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Company That Acquired ‘Copyright Troll’ Warns ISPs & VPN Providers

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American Films Inc, a company that 'acquired' the US operations of notorious 'copyright troll' outfit GuardaLey earlier this year, says it has made a new acquisition. With the addition of "strategic data company" Maker Data Services LLC, the company hopes to help Hollywood bring lawsuits against ISPs and VPN providers.


While movie and music companies have regularly filed copyright lawsuits against alleged BitTorrent pirates over the past decade and beyond, the companies operating the machinery behind the scenes are less well known.

One exception was to be found in GuardaLey, an entity that provided tracking data and business structure for numerous lawsuits, notably the massive action targeting alleged pirates of the movies The Hurt Locker and The Expendables.

While these lawsuits and others like them attracted plenty of headlines, GuardaLey itself rarely experienced much scrutiny, ...

Read entire story Yesterday at TorrentFreak

Court Punishes Copyright ‘Troll’ Lawyer for Repeatedly Lying to The Court

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Copyright lawyer Richard Liebowitz has been sanctioned by a federal court in New York for repeatedly lying about his grandfather's date of death, which made him miss a hearing. The lawyer, who many see as a photography 'copyright troll', refused to hand over the relevant death certificate for months. When he finally provided the document this week, the Judge found out that he hadn't been honest about the date.


Over the past several years, independent photographers have filed more than a thousand lawsuits against companies that allegedly use their work without permission.

As many targets are mainstream media outlets, these can be seen as David vs. Goliath battles. However, the nature of these cases is described as classic copyright-trolling by many.

The driving force behind this copyright crusade is New York lawyer Richard Liebowitz, a former photographer, who explained his motives to TorrentFreak when he just got his firm started more than three years ago.

“...

Read entire story Yesterday at TorrentFreak

Canadian Court Rejects Reverse Class Action Against BitTorrent Pirates

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The Canadian Federal Court has dismissed a motion from Voltage Pictures to go after alleged BitTorrent pirates through a reverse class action lawsuit. The case in question started in 2016, in an attempt to sue alleged pirates at reduced cost. However, the court rejected this approach, as it's not suitable for file-sharing cases.


Movie studio Voltage Pictures is no stranger to suing BitTorrent users.

The company and its subsidiaries have filed numerous lawsuits against alleged pirates in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia, and likely made a lot of money doing so.

Voltage and other copyright holders who initiate these cases generally rely on IP addresses as evidence. With this information in hand, they ask the courts to order Internet providers to hand over the personal details of the associated account holders, so the alleged pirates can be pursued for settlements.

...

Read entire story 11/14/2019 at TorrentFreak

Kodi Addon & Build Repositories Shut Down Citing Legal Pressure

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Two groups involved in the distribution of third-party Kodi addons and 'builds' have shut down citing legal pressure. KodiUKTV and OneNation both ran so-called repositories where software could be downloaded but that activity will not continue into the future. It is currently unknown who threatened the groups but there are a couple of prime candidates.


Being involved in the development of third-party Kodi addons and ‘builds’ (Kodi installations pre-customized with addons and tweaks) is a somewhat risky activity.

Providing simple access to otherwise restricted movies and TV shows attracts copyright holders, and that always has the potential to end badly. And it does, pretty regularly.

On November 1, 2019, UK-focused Kodi platform KodiUK.tv made an announcement on Twitter, stating briefly that “Something has happened this morning. Sorry!” While that could mean anything, an ominous follow-up me...

Read entire story 11/14/2019 at TorrentFreak

Disney+ Launched and Pirates Love It, Especially Mandalorian

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Disney's exclusive streaming service launched in three countries this week. While many new subscribers flocked to the Disney+ platform, others went to pirate sites instead. For some, this is the only way to watch the highly anticipated Mandalorian series. To Disney this shouldn't come as a surprise and the company immediately tried to contain the damage by issuing takedown requests.


Two years ago, when Disney announced that it would launch its own streaming service, we mused that this would keep piracy relevant.

Yes, another paid streaming service would further fragment the legitimate market. This could motivate some to keep pirating, at least part-time.

More recently research has confirmed that this is indeed a warranted concern as people have limited budgets, but money isn’t the only problem.

When Disney confirmed that the initial rollout would be limited to the United States, Canada and the Netherlands, the piracy lure o...

