While legal IPTV platforms exist online, the acronym is also closely associated with services providing access to unlicensed live TV feeds.

These services can be easily accessed via a PC, tablet, or mobile phone, but many are accessed via Android-type set-top boxes. Another option is to use the MAG range of set-top devices available from Ukraine-based Infomir.

The company strongly disassociates itself from such infringing uses and in support of that announced last December that following complaints from rightsholders, it would prevent users from accessing allegedly-infringing portals.

“Upon receiving complaints from a copyright holder, Infomir is obliged to restrict access from its devices to any portal suspected of copyright infringement. The restriction will be maintained until the issue with the copyright holder is resolved,” the company said.

News of this action, or at least its effects, spread quickly among many IPTV users. Customers of several unlicensed services reported that portal URLs (the domain names used by devices to access IPTV services) had been blocked on their MAG devices and were no longer accessible.

Some providers changed their portal URLs in response but that was always destined to become a game of whac-a-mole. However, right from the beginning it seemed that MAG devices themselves contained the solution and it didn’t take long before that was confirmed.

In a post to Reddit, an unnamed developer using a ‘throwaway’ account revealed how he’d defeated the blocking system.

“I’ve spent the last few days digging around with [network analysis tool] Wireshark + custom firmware to see how this was working, and it turns out it’s quite simple and can be removed from all current firmware on all models that I’ve tested (250/254/256/322/324),” he wrote.

“We *could*, as people currently are, keep changing portal URLs – but this is not sustainable and as the box is phoning home on every boot, is more than likely just making it easier for Infomir to just re-block on the next wave of updates to the blacklist.”

The full breakdown is available on Reddit and indeed other places elsewhere but speaking with TorrentFreak the developer offered to put some more meat on the bones.

‘Thr0wawayicus’ told TF that when connected to the Internet, MAG devices use encryption to access a URL on Infomir’s servers. This results in the creation of a file called dls.backup on the local device.

“The encrypted communication is made up of an HTTPS connection to the mentioned URL,” he said.

“I can only guess at the contents but at minimum, it contains the data that is saved as dls.backup, although I can’t rule out that it potentially also reports the portal URLs you’re using back to Infomir to build up their database for potential future blocks,” he postulated.

‘Thr0wawayicus’ says that left him with two tasks – patch the browser present in MAG devices (or block the hosts file to prevent access to the blacklist), or erase the dls.backup file to prevent cached lookups.

He told TF that deleting the file is probably fine since it likely has no other purpose than to block URLs – it didn’t exist in any firmware prior to the latest releases and is referred to internally as a “domain list file”.

While some technically-minded people will be able to follow the detailed instructions available online (we’ve published just the very bare bones here for reporting purposes), ‘Thr0wawayicus’ has also put in a lot of work to streamline the process.

MAG devices are designed to accept custom firmware. In fact, Infomir provides all the tools that users need to compile their own. ‘Thr0wawayicus’ says that he used these tools to create custom ‘anti-blocking’ firmware variants for popular MAG devices. These have been placed on file-hosting platforms and torrents for public consumption.

“The firmware was built with the officially available tools, from source files Infomir release specifically for the purpose of building custom firmware,” he explained.

“There are no license terms prohibiting you from editing the filesystem as needed. It’s no less legal than stopping say a Chinese WiFi camera from phoning home.”

While that might possibly be the case, we aren’t linking to modified firmware here. That being said, ‘Thr0wawayicus’ reveals that he spent considerable amounts of time putting them together.

“Reverse engineering the issue took me around a day. The longest part of the process which took a couple of days after that was the building and testing of all the individual firmware files for each model of the MAG to automate the process of disabling the check in a manner which would require no special intervention or technical knowledge from the end user,” he revealed.

“The time spent waiting for flashes to complete (because I had to go back and forth between the official firmware and mine for testing) probably made up the majority of those two days.”

The developer said he was motivated to bypass the portal blocking present in these devices because he isn’t comfortable with an equipment manufacturer dictating what people can and cannot do with their devices.

As previously highlighted, Infomir previously stated they are simply carrying through with their obligations to block allegedly-infringing content as required under both US and European law.

“Our policy is to comply with the EU and US legislation on copyright and take into account best practices in the area of handling of copyright infringement reports,” the company told TF.

