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The name Flipkart probably doesn’t ring too many bells in the United States but if all goes to plan, one of the country’s major retailers will soon be a 77% owner.

Flipkart is India’s largest online retailer and according to a report published in 2017, it controls almost 40% of the entire market.

That prompted Walmart and Amazon to file bids for Flipkart, with the former coming out on top with a $16 billion offer for what CNN describes as “the most valuable startup in India.”

Like all successful online retailers, Flipkart offers a wide range of genuine and authentic products to its consumers. However, like rivals Amazon, it does have an issue with some sellers attempting to sell pirated and counterfeit products via its virtual shelves.

As can be seen in the image below, Flipkart offers PC games for sale, many at heavily discounted prices. However, those listed for “offline use only” raise alarm bells.

One particular listing for a PC game caught the eye of Vidit Sahni, a resident of New Delhi in India. While browsing Flipkart he came across an advert for EA’s FIFA 18, which was offered for the princely sum of 799 rupees – around US$11.66.

The listing highlights that the game has 50% off its retail price and potential buyers should hurry since there’s only a few left. However, a closer look shows that the seller probably has access to an unlimited supply.

“NOTE: THERE IS A CRACK ONLY NO DIGITAL CODE,” the tell-tale text on the bottom right corner of the listing warns.

“Before installation the game first off your internet and antivirus. 1. All CD file copy in your pc 2. Setup File Click 3. Install the game 4. Install finish and open the game and enjoy your game,” it adds in broken English.

The fact that Flipkart is openly selling pirated software prompted Vidit Sahni to contact the company using the ‘Post Your Question’ option listed next to the ‘Have doubts regarding this product?’ notice.

“Why is Flipkart selling pirated products,” Sahni asked the retailer. “The product description itself shows that the game is installed using a crack. Isn’t it a serious oversight? And this is not the only game.”

Flipkart customer support did eventually respond to Sahni’s concerns but the answer was not what he expected.

“We noticed that your question on JBD FIFA 18 EA SPORTS {Offline} PC Game does not fully conform to our internal guidelines. We request you to submit your question again as per our guidelines. We will review it and then make it live on Flipkart,” the company responded.

While it’s certainly possible that the company wanted the complaint filed in a different way, there’s no taking away from the clear message on the item. However, it was the reason given for the rejection that seems to have upset Sahni most.

“Reason for not-approving the question: Irrelevant question,” Flipkart advised.

“@flipkartsupport sucks!” Sahni wrote in response on Twitter.

“They shunned down my question on piracy of the product to them as ‘irrelevant’ Find the screenshot! Don’t buy from Flipkart! They promote Piracy!”

Flipkart does have a section of its site that’s dedicated to the protection of intellectual property rights. However, it’s targeted at entities whose rights have been infringed, meaning that companies like EA would need to file a complaint rather than members of the public like Sahni.

TorrentFreak contacted Flipkart who responded with an automated message saying that our query had been noted and would be answered within 24 hours.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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The Denuvo anti-piracy system has been a sworn enemy of many gaming pirates for years.

Early on, the anti-tampering system appeared to be unbreakable. While it’s getting cracked more easily nowadays, it’s still seen as a major roadblock.

Denuvo leaves the average game pirate powerless. While they wait for crackers to find a patch, there’s little they can do, aside from bickering and complaining perhaps, which is quite common and not without consequence.

According to new research published by Dr. Zike Cao of the Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management, game pirates are retaliating against Denuvo-protected games by posting fake negative ratings.

In a paper titled “Revenge after ‘Freebies’ Are Gone? Effects of Curbing Piracy on Online User Ratings” Cao researched the effect of Denuvo protection on user comments posted on the review site Metacritic. The results suggest that Denuvo protection leads to significantly lower ratings across the board.

The researcher compared reviews of protected PC games with non-Denuvo protected console versions of the same games, showing that the former get a significantly lower rating on average.

After ruling out several alternative explanations, including the suggestion that Denuvo hurts gameplay, he sees only one explanation for this finding.

“In summary, the results from multiple identification tests consistently point to one conclusion: The decreases in mean PC user ratings of Denuvo games are likely due to deliberate posting of extremely negative ratings from illegal gamers out of retaliation for being deprived of the opportunity to play free cracked games.”

