Harry Potter is without a doubt one of the biggest entertainment brands in the world.

As a result, the various copyright holders are very protective of their asset, sometimes to the extreme.

For example, publisher Pottermore previously tried to censor J.K. Rowling’s Wikipedia page, as well as several unrelated entries. While this may have been a mistake, other enforcement actions clearly arent.

When an underground restaurant tried to host a Halloween party with a Harry Potter theme a few years ago, Warner Bros. lawyers came knocking. Trying to avoid trouble, the owner quickly changed the name of the event to the ‘Generic Wizard night.’

That Warner Bros. is protective of its Harry Potter rights also became clear in Denmark this week after a local festival was forced to change its name.

For more than a decade a local library in Odense has organized a Harry Potter festival, with great success. The non-profit event transformed from a small gathering of wizard enthusiasts to a festival with thousands of visitors.

While the library is proud of this achievement, Warner Bros. was growing more and more concerned.

Initially, the movie studio condoned the use of Harry Potter’s name, but this year that stopped being the case. Warner Bros. lawyers informed the festival that it could no longer use names and images related to the Harry Potter movies.

“Over the years, we have been in continuous dialogue with Warner Bros. Studios, which administer all rights regarding the Harry Potter universe,” says Kent Skov Andreasen, Head of Odense’s Libraries and Citizens’ Service.

“The dialogue has been positive and we respect the fact that the company now estimates that the festival has reached a size and spread which means that they ask us to change the name moving forward.”

The name change has quite a few implications. For example, the festival’s original domain name harrypotterfestival.dk, can no longer be used, and even the event’s Facebook page has been pulled offline.

As for the new name? The Library has picked “Magical Days in Odense” as the provisionary working title, but that might change going forward. The organizers don’t want to worry about copyright disputes, they just want to give children and their families a great time.

“We can continue but must call it something else. Whether it will be magical days or ‘the festival whose name cannot be mentioned’. We do not want to stop,” Søren Dahl Mortensen, project manager and librarian tells BT.

“There are many children who are sitting and wearing suits at home and really preparing themselves,” Mortensen adds.

While many of the festival visitors might not appreciate the name change, it is no surprise that Warner Bros. is protecting its brand. One non-profit festival is probably not a problem, but others may follow, which may ultimately compete with the studio’s commercial ventures.

More information about the upcoming Harry Potter Magical Days festival is available at the new non-infringing Facebook page, or at the new Potter-less domain name.

No Potter

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A decade ago online piracy was mostly a habit of downloaders. While online streaming did exist, watching pirate broadcasts live over the Internet was a rather cumbersome niche activity.

Nowadays, that’s no longer the case. Live streaming pirate broadcasts, especially of sports content, is more popular than ever. And with dedicated set-top boxes, it’s pretty easy too.

This has triggered a new wave of enforcement actions, one of which came to its conclusion in Sweden a few days ago. In a landmark ruling, the Stockholm Patent and Market court found three operators of the IPTV service Advanced TV Network (ATN) guilty of copyright infringement and misuse of decoding information.

ATN’s owner Hamid al-Hamid, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The owner’s son and another accomplice both received one-year prison sentences. In addition, they were ordered to pay over 209 million Swedish kroner ($24m) in damages to rightsholders, Reuters reports.

The case was filed by the Qatari company beIN Sports and the Albanian TV group Digitalb, who accused ATN of rebroadcasting its channels without permission. With help from the local anti-piracy outfit Nordic Content Protection, it filed a complaint against the IPTV operator two years ago.

This lead to a police raid at ATN’s office in Malmo office in 2016, where roughly 20 police cars appeared at the premises. Three people were arrested and servers were seized, which caused the IPTV channels of tens of thousands of customers to go dark.

While the verdict makes it clear that ATN broke the law, the company wasn’t operating as a typical pirate site. In fact, up until the raid it had been a rather successful business.

Founded in 2008, ATN was a fast-growing business which had 25 employees and over 70,000 paying customers at its height.

