A dramatic situation is developing around billion dollar Internet company Yandex and several major Russian broadcasters.

Gazprom-Media and others claim that Yandex isn’t doing enough to keep ‘pirate’ content out of its search results. After reaching a brick wall with the search company, the broadcasters filed a copyright infringement complaint with the Moscow City Court, the entity responsible for handling ISP blocking requests.

Late last week, the Court handed down a decision compelling Yandex to remove links to pirated TV shows belonging to Gazprom-Media outlets including TNT, TV-3, 2×2, and Super. The Court gave Yandex until the end of today to remove the content or find itself blocked throughout Russia. It’s now clear that Yandex will not comply.

According to a statement from the company, Yandex believes that the law is being misinterpreted. While under current legislation pirate content must be removed from sites hosting it, the removal of links to such content on search engines falls outside its scope.

“In accordance with the Federal Law On Information, Information Technologies, and Information Protection, the mechanics are as follows: pirated content should be blocked by site owners and on the so-called mirrors of these sites,” Yandex says.

“We consider the claims against us to be unreasonable and not in accordance with the law and we will appeal the decision of the Moscow City Court.”

A Yandex spokesperson told Interfax that the company works in “full compliance” with the law and is open to finding a cooperative solution.

“We will work with market participants to find a solution within the existing legal framework,” Yandex said.

In the midst of this serious situation, Yandex insists that it stands for an “honest Internet” in which legal content is made available and rightsholders earn their rightful share from it. Now, however, the action by the TV companies and the Court has undermined that.

“In response to the TV channels’ complaint, the Moscow City Court has passed rulings that are fundamentally contrary to its own previous practice on this issue. Worse still, they do not solve the problem of unauthorized content, since resources with such content will be available in other search systems, social networks and so on,” Yandex says.

But despite Yandex filing an appeal against the Court’s decision, there appears to be no escape from it being wiped from the Russian Internet in a matter of hours. Telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor says that it is obliged to act on the instructions of the Court and will instruct ISPs around the country to disabled access to Yandex.

“Roskomnadzor is required to comply with the court’s decision, which introduced preliminary provisional [blocking] measures against Yandex’s resource, regardless of the company’s appeal against this decision,” a spokesperson said.

But while executing a potentially devastating block on the one hand, Roscomnadzor is also offering to help mediate a peaceful solution to this growing dispute.

“We are ready to assist in finding points of interaction between companies,” Deputy Head of Roskomnadzor Vadim Subbotin told Interfax.

“I hope that in the pre-trial procedure, Yandex will take steps to resolve this conflict before the blockade, I very much hope that this will be done in cooperation with the rights holders,” he said.

Absent some last-minute miracle, it seems Yandex is doomed to preliminary blocking measures sometime today. While these usually last for an initial 15 days, the big question is how they will be carried out.

It’s unclear if a precise element of the service can or will be targeted (i.e Yandex.ru/video/ and/or Yandex.video) or whether Roscomnadzor will go down the Telegram route and block everything.

Ominously, Rosomnadzor is already warning that it doesn’t know what effect the blocks will have on Yandex’s other services.

Update: Fearing a complete block of its entire service, Yandex has complied with the order of the Moscow City Court. The company’s statement can be found below (translated from Russian)

Today, August 30, 2018, the deadline for the execution of instructions, which Roscomnadzor sent to Yandex on the basis of the Moscow City Court’s rulings, expires. In the instructions we are required to remove from yandex.ru “illegally posted information” – TV shows, the rights to which belong to the TV channels of the group “Gazprom-Media”.

We continue to believe that the requirements are not justified and do not correspond to current legislation and practice of its application. We will challenge them in court.

In the absence of measures on our part, there is a risk that Roscomnadzor will apply a block to Yandex.Video. Blocking Yandex.Video would lead to inaccessibility of all yandex.ru, since this service is located at https://yandex.ru/video/, and most providers can block traffic only by domain name – in the case of Yandex. Video is yandex.ru.

