Bill Aims to Deter Piracy by Teaching Copyright in Philippine Schools

Bill Aims to Deter Piracy by Teaching Copyright in Philippine Schools

Like many other countries in the world, the Philippines are struggling with a relatively high piracy rate.

To counter this threat, lawmakers have started to propose new legislation.

For example, earlier this year we reported that a new bill proposes to strip the licenses of ISPs which fail to bar ‘pirate’ sites. While that goes quite far, it doesn’t address the root of the problem.

According to local Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, the law already makes it clear that piracy is illegal. However, many people simply ignore this position. Among other things, this has previously resulted in the United States adding the country to its annual ‘piracy’ watch list.

“In spite and despite of various laws and regulations in the Philippines on Intellectual Property, intellectual infringement and piracy of intellectual rights are rampant in the country,” Rodriguez writes.

“Due to these situations, the Philippines is under the watch list as one of the countries where intellectual property rights are ignored and piracy of intellectual creations is widespread,” he adds.

Interestingly, the Philippines were removed from the US watch list in 2014, but Rodriguez nonetheless believes that more has to be done. He’s therefore proposing to add ‘intellectual property’ to the country’s mandatory school curriculum. Not just for the older children, but starting at primary school.

According to the representative, it is crucial that the importance of copyright is taught at an early age as well as later in life. By doing so, the Philippine people may gain more respect for rightsholders as well as the law.

“With proper education, it is hoped that piracy will be curtailed and our laws will be strictly implemented,” Rodriguez writes.

The bill, which also proposes several other changes to the national curriculum, was adopted after the first reading in the House of Representatives and is now with the Committee on Basic Education and Culture.

The relevant copyright part of the proposal, which is included in House Bill 3749, reads as follows:

“The teaching of intellectual property ownership, particularly copyright law, is hereby required to be a part of the curriculum of all primary, secondary and tertiary schools in the country.”

While the bill is progressing through the legislative process, it still has a long way to go before being adopted. Rodriguez previously proposed similar copyright-related changes to the curriculum, but these didn’t pass, despite support form the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA).

While copyright classes are not something most people associate with a mandatory curriculum, this type of education is not new. A few years ago several California schools voluntarily added copyright lessons to the curriculum, starting at kindergarten.

This effort, which was backed by major copyright holder groups, was initially criticized for being one-sided and was later upgraded to include more examples of fair use.

A copy of the bill and the associated exemplary note, received by the House of Representatives on August 8, is available here (pdf).

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IPGuys ‘Pirate’ IPTV Service Sued by DISH Networks

IPGuys ‘Pirate’ IPTV Service Sued by DISH Networks

Those involved in the sale of unlicensed IPTV services appear to be coming under attack from an increasing number of angles.

Just this week, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment confirmed that it was behind the closure of previously popular IPTV service Vader Streams.

Just days earlier, the UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft said it had served cease-and-desist notices in 16 locations to individuals involved in the supply of infringing sports streams, with at least some acting as resellers of ‘pirate’ IPTV services.

Today, another well-known provider is added to the growing list.

IPGuys is a recognized brand in the IPTV space. It has no website of its own, with subscribers to the service gaining access through a network of resellers. For how much longer that will be the case will remain to be seen, as the service is now being sued in the United States.

In a lawsuit filed by DISH Networks and NagraStar yesterday, the broadcaster names Ontario, Canada-based Tomasz Kaczmarek as the operator of IPGuys.

“Kaczmarek operates an illicit streaming service called IPGuys, where he acquires DISH’s satellite broadcasts of television programming and retransmits that programming without authorization to customers of his IPGuys service,” the complaint reads.

According to DISH, Brooklyn, New York-based husband and wife team John and Julia Defoe participate in the “rebroadcasting scheme” by creating and maintaining DISH subscription accounts that are used to supply the IPGuy’s service with DISH’s programming.

The additional Does 1-10 are described as “one or more persons” responsible for DISH subscription accounts that were created with false information and used to supply DISH content to the scheme.

DISH says the accounts were created through a former retailer in Brooklyn named Ratiann Enterprise Inc. and registered to addresses in the same area. The company hopes that the discovery process will enable it to identify the people behind those accounts.

The suit states that DISH used technical means to determine that the content being offered by IPGuys originated from its satellite broadcasts.