The company’s ATN box listed more than a thousand channels which allowed customers to view foreign content without satellite dishes. It was targeted at Arabian customers in Sweden, but also attracted people from abroad.

ATN was properly incorporated, paid taxes, and filed annual reports. This revealed that the company generated nearly 60 million Swedish kroner ($7m) in 2013, with a healthy profit margin.

While business was booming, it quickly came to an end when the company was raided and dragged to court. ATN eventually had to close its doors for good and in September 2016 SVT reported that the IPTV service had gone bankrupt. Two years later the three were sentenced.

“We are delighted that the Swedish courts have taken a strong stance against the industrial piracy perpetrated by ATN,” Anders Braf, CEO of Nordic Content Protection says, commenting on the outcome.

“The prison sentences and record fines handed down in this case send a clear message to broadcast pirates – the industry is taking action and we will use the full extent of the law to see offenders brought to justice.”

This is shared by Cameron Andrews, Senior Legal Counsel at beIN, who described the verdict as a significant victory in the fight against illegal TV pirates.

“TV pirates like ATN package hundreds, and often thousands of pirated television channels from around the world, and then make big money by selling subscriptions,” Andrews says.

“These businesses are parasites, making huge profits off the back of stolen content. The damages and prison sentences ordered by the Swedish court reflect the serious harm that piracy on this scale causes.”

While this is a clear victory for the copyright holders, the case is not over yet. At least two of the defendants, including ATN owner Hamid al-Hamid, intend to file an appeal.

Defense lawyer Jonas Nilsson previously stated that his client denied the criminal charges. In addition, a family member of ATN’s owner said that most of the channels were legally broadcasted.

Meanwhile, the ATN brand is not gone. While the Swedish company is bankrupt, the foreign-operated ATN Networks is around, listing Hamid al-Hamid as its CEO. There’s also still an ATN shop in Malmo.

A copy of the court order is available here (Swedish pdf).

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While millions of users still obtain pirate music from peer-to-peer platforms such as BitTorrent, in recent years a new challenge has appeared on the horizon.

Sites like YouTube, which offer millions of copies of almost every song imaginable, are now an unwitting player in the piracy ecosystem. Every day, countless people use special tools to extract music from video tracks before storing them on their local machines.

This so-called ‘stream-ripping’ phenomenon is now cited as being one of the greatest piracy threats to the record labels but thus far, no single action has been able to stem the tide.

Over in Denmark, however, there has been a breakthrough of sorts following action by local anti-piracy outfit RightsAlliance taken on behalf of IFPI, collecting society KODA, the Danish Artist Union, and the Danish Musicians Association.

The action targeted Convert2MP3, a site that allows users to download audio and video from platforms including YouTube. The recording industry groups wanted the stream-ripping platform blocked by Internet service providers in Denmark but first, they needed it to be declared illegal in the country. That decision came last week from a court in Frederiksberg.

“The result of the case is historic, as it is the first time worldwide that a stream-ripping service has been ordered to be blocked,” Rights Alliance said in a statement.

“It also proves that the activities of Rights Alliance are compliant with developments on the Internet, where illegal services constantly find new ways to exploit rights illegally. The case thus illustrates the importance of the technology-neutral approach in the Alliance’s blocking work.”

Rights Alliance Director Maria Fredenslund says that the ruling creates clarity for users, who until now may have considered that sites like Convert2MP3, which are used alongside digital platforms such as YouTube or Spotify’s free tier, operate legally.

“It is clear that you can quickly be cheated to believe that free music means that you have the right to do what you want,” Fredenslund says.

“The problem is that stream ripping services do not license the music from the rightholders, which therefore lose their business base. Therefore, we are very pleased that we now have confirmation that stream ripping is therefore illegal.”

Convert2MP3, which claims on its website to be based in Germany, did not respond to TorrentFreak’s request for comment. However, the decision against it has the potential to have wider implications across the region.

Back in 2016, YouTube-MP3, the world’s largest YouTube-ripping site (also based in Germany), was sued in the United States by IFPI, RIAA, and BPI. However, that ended in a settlement agreement rather than a full trial, so the case was never decided on the merits.

