” by the response having sold just 30 in previous years.


    Half of the money will go towards her school fees and the rest will go to her family to help with household expenses.



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    [h=2]Facebook and YouTube are full of pirated video streams of live NFL games[/h]

    Pirated video streams of televised National Football League games are widespread on and on ‘s YouTube service, CNBC has found.


    Using technology from these internet giants, thousands of football fans were able to watch long segments of many contests free of charge during the league‘s Week 13 schedule of games last Thursday and Sunday.


    Dozens of these video streams, pirated from CBS and NBC broadcasts, featured ads from well-known national brands interspersed with game action.


    This online activity comes as the league struggles with declining ratings that have been blamed variously on player protests during the national anthem and revelations about former players suffering from a brain disease caused by concussions.


    Yet this illegal distribution of NFL content may also be crimping the league‘s viewer numbers.


    The NFL strictly controls television and online video rights to its games. In particular, games played by teams that are not in a local TV market are often not televised except on DirecTV, and only for subscribers who pay extra for a package called “Sunday Ticket.” That package starts at $55 per month.


    If pirated versions of these games are available online users might ignore the DirecTV package, or skip locally televised games that they might otherwise watch. It also means that advertisers are reaching audience members that they did not pay for.


    Facebook is prepared to spend more than $1 billion for the rights to future sports content, but as of now Amazon is the only large technology company with a streaming deal for football. for the rights to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games this year.



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    [h=2]Charter Com. says labels’ vicarious infringement claim will “open the floodgates”[/h]

    US internet service provider Charter Communications has told a court that if it is held liable for vicarious infringement simply because it advertised its high net speeds, the floodgates will be opened for a flurry of copyright claims against all internet providers.


    Charter is one of the ISPs fighting a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association Of America.


    These legal battles follow the landmark ruling in the BMG v Cox Communications case, in which a court decided that Cox could not rely on safe harbour protection under US copyright law because it had a deliberately shoddy system for dealing with repeat infringers. That meant Cox could be held liable for its users unlicensed distribution of BMG’s songs.


    The RIAA is now suing Cox, Charter and Grande Communications, and although all three ISPs have fought back, things have mainly been going in the labels’ favour as all three cases have worked their way through the motions.


    One element of those cases is whether the ISPs should be held liable for vicarious as well as contributory infringement. If so, the labels could secure higher damages.


    Grande successfully had the vicarious infringement claim dismissed from its case and Charter is trying to do likewise. But last month a magistrate judge who had considered the dispute recommended allowing both infringement claims to continue, for now at least.


    One of the things you need to demonstrate to prove vicarious infringement is that the ISP received a direct benefit from the infringing activity.


    The labels have argued that the net firms do benefit from the piracy they enable because users who regularly access music from piracy platforms and file-sharing networks are more likely to be attracted to the premium high bandwidth products companies like Charter sell. They then noted how Charter had promoted its “blazing-fast speeds” that allow users to “download just about anything instantly”.


    However, in a legal filing last week, Charter sought to convince the federal judge that his colleague’s conclusion on this matter was simply wrong.


    It noted: “By relaxing the direct financial benefit prong to something far more attenuated than what is required, the [magistrate judge] threatens to open the floodgates for massive liability against ISPs for merely advertising and making available high speed internet to the general public”.


    It then added: “Plaintiffs’ complaint is bereft of any specific allegations that users were drawn to Charter’s services to infringe plaintiffs’ copyrights, as opposed to efficiently access the internet, including to access music generally, which of course, users can do lawfully. This renders any financial benefit from any alleged infringement incidental, not direct, and thus insufficient as a matter of law to satisfy the financial benefit prong of vicarious liability”.


    It remains to be seen how the federal judge in the case rules next and, indeed, whether any floodgates are indeed opened as a result.


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    [h=2]Copyright Professors Back ISP Charter to Avoid Dangerous Piracy Liability Precedent[/h]

    A group of 23 law professors are warning that a recent recommendation from a Colorado magistrate judge opens the door to unprecedented piracy liability risks. In addition to threatening Charter and other Internet providers, customers could be faced with privacy-invasive monitoring and permanent disconnections.


    In March several major music companies
    sued Charter Communications
    , one of the largest Internet providers in the US with 22 million subscribers.


