For decades now, piracy has remained a lingering problem that software companies have tirelessly and unsuccessfully tried to eliminate. So whether it’s a college student downloading a cracked version of Photoshop or an entire small business skirting around the licensing rules of pricey enterprise software, piracy, for many companies, simply remains an unfortunate cost of doing business. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 40% of all software installed on PCs across the world hasn’t been “properly licensed.”
For as long as I can remember, thepiratebay.se has been the place to go for illegal torrents. But a ruling handed down by Sweden’s court of appeal says that those domain names are going to be handed over to the Swedish government, and you can bet that they’re not fans of illicit Game of Thrones.
The ruling from Sweden’s Court of Appeals upholds a ruling from the Stockholm District Court from last year. The case was actually against Punkt SE (IIS), Sweden’s domain-name authority, which has ultimate control over all .se addresses. The prosecution charged that because thepiratebay.se and piratebay.se were being used for illegal content, the domains should be suspended, and IIS held responsible for damages.
Oh goody: A recent WikiLeaks document dump of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement reveals that the deal compels Internet service providers to hand over the identities of copyright infringers to rights holders. ZDNet has done a very thorough deep dive through the leaked documents and has found that ISPs are about to be responsible for keeping track of which of their customers frequently infringe upon copyrighted material and for reporting those infringing users to content creators. More →
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.
Not all that long ago, downloading pirated movies was something left to technically savvy folks who knew their way around a BitTorrent client. Originally launched in 2014, Popcorn Time, often described as a Netflix for pirates, instantly changed that by providing an easy to use and intuitive platform that lets users stream movies from within a web browser or a smarpthone app.
The biggest barrier for cord cutters today remains the same as it was a month ago and a year ago: live TV. Eliminating your standard pay TV subscription means relying on on-demand services such as Netflix and Hulu, which are both fantastic solutions for streaming TV shows and movies. But with only a few exceptions such as HBO Now and WatchESPN that are only available to a limited number of people who subscribe to certain services, cord cutters cannot watch most live broadcasts.
Now, however, there’s a pirate TV service that aims to change that — and as of Monday, it’s home to well over 500 channels of free streaming content. More →
We’re not going to ruin your day with any Game of Thrones spoilers here, but rest assured it may be hard to avoid them elsewhere. In a piece of news that should surprise no one, Sunday night’s Game of Thrones finale set an all-time piracy record, according to a report from Torrent Freak.
Over the past few months we’ve documented HBO’s ongoing struggle to battle Game of Thrones piracy, an arguably winless battle that has seen the cable television network go after not only bars, but individual pirates as well.
In a sign that Netflix is now officially in the big leagues itself, the online streaming site is facing a piracy battle all its own. CNN reports that Netflix is trying to clamp down on the ever-increasing number of sites which are streaming illegal copies of the recently released third season of Orange is the New Black.
Et tu, Google?
With piracy running rampant these days, we’re starting to see content producers and owners going after pirates via each suspected individual’s specific ISP. HBO, for instance, began employing this strategy not too long ago in a rather unsuccessful effort to quell Game of Thrones piracy.
The messages that content producers relay to end users through individual ISPs can vary. In some instances it’s just a warning. In others, automatic fines with settlement demands are levied. While most ISPs have no problem passing along warnings to suspected pirates, most opt not to pass along threatening settlement demands. Even Comcast, which is no stranger to questionable customer service practices, sides with the consumer on this particular issue.
But Google, oddly enough, has chosen to take a different approach.
History has shown that any effort aimed at eradicating piracy via brute force is destined to fail. Arguably, the only way to truly stem piracy is to, quite simply, embrace the notion that piracy exists and subsequently do everything in your power to deliver a product or service that’s fundamentally more appealing than scouring the depths of BitTorrent.
Apple successfully implemented this strategy when it introduced the iTunes Music Store, instantly making the digital download experience a much safer and simpler endeavor than acquiring music through illicit means.
Not only is HBO’s Game of Thrones the most torrented show on TV today, the show’s season 4 finale has the bittersweet distinction of being the most pirated episode in TV history.
Historically, HBO has played nice with pirates. Whether its turning a blind eye towards BitTorrent or even ignoring the widespread sharing of HBO Go credentials, some folks at HBO, to their credit, view piracy as a tool to drum up even more interest in an already successful show.
To wit, Game of Thrones Director David Petarca once said of rampant GOT piracy, “I think it really raises the profile of the show and raises the profile of HBO in general… It really helps the show’s cultural buzz, and it does not impact the bottom line because HBO has more than enough money to keep making the show.”
But even HBO has to draw the line somewhere.
Hollywood hasn’t had much luck curtailing movie piracy over the past several years, but a new draft of anti-piracy legislation could be a frightening sign of things to come as studios and executives run out of options. TorrentFreak reports that the Australia Screen Association is heading up the draft, but Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal and the Motion Picture Association are just a few of the other names attached to the legislation. More →