EasyDNS Threatened With Criminal Complaint over ‘Pirating’ Customer 2

Over the past several years, the Canadian company easyDNS has come up in several piracy-related news articles.

The company’s domain registrar activities, in particular, have been a topic of discussion. Not least because it serves high-profile customers, including The Pirate Bay.

EasyDNS CEO Mark Jeftovic has always made it very clear that he doesn’t want his company to be a refuge for pirate sites. However, at the same time he is committed to protecting due process. 

This became clear a few years ago when the company refused to suspend domain names based on allegations from the City of London Police. This stance was repeated later when the RIAA asked easyDNS to suspend The Pirate Bay’s domain, which it refused to do without a court order. 

These examples show that easyDNS is no stranger to legal pressure, but a recent request from a German law firm was a bit over the top, even by easyDNS’ standards.

The company recently received a copyright notice from the German law firm Fechner Legal, ordering easyDNS to take down a URL of one of its clients who allegedly posted a copyright-infringing image. In addition, the notice came with a settlement offer, urging the registrar to pay €1,481 in damages and fees.

EasyDNS Threatened With Criminal Complaint over ‘Pirating’ Customer 3

The letter, which was initially sent to the wrong email address years ago, came through the postal mail. EasyDNS has no plans to pay up or expose its customer, as the law firm requested. However, it did send a reply asking for a digital copy so it could be forwarded to its customer, as is standard practice.

Instead of sending over the requested digital copy, the law firm replied with a threat. Citing German jurisprudence, attorney Robert Fechner urged easyDNS to hand over the name and email address of the allegedly-infringing customer, or else.

The” or else,” in this case, would come in the form of a criminal complaint.

“If you fail to comply with the law, further proceedings will be to file a criminal complaint against you in order to acquire this information on the basis of § 14 II TMG. In this case, additional damages due to your uncooperative and unlawful behavior will be claimed.” Fechner wrote.

Despite the threat of a criminal complaint, easyDNS still doesn’t plan to hand over the name and email address of its customer. The company’s CEO stresses that it only complies with the law of the country where it’s incorporated, which is Canada.

Simply handing over personal information might violate Canadian privacy law, easyDNS stresses. This means that, if Fechner Legal wants the personal information of the customer in question, it has to obtain a valid court order, subpoena or warrant in the Province of Ontario.

“It’s almost as if Herr Fechner doesn’t understand that Canada is a completely different country than Germany, and thus businesses operating here are subject to Canadian, not German law,” Jeftovic notes.

“We have further advised Herr Fechner that both easyDNS and our lawyers take a dim view of being threatened with a criminal complaint over something like this and we wonder out loud if the German bar association would have anything to say about one of their own abusing their position and misrepresenting the law in this manner,” he adds.

In any case, it’s clear that as a third-party registrar, easyDNS isn’t going to take any action without a proper court order. This means that the allegedly infringing URL remains online for now, just like The Pirate Bay.

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Swiss Copyright Law: Downloading Stays Legal, No Site Blocking 8

Sitting in the heart of Europe geographically but outside the European Union politically, Switzerland is largely free to make its own legislation.

On the copyright front, this has brought the country out of line with standards adopted by its neighbors, something that has drawn criticism from entertainment industry companies, particularly those in the United States.

In 2017, proposals to amend the country’s copyright laws were drafted but they failed to fully address key complaints from the United States Trade Representative (USTR) made on behalf of rightsholders.

A major complaint is that the country’s private copying exception shouldn’t apply to content obtained from illegal sources, i.e pirate copies of movies circulating on peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent. The USTR also had issues with the current liability framework for sites and hosting services that facilitate and profit from piracy.

After a long trip through the corridors of power, Switzerland’s National Council adopted amendments to copyright law Monday but at first view, there seems little to please the United States.

First up, regular citizens who download copyrighted content from illegal sources will not be criminalized. This means that those who obtain copies of the latest movies from the Internet, for example, will be able to continue doing so without fear of reprisals. Uploading has always been outlawed and that aspect has not changed.

Second, the drive to have pirate site-blocking introduced into Swiss law has been rejected. Unlike elsewhere in Europe, where the practice is widespread and supported by EU law, ISPs will not be required to block ‘pirate’ platforms as some copyright holders had demanded.

On the hosting and liability front, there will be changes, but at this early stage, it’s unclear how that will play out on the ground.