“During testing of the IPGuys service, encoded messages delivered as part of DISH’s satellite communications were detected on the DISH Programming retransmitted on the IPGuys service, confirming the DISH Programming provided by Kaczmarek is originating from DISH’s satellite communications and DISH subscriber accounts,” the complaint reads.

Seven of the so-called “seeder accounts” (the accounts that allegedly provided the content to IPGuys) shared one or more credit cards as the source of payment and all had either the same passwords or password hints, DISH adds.

Furthermore, the same credit cards were also used to pay for “at least twenty” additional subscriber accounts established with false information. One of the twenty accounts was held in the name of John Defoe, DISH claims, adding that Kaczmarek sent Julia Defoe “tens of thousands of dollars”, while specifically mentioning DISH.

From here, DISH begins to tackle some of the resellers of the IPGuys service, which offered the roughly $15 per month packages to the public. The primary sellers are named in the suit as Romie IPTV World, IPTV Bazaar, GetIPTVOnline and IPGuys-Live. Two secondary sellers are named as The Napster and Miracle Media Box Media.

DISH states that Kaczmarek and the Defoes were given notice by the company that their activities violated various aspects of the Federal Communications Act back in April 2019, but the IPGuys service continued to operate.

As a result, DISH is now demanding a broad permanent injunction against all defendants, plus actual or statutory damages of between $10,000 and $100,000 per violation, plus costs.

DISH’s complaint against the IPGuys operation can be found here (pdf)

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Can YouTube Be Liable For Copyright Infringing Videos? EU Court to Decide

Can YouTube Be Liable For Copyright Infringing Videos? EU Court to Decide

Week in and week out YouTube’s users upload millions of hours of videos. As with any user-generated content site, this also includes copyright-infringing content.

YouTube tackles this by processing takedown notices and using its Content-ID system to automatically remove allegedly infringing content. However, according to some prominent copyright holders, this is not good enough.

In Austria, this complaint is at the center of a lawsuit between the local television channel Puls 4 and YouTube. In an initial order last summer, the court ruled that the video platform can be held directly liable for users’ copyright infringements. YouTube was not seen as a neutral intermediary and should do more to prevent infringing uploads.

The court noted that YouTube takes several motivated actions to actively organize and optimize how videos are displayed. By doing so, it becomes more than a neutral hosting provider. Therefore, it can’t rely on a safe harbor defense.

This ruling was overturned by the Higher Regional Court of Vienna earlier this year. According to the appeal court, YouTube doesn’t have an “active role” as its search, categorization, and advertising service are seen as part of the normal business models of hosting platforms, which do not make the company liable.

Puls4 was disappointed with this ruling and immediately decided to take the case to the Supreme Court. This case is still pending but before it rules on the matter, the highest Austrian court is seeking input from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on several crucial questions.

The questions haven’t been published publicly on CJEU’s website yet, but TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the Portuguese versions and IP KAT did the same with the German questions. These questions reveal, as expected, that the EU’s highest court will have to decide the boundaries of Europe’s safe harbors.

The first question, for example, asks if a video host, under Article 14 of the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive 2000, takes on an “active role” that can make it liable for copyright infringements when it categorizes videos, makes suggestions by topic, and uses targeted advertising, among other things. 

The EU Court is further asked to clarify whether Articles 12 to 14 of the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive mean that providers are shielded from liability, even when their activity is seen as a communication to the public.

In addition, the Austrian Supreme Court wants to know if a court-ordered injunction only applicable if a service provider has actual knowledge of infringements which have been confirmed by a court?

The latter appears to deal with the question of whether sites such as YouTube have to remove content merely based on metadata (to prevent repeated uploads), as opposed to pointing out specific infringing content. That’s important because, in the Puls4 case, YouTube was not aware of any the contested infringements.

The CJEU’s decision will be a crucial one in the ongoing legal debate about the potential liability of third-party intermediaries such as video hosting providers.

Puls4 previously stressed that it believes that EU law is on its side. Among other things, the company pointed out other relevant CJEU decisions, including the case regarding the infringing nature of The Pirate Bay. In addition, it believes that recent developments regarding liability under the proposed Article 17 of the new EU copyright directive will help its cause.

Interestingly, this isn’t the only YouTube-related case on CJEU’s agenda. A German court also referred various copyright infringement-related questions last year. The Austrian Supreme Court was aware of this referral but believes that its questions deserve to be handled separately.

