With the final vote on Europe’s Copyright Directive coming up next week, campaigning efforts from both supporters and opponents are reaching new heights.

Earlier this month hundreds of organizations from the creative industries called on the European Parliament to quickly adopt the proposals. These organizations were later followed by many individual creators.

These supporters stress that the planned Copyright Directive will help them to protect their rights and get fair compensation for the use of their works on the Internet. This is also the message that EU copyright rapporteur Axel Voss is trying to convince the public with.

On the opposing side, there hasn’t been any shortage of action either. Today the “Stop the censorship-machinery! Save the Internet!” petition passed five million signatures, making it one of the largest to be hosted on the platform.

5 million votes

The petition is part of a broader campaign. It has been up for months, but this latest milestone will undoubtedly be used to convince members of the EU Parliament to reject Article 13 and Article 11 in the upcoming vote next Tuesday.

Several well-known digital rights groups have also launched the Pledge2019 campaign, encouraging people to contact their representatives in the EU Parliament. According to the latest stats, 121 MEPs have thus far pledged to vote against the Copyright Directive.

There are anti Article 13 website blackouts scheduled as well, which we also saw with the anti-SOPA protests several years ago. The German version of Wikipedia is going dark for 24 hours today, for example, and it is joined by the Slovak edition.

Offline there are also several demonstrations planned around Europe, from Portugal all the way to Finland. However, much of the protest is centered in and around Germany where the public has been very vocal about the Copyright Directive plans.

Demonstrations

The Copyright Directive is a hot topic in German politics at the moment.  Last Friday, Germany’s largest political party, CDU, announced a plan to prevent “upload filters” in the country. Instead, large Internet platforms should pay flat-rate licensing payments to copyright holders.

This proposal, which assumes the Copyright Directive will pass, has been widely criticized too. 

As the vote nears, the atmosphere is becoming more grim. Last weekend, German police investigated a bomb threat directed towards the office of Axel Voss. Meanwhile, some press publishers reportedly threatened Parliament Members with bad press if they vote against the Copyright Directive.  

With less than a week to go, the campaigns from opponents and supporters will soon reach their climax. Then, it’s up to the Members of the European Parliament to have their final say. 

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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Over the past several years, consumers have been increasingly turning to ‘pirate’ IPTV providers with the key aims of cutting bills and gaining convenient access to vast swathes of live TV and on-demand video.

But for rightsholders and broadcasters, these unlicensed platforms present a growing threat as they undermine existing business models with what are increasingly high-quality services.

The latest effort to stem the tide appears to be a significant one. Spain’s National Police says that in cooperation with police forces from the UK, Denmark, and Europol, it has conducted “the largest operation in Europe” against the illegal distribution of content via IPTV.

Police carried out 14 simultaneous raids, eight of them in Spain (in Malaga, Madrid and Alicante), four in Denmark, and two in the UK. Five people were arrested and now stand accused of a variety of crimes, from IP offenses to fraud and money laundering. Ten others gave statements to police.

Image: Spain National Police

The investigation began in late 2015 following a complaint filed by the UK’s Premier League against a Malaga-based website offering IPTV subscription packages providing “a multitude of international conditional access channels”, i.e, otherwise premium subscription-based content.

Following the complaint, police in Spain made efforts to verify the illegal activity, which included the provision of more than 800 television channels, on demand content, and radio stations. The packages offered by the unlicensed provider cost between 40 and 460 euros per month.

The investigation revealed various social network accounts through which the service attracted more customers, plus a network of 20 additional websites offering the same product.

“The strategy used by those investigated was to use a multitude of servers and change them periodically, gradually creating new web pages to form a framework that, in principle, had no relationship. In this way they aimed not to be detected by the National Police and continue profiting from the crime,” a statement from the National Police reads.

Officers in Spain determined that the business was being operated through Spanish companies but subscription payments from customers in more than 30 countries were made to a company in Gibraltar.

