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Piracy

James Cameron: Theater Experience Key To Containing Piracy (torrentfreak.com) 328

Director James Cameron says that the key to containing movie piracy is preserving the theater experience as something special. He made the remarks when reporters asked him about his views on Sean Parker's upcoming streaming service Screening Room which will reportedly allow users to watch a new movie on the same day as its theatre release. From a TorrentFreak article: Cameron believes that having first-run movies in the home will stop people heading off to the cinema, the place where filmmakers can really showcase their art and take the fight to piracy. "The biggest hedge against piracy is still the sanctity of the viewing experience in a movie theater -- when it comes to movies," he says. "With The Walking Dead or something like that, that's not what you're selling, but if we're talking about movies and theatrical exhibition, keeping it great, making it a special experience, is still the biggest hedge against [piracy]." Interestingly, Cameron also says that even if piracy somehow became legal and download speeds were drastically improved, viewing content outside the theatrical setting would still come up short. "You're still watching [movies] on a small platform, and it's not that social experience," he explains.
Piracy

IsoHunt Launches Unofficial KAT Mirror 66

An anonymous reader writes: Torrent site isoHunt appears to have unofficially resurrected KickassTorrents (also known as Kickass Torrents or just KAT) at kickasstorrents.website. It might look like the original KAT site, which went down yesterday after alleged founder Artem Vaulin was arrested, but upon closer inspection it's simply a basic mirror. The isoHunt team tells me the KAT mirror is hosting files from the last year to year-and-a-half. So no, not everything is available. Furthermore, there is no forum, no community, and no support. And, you shouldn't get too attached, the administrators warn. Disclaimer: Slashdot doesn't necessarily condone piracy -- at least, in most cases.
Piracy

US Navy Faces $600M Lawsuit For Allegedly Pirating 3D VR Software (hothardware.com) 115

An anonymous reader quotes a report from HotHardware: The U.S. Navy has been accused of pirating 3D software after first testing a software package offered by Germany company Bitmanagement Software GmbH. The company is suing the United States of America for nearly $600 million. HotHardware reports: "According to the court filing, Bitmanagement licensed its BS Contact Geo software for use on 38 Navy computers from 2011 to 2012. This limited rollout was 'for the purposes of testing, trial runs, and integration into Navy systems.' While this test period was underway, the Navy reportedly began negotiating to license the software for use on thousands of additional computers. However, even as the negotiations were ongoing, the Navy decided to go ahead and initiate its full-scale rollout without actually paying for the software. In total, the initial 38 computers allegedly swelled to 104,922 computers by October 2013. As of today, BS Contact GEO is claimed to be installed on 558,466 Navy computers, although 'likely this unauthorized copying has taken place on an even larger scale' according to the filing. As if the unauthorized installation of software onto hundreds of thousands of computers wasn't enough, Bitmanagement is alleging that the Navy during 2014 began disabling the Flexwrap software that is tasked with tracking the use of BS Contact Geo and helping to prevent it from being duplicated. When this software piracy was taking place, the retail price of a single BS Contact Geo license was $1067.76. With nearly 600,000 computers now in play, Bitmanagement is seeking a whopping $596,308,103 in damages. The lawsuit, which alleges willful copyright infringement was filed on July 15th."
Bitcoin

'Tor and Bitcoin Hinder Anti-Piracy Efforts' (torrentfreak.com) 103

An anonymous reader writes: A new report published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office identifies a wide range of 'business models' that are used by pirate sites. The organization, which announced a new collaboration with Europol this week, signals Bitcoin and the Tor network as two key threats to ongoing anti-piracy efforts. According to the research, several infringing business models rely on encryption-based technologies. The Tor network and Bitcoin, for example, are repeatedly mentioned as part of this "shadow landscape." "It more and more relies on new encrypted technologies like the TOR browser and the Bitcoin virtual currency, which are employed by infringers of IPR to generate income and hide the proceeds of crime from the authorities," the report reads.
Music

YouTube Says Content Owners Made $1B Last Year -- So Music Labels Should Stop Complaining (recode.net) 153

Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode: Here's the latest salvo in the back and forth between YouTube and the music industry: A report from Google that says its video site's copyright software has allowed content owners to generate $1 billion in the last year or so. Or, in other words: Hey, music guys! Stop moaning about money -- we're making plenty of it for you. Google's formal message comes via "How Google Fights Piracy," a 62-page mega-pamphlet it is releasing today. Google adds that its Content ID tool, which lets copyright owners "claim" their videos that users upload to YouTube so that ad money can be made off it, has garnered $2 billion since 2007. This is Google's response to a growing concern from the music industry that YouTube doesn't pay well, its Content ID isn't a solution, and that the video platform is built on stolen material.
Businesses

NBC Universal Patents a Way To Detect BitTorrent Pirates In Real-Time (ndtv.com) 104

