TTP Could Outlaw Filesharing Sites

WikiLeaks has been releasing secret documents from the recently-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which ties a cabal of Pacific countries, including the US, Canada, and Australia, to an intercontinental trade agreement, over the last week, and the latest papers, related to intellectual property, could threaten the existence of filesharing websites.

TTP is designed to unify rules and laws that govern business practices across all member countries, meaning that the harshest laws become uniform across every nation signed to the agreement. So, the United States of America’s notorious DMCA takedowns can be applied to all 12 TPP member states.

The leaked documents require all TPP members to adhere to a law that says that ISPs must “remove or disable access” to a website found sharing infringing content. Note: it is not the content that is disabled, it is the site itself. Canada, which has always been laissez-faire when it comes to content takedown will now be obliged to reprimand websites upon a single complaint.

There is still hope, though. The document released by WikiLeaks is merely the current wording, not the final draft, so with months still to go during the drafting process, we may see the rulings become less draconian.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Mad Max: Fury Road is 2015’s Most Pirated Film

2015 has seen a sharp rise in piracy on the previous year, with Summer blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road topping this year’s illegal download chart. George Miller’s Mad Max sequel/remake/reboot/revisiting has had 22.90 million torrent shares so far this year, the runaway leader ahead of Jurassic World (18.16 million), Avengers: Age of Ultron (15.87 million), Insurgent (14.46 million), and Terminator: Genisys (13.94 million).

While Mad Max: Fury Road surpassed Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Terminator: Genisys in illegal downloads, both films cleaned up while in cinemas, with worldwide box office takings of $1.6 billion for Jurassic World, $1.5 billion for Avengers: Age of Ultron, and $436 million for Terminator: Genisys, compared to Mad Max: Fury Road’s respectable $374.2 million.

Piracy overall has seen a 29% rise compared to 2014, according to piracy tracking firm Excipio, which has been attributed to a comparably higher box office performance of this year’s biggest films; last year’s cinema offerings delivered a seven-year low in ticket sales, according to Rentrak, while 2015 was the second-best on record. Regarding torrent sharing, the top five films last Summer, of which Captain America: The Winter Soldier was most popular, garnered 66 million downloads, while this year’s top five accrued 85.34 million over the same period.

Thank you Variety for providing us with this information.

Hollywood Sues US Popcorn Time Users

The studio responsible for producing maligned Adam Sandler comedy The Cobbler, which currently holds a risible 9% on Rotten Tomatoes, has filed a lawsuit in Oregon against 11 people who watched the film through ‘Netflix for pirates’ app, Popcorn Time. This is the first time that a copyright holder has taken legal action against a Popcorn Time user, though film studios have a long history of going after torrenters of its movies.

Cobbler Nevada LLC has filed the motion with Oregon District Court, citing 11 anonymous IP addresses of people suspected to have watched The Cobbler illegally via Popcorn Time, and requesting that Comcast reveals the personal details of the account holders.

“Each defendant’s IP address has been observed and confirmed as both viewing and distributing plaintiff’s motion picture through Popcorn Time,” the complainant claims. “Popcorn Time exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to steal copyrighted content,” the statement continues, asserting that users should be aware of this.

“Without a doubt, each user of Popcorn Time is provided multiple notices that they are downloading and installing software for the express purpose of committing theft and contributing the ability of others to commit theft by furthering the Bit Torrent piracy network,” it continues.

The producers want a permanent injunction against the 11 defendants, plus a $150,000 fine, though, like most “copyright trolls”, they are likely to accept a settlement.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

Lawyers Tell UK Government You Can’t Jail Online Pirates for 10 Years

The UK Government, currently in consultation over a proposed revision to current copyright infringement, has been told point-blank by the British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association (BILETA) that sending pirates to jail for 10 years – one of the government’s proposals – is “unacceptable, infeasible and unaffordable.”

