Website blocking on copyright grounds has been going on for some time in India, mainly via so-called John Doe orders, where large numbers of websites are blocked temporarily to protect various new movie releases.

As highlighted last year, however, rightsholders have been looking for a more permanent solution. Going back and forth to court is an inefficient process, particularly when the same key ‘pirate’ sites are often in the thick of the action.

Their wishes now appear to have been granted by the High Court in Delhi.

Following a series of eight complaints filed by Twentieth Century Fox and local Disney-owned media giant UTV Software Communications, Justice Manmohan handed down an order Wednesday which targets some of the largest torrent and streaming sites on the Internet.

The Pirate Bay, RARBG, Torrentz2, 1337x, ExtraTorrent, YTS, FMovies and BMovies are all listed, along with several alternative domain names and/or proxies employed by some of the sites (full list below).

The plaintiffs’ arguments were in line with the majority of similar blocking orders requested elsewhere in the world. The sites and their users infringe their copyrights by offering or facilitating access to their protected content, contrary to local law, they argued.

The 99-page order (pdf) is extremely detailed and alphabetically lists successful blocking cases in many other countries – from Australia to Uruguay – adding weight to the argument that they should also be blocked in India.

The Court also noted that despite being served via the contact information provided in their WHOIS details, none of the sites chose to “rebut or challenge” any of the evidence produced by the plaintiffs, which inevitably led to the conclusion that in the opinion of the Court, all are liable for copyright infringement under Section 51 of the Copyright Act.

When making its order, the Court also considered whether handing down a blocking injunction would “make one an opponent of a free and open Internet”. It concluded otherwise, noting that “advocating limits on accessing illegal content online” does not violate the principles of an open Internet.

On the thorny issue of tackling the inevitable appearance of mirrors and proxies after a blocking order is issued, the Court said that the plaintiffs will be able to file an affidavit containing the details. These will be considered and, where appropriate, blocking instructions will be handed to ISPs.

In closing, the Court ordered all of the defendant websites and anyone working with them to stop “hosting, streaming, reproducing, distributing, making available to the public and/or communicating to the public, or facilitating the same, on their websites, through the internet in any manner whatsoever, any cinematograph work/content/programme/show in relation to which plaintiffs have copyright.”

A decree was also passed instructing local ISPs to permanently block the websites in question.

Finally, the Court also published a “suggestion” which could set hearts racing among pirates in India.

Describing website blocking as “cumbersome”, the order states that the majority of visitors to pirate sites are by “youngsters who do not have knowledge that the said content is infringing and / or pirated.”

It’s therefore suggested that the relevant authorities should explore the possibility of sending emails, pop-ups, or other warnings to those who continue to consume infringing content.

“In the event the warning is not heeded to and the viewers / subscribers continue to view, access or download the infringing/pirated content then a fine could be levied on the viewers/subscribers,” the Court added.

The full list of domains to be blocked is as follows:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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There can be little doubt that without revenues generated by advertising, today’s web would be a very different animal.

Many sites live or die by the money they bring in via advertising but a growing number of platforms feel that volume can make up for quality, bombarding visitors with what many consider unstoppable spam.

For the savvy, of course, plenty of options are available to block the most annoying ads. Many use browser plugins like uBlock or AdBlock Plus to limit the number of ads they see, much to the disappointment of those delivering them.

In an effort to put a stop to this ‘freeloading’, digital publishing company Alex Springer has waged a years-long campaign against German-based developer Eyeo GmbH, the company behind Adblock Plus.

The publisher, which owns Bild and Die Welt, among others, claimed that AdBlock Plus and its users undermined its business model. However, after trips through regional and eventually Germany’s Supreme Court, in April 2018 Adblock Plus and Eyeo GmbH came out on top.

Now, a year later, Axel Springer has returned for another bite of the cherry. This time the publisher claims that AdBlock Plus infringes copyright. The company’s complaint, reported on by, appears to push the boundaries of what is generally accepted as infringement.

