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Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
LJ.Rossia.org makes no claim to the content supplied through this journal account. Articles are retrieved via a public feed supplied by the site for this purpose.
6:52 pm
Comcast Becomes First ISP to Join ACE Global Anti-Piracy Coalition

In the summer of 2017, one of the most important anti-piracy initiatives of recent years was born.

After years of protecting their own content from unlicensed reproduction and distribution, 30 of the world’s most powerful media companies came together to form the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).

Led by the MPAA (now MPA), the companies declared a pooling of resources to tackle piracy more efficiently and on a global scale. Since then, ACE has added several new members to bolster the ranks and this week added two more, one of which is particularly notable.

“We are excited to have Comcast and Viacom join ACE – our leading global content protection organization,” says Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association.

“As the parent companies of two of our original members, they have been supporters of our efforts and numerous successes, but now as members, they will strengthen the legal and operational work we’re able to do to reduce the threat of piracy and support creators.”

Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures, which in turn is a current member of both the MPA and ACE. It also owns UK-based Channel 5, which joined ACE in March 2019.

Comcast owns ACE members NBCUniversal, Sky, and Telemundo, all of which have been with the alliance from its inception. Comcast also operates telecoms giant Comcast Cable, which under the Xfinity brand is one of the largest telecoms companies in the United States.

The addition of Comcast to the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment is intriguing. Among almost three dozen other current members, it is the first Internet service provider to commit to the global anti-piracy initiative. How that will play out on the ground is currently unclear.

Given that three of its subsidiaries are already members, the addition of Comcast seems a logical move. ACE, however, seems to be placing emphasis on Comcast’s position as a major ISP which, with imagination, could have all kinds of implications when it comes to anti-piracy enforcement.

ACE plays its cards very close to its chest and we know it only publicizes a small percentage of its actions. As previously reported, many others are kept deliberately quiet. What we know thus far though, is that ACE tends to focus on the provision and distribution of infringing content, rather than targeting end-users – customers of ISPs for example.

Nevertheless, that Comcast and by extension Xfinity are now part of the world’s largest anti-piracy coalition should give pause for thought. If nothing else it shows clear intent by an ISP to positively participate in the global fight against movie and TV show piracy, in all its forms. ACE will no doubt consider this a major achievement.

The full list of members of the ACE anti-piracy coalition now reads as follows: Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Channel 5, Comcast, Constantin Film, Discovery, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telefe, Telemundo, Televisa, Univision Communications Inc., Viacom, Village Roadshow, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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

LJ.Rossia.org makes no claim to the content supplied through this journal account. Articles are retrieved via a public feed supplied by the site for this purpose.
9:45 am
YouTube Settles Lawsuit With Alleged DMCA Extortion Scammer for $25,000

YouTube’s copyright takedown policy poses one of the biggest threats to the streaming platform’s content creators.

YouTubers who receive three copyright infringement strikes can easily lose their channel, which for some equates to their livelihood.

This looming threat also provides an opportunity for scammers. As we reported a few months ago, YouTube’s copyright takedown process was being abused to extort YouTubers, including ‘ObbyRaidz’ and ‘Kenzo.’ Both repeatedly received ‘strikes’ against their channels.

The scammer in question pretended that he was the legitimate owner of the videos uploaded by the users and requested money to retract the false claims.

“We striked you. Our request is $150 PayPal, or $75 btc. You may send the money via goods/ services if you do not think we will cancel or hold up our end of the deal,” the scammer wrote.

This abuse didn’t go unnoticed by YouTube, which tracked down the alleged offender and took action.

Last month the video streaming service sued Nebraska-resident Christopher Brady, accusing him of violating the DMCA by falsely claiming the content of other YouTubers as his own.

According to YouTube, Brady repeatedly attempted to harass and extort money from content creators through his bogus copyright infringement claims.

The company believes Brady went as far as using the address of YouTube user Cxlvxn, which is shared with a rightsholder for the purpose of filing a lawsuit, in an attempt to dispatch a large number of police officers to his home.

In the complaint, YouTube demanded a jury trial but it didn’t get that far. A few hours ago they submitted an agreed judgment and permanent injunction to the Nebraska federal court, which settles the matter without any further bloodshed.

Under the proposed injunction (pdf), Brady is prevented from filing any bogus copyright claims going forward. In addition, he separately agreed to pay $25,000 for his misconduct, offering a public apology to all the people who were hurt by his actions.

“I, Christopher L. Brady, admit that I sent dozens of notices to YouTube falsely claiming that material uploaded by YouTube users infringed my copyrights,” reads the apology, which YouTube shared with The Verge.

“I apologize to the YouTube users that I directly impacted by my actions, to the YouTube community, and to YouTube itself,” Brady adds.

The proposed judgment and injunction have yet to be signed off by the court, but this is expected to happen later this week. It’s not clear whether any of the affected users will receive compensation, but YouTube says that it’s happy with this outcome.

“This settlement highlights the very real consequences for those that misuse our copyright system. We’ll continue our work to prevent abuse of our systems,” a YouTube spokesperson said.

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

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
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8:04 pm
Key Internet Players Call For Clarification of ‘Notorious Piracy Market’ Term

Earlier this month, several copyright holder groups sent their annual “notorious markets” submissions to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

The U.S. Government uses this input for its annual review of notorious piracy markets, an overview of threats to various copyright industries.

The recommendations, including those from the RIAA, MPA, and ESA, traditionally include well-known piracy sites such as The Pirate Bay, but increasingly third-party technology providers are also being added to the mix.

For example, domain registrars and hosting services are regularly listed, and the same is true for advertising companies. Cloudflare has been frequently mentioned as well, although it’s not officially listed since the overview focuses on foreign entities.

The copyright holder groups who send these recommendations hope that the U.S. will include these companies in its final overview. That would put pressure on the sites and services as well at the countries from where they operate.

However, not everyone is pleased with this development. According to the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (I2Coalition), which counts Amazon, Cloudflare, Google, OVH, Steadfast and Tucows among its members, third-party intermediaries don’t belong in this list.

“Notorious markets should not be confused with neutral intermediaries such as Internet Infrastructure providers,” the I2Coalition writes in a letter to the USTR.

The coalition notes that some submissions, including those from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, have gone too far by suggesting copyright protection measures that would harm Internet infrastructure and therefore the Internet as a whole.

The group notes that Internet infrastructure providers, such as DNS providers, route users of the web to the right online locations. These services simply refer requests and don’t control the information at the locations where people are directed.

“The nature of these kinds of businesses is that they have limited access to content information. There are intermediaries between various segments of the Internet as a whole. They are not markets. Yet, these kinds of companies may be erroneously listed in the USTR notorious markets report,” the I2Coalition writes.