Investigations led the police to conclude they were dealing with a “specialized international criminal organization” with connections to Spain, Denmark, the UK, Latvia, Netherlands, and Cyprus.

“After a detailed investigation, the police discovered a link between the holding companies and the beneficiary bank accounts of the subscriptions, always belonging to the members of the organization,” Spanish police note.

“The research found that, to make the trail more difficult, they increasingly displayed less content and, in addition, they were using anonymization systems. They had evolved technologically in a way that was allowing them to increase the volume of customers, since they offered different ways of accessing the viewing of increasingly innovative channels.”

During the operation, police say they “disconnected” 66 servers involved in the crime while further identifying the locations of other servers that were part of the network. Police says they identified 11 server ‘farms’, with some comprising more than 44 servers.

Current police estimates suggest that the people behind the operation “obtained an economic benefit” of around 8 million euros with 1.6 million euros diverted to companies abroad since 2013. It’s alleged that the money was laundered through businesses that appeared respectable.

“To give the illicit business the appearance of legality and to launder the profits, they created companies with lawful activity and a stated objective related to the provision of telecommunications services, internet and hardware,” Spanish police explain.

“On the one hand, they had the technical and technological infrastructure necessary to carry out their legal business (fiber operators) and also the illicit business (illegal IPTV subscriptions). On the other, they were authorized operators for fiber. It served as an argument for customers to believe that they were also in the business of distributing foreign channels.”

The operators, therefore, allegedly mixed legal revenue with illegal, in order to raise as little suspicion as possible. However, that didn’t stop the police from noticing their luxury lifestyles.

“Those arrested resided in luxury urbanizations on the Malaga coast, using high-end vehicles that were continually being renewed. In fact, the operation involved 12 high-end vehicles, in addition to bank accounts and real estate,” Spain’s National Police conclude.

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 Kodi Foundation is very proud to announce that it has joined the Linux Foundation as an Associate Member. It seemed natural for us to join, given the fact that we are strong believers in the benefits of open-source software.

We strongly believe that open-source is the best way to achieve awesome things. That was and still is what moves Kodi forward. Ever since XBMP, where this project started, a small group of like-minded individuals from different backgrounds have worked together to achieve a goal, taking advantage of each other’s merits and talents.

That leads to true innovation. Innovation that would not be possible if Kodi’s code base was closed source. Innovation that would not be possible if the goals were constrained by corporate vision and allocated resources.

This is a story that happens every day. An individual shares some code thinking “meh, no one is interested in this“. Two days later someone across the globe sends a patch to fix a bug or suggest an improvement. Now there are two individuals working on a common problem. They don’t know each other but they are working together, sharing ideas. When people cooperate and share, the project at hand and the community will always benefit.

The Linux Foundation is a non-profit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux and open source in general, providing support for the open-source community through financial and intellectual resources, governance structure, IT infrastructure, services, events, and training and certification.

Some of its most notable work includes sponsoring the Linux creator Linus Torvalds, maintaining the Linux trademark and linux.com website and organizing the world’s leading Linux conferences where the creators, maintainers and practitioners of the most important open source projects meet.

With more than 1000 members across the world, the Linux Foundation has taken its experience and expertise in supporting the Linux community to help establish, build, and sustain some of the most critical open source technologies. Its work today extends far beyond Linux, fostering innovation in every layer of the software stack, hosting projects spanning enterprise IT, embedded systems, consumer electronics, cloud, networking, and more.





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The ongoing battle between copyright holders and pirates is often described as a cat and mouse game, especially when it comes to content protection.

While most regular releases can be ripped or decrypted nowadays, 4K content remains a challenge to breach.

Up until a few days ago, pirate sites had never seen a decrypted 4K download from Apple’s video platform. However, a flurry of recent leaks, including many titles from the iTunes-exclusive “James Bond Collection,” suggests that the flood gates are now open.

It all started earlier this month ago when a pirated 4K copy of Aquaman surfaced online. The file is a so-called “Web” release, also known as WEB-DL in P2P circles. This means that it’s a decrypted copy of the original source file. These were never seen before for 4K releases.