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Omniverse Fears Criminal Investigation Into Alleged IPTV Piracy

Omniverse Fears Criminal Investigation Into Alleged IPTV Piracy

In February, several major Hollywood studios filed a lawsuit against Omniverse One World Television.

Under the flag of anti-piracy group ACE, the companies accused Omniverse and its owner Jason DeMeo of supplying of pirate streaming channels to various IPTV services.

Omniverse sold live-streaming services to third-party distributors, such as Dragon Box and HDHomerun, which in turn offered live TV streaming packages to customers. According to ACE, the company was a pirate streaming TV supplier, offering these channels without permission from its members.

Omniverse disagreed with this characterization and countered that it did everything by the book. It relied on a deal from the licensed cable company Hovsat, which has a long-standing agreement with DirecTV to distribute a broad range of TV-channels with few restrictions.

As time went on, however, it transpired that the streaming provider was clearly worried about the legal threat. After several of its distributors distanced themselves from the service, Omniverse decided to wind down its business.

An earlier statement that the service was “fully licensed” was replaced by more reserved language. In a court filing in June, Omniverse said that if any infringement took place, it was without the company’s explicit knowledge.

“To the extent there was any infringement, such infringement was, on information and belief, without malice or bad intent by Omniverse or its management and was caused or contributed to by third-parties such as HovSat,” the company stated.

Fast forward a few weeks and the case remains unresolved. According to recent court records, Omniverse would like to settle the matter. It has made several offers to do so, but the Hollywood studios were not interested. Instead, ACE would like to know all the ins and outs of the alleged infringements.

To break this impasse, Omniverse asked the court to compel the Hollywood studios to engage in a mediation process yesterday. At the same time, the company would like to bring the ongoing discovery efforts to a halt.

According to the court filing, the ACE members were willing to agree to a stipulated judgment where the streaming provider would admit certain wrongdoings. However, this goes too far according to Omniverse, which fears that the rightsholders could use this to fuel a criminal investigation.

“The parties have exchanged drafts of a stipulated judgment, but the parties reached an impasse when Plaintiffs demanded that Defendants admit to what amounts to egregious conduct in exchange for settlement,” Omniverse writes.

“Defendants fear Plaintiffs intend to use such a stipulated judgment as part of a criminal investigation against Defendants. To resolve the impasse, Defendants proposed a mediation, which Plaintiffs have flatly refused,” the company adds.

The mention of a potential criminal investigation is new. While it’s not a secret that Hollywood studios have referred several streaming piracy cases to the Department of Justice, Omniverse was never mentioned in this regard. Whether the streaming provider has any concrete indication that it’s a criminal target is unknown.

The request to compel mediation was submitted “ex parte,” meaning that ACE’s members weren’t made aware of it beforehand. However, the rightsholders were quick to respond.

In a filing submitted a few hours ago they object to the request. Instead, the Hollywood studios want to complete the discovery process, so they can find out more about the infringing activity. When that’s done, they are open to mediation.

The rightsholders further point out that, while the Omniverse brand may have ceased operating, the company’s CEO appears to be involved in another potentially troublesome IPTV service, OSTV Now, which is set to launch next month.

“While Defendants represented to the Court that they have ceased operations, it appears that Defendant DeMeo is merely shifting from one infringing operation (Omniverse) to another (OSTV Now), advertised as a new ‘One-Stop For TV Entertainment’ to launch on September 1.

“Whatever the branding, Defendants appear to be continuing their infringing practices. These and other important facts are exactly why discovery needs to move forward,” the studios add.

The new “OSTV Now” service doesn’t mention Omniverse CEO Jason DeMeo by name. However, as Lightreading pointed out previously, the service is promoted on DeMeo’s personal website.

Given the potential threat and several outstanding questions the studios have, they ask the court to deny Omniverse’s request to compel mediation at this stage of the case.

“Only when the facts are known to both sides (not just Defendants) can the parties meaningfully engage in a mediation. Defendants’ ex parte is a transparent attempt to avoid the very discovery that would reveal those facts, seemingly so they can continue infringing in the meantime,” they write.

Unlike Omniverse, the rightsholders make no mention of a potential criminal case. Whether that threat is indeed warranted, has yet to be seen.

A copy of Omniverse’s ex parte request to compel mediation is available here (pdf) and a copy of the Hollywood studios’ response can be found here (pdf).

