Pirate Proxy ‘Unblocked’ Fights Censors With 38th Domain Name

Pirate Proxy ‘Unblocked’ Fights Censors With 38th Domain Name

The entertainment industries generally view website blocking as one of the best tools available to prevent people from pirating. 

The practice has been around for over a decade and has slowly expanded to more than 30 countries around the world. 

While these blockades may help to deter some casual pirates, there are plenty of people who find their ways to pirate content through workarounds. VPN services are often used as well as dedicated proxy sites, including those provided by “Unblocked.”

Unblocked started in 2013, mainly in response to the UK blocking efforts. It began with links to a few dozen blocked pirate sites, and today that number has grown to more than a hundred.

The site quickly gained popularity. While that’s usually good news, in this case it presented a problem as well, since the Unblocked site itself has now become a blocking target. It didn’t take long before it was added to various blocklists, which means that it has to regularly ‘relocate’.

In recent years this has resulted in domain change after domain change. Initially, this only happened sporadically, but the Unblocked team informs TorrentFreak that it’s done roughly once a month now, usually after users report new blockades.

Just a few weeks ago the site moved from unblocked.llc to unblocked.cx to evade another block, for example. However, the latter domain was swiftly suspended by the domain name registry CoCCA. 

Domain suspensions are not common, but they happen. In this case, the registry took action after a complaint from a copyright holder, the Unblocked team informs TorrentFreak.

“We contacted the registry and they said the use of unblocked.cx was against their TOS and showed us an automated DMCA complaint they received regarding some movie links. We then changed the domain to unblocked.pet.

“Unblocked.pet is the 38th domain for the site,” the Unblocked team adds.

Unblocked

To stay true to its name, the site has to find new domain names time and again. The total count of 38 domain names thus far says enough. While this is a nuisance for the operator, it doesn’t appear to hurt the userbase too much. 

“We haven’t noticed any major shifts in traffic caused by the blocks. As long as we have a new domain up and running, people are able to find it immediately through different means,” the Unblocked team notes. 

“After domain updates, traffic levels return to normal after about one or two days. It takes a little more time for traffic to recover after a domain suspension, such as what we just saw with unblocked.cx.”

After losing the .cx domain it took four to five days for the traffic levels to recover. That was also the case a few years earlier when the CoCCA registry suspended Unblocked’s .pe domain name. 

It appears that Unblocked users have become accustomed to regular changes. They can usually find the new domain through the official Twitter account, or by going to the GitHub mirror, which has been operational since 2015.

In any case, Unblocked is determined to keep going, and the site will probably burn through a few more domains before the end of the year.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.



Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER

Pirate Site Blocking Rejected By Swiss Supreme Court

Pirate Site Blocking Rejected By Swiss Supreme Court

The blocking of pirate sites is now common in many countries of the world. In Europe, it’s particularly prevalent but a case just concluded in Switzerland has just bucked that trend.

While Switzerland is located geographically in Europe, it is not in the EU, meaning that the rules that cover the 28 members of the Union do not automatically apply. In a case involving a local film producer brought against a major ISP, that has provided an interesting twist.

In 2015, Zurich film company Praesens-Film filed a lawsuit targeting local Swisscom. It demanded that the ISP prevent its customers from accessing pirate sites but the action was far from straightforward, with the Commercial Court of the Canton of Bern rejecting the action in 2017.

Praesens-Film refused to give up, eventually taking its complaint all the way to the highest court in the land – the Federal Supreme Court. Now, however, that action has also been dismissed due to a reluctance to hold Swisscom liable for the infringing actions of others.

“In order for Swisscom to be obliged to block the Internet sites in question, it would need to be a participant in a copyright infringement by third parties, by making a legally relevant contribution to it. That’s not the case,” the Court wrote this week.

The Court agreed that the operators of the sites in question (and the companies making the movies available via hosting services) are breaking the law, but it refused to connect the ISP to those infringements.

