ISP Reports Movie Company to Data Protection Agency Over ‘Piracy’ Data

ISP Reports Movie Company to Data Protection Agency Over ‘Piracy’ Data

While some movie companies are satisfied with the income generated by their content, others are increasingly looking for additional revenue streams via legal action.

One of those companies is Venice PI, the outfit behind the Bruce Willis movie Once Upon a Time in Venice. It has filed several lawsuits in the United States with the aim of extracting cash settlements from alleged BitTorrent users, cases that haven’t always gone in the company’s favor.

In common with other companies involved in so-called “copyright trolling” cases, Venice PI has already found itself in awkward positions in court. That hasn’t prevented it from filing further lawsuits, however.

Indeed, Venice PI and partners have gone after ‘pirate’ services too, including Dragon Box, Showbox, and Popcorn Time. Given the status of these cases, it seems that settlements rather than full trials are still on the agenda.

Venice PI also appears to be testing similar markets overseas, with the company demanding that Spanish ISP Euskaltel hand over the identities of individuals who allegedly downloaded and shared the previously-mentioned Bruce Willis movie.

Euskaltel says that it has repeatedly refused to hand over any data but was eventually ordered by Commercial Court No. 2 of Bilbao to hand over the personal details of subscribers behind IP addresses said to have pirated the movie.

“Despite the repeated refusal of the ISP to deliver any data to the Court, the Commercial Court number 2 of Bilbao issued a ruling dismissing Euskaltel’s opposition allegations, forcing the ISP to provide the Court with the required information,” a statement from Euskaltel reads.

“The Court forced Euskaltel to provide the data of the affected clients, without the possibility of appeal, delivering them to the film producer.”

Of course, it was no surprise when, in recent weeks, Euskaltel customers began receiving correspondence from lawyers representing Venice PI.

Somewhat unusually for such cases, the ISP reports that customers were targeted via their email addresses (rather than regular mail) with demands to pay a 150 euro settlement within five days of the notice “to avoid the initiation of legal proceedings.”

Interestingly – and despite being ordered to hand over the information by the Court – Euskaltel believes the use of the personal data in this manner may constitute a breach of Spain’s Data Protection regulations.

“The Telecommunications operator Euskaltel has filed a complaint with the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) against the film producer Venice PI, LLC, for possible violation of data protection regulations as a result of the use of what the producer did with the Euskaltel customer data,” the company says.

“At no time did the Euskaltel group identify the owners of such IP addresses as authors of any infringement or make any assessment of the legality or illegality of the actions taken by users.”

The ISP says that when it provided information to Venice PI in compliance with an order for preliminary proceedings, the movie company was “not free to decide what to do the data, a circumstance that seems to have been breached and that may constitute an infringement of data protection regulations.”

The complaint was filed with the AEPD (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos) on May 20, 2019. The data protection agency has not yet commented on the complaint.

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Bell Wants Canada to Criminalize Pirate Streaming Services

Bell Wants Canada to Criminalize Pirate Streaming Services

To ensure that the Internet is able to function to the benefit of the broader public, the Government of Canada appointed an external panel to review Canada’s communications legislative framework. 

The panel is expected to release its findings next month, which will in part be based on input received from public submissions earlier this year. 

Thus far, most submissions have surprisingly been kept from public view. However, University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist filed an Access to Information Act request and will publish the responses he receives. The first one comes from Canadian telco Bell and stretches to 167 pages.

Bell’s submission deals with a wide variety of topics ranging from online video regulations to online privacy requirements. For the purposes of this article, however, we focus on the company’s suggestions when it comes to piracy and copyright infringement.

One of the Government’s prime policy priorities, according to Bell, should be to combat content piracy.  

“Canadian creators, the Canadian broadcasting system, and the Canadian
telecommunications system do not have effective tools to protect the content that is central to the creative and digital economy against the rampant growth of digital piracy,” Bell writes.

The submission goes on to cite various piracy studies that support this claim. It reports, for example, that 26% of all Canadians admit to having accessed pirated content online. In addition, it mentions that 15.3% of all Canadian households use set-top-boxes with piracy add-ons or access piracy subscription services. 

According to Bell, now is the time to address the online piracy issue and it provides two concrete proposals. The first one is aimed at tackling pirate online streaming services, including the previously mentioned streaming sites and set-top boxes. 