    Helped by the RIAA, Capitol Records, Warner Bros, Sony Music, and others accused Charter of deliberately turning a blind eye to its pirating subscribers.


    Among other things, they argued that the ISP failed to terminate or otherwise take meaningful action against the accounts of repeat infringers, even though it was well aware of them. As such, it is liable for both contributory infringement and vicarious liability, the music companies claim.


    The ISP disagreed and filed a motion at a Colorado federal court, asking it to
    dismiss the vicarious liability claims
    . Charter argues that it doesn’t directly profit from copyright-infringing subscribers, nor does it have the ability to control them.


    Previously, other Internet providers have been successful in getting vicarious infringement claims dropped, but Charter’s case appears to go in the other direction. Last month Magistrate Judge Michael Hegarty recommended the court
    to deny the motion to dismiss


    According to the Judge, Charter’s “failure to stop or take other action in response to notices of infringement is a draw to current and prospective subscribers to purchase and use Defendant’s internet service to ‘pirate’ Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works.”


    Charter objected to this recommendation and hopes that the court will not accept it. The company fears that this will subject the company, and pretty much all other ISPs, to a wide range of piracy liability claims.


    They are not alone in this assessment. Yesterday, a group of 23 copyright law professors submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the company. According to the legal scholars from prominent institutions including Harvard and Stanford, the recommendation would set a dangerous precedent.


    The copyright professors point out that, based on the complaint, it can’t be concluded that Charter enjoyed direct financial benefits from the alleged infringements, as vicarious liability prescribes.


    Vicarious liability requires ISPs’ actions to serve as a “draw” to potential infringers. However, the professors argue that this isn’t the case here. Instead, the potential to use Charter to pirate should be seen as an “added benefit.”


    The draw, in this case, is access to the entire Internet, with the potential to pirate being an added benefit.


    “Access to this universe of content and services is the draw for subscribers, and the use by some subscribers of some portion of that service to download infringing material can only plausibly be seen as an added benefit of the service.


    “This is especially true with ISPs, like Charter, because subscribers pay the same flat monthly rate for a particular level of service irrespective of whether, or how often, they infringe,” the professors add.


    The Judge’s recommendation fails to properly make this distinction according to the professors. Neither does it show the necessary causal link between infringements and the financial benefit. As a result, it would expose Charter and other ISPs to “unprecedented risks of liability.”


    The fact that Charter advertises “blazing-fast” speeds that allow users to download “just about anything” efficiently is not relevant either. According to the professors, these features are valued by all Internet users whether they engage in infringement or not.


    “The Recommendation’s misapplication of the direct financial benefit analysis would cause considerable harm to other ISPs, consumers, and the public,” they write.






    The immediate threat to ISPs is more lawsuits where dozens of millions of dollars in damages are at stake. If the recommendation stands, providers would have a hard time defending them. In addition, many would have to change their piracy policies, which could hurt consumer privacy.


    In order to avoid vicarious liability claims, Charter and others would have to be more active against potential repeat infringers. This could lead to more Internet terminations and possible monitoring of legitimate users, the professors warn.


    “Consumers, whether they personally engage in infringing conduct or not, could be subject to wholesale termination of their Internet access based on unproven allegations of infringement occurring at the IP address through which they connect to the Internet.


    “Moreover, ISPs could be forced to engage in privacy-invasive monitoring of their subscribers’ Internet activity,” they add.


    The brief explains that ISPs that don’t host any content should pass all Internet traffic along in a neutral manner. These companies should not be forced to become copyright enforcers based on mere allegations.


    Based on the above, the copyright law professors urge the court not to adopt the Magistrate Judge’s recommendations. First, however, the court must decide whether it will accept the brief and add it to the record.


    Given what’s at stake, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see submissions from more third-parties on this matter in the coming days.



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    [h=2]Digital piracy presents opportunities for music industry – MUSO CEO[/h]

    Andy Chatterley says digital piracy presents missed opportunities for record labels, marketers and industry analysts.


    In an article published on Music Business Worldwide, the CEO of MUSO, an organisation that monitors copyright piracy globally, suggests that the music industry is not taking advantage of pirate websites.


    Chatterley believes the industry should be using information found on pirate platforms about demand, data and trends. “We can actually use this data to create real measurable value,” he says.