“[S]wisscom can not be accused of making a concrete contribution to these copyright infringements. The activity of Swisscom is limited to offering access to the worldwide Internet,” the Court added.

“The films are not [released by Swisscom] but released by third parties from unknown locations abroad. These Third parties are neither customers of Swisscom nor are they otherwise in a relationship with them.”

The Court said that the fact that Swisscom and other ISPs in Switzerland provide technical infrastructure to enable customers to access the Internet is insufficient to directly link them to the infringement. If it ruled otherwise, all ISPs could be found liable.

It’s at this point it becomes clear why the Swiss Court’s opinion differs from others around the EU, who – with guidance from the European Court of Justice – have found that ISPs can indeed be held liable for infringement of copyright.

The infringements in such cases are not only carried out by pirate sites, they’re also carried out by the customers of ISPs, who illegally stream or download copyrighted content to their home connections. In Switzerland, however, downloading or streaming content – even when that content is from an unlicensed source – is not illegal.

“[T]here is no copyright infringement on the part of the users,” the Court said.

“Copyright law allows this use of published works for personal use, regardless of whether the source is lawful or unlawful. Legislators rejected the copyright revision, which would have prohibited the duplication of works from illegal sources for their own use.”

In conclusion, the Court ruled that any decision on future blocking of pirate sites lies in the hands of legislators.

While tackling the problem of overseas pirate sites is an issue for most countries, it’s claimed that Switzerland is actually home to many. According to a recent submission to the USTR by the MPAA, the country’s copyright laws are “wholly inadequate”, meaning that it has become a significant base for pirate services.

The decision of the Federal Supreme Court can be found here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER

Sony Wants $16,800 in Damages From ‘Jailbroken’ PS4 Seller

Sony Wants $16,800 in Damages From ‘Jailbroken’ PS4 Seller

For many years, the PlayStation 4 (PS4) appeared to be an impregnable fortress for pirates. 

This slowly began to change during the summer of 2017 and, following the release of a new jailbreak version a year later, the popular console has now fallen prey to pirates large and small.

The outburst of piracy prompted the Japanese company to take a stand. Last October, it filed a lawsuit against a California man, accusing him of selling jailbroken PS4s filled with pirated games.

According to Sony, defendant Eric Scales used the handle “Blackcloak13” to sell the jailbroken PS4s preloaded with dozens of pirated games on eBay. In addition, he also maintained his own website, informing people that they can “stop buying games” and use pirated versions instead.

In the months after Sony filed its complaint at the California federal court not much happened, with the defendant failing to respond. This left the gaming company with few other options than to file for a default judgment. 

This is exactly what Sony did last week. In the accompanying memorandum, Sony reiterates its accusations. 

“Defendant Eric David Scales advertises and sells ‘jailbroken’ PlayStation®4  video game consoles on eBay. These ‘jailbroken’ PS4 consoles are loaded with pirated copies of PS4 video games. Defendant Scales also advertises on his website that he provides ‘jailbreaking’ services,” it reads.

From the Memorandum

According to the gaming giant, it’s clear that the defendant infringed the copyrights of dozens of games. However, Sony requests compensation based on violations of the DMCA, due to the defendant circumventing the technical protection measures of the consoles.

Specifically, Sony requests $800 for the two consoles that were sold and another $200 per pirated game, which it sees as separate products that violate the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions. With 76 listed games, that brings the total damages to $16,800.

This is a reasonable amount according to the company, which notes that it didn’t include the man’s July 2018 offer on eBay to sell a jailbroken PS4 console with a “170 game collection,” or any of his other offerings. In addition, it’s also far below the statutory maximum damages.

The $16,800 is also warranted since the California man knew that he was breaking the law and failed to show up in court to defend himself, Sony adds.

“This amount is warranted in light of Defendant’s willful infringement and
violations of the DMCA, his refusal to appear in this action, and his acknowledged understanding and intent that his products be used to deprive [Sony] of the opportunity to sell genuine PS4 video games..,” Sony writes.
 