In order to minimize the risk of blocking, because of which Yandex users would suffer, we have decided to remove from search all links to pages with contentious works.

In fact, the requirements presented to us are impracticable. Yandex does not post content on the network and, therefore, can not delete it. In addition, Yandex does not have the ability to determine the existence of rights to content from a particular site.

Accordingly, Yandex can not separate controversial content from legal content. Therefore, among the deleted links, there may be links to resources where the content is placed by the rightholder. As a result, users will have lost the opportunity to find legal content on Yandex, and the resources of Gazprom-Media, it is possible, have lost some of their traffic.

Moreover, the claims made do not solve the problem of piracy. Illegal content can still be easily found with the help of other search engines, social networks and media hosting. Pirate sites that host illegal content are still available.

A good solution to the piracy problem must satisfy two principles: transparency and balance. We ourselves are copyright holders and we will work with other rights holders, regulators and other industry players to create a system in which both these principles will be observed.

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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Despite having some of the toughest laws on the planet for tackling the appearance of pirate content, the copyright infringement wars in Russia appear to be intensifying.

Last week, to protest the existence of ‘pirate’ content in search results, major broadcasters Gazprom-Media, National Media Group (NMG), and others removed their TV channels from Yandex’s ‘TV Online’ service. The media companies said that they would only allow their content to appear again if Yandex removes pirated content completely.

With no clear sign of removals underway, it was later revealed that Gazprom-Media had filed a copyright infringement complaint with the Moscow City Court, the entity responsible for handling ISP blocking requests.

According to the media giant, the Court subsequently handed down a decision which now compels Yandex to remove links to pirated TV shows belonging to Gazprom-Media.

In a follow-up, telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor, which is responsible for ordering ISPs to block sites, contacted Yandex with an instruction to remove infringing content from its Yandex.video service.

While mostly unknown to Western Internet users, the index is heavily populated with pirated content, especially TV shows and movies. As the image below shows, its ‘featured’ content section (which appears without any prompting) is populated by pirate content of recent movies.

According to Interfax, Yandex was informed that under the relevant anti-piracy legislation, it needs to remove content owned by Gazprom-Media channels including TNT, TV-3, 2×2, and Super, as instructed by the Moscow City Court. Yandex did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement to Interfax Tuesday, Deputy Head of Roskomnadzor Vadim Subbotin warned that Yandex.video (which is also available under Yandex.ru/video/) will be blocked Thursday night (August 30) if the pirate links aren’t removed.

“If Yandex does not take measures, then according to the law, the Yandex.Video service must be blocked. There’s nowhere to go,” Subbotin said. “Let’s wait for the execution of the decision, we will hold consultations with them.”

Sites accused of copyright infringement are given three days to respond to a notice ordering them to take action. Time runs out for Yandex tomorrow night.

“On Thursday evening, these three days will expire,” Subbotin added.

It isn’t clear why Yandex didn’t immediately respond to the orders of the Moscow City Court but despite its standing as a prominent service, it appears it won’t be allowed any extra room for maneuver.

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 DMCA is a particularly useful tool for copyright holders who want to make sure that infringing copies of their work are not widely distributed.

Whether it’s a copy of a pirated song, an ebook, or a photo, the DMCA covers it all.

The majority of the takedown requests filed on an average day are fairly mundane. However, there are those that raise eyebrows, which includes the recent efforts of Columbia Pictures.

The movie studio is planning to distribute the upcoming ‘Holmes and Watson‘ movie, a highly anticipated release among Sherlock fans. So, when the first promotional poster appeared online a few days ago, they jumped all over it.

The poster, featuring Will Ferrell and John Reilly as Holmes and Watson, shows both men signaling their initials. On top of that is a large red title that reads “Holmies,” as shown in this Reddit post.

Following a series of news articles, the poster was shared on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. This isn’t something out of the ordinary, as the same happens with other prominent movies. What’s unusual, however, is that the posters have begun to ‘disappear.’

