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 →
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.
Copyright holders thought they had scored a major victory last month when one of the biggest file-sharing networks in the world was shuttered. Megaupload had been responsible for an estimated 30% to 40% of all file-sharing traffic worldwide, but a recent study suggests that the network’s closure did absolutely nothing to slow piracy related to file-sharing. To compound matters, another network that has flown under the radar for some time has now been dragged into the spotlight, and it may pose one of the biggest threats yet to copyright owners and their content. Read on for more. More →
On Wednesday, Sweden’s Supreme Court announced that it decided not to grant an appeal in the long-running Pirate Bay trial. After a nine-day trial in April 2009, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström were found guilty of assistance to copyright infringement and sentenced to one year each in prison and payment of roughly $7 million in damages. Each defendant appealed the verdict, and in November 2010 the sentences were shortened, but the fines were increased. The new sentence was again appealed, and now the Supreme Court has rejected those appeals. Sunde must serve eight months in prison, with Neij facing 10 and Lundström to face four months. Svartholm, who missed the hearing do to illness, will be forced to serve a one year prison sentence. One of the defendants, however, reached out to TorrentFreak and informed the website that he plans appeal the new sentence at the European Court of Justice. More →
Piracy is still a huge problem according to the music industry and Hollywood, and it’s hard to dispute the notion that downloading a paid digital product without actually paying for it is theft. Now, as TorrentFreak releases its list of the 10 most pirated movies of 2011, we can see a possible correlation between illegal downloads and movie revenue continue to take shape. Read on for more. More →
It is a sad day for torrent lovers. A few days ago, an injunction was granted to several Hollywood movie studios that prohibited CB3ROB — thepiratebay.org’s hosting company — from connecting the site to the internet. Torrent Freak is reporting that CB3ROB director, Sven Olaf Kamphuis, has decided to “stop routing The Pirate Bay’s traffic until his lawyers have carefully read and reviewed the legal documents.” The report goes on to say the torrent site has, “already set the backup process in motion which will bring the site back online. The Pirate Bay’s servers are untouched and getting the site up and running only requires the routing (IP-tunnel) to go through another provider.” At time of publishing thepiratebay.org was down. More →
The net neutrality movement received a huge blow today when the US Court of Appeals sided with Comcast in its claim that the Federal Communications Commission lacks legal authority to demand ISPs shape internet traffic. Over the past few years, the FCC has grown increasingly concerned that ISPs would throttle connection speeds for things such as peer-to-peer file sharing and streaming media in order to dedicate more bandwidth to services it can better capitalize on. Comcast first challenged the FCC on net neutrality in 2008 when the FCC reprimanded Comcast for throttling the connections of clients who used a large amount of bandwidth through P2P networking.
As a rule of thumb, we at BGR are not in favor of government agencies (whether independent or not) imposing rules upon industries, although in this instance we’re actually finding ourselves disappointed if only for the fact we believe net neutrality must become a reality. More →
Just because we might associate the company with loveable characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck doesn’t mean the characters who are running the show at Warner Bros. Entertain UK have similar personalities. After all, they’re the ones that came up with the brilliant idea of hiring a student intern, paying him or her £17,500 ($26,212 USD) over the course of a year and having them engage in a bit of digital espionage. The intern, who is to be “IT literate” and currently enrolled as a student pursuing a degree in computer science, will be charged with infiltrating torrent sites and creating bots which sniff out media which Warner Bros. and NBC Universal hold the copyrights to. Here’s a snippet from the job description:
During the 12 month internship, duties will include: monitoring local Internet forums and IRC for pirated WB and NBCU content and in order to gather information on pirate sites, pirate groups and other pirate activities; finding new and maintaining existing accounts on private sites; scanning for links to hosted pirated WB and NBCU content and using tools to issue takedown requests; maintaining and developing bots for Internet link scanning system (training provided); preparing sending of infringement notices and logging feedback; performing trap purchases of pirated product and logging results; inputting pirate hard goods data and other intelligence into the forensics database; selecting local keywords and submitting local filenames for monitoring and countermeasure campaigns and periodically producing research documents on piracy related technological developments. Various training will be provided.
Yikes. More →
First, the short version: The Pirate Bay has been acquired by Global Gaming Factory X AB for $7.7 million. Now the even shorter version: WTF?! We don’t know where to start with this one. The ridiculously low acquisition price? The fact that this politically active, anti-establishment, controversial, torrent-loving site was acquired at all? A blog post on the site this morning states:
The profits from the sale will go into a foundation that is going to help with projects about freedom of speech, freedom of information and the openess [SIC] of the nets.
Fair enough. The deal is expected to be completed in August and whatever the case, expect The Pirate Bay to undergo some pretty big changes moving forward. If you’re a pirate, expect The Pirate Bay also to become infinitely less useful moving forward. Apparently those legal fees add up pretty fast.
[Via The Pirate Bay]
The Isle of Man, a small self-governing subsidiary of the United Kingdom with perhaps the coolest flag ever (see above), is proposing a new law that would allow its residents immunity from prosecution for illegal downloading of copyrighted material. Each citizen would be forced to pay a monthly 1 Pound (roughly $1.40) fee into a communal fund that would be redistributed to copyright holders by a centralized government office. Both publishers and labels would benefit, and the residents of the Isle could breathe more easily knowing that their Torrent habits won’t land them a stint in some horrifying Isle of Man jailhouse. The downside, of course, is that the amount of compensation on the copyright holder’s side would be pretty nominal, leading us to believe that it’s going to be a hard sell. Then again, the concept has been batted around since the formative days of Napster, so there must be some appeal to such a business model. It’s certainly innovative, and some cash is better than nothing, so it will be interesting to see if regulators and government officials manage to pull this one off.
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.