In addition to the damages, Sony also requests $3,458 in costs and attorney’s fees. If the judgment is granted, this brings the total amount owed to more than $20,000.  Sony hopes that the court will issue the judgment. If not, it fears a dangerous precedent.

“[I]f this Court were to decline entry of a default judgment against Defendant Scales, it could set a dangerous precedent, allowing the purveyors of pirated PS4 video games and ‘jailbroken’ PS4 consoles to avoid liability by simply not responding to [Sony’s] claims,” the company concludes.

At the time of writing the defendant’s website is no longer online. The eBay account where the infringing items were previously sold has nothing on offer either. 

Here are copies of the proposed default judgment (pdf) and Sony’s full memorandum (pdf), both obtained by TorrentFreak.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER

Reelplay IPTV Service Faces Blocking Action in Australian Court

Reelplay IPTV Service Faces Blocking Action in Australian Court

Hundreds – perhaps thousands – of companies and individuals around the globe provide IPTV services to the public.

It’s a rapidly expanding market but a significant number of providers operate without appropriate licensing, in some cases offering many thousands of channels to subscribers for extremely low monthly fees.

As a result, some of these services attract the attention of rightsholders, who target them with legal action for damages or, in many cases, blocking by Internet service providers to render their platforms less accessible to the public.

In Australia, a new action filed in the Federal Court by TV distributor International Media Distribution (IMD) targets Reelplay, an IPTV provider that specializes in Italian, Greek, and Arabic programming.

The Reelplay offering (from Reelplay.co)

IMD says it’s “the leading aggregator and marketer of niche television services to various ethnic communities around the globe,” with the distribution rights for over 40 premium Arabic and Italian channels.

The company is registered in Luxembourg but has its marketing office headquartered in New York, where a local agent provides customer services under Reach Media. IMD claims to be the single largest provider of ethnic channels to US-based multi-billion dollar TV distributor, Dish Network.

According to court documents obtained by ComputerWorld and shared with TorrentFreak, IMD is joined in the case by two other applicants – Netherlands-based distributor Overlook Management BV and Lebanon-based pan-Arab TV station Al Jadeed (previously NewTV).

Together the applicants claim that Reelplay (which sells its Arabic package for US$150, complete with a ‘free’ Android-based hardware player) offers 15 TV channels for which they are the exclusive licensee. The channels include Al Arabiya, MTV Lebanon, and BBC Arabic. Al Jadeed (the third applicant) is listed as a copyright holder licensing its channel content to IMD.

The applicants claim that Reelplay’s IPTV service infringes their exclusive licenses in Australia so are now asking the Federal Court for an injunction under the Copyright Act to compel local ISPs to block the platform along with various ancillary services, all referred to as “online locations”.

“Without the license or other permission of the Applicants, the owners or operators of the Target Online Locations infringe, or facilitate infringement of, the copyright subsisting in the Applicants’ Copyright Broadcasts by facilitating users of the Infringing Application on the Reel Play Device to access Streaming Locations that, without license or other permission of the Applicants communicate the Applicants’ Copyright Broadcasts to Reel Play Device users…,” the application reads.

Describing the operators of Reelplay as demonstrating “a flagrant disregard for copyright”, the applicants state that disabling access to the “online locations” associated with the service (which include software update servers, an EPG, actual streams of infringing content, and a sales/registration portal) is both proportionate and in the public interest.

‘Online locations’ requested for blocking

Reelplay says it offers a “best-in-class user experience” powered by a “proprietary streaming system, which we built from the ground up.” It also claims extensive logging of subscriber information and activities.

In addition to harvesting IP addresses and WiFi details, Reelplay claims to store users’ search histories (including any voice-activated searches), search results, any advertising viewed, plus channel viewing history including times and duration of reception.

Perhaps of most interest to the applicants in the case, however, Reelplay suggests it has no licenses for the content offered within its subscription package.