Several news sites that reported on and linked to the poster have removed the image and Slashfilm even took the entire article down. Around the same time, several copies shared on Twitter disappeared too.

Gone

As it turns out, Twitter removed the promotional posters following a DMCA notice. TorrentFreak received a copy of a takedown request which anti-piracy company Entura sent to Twitter on behalf of Columbia Pictures.

Some of the reported uploads

The unusual takedowns haven’t gone unnoticed. Twitter user Sloth Mom has been particularly vocal after one of her tweets was targeted.

“Apparently Columbia Pictures didn’t like me tweeting the poster of the upcoming Holmes and Watson movie with the comment ‘I’m here for it’ for… Reasons? Good going Columbia, now anyone seeing that tweet won’t know what I’m here for,” she Tweeted.

This sparked a lively debate with people condemning Columbia Pictures. But, while it’s clear that Columbia Pictures doesn’t want the poster to be promoted, the question that remains is why?

TorrentFreak reached out to Entura for more details on the matter. At the time of writing we have yet to hear back, leaving us with little more than speculation.

There are of course many possible explanations. The most likely option we’ve seen thus far refers to the “Holmies” title that’s on the original poster. Apparently, that term is also used for ‘groupies‘ of the Aurora shooter James Holmes.

“Err, ‘Holmies’ also means ‘fans of the kid who shot up that DARK KNIGHT theater’ so they might be freaking out and try to scrub the poster from existence,” Twitter user Standing Leaf writes.

Holmies…

If that’s the case, Paramount Pictures is using the DMCA requests with an ulterior motive. Understandable, perhaps, but the affected recipients who risk losing their account over too many strikes won’t like that.

“Even if that’s true, it’s a disgusting overreach to threaten people’s social media accounts over sharing a promotional poster,” Sloth Mom puts it.

Again, without an official explanation, this all remains guesswork. Perhaps a good detective can get to the bottom of it though.

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 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada, and Mexico was negotiated a quarter century ago.

Over the past twenty-five years, trade has changed drastically, especially online, so the United States planned to modernize the international deal.

Several negotiation rounds have taken place with all three parties. However, it appears that things are now moving ahead without Canada, which hasn’t been happy with some of the previous US proposals.

Yesterday the US and Mexico confirmed that they had reached agreement on key elements of a new trade deal. While everything has yet to be finalized, the US Trade Representative (USTR) frames it as a major improvement.

“The United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement in principle, subject to finalization and implementation, to update the 24-year-old NAFTA with modern provisions representing a 21st century, high-standard agreement,” the USTR notes.

One of the key achievements, according to the US, is that the new deal includes the most comprehensive enforcement provisions of any trade agreement. The final wording has yet to be released, but a summary of the Intellectual Property chapter shows what’s in store.

Among other things, both parties agree to implement criminal measures against camcording in movie theaters, as well as cable and signal piracy. This, on top of a general agreement to enforce against piracy and counterfeiting that takes place on a commercial scale.

On of the key achievements

While these terms remain vague without the full context, they’re not as confusing as the USTR’s statement on an ‘extension’ of the current copyright term.

“Extend the minimum copyright term to 75 years for works like song performances and ensure that works such as digital music, movies, and books can be protected through current technologies such as technological protection measures and rights management information,” it reads.

Some understood this as an extension of the current US term, which for individuals is life plus 70 years. This is also the case with digital rights group Public Knowledge, which branded it as an outrageous copyright giveaway.

“The inclusion of a copyright term extension in the trade agreement announced today is a staggeringly brazen attempt by the entertainment industries to launder unpopular policies through international agreements,” the group wrote.

Journalists also jumped on this unusual issue. The USTR initially told reporters that it was indeed the plan to extend the copyright term to life plus 75 years, but according to Techdirt, this was later changed to a 75-year floor. In other words, a minimum that includes the author’s life.

This floor would not change much in either country, except for very young creators in US kindergartens, perhaps.