The decision of the Danish court against Convert2MP3 is likely to be referenced in future blocking cases around Europe, where stream-ripping is seen as a major threat to the recording industries and more serious than traditional peer-to-peer piracy.

Update: We asked Rights Alliance for some additional information on the case and lawyer Thomas Heldrup just responded as follows:

“Convert2MP3 were given the chance to defend themselves on several occasions – this is imperative to our work, where we always try to stop the illegal actions at the source. Convert2MP3 never replied to our messages about the case including the date, time and place for the hearing of the case.

“After the conversion process Convert2MP3 saves a copy on their servers in France for at least 4 hours.”

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ABS-CBN, the largest media and entertainment company in the Philippines, is continuing its legal campaign against pirate sites in the US.

The company has singled out dozens of streaming sites that offer access to ‘Pinoy’ content without permission, both in the US and abroad.

The company has already won several cases with damages ranging from a few hundred thousand to millions of dollars. However, the associated injunctions in these cases are perhaps even more significant.

We previously covered how ABS-CBN managed to get court orders to seize domain names, without the defendants getting actively involved. In another case, it expanded on this strategy by also going after advertising revenue.

This is also the case in a recent lawsuit, where a Florida federal court signed a temporary restraining order targeting more than two dozen sites. However, ABS-CBN takes it up another notch, going after the bank accounts of the sites involved.

Last week Chief United States District Judge Kevin Michael Moore signed a temporary restraining order directed at 33 pirate sites. The targets are predominantly niche streaming sites specializing in Pinoy content, such as pinoy.live and pinoybay.se.

While these sites serve a relatively small audience, the restraining order has broad implications.

It orders domain registrars and registries to make the sites unavailable, for example. In addition, advertising networks are compelled to stop doing business with the sites and freeze any outstanding funds.

Finally, and that’s new, the restraining order also targets payment processors. The court specifically mentions PayPal, but the order applies to other payment processors, banks, escrow services, and/or money transmitters as well.

The court orders these companies to “…immediately identify and restrain all funds, as opposed to ongoing account activity, in the advertising or PayPal accounts related to Defendants, and their associated payment accounts and e-mail addresses…”

From the TRO

The advertising companies, including Google’s Adsense, and the other companies such as PayPal also have to provide a detailed overview of the funds they hold for each of the respective sites.

Interestingly, the PayPal addresses were discovered through data provided by Cloudflare in response to a subpoena. The details of the relevant order are, unfortunately, being kept under seal.

It’s clear, however, that the media giant is using all the legal tools at its disposal to target these pirate sites.

The restraining order (pdf) will remain in effect until the court rules on ABS-CBN’s motion for a preliminary injunction. Based on previous cases it’s likely that the measures will remain in effect.

At the time of writing, most of the targeted sites are still available, either on their original domain names or through a backup location.

Some of the sites.

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The makers of the films ‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ and ‘A Family Man’ are not new to filing copyright infringement lawsuits.

They previously went after alleged BitTorrent pirates, ordering them to pay significant settlement fees or face legal repercussions. This so-called “copyright troll” approach worked well, but in Hawaii, they have expanded their reach.

In a complaint filed in May at the US District Court of Hawaii, ME2 Productions and Headhunter accused local resident Taylor Wolf, who works at the Verizon-branded phone store Victra, of promoting Showbox and its infringing uses to a customer.

Showbox is a movie and TV-show streaming application that’s particularly popular among mobile Android users. The app is capable of streaming torrents and works on a wide variety of devices. The app can be used to pirate too, and that’s what the employee allegedly promoted.

This approach was already unique by itself, but in an amended complaint filed this week, the filmmakers go a step further.

Allegedly, other Victra employees encouraged Wolf to promote the Showbox app to drive up sales. This prompted the movie companies to add AKA Wireless and ABC Phones, which do business as Victra in Hawaii, according to the complaint.

“Upon information and belief, other employees of VICTRA informed First Defendant Wolf of Show Box and encouraged her to distribute and promote Show Box to customers in order to drive sales of telecommunication equipment, thus giving financial benefit to Second and Third Defendants,” the complaint reads.