Bell equates this relatively new type of piracy to the boom in black market satellite piracy roughly three decades ago. At the time, lawmakers responded by updating the Radiocommunication Act to criminalize the decoding of encrypted signals and the possession and sale of devices intended for that purpose.

“This stimulated law enforcement activity in the area of satellite piracy, which contributed to the investigation and shutting down of piracy operations and also had a significant deterrent effect,” Bell notes.

The telco stresses that a similar response is now required to deal with the online streaming epidemic. Most pirate streaming services no longer rely on encryption but are based on rebroadcasting content over the Internet instead. 

This type of streaming activity should be criminalized in the Broadcasting Act, Bell recommends. Not just the services and sites that do the ‘broadcasting,’ but also people who advertise or sell related products.  

“Accordingly, we recommend that a provision be added to the Broadcasting Act making it a criminal offense for anyone subject to an exemption from the requirement to hold a license to knowingly operate, advertise, supply, or sell or offer to sell access to a distribution undertaking that retransmits broadcasting without lawful authorization from a programming undertaking.”

Criminalize

“Such an approach would concentrate criminal liability on commercially-motivated operators engaged in organized crime and would stimulate additional law enforcement activity to address this pressing threat,” Bell adds.

This measure doesn’t appear to be aimed at end-users but will certainly affect pirate streaming sites, vendors of pirate set-top boxes, as well as those who promote them.

The second anti-piracy proposal put forward by Bell is to make it possible for ISPs to block pirate sites more easily. This is the same plan proposed by Fairplay Canada Coalition last year, but with a twist. 

“By far the most important tool that modernized legislation should adopt is the ability for an independent authority to grant orders requiring all Internet service providers (ISPs) to disable access to sites that are blatantly, structurally, or overwhelmingly engaged in piracy,” Bell writes.

This Fairplay blocking proposal was denied by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) last fall, which noted that it lacks jurisdiction. According to Bell, this is something the Government could change through an update of the Telecommunications Act.

Specifically, it wants the Government to amend current legislation to authorize the CRTC to approve and require Internet providers to disable access to sites that are blatantly, overwhelmingly, or structurally engaged in piracy. 

That blocking is not a perfect solution, shouldn’t matter. Even a partial reduction in traffic to pirate sites, as has happened in other countries, should already be rather effective, Bell argues.

“A policy that reduces the total level of piracy by up to 40% from the level that would otherwise have prevailed, and that substantially increases the legal consumption of content, can only be considered incredibly effective. The fact that it does not eliminate 100% of piracy is not a justification for inaction,” the telco writes.

Website blocking also finds support in a separate submission from Shaw Communications, another major Canadian telco.  Similar to Bell, Shaw believes that an update to the Copyright Act is required to achieve that. The company, however, rejects a proposal to tax ISP subscriptions to support copyright holders.

By criminalizing pirate streaming services and blocking pirate sites, Bell hopes to make a significant dent in Canada’s piracy rates. Whether the government’s expert panel will adopt these recommendations has yet to be seen. 

Many copyright holders are likely to side with Bell,  but there is plenty of opposition as well. Michael Geist, for example, characterizes Bell’s submission as “self-serving in the extreme,” noting that it poses shocking risks to many stakeholders in Canada’s communication industry.

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Media & Telecoms Companies Reveal “Self-Learning” Anti-Piracy System

Media & Telecoms Companies Reveal “Self-Learning” Anti-Piracy System

Last November, major media and tech companies in Russia signed a landmark memorandum in order to tackle the rise of pirated content on the Internet.

Central to the agreement was the creation of a database populated with links to material deemed copyright-infringing by entertainment industry groups

Operators of search platforms agreed to query the database every five minutes and then, within six hours, remove links to the content from their search results. The same applies to sites that actually host content, such as Yandex.video and RuTube, for example.

Population of the database got quickly underway and according to the Media Communication Union (MKC), which represents the interests of major media and telecoms companies, now contains around 300,000 links. However, the companies involved feel that the system can be much improved with the addition of custom software.

To that end, this week the MKC revealed that it has begun testing a new anti-piracy system that will allow content to be added to the database more quickly and efficiently. The tool not only allows URLs to be entered manually but also accepts input from “specialized search systems” that are able to identify illegal content.

“An automated solution based on specially trained neural networks is used to analyze the content of sites specified in the rights holders’ reports,” MKC announced.