Because the Aquaman release was only available on iTunes in this quality at the time, the most likely conclusion was that Apple’s platform was the source. However, based on just one single leak, it was tricky to draw strong conclusions.

The news quickly spread among pirate videophiles though, with some hoping that this would lead to the release of more exclusive titles. The iTunes exclusive James Bond 4K collection, for example.

“Maybe we will be able to get the 007 catalogue off iTunes? In any way, exciting times!” a commenter on Reddit noted.  This is exactly what happened.

In less than a week, all 24 films from iTunes’ “James Bond Collection” surfaced online as 2160p WEB-DLs . It started with a copy of the latest Bond movie “Spectre”, all the way to the earliest titles, including “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love”.

The leaked movies originate from the DEFLATE release group and are marked as ‘INTERNAL’ releases.

Some of the 007 releases.

These 4K releases are exclusive to iTunes, which means that the release group likely has access to some kind of vulnerability or breach at the video platform and/or Apple TV hardware, which allows it to decrypt the videos’ source files. 

In theory, it’s also possible that there’s an ‘inside’ leak with access to unencrypted source files, but that seems less likely.

The James Bond WEB-DL leaks are not the only iTunes-linked 4K titles that have appeared online either. We already mentioned Aquaman and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse previously, and this week pirated 4K copies of  Bumblebee and The Mule came out as well.

Interestingly, DEFLATE also released 4K WEB-DL copies of the first two episodes of the new TV-series “Now Apocalypse.” This title, combined with the release timing, are linked to Starzplay via Amazon. Since this is just one title, it is harder to confirm the source with certainty. 

In the past, we have seen other 4K leaks from streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, but these were WEBRips, which are captured and encoded, instead of directly downloaded from the source file. 

How the release group pulled this off remains a mystery for now. We contacted Apple to find out whether the company has any further details, but at the time of publication, we have yet to hear back.

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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Don’t be fooled by the cool wallpaper above – we do not sell hardware.

We do not sell computers, Kodi boxes, Kodi sticks, carrot sticks or french fries. Actually, we don’t recommend specific hardware, and we’re certainly not interested in selling hardware. That’s the manufacturer’s job.

The only thing we’re interested in is writing software, keeping Kodi in tip-top shape, and advising you about how to better use Kodi. We are not associated with any hardware companies, particular brand or site selling the so-called “Kodi boxes” or “Kodi sticks“. There is no such thing. So, for the last time, we do not sell hardware.

However, we and our community will assist you with purchasing hardware by providing unbiased information where we look out for your best interest and what works best with Kodi. Head over to our hardware community forums, read a bit, tell us about your use case, and you’ll get relevant information.





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Running a torrent site anywhere in the Western world was once an extremely risky endeavor, with prosecutions regularly hitting the headlines.

These days there appears to be less law enforcement and civil action than there once was but for four men in the UK, their actions several years ago have now caught up with them.

Steven Pegram, 40, Mark Rollin, 37, Paul Taylor, 54, and Alan Stephenson, 42, were part of a group which uploaded movies to their relatively low-profile torrent site, TheFoundry.name. Importantly they also made movies available before their theatrical release, notably The Expendables 3.

The movie leaked in so-called ‘DVD Screener’ format during July 2014 and was downloaded millions of times before its official release August 15, 2014.

In November that same year, the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit revealed that two arrests had been made in connection with the leak. The men were aged 33 and 36, the same ages as Pegram and Stephenson would’ve been at the time of the arrests.

Information now provided by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service states that Pegram, Rollin, Taylor and Stephenson shared the movie on their platform, causing producer Lionsgate Films an estimated £1.5 million ($2 million) in losses.

Other movies made available on the site affected members of the MPAA, including Sony, Disney, Fox and Warner Brothers. Their losses were calculated at £7 million ($9.26 million), with Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past accounting for almost £4 million ($5.29 million) of that total.

According to the prosecution, Pegram owned the site and along with Taylor, paid for its servers. Both men uploaded content to the platform.

