As amazing as it might seem, the Department of Homeland Security really has nothing better to do than bust alleged pirates at movie theaters. Business Insider has now received confirmation from AMC that it brought in law enforcement officials to remove a man who wore his Google Glass headset into a movie theater over the weekend. AMC says that its employees were concerned that the man was using Glass to record the movie he was watching so that he could sell pirated copies of it over the Internet. More →
It’s like clockwork: Every quarter or so, one of the major Hollywood trade associations will come out with a blistering statement attacking Google for not doing enough the stop online piracy. The Guardian reports that this month it’s the Motion Picture Association of America’s turn to stamp its feet, as the lobbying group said this week that Google and other search engines “bear responsibility for introducing people to infringing content, even people who aren’t actively looking for it.” More →
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said during an interview published on Sunday that Apple and Facebook pose serious threats to Internet freedom because of their closed approaches to software. While speaking with The Guardian, Brin said there are “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open Internet on all sides and around the world. I am more worried than I have been in the past. It’s scary.” The executive pointed to the “walled-garden” philosophy that sees companies like Apple and Facebook maintain tight control over third-party software on their respective platforms as the cause for his concerns. Read on for more. More →
Lawyers representing the six major Hollywood studios, the United States government and Megaupload met in District Judge Liam O’Grady’s courtroom on Friday, CNET reported. The appearance pertains to digital files belonging to as many as 60 million people throughout the world that are stored on Megaupload’s 1,100 servers. The files are currently located on servers owned by Carpathia Hosting, which is now housing them at its own expense, however the company is looking to delete the information or possibly sell off the servers. Carpathia claims the cost of hosting the data is a financial burden and has asked the court for relief. The U.S. government in January arrested and charged Megaupload’s founder Kim Dotcom, along with six others, with racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. But before the trial even starts, the first order of business will be to determine whether Megaupload’s lawyers will be allowed to address the court. More →
Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and other Internet service providers in the United States will soon launch new programs to police their networks in an effort to catch digital pirates and stop illegal file-sharing. Major ISPs announced last summer that they had agreed to take new measures in an effort to prevent subscribers from illegally downloading copyrighted material, but the specifics surrounding the imminent antipiracy measures were not made available. Now, RIAA chief executive Cary Sherman has said that ISPs are ready to begin their efforts to curtail illegal movie, music and software downloads on July 12th. Read on for more. More →
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 →
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 →
Argentinian researcher Ch Russo and his gang of merry men have successfully hacked The Pirate Bay. Speaking with security blog Krebs On Security, Russo proved to have the “user names, e-mail and Internet addresses of more than 4 million Pirate Bay users.” The hack was executed through several SQL exploits which gave Russo access to “create, delete, modify or view all user information, including the number and name of file trackers or torrents uploaded by users.” Russo, who also has the usernames and MD5 hashed passwords of TPB’s administrators, said he has no interest in selling this information (although, he did say that he had: “briefly considered how much this access and information would be worth to anti-piracy companies employed by entertainment industry lobbying groups like the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America”). The Pirate Bay seems to have since plugged the site’s SQL vulnerability but has yet to release a statement or comment about the matter. More on this as it develops. 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?
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]
On October 13, President Bush signed a highly controversial anti-piracy law. The dictator President has put into effect a law that will appoint an intellectual property czar (yeah folks, you heard it right) that will report directly to the President (again, you heard that right) on how to keep hax0rz from illegally obtaining copyrighted materials. The targets are primarily music, movies, and TV, but you can bet this will be leaking over to other stuff with copyrights. The bill was, of course, backed by none other than the RIAA and MPAA (our favorite institutions!). Say good-bye to the phrase “DRM Free” everyone. Apparently, counterfeiting and piracy costs the U.S. $250 billion annually… that’s a lotta billions for free tunes and movies. Any devices used in piracy may have to be forfeited to Big Brother, lest “firemen” come into your house and burn down your gadgets Fahrenheit 450 style.
While the popularity of torrents has shown no signs of dwindling any time soon, the MPAA-fueled case against EliteTorrents just saw its first conviction. Back in 2005, Homeland Security agents served search warrants in various locations around the country as part of “Operation D-Elite” that resulted in 10 arrests. What a fantastic use of the country’s counterterrorism resources. Now more than three years later Clintwood Virginia resident Dale Dove has been convicted of felony copyright infringement and conspiracy, and has become the first man to be convicted as a result of the case. According to prosecutors of the case, Dove was the ringleader in the group of pirated content suppliers that was EliteTorrents. Dove apparently maintained a server of his own and played a part in recruiting others to supply content and servers. While Dove represents the first conviction in this case, he will not be the first to serve time as a result. In 2006, EliteTorrents server administrator Scott McCausland pleaded guilty to two copyright-related charges tied to the distribution of Star Wars: Episode III and served five months in jail plus an addition five months of house arrest (during which has wasn’t allowed to use Linux). Dove’s sentencing will take place in September; good luck buddy.