One of the hottest topics during the previous negotiations was the “safe harbor” issue. Content industry groups stressed that these should be tightened, while Internet law experts and advocacy groups proposed an expansion of US-style safe harbors to Mexico and Canada.

The fact sheet released by the USTR makes it clear that safe harbors are included and that rightsholders will be protected as well, but how this will be implemented remains a question.

“Establish a notice-and-takedown system for copyright safe harbors for Internet service providers (ISPs) that provides protection for IP and predictability for legitimate technology enterprises who do not directly benefit from the infringement, consistent with United States law,” it reads.

Responding to the announcement, a group of prominent music industry players including ASCAP, BMI, and the RIAA, again called for strong copyright protections.

“We are deeply concerned by the efforts of some to use the agreement to lock in flawed interpretations of pre-Internet ‘safe harbors’ perpetuating the theft of American music, creating safe havens preventing successful enforcement efforts within our trading partner nations..,” the music groups write.

A more detailed summary of what to expect in the new trade deal is available on the USTR’s website. Without the full agreement, it’s hard to draw any strong conclusions, but no matter to which side the scale tips, this isn’t the last we’ve heard of it.

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





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We hereby present you the first Beta build of Kodi v18 as we are heading towards the final release. Since we are now in Beta stage our focus will be on solving bugs and possible usability problems. So far it has been proven to be quite solid to use as a daily driver for those who were brave enough to try it out. Of course you should still keep in mind it’s not a final release yet and that on any upgrade a small glitch could happen as we are still doing rework. Once you decide to give it a try it is highly recommended that you create a backup first.

Currently included

A full changelog is nearly impossible to create and in this release article we will only cover the basics. 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 bugfixing 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.

Stability and usability is key

In general the whole stability has been improved quite a lot. The times you still get glitches or occasional crashes haven been reduced due to just ripping out not so well coded parts and replaced with a more structured design and standard. Not that the old code was bad however over time new insights were gained and having newer code standards just make it better. Untangling all parts or components and make them behave better next to each other has been one of the biggest efforts done so far.

Current available skins

Due to changes in how Kodi works skins need to be updated for each release. As of this moment we have the following ones have been update by their developers and are readily available from our repository.

Adnoic, Aeon Nox 5, Andromeda, Black Glass Nova, ChromaConfluence, fTV, Grid, Mimic, NebulaOmni, Rapier, Sio2, Xperience1080

More will follow at a later point in time when we approach final release.

The wiki pages

One of the best sources of information next to our forum for asking question and finding answers is the Kodi wiki pages. With each release certain aspects of the software change and this of course needs to be reflected on the official wiki pages. Several team members and regular users spend quite some time updating and tweaking these pages to become a helpfull one stop place for all information.

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 modeling 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)

Kodistore

The story continues

Although we don’t really have a clear future plan or clear cut goals (except making a great media center) we would welcome any developer who wants to spend time on getting Kodi better in every way. Either improving the core code to newer standards, fixing bugs or implementing a new feature we haven’t thought of. Compared to years ago the code has become better to understand and follow for newcomers to get started. Once we get something written down of certain to reach goals we will certainly share them.

A great improvement has been made on the documentation that explains how to compile and work on the core code for Kodi. We highly recommend to read the article Kodi’s GitHub codebase new face and better documentation.

Release time

Since we now started the Beta 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.

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.

May the force be with you…..

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This week we have two newcomers in our chart.

Deadpool 2 is the most downloaded movie again.

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

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

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie RankRank last weekMovie nameIMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1(1)Deadpool 28.0 / trailer
2(…)Ocean’s Eight 6.3 / trailer
3(2)Avengers: Infinity War 8.7 / trailer
4(3)Upgrade7.7 / trailer
5(…)Hereditary 8.7 / trailer
6(7)Tag 6.7 / trailer
7(4)Adrift 6.7 / trailer
8(6)Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (subbed HDRip)6.5 / trailer
9(5)Skyscraper (subbed HDRip)6.1 / trailer
10(8)Rampage6.3 / 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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Last year, American satellite and broadcast provider Dish Network targeted TVAddons, the largest repository of third-party Kodi add-ons.