“Moreover, those retaliating illegal gamers are more likely to write textual comments along with the extremely negative ratings, but they seem to write significantly shorter than genuine reviewers do,” Cao adds.

Denuvo vs non-Denuvo

The decrease in ratings is quite substantial. The estimates suggest that a Denuvo-protected game suffers, on average, a decrease of 0.5 to 0.9 points on a ten point scale. This difference is mostly driven by extremely negative reviews, where ‘users’ rate games with a 0 or 1.

This negative effect remains and is even more pronounced when reviews from professional critics (Metascores) are exactly the same for Denuvo-protected (PC) and unprotected (console) versions.

“Interestingly, the estimate using the 100 titles with identical Metascores across platforms indicates the effect of Denuvo adoption is notably larger,” Cao writes.

The paper suggests, following a battery of additional tests, that these ratings are purely driven by revenge. In other words, pirates who are frustrated by the fact that they can’t play the game for free because there’s no working crack available.

Dr. Cao notes that this is the first empirical evidence which reveals this revenge strategy. Going forward, this may be something both developers and review sites may want to pay close attention to.

“The findings thus offer digital-good providers a caveat to adopt advanced anti-piracy technologies to crack down on piracy in a hard way,” Cao writes.

“More importantly, the study documents, to my knowledge, the first piece of empirical evidence that online user-generated content can be significantly distorted by user sabotage out of revenge.”

The full copy of Dr. CAO’s paper is available here.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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As the battle against online piracy continues, entertainment industry companies are persisting with their site-blocking strategy.

There’s some doubt as to whether blockades work but the companies behind them appear happy to commit significant legal resources to have them implemented wherever legislation allows.

Australia is one of the few regions where site blocking is specifically baked into local law so it’s no surprise that once entertainment groups got going with successful applications, they would be difficult to rein back.

In a new show of force, Village Roadshow Films and Hollywood partners Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal, Warner Bros have been joined by Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Limited and Aussie distributor Madman Entertainment Pty Limited.

Together the companies have filed the broadest-ever blocking injunction at the Federal Court. If it succeeds – and there’s nothing thus far to suggest that the application won’t be successful – it will compel Australia’s ISPs to block a record-setting 151 domains related to 77 ‘pirate’ sites.

ComputerWorld, which first reported the news, notes that Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG and their subsidiaries are named as respondents in the case. In addition, Vodafone becomes a respondent in a blocking case for the first time, after confirming its entry to the fixed-line broadband market.

The injunction application seeks to protect many high-profile movies and TV shows owned by the entertainment companies including The Lego Movie, Dunkirk, Tron: Legacy, and Kingsman: The Secret Service, to The Big Bang Theory and Shameless.

Aside from Madman Entertainment Pty, all of the other companies involved in the current coalition have previously filed for blocking injunctions of their own.

In addition to several successful previous actions, Village Roadshow and several Hollywood studios won a blocking injunction in April against a pirate IPTV service.

Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Limited is currently tied up in a case of its own after applying for a blocking injunction last year against several unauthorized IPTV services.

Under the Copyright Act, the broadcaster asked the Federal Court to order ISPs including Telstra, Optus, Vocus, and TPG plus their subsidiaries to block access to seven Android-based services named as A1, BlueTV, EVPAD, FunTV, MoonBox, Unblock, and hTV5. However, the application is complex and a final decision is still pending.

After fighting their corners for years, the ISPs targeted in these actions now let these applications go unchallenged. None appear in court and are happy for Australia’s custom site-blocking legislation to do its work. The ISPs are left with the choice of how to block (DNS and/or IP address blocking, for example) and are given AUS$50 per domain to help with costs.

As a side note, 2018 marks the 10-year anniversary of Aussie ISPs being dragged into the copyright wars. In 2008, iiNet was sued by Village Roadshow and the Hollywood companies behind the current blocking application.

They argued that the ISP was responsible for the infringements of its customers but after an epic battle, that eventually ended up at the High Court, the studios lost their case.

With ISPs presumably safe and suggestions that users could be sued still sitting in the background, site-blocking is currently the preferred anti-piracy measure Down Under.

In February, the Australian government launched a review of its pirate site-blocking laws, with the Department of Communications seeking feedback on the effectiveness of the mechanism, from initial injunction application through to website blocking itself.