An anonymous reader writes: NBC Universal has been granted a patent, titled "Early detection of high volume peer-to-peer networks in real-time," to try and restrict piracy of its copyrighted content. "Early detection of high volume swarms in a peer-to-peer network, including a data feed of peer-to-peer swarm activity, and an analytics engine processing the data feed and identifying the high volume swarms that have parameters that exceed a threshold. The system can include a pre-processing section for conditioning the swarm data for the analytics section. There can also be a verification section that confirms that the peer download file matches the target file," notes the patent document issued by USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). "The early detection provides for enhanced anti-piracy efforts, improved allocation of network resources, and better business decision-making," it adds. NBC Universal says that the "P2P infrastructure has many advantages" but it has also led to abuses. Piracy is estimated to cost content owners billions of dollars annually. "These costs are typically passed along to the consuming public in terms of increased costs for legitimate purchased works and higher charges for increased deterrents to the piracy," NBC Universal added. The patent NBC Universal received was applied for back in 2009, but only granted last week.
Australia

Fair Use Threatens Innovation, Copyright Holders Warn (torrentfreak.com) 148

An anonymous reader shares a TorrentFreak report: Various music and movie industry groups have warned that fair use exceptions are a threat. The groups were responding to proposals put forward in Australia by the Government's Productivity Commission. They claim that content creators will be severely disadvantaged if fair use is introduced Down Under . Several rightsholder groups argue that strong copyright protections are essential for the survival of their businesses. This includes a long copyright term of 70 years, as well as the ability to block access to content based on the location of a consumer. In addition, many believe that fair use exceptions will do more harm than good. For example, music group IFPI warns that fair use will threaten innovation and create legal uncertainty. "Licensing, not exceptions to copyright, drives innovation. Innovation is best achieved through licensing agreements between content owners and users, including technological innovators," IFPI writes.
United Kingdom

UK ISP Sky Is About To Start Censoring the Web For All of Its Customers (betanews.com) 167

Mark Wilson, writing for BetaNews: The UK government is on a mission to protect the young of the country from the dark recesses of the web. And by the darker recesses, what is really meant is porn. The main ISPs have long been required to block access to known piracy sites, but porn is also a concern -- for politicians, at least. As part of its bid to sanitize and censor the web, Sky -- from the Murdoch stables -- is, as of today, enabling adult content filtering by default for all new customers: Sky Broadband Shield. The company wants to "help families protect their children from inappropriate content", and in a previous experiment discovered -- unsurprisingly -- that content filtering was used by more people if it was automatically enabled.
Piracy

UK Bill Introduces 10 Year Prison Sentence for Online Pirates (torrentfreak.com) 167

An anonymous reader writes: The UK Government's Digital Economy Bill, which is set to revamp current copyright legislation, has been introduced in Parliament. One of the most controversial changes is the increased maximum sentences for online copyright infringement. Despite public protest, the bill increased the maximum prison term five-fold, from two to ten years. Before implementing the changes the Government launched a public consultation, asking for comments and advice from the public. But, even though the vast majority of the responses urged the authorities not to up the prison term, lawmakers decided otherwise. As a result, a new draft of the Digital Economy bill published this week extends the current prison term from two to ten years (PDF). The relevant part amends the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and simply replaces the word two with ten. Copyright holders have lobbied for this update for a long time. According to them, harsher penalties are needed to deter people from committing large-scale copyright infringement, something the Government agrees with.
Piracy

ICANN: We Won't Pass Judgment On Pirate Sites (torrentfreak.com) 28

From a TorrentFreak report:Following more pressure from rightsholders, domain name oversight body ICANN has again made it clear that it will not act as judge and jury in copyright disputes. In a letter to the president of the Intellectual Property Constituency, ICANN chief Stephen Crocker says that ICANN is neither "required or qualified" to pass judgment in such cases. This week, ICANN's Dr. Crocker responded to the April letter from IPC, confirming that his group will "bring enforcement actions" against registries and registrars that fail to include abuse warnings in their end-user agreements. However, ICANN also made it crystal clear that it won't be getting directly involved in disputes involving allegedly infringing domains. "This does not mean, however, that ICANN is required or qualified to make factual and legal determinations as to whether a Registered Name Holder or a website operator is violating applicable laws and governmental regulations, and to assess what would constitute an appropriate remedy for such activities in any particular situation," Dr. Crocker added.
Piracy

Judge Dismisses Movie Piracy Case, IP-Address Doesn't Prove Anything (torrentfreak.com) 164