In a complaint filed in a federal court in Texas, TVAddons and its Canadian founder Adam Lackman were accused of copyright infringement, facing millions of dollars in potential damages.

The site was briefly taken down but returned after a few weeks, albeit without some of the more troubling add-ons. TVAddons and Lackman were planning to put up a fight and maintained that the site had always adhered to the DMCA.

Over the past several months both Dish and TVAddons were getting ready to take the matter to trial, but this weekend it became apparent that this is no longer needed.

The parties have signed a confidential settlement agreement and, as a result, Dish decided to drop the case. While the exact terms of the agreement remain private, a TVAddons representative informs TorrentFreak that they’re happy with the outcome.

“Sometimes a settlement can be considered a win for both sides. From an economic perspective, it was the ideal conclusion since the Canadian lawsuit has already destroyed our financial resources.

“It also respected our morals and promise to protect our users and developers at all cost, since no data nor user/developer information was exchanged as part of the settlement,” the TVAddons spokesperson adds.

The upside for TVAddons is quite obvious, as the site and its founder had a lot to lose financially. Dish’s motivations are less obvious. It’s not clear whether TVAddons agreed to pay damages, but that could be a factor.

TVAddons also agreed to process Dish’s future copyright claims more swiftly, if any issues arise.

“As far as our site goes, we maintain that we have always complied with copyright law. We have however agreed to an expedited DMCA process for any complaints DISH Network may have in the future,” TVAddons tells us.

The settlement agreement was signed by TVAddons founder Adam Lackman and Dish. This is interesting, as Lackman announced just a few weeks ago that he had “resigned” from all administrative roles at the site to ensure its future.

This suggests that someone else is in charge. However, a representative of the site informs TorrentFreak that there are agreements in place to ensure that the expedited DMCA agreement between Dish and Lackman will be honored.

The settlement does not include Shani, the developer of ZemTV, who was sued in the same case. The UK resident previously chose not to defend himself in court, as he lacked the funds to put up a proper defense.

TVAddons and Lackman are not out of trouble either. The Canadian lawsuit filed by an army of Canadian telecoms giants, including Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, is still on.

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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To millions of loyal users, Reddit is one of the Internet’s most valuable resources. The platform covers every subject one can think of, plus hundreds that have never entered mainstream consciousness.

Along with fairly benign topics such as news, health, beauty and sport, Reddit caters to those whose hobbies and interests are a little more controversial. Dozens of so-called sub-Reddits are dedicated to most aspects of piracy, for example, something that has landed a few of them in hot water.

Take the /r/megalinks sub-Reddit, for example. Last year the discussion forum was shut down in a blaze of bad publicity after the site accumulated enough ‘strikes’ to trigger Reddit’s repeat infringer policy.

Megalinks was a very good example of sub-Reddit simply waiting to be closed down. The entire purpose of the community was to post links to infringing content stored on file-hosting site MEGA. No pirated content was off-limits so when Reddit’s admins decided enough was enough, it was no surprise to see the sub disappear down the drain.

This week, another piracy-focused sub-Reddit found itself disappearing into history. The /r/crackedsoftware forum, which (surprise, surprise) dedicated itself to links to pirated software, also found itself banished by Reddit’s admins. As the image below shows, it too fell foul of Reddit’s ‘repeat infringer’ policy.

No surprise the banhammer came out for this one

With news of these bannings filtering through to other sections of Reddit dedicated to piracy, some users have been asking whether they too could be banished to the digital wilderness. The question has been asked several times on /r/piracy, a sub with more than 244,000 subscribers. So, is it at risk?

To answer that question it’s first necessary to differentiate between sub-Reddits that act as a platform for piracy and those that discuss piracy but do not engage in it, on Reddit itself.