While no major changes are expected as a result of the review, a tune-up here and there, to further assist rightsholders, is the most likely outcome longer term.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Last year, American satellite and broadcast provider Dish Network targeted two well-known players in the third-party Kodi add-on ecosystem.

In a complaint filed in a federal court in Texas, add-on ZemTV and the TVAddons library were accused of copyright infringement. As a result, both are facing up to $150,000 in damages for each offense.

While ZemTV’s developer has chosen not to put up a fight, TVAddons’ Adam Lackman has retained counsel and will defend himself in court. Both parties are currently in the discovery phase, gathering evidence, but this hasn’t been a smooth process.

A few days ago Dish informed the Court that Lackman had failed to provide crucial evidence. Among other things, TVAddons’ owner hasn’t shared a detailed accounting of the revenue and profits he made through TVAddons.ag and Offshoregit.com.

After the lawyers on both sides couldn’t come to an agreement, Dish asked the Court for an order compelling TVAddons’ owner to disclose this information.

Texas District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore agrees that the financial information should be handed over. In an order signed last Friday, she compels Lackman to disclose the requested financial information, including the banks and cryptocurrency exchanges he used.

“Within five days of this Order, Adam Lackman must produce: All documents identifying his revenues, costs, and gross profits relating to Tvaddons.ag or Offshoregit.com from February 17, 2015 through June 4, 2017,” the order reads.

TVAddons order

Lackman previously refused to hand over information related to donations, as these can’t be directly linked to any alleged copyright infringements. These and other disputes were summarized in an email that was submitted as evidence last week.

This document already lists the names of several bank accounts as well as Lackman’s taxable income, ranging from $10,534 to over $133,000 over the past three years, but Dish requests more detailed information on several issues.

In addition, the Court ordered TVAddons’ owner to share all documents he has on ZemTV and several other allegedly infringing addons. These include ARY Digital, B4U Movies, B4U Music, Dunya TV, Express Entertainment, Geo TV, Hum TV, Movies OK, Times Now, and Zoom.

For failing to provide the requested evidence in a timely manner Lackman is sanctioned. Within five days, he must pay Dish $2,835.00 to cover the legal expenses that arose from the discovery dispute.

Making matters worse for the defense team, Judge Gilmore also reprimands TVAddons’ attorney for disrupting Court proceedings during a telephone conference, stating that he prematurely hung up the phone.

This was revealed in a separate order, which was issued following the conference on Friday.

“After the Court inquired why Lackman had failed to provide the discoverable documents, defense counsel for Lackman, Jason E. Sweet, falsely stated to the Court: ‘If you are going to yell at me, this conversation is over. I don’t care if you are a judge,’ and hung up the phone prior to the conclusion of the teleconference,” the order reads.

According to Judge Gilmore, these comments were aimed “to lessen the authority and dignity of the Court.” During a scheduled hearing in September, the attorney has the opportunity to explain why he shouldn’t be held in direct contempt of court.

The order compelling TVAddons’ Adam Lackman to product evidence is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Streaming pirate content directly to living rooms around the world has become huge business over the past few years, with many hundreds of operations selling various services to the public.

While the majority appears to do so with impunity, a growing number of UK providers are finding that their businesses attract the attention of rightsholders who are keen to send a message that they won’t be tolerated.

The latest case involves John Haggerty and wife Mary Josephine Gilfillan, who together ran Evolution Trading Company Limited, a business venture registered at their former home address.

Incorporated in December 2013 for the stated purpose of “wholesale of coffee, tea, cocoa and spices”, Evolution was used in connection with Haggerty’s business of selling Kodi-based set-top boxes, some of which were loaded with an illicit IPTV service.

“Stop paying for sky high satellite or cable bills. Never buy or rent another DVD again! With Stream Box you can view any movie from the very latest blockbuster to your all time favorites,” some of Haggerty’s original marketing reads.

“Watch any box set or TV Series ever made or ever will be made! Watch tons of sports and hundreds of other TV channels from all over the world ALL FOR FREE.

“We consider Stream Box the future of TV viewing, with Stream box connected to your broadband Internet and your HD TV you can stream any film or TV show ever shown – all totally free.”