“In particular, we only process the reports of copyright infringement that contain all the elements of notification envisaged by the DMCA.”

Infomir also added that it filters for false or abusive claims and provides all blocked providers with the opportunity to oppose a copyright infringement report. In the event of a dispute, the company said it would request a court order to maintain access restriction to a blocked portal.

Infomir informs TorrentFreak that its products are aimed at professional IPTV service providers and the company strives to maintain high standards of hardware and software.

“All the tools we provide to our customers are designed to be used solely by legitimate service providers,” says Infomir Legal Counsel Vladislav Larionov.

“We understand that there might be ways to circumvent any restriction system on any device, be it set-top box, smart TV, tablet, smartphone etc. To ensure high enough level of reliability of the restriction system, we get it in line with the recommendations of anti-piracy associations we cooperate with.” 

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 past year has been a rough one for The Pirate Bay.

The site has repeatedly suffered downtime and, to a subset of users, it was unavailable for weeks on end.

The Pirate Bay’s technical team hasn’t been very outspoken on the issues. However, a few days into the new year it’s clear that 2019 is not going to be spotless either.

Starting a few days ago, The Pirate Bay’s upload functionality has become unusable. According to the recent uploads page, no new torrents have been added since last weekend.

The last torrent was uploaded on Sunday and the recent torrents page suggests that the problems started around 6:36 a.m. Central European Time.

After that, things went quiet and the official Pirate Bay status page confirms that no new uploads are coming through. What’s causing the trouble is unknown at the moment.

No new torrents

Several uploaders have raised the issue at The Pirate Bay forums, but as usual, there is no official explanation available.

If they try to add a new torrent, they only see a “Error – File empty” or “Wrong Code” error message.

Problems with new uploads are not unique and usually get fixed eventually, but for now, the site’s users will have to do without any new content. At the same time, new comments are coming through irregularly as well.

The good news is that the site itself appears to be accessible to most people. At least, based on the official status page.

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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With English Premier League clubs reporting revenues of £4.5 billion for the period 2016/17, top-tier football is extremely lucrative.

The Premier League itself has a three-year TV deal which came into effect during the same period, with a record-breaking £5.1 billion paid to the League by broadcasters Sky and BT.

A new deal, effective 2019 to 2022, netted the Premier League £4.45 billion and the football organization is extremely keen to protect its revenues and that of its customers by tackling piracy head on.

Maintaining that momentum, today the Premier League announced the opening of a brand new office in Singapore, its first international office and one with the primary aim of dealing with unlicensed consumption.

Based in Tanjong Pagar, which is located within the Central Business District in Singapore, the office will reportedly provide a base for the Asia-Pacific region. From here, the League will deploy its anti-piracy enforcement program across “multiple” markets.

In terms of anti-piracy activities, the Premier League is best known for its crackdown on streaming piracy, particularly when it comes to live events.

In the UK, the League has pioneered and developed “live stream” injunctions which allow it to request that ISPs block illicit streams of matches to disrupt piracy as soon as it takes place.

The practice mainly tends to cause disruption on Saturday afternoons and although some illicit IPTV providers have deployed some successful countermeasures, there are always plenty of complaints on Saturday about illegal streams going down.

Until now, these blocking measures have been restricted to the UK but with this expansion and a brand new office focused on piracy, it seems likely that the scheme could be launched in other countries too.

“The Asia-Pacific region is strategically important for the Premier League and its clubs,” says Premier League Director of Broadcasting Paul Molnar.

“Singapore provides an excellent location for our first international office and we look forward to using this base to support our many broadcast partners across the region.

“Equally, it is critical that we now deploy local resource and expertise to combat the increasing threat of piracy which undermines all stakeholders in the creative industry.”

While the new Singapore office is the Premier League’s first anti-piracy focused overseas base, the company is no stranger to enforcement in the region.

Last year the Singapore High Court granted an injunction following complaints from The Premier League, Singnet PTE Ltd, Fox Networks Group Singapore PTE Ltd, NGC Network Asia LLC, and Fox International Channels (US) Inc.

Neil Gane, General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), of which The Premier League is a member, told TorrentFreak that the motion was heard on November 2, 2018, with the court subsequently handing down an order against “eight authentication domains.”