There can be no doubt that /r/megalinks and /r/crackedsoftware fall into the first category. Both sub-Reddits were designed to encourage and then provide access to links to known infringing content. Or, to put it another way, these sub-Reddits acted like The Pirate Bay or any other intentional ‘pirate’ linking site.

While this in itself would probably be enough to put the subs on the wrong side of the law, Reddit only appears to take action against subs when they cause documented copyright infringement problems for the platform. If a sub-Reddit receives repeat complaints from copyright holders, Reddit – as is required under the DMCA – invokes its repeat infringer policy.

At Reddit’s discretion, that repeat infringer policy can be acted upon in two ways. Firstly, Reddit could determine that a particular user is at fault and since he or she is continually posting infringing content, they could be banned. However, if the problem “pervades a whole community“, the entire sub will be banned if it doesn’t clean up its act. Clearly, both Megalinks and CrackedSoftware fall into this category, hence their demise.

Now, compare these two now-defunct subs to /r/piracy, Reddit’s flagship piracy forum with close to 245,000 users. While the sub is no doubt inhabited by many thousands of pirates, its moderators have put in place a set of clear rules to ensure that their home isn’t shut down in the same way as some others.

The sub only has four rules, three of which are dedicated to keeping the discussion both tidy and on topic. However, rule three is the sub’s most important, despite being a single line long. To be sure, however, the point is repeated and rephrased.

“No asking or linking pirated/copyrighted content,” it reads. “Do not request or link to pirated/copyrighted content,” notes the reminder.

It is this rule (and its enforcement by the sub’s moderators) that ensures that /r/piracy does not often find itself mentioned in DMCA notices sent to Reddit. If there are no links to infringing content, copyright holders can’t send a valid DMCA notice and Reddit will not be required to invoke its repeat infringer policy.

Advice from Reddit to keep a piracy-focused sub in shape

Of course, even the most fastidious of moderation teams can accidentally let something infringing slip through the net (even mods have to sleep), meaning that it’s still possible for an infringing post or comment to appear on /r/piracy. However, that is not the forum’s main aim, something which seems to go a long way with Reddit’s admins.

There are threats to the sub, however. A minority of users, many of whom simply can’t be bothered to read the rules and/or stick to them, are the number one concern.

While regular subscribers rarely attempt to post infringing content without being asked, every day people wander in and post questions demanding links for movie X or TV show Y. Other users rarely respond and the mods act quickly, but it’s not a great look for /r/piracy, especially when the mods work so hard to keep things legal.

In short and as things stand, /r/piracy seems a solid discussion forum that operates well within Reddit’s rules and is unlikely to be shut down. However, a little common sense in respect of Rule 3 wouldn’t go amiss and perhaps the threat of a temporary ban here and there would help to focus the minds of the minority of users who play fast and loose with the sub’s future.

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 years in their neverending fight against piracy, content owners have tried numerous strategies to limit the amount of infringing content reaching the eyes of consumers.

For almost two decades, that has involved targeting ‘pirate’ sites themselves but increasingly that tactic is taking a back seat. In vogue today is the move to force intermediaries and platforms to join the battle, hoping these Internet giants will use their influence to disappear unlawful content.

Over in Russia, legislation is already in place to force cooperation. When sites are deemed to be infringers and unresponsive to targeted takedowns, they can find themselves on a national blacklist and blocked by ISPs. Furthermore, sites that persistently refuse to cooperate can be permanently blocked, with additional consequences.

Sites in this category now face the prospect of being removed from search engines altogether. That has been happening in volume, as telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor reported this week.

“Since the beginning of the year, search engines Yandex, Mail.ru, Rambler, Sputnik and Google that have been operating in Russia have blocked access to 2,600 pirated Internet resources that were previously blocked on an ongoing basis,” the government body reported.

“Decisions on restricting access to pirated Internet resources on an ongoing basis are taken by the Moscow City Court and the Ministry of Communications.”