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Vader Streams Was Shut Down By ACE, Must Pay $10m Damages

Vader Streams Was Shut Down By ACE, Must Pay $10m Damages

There are several large IPTV providers with brands that are well known across the unlicensed industry. One of those was Vader, otherwise known as Vader Streams, or just Vaders.

Notable for its Darth Vader logo, the platform served large numbers of direct customers and subscription re-sellers with at least 1,300 TV channels and a library of VOD content running close to 3,000 titles.

This May, however, something went seriously wrong.

“We have no choice but to close down Vader. We can’t reveal much publically, but by now some of you should know through the other means what happened,” a notice posted to the site’s Telegram channel read.

“We tried everything in our power to avoid this, to avoid any outage, but enough people worked against us.”

With that, Vader went down, never to appear again. As highlighted in our subsequent review of the Vader closure, we had strong suspicions that anti-piracy giant the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) had become involved.

We’d obtained an unverified copy of what looked like a cease-and-desist notice, apparently sent by ACE members to Vader, over its VOD content. Unable to confirm its authenticity, we made a decision not to publish it.

However, it’s now 100% clear that ACE, the global anti-piracy company made up of dozens of powerful content companies, did indeed shutter Vader. And it’s now evident why they refused to comment.

ACE proceeded against Vader through a secret court proceeding in Canada through which it obtained a so-called “Anton Piller” order, a civil search warrant that grants plaintiffs no-notice permission to enter a defendant’s premises in order to secure and copy evidence to support their case, before it can be destroyed or tampered with. A similar process was used against TVAddons founder Adam Lackman in 2017.

While the case against Lackman is moving forward at glacial speed more than two years later, the Vader matter now appears to be over. After obtaining a permanent injunction from the Federal Court in Canada, ACE has shuttered the service and landed Vader with a bill for $10 million in damages.

According to ACE, Vader must also “cede administrative control” over its entire “piracy infrastructure”, permanently cease-and-desist from doing anything in future connected to offering, selling, or promoting unlicensed streams, and/or developing, updating, hosting or promoting any Kodi add-ons connected to pirated content.

“On behalf of all ACE members, I applaud the Court’s decision to permanently put an end to piracy operations conducted by Vader Streams,” Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement.

“Actions like these can help reduce piracy and promote a dynamic, legal marketplace for creative content that provides audiences with more choices than ever before, while supporting millions of jobs in the film and television industry.”

Robert Malcolmson, Senior Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, Bell Canada – a prominent ACE member – described the action by the Federal Court as “strong and appropriate”, adding that “illegal streaming services like Vader Streams cause serious harm to creators and distributors, the entire broadcasting and cultural sectors and ultimately Canadian consumers.”

While ACE says that Vader must “cede administrative control” over its entire “piracy infrastructure”, it remains unclear what that means in real terms.

At the time of the shutdown, Vader said that it was “going to make sure, no Email, IP, account + reseller name goes to the wrong hands. Everything will be wiped clean and that’s all.”

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Cox Asks Court to Sanction Labels Over Destroyed Tracking Evidence

Cox Asks Court to Sanction Labels Over Destroyed Tracking Evidence

Last year, Cox ended its piracy liability lawsuit with music company BMG, agreeing to a “substantial settlement.”

The ISP is now in the clear, however, Cox is still caught up in another lawsuit filed by a group of major music companies, all members of the RIAA.

The music outfits, including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music, argue that Cox categorically failed to terminate repeat copyright infringers and that the ISP substantially profited from this ongoing ‘piracy’ activity. All at the expense of the record labels and other rightsholders.

Over the past several months, both parties have conducted discovery and the case is currently scheduled to go to trial in December. While there were talks of a potential settlement a few weeks ago, things look rather different now.

Last week we reported that the ISP canceled a scheduled settlement discussion. As a result, the music outfits called for sanctions, accusing the ISP of gamesmanship. Now, it’s Cox’s turn to ask for sanctions, this time with a formal request.

Cox submitted a motion for discovery sanctions at the Virginia federal court, where it accuses the plaintiffs of relying on unsubstantiated evidence.

The concerns relate to the piracy evidence which the music companies are relying on. This is the data that was used to send copyright infringement notices to Cox, pointing out how its subscribers allegedly shared infringing material. As such, it is the basis of the “repeat infringer” claims that are central to the lawsuit.