Following an investigation by the Federation Against Copyright Theft, searches were carried out at various premises connected with Haggerty. Like many of these kinds of cases, it’s taken a very long time to come to court, but now it has, it’s ended badly for the pair.

According to prosecutors, the business ran from March 2013 to July 2015, during which time at least £764,000 was generated from the sale of set-top boxes, carried out from a shop and online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.

The court heard the devices would be sold for between £75 and £100 to the public and £400 to pubs, although searches reveal them changing hands for as little as £52. The IPTV service provided with some of the boxes, Infusum.tv, was created by Haggerty and sold for £15 per month. The marketing image below shows that football fans were a major target.

According to prosecutors, the operation meant that broadcasters including Sky and BT Sport faced potential losses of £4m per year while using the devices in pubs exposed licensees to the risk of prosecution.

Chronicle Live reports that Haggerty had several passports in different names, and set up a company in Nevis to hide the true purpose of his business. Along with his wife, he also supplied the UK Immigration Service with false documents to sponsor an Egyptian national who was put in charge of the streaming service.

All things considered, 57-year-old Haggerty was jailed for five years and three months for conspiracy to defraud. His wife, 54, who the court accepted had played a minor role, was handed a two-year sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

“This was a very sophisticated fraud perpetrated primarily by you, John Haggerty,” said Judge Simon Batiste.

“You sold 8,000 set top boxes and started services including streaming services, you created an application to enable other devices to access the stream you created. In particular devices permitted users to view all Premier League matches and films, some of which hadn’t even been released in the cinema.”

The sentencing of the pair was welcomed by Premier League director of legal services, Kevin Plumb.

“This case demonstrates how seriously the courts are dealing with criminals involved in the supply of illicit streaming devices and services that provide illegal access to Premier League football and other popular content,” Plumb said.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Rampage is the most downloaded movie again.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (1) Rampage 6.3 / trailer
2 (2) Ready Player One 7.7 / trailer
3 (…) Overboard 5.6 / trailer
4 (3) Escape Plan 2: Hades 3.9 / trailer
5 (…) How It Ends 8.8 / trailer
6 (7) A Quiet Place 7.8 / trailer
7 (…) Furious 6.3 / trailer
8 (5) Sanju 8.8 / trailer
9 (6) Avengers: Infinity War (HDCam) 9.1 / trailer
10 (4) Blockers 6.6 / trailer

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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We’re all familiar with the statement that piracy is “killing” the music industry.

It’s one of the main arguments used to argue in favor of stronger copyright enforcement and legislation.

The underlying idea is that strong copyright protection ensures that artists get paid. More money then opens the door to more artistic creations. But is that really the case?

Glynn Lunney Jr, law professor at Texas A&M University, has his doubts.

When the first wave of widespread online piracy hit in the late nineties, copyright holders called for stronger protections. This eventually resulted in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, commonly known under the acronym DMCA, which was passed nearly twenty years ago.

At the time, Professor Lunney declared that this would be the death of copyright. The DMCA would mainly serve the interests of large monopolies, not the independent creators, he envisioned. This would kill the true purpose of copyright, which is the progress of arts and science, as defined by the constitution.

In a new follow-up essay, Lunney looks back at his earlier predictions, with fresh evidence. As is turns out, he was wrong. The DMCA did little to stop the piracy epidemic. But while music industry revenues tanked, there was still plenty of creative output.

The professor doesn’t retract his early criticism of the DMCA, but he now sees that copyright never really served to promote the public interest.

In an ideal world, more money should lead to more creative output, but according to data presented Lunney’s new essay, the reality is quite different. Instead, it suggests that more money leads to less creative output.

Relying on music sales data dating back to the fifties, adjusted for inflation, and comparing that to a database of most-streamed tracks on Spotify in 2014, the professor reveals an interesting trend. There is no greater preference for music created in the high revenue periods, on the contrary in fact.

This is backed up by other data presented in Lunney’s book Copyright’s Excess, which also fails to find evidence that more money means better music.

“There is no evidence that more money meant more or better music. To the contrary, when I found a statistically significant correlation, I found that more money meant fewer and lower quality hit songs,” the professor writes.

The question is, of course, why?

According to the professor, it’s simple. Overpaid artists don’t work harder; they work less.

“These misdirected and excess incentives ensure that our most popular artists are vastly overpaid. By providing these excess incentives, copyright encourages our superstar artists to work less,” Lunney writes.