    This follows statistics gathered by MUSO that suggest music piracy is still a worldwide problem, despite a recent report that shows a decline in digital music piracy among young people in Europe.


    There is also a misconception that fans have stopped pirating music, or that streaming services have led to less piracy, but Chatterley says this is not the case.


    Previously, torrents were the backbone of piracy. MUSO’s data reveals that today only 6.7% of all music streaming is done through torrents. On the other hand, unlicensed streaming makes up 33.6% and stream-ripping sites 31.3%.


    And although torrents accounted for 6.7% of the piracy market, a closer look at music titles on torrent sites reveals alarming information.


    “In just the single month of July 2019, Ed Sheeran’s album Divide had over 612 000 downloads on torrent sites,” Chatterley says. “Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo had 280 000 and Lady Gaga’s debut The Fame Monster had over 202 000.”


    "Three albums, picked at random, being illegally downloaded over a million times a month. Based on a typical iTunes or Amazon download retail price, this represents approximately $10m of lost revenue for the music business and its retailers."


    Chatterley added: “You don’t visit piracy sites to casually browse; you visit because you’re a fan and want a specific release or title. There is insight into geographic content trends and city-level demand; data that is of vital importance for marketing, touring and wider release strategies.”


    “With approximately 3.5 billion people connected to the Internet globally, and only around 10% of them paying for subscriptions to music streaming services, there is an enormous opportunity in converting more people to paid subscribers. Piracy is an obvious place to find them."




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    [h=2]How Does The Disney Empire Strike Back Against Space Piracy?[/h]

    With Disney’s new streaming service finally launching in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands today, Nov. 12, there are still millions (or even billions) of viewers who won’t be able to access its content, in some cases for at least four months.


    Disney+ has been promoting its exclusive original content for months, whetting fans’ appetites with glimpses of a new live action “Lady and the Tramp,” “The World according to Jeff Goldblum,” and new Star Wars TV series “The Mandalorian.” But with the announcement that the new SVoD won’t launch in western Europe until the end of March 2020, how does Disney protect content that many fans would give Darth Vader’s missing right hand to watch now?


    “High-value shows like 'The Mandalorian' will drive incredible consumer demand, and just like 'Game of Thrones,' will be a target for pirates,” Tim Pearson, senior director, product marketing, at NAGRA tells TV Technology's sister publication TVBEurope.


    “In today’s increasingly fragmented digital world, there is a segment of the market that will just pick up their smartphones and search for what they want to watch and find illicit options. For providers like Disney+, competing with such free alternatives is just not sustainable.”


    “With the right technologies in place, service providers like Disney+ can identify which legitimate clients the stream is leaking from, and then stop the distribution through that point,” Pearson continues.


    “In the case of 'The Mandalorian,' preventing leaks and, if needed, identifying the source of any leak is critical. Anti-piracy actions can also be taken to bring down pirate resellers and illicit streaming services. Finally, in markets where it is legally possible, blocking access to pirate services is another effective approach to stopping piracy.”


    At heart, it appears content is the main reason behind Disney’s decision to hold back its launch in the U.K. and western Europe, as Futuresource’s principal analyst David Sidebottom explains: “If it were to launch simultaneously globally, it would have differing content line-ups in different countries, due to the existing licensing deals that are still running in most countries with third-party pay-TV and/or SVoD providers.


    “The most high-profile content is movies in the first pay-window, particularly given Disney’s stellar Box Office line-up in 2019, therefore it is set to hold out launching in a country until it can offer these first run movies,” he adds.


    In the U.K., Sky currently has exclusive rights for Disney’s first run movies, with the deal thought to run well into 2020. “Therefore, for first run movies, it should have little bearing on piracy,” says Sidebottom. “But on the Disney+ exclusive 'The Mandalorian,' it won’t be available until 2020. Given the likely pent-up demand to watch the show, it will be interesting to see how fans react or choose to access the shows if they can’t wait.”

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    [h=2]Online gambling ads on video file-sharing sites under scrutiny[/h]

    Online gambling operators are finding it harder to promote their wares via video file-sharing sites as law enforcement authorities and rights-holders get wise.