Rollin acted as an encoder and uploader and was found to have 47 “high quality” movies on his computer, including the titles Are You Here and Third Person, in advance of their theatrical releases. Stephenson was responsible for setting up and maintaining the torrent site.

Rollin and Stephenson earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the copyright owners. At the first day of their trial on December 3, 2018, Pelgram and Taylor pleaded guilty to the same charge.

The quartet were all sentenced yesterday, with Pegram receiving a prison sentence of four-and-a-half years and Rollin a sentence of three years. Taylor and Stephenson were each sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for 24 months.

“These defendants set up and ran a site which allowed users to download films for free via BitTorrent, including the Expendables 3 before its release in the cinema,” said Leigh Webber, a Specialist Prosecutor in the Specialist Fraud Division at the Crown Prosecution Service.

“All of them had clear knowledge of what the site was used for and were well aware they were breaching the copyright of the production companies.”

The saga surrounding the leak of The Expendables 3 has now been running for almost five years, with several individuals, groups, and platforms being held responsible for its distribution.

In August 2014, file-hosting site Hulkfile threw in the towel in the US after being targeted by Lionsgate after a user stored the movie on its servers. Almost a year later, file-hosting site Played.to reached a settlement with the movie company after users streamed the movie illegally.

In March 2016, United States District Judge Otis Wright granted a default judgment which ordered Muhammed Ashraf (LimeTorrents), Tom Messchendorp (Dotsemper), and Lucas Lim (Swankshare) to pay the maximum statutory damages of $150,000 each, again for offering The Expendables 3.

Then last December, a federal grand jury in California indicted five men for allegedly offering pre-release copies of hundreds of movies and TV shows via the Internet, The Expendables 3 included.

The indictment revealed that at least one of the men stands accused of accessing the California-based servers of a content-management services company which was used to store and distribute motion picture assets.

In 2013, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) informed TorrentFreak that The Expendables 3 had been “stolen” from a “cloud-based system”, something which supports the information released in the indictment.

The unit later revealed they’d arrested a then 26-year-old man in the UK during April 2015 under suspicion of leaking The Expendables 3.

While it is still to be officially confirmed if it is indeed the same person, Malik Luqman Farooq (placed at 30-years-old in December’s indictment and said to be resident in the UK), is mentioned prominently by the Department of Justice in the US.

The indictment claims the unreleased copy of The Expendables 3 was obtained from a content-management services company and downloaded via TOR. The copy was then stored on an OVH server with Farooq later selling it to an undercover anti-piracy investigator working for the MPAA.

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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Regular Internet providers are being put under increasing pressure for not doing enough to curb copyright infringement.

Music rights company BMG got the ball rolling a few years ago when it won its piracy liability lawsuit against Cox.

Following on the heels of this case, several major record labels including Capitol Records, Warner Bros, and Sony Music, filed a lawsuit in a Texas District Court. Helped by the RIAA, they sued ISP Grande Communications for allegedly turning a blind eye to its pirating subscribers.

The labels argued that the Internet provider knew that some of its subscribers were frequently distributing copyrighted material, but failed to take any meaningful action in response. For example, it didn’t have a proper policy in place to deal with persistent pirates. 

In order to enjoy safe harbor protection, the DMCA requires ISPs to adopt and reasonably implement a policy for terminating the accounts of repeat copyright infringers. According to the labels, it is clear that Grande failed to do so. 

Last year, the record labels moved for summary judgment on this safe harbor protection defense, ahead of the trial. This is a crucial issue, as the ISP can be held directly liable without a safe harbor defense. 

A few days ago,  Senior US District Court Judge David Ezra ruled on the request, siding with the record labels. The decision follows the report and recommendations from US Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin, but Judge Ezra conducted a fresh review of several contested issues. 

According to Judge Ezra, it is clear that Grande Communications is not entitled to a safe harbor defense. The evidence, including comments from the ISP’s own employees, clearly shows that it hasn’t adopted and reasonably implemented a repeat infringer policy.