This means that, in addition to suing the employee for contributory copyright infringement, the Victra store itself is also bing held vicariously liable for alleged copyright infringement.

“The Second and Third Defendants are vicariously liable for the contributory copyright infringement of First Defendant Wolf, as First Defendant Wolf was acting within the scope of her employment when she committed the wrongful conduct..,” the complaint reads.

The Victra defendants had the right and the power to directly control the activities of the employee and received a direct financial benefit from the infringing activities, the filmmakers allege.

It’s quite an unusual approach, to say the least.

While the complaint didn’t mention how Wolf was identified, it’s likely the filmmakers first went after the customer in a traditional BitTorrent lawsuit, who then informed them about the Showbox recommendation.

After the movie studios found out that other employees were involved, the phone store was added to the lawsuit as well. That, conveniently, increases the chance for the movie studios to recoup their damages…


A copy of the amended complaint is available here (pdf).

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Many moons ago, people started file-sharing sites for the simple purpose of sharing files with friends and other like-minded people. By volume, it was relatively rare for commercial interests to come first.

While a considerable number of smaller platforms will still fiercely protest their non-profit status if challenged, in 2018 there can be little doubt that generating revenue is the motivation behind the majority of public sites. The prevalence of ads and affiliate schemes is a testament to that.

Of course, sites don’t always start out this way. Many private torrent trackers, for example, were created with the intention of providing free, no-strings content for all. Some still achieve that today but the rising costs of running a site (including servers for hosting, proxying, seeding etc) can’t be ignored, not least since the rich benefactors of yesterday have mostly moved on.

To this end, most sites these days generate money in a number of visible ways, from ever-present ads and product affiliate schemes to ‘donation’ models that are little more than disguised subscriptions. Others accept donations in the traditional sense, with a begging bowl handed round each time a server bill is due.

But what happens when the ends no longer meet? The users of two formerly ‘free’ sites have been finding out recently. In a pair of monster discussion threads on Reddit (1,2), users of pirate anime site ‘Kissanime’ complain that they’ve been completely banned from the video platform.

Their unforgivable crime? Ad-blocking.

Users say that all they did was visit the site with Adblock Plus or uBlock Origin enabled in their browser and the next thing they were given a ban. We jumped aboard and found ourselves greeted by the notice creating all the fuss.

No ad-blocking allowed…

It’s not as if users weren’t warned though. A notice published on the site’s main page informs members that running any kind of browser addon could mean ejection from video platform.

“Using any extensions/plugins on KissAnime could lead to errors/suspension,” it reads.

Nevertheless, plenty of people appear to have ignored the advice and have suffered the consequences as a result. For their part, the operators of the site seem completely unrepentant.

“There is no way to lift the ban at the moment, if you got banned, please disable those adblockers on kissanime, never turn it on kissanime again and wait. Or you could use other anime sites,” an admin announced on Discord.

The situation is an interesting one. Like most pirate sites, KissAnime has costs that have to be met by those visiting the site. Short of asking for a “donation”, these costs are currently met by advertising revenue. However, many users don’t want to be bombarded by advertising so they block the ads.

This means that all adblocking users become freeloaders and therefore a drain on the site. As far as the site’s health goes, there’s literally no point in them being there so they’re best removed from the community. It’s an ironic situation best appreciated by the anime producers themselves who are also trying to make a living.

That being said, not all people block ads out of malice towards the site. Some users complain about porn ads corrupting their experience, so in response they block them all. Being selective is too laborious, they say.

For the site, a solution could be to remove the surprise porn ads. However, a source who asked to stay anonymous told TF that these sometimes offensive ads can be quite lucrative, hence the desire for them to stay visible.

But while one site decides to kick all of its adblocking users out for being a drain on resources, another has taken an even more radical approach to its making available of other people’s content.

FreeTutorials.us is a site that offers premium tutorials and other learning materials without permission from copyright holders. As its name suggests, it originally offered content for free.