“Advertising blockers change the programming code of websites and thus directly access the legally protected offer of publishers,” says Claas-Hendrik Soehring, head of media law at Axel Springer.

“In the long term, they will not only damage a central financing basis for digital journalism, but will also jeopardize open access to opinion-forming information on the Internet in the long term.”

Until the actual complaint is made available (according to Heise it is yet to be served) the precise details behind the complaint are open to speculation. However, considering the way AdBlock Plus works, it seems unlikely that a browser plug-in could in any way change code on its digital platforms.

It’s a point not lost on Eyeo, which totally rejects the claim.

“The argument that we intervene in the ‘programming code of websites’, I would like to call almost absurd,” Eyeo’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“It does not take much technical understanding to understand that a browser-side plug-in does not make it possible to modify anything on Springer’s servers.”

It’s not totally inconceivable that Alex Springer might attempt to present an argument under other aspects of copyright law, such as circumvention of technological measures put in place by copyright holders to restrict acts they don’t authorize.

Of course, the full details will only become apparent when the lawsuit is eventually made available for public scrutiny.

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When President Trump took office in early 2017, copyright holders hoped to have found a new ally in their fight against piracy. 

The Copyright Alliance made this very clear in a public letter stressing that few presidents, if any, have had a more sizable and diverse copyright portfolio. 

In the two years that followed not a whole lot has changed in terms of U.S. copyright policies. However, Trump himself has made headlines on a few occasions, being accused of copyright infringement. 

This happened again yesterday when the US President posted, what many believed to be, a 2020 campaign video on Twitter. “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Trump’s tweet reads, with the video made up of a variety of news clips underneath. 

The video in question has been floating around on YouTube for a few days and doesn’t appear to come from the White House, as some suggested. In fact, it was posted by a Reddit user “knock-nevisTDF,” last week, who says he made the clip himself.

The President appeared to like it though and was happy to share it via Twitter. However, what he may not have realized is that the video in question was set to music from “The Dark Knight Rises”, something that wasn’t well received by Warner Bros. Entertainment. 

The movie studio saw it as a clear case of copyright infringement and set its legal team on the ‘case.’

“The use of Warner Bros.’ score from ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in the campaign video was unauthorized,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement quoted by Variety. “We are working through the appropriate legal channels to have it removed.”

Shortly after this statement, Twitter did indeed take the video down, as can be seen below. The copy that was posted on YouTube and shared on Reddit has been removed as well, although it remains available elsewhere.

It’s an understatement to say that the President’s actions are being followed closely, so the removed video made headlines all over the world. Some reports even claim that the Warner Bros. is filing a “copyright infringement suit” against  Trump over his “2020 campaign video.”  

We haven’t seen any evidence of a pending lawsuit, nor is this an official campaign video, so this may just be another case of what President Trump would call ‘fake news.’ 

The reality is, however, that this isn’t the first time the President has been called out for sharing copyright-infringing content on Twitter. Just a few weeks ago, a video the R.E.M’s song, ‘Everybody Hurts,’ in the background, was removed by Twitter.

Twitter reportedly took this action after Mike Mills, the bassist for R.E.M., complained about the unauthorized use of the track. 

And just last week Electronic Arts reported one of President Trump’s tweets for using copyrighted audio from a Mass Effect 2 game trailer without permission. That is now ‘withheld’ from the public. 

And that’s not all. There is also a copyright claim on a tweet about a beautiful evening in El Paso, posted a few weeks ago. While more detail is not available, we assume that the President used copyrighted material without permission, again.

If that’s not enough, there are trademark issues as well. HBO didn’t like it when President Trump used a photo containing the Game of Thrones font and a play on the “Winter is Coming” message in a political context. 

The company said in a statement that it “would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes,” hinting at trademark misuse, but it’s unclear whether it took any action in response. 

For now, none of the complaints are affecting the status of President Trump’s Twitter account.

In theory, Twitter reserves the right to suspend accounts that repeatedly receive copyright complaints. This is clearly stated in the company’s copyright policy. 