“Singapore has been considered a bastion of Intellectual Property rights across the region, and the court’s decision to block access to popular illegal applications preloaded onto ISDs and sold in Singapore reaffirms this contention,” he added.

The Premier League referenced this action in today’s announcement, noting that it is also taking criminal action against suppliers of ISDs (Illicit Streaming Devices) and working with Thai authorities to raid those in the supply chain.

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 mentioned in the RC4 release article, a final release was close on the horizon. To that end we hereby present you the last Release Candate (RC5) before we call it a wrap on v18.0. It will not be absolutely perfect but we have to go forward at some point. Don’t worry as we will of course continue working on fixing any issue that might surface in the regeular v18 point releases afterwards. 

Changes in RC5

Most notable changes to mention in this Release Candidate:

  • Correctly redact user/password in certain cases
  • Fix window transparency on Android that might cause grey bars on HDR playback
  • Prevent crash when resuming audiobook when there’s no chapter present
  • Fix crash&burn by ensuring that Abort of ScriptObserver waits for thread exit
  • Fix regression from RC4 regarding “don’t disable gui rendering when losing focus” on OSX
  • Workaround double switching of refreshrate because we currently cannot reliably distinguish between 25p and 50i or 29.97p and 60i on playback start
  • Fix missing All Albums item from music library
  • Revert change that cause sorting of ANSII characters in library (proper fix will have to be done in v19)
  • Fix crash on certain language characters when using PVR add-ons
  • Fix crash on Windows with DVD playback after change in ffmpeg
  • Fix compatibility with older MySQL databases

Of course there are several more changes which are listed on our github repository found here: RC5 changes.

Currently included

The past RC1 and RC2 release articles include the most notable changes we have done in v18. There are of course many smaller changes and improvements that we can’t even remember. I guess you will just have to try and find out eventually. For a more extensive list you can visit our wiki page v18 (Leia) changelog which will be update along the way. From now on all v18 releases will not contain any big new features as we are focussed on bug fixing or improvements only.

Make sure to also go through our news sections which contain all past announcements regarding the Leia release and some highlights of what it will contain.


The V18 Leia t-shirt

Inspired by the galaxy far, far away theme, our resident artist Sam went above and beyond and designed perhaps the coolest Kodi announce video of all time.

We loved his work so much that we’re modelling the Kodi 18 shirt after it along with more art to come. Here it is, our newest, coolest shirt: K-18L
(Available in several shirt colours and not just black or white)



Release time

Since we now started the RC cycle a final release will be on the near horizon. When the final release will actually be is yet unknown as it all depends on the stability now more people will start using the v18 builds.

That’s about it for now and we’ll go back at improving this upcoming v18 release. Should you wish to give it a try a new version is readily available each day as well as nightly version. We can certainly recommend trying it out however take in mind that it’s not fully production and living room ready yet (take a backup). So far a guestimate of several tens of thousands users already use it so it can’t be that bad can it. You can get it from the download page clicking on the platform of choice and hitting the “pre release” tab. For Android and Windows we have an easy to use download add-on which you can find in our repository.

Go to the Official download page and choose the platform of choice and you will find these builds under the pre release tab.

Donations or getting involved

Getting involved is quite easy. Simply take the plunge and start using v18.0 Leia. If you use this version, we encourage you to report problems with these builds on our forum first and after that, if asked and the bug is confirmed, submit the issue on Github (following this guide: How to submit a bug report). Do note that we need detailed information so we can investigate the issue. We also appreciate providing support in our Forums where you can. You can of course also follow or help promote Kodi on all available social networks. Read more on the get involved page.
If you do appreciate our work feel free to give a small donation so we can continue our effort. Just find the big “Donate” button at the top of the website. All donations go towards the XBMC foundation and are typically used for travel to attend conferences, any necessary paperwork and legal fees, purchase necessary hardware and licenses for developers and hopefully the yearly XBMC Foundation Developers Conference.


May the source be with you…..

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South Korea has long been associated with some of the fastest average Internet connection speeds available anywhere in the world. The country topped the list in 2017 and is still a key player today.

While fast Internet speeds are great for average users, Internet pirates are always particularly grateful for speedy transfers and those in South Korea are no different. As a result, authorities in the country have been under pressure to do something about piracy rates.

In an announcement this week, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism revealed that specialist Intellectual Property Rights police shut down 25 pirate sites in 2018, adding that the operators of 13 had been arrested. Some will face criminal proceedings alongside claims for civil damages, reports suggest.

