The Motion Picture Association of America this week filed a motion for a summary judgement against file-sharing service Hotfile in a U.S. District Court in Florida, TorrentFreak reports. The MPAA, which describes itself as “the voice and advocate of the American motion picture,” argued in its filing that Hotfile’s business model is identical to that of Megaupload, a popular file-sharing site that was shuttered earlier this year. “Hotfile is responsible for billions of infringing downloads of copyrighted works, including plaintiffs’ valuable motion picture and television properties,” MPAA lawyers wrote in the filing. “As with other adjudicated pirate services that came before it, from Napster and Grokster to Isohunt and Limewire, Hotfile exists to profit from copyright infringement.” The document continued, “More than 90% of the files downloaded from Hotfile are copyright infringing, and nearly every Hotfile user is engaged in copyright infringement.” The MPAA hopes that its motion will convince the court to have Hotfile shut down and forced to pay damages to movie studios, thus avoiding the need for a lengthy trial. More →
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom on Thursday questioned his accusers’ motives while speaking to The Guardian. “I’m no piracy king,” Dotcom told the paper. “I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.” Dotcom was arrested in his New Zealand mansion on January 20th after his notorious Megaupload service was shuttered earlier that week as part of a multi-agency sting across several countries. He was released on bail and it currently awaiting trial, having been accused of money laundering, violating piracy laws and a number of other crimes. “It’s kind of like weapon of mass destructions in Iraq, you know?” Dotcom said during an interview with The Guardian. “If you want to go after someone and you have a political goal you will say whatever it takes.” Read on for more. More →
Authorities in Germany recently executed a raid that resulted in at least two arrests and the takedown of another popular file-sharing service. German-language news site Heise Online reported earlier this week that German police arrested two men with alleged ties to file-sharing service Skyload.net, which was subsequently taken offline. The service’s owner, identified as 28-year-old Maik P., was taken into custody along with 25-year-old Marcel E., owner of Skyload.net’s Web hosting service. Both men have been charged with violating copyright laws and Maik P. is allegedly personally responsible for uploading and sharing more than 10,000 copyrighted films. The Skyload.net takedown follows the closure of one of the most popular file-sharing services in the world, Megaupload, which was taken offline last month as its founder and a number of other men with ties to the service were arrested in a raid. While shuttering Megaupload appears to have done nothing to slow digital piracy, authorities around the world continue to battle alongside copyright holders to shut down file-hosting services that allow users to share copyrighted content illegally. More →
Copyright holders thought they had scored a major victory last month when one of the biggest file-sharing networks in the world was shuttered. Megaupload had been responsible for an estimated 30% to 40% of all file-sharing traffic worldwide, but a recent study suggests that the network’s closure did absolutely nothing to slow piracy related to file-sharing. To compound matters, another network that has flown under the radar for some time has now been dragged into the spotlight, and it may pose one of the biggest threats yet to copyright owners and their content. Read on for more. More →
Federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down notorious file-sharing site Megaupload.com and charged the service’s founders with violating piracy laws. The Associated Press broke the story on Thursday, reporting that the indictment accuses Megaupload.com’s owner with costing copyright holders including record labels and movie studios more than $500 million in lost revenue. Seven people tied to Megaupload.com have been charged and four are already in custody, including the site’s founder Kim Dotcom. Dotcom earned $42 million from the the site in 2010 according to the indictment. Megaupload.com allowed users to upload and share content without any measures in place to ensure files being hosted on the site’s servers were not protected by copyright. The company claims that it responded to copyright complaints as they were received. According to court documents made available on Thursday, Megaupload.com was at one point the 13th most trafficked website in the world. More →
Apple has been testing a new wireless sharing feature that could allow users to quickly and easily transfer files from various iOS devices, PatentlyApple has discovered. The technology will no doubt compete with HP’s webOS “Touch-to-share” feature, which lets the Palm Pre3 and the TouchPad share files with one another. Though there is no indication as to when Apple might implement the tech, Apple’s patents outline a technology that appears to one-up HP’s offering. The patent describes the sharing experience as including both visual and audio aspects. As PatentlyApple points out, imagine an iPad “sucking” the files from your iPhone with a vacuum noise, and seeing the files leave the iPhone and appear on the iPad in an animated fashion. Or, as the image above shows, a user might be able to “pour” the files from an iPhone onto an iPad. The transfer process may also include “physical, intuitive gestures.” The patent application number 20110163944 was filed in the first quarter of 2010 and the inventors listed are Brett Bilbrey, Nicholas King and Todd Benjamin. More →
Motorola announced Wednesday that it has acquired Zecter. While Zecter is perhaps best known for its original ZumoDrive service — a cloud-based file storage and sync product that emerged in a cluster of similar services following the success of Dropbox — Motorola appears to be far more interested in the service’s ability to store and stream media files on demand. Motorola will look to integrate Zecter’s technology with its MOTOBLUR product, a service and UI layer that sits above Android on several Motorola phones. “Consumers want seamless access to their content and media from wherever they are, while content providers want to ensure that content remains protected and secure,” said Motorola Mobility’s VP of software and services, Christy Wyatt. “We believe that Zecter enables that seamless experience with the necessary security measures, and we are delighted to be able to work with this team.” Hit the break for the full press release from Motorola. More →
A new report Thursday suggests that legendary piracy pioneer LimeWire may soon call it quits. LimeWire was hardly the first network of its kind, but along with services like Kazaa, LimeWire played a major role in bringing file-sharing to the masses. This past October, LimeWire was forced to shutter its file-sharing service following a court order. Now, the company’s recent attempts to jump from seedy to sanctioned appear to be for naught. According to an alleged email to vendors obtained by All Things Digital, LimeWire will soon cease its attempts to run a legitimate online music store. The site also stopped accepting payments for its current offering according to a note on its homepage. LimeWire has supposedly been working on a new legal music service for the better part of 2010, but those plans are nixed as well. From the look of things, LimeWire will be no more as of January 1st, 2011. Hit the break for a copy of the company’s email to its partners. More →
It truly is the end of an era. AllThingsD is reporting that P2P file sharing service Limewire will shutdown “searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality” as the result of a court ruling last year that favored the recording industry. A Limewire spokesperson had this to say:
While this is not our ideal path, we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward. We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future.