Since the search engine exclusion law came into force October 1, 2017, close to 4,000 sites have been permanently excluded from search results. However, this still isn’t enough for rightsholders who insist that companies like Yandex and Google need to do more.

In a sign of how fractious this battle has become, major broadcasters recently took action against Yandex due to the existence of ‘pirate’ resources in search results. In protest, Gazprom-Media, National Media Group (NMG), and others removed their TV channels from Yandex’s ‘TV Online’ service.

According to comments obtained by Russia’s Kommersant, the media companies will only allow their content to appear again if Yandex “purges the pirated versions” from its search results.

“This is the only way we can influence them to remove pirated content,” the source said.

Yandex began displaying the content of TV channels on its main pages back in March 2017 and agreements inked since then have allowed it to expand the feature. Now, however, the initiative has been set back, with media companies complaining that the revenue generated pales into insignificance when compared to the losses from piracy.

“The situation in which broadcasters promote Yandex media services, provide content, but have piracy ignored in search results, is destructive for the media industry,” a representative from NMG told Kommersant.

“[The revenues] are insignificant compared to the hundreds of millions of rubles of annual losses associated with the distribution of pirated content from broadcasters.”

Gazprom Media told the publication that for as long as piracy is a problem, the company won’t be offering its content via the search engine.

“Prior to resolving the issue of pirated content on Yandex services, we will not license our content in Yandex,” a spokesperson said.

With some media players describing Yandex as “the main pirate site in the country” it’s clear that bridges need to be built if progress is to be made. However, the rhetoric is strong right now with no solution in sight.

“[Yandex] interferes with the work of all and refuses to discuss this topic under far-fetched pretexts, so there will only be more [piracy]. They imagine themselves as an information intermediary, but it’s not true – they make money on content, interfere in content, and develop their own sites,” says producer Alexander Akopov.

Considering the general consensus that access to legal content is the best way to defeat piracy, the decision to remove legal content from Yandex is a little puzzling. The punitive measures used to starve pirate sites of their visitors – removal from search engine results – is now being deployed by rightsholders against themselves. Only time will tell how that will turn out.

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





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Last month, Nintendo made it totally clear that websites offering access to its retro-games and ROMs will not be tolerated.

The Japanese game developer filed a complaint at a federal court in Arizona, accusing LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co of massive copyright and trademark infringement.

Faced with millions of dollars in potential damages, the owner of the sites, Jacob Mathias, swiftly took the platforms offline. While the claims still stand, a new court filing shows that both Mathias and Nintendo are open to resolving the matter without a drawn-out fight.

LoveROMS

This week Mathias’ attorney asked the court to extend the standard period to respond to the complaint by three weeks, to enable both parties to continue ongoing settlement negotiations.

“Almost immediately after the complaint was served, the parties began actively discussing and working toward settling the case,” the defendants’ motion reads. “The parties believe that a 21-day extension will allow them to make significant progress toward settling the case.”

Nintendo requested a substantial number of documents as part of the settlement negotiations. The defense provided these and, with the extra time, they hope to get closer to a settlement.

If the case is not settled within the additional three-week period, no further extension will be requested.

From the motion

The filing suggests that this case may be over before it gets properly underway, which might be the best option for the site owner and his wife, who Nintendo previously added to the complaint. A lengthy, costly, and difficult to win court battle would then be avoided.

Nintendo, for its part, wouldn’t mind saving on legal bills too. In addition, with a settlement, they avoid the risk of a ‘theoretical’ negative precedent where a court might rule that not all older ROMs are copyright-infringing.

Most importantly, perhaps, is that filing the complaint alone has already had a sufficient deterrent effect.

In the weeks after the lawsuit was made public, several ROMs sites ceased their activities voluntarily. Not because they were suddenly in agreement that offering retro-ROMs is wrong, but mostly because they wanted to avoid a legal battle that could end in bankruptcy.

Nintendo’s actions and the subsequent fallout has left many retro-gamers without their preferred ROMs sources. However, it is unlikely that any type of legal action will completely root out their passion for good.

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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