“If multiple copyright complaints are received Twitter may lock accounts or take other actions to warn repeat violators. These warnings may vary across Twitter’s services. Under appropriate circumstances we may suspend user accounts under our repeat infringer policy,” the policy reads.

How many “offenses” are needed to warrant a suspension is not mentioned, however. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that the “Dark Knight Rises” score, titled “Why Do We Fall?” was composed by Hans Zimmer. He previously shared the track on his YouTube account, but the video in question was recently removed, likely by himself. 

That said, the same music is used in hundreds if not thousands of other YouTube videos, and it’s widely shared on Twitter as well. Apparently, copyright takedowns have priority when the President is involved. 

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More than a decade ago, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) began putting local ISP Eircom under pressure to deal with online piracy.

The legal action, spearheaded by Sony, Universal, and Warner, was brought to an end after Eircom (now Eir) agreed to implement a so-called “three strikes” regime.

The agreement saw the labels tracking alleged infringers (mainly using BitTorrent networks) and sending notices of infringement to Eircom. The ISP agreed to forward these notices to its subscribers, with those receiving a third facing the possibility of a court process and disconnection from the Internet.

Once Eircom had complied, the labels homed in on other ISPs. After a fight UPC (now Virgin) caved into similar demands, agreeing to hand over details of subscribers who received a third “strike” to the record labels.

Last year, legal action against Sky ended swiftly when the ISP agreed to implement a similar regime after a lawyer for the record labels claimed that schemes operated by the other ISPs were proving successful.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton, presiding, agreed that “the big stick does the job”, suggesting that when infringers are faced with losing their anonymity to the record labels, that is enough for them to correct their behavior.

Now, less than six months later, it has been revealed that another Irish ISP has agreed to implement the same regime.

After Sony, Universal and Warner filed an application against Vodafone Ireland to be heard in the Commercial Court, the ISP voluntarily agreed to adopt a “three strikes” mechanism. While this could be viewed as giving in without a fight, momentum was clearly against the telecoms company.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton said he would make a similar order to the one made in the case against Sky, Irish Times reports. Sony, Universal, Warner and Vodafone will pay their own costs.

The system to be deployed by Vodafone is straightforward. The first two warnings sent to allegedly-infringing subscribers will be for informational purposes only and to act as a deterrent. Subscribers going on to receive a third notice will have their personal details handed to the record labels.

Then, at their discretion, the labels will have the option of taking a case to court to have the accounts of repeat infringers terminated.

Thus far, no such case against a subscriber in Ireland has been publicized.

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In 2009, anti-piracy group BREIN took News-Service Europe (NSE) – one of Europe’s largest Usenet providers at the time – to court.

Representing the movie and music industries, BREIN argued that NSE must delete all infringing content from its servers, and in 2011 the Court of Amsterdam sided with the anti-piracy group.

In its initial verdict, the Court concluded that NSE willingly facilitated online piracy through its services. As a result, the company was ordered to remove all copyrighted content and filter future posts for possible copyright infringements.

According to the Usenet provider, this filtering requirement would be too costly to achieve. It shut down its service but appealed the case.

After several more years of litigation, the Amsterdam appeals court then ruled that NSE wasn’t liable for pirating users after all, but that it is required to offer a fast and effective notice and takedown procedure, possibly with additional measures.

BREIN was not happy with this outcome and decided to take the matter to the Dutch Supreme Court. While NSE is no longer a threat, the case could prove crucial for many other Usenet providers.

BREIN has been very critical of some commercial Usenet companies, describing them as a refuge for pirates of all ilks, with uploaders, site owners and resellers working in tandem to facilitate copyright infringement.

The Dutch Supreme Court has taken on the case but it’s struggling with some key questions on the liability side. In an order last week, it, therefore, decided to ask the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for input.

The four questions all relate to the role of Usenet providers, similar to NSE, as third-party intermediaries. NSE argues that its role is no different than a regular hosting service that stores content, in the sense that it merely offers a platform where people can share content.