“In this case, the evidence is clear that from at least 2011 until 2016 Grande had no internal policy or procedures whatsoever to enforce their forward-facing statement that they would terminate customers for repeat infringements,” the order reads.

Grande terminated subscribers before October 2010 but stopped doing so for the six-and-a-half year period that followed.  The ISP argued that it had a public-facing policy under which it could take action, but this wasn’t actively enforced, evidence shows.

“In internal emails, one Grande employee even stated that ‘we have users who are racking up DMCA take down requests and no process for remedy in place’,” the order reads.

“Moreover, to be eligible for the DMCA safe harbor, an ISP must ‘reasonably implement’ a termination policy, not just adopt one,” Judge Ezra adds.

Grande didn’t terminate any subscribers between October 2010 and May 2017. This, despite receiving over a million copyright infringement notices, and tracking over 9,000 customers in its DMCA “Excessive Violations Report.”

The court states that this “utter failure to terminate any customers at all over a six-and-a-half-year period,” shows that the ISP made every effort to “avoid reasonably implementing” a repeat infringer policy.

Terminations eventually started again in 2017, two months after this lawsuit was filed. 

Utter failure

The record labels made several comparisons between Grande and the ISP Cox Communications, which also lost its safe harbor defense in a similar case. Grande contested that this argument doesn’t hold, as Cox actually failed to enforce its specific policy. 

However, Judge Ezra counters that Cox at least had internal procedures that in theory could lead to the termination of a customer. Grande failed to implement a proper policy to begin with.

“Grande thus did even less than Cox to ‘reasonably implement’ the kind of policy required for the protections of DMCA’s safe harbor,” Judge Ezra writes.

“If lax enforcement and frequent circumvention of existent procedures disqualifies a defendant from the safe harbor’s protections, the complete nonexistence of such procedures surely must do likewise,” the order adds.

In its defense, the ISP also raised serious concerns about the reliability of Rightscorp’s piracy notices. Grande said that there are critical flaws in the Rightscorp system based. As such, terminating the Internet access of any subscriber based on this info may not have been right.

Judge Ezra waved away this argument as well, highlighting that there were hundreds of thousands of notices from other companies, which the company didn’t act on either. 

“Even if the Court were to accept Grande’s arguments related to the Rightscorp notices, the summary judgment evidence shows that Grande failed to terminate a single customer despite the receipt of several hundred thousand other copyright infringement notices,” Judge Ezra writes.

The result is that the court has adopted the recommendations from the Magistrate Judge, granting summary judgment in favor of the record labels. As a result, Grande will go to trial without a safe harbor defense. This means that it can be held directly liable for the pirating activity of its users. 

This is a major setback, and there is more bad news for the ISP.

Grande requested summary judgment in its favor on a variety of liability issues, including direct infringement, willfulness, damages, and ownership of copyright. These were all denied, as recommended, except for two limited issues regarding the alleged violation of reproduction or public performance rights.

The RIAA labels also submitted a cross-motion on these liability issues, requesting a ruling in their favor, but that was denied as well. This means that those matters will be decided at trial.

A copy of Judge Ezra’s order adopting the report and recommendations 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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This week we have four newcomers in our chart.

Aquaman 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)Aquaman7.7 / trailer
2(10)The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part7.0 / trailer
3(3)Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse8.6 / trailer
4(2)Mary Poppins Returns7.1 / trailer
5(…)Triple Frontier6.6 / trailer
6(4)Captain Marvel (HDCam)7.0 / trailer
7(…)Holmes and Watson3.5 / trailer
8(…)Vice7.2 / trailer
9(8)Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald6.8 / trailer
10(…)Stan and Ollie7.5 / trailer

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





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As one of the most-visited sites on the entire Internet, Reddit needs little introduction.

The site has millions of daily visitors who read and contribute to countless discussions on every conceivable (and often inconceivable) topic.

