As expected, the High Court has ordered British ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. Five ISPs – Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BSkyB, Everything Everywhere and Telefonica – are involved in this case, which was brought by nine record labels.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)
In May, the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) and the Finnish branch of the music industry group IFPI announced that they had filed a lawsuit at the District Court in Helsinki.
The groups demanded that Finnish ISP Elisa should censor The Pirate Bay to protect the copyrights of their members. Elisa, however, refused to do so and described the blocking demands as ‘unreasonable’. But following a decision today from the Helsinki District Court they are left with no choice.
The court sided with the entertainment industry and ruled that Elisa should block access to The Pirate Bay before November 18, or face a 100,000 euro fine. Aside from various domain names, the court ruling also states that the ISP has to block access to the IP-addresses used by The Pirate Bay servers.
In a response to the ruling Elisa immediately announced that it will appeal the District Court’s decision. The ISP claims that among other things, the ruling is very unclear as it doesn’t state the specific domain names or IP-addresses that should be censored.
Elisa further says that the decision is practically irrelevant in the broader fight against online copyright infringement.
‘The industry should focus on measures that can truly reduce piracy in practice, such as making content available online at a reasonable price and without artificial delays,’ Elisa’s Henri Korpi said.
The Pirate Bay is currently listed as one of the 50 most-visited websites in Finland, and it is doubtful whether a blockade by Elisa will have much of an effect.
A Pirate Bay spokesperson told TorrentFreak there are many ways to circumvent such censorship attempts, and that the order may actually have the opposite effect to what was intended.
‘Blocks in other countries only boosted our traffic numbers, so we see this as free advertising,’ we were told.
Earlier this month Belgian ISPs Belgacom and Telenet were hit with a similar verdict, limited to blocking the Pirate Bay’s domain names. This blockade went into effect a few days ago but The Pirate Bay informs TorrentFreak that they haven’t seen a significant drop in traffic from Belgium.
In addition to Belgium, the popular BitTorrent site is currently censored in Ireland, Italy, Turkey and Denmark. An attempt to establish a similar blockade in The Netherlands failed last year because there was no evidence that the majority of an ISPs’ users are infringing copyright through The Pirate Bay.
It has always been presumed that the legal action to have Newzbin2 blocked in the UK was just the beginning for the music and movie studios. Today we have that confirmation.
A coalition of the willing, headed up by the BPI and including the major Hollywood studios, approached BT, the UK’s leading ISP, with a demand – block The Pirate Bay voluntarily or consent to a court order.
The self-styled ‘world’s most resilient torrent site’ is no stranger to censorship. It is already blocked by ISPs in Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Denmark and Belgium but the quest to put it completely out of business continues.
‘The Pirate Bay is no more than a huge scam on the global creative sector. It defrauds musicians and other creators of their wages, and it destroys UK jobs,’ said Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive.
‘Unlike legal music download sites, it exposes consumers to the risk of viruses, theft of personal information and inappropriate content. We would not tolerate Counterfeits ‘R’ Us on the High Street – if we want economic growth, we cannot accept illegal rip-off sites on the internet either. We hope that BT will do the right thing and block The Pirate Bay.’
But at this stage PaidContent is reporting that BT will not simply roll over and comply with the demand for The Pirate Bay to be blocked voluntarily.
‘BT cannot block web sites willy nilly,’ said the BT source.
Voluntary action aside, BT has reportedly been given the chance to consent to a court order. If the ISP refuses it seems likely that the parties will end up in court for a mirrored re-run of the arguments in the Newzbin2 case. If there are no surprises the High Court could order a blockade of The Pirate Bay in the first half of 2012.
After a lengthy legal process the censoring of Newzbin2 finally kicked in earlier this week, but users of the site are reportedly bypassing the block by various means including the use of Newzbin2′s very own anti-blocking software.
A feature to unblock The Pirate Bay in the event that it too became blocked was already added to the client several weeks ago.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, a Pirate Bay insider laughed off the efforts to slow down the site and said that every time there are attempts at censorship the resulting publicity only gives them a boost.
‘Thanks yet again for the free advertising,’ they conclude.
12,895 New Porn BitTorrent Lawsuits Filed Since December 23: “On December 16, 2010, things didn’t appear to be heading in a favorable direction for the likes of the USCG (US Copyright Group) or the bevy of other lawyers involved with P2P litigation. That’s because on that day, a judge in West Virginia ruled that instead of lumping thousands of defendants together in one lawsuit, the cases must be filed separately. This follows closely with other developments in these types of cases, which started when Judge Rosemary Collyer, who presides in the Far Cry case, ruled that only those defendants in her court’s jurisdiction could be sued.”