MKC says that manual testing is also used in a number of cases, with the results being sent to the neural network for “additional training.” As the project develops, the aim is to require the intervention of human operators on much fewer occasions.

“A modern software solution based on self-learning systems will significantly increase the effectiveness of the fight against Internet piracy and will further increase the consumption of legal video services,” said MKS President Mikhail Demin.

An almost fully-automated anti-piracy seems like a big ask, particularly when machines are often blamed for erroneous takedowns. However, for the head of Russian telecoms watchdog Roskomndazor, removing humans from the equation where possible will make the system more effective.

“This is a significant event for both sides of the Memorandum,” Alexander Zharov says.

“An automated solution for interaction within the framework of the Memorandum will help to increase the reaction times and reduce the risks associated with the ‘human factor’.”

It is not yet clear whether the system under development represents anything drastically new in the anti-piracy space, or whether the “self-learning” component will amount to anything more than scraping allegedly-infringing URLs and then sending these to the registry.

Nevetherless, beta tests are already underway and it’s expected that the finished product will be with rightsholders before the end of July.

The memorandum and supporting technical efforts are currently in operation voluntarily until the terms of the agreement run out November 1, 2019. However, given the level of commitment being shown by the parties involved, it’s expected to continue until the terms of the memorandum can be written into local law.

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MagnetDL Makes Comeback Days After it Shut Itself Down

MagnetDL Makes Comeback Days After it Shut Itself Down

Little over a week ago the magnet torrent search engine MagnetDL suddenly closed its doors, without prior warning.

Instead of the regular search box which served as a gateway to millions of downloads, users were welcomed by the following message

“MagnetDL has closed. It has been a great seven years and it’s sad to have it come to an end. Thanks to everyone who has visited over the years especially our regular visitors,” a message on the site read.

The site, which has been around since 2012, had built up a dedicated userbase which was unpleasantly surprised by the news. The shutdown triggered a wave of responses, with some calling for a comeback. 

While that kind of outreach usually doesn’t change anything, in this case, it motivated the operator to continue. Soon, the ‘goodbye’ message was replaced by a new note announcing a swift and surprising comeback.

And indeed, a few hours ago the site reappeared as if nothing had happened. Intrigued by the turn of events, we reached out MagnetDL’s operator, who was willing to shed some light at what happened. 

Aaaand it’s back

The initial decision to close the site was deliberate and came after facing a suspension from its former hosting provider.

“There was pressure on the web host from their ISP to suspend my account due to various copyright complaints. The choice was to either close the site or find a new server,” MagnetDL’s admin told us. 

“There wasn’t much time to decide and so I began to wonder if it was worth continuing; that’s why it closed,” he adds.

The idea was to shut the magnet search engine down permanently, but after seeing the responses from users, doubt started to set in. Not much later, the initial decision was reversed and the site’s operator set things in motion to relocate to a new host.

“The people spoke and it was clear they wanted it back,” MagnetDL’s operator says. “The site provides a good service especially for those who may not be able to afford the latest movies or subscribe to a bunch of streaming services.” 

While this almost sounds like a PR move, the motivation seems sincere. The site’s operator doesn’t plan to make any changes to the site and will just keep things the way they are.

The site is by no means a money magnet, but as long as ads pay the bills, the operator says he’s fine.

“There’s really not much revenue in a site like this but hopefully just enough to pay for the server. It’s still a relatively small site but that’s okay. There are no significant changes planned but focusing on keeping a fast, clean, user-friendly site.” 

Needless to say, the users who complained earlier, are pretty happy with this decision. 

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DBR.ee Shut Down By Music Industry Groups

DBR.ee Shut Down By Music Industry Groups

While movies and TV-shows tend to be the most sought-after content among pirates, music remains popular as well. 

Thousands of album releases can be found on classic torrent sites and stream-ripping services are also widely used.

In addition, there’s a dedicated group of music fans who share their work in private forums, dedicated release sites, or through messaging tools such as Telegram and Discord.

These sites and services usually rely on third-party hosting platforms and have become renowned for hosting pre-release leaks. This includes DRB.ee.

The music industry isn’t happy with this activity and following a series of leaks last month, the RIAA took action. Among other things, the music group requested a subpoena from a Columbia federal court against Cloudflare, requiring it to hand over identifying information related to several domain names.

“We have determined that users of your system or network have infringed our member record companies’ copyrighted sound recordings. Enclosed is a subpoena compliant with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,” the RIAA’s McDevitt wrote to Cloudflare.