The Internet companies add that recent updates to the law have highlighted new enforcement options. However, it is not clear what must be enforced. This can become problematic when various stakeholders have different views on what the term ‘notorious market’ means.

“It is in this lack of clarity where many who submit to the notorious markets either by mistake or intentionally mischaracterize the concept of notorious markets for the purposes of identifying intellectual property infringement.”

The coalition calls on the USTR to deliver clarity as some of the current submissions vilify specific technologies, it says. Instead, the process should be limited to the ‘notorious’ sites and marketplaces themselves, not third-party intermediaries.

“We believe that the spirit and letter of the relevant IP laws are better upheld by going after true notorious markets, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater by going after Internet infrastructure providers,” the I2Coalition stresses.

The letter doesn’t mention specific companies or services the coalition believes were mistakenly called out. However, the coalition makes it clear that an effort to clear up what a ‘notorious market’ is should include a variety of stakeholders, not only those who represent the copyright industry.

A copy of the letter the Internet Infrastructure Coalition sent to the US Trade Representative is available 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.

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9:42 am
Twitter Suspends Trump Meme Creator…But Not For the ‘Kingsman’ Bloodbath Video

There was uproar in the media this past weekend after a violent video meme was reportedly shown at a pro-Trump conference.

The video, a doctored version of the famous church scene from the movie Kingsman, depicts Trump killing his critics, from both the media and politics.

The video was made by TheGeekzTeam, an entity that creates content for a website run by Carpe Donktum, a prolific pro-Trump supporter and meme-maker. During the fallout on Monday, Carpe Donktum’s Twitter account was suspended, an event which led various media outlets to connect the events of the weekend with the suspension.

A Twitter spokesperson effectively confirmed that the suspension was DMCA related, noting that it responds to “valid copyright complaints sent us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives.”

Twitter made no mention of which content had caused the suspension but the actual DMCA notice obtained by TorrentFreak confirms it had nothing to do with the ‘Kingsman’ meme published over the weekend.

The DMCA notice, served not only against Carpe Donktum’s Twitter account but also around two dozen others, was actually filed by Universal Music Group. The offending Twitter URL is highlighted below.

The Tweet in question dates back to February 5, 2018, and remains online, along with the text “In case you missed the T-Mobile Superbowl Commercial. Here it is!” However, the embedded video has been removed, indicating that this was the source of the DMCA complaint.

Comparing uploads on Carpe Donktum’s YouTube account on the very same day we find a video entitled “T-Mobile Superbowl Commercial Fixed“, which is a doctored version of T-Mobile’s official Superbowl commercial.

It’s pretty clear why Carpe Donktum’s video was taken down. While it contains other copyrighted music throughout not contained in the original video (a lullaby rendition of Nirvana’s ‘All Apologies’ according to Shazam), it’s the last 14 seconds of the 80-second video causing the problems.

With Trump wearing a ‘Thug Life’ hat, obligatory sunglasses and sporting a huge joint in his mouth, the track ‘Ultimate’ by Denzel Curry booms from the video. This isn’t what Universal Music wanted and judging by comments made by Curry in 2017, it probably isn’t what he wanted either.

“I felt like I was part of the problem honestly. Being disillusioned and thinking, ‘nah, that’s not gonna happen, this nigga ain’t gonna be president.’ Then this nigga became president. So what the fuck just happened? I don’t get all the choices I want, but I definitely didn’t want this nigga to be my president,” Curry said.

One copyright complaint isn’t usually enough for Twitter to suspend an account but Carpe Donktum now has at least three against his. In addition to the notice sent Monday, two others are on record, one sent in April and another in June. Only the one sent by Universal Music has a listed sender, the other two have their details redacted.

Carpe Donktum’s Twitter account has now been restored but for how long remains open to question and probably dictated by future conduct.

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

LJ.Rossia.org makes no claim to the content supplied through this journal account. Articles are retrieved via a public feed supplied by the site for this purpose.
7:11 am
Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 10/14/19

This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

The Lion King 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 (…) The Lion King 7.1 / trailer
2 (1) Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 6.7 / trailer
3 (3) Toy Story 4 8.1 / trailer
4 (7) Dark Phoenix 6.0 / trailer
5 (4) Spider-Man: Far from Home 7.8 / trailer
6 (2) It: Chapter Two 6.9 / trailer
7 (…) Joker (HDCam) 8.1 / trailer
8 (7) Crawl 6.4 / trailer
9 (…) El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie 7.7 / trailer
10 (9) John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum 7.8 / trailer

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

Monday, October 14th, 2019
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4:20 pm
DISH Threatens to Sue IPTV Subscribers Because Suppliers Are Snitching

When they don’t use protection such as VPNs, pirates who use BitTorrent-like peer-to-peer systems are relatively easy to track down. Their IP addresses are publicly viewable meaning that one subpoena later, content companies can obtain their names and addresses from ISPs.

The situation is quite different when it comes to users of regular ‘pirate’ IPTV services. Their IP addresses and personal details are usually only known to their provider, so proving infringement is more difficult. Of course, if the IPTV provider itself is targeted by a company like DISH, it may decide to squeal to lessen the pain of its own demise.

In the summer it was revealed that NagraStar had been sending out settlement letters to people it accused of pirating DISH and Bell content using pirate IPTV services. The company reportedly asked for around $3,500 in compensation to make a potential lawsuit disappear.

Now, according to sources cited by CordCutters News, NagraStar and DISH are upping the tempo by threatening yet more IPTV users with lawsuits.

The publication says that it has received multiple reports of people who have been tracked down and provided with copies of their PayPal transactions which showed they purchased a subscription from illicit IPTV services.

Which IPTV services are involved this time around isn’t currently public knowledge but a user of RocketIPTV was previously forced to apologize on NagraStar’s website as part of a settlement.

Sorry…

None of this should come as a surprise. There are plenty of stories from users around the web indicating that NagraStar has obtained their records from a ‘pirate’ supplier, whether that was an IPTV provider or, more commonly, someone dealing in Internet Key Sharing (IKS) servers or codes.

In fact, when examining some of DISH’s ongoing lawsuits last week, TF noticed a statement from the broadcaster clearly indicating that it had obtained business records from a company called Digital TV that was helping it to sue. An excerpt from the case (pdf), filed on October 1, 2019, provides the details.

Achievement unlocked: Business Records

While this is a new case, other cases involving DISH, NagraStar, NFusion Private Server, and its resellers have been ongoing for a very long time.

One case, which dates back six years, shows that handing over information to NagraStar is part of the plan and that the company is very thorough in chasing people right down the chain.