This suggests that more money for the music industry means less music. Which is the opposite of the true purpose of copyright; to facilitate the progress of arts and science.

It’s a controversial thought that relies on quite a few assumptions. For example, looking beyond the big stars, more money can also mean that more artists get paid properly, so they can make a decent living and dedicate more time to their music.

Also, even in the lower revenue periods, when music piracy is at its height, the top artists still make millions.

The professor, however, is convinced by the data he sees. Adding to the above, he shows that during high revenue periods the top artists made fewer albums, while they produced more albums and hits during tough times.

“As a result, when revenues were high for the recording industry, as they were in the 1990s, our top artists produced fewer studio albums and fewer Hot 100 hits in the first ten years of their career,” Lunney writes.

“In contrast, when revenues were low, both in the 1960s before the sound recording copyright and in the post-file sharing 2000s, our top artists produced more studio albums and more Hot 100 hits.”

Among other things, the data show that the most prolific artists in the study, the Beatles and Taylor Swift, had their first Hot 100 hits in 1964 and 2006, respectively. Both were low revenue years.

It’s a thought-provoking essay which undoubtedly will be countered by music industry insiders. That said, it does highlight that there’s not always a positive linear link between music industry revenue and creative output.

“For the United States recording industry over the last fifty years, more money has not meant more and better music. It has meant less. The notion that copyright can serve the public interest by increasing revenue for copyright owners has, at least for the recording industry, proven false,” Lunney notes.

“Copyright is dead. The DMCA did not, however, kill it. Copyright, in the sense of a law intended to promote the public interest, never existed at all. It was only ever a dream,” he adds.

And the DMCA?

Ironically, major copyright groups are increasingly complaining that the ‘outdated’ law is not fit to tackle the ongoing piracy problem. Instead, they see the DMCA’s safe harbor as a major roadblock which allows services such as YouTube to “profit from piracy.”

The same YouTube, however, is used by tens of thousands of artists to create content and get their work out to the public. It’s proven to be a breeding ground for creative talent, some of which have grown out to become today’s biggest stars. Even those who started as ‘pirates’…

Copyright, as we know it today, is not dead, but it sure is complicated.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Entrepreneurs on the Internet face risks that are in many ways the same as those operating in the physical realm. All have to find a suitable market while combining hard work, skill, and elements of luck to create a sustainable and profitable business model.

While there are plenty of opportunities out there to do things that other people have already done, the online world presents a whole raft of new possibilities to build projects in areas where few – if any – have trod before.

Take for instance Megaupload, the file-hosting site created by Kim Dotcom, which initially tried to solve the problem of sending files that were too big to email. Or TVAddons, the portal created by Canadian Adam Lackman, that set out to become the world’s leading repository of third-party Kodi media player addons.

Both businesses thrived for many years, working within what they believed to be the parameters of the law.

In Megaupload’s case, taking down content when asked to do so and working with copyright holders to ensure a smooth relationship. In TVAddons case, never hosting or linking to copyrighted content at all and never responding to copyright complaints – because none were ever received.

Now, however, both companies are resigned to history. Megaupload was shut down in 2012 and TVAddons (in its original form) was shuttered in 2017. While the force used against both has been documented in detail (few need to be reminded of the helicopters and armed police in Dotcom’s case or the specialist warrant used against Lackman) both have faced an onslaught of legal action.

Last week, Dotcom revealed that in the 2,375 days since the raid and after reporting for bail 670 times and appearing in court for 165 days, he has spent $40 million on legal fees.

Quite clearly Kim Dotcom is no ordinary person. Conjuring up $40m in legal fees is an astonishing feat, not least since the man was supposedly near destitute just a few short years ago.

But despite spending dangerously close to six whole months in court and more money than most of us could hope to see in several lifetimes, Dotcom is no closer to finding out whether his Megaupload operation was legal or not. Most proceedings thus far have dealt with how his case was (often wrongly) handled in New Zealand and whether or not he should be extradited to the United States.

Letting that sink in, the legality of Megaupload and the actions of its operators is yet to be determined on the merits, yet Dotcom has already spent $40m defending his corner. Whether you support the man or not, whether you believe Megaupload was brilliant innovation or the epitome of infringement, the numbers are staggering and are as far away from a reasonable fight as one can imagine.