    Last week, the Bangkok Post reported that Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) arrested the administrator of movie2free.com, an illegal video streaming site that hosted over 3,000 pirated films and had a daily view count of around 10m. Alexa ranked the site 15th in terms of Thailand’s top-visited online destinations, only one spot behind Yahoo.com.


    The site reportedly earned its operator around THB5m (US$165k) per month in advertising revenue, most of which appears to have come from roughly two-dozen internationally licensed online gambling operators.


    The DSI was reportedly moved to act following complaints by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPA), which appears to be taking a greater interest in the gaming industry. In 2018, the MPA found that 16% of all ads on pirate video sites popular with Thai viewers were for gambling products, while over 62% promoted the sex industry.


    In September, the MPA sent a report to the US Trade Representative that singled out “online gambling giant” 1xBet for using unauthorized file-sharing sites as “a vehicle” for promoting its gambling products.


    1xBet has earned a reputation as a prolific user of pirated videos as promotional tools, embedding its logos right onto the screen of bootleg copies of popular movies and TV shows. In June, 1xBet was named Russia’s third-largest online video advertiser, behind only Google and Pepsi.


    The situation grew so dire that copyright holders and internet companies agreed to the terms of anti-piracy ‘memorandum,’ which required online search engines to purge piracy-related links from appearing in search results, while Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor would block the domains of offending sites.


    This memorandum expired on October 31, but Russian media reported that legislators plan to introduce a measure that will permanently enact these rules. In addition, Russia will allow the blocking of sites advertising forbidden online gambling products – anything other than sports betting with locally licensed sites – without the need to first obtain a court order.




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    [h=2]Omniverse is Ordered to Pay ACE $50 Million in Damages[/h]

    Omniverse is Ordered to Pay ACE $50 Million in Damages & is Banned From Running Any Future Live TV Streaming Service


    Today The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) announced that it has obtained a consent judgment and permanent injunction against the live TV streaming company Omniverse One World Television Inc. in federal district court.


    Back in February 2019, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) filed a lawsuit saying Omniverse, the company that powers many live TV streaming services including the HDHomeRun Premium TV, SkyStream TV, TikiLive, and more allowing them to access channels like ESPN and Disney do not have the rights to this content. ACE’s members include some of the biggest names in TV and many others with the goal of protecting their works.


    “This judgment and injunction are a major win for creators, audiences, and the legitimate streaming market, which has been undermined by Omniverse and its ‘back office’ piracy infrastructure for years,” said Karen Thorland, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at the Motion Picture Association. “It also builds on recent ACE legal victories over illicit piracy operations, strengthening the legitimate market for film, video, and live TV that gives audiences more choices than ever while supporting millions of American jobs.”


    Earlier Omniverse had claimed that they had a 100-year deal through a contract between HovSat and DIRECTV. Now it seems that no one can find that contract. “It is not known if such records will be found in discovery or not,” Omniverse said. “Mr. Hovnanian [the owner of HovSat] is apparently in Armenia and his attorneys have not come forward to support the legal position of HovSat.”


    This all comes as Omniverse who used to sell through services Flixon, TikiLive, Vista TV, Clikia, VivaLiveTV, HDHomeRun Premium TV, SkyStream, and more shut down its residential service. Instead, they said they would focus on multifamily units, but now that seems to also be going away. This court order would appear to put an end to any of these plans.


    ACE Members include Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Channel 5, Charter Communications, Comcast, Constantin Film, Discovery, Foxtel, Fox Corporation, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBC Universal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telefe, Telemundo, Televisa, Univision Communications Inc., Viacom Inc., Village Roadshow, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


    This ruling still could be appealed, but as of today, this puts to an end one of the most interesting court cases every involving cord cutting.



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    [h=2]Disney Plus password sharing is apparently OK – until people start abusing it[/h]

    Disney is not taking the hardline stance with Disney Plus password sharing many had been led to expect – at least not yet.


    On launch day for the long-awaited platform, Disney is enabling four concurrent streams at the same time and a whopping seven user profiles, and it appears there’ll be plenty of scope for spreading the love among friends and family.


    In an interview with CNBC ahead of the launch, the president of Disney Streaming Services Michael Paull said he hopes customers don’t take the proverbial Michael when sharing their passwords, in part because the service is so cheap.