The consultation, commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), was public, meaning anyone with an objection to the proposals could speak up, which is exactly what BILETA did. “There is no need to change the existing law [because] legitimate means to tackle large-scale commercial online copyright infringement are not only already available, but also currently being used,” BILETA’s response read.

Mike Weatherley MP, the intellectual property adviser to the Prime Minister, initiated the consultation after he concluded that the “disparity in sentencing between online and offline crime […] sends out all the wrong messages. Until this is changed, online crime will be seen as less significant than traditional theft.”

Weatherley’s 12-page consultation document went even further, saying:

“There is no doubt that copyright infringement is serious and there is no strong case for treating online infringement any differently to physical infringement. The government believes that this change will send a clear message to rights holders and criminals that copyright infringement online will not be tolerated. This is furthermore supported by the Conservative manifesto commitment that sentencing should reflect the seriousness of the crime.”

But BILETA argues that not only is the 10-year prison sentence proposal impractical, it cannot be fairly implemented. “The system has been overcrowded every year since 1994. Whilst the capacity has been increased, there is a continuing rise in the number of people being held in prison which continues to outstrip the number of places available,” BILETA’s statement reads. “In addition to difficulties relating to jurisdiction there are practical issues when seeking to identify those who run and own large websites or services which facilitate copyright infringement on a criminal scale. To begin with, the registration procedures for websites are not sufficiently verified.”

Any UK revisions to intellectual property law, though, could become redundant anyway as the European Commission is set to propose new copyright laws that will supersede any UK law.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information.

Hollywood Issuing DMCA Takedowns for Content on Their Own Computers

Are you familiar with this message?

“In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org.”

It appears at the bottom of Google search results, usually when looking for pages related to an intellectual property, and comes as a result of DMCA takedowns issued by the copyright holder. Say you’re searching for The Avengers: Age of Ultron; it’s likely that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has found instances of piracy related to the movie, and submitted DMCA takedown notices to have the infringing pages removed from Google searches.

A recent DMCA takedown sent to Google, related to dino blockbuster Jurassic World, looks like any other.

Except, on closer inspection, one of the infringing URLs is listed as http://127.0.0.1 which, as I’m sure most readers will know, is the localhost address of the person sending the DMCA. That means that the DMCA takedown includes materials on the submitter’s computer.

NBC Universal made the same mistake when issuing a DMCA takedown for 47 Ronin:

While Workman Publishing also had the infringing content – in this case, the Life of Pi audiobook – on their computers:

A search through ‘Chilling Effects’, Google’s database of DMCA notices, will present a plethora of infringing 127.0.0.1 URLs. Maybe Hollywood should be held to account for its role in online piracy, too.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

Online Pirates in UK Could Face 10 Years in Prison

The UK government is considering a law that would see online pirates face up to 10 years in jail. At present, online piracy carries a maximum sentence of 2 years in prison, in extreme circumstances, but MPs have begun a consultation regarding increasing the penalty to 10 years, which would match it to the punishment for physical copyright infringement. According to government sources, the harsher sentence would be a “significant deterrent.”

The creative industries – those that represent the film, music, and literary arts, particularly – have long lobbied for stricter punishment for copyright infringement, arguing that 2 years in prison is not enough to discourage piracy.

The new measures proposed by ministers are aimed at distributors of pirated materials – large-scale operations that create copies of movies, TV shows, and music – rather than those that download those materials.

“The government takes copyright crime extremely seriously – it hurts businesses, consumers and the wider economy both on and offline,” said Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Minister for Intellectual Property. “Our creative industries are worth more than £7 billion to the UK economy and it’s important to protect them from online criminal enterprises.”

“By toughening penalties for commercial-scale online offending we are offering greater protections to businesses and sending a clear message to deter criminals,” Baroness Neville-Rolfe added.

“Online or offline, intellectual property theft is a crime,” Detective Chief Inspector Peter Ratcliffe, head of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, said. “With advances in technology and the popularity of the internet, more and more criminals are turning to online criminality and so it is imperative that our prosecution system reflects our moves to a more digital world.”