Among the targets was the hosting site DBR.ee which, according to the RIAA, made a copy of Big Sean’s track ‘Emotional’ available, as highlighted in the subpoena request. 

While it’s not known if and what information Cloudflare handed over, DBR.ee went offline soon after. The downtime was initially shrouded in mystery, with some claiming that the site would soon return. However, it has now become clear that the site was targeted by the RIAA, IFPI, and Music Canada. 

After a domain name update, now DBR.ee links to a message from the three music groups, noting that the site is no longer available.

“This site has been shut down following legal action for copyright infringement,” the page states, featuring the logos of the three music organizations.

“Making available copyright protected music on the internet without authorisation from the copyright holder is illegal. Wilful, commercial scale copyright infringement could lead to criminal conviction. Illegal music services exploit the work of artists and pay nothing to those creating and investing in music.”

The shutdown notice

In a follow-up comment, IFPI explains to us that they identified and contacted the site operator, who agreed to stop the infringing activities. Whether the Cloudflare subpoena was instrumental wasn’t specifically confirmed, but that would make sense.

 “DBR.ee was responsible for large scale copyright infringement of music content,” an IFPI spokesperson informed TorrentFreak.

“On behalf of our member record companies, IFPI, RIAA and Music Canada identified and contacted the site operator who has now agreed to shut down the site completely and not to infringe sound recording rights in the future.”

A source familiar with the site informed TorrentFreak that DBR.ee was hosted in Canada, which may further explain in the involvement of Music Canada. The organization informed us that it sides with IFPI’s statement.

It’s worth noting that Ayefiles, which was targeted with the same subpoena, has been offline for a few days as well. Similarly, the hosting platform Nofile, the subject of another RIAA subpoena, is also offline. 

Others that were targeted, such as the unrelated Dbree.org and the music release site ‘Plus Premieres’, remain online. The latter does mention the downtime issues at DBR.ee 

“With dbr.ee and omerta.is offline a lot of links need to be reuploaded. Considering how much music we have and our limited amount of editors that will take some time,” Plus Premieres said on Twitter recently.

Now that the music industry has these platforms clearly in their sights, more reuploading may be needed in the near future.

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24% of French Internet Users Stream Live TV Content Illegally

24% of French Internet Users Stream Live TV Content Illegally

Just over a decade ago this month, France adopted new legislation allowing the country to more easily crack down on Internet piracy.

The so-called Hadopi law, which also spawned a government anti-piracy agency of the same name, was initially focused on the threat posed by peer-to-peer file-sharing systems, BitTorrent in particular.

However, ten years is a long time and since then, live streaming has stormed onto the scene as a convenient way for the public to view both licensed and unlicensed content. As a result, Hadopi is now taking an increased interest in how the latter is consumed online.

The findings of a new study carried out by Hadopi in conjunction with market research company IFOP, reveals that almost a quarter of French Internet users (24%) now access live TV programming illegally.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, streaming sites are the most popular locations, with 17% of all respondents admitting to using them to access live TV. Social networks prove slightly less popular at 14%, with just 5% admitting to using a dedicated IPTV device or application.

Platforms falling into the streaming site category are web-based affairs, often with embedded players, such as RojaDirecta, StreamonSports, and FootStream.tv etc. Of those using these services, 52% say they do so more than three times per week.

How live streaming sites work, as per Hadopi

The social network category is populated by services such as YouTube Live, Facebook Live, or Periscope, where Internet users share pirated streams of live content with each other. Six out of ten (61%) of these users admit to accessing streams more than three times per week.

The third category, IPTV, is defined as a service that’s accessible via devices including smart TVs, dedicated boxes, smartphones, tablets, or software. These provide users with access to often premium channels that would usually be available as part of a legal package from an official provider.

Almost three quarters (73%) of these users admit to using these services in excess of three times per week, something which is clearly bothering Hadopi, despite just 5% of respondents currently using them.

How ‘Pirate’ IPTV services work, as per Hadopi

The agency says this relatively small IPTV usage figure is increasing and has a more damaging effect on legal consumption due to “cannibalization”. ‘Pirate’ IPTV services are the closest one can get to an official streaming package so people are more likely to switch.

“54% of illegal IPTV users have already unsubscribed from a legal offer,” the report notes.