In the piracy space, Reddit’s /r/piracy sub-Reddit is an invaluable source of information. It has close to 350,000 subscribers, making it one of the largest piracy-focused discussion platforms on the Internet. As such, many users feel the section is precariously placed.

As detailed previously, this often controversial forum is regularly subject to conjecture about its future, with many worrying that it may be shut down for breaching Reddit’s global rules, mainly after receiving too many copyright complaints.

The truth, however, is that /r/piracy is run by pragmatic individuals who work extremely hard to ensure that their baby is run not only in compliance with the law, but actually in excess of its requirements.

It’s important to know that /r/piracy is NOT the Wild West. It has a strict set of rules in place, including that people do not request or link to pirated or copyrighted content. Having this in place is important, since that’s what keeps the section in line with the law and out of trouble.

However, what’s most important is how the sub-Reddit deals with repeat offenders. Most ISPs and service providers now have such policies in place to keep the law from the door but most people won’t appreciate just how tough /r/piracy itself is now being policed.

In a recent discussion, moderator ‘dysgraphical’ revealed that he now effectively operates a zero-tolerance policy, not only for people posting links to infringing content but also people who request the same.

“I’m very proactive in temporarily banning first time offenders of rule 3 [posting or requesting infringing content), and permanently banning any spam or intent to sell/distribute personal information. As long as the community keeps reporting rule breaking posts, we’re fine,” he wrote.

That’s worth highlighting again. Most online platforms will tolerate three, four, or more actual infringements of copyright before taking firm action, while ISPs tend to err on the side of caution by only taking action against subscribers who’ve had multiple infringement allegations made against them.

While this may sound harsh to those who feel all content should be free (and they should have the freedom to both request and obtain it), they aren’t running Reddit, they aren’t in charge of any sub-Reddits, or the ones that will suffer if a section is shut down for repeat infringements.

In addition, /r/piracy has automated tools in place that aim to catch people breaking the rules (which go beyond the requirements of the law) and the law itself. These so-called ‘automoderators‘ aim to catch infringing posts immediately while making the mods’ life that little bit easier.

“Automod catches a ton of request posts and automatically deletes them everyday. All together with manual mod and automod removals, about ~25 posts are removed daily for breaking the rules,” dysgraphical explains.

“The issue is that there will always be people attempting to circumvent the rules by oddly rewording their titles. For what it’s worth, they get the banhammer whenever I catch them.”

Again, this is worth repeating. Those who simply have no respect for the rules of /r/piracy not only face suspension for a first offense, but also face a permanent ban if they attempt to outwit the system that protect the sub-Reddit’s future.

TF has a system in place that’s able to monitor requests and other rule-breaking posts and capture copies of them before they are automatically deleted. It isn’t perfect, but we can confirm that /r/piracy and its mods (both human and machine) are very diligent.

To some, it may seem counter-intuitive for /r/piracy to be so tough on piracy itself, but the entire future of the discussion platform is reliant on strictly policing the platform. If those in charge loosened their grip, there’s little doubt that a minority of people who simply refuse to read the rules would be responsible for the forum being banned by Reddit.

However, it’s clear that since the opposite is true, the reality of the situation is much less precarious than some might assume.

“Contrary to the fearmongering that Redditors love contriving, we have never been contacted by the Admins for any copyright infringement or sitewide rule violation,” dysgraphical adds.

“They have deleted a few posts here and there at their own discretion and have notified the OPs but we (mod team) have never received any complaints or notices for that matter.”

For a community of almost 350,000 subscribers that is some record (especially given the topic), and one the moderators of /r/piracy should be proud of. There are thousands of dedicated platforms to choose from if people want to engage in actual piracy but sacrificing /r/piracy to the gods would only serve to stifle entirely legal discussion.

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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Most entities behind user-generated upload platforms know that lawsuits are always a possibility and accept them as a risk of doing business.

YouTube, for example, knows that it can be sued but since the company follows applicable law to the letter, it’s not a straightforward prospect for opponents. It also has the deepest of deep pockets.