The data in question was collected by the anti-piracy firm MarkMonitor, which keeps a close eye on global BitTorrent activity. For the lawsuit, these infringement allegations were summarized in two spreadsheets. However, Cox notes that underlying evidence has since been deleted.

“MarkMonitor failed to retain critical portions of this evidence, and the document that Plaintiffs intend to rely on is, at best, a partial and inaccurate summary of these analyses,” Cox informs the Court.

As such, Cox requests sanctions. Specifically, it asks the court for a ruling that the piracy evidence in question can’t be used to back up any claims.

“Because Plaintiffs’ agent destroyed the underlying data, leaving no way to assess the accuracy of this summary, Cox respectfully requests that the Court enter discovery sanctions against Plaintiffs in the form of a preclusion order prohibiting Plaintiffs from relying on the incomplete and unreliable MarkMonitor evidence.”

According to Cox, MarkMonitor deleted data which showed that claimed copyright infringements were indeed linked to copyrighted files. These data concern the “matching” logs it received from the fingerprinting service Audible Magic.

During discovery, Cox learned that MarkMonitor used data from Audible Magic to reach its infringement conclusions. A subsequent subpoena explained how this worked, and a deposition of Audible Magic later revealed that MarkMonitor deleted the transaction logs.

“Ultimately, Cox learned in a deposition on the last day of discovery that MarkMonitor did not produce the transaction logs at issue or the relevant database because it had destroyed them,” Cox informs the Court.

The deleted data was crucial according to the ISP, as it’s the only way to prove that the alleged infringements detailed in the spreadsheet are correct. In addition, the routinely deleted data “strongly suggests” that MarkMonitor’s spreadsheet is inaccurate.

“The destroyed Audible Magic data was undeniably material and foundational to the MarkMonitor Spreadsheet,” Cox notes.

The ISP backs up its ‘inaccuracy’ claims in redacted parts of its memorandum, mentioning that it was a “coin flip” whether or not a claimed infringement actually took place.

Coin flip

Cox argues that the record labels withheld unfavorable information so sees no other option than to scrap the spreadsheets as evidence. In their current form, they can’t be backed up.

“Because Plaintiffs failed to preserve and produce the best and most complete—indeed, the only—evidence of the alleged direct infringements, the Court should preclude Plaintiffs from relying on the ‘236 and ‘431 Spreadsheets, and any derivative documents, which are merely incomplete and inaccurate summaries of what the data would have shown,” Cox concludes.

It the Court agrees with Cox and excludes the piracy data as evidence, the case could be severely impacted.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that Cox has complained about spoilt evidence. The company did the same a few years ago in the BMG case, after it found out that anti-piracy company Rightscorp destroyed older versions of its piracy tracking code.

At the time the Court ruled that sanctions were indeed appropriate. However, the copyright infringement claims were not disregarded and Cox’s request to dismiss the case in its entirety was denied.

A copy of Cox’s memorandum in support of the motion for discovery sanctions and to preclude the MarkMonitor evidence is available here (pdf).

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FACT Confirms Premier League Anti-Piracy Action Against IPTV Suppliers

FACT Confirms Premier League Anti-Piracy Action Against IPTV Suppliers

Last month, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) said it had targeted people involved in the supply of ‘pirate’ IPTV subscriptions and the sale of modified set-top boxes.

Its ‘disruption team’ reported working with GAIN (Government Agency Intelligence Network) and the Federation Against Copyright Theft, targeting people in Wrexham and Blackburn. It now transpires that a broader operation took place.

This morning, FACT revealed that following a collaboration with the Premier League, aimed at disrupting the availability of illegal sports streams ahead of the new 2019/2020 football season, it had teamed up with law enforcement agencies to serve cease-and-desist notices.

FACT’s Eddy Leviten, who has just returned to the anti-piracy outfit following a period at the Alliance for Intellectual Property as its Director-General, informs TorrentFreak that actions were “taken across the country”.

In total, 16 premises were targeted in the operation, with cease-and-desist notices served on individuals suspected of supplying illegal sports streams.

Leviten declined to be more precise on the exact nature of the targets at this stage, but confirmed that “those involved were all engaged at a level sufficient to attract our interest.”

However, FACT does note that those targeted were all “promoting unauthorized access to premium television content” which combined with NWROCU’s earlier comments about IPTV could be compatible with lower-level IPTV subscription re-sellers.