Additional uptake of pirate IPTV appears to have been driven by World Cup and Champions League fans after only some of these matches were delivered unencrypted to the public.

While the study focuses on live TV, it acknowledges that IPTV services pose a broader threat, since many also offer a VOD (Video-On-Demand) service containing hundreds if not thousands of movies and TV shows to be consumed at a time and place of the user’s choosing.

It’s clear from the study that many of those using pirate IPTV devices and apps do so because of the cost. Of those who admitted using them, 66% pay less than 100 euros per year for a package, including some (9%) who pay nothing at all.

As a comparison, combined annual subscriptions to BEIN Sports, Canal+, SFR Sport and OCS amounts to more than 760 euros per year. However, even when a subscriber buys them all the offer can’t compete with the offerings of a regular IPTV provider.

“After this first phase of the study of the uses [detailed above], the Hadopi agency will continue its analysis of the ecosystem of the illegal supply of live TV programs in order to detect, anticipate and warn, against emerging illicit practices,” the agency writes.

“In connection with the rights holders, television channels, Hadopi brings its technical and legal expertise to promote the implementation of actions to ensure effective and efficient protection of sustainable creation on the Internet.”

Hadopi’s paper can be downloaded here (pdf, French)

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Movie Companies Sue ‘YTS’ and ‘YIFY’ Site Operators in US Court

Movie Companies Sue ‘YTS’ and ‘YIFY’ Site Operators in US Court

With millions of visitors, YTS.am is the most visited torrent site on the Internet, beating even the legendary Pirate Bay.

The site ‘unofficially’ took over the YTS brand when the original group threw the towel in 2015. It is one of the many sites out there today that keep the YTS and the related YIFY brands alive and well.

The popularity of these sites is a thorn in the side of filmmakers and a select group of them is now taking action through a complaint filed at a federal court in Hawaii.

The companies behind the movies Singularity, Once Upon a Time in
Venice, Mechanic: Resurrection, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, I Feel Pretty, Boyka: Undisputed and Hunter Killer, accuse the alleged operators of YIFYMovies.is and YTS.am of inducing and contributing to massive piracy.

“Plaintiffs bring this action to stop the massive piracy of their motion pictures brought on by websites under the collective names YIFY and YTS and their users,” it reads.

The case was filed last month but has thus far remained under the radar. The names of the alleged site operators are not known. They are referred to as Doe 1 and Doe 2 respectively.

“Defendants DOE 1 and DOE 2 cause harm to Plaintiffs’ business within this District by diverting customers in this District to unauthorized Internet based content distribution services through, at least, the websites yifymovies.is and yts.ag .”

Both sites operate differently. YTS.ag, which now uses the YTS.am domain name, is a torrent site and by far the most popular of the two. YIFYMovies.is, on the other hand, allows users to stream content directly on the site.

The movie companies accuse both site operators of intentional inducement of copyright infringement as well as contributory copyright infringement.

Among other things, they are believed to have helped many of the site’s users to download or stream movies without permission, while making money through advertisements. 

While there are no known connections that we’re aware of, the filmmakers allege that both sites “act in concert” as they use the same type of logo. These are derived from the original YTS and YIFY logos, although these are used by many other copycat sites as well. 

YTS.am

Through the lawsuit the filmmakers demand damages, which can reach up to $150,000 per pirated film.

In addition, the companies request an injunction to prevent third-party intermediaries such as hosting companies, domain registrars, and search engines, form facilitating access to the YIFYMovies.is,  YTS.ag, and YTS.am domains. 

While no injunction has yet been issued, YIFYMovies.is did suddenly disappear a few days ago. This may in part be due to the legal action and a related DMCA subpoena that was issued against Cloudflare, in an attempt to identify the site’s operator.  

Besides the two site operators, the complaint also names two individuals who’re accused of downloading and distributing copyrighted films, in part through YTS.am or a related site. These have all been dismissed after signing a consent judgment.

The paperwork doesn’t indicate that a settlement was made, but the users in question do state that the deceptive and misleading language on the YTS and YIFY sites led them to believe that they were legal platforms. This will likely help the filmmakers’ claims against the site operators.  

YTS.am, the largest target in this lawsuit, remains online at the time of writing. 

A copy of the complaint as well as the exhibits is available here (pdf).

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RIAA Subpoenas Target Yet Another Huge YouTube-Ripping Site

RIAA Subpoenas Target Yet Another Huge YouTube-Ripping Site

According to the major labels, so-called YouTube-ripping sites are a major threat to their business models.