By Rhett Pardon
Friday, Dec 17, 2010 Text size:
MARTINSBURG, Va. — A federal judge has quashed thousands of subpoenas that were requested in seven porn BitTorrent suits, ruling that the cases improperly join mass defendants together.
U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey, in each of the orders, threw out all of the defendants with the exception of one John Doe for each claim. As a result, 5,462 unnamed defendants have been pared from suits filed by Combat Zone, Elegant Angel, Third World Media and West Coast Productions.
Bailey, in his ruling, said that the cases reeked of misjoinder, finding that it is an ‘ undeniable fact that each defendant will also likely have a different defense.’
In each of the cases, Bailey said that he would sever all Doe defendants except the first Doe of each suit. He also said that because so many ISPs were identified with each suit, ‘[allegations making] the propriety of joinder even more tenuous.’
Bailey also said that if plaintiffs’ counsel want to proceed they can do so by filing fees for each of the amended complaints, which would be assigned separate civil action numbers, but only if the defendants are located in West Virginia, where the cases were filed.
In the seven cases, Time Warner Cable moved to quash subpoenas seeking the identities of accused filed sharers.
Kenneth Ford of the Adult Copyright Co., which filed the suits, did not immediately respond to XBIZ for comment.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed amicus briefs in the cases, lauded the judge’s ruling, calling it a ‘big victory in the fight against copyright trolls.’
The EFF said that the studios in the seven suits were ‘abusing the law in an attempt to pressure settlements.’
‘In these cases — as in many others across the country — the owners of the adult movies filed mass lawsuits based on single counts of copyright infringement stemming from the downloading of a pornographic film, and improperly lumped hundreds of defendants together regardless of where the IP addresses indicate the defendants live,’ the EFF said in a statement.
‘The motivation behind these cases appears to be to leverage the risk of embarrassment associated with pornography to coerce settlement payments despite serious problems with the underlying claims.’
The West Virginia order comes on the heels of a ruling by a judge in the District of Columbia earlier this month that dismissed hundreds of individuals from across the country named in the U.S. Copyright Group’s campaign due to lack of personal jurisdiction in Washington, D.C.
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.
‘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.’
Article from: TorrentFreak.
A Swedish appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling against three men behind file-sharing website Pirate Bay, cutting their prison sentences and raising the fine.
So far, the file-sharing platform Pirate Bay – the ‘world’s most resilient bittorrent site,’ as it bills itself – is still live. But its days may be numbered, thanks to a verdict handed down on Friday in a Swedish appeals court.
A lower court had last year sentenced four men who co-founded and ran Pirate Bay to one year in jail and a total fine of 32 million crowns ($4.57 million, or 3.45 million euros).
The Svea appeals court said in a statement on Friday it had reduced the prison sentences by varying degrees, but raised the fine to 46 million crowns.
The new judgement related only to three men – Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundstrom – as a fourth, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, was ill and could not take part in the proceedings.
Marten Schultz, law professor at the University of Uppsala, was unsurprised by the verdict. ‘Most lawyers are not that surprised that they were convicted,’ he told Deutsche Welle. ‘What is maybe a bit surprising is that the amount of damages was so high. It’s really incredibly high – a really staggering amount.’
Peter Sunde, Pirate Bay co-founderBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Peter Sunde faces an even heftier fine
Schultz said that safeguards usually used to protect private citizens in similar cases had been bypassed.
Christian Engstrom, member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party, a civil liberties party that has made a flagship cause of the Pirate Bay case, the verdict proved that corporations have too much influence in Swedish law courts.
‘It’s very disappointing, because it proves that when it comes to corporate cases, you can’t trust the Swedish legal system,’ he told Deutsche Welle after the ruling was announced in Stockholm. ‘The lawyers for the record companies are friends with the judges, both in the lower court and in the appeals court. They belong to the same societies for copyright, which is a lobby organization for copyright lawyers. This corruption unfortunately leads to the fact that you can’t get a fair trial in copyright-related issues in Sweden today.’
‘Generally speaking, I do have a lot of confidence in the Swedish system,’ Engstrom added. ‘But I was hoping for a different verdict – I was hoping the appeal court would re-establish, or at least start the work of re-establishing confidence in the Swedish court system in copyright issues.’
Rick Falkvinge, left, Pirate Party leader, with MEP Christian Engstrom Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: MEP Engstrom, right, believes the Swedish courts can’t be trusted
Predictably, the music industry is taking a very different view. Frances Moore, chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), was particularly uncompromising when the judgement was announced.