    “Password sharing is definitely something we think about. We believe that consumers will see that value, and they’re going to act accordingly,” he said during a media preview for Disney Plus (via The Verge). “They’re going to use those accounts for their family, for their household. That being said, we do recognise password sharing exists and will continue to exist.”


    So, roughly translated, that means so long as people don’t go overboard then they are probably good to share the password with one or two close people.


    Paull continues: “We have created some technology that’s in the backend that we will use to understand behaviour. And when we see behaviour that doesn’t make sense, we have mechanisms that we’ve put in place that will deal with it.”


    Earlier this year, it emerged Disney had partnered with US cable company Charter to “work together on piracy mitigation. The two companies will work together to implement business rules and techniques to address such issues as unauthorised access and password sharing.”


    Piracy is going to be a major concern for Disney at the offset, given the limited availability of the service at launch. Brits desperate to tune into new shows like The Mandalorian might not be willing to wait until March 31 in order to tune in.




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    [h=2]People sure are excited about (pirating) Disney+'s new show[/h]

    Disney+'s The Mandalorian is hot. Like, stolen car hot.


    The much anticipated Star Wars television show premiered on Nov. 12, and within hours it was already being illegally downloaded by thousands of people. Which, frankly, isn't that surprising — especially considering Disney bungled the launch of its streaming platform.


    A quick jaunt over to The Pirate Bay allows for a peek into the world of pirated content. As of the time of this writing, there are six different versions of the show's first episode available for download. And while we did not download the episodes to verify they're real (or that they're virus free), the thousands of people seeding the episode seem to suggest there's at least something there.


    Of course, that people would pirate The Mandalorian shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone — especially Disney. Back when Game of Thrones was still considered good, the Season 8 premiere episode was reportedly watched illegally more than 54 million times in the first 24 hours after airing.

    You can already pirate The #Mandalorian in a wide variety of file formats, including 4K HDR #DisneyPlus pic.twitter.com/WTGBgBQDKm


    — Nicholas De Leon (@nicholasadeleon) November 12, 2019


    The fully operational entertainment Death Star known as Disney+ is now online in America. No doubt rebel scum around the world are pirating THE MANDALORIAN faster than you can say Sarlacc Pit. pic.twitter.com/YtO72Q8x9u


    — Exhibitor Relations Co. (@ERCboxoffice) November 12, 2019


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    [h=2]German provider of encrypted e-mail Tutanota must provide access to content e-mails[/h]

    A court ruling compels the German encrypted mail service Tutanota to give researchers real-time access to the content of unencrypted emails. Service developers now have to build in functionality for this.


    A year ago Tutanota received a letter from the Amtsgericht of Itzehoe in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein requesting the police to have access to the content of certain encrypted messages. The police wanted to see the content of emails from criminals using malware to blackmail companies in the state.


    The criminals used an email address from Tutanota. This service offers end-to-end encryption if both the sender and receiver have a Tutanota account. This means that messages on users' devices are encrypted and only decrypted at the recipient. Tutanota itself cannot then view the content. If one of the two parties does not have an account with Tutanota in an email conversation, there can be no end-to-end encryption: the company encrypts a message as soon as it reaches its servers. Tutanota must provide access to this category of messages upon request.


    The company stated that it did not want to comply with the court's request. "I thought the claim was wrong when we received the letter and I think it is still wrong today," said Tutanota director Matthias Pfau to the Süddeutscher Zeitung. Earlier this year, the German court ruled that Tutanota should provide the data and pay a fine of a thousand euros. Service developers are now creating a feature that makes copies of emails that the police can read when a valid order is received from a German court. This therefore does not concern message traffic between two Tutanota users that is protected with end-to-end encryption: access cannot be given to this.


    The mail service does not appeal against the decision, because this would have virtually no chance of being legally successful. The cause lies with the German Telekommunikationsgesetz, which contains too broad rules for access to communication. These rules are said to have their origin in providing telecom providers with access to telephone lines, but according to case law they have a wider scope.


    Last year, for example, the Berlin e-mail provider Posteo tried to defend itself against the transfer of IP addresses from customers to the Public Prosecution Service. Posteo did not store these addresses at all, but at the end of January 2019, the judge ruled that the service should do so and release information at the request of the authorities.



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