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: In what's believed to be a first of its kind ruling, a federal court in Oregon has dismissed a direct infringement complaint against an alleged movie pirate from the outset. According to the judge, linking an IP-address to a pirated download is not enough to prove direct copyright infringement. In the Oregon District Court, Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman recently recommended dismissal of a complaint filed by the makers of the Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler. According to the Judge both claims of direct and indirect infringement were not sufficient for the case to continue. What's unique in this case, is that the direct infringement claims were dismissed sua sponte, which hasn't happened before. To prove direct infringement copyright holders merely have to make it "plausible" that a defendant, Thomas Gonzales in this case, is indeed the copyright infringer. This is traditionally done by pointing out that the IP-address is directly linked to the defendant's Internet connection, for example. However, according to Judge Beckerman this is not enough. In response to community backlash, Oculus has decided to change its DRM policy (again) to allow HTC Vive games to play on the Oculus Rift virtual-reality system.
DRM

Oculus Ditches DRM Hurdle, Allows HTC Vive Games On Rift Again (venturebeat.com) 37

An anonymous reader writes: After changing its DRM to exclude ReVive last month, Oculus has changed its mind again and is now allowing HTC Vive games to play on the Oculus Rift. "We continually revise our entitlement and anti-piracy systems, and in the June update we've removed the check for Rift hardware from the entitlement check. We won't use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future," Oculus VR said. "We believe protecting developer content is critical to the long-term success of the VR industry, and we'll continue taking steps in the future to ensure that VR developers can keep investing in ground-breaking new VR content." VentureBeat reports: "ReVive developers have acted quickly following the removal of the check. An update to the software has been posted on GitHub to bring it back in line, meaning you'll now be able to access the games that were previously available without jumping through extra hoops. Perhaps even more games might work going forward. CrossVR, one of the system's developers, took to Reddit to thank Oculus for the decision. 'I'm delighted to see this change and I hope it can generate a lot of goodwill for Oculus.' CrossVR said."
Communications

Piracy Phishing Scam Targets US ISPs and Subscribers (torrentfreak.com) 20

According to a report on TorrentFreak, an elaborate piracy phishing operating is tageting US ISPs and subscribers. Scammers are reportedly masquerading as anti-piracy company IP-Echelon and rightholders such as Lionsgate to send fake DMCA notices and settlement demands to ISPs. From the report:TorrentFreak was alerted to a takedown notice Lionsgate purportedly sent to a Cox subscriber, for allegedly downloading a pirated copy of the movie Allegiant. Under threat of a lawsuit, the subscriber was asked to pay a $150 settlement fee. This request is unique as neither Lionsgate nor its tracking company IP-Echelon is known to engage in this practice. When we contacted IP-Echelon about Lionsgate's supposed settlement offer, we heard to our surprise that these emails are part of a large phishing scam, which has at least one large ISPs fooled. "The notices are fake and not sent by us. It's a phishing scam," IP-Echelon informed TorrentFreak. For a phishing scam the fake DMCA notice does its job well. At first sight the email appears to be legit, and for Cox Communications it was real enough to forward it to their customers.U.S. law enforcement has been notified and is currently investigating the matter.
Chrome

Chrome Bug Makes It Easy To Download Movies From Netflix and Amazon Prime 128

A vulnerability found in Chrome by researchers allows people to save copies of movies and TV shows from streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. From a Gizmodo report:The vulnerability, first reported by Wired (Editor's note: Wired blocks adblockers), takes advantage of the Widevine EME/CDM technology that Chrome uses to stream encrypted video from content providers. Researchers David Livshits from the Cyber Security Research Center at Ben-Gurion University and Alexandra Mikityuk of Telekom Innovation Laboratories discovered a way to hijack streaming video from the decryption module in the Chrome browser after content has been sent from services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. The researchers created a proof-of-concept (which is currently the only evidence of the exploit) to show how easily they could illegally download streaming video once CDM technology has decrypted it.Google was notified of the bug last month but is yet to patch it.
Operating Systems

Sony Agrees To Pay Millions To Gamers To Settle PS3 Linux Debacle (arstechnica.com) 232

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: After six years of litigation, Sony is now agreeing to pay the price for its 2010 firmware update that removed support for the Linux operating system in the PlayStation 3. Sony and lawyers representing as many as 10 million console owners reached the deal on Friday. Under the terms of the accord, (PDF) which has not been approved by a California federal judge yet, gamers are eligible to receive $55 if they used Linux on the console. The proposed settlement, which will be vetted by a judge next month, also provides $9 to each console owner that bought a PS3 based on Sony's claims about "Other OS" functionality. Under the plan, gamers eligible for a cash payment are "all persons in the United States who purchased a Fat PS3 model in the United States between November 1, 2006, and April 1, 2010." The accord did not say how much it would cost Sony, but the entertainment company is expected to pay out millions. On March 28, 2010, Sony announced that the update would "disable the 'Install Other OS' feature that was available on the PS3 systems prior to the current slimmer models." This feature, Sony claimed, would be removed "due to security concerns." Sony did not detail those "concerns," but the litigation alleged piracy was behind the decision. A gamer can get the $55, but they "must attest under oath to their purchase of the product and installation of Linux, provide proof of their purchase or serial number and PlayStation Network Sign-in ID, and submit some proof of their use of the Other OS functionality." To get the $9, PS3 owners must submit a claim, at the time they bought their console, they "knew about the Other OS, relied upon the Other OS functionality, and intended to use the Other OS functionality." Alternatively, a gamer "must attest that he or she lost value and/or desired functionality or was otherwise injured as a consequence of Firmware Update 3.21 issued on April 1, 2010," to get $9.
Android