“Reelplay [is] not responsible for the content and do not guarantee nor claim any rights to the content. Reelplay devices provide streams of all the channels as they are available on the internet,” its documentation reads.

If granted by the Federal Court, an injunction would require ISP groups Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG, VHA, plus subsidiaries (52 providers total) to block the ‘online locations’ listed in the table above.

While such cases have the potential to become complicated, the Court has previously shown to be thorough, with rightsholders not automatically given an easy ride.

However, under the recently enhanced Section 115a of Australia’s Copyright Act the process is now a familiar one and if the operators of Reelplay fail to defend (or produce licensing), an injunction will be the most likely result.

Court documents (courtesy of CW) here and here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER

Oscars Screener Leaks Drop to All-Time Low

Oscars Screener Leaks Drop to All-Time Low

The Oscars is the most watched awards show of the year, closely followed by hundreds of millions of movie fans around the world.

On Sunday, Hollywood’s finest gathered at the red carpet once again. Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, Green Book, and Roma emerged as the big winners, all winning multiple awards.

Elsewhere in Hollywood, there may have been a celebration of a different kind as well. The months leading up to the Oscars is usually a time when some of the most high-profile leaks take place. However, this year there were fewer screener leaks than before. 

Many of the screeners that appear on pirate sites are linked to the Oscars. The films are sent out to voting members and, despite tough security measures, some always fall into the hands of outsiders. 

This also happened this year. With “Green Book” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” the first pirated DVD screeners made their way onto various pirate sites in December. However, the rate at which the screeners have leaked this year is significantly lower than before.

Relying on data released by Oscar piracy watcher Andy Baio, we see that screeners for only seven of the nominated* films leaked before the awards ceremony. That’s roughly half of what we were used to seeing during previous years. 

As can be seen below, the number of leaked screeners has gradually declined over the past decade-and-a-half, from a high of 29 in 2007 to seven this year. 

Screener leaks of nominated films by Oscar night

We should be cautious of drawing strong conclusions, but there are some hints that could explain the drop. According to the pirate release group EVO, which leaked “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” the security on the DVD they got their hands on was stronger than before. 

“From what I’ve seen, doing Ralph, the DVD protection on it was increased, since it was a nightmare to crack,” a EVO team member informed us previously

Hive-CM8, the group that was responsible for most leaks in recent years, also signaled a possible reason for the slowdown. The group apparently lost access to its mail and website, which meant that many important contacts are gone as well.

“Since we lost our site/mail with no backup and with it all contacts gone, it’s quite complicated to get things going this year. We want to get things back as they were, but it will take time,” they said early on.

It’s also worth noting that there’s a limited number of groups getting involved in these screener leaks. Perhaps it’s harder to get access nowadays, or other groups simply decided to avoid these high profile releases, as they are associated with a higher risk. 

Finally, the state of the movie industry may also play a significant role in the decreased number of screener leaks. This is a point that was previously raised by Andy Baio.

Screeners are generally only released if there is no higher quality leak out already. Since release windows are getting smaller and WebRips and Web-DLs are more common, screeners are less relevant. This is also what we see in the data. 

The graphs below show the number of leaked screeners dropped from more than 75% to under 25% over the past several years. However, the number of high-quality leaks remained fairly constant, around or above 90%.

HQ leaks vs. Screeners

As a concrete example, Netflix’s Oscar nominee “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” was already out on pirate sites as a high-quality WebRip in November, before the screener version went out. Also, Netflix’s big Oscar winner Roma leaked in a high-quality format a few days after the first screener was sent.

When high-quality releases are already available, release groups have no incentive to put a screener version out. Hence, there are fewer screeners by definition.

While there’s no doubt that the number of leaked screeners at the Oscar night was at an all-time low this year, it’s hard to pinpoint a single reason. Perhaps all the factors mentioned contributed to the drop, one way or another. 

In any case, it’s unlikely that we will ever see 29 leaked Oscar nomination screeners in one year again, as happened in 2007. However, the widespread availability of high-quality leaks shows that piracy remains a challenge for Hollywood.