These are individuals who operate no service of their own but buy ‘credits’ from bigger players in order to offer packages to the public. NWROCU previously mentioned “cracked online television boxes” too, which are potentially Android-style devices configured for piracy. Again, no further details are currently available.

Nevertheless, the involvement of the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) Disruption Teams may raise alarm bells with those operating in a similar niche. FACT, in conjunction with its Premier League partner, hopes that the cease-and-desist notices will stop the activity in hand while “deterring others from getting involved.”

Kieron Sharp, FACT Chief Executive says that last month’s activity is just one of the tactics being deployed against people committing offenses that affect both rightsholders and broadcasters.

“We have a program of continuous activity targeting different elements of the global piracy landscape, with consideration given to the scale of the offending so that the most effective and proportionate response is deployed,” Sharp says.

“The message is clear. If you are involved in any way in providing illegal streaming services, on any scale, you are not invisible or immune from action from FACT, rights owners and law enforcement.”

National GAIN Coordinator Lesley Donovan adds that the serving of cease-and-desist notices is intended to send a message to those “trying to make a quick buck” out of illegal streaming.

“Their actions are feeding a wider illicit industry which not only denies the economy of millions both in copyright theft and undeclared income but poses a direct risk to our communities due to their lack of parental controls and fire safety,” Donovan says.

“This type of activity is also often a cog in a larger criminal machine, often ultimately funding drugs, weapons and people trafficking.”

The claims of higher-tier offending such as those detailed by Donovan are often cited in connection with all forms of piracy. However, it is extremely rare (perhaps unheard of) for those claims to be backed up with publicly-available evidence. There have been claims in the media that paramilitary groups are involved in some way in Ireland, but no evidence beyond that.

Just recently, TorrentFreak spoke with one IPTV provider who contested the notion that most players in the market are high-level criminals involved in anything other than the supply of unlicensed streams. Since the matter has now been raised again, we’ll reestablish contact to see if they are prepared to respond to the allegations.

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YouTube Sues Alleged Scammer Over DMCA Extortion Scheme

YouTube Sues Alleged Scammer Over DMCA Extortion Scheme

Obtaining multiple unresolved copyright complaints on a YouTube account can prove fatal to those who rely on the platform to make a living.

For those obtaining “three strikes”, it can mean the closure of an entire channel and along with it, access to potentially hundreds of otherwise revenue-generating videos.

Back in January, it was reported that a YouTuber known as ‘Obbyraidz’, who focuses on Minecraft content, was having this system turned against him.

After receiving two bogus strikes against his account, he took to Twitter to complain that he was being extorted by a scammer identifying as ‘Vengeful Flame’, who threatened a third and debilitating strike unless money was paid via PayPal or bitcoin.

A second YouTuber, known online as ‘Kenzo’ was also given similar treatment, with the scammer demanding money not to file complaints that could terminate his account.

Now, however, the tables are being turned after YouTube itself filed a complaint in federal court against Nebraska-resident Christopher Brady, the person who allegedly attempted to defraud both Obbyraidz and Kenzo.

“Defendant, Christopher L. Brady (‘Brady’), has repeatedly attempted to harass and extort money from YouTube content creators through bogus allegations of copyright infringement,” the complaint filed Monday begins.

“This lawsuit seeks to hold him accountable for that misconduct, and for the damage he has caused to YouTube.”

Detailing the DMCA takedown process in general and noting that notices can be used “maliciously to secure the removal of content that was not legitimately claimed to be infringing”, YouTube states it’s in a position to bring an action against a sender of bogus notices for damages.

“This is such an action,” the complaint reads.

According to YouTube, Brady sent the video platform dozens of DMCA notices falsely claiming that content posted by YouTube users infringed his supposed copyrights. He did this as part of a scheme to “harass and extort” innocent users, YouTube continues, in order to pressure them into payment and the avoidance of account closures.

Citing the work of three YouTubers – Obbyraidz, Kenzo and Cxlvxn – YouTube notes that between them they have uploaded around 1,000 videos related to video gaming. All are members of the YouTube Partner program, earning revenue from their work.

Brady allegedly targeted Kenzo and Obbyraidz “among others” by sending false DMCA notices to YouTube, claiming that he was the original creator of their videos, certifying as much “under penalty of perjury.” YouTube said it acted on these false claims, removing the videos.

However, when Kenzo and Obbyraidz went public with the extortion attempts, YouTube launched an investigation, restored the videos, and removed the strikes against their accounts.

