CyberLaw Blog

A news resource for CyberLaw and Cyber-Rights issues from around the globe

Archive for November, 2010

The Pirate Bay Appeal Verdict: Guilty Again

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Pirate Bay Appeal Verdict: Guilty Again: “The verdict against three people associated with The Pirate Bay just been announced. The Swedish Appeal Court found Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström guilty of ‘contributory copyright infringement’ and handed down prison sentences ranging from 4 to 10 months plus damages of more than $6.5 million in total.

pirate bayIn April last year the Stockholm Court sentenced the ‘The Pirate Bay Four’ to one year in prison and a fine of $905,000 each. The defendants immediately announced that they would appeal the decision and the case went before the Appeal Court two months ago.

Today, Friday November 26, the Swedish Appeal Court announced its decision. Compared to the District Court ruling, the court has decreased the prison sentences for the three defendants, but increased the damages that have to be paid to the entertainment industries.

‘The Pirate Bay has facilitated illegal file-sharing in a way that results in criminal liability for those who run the service. For the three defendants the court of appeal believes it is proven that they participated in these activities in different ways and to varying degrees,’ the court stated.

The court did consider the individual input of all three, which resulted in varying prison sentences ranging from 4 to 10 months . The total damages of 46 million kroner ($6.5 million) will be equally shared among Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström.

brokep

Peter Sunde (born September 13, 1978) alias ‘brokep’

  • Guilty of contributory copyright infringement
  • 8 months in prison
  • A share of the $6.5 million in damages
  • TiAMO

    Fredrik Neij (born April 27, 1978) alias ‘TiAMO’:

  • Guilty of contributory copyright infringement
  • 10 months in prison
  • A share of the $6.5 million in damages
  • Carl Lundstrom

    Carl Lundström (born April 13, 1960)

  • Guilty of contributory copyright infringement
  • 4 months in prison
  • A share of the $6.5 million in damages
  • The total damages are higher than in the District Court ruling. ‘This is because the court of appeal, to a greater extent than the district court, accepted the plaintiff companies’ evidence of its losses as a result of file-sharing,’ the court noted.

    All Nordic entertainment industry companies get the entire amount they asked for, and the remaining companies get about half of what they requested.

    The fourth defendant, Gottfrid Svartholm, is not included in the verdict because he was absent at the court hearings due to medical circumstances. His case will be reviewed later.

    From the verdict it also appears that the court chose for prison sentences to set an example, but that such sentences are generally not fit for copyright related violations.

    ‘They’re giving us jail even though it’s not the right thing for the ‘crime.’ It’s just to scare people. That’s what you did in the 1600s…,’ defendant Peter Sunde told TorrentFreak.

    ‘This was a political trial from the start and it must be resolved politically,’ Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party said in a response to the verdict. ‘The public has lost all confidence in the justice system in these matters, and it is beyond sad that the courts still persist in running special-interest justice.’

    Entertainment industry insiders, on the other hand, applauded the verdict. ‘It’s a relief that the court of appeal finally affirmed that you’ll be sent to prison if you carry out this type of activity,’ movie industry lawyer Monique Wadsted said.

    Although none of the defendants has officially commented on how to proceed, it is very likely that this will not be the end of the case. It is expected that it eventually will go all the way to the Supreme Court.

    Defendant Peter Sunde told TorrentFreak that they are all appealing at the Supreme Court as soon as possible.

    Whatever happens next, not much will change for the users of the popular BitTorrent indexer. The Pirate Bay website will remain online and operating as usual. None of the defendants are involved in the site anymore, and all assets are reportedly owned by the Seychelles based company Reservella.

    Article from: TorrentFreak.

    (Via TorrentFreak.)

    US Government Responds To Domain Seizures, Ignores The Big Question

    Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

    US Government Responds To Domain Seizures, Ignores The Big Question: “The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have just confirmed the seizure of 82 domains as part of Operation in Our Sites 2. The authorities claim the actions were targeted at websites that were involved in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit and copyrighted goods, but fail to explain why a BitTorrent meta-search engine was included.