* – Foreign film and documentary categories are not included

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER

Piracy Is Driven By Availability & Price, People Prefer Not to Break the Law, ISP Study Says

Piracy Is Driven By Availability & Price, People Prefer Not to Break the Law, ISP Study Says

While free media has always been attractive to those traversing torrent sites, streaming platforms, and similar services, there have always been complaints that price is just one piece of the puzzle.

Often painted as cheapskates, people who pirate have historically been at the cutting edge of content availability, obtaining movies and music quickly, with legal alternatives scrambling in their wake.

Over the years, of course, both the music and movie industries have taken giant strides in bridging the gap, making lots of content available and, in the case of Netflix and Spotify, for example, often at a reasonable price. As a result, millions of citizens are taking advantage of these offers.

According to a new study commissioned by New Zealand telecoms group Vocus Group NZ and conducted in December 2018, this enhanced availability is having a positive effect.

“Legitimate streaming content providers are achieving what was impossible for Hollywood to get right: they are stamping out piracy by making available the shows people want to enjoy at reasonable cost and with maximum convenience,” Vocus announced this morning.

The company believes that “piracy is dying a natural death” as more locals choose to access content legitimately, via legal services that are both accessible and easier to use than pirate options.

“In short, the reason people are moving away from piracy is that it’s simply more hassle than it’s worth,” says Taryn Hamilton, Consumer General Manager at Vocus Group.

“The research confirms something many internet pundits have long instinctively believed to be true: piracy isn’t driven by law-breakers, it’s driven by people who can’t easily or affordably get the content they want.”

An overwhelming majority (75%) of those surveyed said that free-to-air TV services are their weapons of choice for viewing content, with 61% utilizing free on-demand channels offered by broadcasters. Around 58% of respondents said they visit the cinema, with paid streaming services such as Netflix utilized by 55%.

Of course, piracy still figures into the equation but according to Vocus, the practice is on a downward trend.

“The big findings are that whilst about half of people have pirated some content in their lives, the vast majority no longer do so because of the amount of paid streaming sites that they have access to,” Hamilton added in a video interview with NZHerald.

Indeed, the company’s study shows that 11% of consumers now obtain copyrighted content via illegal streaming platforms, with around 10% downloading infringing content via torrent and similar services.

“Generally the survey has said that the vast minority of people are undertaking piracy – it’s just too hard. People prefer to pay for good quality, cheap, legal content, so we think that’s the best way forward,” Hamilton said.

While Vocus says it conducted its research to validate its view of the market and the belief that streaming services are key to dealing with piracy, the company also has other concerns. A review of New Zealand’s Copyright Act is underway and Hamilton expresses a preference for dialog over legal action.

“We certainly don’t want a judicial approach, where it goes in front of a court and one judge sets precedent. We think it should be debated through the copyright amendment process,” he added.

In January 2018, the Motion Picture Distributors’ Association, which represents the major Hollywood studios in New Zealand, said that “nothing” can be done to tackle piracy in the country other than site-blocking. Vocus, however, is opposed to this type of action.

The company believes that while the overall appetite for piracy is on the wane, its research shows that just 22% of respondents believe that it’s possible to stop pirates using blocking, with the remainder thinking pirates are just too savvy.

“The simple fact for those who know anything about the internet, is that censoring the internet doesn’t work,” Hamilton says.

“People know there are multiple sites where it is possible to download illegal material. They also know that blocking the most popular ones simply means you’ll get pirated material elsewhere.”

In conclusion, Vocus insists that the solution can be found using a straightforward formula – give people the content they want, in a format they can consume, at a price they can afford.