More records obtained…

While obtaining satellite programming using IKS was once rampant and is still an issue for broadcasters, IPTV is arguably a bigger problem today. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that DISH and its partners are branching out to target customers of IPTV services in the same manner.

And with IPTV resellers being asked to pay around $7,500 in settlements, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when they hand over subscribers’ personal details either. After all, the skin-saving game is hardly new when people are faced with damages claims in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

TorrentFreak was previously informed that most providers rarely care whether people supply their correct information when signing up for a service. But when PayPal addresses are involved, in most cases DISH is already too close to home.

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

LJ.Rossia.org makes no claim to the content supplied through this journal account. Articles are retrieved via a public feed supplied by the site for this purpose.
9:58 am
MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Remain on Hold, Perhaps For Years

In 2012, Microsoft first released its operating system Windows 8, Apple came out with the iPhone 5, and Google’s Sergey Brin showed off a Google Glass prototype in the wild.

It was also the year when armed police officers swarmed Kim Dotcom’s mansion in a military-style-raid while his hosting service Megaupload was being taken down.

It was the beginning of the largest copyright infringement case the U.S. Government had ever launched and one that was far from straightforward.

While the earlier mentioned technology continued to progress, the Megaupload case has barely moved. In New Zealand, lawyers have been very busy with the extradition proceedings against Dotcom, but it could be years before that battle ends. This means that the criminal case against Megaupload and several former employees is in limbo.

The same is true for the civil cases the RIAA and MPAA filed back in 2014. Since the civil cases may influence the criminal proceedings, Megaupload’s legal team previously managed to put these cases on hold, and last week they requested another extension.

In line with other recent requests, the RIAA and MPAA didn’t object to the request. As a result, the court swiftly agreed to issue yet another extension, putting the cases on hold until the spring of next year. However, it would be no surprise if more delays followed in the future.

Earlier this year Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom predicted that he will lose his extradition battle at the Supreme Court. That’s not going to be the end of the line though. Using all legal options available, it might take more than five years before the extradition saga ends.

Meanwhile, copies of Megaupload’s servers, containing vast amounts of data from millions of users, remain locked up as evidence. Initially, there were some attempts to reunite former users with their personal files, but these appeared to have died off.

Interestingly, the most recent mention of any Megaupload ‘data’ came from Kim Dotcom himself. “Still waiting to get access to your Megaupload files?” he wrote, adding that he will email 30 million former US Megaupload users a video link in 2020 explaining how Joe Biden destroyed the site.

Apparently, Dotcom still has access to email and IP-addresses of Megaupload users, which he might put to use.

In recent weeks, the New Zealand entrepreneur shifted his focus to a service that was once billed as Megaupload 2. This project, now known as K.im, will, in fact, be quite different from its predecessor. While Dotcom is the founder, he no longer has an official position, but acts as its evangelist, helping to raise money through a token sale.

When we last covered the project its expected release date was around 2018, but there have been some delays here as well. The latest roadmap indicates that the platform will launch in the third quarter of 2020. By then, we expect that the RIAA and MPAA lawsuits will still be pending.

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

Sunday, October 13th, 2019
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8:05 pm
MPA Adds 1XBET and Baidu to Latest Piracy Threat Report

Alongside other entertainment industry groups, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) sends a yearly overview of notorious foreign piracy markets to the US Trade Representative.

These annual submissions help to guide the U.S. Government’s position toward foreign countries when it comes to copyright enforcement.

We previously covered the submissions from the RIAA and ESA, which both listed a wide variety of pirate sites including torrent, streaming, MP3-downloaders, and ROM archives.

The MPA’s submission was published later than the others but is worth highlighting nonetheless. In recent years it has solely focused on online threats with familiar names such as The Pirate Bay, Openload, and Fmovies reappearing time and again.

This year is no different. Many of the threats the MPA highlights are identical to last year. Aside from traditional pirate sites, this includes mobile apps, unauthorized IPTV services, and hosting companies. While not a foreign company, CDN provider Cloudflare is repeatedly mentioned as well, as it has many piracy sites as customers.

“The Pirate Bay, and other notorious pirate sites, remain Cloudflare customers despite repeated notices of infringement to Cloudflare,” the MPA notes.

A complete list of all the identified notorious markets is listed below, but we will zoom in on two entities added as new entries this year.

The first one is 1XBET, a gambling company known for its advertising appearing in ‘cam’ copies of movies. The casino, whose ads appear on more than a thousand pirate sites, is well known among people who frequent these platforms. Now, it’s on the MPA’s radar as well.

“1XBET is a Russian gambling site that has started to support some of the
earliest releases of infringing theatrical camcords and infringing streams of live television broadcasts. It has become the third most active online advertiser in Russia,” the MPA informs the USTR.

The MPA’s report cites research from Mediascope which found that only Google and PepsiCo ads are more prevalent online in Russia. While that covers all publications, the movie industry group draws specific attention to the embedded ads that appear in popular pirate movie releases as well as their titles.

“Reportedly, the online casino pays to insert visual and audio advertisements into new piracy content sources incentivizing camcord and livestreaming piracy. 1XBET’s watermark with promotion codes is ‘burned’ into the video files of infringing camcord recordings. Thus, piracy is used as a vehicle to support this online gambling giant,” the MPA notes.

What’s not mentioned by the MPA is that 1XBET also sponsored several major UK football clubs and Italian football league Serie A. Responding to some earlier controversy, a 1XBET spokesperson said that it takes the piracy advertising allegations very seriously.

Another newcomer in the MPA’s list of notorious markets is Baidu Pan, the file-hosting service operated by the largest search engine in China. According to the movie industry group, it’s often used to share copyright-infringing material.

“Large quantities of infringing content are stored on Baidu Pan with
links disseminated through popular Chinese social media platforms and piracy linking sites,” the MPA writes in its submission.

The MPA points out that Baidu has a market share of over 75 percent in China, which makes it the second-largest search engine in the world. As such, it is vitally important that the company has rigorous content protection standards and that it cooperates with rightsholders, the group notes.

Baidu has made some progress in recent years when it comes to its takedown tools, but takedown rates and timeframes remain inconsistent or too long, the MPA says.

“Baidu should be encouraged to do more, including improve implementation of its takedown tools, apply rigorous filtering technology to identify infringing content, and take more effective action to suspend or terminate repeat infringers to ensure all rights holders are treated equally and infringing content and links are removed expeditiously,” the submission reads.

The MPA hopes that its recommendations will be helpful to the US Government, but whether adding 1XBET and Baidu Pan will have any effect has yet to be seen.

The MPA’s full report is available here (pdf). The USTR will use this input to make up its own list of notorious markets. This will help to identify current threats and call on foreign governments to take appropriate action.