‘Today’s judgment confirms the illegality of the Pirate Bay and the seriousness of the crimes of those involved,’ Moore said. ‘It is now time for the Pirate Bay, whose operators have twice been convicted in court, to close. We now look to governments and Internet service providers to take note of this judgment, do the responsible thing and take the necessary steps to get the Pirate Bay shut down.’
The district court had ordered them to pay the damages to a number of content providers, including Warner Bros, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI und Columbia Pictures. The providers had sought 117 million crowns – substantially more than the 46 million they were awarded.
The four defendants claimed they cannot be held responsible for the material exchanged via their site, which was launched in 2003, since no copyrighted material is stored on its servers and no exchange of files actually takes place there.
But the prosecution argued that by financing, programming and administering the site, the four men promoted the infringement of property rights by its users.
Friday’s verdict means the defendants must now decide whether to take their case to a higher court. ‘At the press conference, one of the judges was asked whether the case contains elements which would make it likely that the supreme court would take it,’ Engstrom said. ‘And she said, ‘Yes it does.’ So in all likelihood this will go to the supreme court.’
Bank robbers use roads, right?
One of the most important of these elements is what is known as ‘secondary liability’ – the extent to which Pirate Bay is responsible for illegal activity carried out through its site.
Internet pirateBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The music industry wants the Pirate Bay shut down
‘The core issue is whether any service provider can be sentenced for what people who use the service do,’ said Engstrom. ‘It’s important to remember that Pirate Bay is used to share a lot of material completely legally. It’s potentially very damaging to the Internet as a whole that the providers of infrastructure can’t know if they will be held liable for what other people do.’
‘Messenger immunity has been a guiding principle since Roman times,’ Engstrom pointed out. ‘All kinds of infrastructure are used to commit crimes. Bank robbers use the roads, people send drugs through the postal service. If you start making service providers liable for what people do with the services, it significantly increases the legal uncertainty.’
Pirate Bay – which currently has over 24 million users – organizes the exchange of so-called BitTorrent data, small packets of data which allow the transfer of much larger files direct from one computer to another. The site explicitly leaves it up to the person doing the downloading to clarify copyright issues, including payment.
Author: Ben Knight
Editor: Chuck Penfold
Latest Harry Potter Film Leaks on BitTorrent Before Theater Premiere: “One of the most interesting leaks of the year has just occurred with the appearance of the first 36 minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 on dozens of BitTorrent sites. The upcoming Harry Potter film will have its worldwide premiere later this week, but not before hundreds and thousands of people have grabbed a copy of an extended preview on BitTorrent.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is the first half of the two part finale of the Harry Potter film series. The film is set to premiere worldwide this Thursday and is expected to gross over a billion dollars in the weeks and months ahead.
Harry Potter films generally generate quite a lot of buzz on BitTorrent as well. Last year, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ended up in our ‘most pirated movies‘ list with close to 8 million downloads. It is expected that the new film will eventually be downloaded just as much, or more.
Even before the leak, already thousands of people have been searching for a copy of the film online. Yesterday, it was the most searched for film on some torrent sites, which is quite unusual for a title that has yet to be released in theaters. Today, many of these searchers may get excited by the discovery of a partial DVD screener which came out a few hours ago.
Released by the group iNK, the leaked copy is not a usual DVD screener. Yes, the watermarks and other screener features are there, but instead of the full film the leaked copy only covers the first 36 minutes of the highly anticipated release.
Since no full version has followed up until now, it has to be assumed that the source for this leak was only a partial screener. It is not unlikely that it may have been intentionally time-limited because the studio feared a leak, as indeed happened.
A good move, since this leak may actually benefit the movie instead of hurting it.
Warner Bros. Pictures is usually none too fond of leaks, especially if a film gets out before it premieres in theater. However, today’s leak may actually benefit the movie and boost theater attendance, as long as the full version doesn’t leak out too. If the first half hour is compelling enough, people will have to go to the theater and pay for a ticket to see the rest.
It may be going a little bit too far to suggest that Warner Bros. leaked the film intentionally, but from a business perspective it might make sense.
This is not the first time that a Harry Potter ‘Deathly Hallows’ leak has caused controversy. In 2007 a scan of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book was posted online before it hit the book stores, and was then quickly transcribed by fans.
Update: Warner Bros. released the following statement in response to the leak: ‘This constitutes a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of Warner Bros. property. We are working actively to restrict and/or remove copies that may be available. Also, we are vigorously investigating this matter and will prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law.’
Article from: TorrentFreak.
3 More Adult Companies Sue 1,100 Bit Torrent Users: “1,100 John Does were targeted in three separate suits waged by CP Productions Inc., First Time Videos and Future Blue Inc.”
(Via XBIZ.com | News & Articles.)