“Piracy is finally dying. The reason for that requires an understanding of why people pirated in the first place. They didn’t do it because of inherent criminality, but rather because they couldn’t get the shows they wanted at a price they were prepared to pay,” Hamilton concludes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER

Teksavvy Wins Appeal in Defense of Accused ‘Pirating’ Subscribers

Teksavvy Wins Appeal in Defense of Accused ‘Pirating’ Subscribers

Over the past several years, hundreds of thousands of piracy warnings have been sent out to Canadian pirates under the ‘notice-and-notice’ scheme.

While these notices can no longer include settlement demands, following a recent update in legislation, accused pirates can still get in trouble. Several movie companies have filed for Norwich orders, asking the court to subpoena ISPs to hand over customer information, so they can contact these people directly.

These cases lead to the so-called ‘copyright trolling’ practices we’re seeing elsewhere in the world. They are filed by rightsholders of films such as The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Criminal, London Has Fallen, and Dallas Buyers Club. And with hundreds of IP-addresses being targeted per case, their scope is quite broad.

Most ISPs don’t challenge these subpoena requests but in a recent case Internet provider Teksavvy decided to take a stand. When ME2 Productions, the company behind the film Mechanic: Resurrection, requested the personal details of several customers, the ISP decided to appeal.

Among other things, TekSavvy argued that the evidence provided by the copyright holder is not sufficient enough to warrant handing over customer information.

Last week the Federal Court of Canada sided with the Internet provider.  Judge William Pentney concluded that the evidence put forward by the movie company was not sufficient. This is problematic, as it could result in the wrong persons being targeted, he concluded.

“This case illustrates why it is so important for the Court to have the best available evidence,” Judge Pentney writes.

For example, unlike the movie company claimed, it appeared that several of the targeted subscribers never received an initial notice of copyright infringement, which is a requirement in these cases.

“One can easily imagine the reaction of such individuals when this is the first notice they would have received of the matter. This is precisely what Parliament was seeking to avoid when it adopted the notice and notice regime in the Act,” the order reads.

Perhaps even worse, one of the IP-addresses that was listed didn’t even belong to TekSavvy. These and other issues make it clear that subpoenas should only be issued when there’s sufficient evidence.

James Plotkin of law firm CazaSaikaley, who has defended accused file-sharers in the past, notes that this is an important ruling.

“The Federal Court sent a strong message that copyright plaintiffs must put forward ‘the best available evidence’ in order to obtain a Norwich order, or otherwise explain why that evidence is unavailable,” Plotkin says.

Among the issues highlighted in the order is the declaration of Daniel Arheidt, who works for the German BitTorrent tracking outfit Maverickeye. His evidence is at the basis of the clerk’s affidavit, but it’s not a sworn statement, and nor is Mr. Arheidt available for cross-examination.

The court also highlighted the privacy aspect of this case. Specifically, the order states that ISPs have a legal obligation to protect the privacy of their customers. While most ISPs chose not to appeal the order, TekSavvy certainly has an interest in doing so.

“TekSavvy is in possession of the personal information of its customers. It has a legal obligation to protect such information and an obvious commercial interest in doing so,” Judge Pentney noted.

This important angle was also raised by Plotkin, who noted that because the accused file-sharers are no party at this stage, their ISPs are the only ones who can protect them.

“The subscribers are not parties to the motion, so they have no say in whether the Norwich order that would force disclosure of their information should issue. The ISPs are the only ones able to look after their subscribers’ interests,” Plotkin says.

In the present case, the court found that several mistakes were made. If TekSavvy didn’t stand up for its customers, the privacy of these people would have been at stake.

“Mistakes like this can result in violations of privacy on the basis of erroneous information furnished to the court by the plaintiff. This might be accidental and not malicious,” Plotkin says.

“But regardless of intent, the court should not countenance corner-cutting by plaintiffs when the privacy interests of subscribers, who are without a voice in the proceeding, are at stake.”

TekSavvy did not immediately reply to our request for comment. In a statement to The Wire Report, the ISP’s vice-president of regulatory affairs, Andy Kaplan-Myrth, said that they are pleased with the decision which confirms that copyright enforcement requires a balance of disclosure and privacy interests.