List of all the sites and services the MPAA identified as notorious markets.

Linking / Streaming
  • B9good.com
  • CB01
  • Cda.pl
  • Cimaclub.com & cima4u.tv
  • Cinecalidad.to
  • Dytt8.net and Dy2018.com
  • Fmovies.is/.to (formerly .se)
  • “Indo 21” (Indoxxi) and many related domains
  • Movie2free.com
  • MrPiracy.site and .xyz
  • Phimmoi.net
  • Seasonvar.ru
Cyberlockers / video hosting
  • 1fichier.com
  • Baidu Pan
  • Clipwatching.com
  • Gounlimited.to
  • Netu.tv
  • Openload.co/oload.tv
  • Rapidgator.net
  • Rapidvideo.com
  • Streamango.com
  • Uploaded.net
  • Uptobox.com
  • Verystream.com
  • VK.com
Illegal IPTV
  • BestBuyIPTV.com
  • Buy-IPTV.com
  • GenIPTV
  • ThePK.tv
  • TVMucho.com
Apps
  • RenRen Shi Pin
  • ShowBox
  • Unblock Tech (unblocktech.com)
P2P sites
  • 1337x.to
  • Rarbg.to
  • Rutracker.org
  • Tamilrockers.ws
  • ThePirateBay.org
  • Torrentz2.eu
  • Zooqle.com
Hosting services
  • Fishnet Communications LLC
  • M247
  • Network Dedicated SAS
  • Private Layer
Advertising
  • 1XBET





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

LJ.Rossia.org makes no claim to the content supplied through this journal account. Articles are retrieved via a public feed supplied by the site for this purpose.
8:19 am
Battle Against IPTV Continues As MPA & ACE Take Over Four More Domains

If the figures that were cited following the recent international police operation against Xtream Codes are any yardstick, providers and sellers of ‘pirate’ IPTV providers currently number in their thousands.

While there are relatively few sources at the very top of the pyramid, there could be in excess of 5,000 players selling IPTV subscriptions to the public, which by recent estimates could dwarf even the five million accounts cited by the authorities.

In common with the task of removing every torrent, streaming and similar site from the Internet, the possibility of handing a death blow to the entire IPTV industry seems a distant dream for content providers. But that doesn’t mean incremental efforts aren’t underway.

As previously documented, the massive Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which comprises dozens of the world’s largest content companies, is quietly taking down sellers and providers of IPTV. Today we can reveal that another four have had their domains commandeered by MPA America, the organization previously known as the MPAA.

VStreamTV.com first appeared to gain traction back in 2015, selling an inconspicuous set-top box to the public. Promising no contract and no monthly fees, the $349 device boasted 100,000 movies and TV shows, plus 1,000 channels of live entertainment.

Also say ‘Yes’ to an ACE takeover, apparently….

By 2019, the site was offering its latest ‘VS4+’ device, promising unlimited entertainment to customers looking to permanently cut the cord. Then, a few weeks ago, it all came to an end. The site shut down without notice after its domain was taken over by the MPA. Like many before it, it now directs to the anti-piracy portal operated by ACE.

According to web records, MaxTVLive.com only appeared on the scene in 2018. Among other things, the site seems to have offered a custom Android APK to be installed on users’ own devices. For the price of $25 per month, Max TV users could enjoy live TV and other content on a single device, with extra devices costing an extra $5 per month.

However in common with VStreamTV, a few weeks ago the party came to an abrupt end. It seems likely that ACE came knocking with demands to shut down the business as the service’s website is now owned by the MPA and redirects to the ACE portal.

What ultimately happened with MyIQXTV.com isn’t in question – it was taken over by the MPA and now redirects to the ACE portal. We weren’t able to recover a copy of the operation’s website but if it was in any way connected to the IXQtv service (note subtle difference in spelling), it’s no surprise it appeared on the MPA/ACE radar.

IXQtv shut down August 1st and was no ordinary operation. While many IPTV providers operate via resellers, IXQtv operated a ridiculously full-blown multi-level-marketing (MLM) scheme which paid affiliates not only on sales of streaming packages but also commissions for recruiting yet more affiliates. Think Amway for IPTV.

Finally, the obviously-named JailbrokenBlackBox.co takes last place on today’s update of recent domain takeovers. Information on precisely what packages, services or tools the site offered isn’t clear but like the others, it clearly attracted the negative attention of the world’s biggest entertainment companies.

Details of earlier domain takeovers carried out by ACE and the MPA against IPTV-related operations can be found here (1,2,3,4)

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

Saturday, October 12th, 2019
LJ.Rossia.org makes no claim to the content supplied through this journal account. Articles are retrieved via a public feed supplied by the site for this purpose.
6:15 pm
Ebook Piracy Grows, Contrary to The Trend

Piracy statistics can be tricky. Trends often go in different directions, depending on the region, the type of media, as well as the research timeframe.

One of the most elaborate datasets collected in recent years comes from the University of Amsterdam.

Among other things, it suggested that legal options are a better way to beat piracy than enforcement.

The underlying data forms the basis of a new research article where two nearly identical piracy surveys from 2012 and 2017 were compared. This allowed the researchers to look at changes in media consumption and piracy habits among the Dutch public over the years.

The respondents were asked about both legal and unauthorized consumption of music, movies and TV, games, and books. One of the overall findings was that between 2012 and 2017 the interest in physical goods plummeted.

For example, the number of people who bought physical music carriers was slashed in half to 20% and for movies/TV the decline was even more pronounced, falling from 45% to 20%. Physical books saw the smallest drop, with 60% still buying real books, down from 69%.

This trend coincides with a massive boost in digital sales. The number of people who bought digital entertainment increased across all categories, nearly tripling for movies and TV, which is likely due to Netflix. That’s a positive sign for the entertainment industries, which is also reflected in the piracy frequencies.

Results, in Dutch

The survey found that the percentage of people who still download or stream content from unauthorized sources decreased for nearly every category. This effect is most significant for music and games, while movie and TV piracy remained relatively stable.

The only category for which the piracy rate went up was Ebooks. Between 2012 and 2017 the number of Ebook pirates increased from 6.3% to 7.7%, which is marginally significant.

According to the researchers, this shows that these book pirates are missing something in the current legal offering. A good subscription service for example, where people can access an unlimited number of books for a fixed price.

“Looking at the other markets, access-based subscriptions appear to be the most promising, where a large increase in the number of transactions compensates a lower average return per transaction,” the researchers write.

While not mentioned in the article, the massive increase in Ebook consumers may also play a role in the increased piracy rate. The number of people who bought Ebooks, and thus have e-readers, increased by 80% between 2012 and 2017.