Earlier this year, FreeTutorials.us made the headlines after being targeted in the courts by online learning platform Udemy, which took exception to its content appearing on the site for nothing.

In a subsequent interview with TF, the pirate site’s operator explained the motivation behind FreeTutorials (FTU) and affiliated site FreeCoursesOnline (FCO).

“We have been through that phase of life when we didn’t have enough money to buy books and get tuition or even apply for a good course that we always wanted to have, so FTU & FCO are just our vision to provide Free Education For Everyone,” he explained.

While having the ability to learn for free is appreciated by millions the world over, for users of FreeTutorials the dream is now over. Last month and with little fanfare, free download buttons were replaced with something else entirely.

Subscribe for free stuff

There’s little doubt that the prices being charged are much lower than those officially available, something which probably prompted FreeTutorials to change its tagline to the current ‘Affordable Education For Everyone’.

On this basis alone they’re likely to retain visitors. Indeed, a look at their traffic stats for the past few weeks suggests that visitor numbers have remained stable. If this translates to sales, no one should expect ‘free tutorials’ to return. Like free content, few people are turning down ‘free’ money.

FreeTutorials’ email addresses bounce so we can’t ask them why they shifted over to the pay model. However, one doesn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that in one way or another, a desire to make money is at the root of the change. Whether that’s simply to pay for hosting costs or to help cover living expenses is unknown and probably irrelevant.

The important thing is that whether it’s an enforced advertising model, donations, or a flat-out desire to charge money, pirate sites face similar commercial difficulties to those experienced by their legal counterparts. Everything costs money and needs to be paid for, and if the books don’t balance, that’s the end of the show.

Despite their differences, perhaps they’re quite similar after all.

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Wow, just wow! You guys rock… 111.000 of you – 111.000 thank you! I think it is time to give back something as well so stay tuned. Another giveaway is coming.

I have been actively making content on YouTube for the past 2 and a half years but honestly, never thought it would go this far. And I mean it’s kind of crazy how many subscribers trusted me with their vote of confidence, by following me daily on this adventure over on YouTube and lately also on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram. I love you guys so much for all the help and support you have given me on these past years. When not only happy moments but also sad and stressful events happened. It may sound a little cheesy but I feel you like a part of my family. A huge family but full with mutual love and respect.

Having such a big family – or audience if you prefer – brings also responsibilities. I know some people hate it that I do not always answer to emails, comments and messages. But please try to understand that even if I want to, it is really hard for me to keep up with everyone. I am just one person that creates videos, does research for new content, tests at least 5 devices a week, designs and maintains a website and all my social media accounts as well. I receive more than 50 emails a day. At days these are so much more that I can’t keep up with everyone. I hope you really understand, it never means that I do not care, just that I didn’t make it because of the limited time.

Also with a big following I try to produce content that you all would like. My main objective of course has always been making videos that I would watch as well. But at times I can’t please everyone with every single video. I really hope that you guys will continue to give me feedback so I can better understand your needs and likes and bring you even better content. And even if I do not reply to every single comment under my videos, I always read them. All of them.

Lately my editing skills have also improved, I hope you guys noticed it. I do not want to just hit record, save and upload. I try to keep the juicy part of each video, improving the video and audio quality and deliver the message of each video with a pleasant, funny way. I found out that being myself, my silly self, is better not just for you that watch it but for me too. Some people may do not get it, other may hate it or insult me but, oh well, it is what it is. The guy you see on video is the guy I really am and I feel that being myself is the only way to have a sincere, healthy relationship.

I also need your help, I need some YouTube channel moderators. I will only start with a few, most trusted circle of people so you know who you are, just let me know if you want to be actively part of this community. Moderators would help a lot keeping the comment section clean by removing spam content or hateful, irrelevant content in our discussion. And to broaden things up, I also will need some moderators for my website and Facebook group. So also please let me know if you are interested.

Next up is the upcoming giveaway. I will also make it as crystal-clear as possible. I will have it on the Gleam.io website so no-one can be suspicious about it’s legitimacy. But more on that on the following days where I will also announce the prizes that I will include.