One of the largest targets appears to have been Marumaru, a local site that specialized in Japanese manga content. After being founded in 2013, Marumaru grew at an impressive rate, allegedly earning around a million dollars in advertising revenue while offering an estimated 42,000 copyrighted manga works.

Last November, however, the show came to an end after the platform was shut down. A month later, two alleged operators of the site were charged with copyright infringement offenses.

South Korea’s commitment to tackling piracy appears to be hardening. This week the Korea Communications Standards Commission said it had launched a special unit (Copyright Infringement Response Team) to tackle pirate sites in order to protect local industries.

In common with similar initiatives in other regions, the aim is to target platforms based overseas that are claimed to be out of local authorities’ reach. It’s no surprise that web-blocking is considered part of the solution.

The KCSC said that it blocked around 50 websites to 2014 but last year that total had risen to 2,338. A 2018 report from the MPA (pdf), that studied South Korea’s blocking regime, declared that the practice meant that “total visits to piracy sites declined following each wave of site blocking.”

It now appears that even more stringent steps will be taken to prevent direct visits to pirate sites. The ‘Response Team’ has been tasked with monitoring pirate sites “round the clock” in order to provide a “rapid and strong response” to infringement and evasive action by site operators.

Sites that spring up to facilitate access to previously-blocked sites, such as mirrors and proxies, will be dealt with within four days, with complaints from rightsholders actioned within the same time-frame.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is promising to continue the crackdown for years to come and indicates it will work also with foreign authorities to tackle all types of pirate sites.

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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Paul Schrader is a big name in Hollywood, known for  classics such as “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” and “American Gigolo.”

The writer-director’s more recent movies haven’t been all a success and Schrader suffered setbacks on other fronts as well.

In 2014  he lost control over the movie “Dying Of The Light.” The film was taken over by others after the first cut and was re-edited and released without his input.

This caused quite a stir at the time. When Lionsgate subsidiary Grindstone released the poster and trailer the director and others were not happy. However, because of a “non-disparagement” clause, they had to stay silent.

“Here we are, Nick Cage, Anton Yelchin, Nic Refn and myself, wearing our ‘non-disparagement’ T shirts,” Schrader wrote at the time.

Although it was not an option to burn the film to the ground, verbally, the director didn’t let the project go completely. Instead, he decided to go rogue and create his own cut, on his own terms.

With help from  Benjamin Rodriguez Jr., who also edited the movie “Dog Eat Dog,” he pulled original footage from workprint DVDs. Eventually, this resulted in a brand new cut titled “Dark.”

Early last year the director gave a ‘making off’ masterclass at the Rotterdam Film Festival, which is available on YouTube, and a detailed writeup on Indiewire shows how much of a challenge the project was.

The latter article also has an interesting comment section where someone suggested putting a copy of “Dark” on torrent sites.

“If it can’t be released in a commercial way, why don’t they use a torrent site to distribute ‘Dark’ worldwide? You’ll reach a much bigger audience & it would be a perfect fit for this subversive enterprise,” Carter wrote.

Whether Schrader saw this comment or not, he did indeed release a ‘torrent’ of the movie. This was revealed in an interview with Vulture this week.

“I made ‘Dog Eat Dog’ to redeem myself from the humiliation of ‘Dying of the Light,’ which was taken away from me. Nic [Cage] and I disowned it, I subsequently did my own edit, put it on torrent,…” he said.

The article itself doesn’t go into more detail, but we were rather intrigued and started digging. This search eventually led us to a torrent that was uploaded to The Pirate Bay a few months ago.

The torrent in question is titled 2018-Paul.Schrader.Dark-Dir.Cut.Dying.of.the.Light and comes with a personal message from the director. Most of the message is taken from Schader’s website with the following addition:

“Dark was not created for exhibition or personal gain. It is for historical record.- Paul Schrader”

TorrentFreak reached out to Schrader to confirm that this is indeed the copy he uploaded, but we haven’t heard back yet. This is, however, the earliest upload of “Dark” we could find.

What we also know is that the user in question tried to upload the torrent to The Pirate Bay several times, up to the point where the account was banned. A month later, another version was uploaded to the site which is still well-seeded.