Part of this new e-reader userbase apparently showed an interest in pirated books as well, which likely impacted the piracy rate. With that in mind, the piracy increase is relatively modest.

The research also looked at various pirate demographics and how these changed over time. This shows that between 2012 and 2017, women started to pirate more books and fewer games and music. These changes are more pronounced than for men.

In addition, the data reveal that, overall, less educated people pirate less. This is the case across all categories but the biggest difference can be found in the books category.

If anything, the findings show that generic statements about piracy rates and the average pirate are relatively meaningless. It is the finer detail that helps us to understand what’s really happening.

The present survey data shows that physical media is quickly losing popularity as more people consume legal content digitally. At the same time, piracy rates are dropping significantly for music and games, at least in the Netherlands, while Ebook piracy slowly increases.

A copy of the paper (in Dutch) titled “Polderpiraten voor anker” written by Joost Poort, Martin van der Ende, and Anastasia Yagafarova is available here.

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11:13 am
International Day Against DRM 2019 Focuses on Education

The Free Software Foundation’s Defective by Design campaign International Day Against Digital Restrictions Management is here again.

It’s been 12 months since the campaign celebrated the 12th anniversary of its quest to prompt, pressure and prevent companies from restricting what we can do with legitimately bought content and products.

This year the main focus is perhaps the noblest to date – the right to an education.

“Defective by Design is calling on you to stand up against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) on the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on October 12th, 2019,” the campaign site reads.

“This year we will be focusing specifically on everyone’s right to read, particularly by urging publishers to free students and educators from the unnecessary and cumbersome restrictions that make their access to necessary course materials far more difficult.”

The campaign homes-in on publishers including Pearson, which individually stands accused of placing “digital handcuffs” on students with a “Netflix-like” textbook model that requires constant Internet connections to validate purchases, limits how many pages of a title that can be read at a time, and monitors reading habits.

Defective By Design wants publishers to remove every piece of DRM from their educational materials, a lofty but particularly noble aim. There can be few students or educators out there who still believe that locking up papers, studies and similar material is the best way to impart knowledge and as a result, improve society.

Only time will tell whether that particular quest will bear fruit but reading the campaign’s notes one can’t help but feel there’s a mountain to climb in respect of the broader picture. While those with plenty of energy are invited to join in the chorus or even stage their own events, the section detailing how people can offer basic support is unintentionally depressing.

“The easiest way to participate is to join us in going a Day Without DRM, and resolve to spend an entire day (or longer!) without Netflix, Hulu, and other restricted services to show your support of the movement,” it reads.

“Document your experiences on social media using the tags ‘#idad’ or ‘#dbd,’ and let us know at info@defectivebydesign.org if you have a special story you’d like us to share.”

While a day without Netflix should be achievable, the site lists plenty of other companies that should be avoided, if one wants to seriously protest the spread of DRM. Doing without all of them will be a herculean task for any digital native.

For example, the black hole left by Netflix abstinence cannot be filled by listening to Spotify or Amazon Music, which are labeled by the campaign as “worst offenders” when it comes to DRM. Even with the benefit of music-free silence, people are encouraged not to use Amazon’s Kindle either.

It’s at this point you begin to realize how deeply entrenched DRM is and how difficult it will be to extract ourselves from it. The situation is further compounded when the list reveals that we should avoid using an iPad or indeed any Apple or Microsoft products.

Considering most desktop users are running Windows and millions of mobile users are Apple-based, spreading the hashtags ‘#idad’ or ‘#dbd’ on social media while strictly following the “boycott if possible” rules could rule out millions of participants. That is not what is needed today but so compromises will have to be made.

The moderately good news is that Android isn’t on the list as a “worst offender” but unfortunately it still incorporates DRM. And its developer, Google, has a page all of its own on the Defective By Design site, called out for being a promoter of DRM and for lobbying in favor of restrictive web standards.

We wish the International Day Against Digital Restrictions Management every success because very few people are still fighting this battle and the education element, in particular, is hard to understate. But in a world where profit trumps moral ideals at every turn, this war becomes more difficult to win with every passing year.

And in many cases, it’s arguably our own fault.

Support the 2019 campaign by visiting Defective By Design here

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Friday, October 11th, 2019
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4:05 pm
Trump’s Sons, Attorney, & Social Media Chief All Got DMCA Notices Over ‘Photograph’ Meme

Last week, US President Donald Trump made headlines when he tweeted a short video meme aimed at discrediting political rival Joe Biden.

It contained a clip of Nickelback’s video ‘Photograph’ which resulted in the tweet being taken down for copyright infringement.

Soon after, a copy of the DMCA notice that caused the takedown was published on the Lumen Database, which revealed that the sender was Warner Music Group. However, TF has learned that wasn’t the only takedown notice to target Trump and his supporters over the now-controversial clip.

Trawling through the latest notices sent to Lumen by Twitter we can see that not only were some of Trump’s closest allies also sent takedowns for copyright infringement, but also that other music companies got in on the act too.

The original complaint against Trump’s account (here) was quickly followed by another against the account of his attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The notice was sent by Nickelback’s management at Union Entertainment Group on behalf of Roadrunner Records, which in turn is owned by Warner.

As the DMCA notice below shows, the cited copyrighted material is “The Master Recording of ‘Photograph’ by Nickelback and the accompanying music video.”

Two other DMCA complaints were also filed at Twitter detailing a pair of allegedly-infringing tweets posted Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. and Dan Scavino, the White House Director of Social Media and Assistant to the President.

These were sent on October 3, 2019 by anti-piracy company GrayZone on behalf of Warner Music. In common with the complaint filed against their father’s account, YouTube was cited as the source of the material.

Finally, the second son of Donald Trump, Eric, also received an additional notice from Union Entertainment Group, again on behalf of RoadRunner Records.

While plenty of other people tweeted and retweeted the allegedly-infringing video, a flood of additional takedown notices doesn’t appear to be in the archives at Lumen. That doesn’t mean to say they don’t exist, however, since it’s certainly possible Twitter doesn’t pass everything on.

Interestingly, there is an ongoing debate as to whether the use of the video in the clip was actually fair use, with many Trump supporters claiming that as a parody, it should be protected from takedowns. Countering firmly, former RIAA executive vice president of communications Jonathan Lamy believes otherwise.

“This one was a clear cut no-brainer,” he said on Twitter. “On copyright grounds and also perhaps falsely implied endorsement.”

Since Giuliani also got a notice and presumably a strike against his Twitter account, it would be very interesting if – as an attorney – he decided to send a counter-notification. As fair use battles go it might get a little messy but things are pretty messy already.

