Despite its current difficulties in maintaining an efficient online presence, The Pirate Bay remains the world’s most hounded website. Entertainment industry companies around the globe have made the notorious site their number one anti-piracy target and legal action continues in many regions.
Perhaps one of the most interesting at the moment is the action filed last November by Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry. It targets Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget (The Broadband Company) and effectively accuses the provider of being part of the Pirate Bay’s piracy machine.
The papers filed at the Stockholm District Court demand that Bredbandsbolaget block its subscribers from accessing The Pirate Bay and popular streaming portal Swefilmer. In December the ISP gave its response, stating in very clear terms that ISPs cannot be held responsible for the traffic carried on their networks.
Last month on February 20 the parties met in the Stockholm District Court to see if some kind of agreement or settlement could be reached. But the entertainment companies’ hopes have been dashed following the confirmation that Bredbandsbolaget will not comply with its wishes.
“It is an important principle that Internet providers of Internet infrastructure shall not be held responsible for the content that is transported over the Internet. In the same way that the Post should not meddle in what people write in the letter or where people send letters,” Commercial Director Mats Lundquist says.
As the archrival of many copyright groups, The Pirate Bay has become one of the most censored websites on the Internet in recent years.
Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site and the list continues to expand.
Last month French ISPs started blocking The Pirate Bay and last week the Intellectual Property Court in Portugal ordered a similar measure against local Internet providers.
The case was brought by the Association for Copyright Management, Producers and Publishers (GEDIPE), who argued that their members are financially hurt by TPB’s services.
In its verdict the court ruled that Vodafone, MEO and NOS have to prevent users from visiting the torrent site within 30 days. If they fail to do so the ISPs face a fine of 2,500 euros per day.
The injunction marks the first time that Internet providers in Portugal are required to block a website on copyright grounds. Previously there were cases against unknown website owners, but not ISPs.
“In the case of Pirate Bay, the judge decided to blame the Internet provider, which now face a financial penalty,” GEDIPE boss Paulo Santos comments.
Pirate Bay is currently among the 100 most visited sites in Portugal. Whether the blockade will stop people from pirating has yet to be seen. Several other TPB proxies remain available, and so are dozens of other torrent sites.
GEDIPE is urging the Internet providers to discuss voluntary actions to target other pirate sites. If they refuse to do so, the group will go back to court to demand more injunctions.
“Internet providers are not our enemies. If they combat pirate sites they will also be defending their own content distribution businesses. It is time to sit down and negotiate blocking measures that don’t require the courts to get involved,” Santos says.
“If Internet providers don’t want to go down down this road we have to move forward with injunctions targeting dozens of sites that promote sharing of pirated content,” he adds.
The ISPs have previously spoken out against blocking measures, arguing that they will block legitimate content as well. They still have the option to appeal the injunction but thus far it’s unclear if they will.
VPN services have become an important tool to counter the growing threat of Internet surveillance, but unfortunately not all VPNs are as anonymous as one might hope. In fact, some VPN services log users’ IP-addresses and other private info for months. To find out how anonymous VPNs really are, TF asked the leading providers about their logging practices and other privacy sensitive policies.
spyBy now most Internet users are well aware of the fact that pretty much every step they take on the Internet is logged or monitored.
To prevent their IP-addresses from being visible to the rest of the Internet, millions of people have signed up to a VPN service. Using a VPN allows users to use the Internet anonymously and prevent snooping.
Unfortunately, not all VPN services are as anonymous as they claim, as several incidents have shown in the past.
By popular demand we now present the fourth iteration of our VPN services “logging” review. In addition to questions about logging practices, we also asked VPN providers about other privacy sensitive policies, so prospective users can make an informed decision.
Released in the first quarter of 2014, any minute now Popcorn Time will celebrate its one year anniversary.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for the various forks of the project after generating hundreds of headlines between them. Needless to say, many have focused on how the project provides sleek access to unauthorized content.
Predictably that ease of use has proven most popular in the United States but interestingly Popcorn Time also proved itself a disproportionate hit in the Netherlands. Last September one fork reported 1.3 million installs in a population of just 17 million.
No surprise then that Popcorn Time has appeared on the radar of Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. The Hollywood-affiliated group has been relatively quiet in recent months but is now reporting action aimed at stemming the flow of users to the popular torrent streaming application.
Denouncing Popcorn Time as an “illegal service”, BREIN reports that it has recently shut down “six Dutch Popcorn Time sites” and reached a settlement with their operators.
BREIN usually keeps the names of shuttered sites a closely guarded secret, but on this occasion has chosen to name four out of the six.
PopcornTime.nl, Popcorn-Time.eu, Popcorn-Time.info and PopcornTimeFilms.nl are now non-operational and currently display the warning message below as per their agreement with BREIN.
This site has been removed by the BREIN foundation for propagating Popcorn Time Software.
Popcorn Time encourages illegal use and uses an illegal online supply of films and television series.
WARNING: Popcorn Time software uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology allowing users to both up – and download. Streaming, uploading and downloading of illegal content is prohibited by law and will therefore result in liability for the damages caused.
NOTE: Uploading is illegal and causes greater damage than a single download.
SUPPORT CREATIVITY: Go to Thecontentmap.nl and see where you can legally download and stream.
After developing a reputation for being some of the most prolific online pirates around, last year Australian citizens were told by the government that enough is enough.
Since years of negotiations between ISPs and entertainment companies had gone nowhere, service providers were told to propose voluntary measures to deter and educate pirating subscribers or have one forced upon them by law.