Taking the Headphone Jack Off Phones Is User-Hostile and Stupid (theverge.com) 595

A WSJ report on Tuesday claimed that the next iPhone won't have the 3.5mm headphone port. A handful of smartphones such as LeEco's Le 2, Le 2 Pro, and Le Max 2 that have launched this year already don't have a headphone jack. The Verge's Nilay Patel has an opinion piece in which he argues that smartphone companies shouldn't ditch headphone ports as it helps no consumer. He lists six reasons:
1. Digital audio means DRM audio :Restricting audio output to a purely digital connection means that music publishers and streaming companies can start to insist on digital copyright enforcement mechanisms. We moved our video systems to HDMI and got HDCP, remember? Copyright enforcement technology never stops piracy and always hurts the people who most rely on legal fair use, but you can bet the music industry is going to start cracking down on "unauthorized" playback and recording devices anyway.2. Wireless headphones and speakers are fine, not great.
3. Dongles are stupid, especially when they require other dongles.
4. Ditching a deeply established standard will disproportionately impact accessibility.:The headphone jack might be less good on some metrics than Lightning or USB-C audio, but it is spectacularly better than anything else in the world at being accessible, enabling, open, and democratizing. A change that will cost every iPhone user at least $29 extra for a dongle (or more for new headphones) is not a change designed to benefit everyone.5. Making Android and iPhone headphones incompatible is incredibly arrogant and stupid.
6. No one is asking for this.
Software

High IQ Countries Have Less Software Piracy, Research Finds (torrentfreak.com) 249

Ernesto Van der Sar, writing for TorrentFreak (edited and condensed): There are hundreds of reasons why people may turn to piracy. A financial motive is often mentioned, as well as lacking legal alternatives. A new study from a group of researchers now suggests that national intelligence can also be added to the list. In a rather straightforward analysis, the research examined the link between national IQ scores and local software piracy rates -- from data provided by the Business Software Alliance. They concluded that there's a trend indicating that countries with a higher IQ have lower software piracy rates.
Piracy

Canada Federal Court Restrains Sale Of 'Pirate' Boxes (torrentfreak.com) 90

An anonymous reader writes:The Federal Court in Canada has handed down an interlocutory injunction against distributors of Android-based set-top boxes configured for piracy. The devices, which are loaded with software including Kodi (with pirate addons) and Showbox, are now banned from sale pending a full trial.Judge Daniele Tremblay-Lamer wrote in her order: "The devices marketed, sold and programmed by the Defendants enable consumers to obtain unauthorized access to content for which the Plaintiffs own the copyright. [...] They deliberately encourage consumers and potential clients to circumvent authorized ways of accessing content -- say, by a cable subscription or by streaming content from the Plaintiffs' websites -- both in the manner in which they promote their business, and by offering tutorials in how to add and use applications which rely on illegally obtained content."
Censorship

KickassTorrents Enters The Dark Web, Adds Official Tor Address 44

An anonymous reader writes: KickassTorrents has now added a dark web address to make it easier for users to bypass blockades installed by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). It has announced a new .onion domain through which KickassTorrents users can access their favourite sites on a Tor (The Onion Router) network. "Good news for those who have difficulties accessing KAT due to the site block in their country, now you can always access KAT via this address lsuzvpko6w6hzpnn.onion on a Tor network," announced a member of the KickassTorrents team.
Piracy

DVD Release Delays Boost Piracy and Hurt Sales, Study Shows (torrentfreak.com) 202

One of the reasons that drive people to piracy is the delay in the release of a title's DVD or Blu-Ray in their local market. According to a new academic paper from Carnegie Mellon University, movie fans are finding it increasingly difficult to wait for the official DVD or Blu-Ray to come out. From a TorrentFreak report: Due to artificial delays which vary across different parts of the world, pirates can often get their hands on a high-quality rip of a movie before the DVD is officially released in their country. Researchers have looked into this piracy "window of opportunity," and found that release delays are actually hurting DVD and Blu-Ray sales. "Our results suggest that an additional 10-day delay between the availability of digital piracy and the legitimate DVD release date in a particular country is correlated with a 2-3% reduction in DVD sales in that country," the researchers write.

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