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

UK Expands Torrent Site Blacklist to Proxies

The UK High Court has quietly added a number of proxies and mirrors to its torrent site blacklist, restricting backdoor access to sites such as Torrentz and ExtraTorrent. Of course, ExtraTorrent has already launched a new mirror site to bypass the block.

The list of blocked torrent sites in the UK now exceeds one hundred, with enforcers constantly playing whack-a-mole in a desperate attempt to suppress every new torrent site URL that springs up. Last week’s ruling has seen torrentz-proxy.com, torrentsmirror.com, etproxy.com, extratorrentlive.com and extratorrentonline.com added to the blacklist.

“The High Court has declared that ExtraTorrent and Torrentz are operating unlawfully and infringing copyright. The Court Order which requires ISPs to block the sites also requires BPI to notify the ISPs of changes to the sites,” said a spokesperson for the BPI (British Phonographic Industry), one of many organisations that have obtained High Court orders against torrent sites to infringing upon copyrighted materials.

Fruitless efforts, though, since torrent sites are always one step ahead. “The connectivity issues were totally solved after we launched a new mirror. It appears that all UK visitors are able to visit the website now as the traffic is back and still growing,” the ExtraTorrent team told TorrentFreak.

The full list of sites blocked to copyright infringement within the UK now reads:

Rojadirecta, LiveTV, Drakulastream, Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre, Freebookspot, popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, isoplex.isohunt.to, watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com, g2g.fm, Bursalagu, Fullsongs, Mega-Search, Mp3 Monkey, Mp3.li, Mp3Bear, MP3Boo, Mp3Clan, Mp3Olimp, MP3s.pl, Mp3soup, Mp3Truck, Musicaddict, My Free MP3, Plixid, RnBXclusive, STAFA Band, watchseries.lt, Stream TV, Watchseries-online, Cucirca, Movie25, watchseries.to, Iwannawatch, Warez BB, Ice Films, Tehparadox, Heroturko, Scene Source,, Rapid Moviez, Iwatchonline, Los Movies, Isohunt, Torrentz.pro, Torrentbutler, IP Torrents, Sumotorrent, Torrent Day, Torrenting, BitSoup, TorrentBytes, Seventorrents, Torrents.fm, Yourbittorrent, Tor Movies , Demonoid, torrent.cd, Vertor, Rar BG, bittorrent.am, btdigg.org, btloft.com, bts.to, limetorrents.com, nowtorrents.com, picktorrent.com, seedpeer.me, torlock.com, torrentbit.net, torrentdb.li, torrentdownload.ws, torrentexpress.net, torrentfunk.com, torrentproject.com, torrentroom.com, torrents.net, torrentus.eu, torrentz.cd, torrentzap.com, vitorrent.org.Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T, and The Pirate Bay.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Privatoria.

Browser-Based Game Boy Advance Emulator Shut Down by Nintendo

Nintendo, in its on-going mission to ruin our fun, has forced a popular Java-based Game Boy Advance emulator offline. The emulator, which allowed users to play GBA games in-browser, has been taken off GitHub after Nintendo issued a takedown notice, citing copyright infringements for every game offered through the emulator, rather than the emulator itself. Nintendo complained that offering titles such as Advance Wars, Dragon Ball Z, Super Mario Advance, Pokemon Emerald, and The Sims 2 is an illegal use of the company’s intellectual property.

Nintendo’s takedown notice to GitHub reads:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We represent Nintendo of America Inc. (“Nintendo”) in intellectual property matters. Certain material posted on the web site located at http://jsemu.github.io/gba/ infringes copyrights owned by Nintendo. This notice is provided pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 USC § 512 and GitHub, Inc.’s DMCA Takedown Policy.