Then there’s Travis McRea, the former leader of the Pirate Party of Canada and the brains behind what is now becoming one of the world’s most controversial eBook platforms, Ebook.bike.

McRea also understands he could be sued for his activities but informs TorrentFreak he is actually looking forward to the day. It seems clear; McRea is on a mission.

After launching a movie torrent site in 2011, the keen pilot is now in the eBook market. His site is simple and free to use but authors and publishers are furious that he appears to hold no licenses for the content on his platform. Not unlike YouTube, however, McRea says he’s DMCA compliant, so doesn’t need any.

Earlier this week, McRea appeared on BBC Radio’s You and Yours show, facing off against Joanne Harris (MBE), the author of the award-winning novel Chocolat.

McRea told the show that his website isn’t based around the idea of copyright infringement but was actually designed “by authors, for authors” and is a group effort to share books. He also insisted that he isn’t hiding behind the DMCA, stating that it’s not a “cover my butt answer” and authors he knows are actually uploading content to his platform.

Joanne Harris, whose books also appeared on EBook.bike without permission, countered by saying she has never encountered any author who uploads content to McRea’s site.

“It is copyright theft, it’s not sharing. Sharing is when an author decides to put their own book online for purposes of their own,” she said.

“I’ve been involved in a three-day Twitter conversation with many, many hundreds of people who are very annoyed that their books are there. I haven’t yet met one defending the site.”

The conversation then moved to McCrea’s claim that content is taken down quickly. Harris said her publisher doesn’t believe the system is good enough and it had been trying to take down content “over several weeks”, while insisting that McRea hasn’t been “consistent in taking things down.”

McCrea disagreed and reiterated that the website isn’t dedicated to copyright infringement, it’s there to help authors. He also said that personal attacks on Twitter against his family mean that authors are unlikely to step forward to support him.

“My mother, my girlfriend – notably not my father – all had their public information shared on Twitter, doxxing the people who come to my aid. These are the people who are around me. So why would anyone willingly want to come up and defend me against these baseless attacks if this is what they’re going to be met with?” McRea complained.

Having listened to the show, TorrentFreak spoke with McRea who told us that he wasn’t happy with the final broadcast.

“I didn’t hear the final interview, I didn’t like the way the interview went. There were technical issues and all my questions were worded with a bias,” he said.

“I get that I’m going to have an uphill battle but at least from the sound booth the interview sounded like a hit piece.” 

That being said, an uphill battle appears to be exactly what McRea is gunning for.

“My statement remains what it always was. I want someone to sue me. I want to win that case and then have legal precedent which should let me start finding ad partners, not having to deal with as much BS,” he told TF.

Wanting to be sued is usually at the bottom of most people’s bucket list, but McCrea is clearly no ordinary player. He told us that living Canada means that he’s not compelled to follow the terms of the DMCA but does so out of choice. For those still unhappy, he’s throwing down the gauntlet.

“While we stay committed to following all US copyright laws and ensuring we maintain our DMCA compliance, I would like to reiterate that I am a Canadian and my focus is on upholding the laws of my country. It just has always been that the DMCA provides the best framework for how to handle copyright complaints,” he said.

“I use the DMCA because it offers the best framework, not because I feel I’m obligated to. If they feel I’m liable, come sue me.”

While McRea is certainly taking a tough stance, in a follow up he told us that he’s also developing policies and tools to help both authors and users to better understand their rights while using his website.

“I’m also working on a copyright tool that can be built into ebooks like a robots.txt file which allow authors to specify what platforms their book can be uploaded to. Ebook Bike will search for that file and honor it if it exists,” he concludes.

Whether publishers will now take McCrea up on his offer to battle this out in court will remain to be seen. Public standoffs like this are very rare indeed, particularly when legal precedents are there for the taking.

It’s unclear whether the former Pirate Party leader has the resources to take on a giant like Harper Collins, for example, but his confidence suggests he may have a plan. We’ll have to wait to find out the details.

The full BBC show, You and Yours, can be heard here, (skip to 30m40s)

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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