Visitors to these platforms are able to enter a YouTube URL and then download whatever content they want to their own machines. That may be video and audio, or audio alone.

Either way, users then have less of a reason to revisit YouTube for the same content, depriving both the labels and YouTube of revenue, the companies argue. It’s now becoming clear that the music industry, led by the RIAA, wants to do something about this issue.

The latest target for the RIAA is YouTube-ripping giant Y2Mate.com, which offers conversion and downloads of content hosted on Google’s platform. As seen in the screenshot below, it offers a familiar and convenient interface for users to carry out those tasks.

Screenshot of Y2Mate.com

It’s no surprise that Y2Mate now finds itself under the spotlight. According to SimilarWeb stats, the site is attracting huge and increasing volumes of users, making it a major player on the Internet, period.

Y2Mate currently attracts just short of 64 million visits every month, something which places it well within the top 900 most-visited sites in the United States.

However, around 89% of its traffic actually comes from other regions, so its rank on the global stage is even more impressive. SimilarWeb data indicates that it’s the 570th most-trafficked site in the world.

Y2Mate traffic stats: (SimilarWeb data)

To unmask the operator of this site, the RIAA has just applied for and obtained DMCA subpoenas at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

The first targets US-based CDN company Cloudflare and explains that the RIAA is concerned that Y2Mate is “offering recordings which are owned by one or more of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use..”

The RIAA’s letter to Cloudflare lists three URLs where allegedly-infringing tracks can be downloaded. The tracks are ‘Never’ by Heart and ‘Let Me Be The One’ by Exposé (both 1985), plus the 1989 release ‘Don’t Wanna Fall In Love’ by Jane Child.

It’s not clear whether the RIAA has already sent Cloudflare a separate takedown notice but the letter to company notes that if it has, that was “merely meant to facilitate removal of the infringing material” and does not “suggest or imply” that the company can rely on its safe harbor protections under the DMCA.

In any event, the RIAA is clear about why it obtained the subpoena.

“The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identities of the individuals assigned to [Y2Mate] who have reproduced and have offered for distribution our members’ copyrighted sound recordings without their authorization,” the music group notes.

The letter sent to NameCheap has the same substance and also specifically demands the “name, physical address, IP address, IP address, telephone number, e-mail address, payment information, account updates and account history” of Y2Mate’s operator.

Both Cloudflare and NameCheap are further asked to consider the “widespread and repeated infringing nature” of Y2Mate and whether that constitutes a violation of the companies’ repeat-infringer policies.

According to the Y2Mate site, however, the platform believes it is operating within the law.

Referring to itself as ‘Muvi’, a statement notes that its only purpose is to “create a copy of downloadable online-content for the private use of the user (‘fair use’)” and the user bears full responsibility for all actions related to the data.

“Muvi does not grant any rights to the contents, as it only acts as a technical service provider,” the Y2Mate copyright page reads.

Just last week, the RIAA targeted another YouTube-ripping site, YouTubNow, with a similar subpoena. Within hours of our report, the site went down, ostensibly for maintenance.

TF previously reported that the RIAA is targeting several other ‘pirate’ sites that use Cloudflare. Similar action is also being aimed at file-hosting platform NoFile.

The RIAA’s letters to Cloudflare and NameCheap can be found here and here (pdf)

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Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 05/27/19

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 05/27/19

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Us 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 (…) Us (Subbed HDRip) 7.2 / trailer
2 (1) Shazam! (Subbed HDRip) 7.5 / trailer
3 (2) Avengers: Endgame (HDCam) 9.1 / trailer
4 (6) John Wick 3 (HDCam) 8.2 / trailer
5 (…) Five Feet Apart 7.1 / trailer
6 (8) Glass 6.9 / trailer
7 (3) Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 7.3 / trailer
8 (4) Cold Pursuit 6.4 / trailer
9 (7) Aquaman 7.7 / trailer
10 (…) Booksmart 7.5 / trailer

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1XBET: The Bizarre ‘CAM’ Brand That Movie Pirates Love to Hate

1XBET: The Bizarre ‘CAM’ Brand That Movie Pirates Love to Hate

For several decades, movie pirates have visited cinemas with cameras to record the latest movies.

