Founder of illegal movie streaming site sentenced to 4.5 years in jail, $4.7 million fine

By on June 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM.

Founder of illegal movie streaming site sentenced to 4.5 years in jail, $4.7 million fine

File-sharing Shutdown

The founder of one of Europe’s leading illegal movie-streaming portals has been sentenced to 4.5 years in jail, Deutsche Welle reports. 39-year-old Kino.to founder “Dirk B.” received a reduced sentence from a German judge this week after confessing to copyright infringement crimes related to his site, which allowed users to stream copyrighted movies illegally. Prosecutors were seeking an 11-year sentence, however the defendant’s confession and apology earned him less than half that time. Dirk B. will also have to pay a $4.7 million fine related to a sample 1.1 million instances of copyright infringement, though it is alleged that the man earned as much as $8 million from advertising on Kino.to. More →

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Arrest half the world: More than 50% of computer users pirate software, study finds

By on May 31, 2012 at 10:40 AM.

Arrest half the world: More than 50% of computer users pirate software, study finds

Digital Piracy BSA Study 2011

More than half of computer users admit that they pirate software according to the findings of a recent study. The Business Software Alliance, a software industry lobbyist group dedicated to combating digital piracy, released its ninth annual Global Software Piracy Study earlier this month. For the first time, the new edition of the trade group’s report includes the results of a survey involving 15,000 computer users from 33 countries around the world where respondents were directly asked, “How often do you acquire pirated software or software that is not fully licensed?” More →

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Google Transparency Report details copyright-related takedown requests for first time

By on May 25, 2012 at 2:50 PM.

Google Transparency Report details copyright-related takedown requests for first time

Google Transparency Report 2012

In its latest Transparency Report, Google has included information about takedown requests related to copyright infringement for the first time ever. According to the data from this past year, nearly 8,000 copyright owners have contacted Google with requests to remove search results that lead to copyright infringing websites. Microsoft led the charge with more than 500,000 removal requests across 9,108 domains during this past month alone, and a total of 2,554,475 takedown request across 23,485 domains over the course of the past year. According to research done by TechDirt, the software giant was mainly targeting pirated Xbox content, which Google agreed to take down. Search results for the very same websites, ironically, often remain present on Microsoft’s Bing search engine. More →

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File-sharing prospers despite increased legislation

By on May 23, 2012 at 1:05 PM.

File-sharing prospers despite increased legislation

File Sharing Increases Despite More Legislation

Despite numerous attempts to halter file-sharing services such as The Pirate Bay, users continue to download copyrighted files. According to Lund University’s Cybernorms research project, file-sharing levels remain stable because those downloading the files out feel that they are doing nothing wrong, and the introduction of aggressive legislation has done little to reduce the amount of file-sharing carried out by young people, TorrentFreak reported. “In Sweden we saw a moderate drop in file sharing in 2009 when IPRED was implemented. Since then it has remained at approximately 60 percent among 15-25 year old people,” said researcher Marcin de Kaminski. “Our conclusion is that repressive actions that lack societal support may still have effects, but that the effects are limited.” More →

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Hollywood loves sequels: MPAA to push SOPA follow-up in 2013

By on May 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM.

Hollywood loves sequels: MPAA to push SOPA follow-up in 2013

SOPA Anti-Piracy Bill 2013

The first version was hardly a hit, but Hollywood is already planning a sequel to the Stop Online Piracy Act that it will push in 2013, reports claim. Comments made by Motion Picture Association of America chief executive Chris Dodd suggest that the MPAA will work to get a new anti-piracy billed passed next year, and it plans to take a more cunning approach. “We’re going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented,” Dodd said of the new legislation that the MPAA will push, according to Variety. “We’re on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery.” Details surrounding the organization’s plans were not discussed, and Dodd noted that he will not be able to lobby his former U.S. Senate cohorts until next year. “I can’t say anything to them about this for another seven months, but I think my colleagues understand how important this is.” SOPA was put on hold in January after a number of widely publicized protests rattled lawmakers. More →

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'Copyright cop' system for U.S. ISPs delayed

By on May 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM.

'Copyright cop' system for U.S. ISPs delayed

Anti-piracy ISP System Delayed

The new “six strikes” anti-piracy policy soon to be implemented by a number of major Internet service providers in the United States will reportedly stumble out of the gate. The policy, which is set to be adopted by Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and other ISPs, will see action taken against users caught downloading pirated files in six steps, ultimately resulting in bandwidth throttling or even service suspensions. The system responsible for managing the new policy may not be ready on schedule, however, and the targeted launch date of July 12th may slip back as a result. More →

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BitTorrent piracy found by study to boost music sales

By on May 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM.

