Piracy

Sci-Hub, a Site With Open and Pirated Scientific Papers 117

lpress writes: Sci-Hub is a Russian site that seeks to remove barriers to science by providing access to pirated copies of scientific papers. It was established in 2011 by Russian neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who could not afford papers she needed for her research and it now claims to have links to 48 million pirated and open papers. I tried it out and found some papers and not others, but it provides an alternative for researchers who cannot afford access to paid journals. After visiting this site, one cannot help thinking of the case of Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide as a result of prosecution for his attempt to free scientific literature.
Piracy

Pirate Bay Browser Streaming Technology Is a Security and Privacy Nightmare (softpedia.com) 70

An anonymous reader writes: Last week the Pirate Bay added support for streaming video torrents inside the browser in real-time. Kickass Torrents followed the next week. The technology they used is called Torrents Time. A security researcher has discovered that this technology which is a mix of client and server side code is actually a security and user privacy disaster. Attackers can carry out XSS attacks on TPB and KAT, the app runs on Mac as root, attackers can hijack downloads and force malicious code on the user's PC, and advertisers can collect info on any user that has Torrents Time installed.
Piracy

Anti-Piracy Group BREIN Demands Torrents Time Cease and Desist 91

An anonymous reader writes: Not even a week has gone by since Torrents Time appeared on the scene, and the site has already been served with a cease-and-desist letter. Anti-piracy group BREIN, based in the Netherlands, has deemed the streaming tool an "illegal application" and demands the administrators "cease and desist the distribution of Torrents Time immediately."
Movies

Geoblocking, Licensing, and Piracy Make For Tough Choices at Netflix (thestack.com) 106

An anonymous reader writes: If Netflix's promise to invigilate users' IP addresses and block VPNs is more than a placatory sop to the lawyers, and if the studios would rather return to fighting piracy by lobbying governments to play whack-a-mole with torrent sites, the streaming company's long-term efforts to abolish or reduce regional licensing blockades could falter this year. This article examines the possible hard choices Netflix must make in appeasing major studios without destroying the user-base that got their attention in the first place. I wonder how long VPN vendors will keep bragging that their services provide worldwide streaming availability, and whether some of them will actually do a decent job of it.
DRM

Pirates Finding It Harder To Crack New PC Games (engadget.com) 364

schnell writes: Engadget reports that a few recent top-tier video game releases using updated DRM technology have gone uncracked for more than a month and left DRM hackers stymied thus far. The games FIFA 16 and Just Cause 3, using an updated DRM system called Denuvo, have thus far frustrated experienced Chinese crackers' best efforts far longer than the usual 1-2 weeks it takes for most games to be cracked. Although the article is light on technical details about what makes the new DRM system harder to defeat, it does note that "Based on the current pace of encryption tech, 'in two years time I'm afraid there will be no free games to play in the world,' said one forlorn pirate."
The Internet

Cuba's Nationwide Sneakernet: a Model For Developing Nations? 108

lpress writes: Cuba has little Internet infrastructure, but they have a well-organized sneaker net called El Paquete Semanal (the weekly packet). El Paquete distributes a terabyte of digital entertainment nationwide every week using portable drives. The system is reliable and the organization is said to be Cuba's largest private employer, but it is technically illegal and the content is pirated. A legitimatized Paquete would save scarce Internet resources for other applications. El Paquete is also a possible model for other developing nations. Vox has a short documentary about the system.
Books

Publisher Is Pretty Sure Google Could End Piracy (techdirt.com) 216

An anonymous reader writes: Techdirt is running a story about Square One Publishers Rudy Shur, and his confusion over the DMCA process, and exactly what Google has control over. The story goes: "After being contacted by Google Play with an offer to join the team, Shur took it upon himself to fire off an angry email in response. That would have been fine, but he somehow convinced Publisher's Weekly to print both the letter and some additional commentary. Presumably, his position at a publishing house outweighed Publisher Weekly's better judgment, because everything about his email/commentary is not just wrong, but breathtakingly so.

After turning down the offer to join Google Play (Shur's previous participation hadn't really shown it to be an advantageous relationship), Shur decided to play internet detective. Starting with this paragraph, Shur's arguments head downhill then off a cliff then burst into flames then the flaming wreckage slides down another hill and off another cliff. (h/t The Digital Reader) '[W]e did discover, however, was that Google has no problem allowing other e-book websites to illegally offer a number of our e-book titles, either free or at reduced rates, to anyone on the Internet.'

There's a huge difference between "allowing" and "things that happen concurrently with Google's existence." Shur cannot recognize this difference, which is why he's so shocked Google won't immediately fix it. 'When we alerted Google, all we got back was an email telling us that Google has no responsibility and that it is up to us to contact these sites to tell them to stop giving away or selling our titles.'"