Nintendo requests that GitHub, Inc., disable public access to the web site at http://jsemu.github.io/gba/. This web site provides access to unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s copyright-protected video games and videos making use of Nintendo’s copyrighted Pokémon characters and imagery in violation of Nintendo’s exclusive rights. The copyrighted works at issue include but are not limited to the following:

Shortly after receiving the takedown notice, GitHub shut down the emulator and suspended the users account, presumably to prevent any further infringement. However, since the code was open source and available for download, it is still floating about, even being hosted by different accounts on GitHub.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Google Fiber Users Receiving Automated Fines for Piracy

Google is sending customers of its fibre service that are suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted materials automated fines. Google Fiber users have received fines, sent through automated e-mails, of up to hundreds of dollars. Other automated messages from the internet provider include takedown notices to users thought to be hosting pirated data.

Google, though its search engine, usually has a good record at protecting users from DMCA takedown notices from copyright holders, so the company’s use of automated fines as a first point of contact is surprising. Settlement fees send through such e-mails tend to range from anywhere between $20 and $300. Even ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T protects its customers from such settlement demands, which makes Google allowing these e-mails, though copyright enforcers such as Rightscorp and CEG TEK a real concern.

According to Mitch Stoltz, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), ISPs are no required by law to forward DMCA notices to users, and should be obliged to carefully review any such notice before taking action.

“In the U.S., ISPs don’t have any legal obligation to forward infringement notices in their entirety. An ISP that cares about protecting its customers from abuse should strip out demands for money before forwarding infringement notices. Many do this,” Stoltz says.

“The problem with notices demanding money from ISP subscribers is that they’re often misleading. They often give the impression that the person whose name is on the ISP bill is legally responsible for all infringement that might happen on the Internet connection, which is simply not true,” he adds.

Google has so far refused to comment on the matter.

Thank you Torrent Freak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Techno Buffalo.

Music Streaming Site Grooveshark Closes

Popular music streaming platform Grooveshark closed last night (30th April) after eight years. In a statement on its website, Grooveshark admits that it failed to acquire the appropriate licences for most of the songs it hosted, and was therefore guilty of copyright infringement. The site and its contents have been surrendered to the music industry, presumably to avoid costly legal action.

Grooveshark’s statement reads:

Dear music fans,

Today we are shutting down Grooveshark.

We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service.

That was wrong. We apologise. Without reservation.

As part of a settlement agreement with the major record companies, we have agreed to cease operations immediately, wipe clean all of the record companies’ copyrighted works and hand over ownership of this website, our mobile apps and intellectual property, including our patents and copyrights.

At the time of our launch, few music services provided the experience we wanted to offer – and think you deserve. Fortunately that’s no longer the case. There are now hundreds of fan friendly, affordable services available for you to choose from, including Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Beats Music, Rhapsody and Rdio, among many others.

If you love music and respect the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible, use a licensed service that compensates artists and other rights holders. You can find out more about the many great services available where you live here: http://whymusicmatters.com/find-music

It has been a privilege getting to know so many of your and enjoying great music together. Thank you for being such passionate fans.

Yours in music,

Your friends at Grooveshark

Though the free music streaming service has closed, the website groovebackup.com is helping former users to export their Grooveshark playlists.

Thank you The Independent for providing us with this information.

Nintendo Takes Down Super Mario 64 Unity Remake

In a move that will shock no one, Nintendo has issued a copyright infringement notice against the remake of Super Mario 64 built by a fan using the Unity game engine. The remake, which was playable within an internet browser, was only one level and available for free, but Nintendo obviously don’t like being shown up.

Nintendo’s lawyers send the copyright notice to Cloudflare, which had been hosting the game. The notice reads:

“The copyrighted work at issue is Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 video game (U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0000788138), including but not limited to the audiovisual work, computer program, music, and fictional character depictions. The web site at http://mario64-erik.u85.net/Web.html displays, and allows users to play, an electronic game that makes unauthorized use of copyright-protected features of Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 video game. Nintendo requests that CloudFlare, Inc. immediately disable public access to http://mario64-erik.u85.net/Web.”