Schrader doesn’t go into detail why he chose to share the film on The Pirate Bay, but we assume that it’s a defiant move to make it available worldwide, as was suggested.

Since he doesn’t own the exclusive rights to the footage, this may lead to potential copyright troubles, but we doubt that the rightsholders want to rattle this case.

For those who prefer to see the movie without venturing into the tricky waters of The Pirate Bay, Schrader also has some offline options.

“A digital file of the film can be seen by prior request at the UCLA Film Archives in Los Angeles, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin and the Museum of Modern Art film department in New York City,” he writes.

The Pirate Bay team, meanwhile, informs TorrentFreak that Schrader can have his account reinstated if he wishes.

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 Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright (BCBC) is a lobbying group which includes Canada’s largest ISPs Bell, Rogers, and Shaw, as well as Google.

The coalition doesn’t have a web presence but, behind the scenes, it’s making sure that the interests of its members are shared when major legislative changes are on the agenda.

This is currently the case. Canada is working on a Statutory Review of the Copyright Act, and together with more than a hundred other stakeholders, BCBC submitted several recommendations.

One of the items high on the agenda are the copyright notices which rightsholders send to ISPs. Millions of these are processed by ISPs every month, and they are obliged to forward them to their customers.

This notice-and-notice system caused quite a controversy, as some companies abused the system to send threatening settlement demands. This practice was outlawed with the recent passing of C-86 but BCBC believes that additional changes are required.

Under BCBC’s umbrella, the ISPs state that they are happy with the update, but they note that there’s no deterrent to stop rightsholders from sending settlement requests. Instead, the burden of excluding settlement demands rests with them, they argue.

“Bill C-86 makes it clear that ISPs will not be required to forward settlement demands to subscribers. However, the amendments contain no useful deterrent to dissuade rights holders or claimants from including settlement demands in their copyright notices.

“The onus for excluding settlement demands from copyright notices must rest solely with rights owners,” BCBC’s submission adds.

The group doesn’t give any concrete pointers on how to address the situation, but a fine or other punishment for those who continue to send settlement requests seems most logical.

The ISPs also highlight another problem. They are currently receiving millions of piracy notices per month, in many different formats. To process these requests more easily, they call for a notice standard so they can be processed automatically.

“ISPs are currently receiving millions of notices per month and
there is no way for these notices to be manually processed. Large ISPs have to adopt automated systems to process and forward the volume of notices they are receiving,” the submission reads.

The idea for a standardized notice template is not new. ISPs and members of the movie industry previously agreed on a standard computer readable format, ACNS, which is publicly available.

BCBC hopes that the Canadian Government will embrace this standard, not only to lower the costs for ISPs, but also to shield Internet users from receiving non-compliant piracy warnings.

“The Government should use its existing authority to enact regulations requiring that notices be submitted electronically in a form that is based on the ACNS 2.0. Mandating the use of these standards will eliminate the risk of ISPs forwarding non-compliant notices,” BCBC recommends. 

Aside from piracy notices, BCBC also touches on pirate site blocking. It is no surprise that the major ISPs are not against such measures, as last year’s site-blocking push revealed.

In their current recommendation, they don’t call for site blocking without a court order. However, they do stress that, if a court issues a blocking order, the CRTC should not be able to stop it from being implemented.

“The BCBC finds it unacceptable that an ISP could be ordered by a Court to block access to an infringing internet service and prohibited by the CRTC from complying with that Court Order.

“A telecommunications services provider should never have to choose between complying with a lawful Court Order and complying with theTelecommunications Act. This conflict must be resolved in favor of the Court Order,” the group adds.

A copy of the Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright’s  Submission to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology regarding the Statutory Review of the Copyright Act 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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With tens of millions of active Kodi media player users around the globe, there is a thirst for information on how to utilize the open source software.

As a result, dozens of websites and blogs have appeared to fill this niche, many of them dedicated to tips, tutorials, and news on the latest add-ons and developments.

Founded in 2015, KodiTips.com is one of the most popular, with more than a million visitors every month. The site was created to fill a gap in the market, its operator informs TorrentFreak.

“At the time, there wasn’t a lot of tutorials and how-to guides for Kodi add-ons and hardware. The site’s original and continuing message is to offer guides on how to understand and setup Kodi, and to clarify what Kodi is vs what it isn’t (doesn’t host content, addons only scrape content hosted by others, etc), ” he explains.