If you have a drink in your hand, pour a little out for your homeboy Limewire… and go find yourself a good BitTorrent client. More →
If you didn’t already think the people behind the RIAA and MPAA were insane, we’re positive that your opinion on them will change as soon as your read what the two associations have proposed in a recent letter to the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement. Here are but some of the changes the two have asked for:
- The installation of spyware on computers which would seek out and automatically delete illegally obtained media
- Censorship of the internet which would block the transfer of illegal files
- Giving border guards the authority to search one’s tech gear for illegal files
- The lobbying of foreign governments to follow suit
- Having the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security actively and swiftly enforcing copyright laws
Scary as hell, right?
In an uncharacteristically rational move, on the surface at least, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has decided that it will stop suing individuals caught downloading pirated music and will instead focus solely on asking the pirates ISP to either serve warning or kill their internet connections. This tactic is by no means new and is in fact standard practice in many countries across the world where, you guessed it, it makes little to no difference in levels of music piracy. But hey, at least the RIAA has finally realized that its spending $100,000 to sue a struggling single-mom diner waitress for $25,000 after catching her downloading a few pirated CDs is plain stupid, especially when there isn’t a hope in the world that it’ll ever collect a penny from her.
When Kevin Bermeister of Kazaa fame and Michael Speck, former head of Music Industry’s anti-piracy arm join together to form a new company called Brilliant Digital Entertainment, you know the outcome will not be good. The brainchild of this duo is an application called Copyrouter that will use deep packet inspection to detect illicit files shared on the Internet.The application has been promoted as “the tool” that will eradicate child pornography but its true intent is much more nefarious. If it can sniff out child porn which is great, but it can also sniff out pirated media like movies, music, and games. The application is brilliant in its execution. Any customer attempting to access a file deemed “illegal” by the application will be redirected to a legal version which they can purchase. The legal version of the file is provided by the ISP who will bill the customer and receive a cut of the proceeds. Nothing like dangling the carrot of easy revenue in front of the ISPs to give them incentive to run the application on their network. As expected, “there is keen interest from ISPs, law-enforcement agencies and film and music publishers in the United States and Europe.” One problem, though… Copyrouter is unable to handle BitTorrent traffic! Seriously. The same swarming technology that makes BitTorrent so efficient also makes it impossible for the Copyrouter application to examine and identify BitTorrent files as “illegal”. Let’s hope our revenue motivated and politically pressured ISPs, don’t foist this upon us anytime soon.
[Via DSL Reports]
Arizona resident Jeffrey Howell learned some a hard lessons this past week. If you are being sued for copyright infringement, get a lawyer and if you are served with a lawsuit that tells you not to tamper with your hard drive, don’t go ahead and format it anyway. In an unfortunate turn of events last week, the second high profile RIAA copyright infringement case came to a screeching halt as it was revealed that the defendant Howell had tampered with the evidence. Howell uninstalled Kazaa, deleted its logs, and formatted his hard drive after receiving the lawsuit; thereby making any evidence irretrievable. The RIAA argued and the judge agreed that “The deliberate destruction… by itself, compels the conclusion that such evidence supported Plaintiffs’ case.” The case was found in favor of the RIAA and a final judgment was announced today. Howell must now cough up a mere $350 in court costs and whopping $40,500 in statutory damages. This case was notable as the RIAA was handed a big setback last April when a judge ruled that simply making a file available on a P2P network did not constitute copyright infringement. A crushing blow to the legal basis of the RIAA’s infringement cases. Too bad it had to end so badly.