Though Cloudflare has pulled the game, it seems that, with a bit of searching, it can still be found for download from “other providers”, as is the enhanced version we reported on a few days ago.

Source: The Next Web

KickassTorrents Domain Seized; Site Taken Down

Popular torrent site KickassTorrents (KAT) has had its Somalian kickass.so domain seized and the site is currently down. KickassTorrents had over one million unique visitors a day, making it the most popular torrent site in the world, more so than The Pirate Bay.

Since The Pirate Bay was taken down at the end of last year, it was only a matter of time before law enforcement turned its attention to the biggest copyright infringers on the internet. KAT has moved domain many times in the past in an attempt to protect itself from legal takedowns, and the Somalia domain was thought to be a safe haven.

As of Monday morning, kickasstorrents.so was listed as ‘BANNED’.

According to TorrentFreak, the KAT team are to revert back to the older kickass.to domain soon.

Source: TorrentFreak

Founder of IsoHunt Thinks Bitcoin Can Kill Piracy

Gary Fung, the original founder of torrent tracking site IsoHunt – long since closed, then resurrected by others – believes that Bitcoin microtransactions could eventually kill online piracy.

Fung, who left IsoHunt after its initial closure back in 2013, told TorrentFreak, “Technologically, I envision studios and other media companies creating open APIs and platforms so new innovative streaming services can be developed on top. […] That would solve the studio’s fear of single players like Netflix dominating media distribution and eventually dictating terms in the industry.”

In the future, Fung see a model in which Bitcoin becomes the universal online currency for online media consumption, saying, “Imagine when everyone can watch and listen to anything, anytime, anywhere, with mere cents, automatically and continuously deducted from your Bitcoin wallet.”

“Here’s my tip to industry associations like the MPAA and RIAA for continued relevance in this Internet age, possibly for everyone’s benefits,” Fung said. “Become standards bodies for programmatic APIs over media rights, metadata and micro-transaction details. Record labels and movie/tv studios can use these standards to make their own works available for streaming and to accept payments from third parties.”

Source: KitGuru

Sports Streaming Site Wiziwig Forced to Close

Popular sports streaming site Wiziwig has been forced to close as of 31st December. The site’s owners attribute the move to new laws introduced in Spain – where the site is hosted – that came into effect on 1st January that may result in fines of up € 600,000 and risk of losing the domain for providing illegal streams of copyrighted material.

A post on the Wiziwig website says that the closure is “at least for now,” which suggests it may return. If that is the case, the domain would likely to be hosted by another country. Wiziwig signed off with, “Time will tell if we can find ways to come back…”

Source: Wiziwig

Sony to be Sued for Pirating Music in The Interview

In an ironic reversal, a musician whose music was used in controversial comedy movie The Interview is threatening to sue Sony.

Yoon Mi-rae, a US-born hip-hip artist, was in negotiation Sony to have her track Pay Day included in the soundtrack to The Interview. When negotiations ceased without resolution, Yoon and her management assumed that the deal was off. That was until she discovered that the song had featured in the film, without her permission.

“There were initial discussions for using ‘Pay Day‘ in the movie, but at some point, the discussions ceased and we assumed that it would not follow through,” Feel Ghood Music, Yoon’s record label, said. “However, after the movie was released, we learned that the track had been used without permission, legal procedure, or contracts.”

The label followed, “We will be taking legal action against Sony Pictures as well as DFSB, the agency that had been carrying out the discussion regarding the use of the track.”

Source: Torrent Freak

Google Speaks Out Over Secret Attacks by Hollywood

The recent Sony Pictures hack revealed that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) had organised a secret campaign against Google, going so far as to pay Attorneys General to do their bidding, due to the perception that the search engine was facilitating online piracy. Now Google has responded to the secret attacks.

