Voltage Pictures, the production studio behind the Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker, has filed a new lawsuit in a federal court in Florida, according to TorrentFreak. The studio’s latest complaint targets at least 2,514 alleged BitTorrent users, whom Voltage Pictures claims pirated the film and cost the studio millions. The company last year filed a joint lawsuit against more than 30,000 alleged BitTorrent users who illegally downloaded the film. The case closed this past December, with Voltage Pictures collecting an undisclosed number of settlements. The studio’s latest suit looks to obtain a subpoena that will order ISPs to reveal the identities of the defendants. The alleged pirates will then be offered a settlement of about $3,000, the report claims. All of the defendants allegedly downloaded the film in 2010 and are Charter Communications subscribers. More →
On Monday, a Touchstone Arcade thread from a disgruntled developer claimed numerous apps in Apple’s App Store were promoted into the top 25 using illegal services. The poster accused a number of big-name developers such as Crowdstar of using such services. Crowdstar’s co-founder Suren Markosian immediately denied the accusation, assuring customers it promotes its apps “using legitimate advertising channels such as flurry, chartboost, iAds, etc.” The thread gained a good deal of buzz, however, prompting Apple to post a warning to remind developers to adhere to guidelines when promoting their apps. “Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it,” reads Apple’s warning. “However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership.” More →
Third-party companies that stored Megaupload’s data may delete all user files on Thursday. Megaupload customers, even those not guilty of piracy or using the service illegally, have been unable to access their files since the website was shut down on January 19th. So far, seven men have been charged for illegally allowing Megaupload users to store and share music, movies and other copyrighted content, among other things. The issue, however, is that millions of Megaupload users used the service legally to store family photos and other personal data. Megaupload doesn’t store the data itself, the AP said Monday, instead it hired Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications Group to store its data. A letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia explained that both companies may begin deleting the data as soon as this Thursday. 50 million users could have their personal photos, videos and music erased; Megaupload attorney Ira Rothken said the company is currently speaking with prosecutors in an effort to save the data.
UPDATE: Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothke on Monday confirmed that Megaupload’s hosting companies have agreed not to delete user files for two weeks, TVNZ reports. “Carpathia and Cogent agreed to preserve consumer data for additional time of at least two weeks so Megaupload can work with US on proposal,” Rothke posted on Twitter.
Considering all of the concerns major music and movie studios have over piracy and file sharing, one would think the studios could at least manage to keep their own employees from stealing content. That is apparently not the case, however. TorrentFreak has a new tool that reveals what a specific IP address has downloaded from BitTorrent, and used it to snoop around a few popular studios. The site found that employees at Fox, Sony and NBC Universal were downloading illegal content from BitTorrent. A Sony employee, for example, downloaded Conan the Barbarian, an album from The Black Keys, and a Beavis and Butthead video. An NBC Universal Employee downloaded HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, Cowboys and Aliens and a trance album. Fox typically contacts the FBI when a movie has been leaked, but TorrentFreak found an employee downloading a 1080p HD version of the movie Super 8. “By highlighting the above our intention is not to get anyone into trouble, and for that reason we masked out the end of the IP addresses to avoid a witch hunt,” TorrentFreak said. “An IP address is not a person, IP addresses can be shared among many people, and anyone can be behind a keyboard at any given time.” A Google employee was also caught downloading Windows 7, and the Church of God was busted for downloading two popular TV shows. More →
The production studio behind the movie Hurt Locker, Voltage Pictures, is attempting to go after a record 24,583 illegal BitTorrent users. The studio has already filed lawsuits against 5,000 BitTorrent users who illegally downloaded Hurt Locker and, in an effort to make up losses due to piracy, it’s now going after more with the help of law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver. According to TorrentFreak, the lion’s share of subscribers — provided on a list to the U.S. District Court of Columbia — are Comcast customers (10,532). 5,239 are Verizon subscribers, 2,699 are Charter customers, and 1,750 are Time Warner users. The lawsuits will likely be tried over the next several years, however, as Verizon and Charter only offer up 100 and 150 customer IP-addresses per month. TorrentFreak suggested that Voltage Pictures would prefer to reach cash settlements with customers as opposed to taking each case to court individually. More →
Google told the Superior Court in Boston last week that it did nothing illegal with regard to blocking Skyhook’s contract with Motorola. Skyhook wireless, a private Boston-based LBS company, filed suit against Google in September 2010, alleging that the Internet giant interfered with a contract the company had recently been awarded by Motorola. The deal would see certain location-based services from Google replaced by Skyhook’s solution, which, according to Google Group Project Manager Steve Lee, were better and more accurate than Google’s own offering. Email chains made public as part of the hearings clearly show that Google took action to get its services back on Motorola phones, but Google contends that its actions were all legal. “To the extent Google took any action that affected Skyhook, those actions were the lawful exercise of legitimate rights of Google and therefore are not actionable,”Google said in a court filing. “If Skyhook suffered any damages, which is denied, then any such damages resulted solely from its own acts or omissions.” More →
Some analysts could soon find themselves in hot water as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into the legality of “channel checks.” Channel checks refer to the practice whereby analysts contact inside sources at manufacturing companies in order to glean inside information. This information often has a tendency to move the market, of course, but the SEC is now trying to determine whether or not the practice should be legal. “Insider trading basically comes down to where you know or ought to know that the person from whom you’re getting this information has a duty to someone else to keep it confidential,” former SEC commissioner Paul Atkins told The Wall Street Journal. “If you go in and pay the mail clerk to give you special information, that’s not proper.” Beyond just the analysts involved, the SEC is also investigating “expert networks,” which get paid to connect investors with inside sources. More →
Reuters is reporting that search giant Google had an office in Seoul, South Korea raided by police earlier today. The Korean National Police Agency said they “have been investigating Google Korea LLC on suspicion of unauthorized collection and storage of data on unspecified Internet users from Wi-Fi networks.” Google has been collecting data in South Korea since late last year in preparation for the launch of the Street View service. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, as well as other European governments, are also looking into allegations that Google illegally collected and stored information from Wi-Fi networks while conducting its Street View surveys. Google has yet to comment on the South Korean raid. More →