KodiTips is certainly comprehensive, regularly publishing details on all the major add-ons while posting changelogs to keep visitors informed. On Thursday, however, the site lost access to its Facebook page following a copyright infringement complaint.

“We removed or disabled access to the following content you posted on Facebook because we received a notice from a third party that the content infringes their copyright(s),” a message from Facebook declared.

What is a little surprising about Facebook’s notice is that it does not detail any specific infringing content, listing only “Page: Kodi Tips – Android TV, Amazon Fire Help” and “Copyrighted Work: Other” as the allegedly infringing content.

Predicatably, the platform doesn’t seem keen to get involved in the argument either.

“Facebook isn’t in a position to adjudicate disputes between third parties. If you believe this content shouldn’t have been removed from Facebook, you can contact the complaining party directly to resolve your issue,” the notice reads.

The takedown notice, reviewed by TF, lists the “rights owner” as Sky while offering an email address often used by the company to deal with infringement disputes. We aren’t publishing it in full but the address has been in use for years, often in complaints filed against allegedly-infringing users of eBay.

This isn’t the first time that KodiTips has had its Facebook page taken down following an infringement complaint. Back in July 2018, the site lost its original page following a similar complaint, losing 80,000 subscribers in the process. Luckily, it still has more than 70,000 followers on Twitter.

The operator of KodiTips informs TF that he doesn’t intend to contest the takedown, branding it a waste of “time and energy”. He also confirms that Sky has never contacted him before, with the same being true for other anti-piracy groups such as the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment.

Given the controversial nature of some third-party Kodi add-ons, copyright complaints in connection with them certainly don’t come as a surprise. However, to the best of KodiTips’ operator’s knowledge, he has never infringed Sky’s copyrights via his tutorials and know-how.

Thanks to the super-vague notice from Facebook, he remains in the dark.

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 mentioned a few days ago, every year thousands of people are sued in the United States for online file-sharing, mostly through BitTorrent.

The bulk of these cases are filed by two adult content producers, which are often referred to as “copyright trolls” or “porno trolls,” specifying the nature of their works.

These companies target people whose connections were allegedly used to download and share infringing videos, in the hope of obtaining a significant financial settlement.

While many of the defendants may have done the deed, quite a few of the accused Internet subscribers have done nothing wrong. This is also what a John Doe, known by the IP-address, argued in a recent court filing in a federal court in Seattle, Washington.

The defendant in question was sued over a year ago by Strike 3 Holdings,  but he isn’t planning on settling. Instead, as the case progressed, the still unnamed man went on the offensive, helped by major law firm Fox Rothschild.

As it turns out, the adult company picked a fight with a 70+-year-old retired police officer. Following some initial pushback in court, Strike 3 Holdings was ready to let the case go. The company filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss all claims in August, but the “ex-cop” wasn’t willing to let them.

There were still several counterclaims pending and the defendant has built up a significant legal bill, which he doesn’t plan on paying himself. Instead, he wants to be found innocent and accuses the copyright holder of abuse of process. These counterclaims could go all the way up to trial.

With the tables turned, the retired policeman submitted amended counterclaims to the court last week, accusing the rightsholder of being engaged in a “perverse litigation campaign” against hundreds of defendants.

Strike 3 accused him of sharing dozens of copyrighted videos, but the man argues that he has never even heard of them.

“John Doe is a retired police officer in his 70’s. He has been married for over 40 years. Until he was sued by S3H, John Doe had never heard of the pornographic websites: ‘Blacked’, ‘Vixen’, or ‘Tushy’. John Doe does not know who downloaded these movies,” the document reads.

The man seeks a declaration of non-infringement, but also accuses the adult content producer of copyright misuse and abuse of process.

“John Doe, an ex-cop, seeks affirmative relief that he did not infringe the works at issue, that the works are unenforceable under the doctrine of copyright misuse, and that litigation model itself is actionable under the common law of abuse of process,“ the filing reads.

“What is clear is that the S3H litigation model is not what it claims, to protect itself from copyright infringement, rather S3H has a business model to use the court system to extract income using ‘sue and settle’ without resorting to the far less costly provisions provided under the DMCA.”