“We are deeply concerned about recent reports that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) led a secret, coordinated campaign to revive the failed SOPA legislation through other means,” Google wrote on their blog on Thursday. “While we of course have serious legal concerns about all of this, one disappointing part of this story is what this all means for the MPAA itself, an organization founded in part ‘to promote and defend the First Amendment and artists’ right to free expression. Why, then, is it trying to secretly censor the Internet?”

The MPAA is yet to comment on the details of the leak.

Source: The Verge

The Pirate Bay Admits it Doesn’t Know if it Will Return

Five days after torrent site The Pirate Bay was taken down by a police raid in Sweden, a member of TPB crew has spoken about the future of the site in an exclusive interview with TorrentFreak.

Mr 10100100000, an anonymous member of the TPB crew, told TorrentFreak over an encrypted channel, “We were not that surprised by the raid. That is something that is a part of this game. We couldn’t care less really. We have however taken this opportunity to give ourselves a break. How long are we supposed to keep going? To what end? We were a bit curious to see how the public would react.” When asked if The Pirate Bay will return, Mr 10100100000 was non-committal, saying, “We don’t know yet. But if and when we do, it’ll be with a bang.”

Source: TorrentFreak

The Pirate Bay Co-Founder Doesn’t Care if the Site Stays Down Forever

The Pirate Bay, the most infamous torrent indexer on the internet, had its servers in Sweden raided by police on Sunday. The site has been down ever since*. Co-founder Peter Sunde, in a blog post, claims he no longer cares if the site ever returns.

Sunde, one of three original co-founders of The Pirate Bay, is no longer involved in the running of the site, and he accuses its new owners of compromising the ideals the site was set up to promote. “The Pirate Bay has been raided, again. That happened over eight years ago last time.” Sunde said. “That time, a lot of people went out to protest, and rally in the streets. Today few seem to care. And I’m one of them.” He calls the current site administrators “less soul-ish people” due to them adding “more and more ads,” in opposition to the ‘pirate’ ethos.

*Within the last few hours, on Tuesday evening GMT, thepiratebay.se website was confirmed to be back online.

Source: Mashable

White House Wants to Make Illegal Downloads a Felony Offense

The White House has weighed in on the issue of media copyright infringement online, asserting that illegal downloads should be made a felony offense. Alex Niejelow, Chief of Staff to the US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator and National Security Council’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said in a statement, “we believe that federal criminal law should be modernized to include felony criminal penalties for those who engage in large-scale streaming of illegal, infringing content in the same way laws already on the books do for reproduction and distribution of infringing content.”

The White House affirmed its position on the matter in response to two online petitions calling for more leniency in intellectual property laws, citing the failed Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) as dangerously restrictive.

Source: The Hill

Google Refuses MPAA Request to Block Torrent Sites

Google has refused requests from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to block the homepages to a number of torrent sites from its online search results. Google has not released its reasons for denying the requests, but it is believed that, since no pirated content is linked on the respective sites’ homepage, they are not deemed guilty of copyright infringement, most acting more like aggregators or search engines.

A Google representative outlined their policy toward blocking copyright infringing material in a conversation with TorrentFreak, posted on Sunday, saying, “We’ve designed a variety of policies to comply with the requirements of the law, while weeding out false positives and material that’s too remote from infringing activity.”

Source: KitGuru

IsoHunt Brought Back From The Dead, New Spin-Off Created

Earlier this month torrent indexing site IsoHunt was forced to shut down after its owned Gary Fung faced a lawsuit from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) which ended up with him having to pay them $110 million in compensation. Of course Gary Fung is unable to pay that kind of sum and wouldn’t do so even if he did have the money, hence why IsoHunt had to shut down instead. Now a few weeks later TorrentFreak reports that IsoHunt has been resurrected by a different group of people under a new domain of isohunt.to not isohunt.com. The new “spin-off” is apparently in no way associated with the old IsoHunt but it has been designed to pretty much imitate it.