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8:39 am
ACE Also Wants Millions in Piracy Damages from SET TV Operator and Manager

Last year the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the anti-piracy alliance featuring several Hollywood studios, Amazon, Netflix, and other entertainment outfits, sued Florida-based SET Broadcast, LLC.

At the time, the company offered a popular software-based IPTV service and also sold pre-loaded set-top boxes. These were portrayed as legitimate, but ACE and its members disagreed.

“Defendants market and sell subscriptions to ‘Setvnow,’ a software application that Defendants urge their customers to use as a tool for the mass infringement of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted motion pictures and television shows,” their complaint read.

Soon after the lawsuit was filed the IPTV service went offline, leaving its 180,000 subscribers behind. But that didn’t mean the case against SET TV, its owner Jason Labossiere, and its employee Nelson Johnson was over. ACE pressed on, hoping to get a judgment in its favor.

Without any of the defendants putting up a defense, ACE booked its first victory a few months ago. The media companies submitted a motion for a default judgment against the company SET Broadcast, LLC, which the court granted.

In a ruling handed down last July, the court ordered SET TV to pay $7,650,000. This reflects the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the 51 works that were infringed by the defunct IPTV provider.

While ACE was pleased with the outcome, it wasn’t done yet. The default judgment only applied to the corporate entity, not the owner and its employee. With a new request, the anti-piracy alliance hopes to hold Labossiere and Johnson liable as well.

While the other two defendants initially responded to the court, they didn’t answer any recent requests. As such, ACE is now requesting a similar default judgment against Labossiere and Johnson, holding them jointly and severally for the payment of the $7,650,000 in damages

“Defendants Labossiere and Johnson are the individual Defendants who operated, managed, and ultimately profited from the willful, unlawful business of Set Broadcast. Settled law permits entry of default against willful infringers likeLabossiere and Johnson who refuse to participate in their own defense,” ACE writes.

“Plaintiffs therefore respectfully request that the Court enter default judgment against Labossiere and Johnson and hold them jointly and severally liable for the harm they inflicted upon Plaintiffs,” the Alliance adds.

In addition to the damages, ACE also requests a permanent injunction to prevent any future copyright infringement. Among other things, the defendants should be prohibited from operating the SetTV now service, as well as any website, system, software, or service that is substantially similar.

Without a response from the defendants, it’s likely that the court will grant the order.

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Thursday, October 10th, 2019
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7:05 pm
Epic Games Wants Mother to Represent Persistent Fortnite Cheater ‘Sky Orbit’

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

Most of these lawsuits have now been settled, but there is one alleged cheater who is proving rather hard to catch.

The person in question, known in Fortnite and on YouTube as “Sky Orbit,” turned out to be a minor when Epic Games filed the complaint. This was made very clear by his mother, who sent a letter to the Court defending her son.

“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 should only be referred to by his initials C.R. The case itself continued, however, albeit slowly.

Without any follow-up responses from either the defendant or his mother, Epic Games requested a default judgment. However, the Court denied this a few weeks ago, arguing that the underage defendant was never properly represented by a guardian. The mother’s letter was not sufficient to establish this.

This was a major setback to Epic Games but the company had no plans to drop the case. Especially not when it heard “Sky Orbit” had teamed up with another alleged cheater, CBV, and found other evidence that he wasn’t done cheating yet.

This week Epic asked the Court to officially appoint C.R.’s mother, Lauren Rogers, as a legal guardian, so she can officially represent her son. If that’s not possible, another adult should take this role, the game company argues.

“Defendant has ignored the appropriate orders of this Court. It is now appropriate for his mother or another adult to be appointed to officially represent him so that his interests can be protected and this matter can move forward,” Epic writes.

In an associated memorandum and declaration, the company explains that C.R. allegedly continued cheating over the past several months. Part of the evidence comes from a video titled “Fortnite Streamer Caught Aimbotting LIVE!” uploaded to YouTube by ShelbyRenae.

This video includes a captured video by another player, who’s allegedly cheating. Based on the voice of this person and several comments from people who watched the stream, this is C.R., aka “Sky Orbit.”

“The audio, including cheating player’s voice is available. On information and belief, the voice of the cheating player is Defendant’s,” Epic’s attorney Christopher Thomas writes.

“Although ShelbyRenae does not identify Defendant as the cheating player, at least 15 of the commenters separately identify ‘Sky Orbit’ – the name used by Defendant on his YouTube channel – as the player cheating in the Captured Video.”

From the declaration

The same voice also appears in another high profile video on YouTube. Epic argues that C.R. also appeared in the video where another teenager, CBV, responded to a separate lawsuit that Epic Games filed against him.

“You guys can eat my ass once again!” C.R. allegedly says in the video.

Based on this and other evidence, Epic believes that it’s important for the case to move forward so it can properly protect its rights. As such, the defendant should be represented by a guardian, which can be his mother.

In another video discussing the legal trouble, C.R. said that his mother “knew it all” and didn’t have to pay any lawyer fees, so appointing her as guardian would be appropriate, Epic states.

“Defendant’s statement that he and his mother got a lawyer but didn’t have to spend even ‘a little bit of money’ because his ‘mom knew it all,’ shows Defendant’s faith in Ms. Rogers. His comments also suggest that their decision not to answer in spite of the Court’s order was deliberate.

“His continued cheating, the foregoing and other public statements, and his open taunting of Epic all demonstrate that he thinks he is beyond the reach of this Court and is free to continue his unlawful conduct without consequence. This should not be permitted to continue.”

It’s clear that Epic Games is not letting this one go easily. The Court now has to decide whether it will appoint Sky Orbit’s mother or another adult as the guardian in this case.

A copy of Epic Games’ Memorandum to appoint Lauren Rogers as general guardian is available here (pdf).


In yet another video

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9:08 am
Ebook Pirate Fined & Handed 20-Day Suspended Sentence

EBooks are widely available and relatively cheap in many cases but there is still a thriving market for pirated copies.

This can be down to straightforward convenience but when it comes to textbooks, titles aren’t always available digitally and in many cases are extremely expensive.

To fill this demand, various sites offer textbooks for free download but in some instances, members of the public provide more personal services to access them at reduced rates. The downside is that anti-piracy companies are sometimes lying in wait.

A student from Denmark was one of the unlucky ones. After he and some fellow students pirated a few books to save money, the 26-year-old went on to launch a company with a friend after leaving college. However, when that venture failed and he ended up on benefits, he found himself selling eBooks on Den Blå Avis (The Blue Newspaper), Denmark’s largest buying and selling site.