Granted, someone with fewer abilities and resources than Dotcom would have been shipped off to the U.S. years ago where the case would’ve been decided much more cheaply. However, that would’ve been done under a system that tends to listen to arguments more closely when they’re made by defendants with huge financial resources.

That status certainly isn’t a good fit for TVAddons founder Adam Lackman who, unlike Dotcom, doesn’t appear to have the ability to conjure up millions of dollars to pay his lawyers.

On numerous occasions over the past 12 months, Lackman has turned to users of the now reborn TVAddons to ask for their financial support to help fight his case against the largest telecoms companies in Canada. He’s currently asking for their help again to raise CAD$55,000+ that must be paid to the plaintiffs in his case after he contested a search warrant.

Bailiffs have already been to Lackman’s home trying to recover the cash (or goods) but left when they could find little of value. TVAddons now say that they’re in a precarious position.

“It seems that the companies suing us (Bell, Rogers, Videotron, TVA) are trying to use this debt to force our founder into bankruptcy and therefore force him to settle with them, even though he did nothing wrong. This way they can avoid the issue being heard in court,” the site explains.

The last sentence in this statement raises a point that is regularly made in David vs Goliath-type copyright cases. The big companies who bring these cases are regularly accused of not wanting to have cases heard on the merits.

Their critics claim that if they can string things out long enough, defendants like Lackman – or indeed Kim Dotcom – will eventually fold under the pressure.

While that doesn’t seem to be on the cards in the Megaupload case, Lackman seems to be dangerously close to the edge. Just like Dotcom, there’s no shortage of people who would be happy to see him go under but that wouldn’t just be bad for him.

Whether they beat Lackman before or during trial, the plaintiffs in the TVAddons case want to create the impression that by “merely hosting, distributing and promoting Kodi add-ons, the TVAddons administrator is liable for inducing or authorizing copyright infringements later committed using those add-ons.”

That analysis is from the EFF, who note that a victory would “create new uncertainty and risk for distributors of any software that could be used to engage in copyright infringement.”

But while a decisive win for the telecoms companies on these grounds would be considered a success, a clear and early capitulation by Lackman would give the public the impression they would’ve won anyway.

Both outcomes would serve the purpose of deterring people from making a business on the back of their content – no matter how remotely nor how many third-parties are involved. It’s not hard to see why this is the end goal.

Lackman informs TF that so far he has spent over CAD$80,000 on legal bills, but “owes significantly more than that” to his own lawyers. That’s on top of the CAD$55,000+ he currently owes the plaintiffs plus anything he may spend at trial, if it even gets there.

In comparison, Kim Dotcom’s $40m is monopoly money to most of us, but whichever scenario one takes, the suffocating financial power faced by defendants in these case means inevitable mismatches.

Whether one thinks of these disrupters as heroes or calculating crooks is a matter of opinion (and there’s no shortage of people on both sides of that fence), but it’s likely that many will agree with the notion that getting a fair trial, on the merits of what has been accused, should be the target society aims for.

The current system doesn’t seem to allow for that.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Two years ago, several major record labels filed a lawsuit against Internet provider Grande Communications.

The labels argued that the ISP’s subscribers engaged in more than a million BitTorrent-based infringements, yet it took “no meaningful action to discourage this continuing theft.”

While the RIAA is not a party to the case, on paper at least, the music group’s lawyers are closely involved in the matter. From the earliest stage, it provided the labels with legal assistance.

That said, filing a lawsuit against the Internet provider was not the RIAA’s idea originally. It was brought to their attention by none other than the piracy-settlement outfit Rightscorp.

In fact, the RIAA wasn’t even aware of any of the copyright infringement allegations before Rightscorp alerted the group.

This was revealed by the RIAA itself in a recent court filing, where the music group objects to handing over information regarding certain communications it had with Rightscorp.

“RIAA first learned of Defendants’ misconduct when Rightscorp approached RIAA in January 2016 regarding potential litigation arising from evidence of copyright infringement by Grande’s subscribers,” the RIAA writes.

“RIAA, on Plaintiffs’ behalf, retained Rightscorp as a litigation consultant with respect to Grande’s subscribers’ online infringement of Plaintiffs’ works, and that engagement resulted in the filing of this lawsuit.”