“ArchiveTeam” were believed to be behind a move to revive IsoHunt and they went to extensive efforts to try and back up the site before it was taken offline. On hearing of ArchiveTeam’s attempts to backup and essentially “copy” IsoHunt, owner Gary Fung took the site offline early to prevent it. This means that the new IsoHunt is actually in no way associated with ArchiveTeam or the old IsoHunt operators. The new IsoHunt is operated by a third party team who say that preserving the cultural icon of Isohunt is what matters to them.

“IsoHunt has been a great part of the torrent world for more than a decade. It’s a big loss to everyone who used it over the years. Media corporations don’t like innovative or competition and isoHunt’s fate is one of the examples of how they deal with it…IsoHunt can definitely be called a file-sharing icon. People got used to it and they don’t want to simply let it go. We want those people to feel like being at home while visiting isohunt.to. The main goal is to restore the website with torrents and provide users with the same familiar interface.”

Whether you believe their justification about preserving a cultural icon to be true, or whether you just think they are looking to make a quick buck off someone else’s hard work, they are still seeking to create an IsoHunt imitiation or replacement service. The new operators of isohunt.to say that 75% of the old isohunt.com database has been restored, whether former isohunt.com users warm to the new domain and website layout is another matter.

Image courtesy of Isohunt.to

Google Ignores Requests To Delist Pirate Bay Homepage

Torrent Freak reports that the BPI, British Phonographic Industry/British Recorded Music Industry, has failed in a request to Google to get them to delist the Pirate Bay’s new domain thepiratebay.sx. The BPI submitted more than 2000 allegedly infringing URLs to Google including the Pirate Bay’s homepage. Despite the staggering number of submissions Google still managed to filter out the homepage DMCA takedown as an invalid request. Why? Because Google did not believe that the Pirate Bay homepage infringes on the rights of the BPI’s music in any way. The BPI can successfully have the webpages holding the torrent files to their music delisted but the Pirate Bay homepage itself is another matter.

Google continues to maintain the principle of not delisting an entire website domain because the website hosts some infringing URLs. This presumption follows the principle that websites, particularly ones with search engines, cannot be held responsible for providing links to content that is infringing. Of course if Google didn’t follow that principle Google itself would be one of the biggest violators in the world because it provides access to millions of URLs that host infringing content through its search engine.

Image courtesy of Google (via eTeknix)

Torrent Site H33T Goes Offline Following Court Order

TorrentFreak reports that torrent site H33T has gone offline after encountering legal issues with its domain name registration. The domain name registrar for H33T removed all nameservers making the domain name useless according to H33T’s host Leaseweb. The registrar was served a court order because H33T apparently failed to remove certain copyrighted files. H33T says it hopes to be back up as soon as possible for business as usual.

“We asked our registrar why we cannot add the nameservers of LeaseWeb to your account. They informed us that they regretfully forced to temporarily disable the domain name due to receipt of a court order as the registrant had not reacted upon a request to remove certain files/entries from his service.” Stated Leaseweb support to H33T.

H33T’s owner is apparently very unhappy with the situation as the site has been effectively taken offline without any prior notice. H33T claim no DMCA notification was filed to them about any offending files and no legal correspondence was sent. H33T has a DMCA style take down procedure but it charges a $50 administration fee for each request and very often rejects requests because it operates outside U.S jurisdiction.

While H33T is technically down the site’s servers are still technically up and running but are rendered pretty useless without any domain names to pointing people towards them.

H33T say they expect to come back online very soon under a new domain, H33T.eu:

“H33t.eu is firing up now and will be fully live within 24 hours as soon as the DNS changes propagate to your locale. The regular h33t tracker is also firing up on the new eu domain announce.”

Image courtesy of H33T

Copyright Troll Caught Seeding Own Torrents

An interesting and quite entertaining Torrent Freak report has revealed that a copyright troll has been actively seeding its own illegally downloadable content on the Pirate Bay.