The complaint alleges that in June and July 2019, Brady sent four more fraudulent notices, this time targeting Cxlvxn. However, this appears to have been an attempt to have Cxlvxn file a DMCA counter-notification, something that exposed his home address to Brady.

On July 10, 2019, six days after the counter-notification was filed, Cxlvxn reported he’d been ‘swatted’, something which YouTube describes as “the act of making a bogus call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.” YouTube believes Brady was responsible.

As a result of the above actions, YouTube states that Brady is responsible for violations of 17 U.S.C. § 512(f). The company says it successfully traced back at least 15 online identities to the man, an investigation which caused it to expend “substantial sums” in an effort to bring the behavior to a halt.

The company is demanding preliminary and permanent injunctions against Brady, compensation to be decided at trial, costs, attorneys fees, and any further relief the court deems proper.

The YouTube complaint filed in Nebraska can be downloaded here (pdf)

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Court Denies Default Judgment Against ‘Cheating’ Fortnite Kid, In Spite of Mom’s ‘Defense’

Court Denies Default Judgment Against ‘Cheating’ Fortnite Kid, In Spite of Mom’s ‘Defense’

Two years ago, Epic Games decided to take several Fortnite cheaters to court, accusing them of copyright infringement.

Several of these lawsuits have been settled but there is one that proved to be somewhat of a challenge.

One of the alleged cheaters turned out to be a minor who’s also accused of demonstrating, advertising and distributing the cheat via his YouTube channel. The game publisher wasn’t aware of this when it filed the lawsuit, but the kid’s mother let the company know in clear terms.

“This company is in the process of attempting to sue a 14-year-old child,” the mother informed the Court back in 2017.

The letter was widely publicized in the press but Epic Games didn’t back off. Due to his young age, the Carolina District Court ordered that the kid, who operated the “Sky Orbit” YouTube channel, should only be referred to by his initials C.R. The case itself continued, however, albeit slowly.

Since C.R. didn’t retain an attorney or otherwise respond in court, Epic filed a motion for default judgment. The court didn’t accept this right away, however, instead deciding that the mother’s letter should be treated as a motion to dismiss the case.

Among other defenses, the mother highlighted that the EULA, which the game publisher relies heavily upon in the complaint, isn’t legally binding. The EULA states that minors require permission from a parent or legal guardian, which was not the case here.

The court reviewed these arguments but concluded that they were not sufficient to dismiss the case. After that ruling things went quiet. Neither C.R. nor his mom responded, which prompted Epic Games to file a motion for a default judgment again.

Epic isn’t looking for any massive damages, but it mainly wants C.R. to refrain from any future infringing activities. This includes cheating as well as posting videos on YouTube where this type of activity is promoted.

Generally speaking, such motions are easily granted, since there is no opposing party to dispute any claims. However, in this case, the court decided differently, with the age of the alleged cheater playing an important role.

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow default judgments against minors who haven’t been represented. Epic tried to cover this by arguing that the mother’s letter counted as representation, but the North Carolina Court disagrees.

In his order denying the motion for default judgment, US District Court Judge Malcolm J. Howard mentions that the court previously emphasized that the letter in question was not seen as an “official appearance by anyone on behalf of the minor defendant.”

“In light of the circumstances herein, based on the facts currently before the court, and pursuant to Rule 55 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court must deny plaintiff’s motion for default judgment,” Judge Malcolm J. Howard concludes.

This means that after roughly two years, Epic is back to square one and that the accused cheater will ‘walk’ free.

Whether C.R. is still involved in any cheating activity is unknown. His original “Sky Orbit” YouTube account is no longer active though, and a backup was deleted as well, due to “multiple third-party claims of copyright infringement.”

A copy of the order denying the motion for a defauly judgment is available here (pdf).

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Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 08/19/19

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 08/19/19

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Aladdin 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 (1) Aladdin 7.3 / trailer
2 (8) Godzilla: King of the Monsters 6.5 / trailer
3 (3) Avengers: Endgame 8.7 / trailer
4 (2) The Hustle 5.3 / trailer
5 (…) The Secret Life of Pets 2 6.5 / trailer
6 (5) Rocketman 7.6 / trailer
7 (4) Brightburn 6.2 / trailer
8 (…) Ma 5.8 / trailer
9 (…) John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum 7.8 / trailer
10 10) Shazam! 7.3 / trailer

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