Rightscorp’s consulting in anticipation of the lawsuit wasn’t cheap. We previously revealed that the RIAA paid over $300,000 to the company in 2016, which represented approximately 44% of its total revenue for that year.

At the time it wasn’t clear what this money was for. However, the RIAA’s new filing shows that Rightcorp helped the music group and its members to carve out their legal strategy.

“RIAA’s considerations that led to the engagement of Rightscorp and the filing of this lawsuit were legal strategy; and RIAA’s communications with Plaintiffs and Rightscorp involved counsel and were for the purpose of rendering legal advice about, and in anticipation of, potential litigation against Defendants.”

These details are made public now because the ISP has also taken an interest in the collaboration. As part of the ongoing discovery process in the case, Grande has requested testimony on the communications between Rightscorp, the RIAA, and the labels.

The RIAA, however, believes that these and other requests go too far.

For one, the music group argues that its communications with Rightscorp are protected under the “common interest privilege,” which can cover communications between parties with a common legal interest.

In addition, it argues that the communications among the RIAA, the labels, and Rightscorp are protected work. This can prohibit the discovery of material prepared, by or for an attorney, in preparation of litigation.

The RIAA also objects to several other testimony requests, including information regarding its business with anti-piracy outfit MarkMonitor, and the technical functionality of Rightscorp’s online infringement detection system.

It’s now up to the court to decide how much information the RIAA must disclose. However, we already know a bit more about how the lawsuit got started, which makes it clear that Rightscorp, which also provides crucial evidence for the lawsuit, was not just a bystander.

A copy of RIAA’s motion for a protective order is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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After years of negotiations, last year UK ISPs began sending out piracy warnings to subscribers whose accounts are used to share copyright-infringing material.

The warning notices, sent out by ISPs including BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Sky, politely inform account holders that their connections have been monitored sharing movies, music, TV shows and other content.

The notices are purely educational and no further threats are attached, a welcome approach to what can often be a difficult situation for both entertainment groups and the public.

This week, however, a reader sent us a warning he’d received from Virgin Media (redacted and truncated version below) which ended up piquing our interest.

The notice itself is pretty standard and advises the recipient to visit the Get it Right From a Genuine Site educational portal for more information. The recipient tried to do just that, following the hyperlink in the email. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan.

As seen from the image below, AVG immediately threw up a warning, advising the user to stay away from the site due to suspected malware.

Using a machine protected with Avast anti-virus, TorrentFreak followed the same procedure by clicking the hyperlink in the anti-piracy notice email and attempting to reach the GetitRight campaign site. We had broadly the same level of success.

Strangely, none of this came as a surprise to us because this isn’t the first time that there’s been a malware warning on the Get it Right domain.

Back in April, TorrentFreak discovered that the Get it Right site was being flagged as dangerous by several anti-piracy vendors. However, rather than expose people to a potentially dangerous situation (or cause unnecessary alarm), we took the decision to report the problems to an organization connected to Creative Content UK, the campaign behind the Get it Right site.

At the time we were told it was probably just a technical glitch and we were told it was being looked at. But now, several months later, things don’t seem to be any better and with letter recipients now experiencing the same problems, the issue is now known to the public.

The image below is from VirusTotal, which presents results from many anti-virus vendors. While most results are clear, it displays several serious warnings at the top of the list in addition to the issues we know exist with both AVG and Avast.

Precisely what the problem is here we don’t know. Visiting both http and https variants of the site produce malware warnings and there are even problems when trying to access the domain from third-party services.

For example, on the left-hand side of the Get it Right campaign’s Twitter account, one can find the usual information, including a summary of what the project is all about, where it’s located, and details of its website.

However, when clicking the link to access the campaign’s URL, Twitter steps in and prevents visitors from going any further.

Twitter’s warnings, that the site could “steal your password or other personal information” or install “malicious software programs on your computer”, hardly inspires confidence in those seeking advice about how not to pirate in the future. Somewhat ironically, it’s the kind of warning pirates are often told to expect on pirate sites.

As noted earlier, TF previously reported a security problem with the site several months ago but since such a long time has passed with no apparent action, mentioning it more openly will hopefully spring the campaign’s security people into clearing up the confusion.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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