The Federal Court order is by no means the end of these type of cases. Movie companies and other copyright holders can still request Norwich orders going forward. However, they will have to make sure that they base their requests on the best available evidence.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER

New Govt. Proposals Aim to Restrict Pirate Sites in India

New Govt. Proposals Aim to Restrict Pirate Sites in India

With close to half a billion broadband subscribers, India is undoubtedly a global powerhouse in the connected arena.

Add the thirst of its citizens for free media into the mix and it’s clear why copyright holders are keener than ever stem to tide of pirated content.

Thus far we’ve seen huge numbers of sites blocked following requests to various courts. However, India is now looking to formalize its response to the many thousands of torrent, streaming, and similar sites facilitating access to infringing copies of movies, music, and other digital media.

The latest draft of India’s National E-Commerce Policy outlines various strategies designed to curtail piracy, many of them taken from schemes already active in other regions of the world.

Intermediaries, such as Internet service providers, play a key role in the spread of pirated content but holding them liable for infringement can be difficult. The new draft states that they should “put in place measures to prevent online dissemination of pirate content” although at least for now, those measures are yet to be detailed.

Intermediaries will also be required to identify “trusted entities” who should get priority when it comes to handling copyright complaints. Again, there is no detail on whose those entities might be but one can safely presume that movie companies will be at the forefront, with other content companies close behind.

In any event, “The identification of trusted entity and anti-piracy measures shall be done on a voluntary basis”, suggesting that this element of the draft is not only open interpretation but also might come with an opt-out clause.

The proposed rules seem much tighter when it comes to the actual platforms engaging or facilitating the spread of pirated content.

When notices of infringement are sent by a copyright holder, ISPs will be required to “remove or disable access to the alleged content.” On first inspection, this seems to loosely marry up with the takedown provisions of the DMCA.

India also appears to be mulling a “follow-the-money” approach, which operates on the premise that pirate sites only exist to generate profit for their owners. To this end, stakeholders will first create a list of “rogue websites” that “host predominately pirated content.”

After a verification process, these sites will be added to the “Infringing Websites List” (IWL), an initiative that appears similar to the database of pirate sites operated by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit in the UK. This will then allow authorities to take a range of measures to deplete their traffic and reduce revenues.

First up, Internet service providers will be required to “remove or disable access to the websites identified in the IWL within set time-lines.” This differs from the process in the UK where a separate High Court order is required for blocking, even if a site is already present on the list.

Secondly, India seems eager to prevent pirate sites from having access to revenue, whether generated by advertising or via subscriptions. The draft aims to prevent these payments from being processed.

“Rogue websites earn their revenues through online payments made based on a subscription or advertisement revenue models. Such payments have to be routed through Payment Gateways, which shall not permit flow of payments to or from such rogue websites,” the proposals read.

In addition, Indian advertisers and advertising agencies will be forbidden from placing their ads on sites appearing in the Infringing Website List. The proposals don’t indicate how this will be achieved or policed but if models in the UK and Europe are followed, participation is usually via trade group bodies.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, search engines operating in India will be required to “take necessary steps” to ensure that sites listed in the Infringing Website List do not appear in their search results. It is far from clear how this will be carried out or whether foreign companies will be prepared to comply.

Google is by far the dominant search engine in the country with an estimated 95% of the market, so it will be most affected. It has also demonstrated a reluctance to remove links that aren’t clearly infringing but recent movement in Russia shows that the company is prepared to bend, when enough pressure is applied.