The Almighty Buck

Pirate Bay Cofounder Utterly Bankrupts the Music Industry (torrentfreak.com) 261

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: Peter "brokep" Sunde, co-founder of The Pirate Bay, has built a machine that makes 100 copies per second of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," storing them in /dev/null (which is of course, deleting them even as they're created). The machine, called a "Kopimashin," is cobbled together out of a Raspberry Pi, some hacky python that he doesn't want to show anyone, and an LCD screen that calculates a running tally of the damages he's inflicted upon the record industry through its use. The 8,000,000 copies it makes every day costs the record industry $10m/day in losses. At that rate, they'll be bankrupt in a few weeks at most.
Piracy

Kim Dotcom Loses Extradition Case (stuff.co.nz) 98

BitterOak writes: Kim Dotcom has lost his extradition case in New Zealand, and will now (probably) have to face trial in the U.S. on charges of money laundering, racketeering, and copyright violation. Three of Dotcom's associates face extradition as well. "Although the U.S. didn't need to prove the charge, counsel had to at least prove there was an answerable case overseas to fulfil extradition requirements. Lawyers for the four argued that the court didn't have jurisdiction to order extradition and that copyright law showed they weren't required or expected to filter every single piece of copyrighted material on Mega." Dotcom's lawyers say they plan to appeal, which would see the case reviewed by New Zealand's High Court. All four will remain free on bail in the meantime.
Piracy

UK Police Busts Karaoke 'Gang' For Sharing Songs You Can't Buy (arstechnica.com) 118

An anonymous reader writes: The London Police have an Intellectual Property Crime Unit. They just issued a press release bragging about "dismantling" a "gang" running "commercial-scale copyright infringement." But if you look into the case, it turns out to just be three old guys who stream karaoke tracks that mostly aren't available from karaoke manufacturers. "This means that far from losing 'a significant amount of money,' music companies were actually deprived of little or nothing, since there were no legal copies that people could pay for." This "gang" didn't even sell any of the tracks they streamed — it seems to just be a hobby for some karaoke enthusiasts. "So why is Hodge calling what seems to be an extremely low-level operation 'commercial-scale?' It's probably because 'commercial scale' is a key legal concept that the recording industry has been trying to redefine to include activities that don't involve financial gain."
Piracy

Cox Is Liable For Pirating Subscribers, Ordered To Pay $25 Million (torrentfreak.com) 166

An anonymous reader writes: A federal jury reached a verdict that Cox Communications must pay $25 million to BMG Rights Management for failing to disconnect subscribers accused of online piracy. TorrentFreak reports: "During the trial hearings BMG revealed that the tracking company Rightscorp downloaded more than 150,000 copies of their copyrighted works directly from Cox subscribers. It also became apparent that Cox had received numerous copyright infringement warnings from Rightscorp which it willingly decided not to act on.The case was restricted to 1,397 copyrighted works and a six-person jury awarded $25 million in damages. The award is lower than the statutory maximum, which would have been over $200 million."
Australia

Dallas Buyers Club Case Struck Down By Federal Court (businessinsider.com.au) 33

thegarbz writes: After a previous court ruling covered on Slashdot where Dallas Buyers Club was forced to post a $600,000AU bond and accused of speculative invoicing, it appears they have once again failed to make a case for damages in the Australian Federal Court. After asking for a reduced bond of $60,000AU in exchange for details of only 10% of the original alleged pirates, and after dropping the request for punitive damages, Justice Perram concluded that the damages sought were still unrealistic severely limiting the liability of the alleged pirates if the case manages to go ahead. Dallas Buyers Club now has 60 days to respond before the case is terminated.
Movies

LionsGate Wants Pirate Sites To Pay For 'Expendables' 3 Leak (torrentfreak.com) 91

An anonymous reader writes: During the summer of 2014, the movie studio LionsGate suffered a major setback when a high quality leak of the then-unreleased Expendables 3 film appeared online. Fearing a massive loss in revenue, the movie studio sued the operators of several websites that allegedly failed to remove the infringing files. Over the past year there has been little progress in the case as most of the accused site operators failed to respond to LionsGate's complaint. In a new filing at the California district court, LionsGate indicates a desire to move forward by asking for a default judgment against the operators of LimeTorrents and the (already defunct) Dotsemper and Swankshare sites. Previously LionsGate settled with the operator of video hosting service Played.to.
The Almighty Buck

Torrent Sites Earned $70M After Dropping Malware On Visitors (softpedia.com) 91

jones_supa writes: One in three torrent sites is spreading malware, claims a recent joint report (PDF) from Digital Citizens Alliance and RiskIQ, which compiled data from over 800 sites. Most of the time, the sites expose visitors to drive-by attacks that silently download malicious files on computers without any user interaction. These types of attacks are usually carried out through malvertising campaigns. It turns out that this is actually a good business for the operators of the pirate sites: depending on traffic, they can make between $200 and $5,000 per day. In total it is estimated that this type of covert agreement between malware distributors and pirate site operators has pocketed the latter about $70 million per year.
Piracy