However, NSE also facilitated the availability of content, which was sometimes synchronized with that of other Usenet providers. In addition, it offered a search functionality which made it easier for customers to find files.

The Supreme Court questions whether NSE is “communicating to the public” and whether it’s liable for the infringements of users. Among other things, this depends on whether it has an “active” or “passive” role under EU law.

To get more clarity, the following questions (translated and summarized) are referred to the EU Court of Justice. These apply to Usenet providers that operate in a similar fashion to NSE. This includes selling subscriptions to its servers and offering a substantial quantity of copyright infringing works.

1. Is such a Usenet provider performing an act of communication to the public under EU law?

2. If the answer to question 1 is yes, is the Usenet provider liable for this act of communication or is it shielded under Article 14 of the E-commerce Directive?

3. If the answer to question 1 is no, is the Usenet provider playing an active role that would make it liable for copyright infringements?

4. If the Usenet provider is shielded from liability, it there anything else it can be required to do?

Interestingly, the Dutch Supreme Court also references “Article 13” (now Article 17) of the new EU Copyright Directive. This article requires online content sharing service providers to obtain licenses, or ensure that infringing content stays off their platforms once notified.

While the legal framework has yet to be adopted and implemented, the Supreme Court states that it’s unclear how this should be taken into account.

All in all, the answers from the EU court will be crucial for the NSE case and the future of many other Usenet providers in Europe that operate in a similar fashion. The Court previously ruled in similar cases against The Pirate Bay and a seller of fully-loaded streaming boxes, which were both held liable.

That liability based on EU law is not limited to pirate sites and media boxes, which became apparent in an order handed down by the Supreme Court of Italy last month.

In a case filed by the TV company Mediaset, the Italian court ruled that Yahoo! can be held liable for broadcasting infringing videos under certain conditions. The Supreme Court set specific guidelines for when a hosting service is seen as operating “actively” or “passively,” and sent the case back to a lower court.

BREIN obviously hopes that the EU Court of Justice will conclude that Usenet providers can indeed be held liable. If that’s the case, the anti-piracy group is likely to put pressure on other providers, similar to what it did with dozens of streaming box sellers last year.

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After close to ten years of legal debate over the thorny issue of pirate site blocking, Austria is now one of many countries in the EU that restricts access to such sites.

The legal path was one of the more difficult ones to date and it took until November 2017 for the Supreme Court of Justice to definitively rule that The Pirate Bay and other “structurally-infringing” sites can indeed be blocked, if rights holders have exhausted all other options.

The Court based its decision on the now-familiar BREIN v Filmspeler and BREIN v Ziggo and XS4All cases that received European Court of Justice rulings in 2017.

In January 2018, T-Mobile was asked to block several new sites, including,,, and However, the ISP feared the blocking had the potential to violate net neutrality rules since the domains aren’t specifically listed in a court order and are only considered ‘clone’ sites.

As a result, the ISP reported itself to the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR) for a potential net neutrality breach. Several other ISPs including A1, Drei, Kabelplus, Liwest, and UPC later followed suit.

In December 2018, T-Mobile was asked to block more domains –,,, The company highlighted no unusual issues, noting that the domains “correspond to those which have already been blocked on the basis of a court decision.”

The company now reports that following a request in March, it has also taken action to block a further 22 domains which are claimed to be involved in copyright infringement.

These include several Kinox, Movie4K and Movie2K-related domains, plus,, streamkiste. tv,, and

The list also includes the popular sites and, platforms that were recently blocked by Vodafone in Germany without a specific court order, under fear of repercussions from music rights group GEMA.

While it doesn’t want to breach a separate and unrelated court order in Austria, T-Mobile still has concerns over potential net neutrality breaches after blocking the domains listed in the latest batch.

“The listed sites, in terms of their content as well as their design and functionality, are largely the same as those that had to be blocked due to judicial decisions,” it notes.