SwissInfo reports that the reforms will force local hosting providers to remove illegal content from their servers but adds that parliament rejected rules that would compel online platforms to check whether uploaded content is copyrighted.

A “take-down-stay-down” system had been championed (which would presumably require content to be checked against previous takedowns) but elsewhere it’s claimed that the new legal framework “favors self-regulation” to fight piracy at the hosting level.

While an extension from 50 to 70 years copyright protection for musical and photographic works will be welcomed by copyright holders, the failure to outlaw downloading of pirated content for personal use will be absolutely unacceptable to the United States and the MPAA in particular.

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Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 09/16/19 13This week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Dark Phoenix is the most downloaded movie.

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 RankRank last weekMovie nameIMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1(1)Dark Phoenix6.0 / trailer
2(…)Spider-Man: Far from Home7.8 / trailer
3(2)John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum7.8 / trailer
4(3)Aladdin7.3 / trailer
5(5)Avengers: Endgame8.7 / trailer
6(4)Men in Black: International5.6 / trailer
7(…)Can You Keep a Secret5.2 / trailer
8(6)Godzilla: King of the Monsters6.5 / trailer
9(…)Toy Story 48.1 / trailer
10(7)The Secret Life of Pets 26.5 / trailer

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TekSavvy Protests Push for Pirate Site Blocking in Court 18

Pirate site blockades are gradually spreading across the globe. Thus far, Canada hasn’t joined the movement but that’s something Bell, Rogers, and Groupe TVA hope to change.

In June, the three companies filed a lawsuit against the operators of a ‘pirate’ IPTV service operating from the domain names GoldTV.ca and GoldTV.biz. The companies argued that the service provides access to their TV content without licenses or authorization.

Among other things, the rightsholders requested an interim injunction to stop the operators, who remain unidentified, from continuing to offer the allegedly-infringing IPTV service. This was granted last month, but despite the order, some of the infrastructures remained available.

This resulted in a new request from the media giants, which could potentially lead to the first-ever pirate site blocking order in Canada. Specifically, the companies are calling for an interlocutory injunction order that would require several Canadian ISPs to block GoldTV domain names and IP-addresses.

The request was discussed in Federal Court last Thursday and Friday. Since Rogers and Bell are also ISPs, the companies are also listed as respondents. Obviously, they didn’t object to their own demands. Similarly, there are no objections from Shaw, Eastlink, Fido, SaskTel, Telus, and Videotron either.

With input from some of the Internet providers, the rightsholders drafted a blocking order that they hope to have approved by the Federal Court. It lists several domain names and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service and allows for more to be added.

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Domains and IP-addresses to be blocked

The blocking technology that’s described in the order is fairly straightforward. Domain names would have to be targeted through DNS blocking or re-routing, and non-shared IP-addresses would have to be blocked or re-routed as well. All ISPs would be permitted to establish their preferred methods, as long as they are effective.

Thus far there hasn’t been much opposition from ISPs. The only company that substantially objects to the proposed site-blocking scheme is TekSavvy.

In written comments to the Court, the ISP points out that the request comes at a curious time as Canadian lawmakers are reviewing the appropriateness of such measures, as part of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review. Issuing a precedential injunction before this review is complete would be inappropriate, TekSavvy argues.

Aside from leap-frogging the ongoing legislative process, the ISP also points out that the site-blocking measures violate net neutrality.

“The plaintiffs seek this Court’s assistance to implement a draconian remedy that runs directly counter to the legislatively established principle of net neutrality,” TekSavvy notes in its written comments.

The ISP doesn’t believe that the blocking measures will be very effective either. There are plenty of workarounds available, for example. The company further notes that it’s unclear whether GoldTV causes any harm and adds that the rightsholders have plenty of other options to go after the service.

For example, they could target the sites through less invasive measures. By contacting its payment provider or hosting company, for example, or going after the Canadian domain name registry.

“[The plaintiffs] ask this Court to deputize TekSavvy and other ISPs to protect the plaintiffs’ profits against some hypothetical (and unknowable) erosion from GoldTV’s services, yet they have not taken some of the most basic self-help steps open to them,” TekSavvy notes.

Overall, the ISP sees website blocking as a draconian measure. While it seems fairly small and directed at a small service that’s no longer widely available, Teksavvy fears that granting the order will open the floodgates to much broader blocking requests.