In the early 80s, for example, pirate copies of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial made their way all over the planet, mainly for consumption via VHS and Betamax tapes. The quality was always dire but back then, beggars certainly couldn’t be choosers.

Since the early 2000s, things have changed dramatically. With the advent of high-quality cameras, sometimes operated by near-professional volunteers, the act of ‘camming’ turned into an artform.

Now-defunct groups including Centropy and maVen graced the web with outstandingly good copies of the latest titles, driven in part by a desire to create the best possible products and with them a lasting legacy. If these groups had a voice in 2019, they’d be horrified at the ‘camming’ state of play.

For reasons that appear to be entirely motivated by money, large numbers of cam copies hitting the web today are doing so in a defaced fashion. While studios have been watermarking their content for close to 20 years to defeat piracy, pirates are now disfiguring videos themselves in order to promote big business.

1XBET in-movie advertising watermark

While they are not the only culprit (some streaming sites also carry out the practice), online betting site 1XBET has its brand stamped all over dozens of pirate releases.

Indeed, it seems that most of the big ‘cammed’ movies these days can’t avoid the clutches of 1XBET advertising. From Avengers: Endgame and John Wick 3, to Hellboy and Pokémon Detective Pikachu, 1XBET ‘sponsored’ releases are an incredibly invasive species.

A small sample from The Pirate Bay

In addition to the kind of watermarks shown above, downloaders of 1XBET-labeled releases are now being ‘treated’ to full-blown ads for the gambling platform in the middle of movies. And there’s no escaping them.

For example, the recent release of ‘Shazam’ doesn’t even get six minutes into the movie before a glaring 30-second advert for the platform kicks in, complete with promo codes in several different languages. If pirates thought that downloading movies from pirate sites was a convenient way to avoid intrusive advertising, 1XBET releases are not a good option.

Less than six minutes into Shazam? Have an ad break

Dmitry Tyunkin, Deputy Director of Anti-Piracy and Brand Protection at cyber-security firm Group-IB, says that cam watermarking is a cost-effective way to promote the gambling platform.

“1XBET is a gambling company originating from Russia that uses cam copies to advertise itself internationally. The strategy became popular and widespread because it is a relatively cheap way to promote their services – a raw cam copy would cost 300-400 USD, 600-700 USD after editing,” Tyunkin informs TF.

“According to our data, usually those who film cam copies sell them to camcording piracy groups, who offer to integrate the ads to gambling companies, such as 1XBET. [They then upload] the pirated copies to torrent websites, which spread [them] very fast across the Internet with watermarks and ads included in the pirated film.”

Many surprising things have happened in the piracy world over the past couple of decades but this recent phenomenon ranks up there with the most outlandish.

These are pirate releases, of some of Hollywood’s biggest titles, carrying advertising for a multi-million dollar gambling company. Group-IB says 1XBET has been involved in the practice since 2018, primarily targeting developing English-speaking countries, such as India.

But at least as far as we can see, little is being done about it.

Hollywood itself hasn’t made any public statement. The USTR, which ordinarily attempts to protect the interests of US companies, hasn’t complained about the advertising in its piracy reports calling out other nations.

That is puzzling, to say the least. But it’s nothing short of bewildering when one considers that 1XBET is the ‘International Presenting Partner’ of Italy’s ‘Serie A’, a soccer league that has been very vocal about the threats presented by online piracy.

“As part of the agreement, 1xBet will be featured in all match graphics, idents and virtual goal mat advertising across every live Serie A game, on all platforms that are broadcast in the regions covered in the terms of the deal,” a report on the partnership reads.

It’s important to note that there’s no overwhelming evidence available to the general public that 1XBET itself is driving camming ‘sponsorship’ directly. Some have suggested that overenthusiastic affiliates may have taken this upon themselves but it’s so unorthodox that few explanations would come as a surprise.

Either way, it doesn’t just look bad for 1XBET.

The horrible watermarks and intrusive advertising are making many of the big releases look bad when viewed by pirates too. Never in the history of camming have cammed copies of movies been made to look deliberately worse before being uploaded online.

Pirate sites are littered with negative comments in respect of 1XBET ‘releases’. Pirates love getting the movies early but absolutely hate the ads. For now, however, there doesn’t appear to be much of an opportunity to get away from them.

When everything is considered it’s one of the most puzzling developments to come out of the piracy world, not just recently, but ever. The big question is how long it will continue. Until it stops paying off, perhaps.

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

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