Read entire story 11/13/2019 at TorrentFreak

EU Academics Publish Recommendations to Limit Negative Impact of Article 17 on Users

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In March 2019, the European Parliament adopted the new Copyright Directive, including the widely opposed Article 13 (later renumbered to Article 17). Alongside fears that broad filtering will take place in the absence of official licensing on platforms like YouTube, more than 50 EU academics have now published advice aimed at limiting negative impact on end users.


Despite some of the most intense opposition seen in recent years, on March 26, 2019, the EU Parliament adopted the Copyright Directive.

The main controversy surrounded Article 17 (previously known as Article 13), which places greater restrictions on user-generated content platforms like YouTube.

Rightsholders, from the music industry in particular, welcomed the new reality. Without official licensing arrangements in place or strong efforts to obtain licensing alongside best efforts to take down infringing content and keep it down, sites like YouTube (Online Content S...

Read entire story 11/13/2019 at TorrentFreak

IPTV Supplier Omniverse Agrees to Pay $50 Million in Piracy Damages

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Omniverse, a now-defunct supplier of IPTV streams, has agreed to pay $50 million in piracy damages to several Hollywood studios. Omniverse initially described the piracy allegations as "scandalous" but has since stepped back from its claim. Anti-piracy group ACE, which was a driving force behind the lawsuit, is pleased with yet another legal victory.


In February, several major Hollywood studios filed a lawsuit against Omniverse One World Television.

Under the flag of anti-piracy group ACE, the companies accused Omniverse and its owner Jason DeMeo of supplying of pirate streaming channels to various IPTV services.

Omniverse sold live-streaming services to third-party distributors, such as Dragon Box and HDHomerun, which in turn offered live TV streaming packages to customers. According to ACE, the company was a pirate streaming TV supplier, offering these channels without permission f...

Read entire story 11/13/2019 at TorrentFreak

Copyright Professors Back ISP Charter to Avoid Dangerous Piracy Liability Precedent

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A group of 23 law professors are warning that a recent recommendation from a Colorado magistrate judge opens the door to unprecedented piracy liability risks. In addition to threatening Charter and other Internet providers, customers could be faced with privacy-invasive monitoring and permanent disconnections.


In March several major music companies sued Charter Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the US with 22 million subscribers.

Helped by the RIAA, Capitol Records, Warner Bros, Sony Music, and others accused Charter of deliberately turning a blind eye to its pirating subscribers.

Among other things, they argued that the ISP failed to terminate or otherwise take meaningful action against the accounts of repeat infringers, even though it was well aware of them. As such, it is liable for both contributory infringement and vicarious liability,...

Read entire story 11/12/2019 at TorrentFreak

‘Copyright’ Sting Targeting 15-Year-Old Backfires With Arrest Warrants & Record Sales

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A fake 'copyright agent' who instructed a 15-year-old Thai girl to make cartoon character krathong floats and then tried to extort her for alleged copyright infringement is watching his plan backfire spectacularly. Not only is a warrant out for his arrest but the publicity generated by the scam has massively boosted demand for the girl's products, which help finance her education.


Krathong float (credit)

Loi Krathong is an annual festival celebrated in Thailand and some neighboring countries during which ‘krathong’ (decorated baskets) are floated on a river.

These beautiful items are often made by locals looking to generate relatively small sums to help support their families and in some cases fund their education. Sadly, there are others who see the creations as an opportunity to generate cash for themselves in an entirely more sinister fashion.

According to local media reports, earlier this month a 15-year-old girl known as ‘...

Read entire story 11/12/2019 at TorrentFreak

Hollywood Praises Australia’s Anti-Piracy Laws, But More Can Be Done

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In a recent submission to the US Trade Representative, the MPA applauds Australia's anti-piracy enforcement tools, including effective copyright laws. Hollywood's trade group notes that piracy rates are dropping. However, it adds that even more can be done on the anti-piracy front to keep copyright problems at bay.


For years on end, entertainment industry insiders have regularly portrayed Australia as a piracy-ridden country.

However, after several legislative updates, the tide appears to have turned. This is the conclusion reached by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in a recent report.

The industry group, which is largely made up of Hollywood studios, along with the recently added Netflix, continuously monitors Australia’s anti-piracy efforts. In recent years, things have been going in the right direction.

A short summary of its findings was recently repo...

Read entire story 11/11/2019 at TorrentFreak