From the filing

The copyright misuse claims were dismissed previously, but Judge Thomas Zilly kept the counterclaims for a declaration of non-infringement and abuse of process alive. 

According to the attorneys of the former policeman, there is no real legal dispute with Strike 3’s lawsuits, but “only a scheme to extort.”

The accused file-sharer argues that Strike 3 has filed hundreds of lawsuits, but if it was really interested in enforcing its rights, it would also use DMCA notices to alert ISPs and their customers of any infringing activity.

“S3H’s intentional failure to send DMCA notices to the ISP addresses of alleged John Doe defendants evidences an ulterior purpose to accomplish an object not within the proper scope of the process: extortion through sham litigation,” the filing reads.

Filing a lawsuit with no intention of litigating evidences an ulterior purpose to accomplish an object not within the proper scope of process: extortion through sham litigation,” it adds.

Based on these and other arguments, the former policeman wants the adult production company to be held accountable for abuse of process. In addition, it also requests the declaration of non-infringement, with all fees and legal costs being compensated.

The court has yet to rule on the requests but it appears that the retired policeman has the upper hand, as Strike 3 previously indicated that they are willing to let the case go.

Whether the court will grant summary judgment, or if the case will be resolved through an alternative route, possibly a trial, has yet to be seen.

This case is not the only setback for the adult content producer either. In several recent cases the company was requested to provide “something more” than an IP-address as evidence of alleged infringement.

In addition, the IP-address geo-location tools which are crucial in these cases remain controversial as well. Just last month, a California federal court dismissed a request for an ISP subpoena, as there wasn’t sufficient evidence that an IP-address was tied to the court’s jurisdiction.

A copy of the second amended counterclaims 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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Tens years ago India only had about five million broadband subscribers. Today, there are close to half a billion.

This massive increase has left its mark on society, and as we envisioned at the time, it proved to be a growth market for pirates as well.

The high online piracy rates are a problem, but offline there are issues too. As it turns out, many of the camcorded movie leaks that appear on pirate sites originate from Indian movie theaters.

This presents a problem for both Bollywood and Hollywood, both of which have repeatedly argued that current copyright legislation is not properly equipped to deal with the problem.

“The Indian Government should swiftly enact legislative amendments to outlaw unauthorized recording of all or part of an audiovisual work in a cinema,” MPAA noted just recently. 

The US Trade Representative also highlighted this issue in its most recent Special 301 Report, noting that proposed amendments to the Cinematograph Act have stalled for several years.

Whether this outside pressure had an effect or not, the Indian Government is now proposing a new amendment to the Cinematograph Act to target unauthorized copying in theaters. As a result, camcording pirates may soon face jail time and hefty fines.

The proposal suggests putting a maximum prison sentence of three years on unauthorized recording audio or video footage at a movie theater. In addition, there’s a maximum fine of Rs.10 Lakhs, which is roughly $14,000.

The amendment in question reads as follows:

“Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force including any provision of the Copyright Act, 1957, any person who, during the exhibition of an audiovisual work, cinematographic in an exhibition facility used to exhibit cinematograph films or audiovisual recordings and without the written authorization of the copyright owner, uses any audiovisual recording device to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy or visual recording or sound recording embodying a cinematograph film or audiovisual recording or any part thereof or a copy of sound recording accompanying such cinematograph film or audiovisual recording or any part thereof during subsistence of copyright in such cinematograph film or sound recording, shall be punishable with imprisonment not exceeding three years and shall also be liable to fine not exceeding Rs.10 Lakhs, or to a term of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.”

The draft legislation has yet to pass but major players in the movie industry are happy with the announcement.

Uday Singh, managing director of the MPA’s Motion Picture Distributors Association (MPAA-India),  says that the camcording amendment will put India on par with other countries that already have similar measures.

“Most countries in the world either have a law or some kind of a provision that covers camcording. It is a welcome move. We used to see a lot of leaks in the supply chain in this area. I think that this is one more step towards plugging that leak,” Singh notes, quoted by Television Post.

While there is not yet a fully-fledged anti-camcording law, there hasn’t been a shortage of arrests. Indian law enforcement has taken steps against unauthorized recording in theaters on several occasions.

This even led to the arrests of several, presumably innocent, theater owners. The Indian Film Exhibitors Association recently called on the Madras High Court to put a halt to these overbroad crackdowns.

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