Thank you once again for all the love and support and BOOM SHAKALAKA BABY!!!

 


For the past several years, Twitter has been the platform most used by Kim Dotcom to get his messages out to the public.

Whenever there’s been a development in his long-running case, Twitter is usually the first place to find up-to-date information.

With his larger-than-life persona, Kim has developed a huge following. He currently has more than 732,000 followers on his official account, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by those looking to generate profit from his significant profile.

Kim’s tweets are regularly piggybacked by criminals seeking to trick the public into handing over cash. Exploiting a weakness in the way Twitter displays tweets and replies, they’re able to use fake accounts that look like his in order to promote their agenda.

It begins with the real Kim but goes somewhere dark

As the image above shows, a genuine Tweet by Kim to his followers is followed by others which claim to be him giving away cryptocurrency. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s clear that while the names and images match, the underlying Twitter usernames are quite different.

This particular scam leads to a Tumblr blog which has Kim’s name in the URL. For added credibility, it also adds a ‘Medium’ logo at the top and a faked “13.2K” claps at the bottom. In the middle, the offer is made clear.

“It has been an exciting past year. Thanks to your support, I am giving away 10,000 Ethereum!” the fake Kim Dotcom writes.

“To identify your address, please send .5-10 ETH to the payment address and I will immediately send you 5-100 ETH back to the address you sent it from. If you are late, your ETH will be instantly returned.

“I know it has been a rough past few months for Cryptocurrency hodlers, but maybe this gift will cheer you up!”

Needless to say, the offer of free cryptocurrency is completely fake, with the scam designed to part Kim Dotcom fans from their money. For added effect, the blog post has plenty of comments (all fake of course) which falsely claim that ETH has been sent to “Kim’s account” and he has been kind enough to send plenty back for free.

With some fake users claiming to have received as much as 55 ETH from Kim (1 ETH is currently around $460.00) the temptation must be high to get involved. Rest (un)assured, there’s only one person getting rich from this scam.

Unfortunately, several groups have jumped aboard the gravy train. As can be seen from the image below, scammers are jumping on Kim’s recent tweets to promote their criminal activity in the hope that people hand over their hard-earned cash.

Same scam, different presentation

These attempted scams aren’t new and have been going on for some time now. However, on the back of the news this week that Kim’s latest effort to avoid extradition to the United States has failed, the scammers are jumping onto Kim’s posts and exposing thousands more visitors to fraud on a larger scale.

Thankfully, there’s some advice from the genuine Kim Dotcom on how to easily avoid online criminals exploiting his name.

“Unfortunately there are many fake Kim Dotcom accounts on Twitter offering free gifts and free crypto. Don’t fall for those scams. The only real Kim Dotcom account on Twitter is the one with the blue verification tick next to my name,” he previously explained.

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American satellite and broadcast provider Dish Network is continuing its legal battles against alleged pirate streaming services.

The company previously filed a lawsuit against the people behind TVAddons and the ZemTV Kodi addon, but it’s fighting on more fronts too.

The largest success thus far was its case against “Shava TV,” which was filed back in 2015. Last year this resulted in a $25,650,000 judgment in favor of Dish, but that didn’t mean that the problems were over.

Shava TV reportedly continued its business and despite a contempt order against the operators, as well as several domain seizures, the boxes are still widely available. Not just on the Internet, but also in bricks-and-mortar stores.

This prompted Dish to file a new lawsuit at a federal court in New York this week. This time, the company is targeting several dealers located in New York, as well as a distributor.

The complaint lists the New York stores “ABC Wireless NYC,” and “ Family Phone” and accuses these of selling infringing Shava TV boxes. Goyal Group is accused of selling and distributing the boxes to various dealers.

“DISH sues for contributory copyright infringement because Defendants knew that Shava TV set-top boxes and service plans were providing access to television channels exclusively licensed to DISH and materially contributed to direct copyright infringement by Shava and persons purchasing Shava TV set-top boxes and services from Defendants,” the filing reads.

