With an intuitive and easy to use interface, Popcorn Time has become the go-to service for users who, let’s be honest, want to pirate TV shows and movies. Underscoring how much easier the service is to use than traditional BitTorrent clients, the ascension of Popcorn Time has resulted in an absolute explosion in piracy since its 2014 launch. Norway in particular has experienced a huge increase in piracy, with some estimates claiming that 15% of the population there has viewed pirated content within the last 12 months.
Ever since its inception, the voluntary “six strikes” Copyright Alert System has been one of the most controversial in the film industry… but maybe not for the reasons you think. In effect, the policy was meant to give pirates six warnings before throttling their download speeds or blocking their access to torrent sites, but many filmmakers believe it doesn’t go nearly far enough. More →
Surprise: Advocates of the so-called “six strikes” anti-piracy policy are calling it a smashing success but aren’t releasing any data to back up their claims. For those of you who need a refresher, the six strikes policy was a new plan pushed by copyright advocates on ISPs that essentially gives users up to six different notices or warnings after they download pirated content before throttling their Internet speeds or blocking their access to certain websites. The program was hit with multiple delays since its inception and critics have said that it’s completely impossible to enforce fairly in buildings with shared connections. More →
Google received more than 235 million takedown requests this year from copyright holders that wanted links to copyright infringing content to be removed from Google Search, TorrentFreak revealed after looking at Google’s copyright-related transparency report. The company acted on over 90% of requests, but it rejected about 21 million takedown requests either because the requests were illegitimate or were duplicates of the links that were already removed. More →
A man in Sweden who used to upload movies to a torrent site for years has been ordered by a court to pay $652,000 in damages for uploading a single pre-release film, a record so far for a Swedish movie, TorrentFreak reports. That’s how much the studio would have charged to allow the user to share the movie for free. More →
Although pressure from activists and major tech companies helped kill off the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last year, it looks as though the Obama administration wants to bring a key part of it back from the grave. The Washington Post reports that the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force last week released a report that recommended classifying illegal content streaming as a felony. More →
Google has followed through on its pledge to help copyright holders come up with a plan to starve piracy websites of funding. The Guardian reports that Google is kicking off a new initiative that will let copyright holders alert advertising firms when their ads are appearing on websites that distributed pirated content. The hope is that Google will use its significant clout in online advertising to pressure advertisers not to buy ads on alleged piracy websites, thus starving those websites of revenue. This past spring, a Google representative floated a similar plan during a forum discussion on preventing piracy and suggested that it was a better and more realistic alternative to outright blocking links to alleged piracy websites from search results.
The Recording Industry Association of America is not easy to please. The Verge reports that the RIAA is once again bashing Google (GOOG) over its allegedly half-hearted efforts to combat online piracy by claiming that it has “found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy.” Google announced this past summer that it would start demoting websites that were repeatedly flagged for copyright violations and the company is reportedly in talks with major credit card companies to cut off funds to websites frequently accused of piracy. But the RIAA has found that “well-known, authorized download sites, such as iTunes, Amazon and eMusic” aren’t being featured prominently enough in Google searches for songs. The bottom line, says the RIAA, is that “whatever Google has done to its search algorithms to change the ranking of infringing sites, it doesn’t appear to be working.”
Unless you have acute nostalgia for AOL dial-up service circa 1998, then you probably shouldn’t get busted pirating copyrighted material on Verizon’s (VZ) network. TorrentFreak has got hold of Verizon’s official “six strikes” anti-piracy policy that’s slated to roll out this year and has found that repeat offenders on Verizon’s network will see their connection speeds throttled down to just 256Kbps. More →
Thankfully, police in Finland have agreed to end their criminal investigation of a nine-year-old girl over piracy allegations. But that doesn’t mean her family will get away scot-free because TorrentFreak is reporting that her father Aki Nylund has had to fork over €300 to get the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) to drop the case. And Nylund wasn’t at all happy about having to pay the fine either — per TorrentFreak, he said that having CIAPC hound him was like having “people from the mafia demanding money at the door.” The good news, however, is that his daughter will soon get her confiscated “Winnie the Pooh” laptop returned to her just in time for Christmas.
It seems that raiding the house of a 9-year-old girl and seizing her “Winnie the Pooh” laptop wasn’t the public relations triumph that copyright holders were hoping for. MTV3 in Finland reports that police have ended their criminal investigation into piracy allegations against a 9-year-old girl and her father who allegedly ignored requests from the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) to pay a €600 fine to settle piracy charges. The Finnish detective at the head of the investigation told MTV3 that his department has “decided to end the criminal investigation, because CIAPC has waived the penalty claims,” so it seems that CIAPC had a pretty good idea of how bad the optics of this case were. The report makes no mention of when the girl might get her “Winnie the Pooh” laptop back.
Good news, pirates: you have a little more time to enjoy yourselves before ISPs start breaking your Internet service. TorrentFreak reports that the “Center for Copyright Information has announced that the ISPs are not ready to send warnings” to alleged copyright infringers yet, which means that ISPs’ long-threatened “six strikes” anti-piracy policy will be delayed yet again until at least early 2013. More →
File-sharing site RapidShare has apparently decided that it doesn’t want to put up with the headaches that Kim Dotcom dealt with after government officials took down his Megaupload website earlier this year. ReadWrite reports that RapidShare is implementing a download data cap of 1 gigabyte per day for its non-paying users while its subscribers will still have limits of 30 gigabytes per day. The idea is to limit the ability of would-be pirates to widely distribute pirated content illegally to multiple users. ReadWrite says that this cap will only apply “to public downloads, whereas direct Dropbox-style sharing between users won’t be affected.”