The United States House of Representatives has voted to pass the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), talk of which has swept the Internet over the past few weeks. The House vote was moved up to Thursday night, and CISPA passed as 248 members of Congress voted for the bill and 168 voted against. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland), and it now faces further modifications in the Senate if it is to avoid being vetoed by the White House. President Barack Obama has indicated that he intends to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk, noting that as it is written now, the legislation would allow “broad sharing of information with governmental entities without establishing requirements for both industry and the government to minimize and protect personally identifiable information.” The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement following the vote. “Cybersecurity does not have to mean abdication of Americans’ online privacy,” said ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson. “As we’ve seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back. We encourage the Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity.” More →
Thousands of broadband subscribers in the United Kingdom who illegally downloaded pornography will soon have their identities exposed. The United Kingdom’s High Court has ordered O2, a large U.K.-based Internet service provider, to hand over personal details identifying more than 9,000 subscribers to Golden Eye International and Ben Dover Productions, two companies run by British porn actor and producer Lindsay Honey. The subscribers in question are found to have illegally download copies of copyrighted movies owned by the pornographer, and their identities will be turned over to the court so that Golden Eye International and Ben Dover Productions can seek damages. O2 reportedly fought in court to protect the identities of its subscribers, however the company confirmed that it would cooperate with the court’s ultimate decision. “Clearly we respect the court order and will therefore be co-operating fully,” an O2 spokesperson told AKAScope. More →
Three separate lawsuits have been filed in China on behalf of 12 writers who claim Apple is selling unlicensed versions of their works in its iBookstore. Apple is accused of selling 59 unlicensed works in total, and the three suits seek a combined $3.5 million in damages. Apple has not denied the allegations, though the company did say that it responds to intellectual property complaints quickly. “As an IP holder ourselves, we understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and when we receive complaints we respond promptly and appropriately,” Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu told the Associated Press. Wang Guohua, a lawyer representing the group of writers, said Apple violated copyright laws by making the books available for purchase without securing the necessary licenses. Wang also said that while some titles were removed after lawsuits were filed in January, many have been uploaded to Apple’s digital store again and Apple has not taken the appropriate measures to prevent the pirated books from being sold. ”Some developers, with whom Apple has contracts, put them back online again,” he said. “It is encouragement in disguise, because they did not punish the developers. The developers could have been kicked out. But nothing happened to them.” More →
A court in Germany ruled on Thursday that RapidShare must implement a system that proactively filters user uploads in order to prevent the illegal sharing of copyrighted content. Like Megaupload, which was shuttered earlier this year, RapidShare allows users to upload large files and share them online. The service has become widely known for hosting copyrighted software, music, movies and books that are then shared illegally on forums, blogs and a variety of of other websites. Following verdicts in three separate cases filed by two book publishers and an group representing music publishers called GEMA, the firm has been ordered to take a more active role in preventing infringing content from being uploaded to its servers, TorrentFreak reported. RapidShare has not yet stated whether or not it will appeal the decision.
UPDATE: RapidShare has issued a press release in response to this ruled, which now follows below. 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 →
Swedish registrar and Web host Binero on Wednesday confirmed earlier reports suggesting digital piracy hub The Pirate Bay is currently under investigation by authorities in Sweden. Members of The Pirate Bay team reported last week that they believe the site is currently the focus of a new investigation, and that Swedish police are planning to execute a raid in an effort to seize Pirate Bay servers. IDG’s ComputerSweden on Wednesday reported that the site’s Web host has confirmed that the group’s suspicions are at least partially true. ”We can confirm that an investigation is underway against the Pirate Bay. We received a letter with questions,” Binero representative Erik Arnberg said. ”We will not share any information about our customers until there is a court order, or when a prosecutor can refer to an applicable law. In this case, we have answered the questions with information that’s already available through Whois services.” Authorities in Sweden raided The Pirate Bay back in 2006 and the company’s founders were later sentenced to jail and forced to pay millions in fines after being found guilty of multiple piracy-related charges. More →
The recent ordeal surrounding the now defeated SOPA and PIPA proposals followed by the shuttering of file-sharing giant Megaupload has put online piracy back in the spotlight. Despite studies showing Megaupload’s closure had no impact on online piracy whatsoever, copyright owners continue to pressure authorities in an effort to go after more services similar to Megaupload. The new wave of attention these file-sharing services are attracting is driving some illegal downloaders to seek out new means of sharing copyrighted materials, and decentralized torrent network Tribler emerged as one option. Another interesting solution created by a New York University professor takes things a step further, however, completely removing the Internet from the file-sharing equation and therefore putting pirates out of authorities’ reach. More →
Swedish authorities have reportedly secured warrants and are planning to raid The Pirate Bay. Unnamed Pirate Bay team members speaking with TorrentFreak claim to have learned that the raid is currently being planned by Swedish police, and they expect the operation to target Pirate Bay servers and the site’s new .se domain. Law enforcement officials in Sweden first raided The Pirate Bay in 2006, and the company’s founders were eventually sentenced to jail and forced to pay millions in fines. The service remained online, however, and it is still operational today. “The Swedish district attorney Fredrik Ingblad initiated a new investigation into The Pirate Bay back in 2010. Information has been leaked to us every now and then by multiple sources, almost on a regular basis. It’s an interesting read,” The Pirate Bay said on its blog. “We can certainly understand why WikiLeaks wished to be hosted in Sweden, since so much data leaks there. The reason that we get the leaks is usually that the whistleblowers do not agree with what is going on. Something that the governments should have in mind – even your own people do not agree.” 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 →
Though box office revenues declined for the second consecutive year in 2011, a new study suggests that there is little if any correlation between United States box office revenues and illegal file-sharing facilitated by BitTorrent. Major Hollywood studios have spent tremendous resources over the years fighting digital piracy, but the recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College is the latest to suggest that illegal file-sharing services have less of an impact on movie sales than had previously been conveyed, at least where U.S. box office sales are concerned. While there is some evidence that suggests a link between BitTorrent and decreased international box office sales due to the delay between U.S. openings and international openings, no such connection could be made in the U.S. ”We do not see evidence of elevated sales displacement in US box office revenue following the adoption of BitTorrent, and we suggest that delayed legal availability of the content abroad may drive the losses to piracy,” the researchers wrote. The team did not investigate the potential relationship between digital piracy and DVD sales or legal movie downloads.
The recent federal takedown of notorious file-sharing service Megaupload was initially seen as a huge victory for owners of copyrighted music and movies, but new research shows this may not be the case. Federal prosecutors successfully shuttered the service last month and arrested seven men associated with Megaupload including site founder Kim Dotcom, who is said to have earned $42 million from the site in 2010 alone. What was initially thought to be a victory for movie studios and record labels is turning out to be an empty win, however, as Megaupload’s closure has had almost no impact on file-sharing. 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 →