BitTorrent piracy found by study to boost music sales

BitTorrent Piracy Study

A recent study found that contrary to arguments repeatedly posed by major record labels — and perhaps contrary to logic as well — BitTorrent piracy has a direct correlation to increased album sales. Between May 2010 and January 2011, North Carolina State University assistant professor Robert Hammond tracked BitTorrent download statistics for new albums ahead of their releases. He then compared his data to music sales figures and found what he believes to be a connection. “I isolate the causal eff ect of file sharing of an album on its sales by exploiting exogenous variation in how widely available the album was prior to its official release date,” Hammond wrote in his paper. “The findings suggest that fi le sharing of an album benefi ts its sales. I don’t fi nd any evidence of a negative e ffect in any specification, using any instrument.” Of course, the case may simply be that popular music is popular music; whether consumers steal it or buy it, massive marketing budgets help ensure that people are exposed to labels’ premier acts as much as possible, thus promoting demand. More →

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Torrent-busting 'Pirate Pay' may be illegal

By on May 15, 2012 at 3:25 PM.

Torrent-busting 'Pirate Pay' may be illegal

Pirate Pay Torrent

A Russian startup that received $100,000 of funding from Microsoft made headlines recently as its emerging efforts to battle digital piracy found their way to the spotlight. Dubbed Pirate Pay, the company’s technology launches attacks on groups of computers hosting pirated content, theoretically making it impossible for them to share copyrighted material. While the company claims to have already successfully trialed its technology when it blocked nearly 45,000 attempts to download pirated copies of a Russian film, one expert believes Pirate Pay’s system may be illegal. More →

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Microsoft-funded 'Pirate Pay' takes aim at P2P piracy

By on May 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM.

Microsoft-funded 'Pirate Pay' takes aim at P2P piracy

Pirate Pay Targets P2P Piracy

Russian startup Pirate Pay is taking aim at the growing popularity of illegal file-sharing as it looks to cooperate with music labels and movie studios to stem the distribution of copyrighted materials on the Internet. The company’s technology launches attacks on “BitTorrent swarms,” or groups of computers hosting pirated content, making it impossible for them to share copyrighted material, TorrentFreak reports. “After creating the prototype, we realized we could more generally prevent files from being downloaded, which meant that the program had great promise in combating the spread of pirated content,” Pirate Pay CEO Andrei Klimenko said recently in an interview. Pirate Pay recently received a $100,000 investment from the Microsoft Seed fund, and it claims to have blocked nearly 45,000 attempts to download pirated copies of Russian film “Vysotsky. Thanks to God, I am Alive” in a test campaign launched earlier this year for Russia-based Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing. More →

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DVDs and Blu-rays to carry two unskippable government warnings

By on May 11, 2012 at 6:15 PM.

DVDs and Blu-rays to carry two unskippable government warnings

DVDs And Blu-rays Now Carry Two Unskippable Government Warnings

The FBI Anti-Piracy Warning that is found on all modern DVD and Blu-ray discs is getting an upgrade. The United States government earlier this week announced that it will require two copyright notices on DVD and Blu-ray discs, Ars Technica reported. The first notice will warn potential piracy thieves, while the second one is meant to educate viewers. All six major movie studios have agreed to include the notices, which we will begin seeing on new discs this week. The screens will “come up after the previews, once you hit the main movie/play button on the DVD.” The warnings will each last 10 seconds and users will not have the ability to skip or fast forward through them. “Law enforcement must continue to expand how it combats criminal activity; public awareness and education are a critical part of that effort,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. More →

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EMI Group forces file-sharing service MP3tunes into bankruptcy

By on May 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM.

EMI Group forces file-sharing service MP3tunes into bankruptcy

MP3tunes Bankruptcy

As the company’s court battles with major music label EMI Group, file-sharing service MP3tunes was forced to file for bankruptcy in a United States court earlier this week, Reuters reports. Mp3tunes, which bills itself as “a Music Service Provider (MSP) and the home of MP3tunes Locker: the only secure, online music space to feature unlimited listening,” is one of a number of online services targeted by major labels and the MPAA for allegedly facilitating the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials; Megaupload was shuttered earlier this year after authorities raided the home of company founder Kim Dotcom, who was arrested and now awaits trial. A federal judge ruled in 2011 that MP3tunes and its CEO, Michael Robertson, did not violate the Digital Millenium Copyright Act when they allowed users to download music from the service, except as pertaining to music files that were identified as having been pirated. The judge also said that Robertson was personally liable for a number of pirated songs downloaded from other file-sharing services and hosted by MP3tunes. The case is still pending. More →

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U.S. House passes CISPA

By on April 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM.

U.S. House passes CISPA

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 →

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U.K. court orders ISP to expose porn downloaders

By on March 30, 2012 at 3:35 PM.

U.K. court orders ISP to expose porn downloaders

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 →

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