Swedish Court Says ISPs Can't Be Forced To Block Pirate Bay 20

The Next Web reports that a district court in Sweden has ruled that it cannot simply force ISPs to block The Pirate Bay, despite its role in large-scale copyright violation. A coalition of copyright holders including Sony and a group representing the Swedish film industry wanted the court to force Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget to curtail access, as courts have done in various cases around the world. The court found that Bredbandsbolaget couldn’t be held responsible for the copyright infringement of its customers’ actions while using the service as it doesn’t constitute a crime under Swedish law, according to the report. As such, it’s also not liable for any of the fines. While it could still be overturned by a higher authority appeals court, the group representing the copyright holders will have to pay the ISPs legal costs thus far, which is more than $150,000 according to TorrentFreak. (And here's TorrentFreak's report.) Update: 11/29 15:55 GMT by T : Oops -- sorry, we've mentioned this once already.
Piracy

Swedish Court: ISPs Can't Be Forced To Ban the Pirate Bay (thelocal.se) 55

An anonymous reader writes: After years of rulings against The Pirate Bay around Europe, a Swedish court has now ruled that the country's ISPs can't be forced to block access to the torrent indexer. The case centers around copyright holders and an ISP called Bredbandsbolaget. The ISP refused to comply with demands that music pirates be cut off from internet access. When rightsholders couldn't get traction that way, they added Bredbandsbolaget to their list of targets. The court found that the ISP does not "participate" in copyright infringement carried out by its subscribers, and is thus not liable for any damages incurred.
The Courts

Czech Judge Cuts Deal With Software Pirate: Get 200K YouTube Views Or Pay Huge Fine 95

An anonymous reader writes: A judge allowed a software pirate to make a anti-piracy PSA and get away from paying a $373,000 / €351,000 fine he owed Microsoft and other software manufacturers. The only condition was that his video should get over 200,000 views on YouTube. From the BBC's coverage of the trial's unusual outcome: [The defendant, known only as Jakub F] came to the out-of-court settlement with a host of firms whose software he pirated after being convicted by a Czech court. In return, they agreed not to sue him. ... The firms, which included Microsoft, HBO Europe, Sony Music and Twentieth Century Fox, estimated that the financial damage amounted to 5.7m Czech Crowns (£148,000). But the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which represented Microsoft, acknowledged that Jakub could not pay that sum. Instead, the companies said they would be happy to receive only a small payment and his co-operation in the production of the video. In order for the firms' promise not to sue to be valid, they said, the video would have to be viewed at least 200,000 times within two months of its publication this week. ... But, if the video did not reach the target, the spokesman said that — "in theory" — the firms would have grounds to bring a civil case for damages."
The Courts

Insurer Refuses To Cover Cox In Massive Piracy Lawsuit (torrentfreak.com) 101

An anonymous reader writes with news that Cox Communications' insurer, Lloyds Of London underwriter Beazley, is refusing to cover legal costs and any liabilities from the case brought against it by BMG and Round Hill Music. TorrentFreak reports: "Trouble continues for one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, with a Lloyds underwriter now suing Cox Communications over an insurance dispute. The insurer is refusing to cover legal fees and potential piracy damages in Cox's case against BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. Following a ruling from a Virginia federal court that Cox is not protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the Internet provider must now deal with another setback. Following a ruling from a Virginia federal court that Cox is not protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the Internet provider must now deal with another setback."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Judge Wipes Out Safe Harbor Provision In DMCA, Makes Cox Accomplice of Piracy (arstechnica.com) 223

SysKoll writes: The DMCA is well-known for giving exorbitant powers to copyright holders, such as taking down a page or a whole web site without a court order. Media companies buy services from vendors like Rightscorp, a shake-down outfit that issues thousands of robot-generated take-down notices and issues threats against ISPs and sites ignoring them. Cox, like a lot of ISPs, is inundated with abusive take-down notices, in particular from Rightscorp. Now, BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music are suing Cox for refusing to shut off the Internet access of subscribers that Rightscorp accused of downloading music via BitTorrent. Cox argues that as an ISP, they benefit from the Safe Harbor provision that shields access providers from subscribers' misbehavior. Not so, says U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady. The judge sided with the media companies ahead of trial, saying Cox should have terminated the repeat offenders accused by Rightscorp. Cox's response is quite entertaining for a legal document (PDF): its description of Rightscorp includes the terms "shady," "shake-down," and "pay no attention to the facts." O'Grady also derided the Electronic Frontier Foundation's attempt to file an amicus brief supporting Cox, calling them hysterical crybabies.
The Internet

New Anti-Piracy Law In Australia Already Being Abused (abc.net.au) 73

Gumbercules!! writes: A small Australian ISP has received a demand that it block access to an overseas website or face legal action in the Federal Court, in a case in which a building company is demanding the ISP block access to an overseas site with a similar name. This case is being seen as a test case, potentially opening the way for companies and aggregated customers to use the new anti-piracy laws to block access to companies or their competition. The ISP in question has obviously been selected because they're very small and have limited financial capacity to fight a legal case.

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