According to Dish, the defendants continued to sell and promote Shava TV despite multiple demands to cease the activity. This, despite the fact that a contempt order issued in the original Shava TV case specifically forbids them from doing so.

The contempt order, issued in February by US District Court Judge Thomas Ellis, enjoined several US dealers of Shava TV from engaging in infringing activities.

Dish notified the defendants

“Defendants actually know that the retransmission of the Protected Channels on the Shava TV service infringes DISH’s copyrights. Defendants disregarded DISH’s written demands […] and the Contempt Order, and are continuing to distribute, sell, and promote Shava TV set-top boxes and services,” the complaint reads.

“Defendants did not acknowledge or respond to any of these written demands or the court orders, nor did they take any action to comply.”

The broadcast provider argues that the stores and the distributor are liable for contributory copyright infringement. Dish asks the court to issue an injunction to stop the infringing activity and requests statutory damages to compensate its losses.

A copy of Dish Network’s complaint against Goyal Group, Family Phone, ABC 1 NYC and ABC Wireless is available here (pdf).

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After protecting Assassins Creed Origin for the previous several months, earlier this year version 4.9 of the infamous Denuvo anti-tamper system was defeated by Italian cracking group CPY.

While all cracks of the tough and continuously developing Denuvo system are welcomed by pirate consumers, this one was particularly sweet, having also defeated Ubisoft’s decision to use VMProtect technology on top. Soon after, Bulgarian cracker Voksi, who previously defeated version 4, released a video showing how things were done.

Unlike CPY, Voksi is a rather more high-profile individual. While his true identity is known only to those closest to him, he has become somewhat of a folk hero on various cracking-focused forums, engaging in conversation with fans and discussing the latest developments.

This week, Voksi announced the passing of yet another milestone, one that’s bound to disappoint the people at Denuvo. After sinking endless hours into what he openly admits is a personal grudge against the company’s technology, Voksi revealed that its latest v4.9++ protection had fallen.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, Voksi says that after tackling previous versions, a little while back he began dissecting the newer 4.7/4.8 builds (not official Denuvo versions but a numbering system used by the cracking scene).

“Man, it seemed impossible back then. The obfuscation was insane, I had no idea what to do. So, over the next two months, with little breaks from time to time, I was analyzing exactly how [Denuvo] does those hardware checks,” he notes.

“Then I tried my tricks for 4.7 on 4.8, but something wasn’t quite right. It was way more obfusticated and had some strange patterns and I couldn’t figure out why it was like that. Soon enough though in June things started to change.”

Voksi says that he tackled several games with test cracks, with variants working on older and newer CPU generations for most people. He then came up with a new theory but needed a game to test it on.

“So I downloaded Puyo Puyo Tetris. I thought ‘it’s small game, it’d be easier to analyze’, but oh no no,” he said.

“The game executable is 128MB big, of which just 5-6MB is the real game code. The rest of it is Denuvo. It’s the most bloated Denuvo I’ve ever seen.”

Nevertheless, Voksi got to work and built a crack and implemented patches (including his new code) based on the new theory. Twelve hours later there was something to celebrate, with a crack working for the vast majority (around 99%) of users. But that wouldn’t be the end of it, he promised.

True to his word, this week Voksi announced that he’d defeated the Denuvo protection on Injustice 2, something that was met with jubilation on Reddit’s /r/crackwatch sub. He informs TF that his new techniques delivered the goods once again.

“I cracked it the same way I cracked Puyo Puyo Tetris. I don’t want to get too technical, because I don’t want to give away my techniques, but I can say it’s not an easy task,” he says.

“I cracked Injustice 2 in 10 hours. The game has custom protection on top of Denuvo and some nice anti-debug features.”

What comes next for 21-year-old Voksi remains to be seen but given his determination, other games are probably being worked on right how. He says that several other titles use 4.9 or 4.9++ protection so it’s possible he’ll have more surprises in the days and weeks to come.

“In the end, it might take some more testing and test cracks, but I’m very happy to announce that I won’t stop until we are Denuvo Cancer Free from all games,” he concludes.

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