With a deadline looming, telecoms body the Communications Alliance has now published its draft proposal on behalf of its ISP members. Titled “Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code”, the 34-page document hopes to pacify rightsholders and their allies in government by outlining a graduated response mechanism to deal with file-sharers.
“The Copyright Notice Scheme Code is designed to facilitate a cooperative industry-led copyright notice scheme through which
Internet Service Providers and the owners of copyright works will work to deter the practice of online copyright infringement and inform consumers about available and lawful content alternatives,” the draft begins.
“The Code provides for the creation of a copyright notice scheme under which ISPs will accept reports (in a prescribed format) from Rights Holders. The reports will identify Internet Protocol addresses that a Rights Holder alleges have been used to infringe copyright in online work of the Rights Holder. The reports will request that the relevant ISP notify the relevant Account Holders of the alleged infringements.”
Despite the growing availability of legal services, unauthorized file-sharing continues to generate thousands of petabytes of traffic each month.
This massive network use has caused concern among many Internet providers over the years, some of which decided to throttle BitTorrent transfers. Interestingly, AT&T believes the problem can also be dealt with in a more positive way.
A new patent awarded to the Intellectual Property division of the Texas-based ISP describes a ‘fast lane’ for BitTorrent and other P2P traffic.
Titled “System and Method to Guide Active Participation in Peer-to-Peer Systems with Passive Monitoring Environment,” one of the patent’s main goals is to speed up P2P transfers while reducing network costs.
While acknowledging the benefits of file-sharing networks, the ISP notes that they can take up a lot of resources.
“P2P networks can be useful for sharing content files containing audio, video, or other data in digital format. It is estimated that P2P file sharing, such as BitTorrent, represents greater than 20% of all broadband traffic on the Internet,” AT&T writes.
To limit the impact on its network resources, AT&T proposes several technologies to serve content locally. This can be done by prioritizing local traffic and caching files from its own servers.
“The local peer server may provide the content to peers within the same subnet more efficiently than can a peer in another subnet,” the patent reads.
“As such, providing the content on the local peer server can reduce network usage and decrease the time required for the peer to download the content.”
It appears that piracy is becoming a growing concern for micro-blogging platform Tumblr.
Earlier this week users panicked following an increase in takedown notices, which resulted in the termination of several blogs.
While this uproar was rather public, there are also better concealed changes that seem to target pirated content. Tumblr’s decision to hide posts mentioning the word “torrent” for example.
Those who search the site for “torrent” related queries will notice that there are no results displayed, even though there are plenty of posts mentioning the word. The same is true for posts tagged with “torrent.”
Tumblr is hiding the results in question from both public and logged in users but the latter can make the posts show up if they switch off the “safe mode” lock on the right hand side of the screen.
Tumblr’s “safe mode” was turned on by default over a year ago to hide offensive “adult oriented” content from the public view. The same filter also blocks words such as “penis” for the same reason.
while the company has no real idea of the nature of the people they’re targeting, Wickstrom said his company had limits on who would be pursued for cash demands. According to SMH, the executive said that his company “would not pursue an autistic child, people who were handicapped, welfare cases, or people that have mental issues.”
Some compassion from Voltage perhaps? Not exactly – the company seems more interested in how that would look on the PR front.
“That kind of press would ruin us,” Wickstrom said, adding that “the majority” of piracy was in fact occurring at the hands of vulnerable groups.
If that’s truly the case and any “vulnerable” people inform the company of their circumstances, Voltage stands to make very little money from their Australian venture, despite all the expense incurred in legal action thus far. Strangely, they don’t seem to mind.
“This is truly not about the money here, it’s about stopping illegal piracy,” Wickstrom said.
Following an investigation by the Hollywood-affiliated anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), this morning detectives raided individuals said to be involved in the operations of a movie and TV show download site.
The men, aged 24, 25 and 26, all from the Southwark area of London, were arrested at 06:45 on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and copyright infringement offenses. Equipment and financial documents were also seized.
Speaking with TorrentFreak a few moments ago, FACT said that they weren’t able to name the site “for operational reasons.” Nevertheless, police say it was popular among users.
“The site was extremely popular. It was viewed about 70,000 times a day and, internationally, it ranked thousands of places higher than a well-known and legitimate film download site,” said investigating officer Detective Sergeant Neil Reynolds.
The .SE registry targeted in the prosecutor’s case does not want to take this action. They look at it as removing a street address on the basis that a crime was committed there.
But they’re all making it so simple. The fact is that, even though I despise the current version of The Pirate Bay, nothing illegal happens there. And actually, no such case has even been tried as the case against me and the others a few years back was about a totally different version of TPB.
The technology back then was different and the verdicts handed down referenced the fact that three separate parts of the system were in play in order to breach copyright. First the search engine (which is still there), then a tracking system (which was removed many years ago) and a database of .torrent files (which was removed years ago too).
This means that TPB today is in a totally different technical state than it was in the previous (and also very corrupt) court case. It also means that there’s no relevant court case to reference today, the system just looks the same to the users – and the prosecution and judges might have a hard time to understand that.
Essentially today’s TPB is similar to any other search engine. The court case in Sweden could just as well talk about Google.se as a domain name instead, since they also link to material that might breach copyright. But, actually, Google show you parts of that content, not just metadata about it.
Obviously this would be considered a ludicrous case and would be thrown out, but everything regarding TPB scared the shit out of the Swedish government because of pressure from the United States of America. Just look at how the first raid happened.