    Last Thursday we reported on the seizure of the music linking site RapGodFathers. As it turned out this was the first target in a growing list of domains that were seized in the days that followed, including the BitTorrent meta-search engine Torrent-Finder.

    All this time the authorities remained silent on the purpose and scope of the actions, until today. Apparently the DOJ and ICE had picked the label ‘Cyber Monday Crackdown’ for their actions, and this meant that they couldn’t release their statement earlier.

    However, today a press release was finally issued, detailing which sites were targeted and why.

    ‘As of today – what is known as ‘Cyber Monday’ and billed as the busiest online shopping day of the year – anyone attempting to access one of these websites using its domain name will no longer be able to make a purchase. Instead, these online shoppers will find a banner notifying them that the website’s domain name has been seized by federal authorities,’ it was announced.

    ‘The coordinated federal law enforcement operation targeted online retailers of a diverse array of counterfeit goods, including sports equipment, shoes, handbags, athletic apparel and sunglasses as well as illegal copies of copyrighted DVD boxed sets, music and software.’

    The message below is posted on the seized sites

    Seized Servers

    ‘By seizing these domain names, we have disrupted the sale of thousands of counterfeit items, while also cutting off funds to those willing to exploit the ingenuity of others for their own personal gain,’ said Attorney General Holder in a subsequent press release.

    Since 95% of the domains were related to counterfeit goods, this explanation was kind of expected, but one question remains unanswered. In fact, this is the question that prompted so many news outlets to pick up the story over the last few days.

    Those who took a careful look at the list of seized domains will have noticed that there are some odd entries. Among the replica watches and fake sport shirts are three sites that were directly or indirectly linking to music. That’s not counterfeiting, although releasing music before it hits the stores is a criminal act so these targets can be explained.

    But there’s an even stranger entry, and that is Torrent-Finder.

    Torrent-Finder is not a typical torrent site where one can download torrent files. It’s merely a meta-search engine that redirects users to other sites. The site simply displays a search box and has no browsable archive. The site is not encouraging or even facilitating copyright infringement any more than other search engines such as Google.

    So the question that we’d like to see answered is what the grounds were to seize Torrent-Finder? Could it have been a mistake? Or perhaps a test?

    If the US authorities were to target BitTorrent sites then Torrent-Finder is arguably the least likely target. Still, the owner lost its domain without even receiving a notice. That doesn’t seen right somehow.

    If it’s so easy for the US Government to obtain a seizure order for a website that is simply a meta-search engine, and not by any means involved in linking to or hosting copyrighted material, then where does it stop?

    Meanwhile, TorrentFreak has been made aware of (many) additional domains that are on a Government seizure list. More info on this is expected to trickle in later in the week and might reveal more about the future direction of Operation In Our Sites 2 after ‘Cyber Monday Crackdown.’

    Full list of 82 seized domains

    Article from: TorrentFreak.

    (Via TorrentFreak.)

    U.S. Shuts Down Web Sites in Piracy Crackdown

    Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

    U.S. Shuts Down Web Sites in Piracy Crackdown: “The Web addresses of several sites that posted unauthorized copies or aided in searches for downloadable films and music were seized by an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

    (Via NYT > Technology.)

    U.S. Government Seizes BitTorrent Search Engine Domain and More

    Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

    U.S. Government Seizes BitTorrent Search Engine Domain and More: “Following on the heels of this week’s domain seizure of a large hiphop file-sharing links forum, it’s clear today that the U.S. Government has been very busy. Without any need for COICA, ICE has just seized the domain of a BitTorrent meta-search engine along with those belonging to other music linking sites and several others which appear to be connected to physical counterfeit goods.

    While complex, it’s still possible for U.S. authorities and copyright groups to point at a fully-fledged BitTorrent site with a tracker and say ‘that’s an infringing site.’ When one looks at a site which hosts torrents but operates no tracker, the finger pointing becomes quite a bit more difficult.

    When a site has no tracker, carries no torrents, lists no copyright works unless someone searches for them and responds just like Google, accusing it of infringement becomes somewhat of a minefield – unless you’re ICE Homeland Security Investigations that is.

    This morning, visitors to the Torrent-Finder.com site are greeted with an ominous graphic which indicates that ICE have seized the site’s domain.