Stakeholders are invited to comment on the draft proposals (pdf) by March 9, 2019

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 02/25/19

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 02/25/19

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the most downloaded movie.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (…) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 8.6 / trailer
2 (2) Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald 6.8 / trailer
3 (1) Creed II 7.5 / trailer
4 (…) Instant Family 7.5 / trailer
5 (3) Ralph Breaks the Internet 7.2 / trailer
6 (6) Bohemian Rhapsody 8.3 / trailer
7 (4) Robin Hood 5.3 / trailer
8 (…) Green Book 8.3 / trailer
9 (5) Mortal Engines 6.3 / trailer
10 (10) Aquaman (Subbed HDRip) 7.7 / trailer

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER

‘CracksNow’ Apologizes For Ransomware Torrents, Says Accounts Were Hacked

‘CracksNow’ Apologizes For Ransomware Torrents, Says Accounts Were Hacked

It’s no secret that scammers are constantly trying to trick torrent users into downloading malicious content.

These files are generally easy to spot and swiftly removed from well-moderated sites. As such, they are mostly a nuisance for novices.

But, when a well-known uploader with a “trusted’ status on some torrent sites gets involved, things change. Last week we reported that “CracksNow,” who shared tens of thousands of cracked software titles in recent years, had been banned from several sites after posting torrents with ransomware.

While we have reported on the torrent ecosystem for more than a decade, a reputable uploader ‘going rogue’ was something we had never seen before. Was it another sign of a decaying torrent community? Or perhaps an uploader who wanted to “cash in” on his work?

To find out more, we reached out to “CracksNow” days before we published our article. We initially received no response, but this week the uploader contacted us, explaining that there was no malicious intent on his part.

The ransomware was real and it did harm the computers of an unknown number of downloaders. However, CracksNow says he didn’t upload these malicious files. In fact, he went to quite a bit of trouble to ensure that his releases did not trigger any alarm bells.

“I had a person who checked all the files for malware before they were uploaded. All the files were run in a sandbox and were dynamically analyzed for malware,” CracksNow tells us.

When the malware reports kept coming in, resulting in bans for the uploader, the files were checked again. That’s when he noticed that some uploads were different.

“When I was demoted on TorrentGalaxy, I was testing all the files again for malware to see which torrents were infected. During my testing, I discovered that the infohash of the torrent file on my server was different from those on the torrent sites.”

An admin at TorrentGalaxy shared some of the account logs which revealed that CracksNow torrents were being deleted and replaced with new files. These newer files, presumably uploaded by someone else, came with the ransomware which caused all the trouble.

TorrentFreak reached out to TorrentGalaxy admin LRS, who confirmed that the site logs indeed showed that torrents were deleted and reuploaded.

However, by then the damage had already been done. After an admin at 1337x helped TorrentGalaxy by pointing out the ransomware issues, both sites banned the Cracksnow account.

Banned…

The upload irregularities could mean that CracksNow’s accounts were compromised by an outsider. While this is impossible to verify independently, it sounds like a plausible explanation.

The uploader has no idea how someone managed to get his credentials but he doesn’t want to hide behind any excuses either. Even if someone else uploaded the malware, CracksNow takes full responsibility for what happened.

“It’s my responsibility to keep my account secure and I failed in that. A lot of users who trusted CracksNow got infected and got their files encrypted. I feel really bad about this and I am sorry to everyone who got infected,” CracksNow says.

The result is that the uploader lost his accounts with thousands of torrents at several popular sites, but he understands this as well. There was no way to check which uploads were infected, so deleting everything was the logical option.

“I fully support the decision. All the torrents should be deleted so that nobody else gets infected. I don’t want anyone to get infected because of me. The damage done to the reputation of CracksNow is irreversible. I will never be able to upload on the torrent sites again and I understand that.”

The good news for the uploader is that he still has his own site. However, this was also affected by last week’s news. The site was hacked over the past week and infected with malware. As a result, Google’s ominous red warning banner is now showing up in many web browsers.

While we felt obliged to report CracksNow’s side of the story, we are not passing any judgment one way or the other. It’s impossible to verify the complete backstory. This means that, as always, people should tread with caution, which applies anywhere on the web.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Credits TorrentFreak

If you found this post informative, please help by sharing to your social pages using the links above. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great content!

Stay protected online, check out my new VPN Partnership and protect your online activity from spying eyes. – CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY VPN PARTNER