Comcast confirmed that Pirate Bay user Sharkmp4 is directly linked to the infamous patent troll Prenda Law. The Pirate Bay helped Comcast expose the copyright troll who is running a honeypot on the famous torrent website. The exposure came for a report from June released by Delvan Neville, a company that monitors BitTorrent users, and it accused Prenda Law of running the “Honey Pot” tactic. The reports suggest that the law firm was a major seeder of the files which it claimed to be protecting.  The Pirate Bay managed to join the dots up by matching the IP address of user Sharkmp4 to Prenda Law’s IP address.

Do you think these kind of set-ups or honey pot traps should be allowed?

Image courtesy of Maclife.com

The Pirate Bay Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

The Pirate Bay is the most iconic symbol of online piracy in the world. The notorious pirate site yesterday celebrated its 10 year anniversary at Wikparken, Upplands Väsby in Sweden at 3pm. The event attracted thousands of visitors in Stockholm.

The Pirate Bay emerged from humble beginnings of a basic laptop with 256MB of RAM acting as a makeshift server to today where the Pirate Bay is now so popular it needs multiple high powered dedicated servers and very advanced network infrastructure. Back in 2006 many thought the Pirate Bay was finished when its main data centre was raided and property seized.

However, within just three days the site was back online and it was business as normal. Since then the Pirate Bay has continued mainly uninterrupted despite global efforts to block domain names it uses and the fact some of its founding members have been arrested and even imprisoned in their native Sweden.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKUmXJVTeUA[/youtube]

Image courtesy of the Pirate Bay

Pirate Party Report Swedish IT Minister For Copyright Infringements

While politicians and MPs are quick to bash consumers and websites for issues over copyright infringements it seems the Pirate Party are serving up Swedish MPs a dose of their own medicine. The Swedish Pirate Party has reported the Swedish IT minister to the police for a violation of copyright law. The IT minister, Anna-Karin Hatt, is accused of sharing copyrighted images via her Instagram without the copyright holder’s permission.

“When not even the Swedish IT Minister complies with copyright law online, one can hardly expect ordinary Internet users to feel compelled to follow such an outdated law,” says Torbjörn Wester, Pirate Party spokesperson. 

The IT Minister is accused of sharing Motion Pictures artwork from The Lord of the Rings, Monty Python and The Da Vinci Code. While the Pirate Party reported such violations to the police it is likely they will be ignored. While you may think what the Swedish IT Minister has done isn’t bad at all, the fact the Swedish government are pushing for copyright laws that make such activities illegal is a big issue for internet users. If Swedish MPs can’t even avoid the copyright traps they’ve created then what hope is there for the rest of the population?

Image courtesy of the Pirate Party Sweden, Information via Torrent Freak

Nintendo File Lawsuit Against HackYourConsole.Com, Accused Of Selling Illegal Software

HackYourConsole.com is quite a popular website on the console scene. Apparently popular enough to attract the attention of Nintendo who have now filed a lawsuit against HackYourConsole.com according to Softpedia.

In the lawsuit Nintendo accused HackYourConsole.com of  “blatantly promoting and selling” unauthorised games for Nintendo DS systems and Wii consoles. The website is accused by Nintendo of selling services and devices which facilitate and encourage the use of illegally downloaded games by consumers. The lawsuit is part of a wider agenda at Nintendo to combat piracy of its video games and services.

“Piracy on the Nintendo DS system has a huge impact on games sales,” commented Jools Watsham, co-founder and director of Renegade Kid…It can affect everyone involved, including the many honest players out there. If independent studios, like ours, are unable to recoup the money they invest into game development, through the sales of their games, we will unfortunately see fewer independent games developed in the future”, said Jools Watsham, co-founder and director of Renegade Kid.

Is piracy really killing the sales of Nintendo games or do you think Nintendo are just looking for scape-goats to the lower than expected sales they have experienced on the Nintendo DS platform?

Image courtesy of HackYourConsole.com