“If the plaintiffs were successful in obtaining a site-blocking order in this case, there is no question that they would use it as a precedent to obtain other site-blocking orders, whether in respect of copyright infringement or otherwise.”

“TekSavvy could be faced with hundreds and even thousands of websites to block and monitor, exponentially increasing the costs of operating and maintaining a site-blocking system and overwhelming TekSavvy’s capacity,” the company adds.

As such, Teksavvy asks the Federal Court to dismiss the motion. It’s the only third-party company that has done so. Fellow ISP Distributel also objected to the proposed language in the motion, but its complaint only deals with how ISPs are compensated for their efforts.

The Wire Report notes that the Federal Court gave all parties until Wednesday to come to an agreement on the language of the proposed order. It’s clear, however, that TekSavvy is not coming aboard.

After the hearings, the Federal Court will eventually have to decide whether to grant the blocking order or not. That’s expected to take a few more weeks.

A copy of the proposed blocking order, which may be changed going forward, is available here (pdf). TekSavvy’s written responses are available here (pdf) and a copy of the affidavit of Paul Stewart, TekSavvy’s VP of Technology, can be found here (pdf).

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Judge Recommends to Deny Summary Judgment Against Tor Exit Node Operator in Piracy Case 24

Tor is an anonymity tool used by millions of people. Dubbed the “Onion Router”, it operates by sending traffic through various nodes, after which it enters the public Internet again.

This setup makes the source of the traffic pretty much impossible to trace. However, it also means that people who operate a Tor exit node have their IP-address associated with a lot of traffic they’re not the source of.

When pirates use Tor, for example, it will appear as if the copyright-infringing activity comes from the exit node address. While the operators are generally aware of this, recent history has shown that his can lead to serious liability issues.

This is what Oregon resident John Huszar found out the hard way.

Back in 2015, the company behind the movie Dallas Buyers Club filed a federal lawsuit against the IP-address 173.11.1.241. A few months later, this complaint was amended to list “Integrity Computer Services” as the defendant, and in 2016, it was eventually replaced with the company’s owner, John Huszar.

While Huszar denied that he personally downloaded the film, there was a problem. Early on in the case, the filmmakers served a request for admissions, asking the defendant to respond to several statements. This request remained unanswered, which was a mistake, as it typically means that the court can then assume the statements are true.

Dallas Buyers Club used this to its advantage. Among other things, the admissions stated that Huszar unlawfully distributed a copy of the Dallas Buyers Club movie, which seemed to open the door to a substantial financial claim.

That would be true in most cases, but Huszar is not the only one who made a crucial error – Dallas Buyers Club did the same. As noted by US District Judge Michael Simon, earlier this year, Huszar wasn’t yet a named defendant when the filmmakers issued their request for admissions.

Following this conclusion, Judge Simon sent the case back to Magistrate Judge John Acosta, who this week issued his report and recommendations on the motions for summary judgment from both the plaintiff and the defendant.

First up is the film company, which requested a summary judgment finding that Huszar is guilty of copyright infringement. This request relied pretty much exclusively on the admissions which are no longer valid. As such, the motion was denied.

“It is evident Dallas’s motion was reliant on Huszar’s admissions. Judge Simon’s withdrawal of the deemed admissions based on Huszar’s failure to respond to Dallas’s requests for admissions was fatal to Dallas’s motion,” Magistrate Judge Acosta writes in his recommendation.

While this is great news for the defendant, there was a disappointment as well. Huszar also requested summary judgment, ruling that he is not liable. After a careful review, Judge Acosta denied this too.

Among other things, Huszar claimed that he was shielded by the DMCA because he was acting as an ISP. However, Judge Acosta notes that to benefit from such protections, he has to show that he’s eligible for such immunity. This includes having a repeat infringer policy, of which the court found no evidence.

Huszar further argued that the monitoring software used by the filmmakers
was unreliable. While the defense provided an expert report to back this up, Dallas Buyers Club submitted an opposing report, which leads Judge Acosta to the conclusion that summary judgment based on the reliability of the evidence is not appropriate.

This means that after a battle of almost five years in court, the case can still go either way. Judge Acosta’s recommendations are not the final judgments. They will be referred to a District Judge who has the final say.

After that, the case will likely move to trial. If that the case, it will be up to a Jury to decide whether the Tor exit node operator is guilty or not.