Unfortunately for him, Danish anti-piracy outfit Rettighedsalliancen (Rights Alliance) noticed his activities. Under the alias “Michael R”, he sold one of their investigators an eBook that he’d previously converted to a PDF. After paying using MobilePay, the anti-piracy group collected it from Google Drive and reported the case to the police.

A couple of days ago, Avisen obtained information indicating that following an investigation, the Court of Frederiksberg would hear the case this week. The former student, who is trained in IT and marketing, had been charged with selling 228 copies of pirated textbooks related to his specialties.

He reportedly sold the books on The Blue Newspaper for between $12.50 and $88.00 each, a crime for which the prosecution sought a jail sentence for copyright infringement.

On Wednesday, Judge Poul Bisgaard-Frantzen at the Court of Fredericksberg handed the man, who currently lives in Copenhagen, a 20-day suspended jail sentence for copyright and financial offenses, Politiken reports.

After admitting selling 155 copies of textbooks, the Court also ordered the confiscation of 27,640 kroner, around $4,075.

“[I]t is devastating for the copyright that the authors have, and also for the publishers, when the basis for their business is taken away. Therefore, the gain must be confiscated,” the Judge said.

During the hearing, the former student, who will now have to abstain from illegal activities if he is to avoid prison, entered into a settlement arrangement with Rights Alliance, agreeing to pay the anti-piracy group 34,870 kroner ($5,123) in compensation.

Wednesday’s verdict could be just the start as the police reportedly have several similar cases pending.

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Wednesday, October 9th, 2019
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6:17 pm
File-Sharing and VPN Traffic Grow Explosively

Today’s Internet traffic patterns are completely different from those roughly a decade ago.

The most pronounced change in recent years has been the dominance of streaming services, mostly IPTV providers, Netflix, and YouTube.

While streaming remains the key traffic generator on the Internet today, file-sharing traffic is making quite a comeback. The early signs of this trend were already visible last year but new data from the Canadian broadband management company Sandvine show that this was no fluke.

Looking at the global application traffic share, we see that video streaming accounts for 60.6% of all downstream and 22.2% of all upstream traffic.

File-sharing has a very modest downstream market share, at just 4.2%, but it beats streaming when it comes to utilized upload bandwidth, 30.2% worldwide.

The relatively large upstream share makes sense, as that’s part of the nature of file-sharing. What’s more telling, perhaps, is the year-over-year growth numbers.

From 2018 to 2019, the share of file-sharing traffic increased by roughly 50% while the upstream share grew by 35%. Keep in mind that these numbers are relative, so in absolute terms, the traffic increases are even larger, as bandwidth usage continues to increase.

There are some regional differences in this trend. BitTorrent traffic, which is the largest chunk of all file-sharing traffic, has grown mostly in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) and APAC (Asia-Pacific) regions, for example.

BitTorrent is currently most popular in the EMEA region where it is good for 5.3% of all downstream traffic and a massive 44.2% of all upstream traffic. In the APAC region, the figures are 4.5% and 24.8% respectively.

According to Sandvine, the resurgence of file-sharing traffic can be largely attributed to the fragmentation of the legal video streaming landscape. With more legal options and a limited budget, people increasingly resort to piracy, the company argues.

“Netflix aggregated content and made piracy reduce worldwide. With the ongoing fragmentation of the video market, and increase in attractive original content, piracy is on the rise again,” Sandvine’s Cam Cullen notes.

HBO is a crucial ‘fragment’ when it comes to torrent traffic. We have previously reported on the massive impact the last season of Game of Thrones had on BitTorrent traffic and this is confirmed by Sandvine’s data, as shown below. Interestingly, this bump wasn’t visible for Kodi-related traffic.

This Game of Thrones boost may have elevated the overall file-sharing market share this year, but that will become apparent when Sandvine releases its new figures next year.

While BitTorrent and file-sharing traffic increased globally, the Americas form an exception to this trend. There, the relative market share dropped slightly. However, that doesn’t mean that fewer people are using BitTorrent or that less data is being transferred.

For one, market share is relative and a slight drop is possible even if overall traffic increased. In addition, Sandvine’s data show a growing trend in VPN usage. The company closely monitors data used by 70 popular commercial VPNs and has noticed a major boost in usage.

Roughly 2% of all global downstream traffic can now be attributed to VPN traffic. Looking at the upstream traffic this percentage is even larger, 5%, suggesting that it’s often used for upload heavy purposes, such as file-sharing.

In the Americas, this VPN boom is particularly pronounced with the percentage of IPSec VPN traffic tripling to 7.7% of all upstream data. This goes up to almost 9% for all VPN traffic, Sandvine informs us.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if a lot of that traffic comes from BitTorrent transfers.

Finally, it’s worth noting that, while ‘file-sharing’ is often linked to piracy, the majority of all unauthorized media distribution takes place through streaming nowadays. In other words, ‘file-sharing’ is only a small fraction of the piracy landscape.

The streaming piracy traffic is part of Sandvine’s “http media stream” category which, for the first time in years, has a larger market share than Netflix.

The website Openload, which is often linked to streaming piracy, is even listed separately in the top 10 of all video streaming sources. With 2.4% of all downstream video streaming traffic on the global Internet, it’s safe to say that Openload uses a lot of bandwidth.

It will be interesting to see how these trends continue to develop during the coming years. It’s clear though, that file-sharing is not going anywhere, neither is BitTorrent, while the VPN boom only appears to be starting. A full copy of Sandvine’s latest Global Internet Phenomena report is available here.

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9:11 am
Back to Piracy For Adobe Users in Venezuela But Most Pirate Anyway

This week, Adobe delivered a worrying message to legitimate users of its software and services in Venezuela.

In response to a sanctions-related executive order (pdf) handed down by the US Government, the software company said it would have to terminate business relations with subscribers in the country.

This means that legitimate users of Photoshop and other Adobe software and services will lose access to the tools they’ve paid for. With all accounts set to be terminated on October 29, 2019, many customers will be left high and dry, with only a refund to look forward to – hopefully.

“If you purchased directly from Adobe, we will refund you by the end of the month for any paid, but unused services. We are working with our partners on the same,” the company announced.

The withdrawal of Adobe from Venezuela will no doubt deliver serious inconvenience for the country’s licensed users. However, they are in the minority. Licensing software doesn’t appear to be a mainstream activity, even in the face of decreasing price tags for Adobe products, for example.

According to Giampiero Posa of Posa Studio Creativo, a certified Adobe training center in Venezuela, the annual $200 fee for Adobe suite is still a luxury given the dire economic situation in the country. Just a few years ago, the cost was $1,780, a headline figure which did nothing to help piracy rates in the country.

The most recent Global Software Survey (pdf) published in 2018 by the Software Alliance (BSA) shows that in the previous year, Venezuela had the world’s joint second-highest rate of unlicensed software installation. At 89%, the country tied with Zimbabwe and was edged out only by Libya with 90%.

