Earlier this year, the US Government included Russian social networking giant vKontakte in its list of notorious pirate sites. Branded as a 'hub' for infringing activity, the site was mentioned alongside The Pirate Bay, Fmovies, and Openload. While this critique isn't new, it's intriguing to see that, this week, several major music labels are praising the same site for helping the music industry to grow.
With a record international box office of over $40 billion behind him, MPAA chief Charles Rivkin has told movie exhibitors at CinemaCon that keeping a lid on unauthorized sites is one of his group's main goals. Describing the tackling of piracy as a "top priority", Rivkin framed the ACE anti-piracy coalition as a powerful group ensuring that movie makers maintain control and reap the rewards for their hard work.
Game developer and publisher Epic is not giving up on its copyright infringement lawsuits against cheating minors. The company successfully requested default entry against one alleged cheater and responded to the mother of another minor, who fiercely defended her accused son in court earlier.
A major ISP in Japan says it will begin blocking pirate sites voluntarily. There is no legal basis for site-blocking and the country's constitution forbids censorship. However, NTT says that it has adopted "emergency measures" until the necessary legislation can be put in place. Meanwhile, one of the sites targeted has mysteriously disappeared, abandoning 100m monthly visitors.
The people behind TVAddons and the ZemTV Kodi addon have failed to have their case dismissed. The defendants asked the Texas court to drop the case because they are foreign nationals with no connection to the state. However, the court disagrees which means that the legal battle continues.
French Minister of Culture, Françoise Nyssen, is considering implementing a national blacklist to target the streaming piracy epidemic. The proposed list should be regularly updated so that ISPs, search engines, and advertising companies can block the sites. The idea comes shortly after industry groups criticized the country for not doing enough to stop piracy.
Authorities in India are reporting success in their fight against online piracy. After measuring websites against standards established by the UK's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, complaints were filed with the registrars of 11 'pirate' websites. All of the domains were suspended and a further 89 domains are now being targeted.
The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent are in again. 'Pacific Rim: Uprising' tops the chart this week, followed by ‘12 Strong'. 'Den of Thieves' completes the top three.
Several major Hollywood studios, Amazon, and Netflix have filed a lawsuit against Set Broadcast, LLC, which sells the popular IPTV service SET TV. The companies accuse the service and its operators of facilitating mass copyright infringement. In addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, the movie studios request an injunction to stop the infringing activity.
The Pirate Bay has been hard to reach for more than a day, causing concern among some BitTorrent users. The outage is likely caused by technical issues, so the site is expected to resurface soon. Meanwhile, some of the site's proxies and its Tor domain are still working fine.
Sending out warnings is supposed to reduce the numbers of people using BitTorrent to obtain movies, TV shows and music without paying. It's far from clear how much difference they make but receiving one can't be the best of experiences for recipients. Some people, however, are receiving plenty of them yet still not changing their behavior. So just how many is enough?
Steam is actively preventing users from sharing links to the cloud-hosting service MEGA. The URLs are automatically stripped from forum posts and even private chats are censored. According to Valve, Mega links are potentially malicious, something the New Zealand company actively disputes.
Russia has found a creative way of taking down pirates by using old legislation. Online gambling is forbidden in the country so sites carrying such advertising are breaking the law. Around 250 pirate sites were spotted carrying gambling ads by tax authorities who ordered telecoms watchdog Rozcomnadzor to have them all blocked at the ISP level.
Coalitions representing more than 670 companies and 240,000 members from the entertainment sector has written to Congress urging a strong response to the Facebook privacy fiasco. The groups, which include all the major Hollywood studios and key players from the music industry, are calling for Silicon Valley as a whole to be held accountable for whatever appears on their platforms.
Cloudflare has terminated its services to the anime torrent site NYAA.si. According to Cloudflare, the pirate site tried to interfere with and thwart the operation of the company's abuse reporting systems. The site's operator, however, says he's not aware of any wrongdoing.
Acting on behalf of various copyright holders, anti-piracy group BREIN has shut down the private torrent tracker Snuffelland. The group tracked down the site's operators, a middle-aged married couple and a 60-year-old uploader. All agreed to a pay a modest settlement.
Discerning distributors and consumers of pirated content are lambasting Amazon for an unannounced drop in video quality from its Prime service this week. In a move that affects paying customers as well as those on the high seas, one release group has colorfully described Amazon's efforts as a choice between a "turd sandwich" and a "giant douche".
As founder of the now-defunct torrent search engine isoHunt, Gary Fung was one of the early BitTorrent pioneers. Nearly five years after his search engine was shut down by the MPAA, Fung releases a new search tool this week. Not a torrent-specific site, but he aims to create a revolution in mobile search instead.
The Swedish Pirate Party is calling on Justice Minister Morgan Johansson to put a halt to the wave of threatening piracy letters that have swept the country in recent months. The party likens the so-called copyright trolling campaigns to extortion and wants local courts to raise the evidence bar.