A copy of Magistrate Judge John Acosta’s findings and recommendations is available here (pdf).

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Platform Exclusives Could Boost Piracy, UK Govt Report Notes 29

Last week the UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office published its annual IP Crime and Enforcement Report.

The report provides an overview of the latest anti-piracy achievements of copyright holders and also signals some emerging threats. It seems to be written mostly based on input from large rightsholders, which can make it a bit one-sided.

The overall theme is that piracy and counterfeiting remain a major problem and that, as a “world class IP enforcement regime,” the UK takes a leading role in the world to tackle it going forward.

A few days ago we reported on an exemplary section from the report where the Premier League highlighted its key successes. The full document is filled with similar examples and is worth a read, but there is one issue that stood out which we would like to highlight separately.

In the section where the results of PRS for Music, the UK’s leading collection society, are summarized there is a hint of self-reflection. As reported in the past, there were signs that BitTorrent piracy is increasing again, and according to the UK Government’s report, the industry may be to blame.

Apparently, piracy traffic may be rising again because the content that’s being offered on legal platforms is becoming more and more fragmented.

In other words, as more legal services have exclusive releases, it’s harder for people to get everything they want in one place. Instead of signing up for paid subscriptions at a handful of services, these people could then turn back to piracy.

Or as the Annual IP crime and enforcement report puts it:

“There also appears to be a resurgence in torrent traffic, notwithstanding the apparent demise of peer-to-peer file sharing a few years ago. A likely reason for this is the fact that more legitimate platforms are hosting exclusive content and subscribers may not necessarily have access to all the content they want to consume.”

The paragraph above is listed in the PRS section of the report which leads us to believe that it comes directly from the music group. We reached out to PRS to find out more but the organization said that it couldn’t comment on it. A subsequent request to clarify whether this is PRS’s position returned a “no comment” as well.

Again, we should stress that the fragmentation comment is just a tiny quote from a 132-page report. It doesn’t reflect the general theme that piracy needs to be addressed through comprehensive and multi-faceted enforcement strategies. However, at least there appears to be some room for self-reflection.

This isn’t the first time that increased fragmentation has been mentioned as a potential problem, but these type of comments generally don’t originate from governments or rightsholders.

Exclusive releases are particularly prevalent in the video industry today, where there’s a myriad of exclusive streaming services. How this will affect overall piracy rates in the years to come remains to be seen, but it’s certainly not something that can be easily ignored.

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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UK ‘Pirate’ IPTV Users’ Favorite Channels “Are Free-to-Air” 34

While the TV licensing system in the UK is viewed as an unpopular tax by many citizens, millions hand over money every year in order to receive broadcasts into their homes.

For the sum of £154.50 for a color TV license and £52 for a black and white equivalent, residents can potentially obtain access to dozens of channels via satellite (Freesat) or antenna (Freeview), none of which come with a subscription charge. In fact, those who don’t pay the license fee can still receive them, just not entirely legally.

Of course, those subscribing to a ‘pirate’ IPTV provider gain access to thousands of channels, including all the premium channels that would otherwise add hundreds of pounds of costs to the average bill.

There’s no doubt that gaining access to Sky’s premium offerings for next to nothing is an attractive proposition for customers. However, a UK-based IPTV provider informs TorrentFreak that these aren’t always the most popular channels with his subscribers.

Perhaps surprisingly, when looking at the Top 10 most-watched channels on the service, BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 all get a prominent position. Every single one is not only available for free (license permitting) via satellite or antenna but also available via the Internet for UK residents.

TF was able to review data from the IPTV provider’s panel which listed the service’s most popular streams from a few weeks ago. It showed that the most-viewed channel was ITV HD with just over 16%, with BBC1 HD in second place with close to 13%. National Geographic, a non-free to air channel, sat in third with just under 10%, closely followed by free to air Channel 4 HD.

Of the top 12 most popular channels listed in a provided chart, six are already free to air – ITV, BBC1 One, Channel 4, BBC Two, 4seven, Channel 5, ITV2, E4, Quest Red, and Quest. So why the inflated interest in channels already covered by a TV license and free-to-air?

The IPTV provider said it polled some customers, with a number of interesting reasons reportedly coming up, most of which appear to center around service-related issues. Firstly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, users of Freeview complained about not being able to get a good enough signal.