Figures from the trade group show that the situation hasn’t improved at all in eight years. In 2011, unlicensed installs accounted for 88% of the Venezuelan market, a figure that remained stubbornly stable until a 1% increase in 2017 made the situation marginally worse.

Clearly, the removal of offerings from Adobe and other companies offers no hope of a decline anytime soon but of course, alternatives do exist. Open-source tools provide a legal alternative but given high piracy rates and the comfort with which unlicensed software is apparently consumed, even more piracy seems the likely outcome.

And the possibility of consequences for that, especially factoring in hostility from the United States, seem more distant than ever.

A review of Venezuelan copyright litigation, published by Manuel Rodriguez of the Antequera Parilli & Rodriguez law firm, states that to date “there have been few cases of copyright infringements being sued before the courts.”

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Tuesday, October 8th, 2019
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4:16 pm
Popular IPTV Smarters App Removed From Google Play Following Complaint

People who want to view IPTV services on their mobile or set-top devices need a software player with which to do so.

IPTV Smarters is one of the most impressive and popular applications in the niche and is used by large numbers of users on both Android and iOS-based devices.

Up until today, people could just head off to Google’s Play Store to download a copy. However, visitors to the page are now advised that the URL no longer exists, a pretty clear indication that IPTV Smarters has been deleted from the service.

The IPTV Smarters page before the deletion

Given the popularity of the software, TorrentFreak spoke with New Spark Technology, the company behind IPTV Smarters. Amanpreet Singh, who is listed as the person behind the Android app, says that the tool was indeed removed from Google Play following a complaint.

Singh says that he prefers not to share the details of the complaint, or reveal who sent it, because “it’s just a false complaint as usual.” The developer informs TF that this is the third time that the app has been deleted from Google Play and the company’s legal team is on the case.

“It’s normal [to receive such complaints] and [it has] happened three times so far. We had it sorted out last time and this time. We have executed the same procedure with the help of our lawyers,” he says.

The last time the app was taken down earlier this year it remained offline for 10 days. This time the company says it will “try to get it back as soon as possible.”

“As it’s just a video player, that’s why it will be back very soon,” Singh says.

While many people understand that IPTV Smarters doesn’t provide any content or IPTV streams to users, there are plenty out there who don’t seem to appreciate how it all works. They see IPTV Smarters getting recommended as a good IPTV-viewing solution and then expect the company to provide the streams as well.

In response, the company says it added a popup disclaimer to its site a few days ago, unconnected to the current disappearance of its app from Google Play, explaining that it doesn’t “endorse or guarantee” the use of its software by third parties “for streaming and subscriptions.”

“We respects the Intellectual Property rights of others and does not endorse any of the Intellectual Property violation by third parties. Linking of New Spark Technology, WHMCS & IPTV softwares to any of the third party links or platforms does not constitute any of the its endorsement or sponsorships [sic], it reads.”

“We put the disclaimer on our website because many users keep asking for a subscription ( username / password and url ), that is what we don’t offer,” Singh informs TF.

“Also, many customers keep asking us why their channels are not working blah blah blah. So, to prevent us getting unnecessary questions, we updated the disclaimer.” 

At the time of writing, the App Store variant for Apple devices is still online via the web and installable on iOS devices, suggesting that the problem is, at least for now, isolated to the Android variant.

Precisely when that will return for download is uncertain but Singh appears confident it won’t take too long.

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2:11 pm
TorrentFreak Has a Newish Look

To be honest, we don’t like change much here at TorrentFreak. We’ve used the same WordPress theme since 2011, but when it started to fall apart, we decided to go for something new.

With help from our designer Ryan, who also made the previous look, we can now present TorrentFreak v5.1. There will be plenty of bugs to sort out, so please bear with us.

Feedback is always welcome. So if you spot any issues feel free to let us know via email.

Working on:

  • comment loading needs work site-wide
  • some images are not displayed correctly

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10:30 am
Copyright Trolls Targeted Over 100,000 IP-addresses in Sweden

In the early 2000s, Sweden was considered to be a relatively safe haven for pirates.

The country was the home of the Pirate Bay, the birthing ground of the Pirate Party, and a place where for many citizens file-sharing was second nature.

Today, this safe haven has long disappeared. The Scandinavian country has prosecuted several torrent site operators, including The Pirate Bay’s founders, while lawsuits targeting individual BitTorrent users are a common sight.

In many ways, Sweden has become a copyright enforcement hotspot. This includes the ‘copyright-trolling’ phenomenon, in which movie companies target hundreds or thousands of alleged pirates hoping to secure monetary settlements.

The first wave of these lawsuits started three years ago but the practice has grown exponentially since. According to Swedish Internet provider Bahnhof, which has kept track of these cases since early 2017, the number of new cases has already broken a record this year.

During the first three quarters of 2019, a total of 78 new applications were submitted to the Patent and Market Court. This is up from 72 during the whole of 2018, and substantially more than the 27 applications that were filed a year earlier.

While the number of applications has grown, the cases target fewer IP-addresses in total. Last year over 50,000 IPs were targeted and the 2019 total so far is 26,274 IP addresses. Combined with the 2017 numbers, we see that more than 100,000 IP-addresses have been targeted over the past three years.

It’s worth noting that this exceeds the number of targets in other, much larger countries, including the United States.

This type of data is not something an Internet provider would generally release, but it makes sense considering that Bahnhof is an active anti-copyright trolling advocate. The company categorically refuses to share data with copyright holders, as it also makes clear in its press release.

While Bahnhof must retain IP-address logs by law, it operates separate databases. Data is only disclosed to law enforcement authorities for specific purposes and not for this type of copyright enforcement.

“This means that Bahnhof’s customers have not suffered from this type of extortion letter,” the Internet provider notes.

Looking at the targeted ISPs over the past year we see that most of the targeted IP-addresses belong to Telia subscribers, followed by Com Hem, and Telenor. The rightsholders who file these cases are represented by a variety of law firms, including the well known Njord Law.

While Bahnhof is indirectly using these figures to promote its own business, the company hopes that these ‘copyright-trolling’ practices will eventually end, perhaps following an intervention from the Government. According to the company, the entire process is based on extortion.

“The success factor of the letters is partly that they can easily be mistaken for genuine invoices or fines, and the threat of a legal process that drives people to pay out of pure fear, even when they are innocent. The business model is thus based on regular extortion,” Bahnhof notes.

The Swedish Internet provider also maintains a dedicated website called Utpressningskollen where it provides additional details and information on Swedish copyright-trolling efforts.

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

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