    The message below is posted on the seized sites

    Seized Servers

    ‘My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!’ the exasperated owner of Torrent-Finder told TorrentFreak this morning.

    ‘I firstly had DNS downtime. While I was contacting GoDaddy I noticed the DNS had changed. Godaddy had no idea what was going on and until now they do not understand the situation and they say it was totally from ICANN,’ he explained.

    Aside from the fact that domains are being seized seemingly at will, there is a very serious problem with the action against Torrent-Finder. Not only does the site not host or even link to any torrents whatsoever, it actually only returns searches through embedded iframes which display other sites that are not under the control of the Torrent-Finder owner.

    Torrent-Finder remains operational through another URL, Torrent-Finder.info, so feel free to check it out for yourself. The layouts of the sites it searches are clearly visible in the results shown.

    Yesterday we reported that the domain of hiphop site RapGodFathers had been seized and today we can reveal that they are not on their own. Two other music sites in the same field – OnSmash.com and DaJaz1.com – have fallen to the same fate. But ICE activities don’t end there.

    Several other domains also appear to have been seized including 2009jerseys.com, nfljerseysupply.com, throwbackguy.com, cartoon77.com, lifetimereplicas.com, handbag9.com, handbagcom.com and dvdprostore.com.

    All seized sites point to the same message.

    Domain seizures coming under the much debated ‘censorship bill’ COICA? Who needs it?

    Update: Below is an longer list of domains that were apparently seized. Most of the sites relate to counterfeit goods. We assume that the authorities had a proper warrant for these sites (as they had for RapGodFathers yesterday), but were unable to confirm this.

    Update: A spokeswoman for ICE confirmed the seizures in the following statement. ‘ICE office of Homeland Security Investigations executed court-ordered seizure warrants against a number of domain names. As this is an ongoing investigation, there are no additional details available at this time.’

    Update: The authorities have revealed further details on ‘Cyber Monday Crackdown.’

    Full list of 82 seized domains

    Article from: TorrentFreak.

    (Via TorrentFreak.)

    US orders data lock down in wake of Wikileaks release

    Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

    US orders data lock down in wake of Wikileaks release: “

    Shuts stable door on ‘largest data spillage in American history’

    The US government on Monday enacted new policies designed to prevent mass leaks similar to one rolled out over the weekend, when Wikileaks released thousands of classified diplomatic cables.…

    (Via The Register – Public Sector.)

    Activists say consultation on RIPA was ’secretive and short’

    Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

    Activists say consultation on RIPA was ’secretive and short’: “

    Home Office’s changes to e-comm intercept law ‘hard to find’

    Digital rights activists have criticised a Home Office consultation on the UK’s main interception law that they say is shorter and more secret than it should be.…

    (Via The Register – Public Sector.)

    WikiLeaked US cables link China to Google hack

    Monday, November 29th, 2010

    WikiLeaked US cables link China to Google hack: “

    Clinton ordered surveillance of UN leadership

    A Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing that China’s Politburo ‘directed’ last December’s hack on Google’s internal systems, according to the confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and various news organizations on Sunday.…

    (Via The Register – Public Sector.)

    UK Police to get greater web censorship powers

    Monday, November 29th, 2010

    Police to get greater web censorship powers: “

    Nominet prepares to yank more domains

    Police will effectively get more powers to censor websites under proposals being developed by Nominet, the company that controls the .uk domain registry.…

    (Via The Register – Public Sector.)

    EU Parliament backs ACTA with few reservations

    Monday, November 29th, 2010

    EU Parliament backs ACTA with few reservations: “

    Still need more clarity though

    The European Parliament has welcomed a controversial international intellectual property treaty as a ’step in the right direction’ but has reiterated calls for clarity on the impact of the law on existing EU rights.…

    (Via The Register – Public Sector.)

    UK ISPs under pressure to control online porn

    Monday, November 29th, 2010

    ISPs under pressure to control online porn: “

    Minister thinks of the children

    Campaigners will meet with the internet minister, Ed Vaizey, to lobby for ISPs to be forced to control access to pornography.…

    (Via The Register – Public Sector.)