The digital Freeview service is supposedly available to 98% of the population but anecdotal evidence suggests that many are left with a poor signal, a reduced channel offering, picture break up, or not being able to receive the service at all.

Freesat (satellite) users can usually overcome most of these issues but many televisions don’t come with an appropriate tuner and in all cases, an external satellite dish must be installed, which presents another barrier to entry.

IPTV services, on the other hand, require a broadband connection and a cheap subscription, no external equipment (satellite dishes, antenna, or tuners) required.

It could be countered that several of the main BBC channels can be acquired via the Internet using the BBC iPlayer, which unquestionably provides a first-class service. However, online offerings from ITV (ITV Hub), Channel 4 (All 4), and Channel 5 (My5) only come in SD quality and in some cases, that’s a best-case scenario.

Most of the rest of the channels in the ‘free’ range (outside the regular TV license fee) have no online offer at all but an IPTV service can provide them all, in most cases in HD quality.

Only adding to the hassle of going legal is the fact that most if not all of the above channels’ online offerings now require registration, meaning that users have to have accounts with them all to receive them on a TV. On the other side, a subscription with an IPTV provider requires a single sign-up.

According to the provider, users don’t like to have accounts with all of these different official suppliers and they don’t enjoy the low-quality images on offer from their online portals, even if they are free to access. They also prefer the flexibility of being able to watch channels on any device they like, rather than being restricted to the platforms supported by various providers.

A UK user with experience of all of the systems above confirmed that while having Freeview or Freesat is a nice option, switching from app to app to receive other channels on various devices is a sub-standard experience when compared to that offered by unlicensed providers. He also questioned whether “any harm was being done” to the legitimate providers by accessing their channels from an IPTV provider.

“I pay my license for the BBC and I don’t use up any of their Internet [bandwidth]. I watch all the adverts on everything else same as everyone. Where’s the negative, I don’t see any?” he said.

In common with the provider we spoke with, the TV viewer pointed out that having everything in one place (a single IPTV subscription) is much more convenient than having to switch around various sources, even if that means paying a few pounds per month.

So while some people clearly latch on to unlicensed IPTV subscriptions for premium content usually offered by companies such as Sky, it seems that at least, in this case, convenience is also playing a big factor.

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UK ‘Pirate’ IPTV Users’ Favorite Channels “Are Free-to-Air” 35 UK ‘Pirate’ IPTV Users’ Favorite Channels “Are Free-to-Air” 36

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Plex is a Pirate’s Dream But Could Also Build Bridges to Legal Content 39

A little while back, Bijan Stephen over at The Verge published a well-received piece on the topic of Plex, the popular media server software. It’s well worth a read for those who aren’t already familiar with this incredibly sleek tool.

For those in need of a quick summary, Plex comes in two parts. A server component that does all the hard work behind the scenes on the host computer and a client, which can be typically run on a smart TV, Firestick-like device, tablet, phone or indeed another computer. The latter is used to access the former.

In brief (and from a video consumption perspective) people can dump all of their properly named movies and TV shows into a folder, adjust a few settings, wait a minute or three and have this uninspiring bleak landscape…

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Before…

….transformed into something like this:

Plex is a Pirate’s Dream But Could Also Build Bridges to Legal Content 41
After…

Users of software like Popcorn Time or Showbox will probably wonder what all the fuss is about – but that’s only if they haven’t used Plex.

When properly configured (and it isn’t hard) its search and curation features blow Netflix’s out of the water. Search by genre, actor, director, running time – almost anything is possible. As a bonus, Plex has one of the most beautiful interfaces ever made for media consumption.

What Plex doesn’t have, when people first install it, is any movie or TV show content in its library – especially of the kind shown above. The company behind Plex is completely above board, providing a tool that’s no more responsible for piracy than Windows or Android. Nevertheless, plenty of users build their own self-hosted Netflix-beaters with Plex, sometimes with the help of others.

The article in The Verge explains how some Plex users solve this problem by teaming up with other Plex users to share their own libraries. It a system that operates in a manner not dissimilar to the way smaller BBS admins of yesteryear traded and obtained content for their own platforms.

As The Verge put it, “as streaming offerings become more expensive and convoluted, people are setting up their own smaller, more intimate platforms.” And indeed they are, but there’s more to this rodeo.

There is a side to Plex use (copyright holders and indeed Plex itself will argue ‘abuse’) that isn’t small at all. It doesn’t involve sharing any of your own content either, it’s a simple case of handing over a few dollars, euros, or pounds and suddenly everything is a click away.

If one knows where to look, so-called P4S (Plex For Share) services are available that make Netflix’s multi-billion dollar offering look like a second-class citizen. And after handing over the cash or requesting a free trial, users can be accessing huge – HUGE – libraries of content in a matter of minutes.

The smaller and cheaper shares (a few hundred movies and TV shows, a handful of simultaneous users) are probably being run on home connections. The bigger and more expensive ones are entirely more professional, offering thousands of video files to many concurrent users.

Just as an example, one particular service (for less than $10) per month, lists more than 11,000 movies in HD and above (including 4K) plus 2,000 TV shows. Others prefer to list content in terabytes, with more than 200TB not being particularly uncommon. These big boys utilize CDNs to ensure content is delivered seamlessly to subscribers, wherever they may be.

The big deal here isn’t just the volume of content available, it’s the nature and breadth. Given that professional P4S offers don’t have politics to deal with or business models to protect, the movies on offer range from old classics to the very latest blockbusters. And Friends will not be removed because somebody offered a better deal.

The world of Plex shares is nothing new and for those thinking that their existence should be kept under the radar, it’s already too late. Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN, which is affiliated with Hollywood studios, has already taken action against people offering these services to the public. The cat is well and truly out of the bag, it’s just a question of how far it will run.

But while Plex might be a pirate’s dream, the company is doing some very interesting things to ensure that rightsholders get in on the act. Late last month, Plex announced it had struck a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution to supply free, ad-supported movies and TV shows to Plex users.

The company reportedly has plans for its software to become a “one-stop-shop” for content and has grand plans to begin reselling subscription content in 2020 along with video on demand products. This opens up the possibility of introducing pirates to premium products in an interface they are already very familiar with.

While some will naturally object, this could be clever bridge-building in action. Big content companies would never try to tempt pirates by putting movies or TV shows on The Pirate Bay, for example, but Plex and the company behind it are so neutral, politics can be kept to a minimum. Let’s see how it plays out, things could get very interesting.

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Manga Publishers Sue Pirate Site “Hoshinoromi” in New York Court 46

The popularity of pirated comics represents a thorn in the side to many publishers. Manga publishers, in particular, are faced with a constant stream of infringing copies.

Over the past year, we have seen some enforcement actions on this front.

For example, the Japanese Government jumped in and created a special task force to investigate the pirate site Mangamura, which shut down last year. Since then, several operators and uploaders have been prosecuted.

However, when Mangamura went offline, many other sites were more than happy to take its place. This includes Hoshinoromi.org, which is particularly popular in Japan but does well outside its borders too.

Hoshinoromi positioned itself as a successor to Mangamura and managed to build a rather impressive library of content in just a few months. According to its own stats from late July, it has 93,000 volumes or books in its archive, good for millions of pages.

Faced with the rapid rise of the site, a group of some of Japan’s largest manga publishers is now taking legal action. In a complaint filed at a federal court in New York, Shueisha, Kadowaka, Kodansha, and Shogakukan, accuse the site of blatant copyright infringement.

“This case is about willful and massive infringement of the Publishers’ manga,” they write. “Hoshinoromi is a pirate website operating at www.hoshinoromi.org, which organizes, promotes, and distributes unauthorized copies of the Publishers’ manga on a massive scale.”

New York seems an odd choice as publishers are all from Japan and the website is also in Japanese. However, the companies note that Hoshinoromi uses a variety of US-based companies to conduct its business and hide the operators’ identities.

“Cloudflare caches infringing content from both Hoshinoromi.org and the backend server, zakayloader.org (previously, worldjobproject.org). Cloudflare provides a reverse proxy to mask the server locations and operators,” the publishers write.

Other US-based outfits used by the site are Twitter and Gab, the publishers explain, adding that the site itself is freely available to American visitors as well.

Manga Publishers Sue Pirate Site “Hoshinoromi” in New York Court 47
Hoshinoromi.org

Hoshinoromi allegedly used Twitter to advertise the site, making it clear that it was aware of the potential negative impact it has on legitimate sales.

“When the old Manga Village closed, sales of manga went up, so the new Manga Village was revived, and profits will lower again!!!! What countermeasures are you going to take this time??,” the site previously wrote (translated) on its now-suspended Twitter account.

The publishers add that, while the site is open about its pirating activities, it apparently doesn’t want other people to ‘steal’ from them. According to the complaint, it is actively blocking outsiders from ‘exploiting’ the site’s collection of pirated files.

“Hoshinoromi has gone to great lengths to block competitor pirates and investigators from copying images in bulk. The operators of the site have no problem stealing and profiting from the Publishers’ manga, but they implement countermeasures to ensure that others do not do the same to them,” the publishers complain.

With the lawsuit, the publishers hope to unveil the site’s operators and be compensated for the damages they have suffered. They list a total of 41 works, which means that the theoretical statutory damages amount runs in the millions.

While it’s not specifically mentioned, another goal of the lawsuit may be to urge or compel third-party intermediaries to take action. Cloudflare is specifically mentioned as a caching service, and the publishers make it clear that they would like to see all copies of their works removed from the company’s servers.

A copy of the complaint filed by Shueisha, Kadowaka, Kodansha, and Shogakukan 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.

Manga Publishers Sue Pirate Site “Hoshinoromi” in New York Court 48 Manga Publishers Sue Pirate Site “Hoshinoromi” in New York Court 49

Manga Publishers Sue Pirate Site “Hoshinoromi” in New York Court 50



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Popular Torrent Site MKVCage Faces Lawsuit and Goes Offline 52

A group of movie companies has been very active in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii over the past several months.

Various copyright infringement lawsuits and DMCA subpoenas were filed against prominent players in the piracy ecosystem, ranging from Popcorn Time through YTS and Showbox.

Today, we can add another target to the growing list, the popular torrent uploader/group MKVCage.

MKVCage uploads its encodes across various torrent sites and has gathered a dedicated following over the past few years. The group also operates its own site at MKVCage.com, where the latest releases are also shared. However. over the past few days, this site has become unresponsive.

The downtime started soon after the makers of the movie “Hellboy” filed a complaint at a Hawaii federal court. The movie company believes that the site is run by a person named Muhammad Faizan, who stands accused of promoting and distributing pirated copies of their movie.

“Defendant Faizan operates an interactive website mkvcage.com and
previously mkvcage.fun which includes a library of torrent files for copyright protected motion pictures, including Plaintiff’s. The torrent files can be used by a BitTorrent client application to download and reproduce motion pictures for free and without license,” the complaint reads.

The filmmakers add that the defendant creates the torrent files that are made available on the website, including “Hellboy.2019.720p.HC.HDRip.x264-MkvCage.Com.mkv,” which are then distributed to the site’s users. The name of the site is often included in the title, to boost the site’s profile.

“Defendant Faizan sometimes includes words such as’MkvCage.com’ in the titles of the torrent files he creates in order to enhance his reputation for the quality of his torrent files and attract users to his interactive MKVCAGE website,” the complaint notes.

The movie company obtained the name of the site’s alleged operator from Namecheap, in response to a DMCA notice. The same person is also listed as the registrant for the domains mkvcage.com, mkvcage.ws, mkvcage.cc and mkvcage.me, and used PayPal to pay for at least one of those.

Popular Torrent Site MKVCage Faces Lawsuit and Goes Offline 53
MKVcage in better times

At this point, it is unclear whether the current downtime is a direct result of the complaint that was filed. MKVCage’s latest upload at external websites, such as 1337x, was two days ago. We will update this article if more information becomes available.

In addition to MKVCage, the same lawsuit also targets the smaller torrent site iBit.uno and its unnamed operator. TorrentFreak reached out to iBit, but a representative of the site didn’t want to comment on the allegations.

The people behind both sites stand accused of contributory copyright infringement among other things, and Faizan also faces a count of direct copyright infringement.

The movie company requests compensation for the damage it suffered. It also request an injunction, so it can request third-party services such as hosting providers, ISPs, search engines, and domain registrars, to stop facilitating access to the sites.

The injunction request is quite broad and could affect a wide range of companies. At this point, however, it hasn’t been granted yet, so that can’t explain the current downtime.

A copy of the complaint from HB Productions (Hellboy) 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.

Popular Torrent Site MKVCage Faces Lawsuit and Goes Offline 54 Popular Torrent Site MKVCage Faces Lawsuit and Goes Offline 55

Popular Torrent Site MKVCage Faces Lawsuit and Goes Offline 56



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