“At the same time, we have sent a letter to the regulatory authority to have these restrictions checked for compatibility with the TSM Regulation (net neutrality).”

In January 2019, telecoms regulator Telecom Control Commission said it will get involved when an ISP block is requested, triggering a supervisory process and a full review by the agency. Informal blocking of domains following a simple request from rights holders was therefore ruled out.

Moving forward, however, ISPs in Austria are still calling for an “independent judicial body” to confirm the legality of any blocking requests in advance to ensure that a minimum of time and resources are expended on the process.

The list of domains blocked by T-Mobile in the latest batch are:

– streamkiste. tv



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This week we have four newcomers in our chart.

Glass 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(…)Glass6.9 / trailer
2(1)How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World7.8 / trailer
3(2)Bumblebee7.0 / trailer
4(…)Escape Room6.4 / trailer
5(3)Aquaman7.7 / trailer
6(…)The Kid Who Would be King6.1 / trailer
7(4)Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse8.6 / trailer
8(6)The Mule7.1 / trailer
9(5)The Highwaymen7.1 / trailer
10(…)Shazam! (HDCam)7.8 / trailer

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With around a quarter of a billion monthly users, Reddit is one of the most important sites on the Internet.

The site plays host to millions of live discussions on countless topics ranging from the mundane to obviously controversial.

Recently we’ve reported on the troubles being faced by /r/piracy, Reddit’s most popular sub-Reddit focused on piracy discussion.

In an article published mid-March 2019, we reported how the moderators of the forum were making best efforts to keep content on the right side of the law and within Reddit’s rules. Just a handful of days later, however, the moderators received notice from Reddit that they were receiving too many copyright complaints from rightsholders.

For a sub-Reddit that has strict rules forbidding anyone posting links to infringing content, the notification came as a disappointment. While some complaints were legitimate (some people simply won’t abide by the rules and some posts do get missed), many were not. This placed the forum’s moderators between a rock and a hard place.

According to some of the copyright notices filed with Reddit, simply posting an alleged pirate site homepage URL warranted a complaint, even when that URL didn’t link to any infringing content. We’ve seen the same kind of issues before, when copyright holders have made attempts to have site homepages delisted from Google, despite their content never appearing there.

Further complicating the process is that the moderators of /r/piracy have no ability to respond to potentially false allegations. If a user makes a post that results in a copyright notice, only that user (or Reddit’s admins) are in a position to dispute the claim with the notice sender, so that rarely happens. Even if it does, nothing is made public.

Meanwhile, the notices keep building up, despite best efforts and whether they’re valid or not. Even people simply posting names of releases are being flagged for copyright infringement, something that isn’t illegal in any form. As a result, those posts too are now being removed, as quickly as the mods can reach them.

“I have begun unofficially removing release posts and it’s quite sad considering that a rather large bulk of our users look forward to them every day, I know I did,” moderator ‘dysgraphical‘ informs TF.

“We have had days when releases were the highlight of the day filled with hundreds of comments of excited people discussing the film. This has all been scrubbed now. We recently had an April Fool’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ release post hit r/all and while the community was happy to meme on being fooled, a few users were concerned that copyright holders might act on it and have it removed.”

It’s nothing less than self-censorship in response to sloppy and/or fraudulent claims, but these are testing times.

But the really big issue here relates to the huge archive of posts already present on /r/piracy – some ten years’ worth of discussions. Is there anything in there that could warrant a surprise complaint? Apparently so, since rightsholders have been digging up issues from the past and complaining to Reddit.

This left the moderators of /r/piracy with a huge dilemma. Uncertain of what lay in the archives and only being in a strong position to be absolutely certain of the state of play more recently, they asked the community for input on the ‘Nuclear Option‘ – deleting every post older than six months old, just to be sure.

After the votes were counted, those in favor of deleting the archives outnumbered those asking for preservation by ten to one. All that was left was to find a way to begin deleting history, around 9.5 years of posts. A script was created and put into motion and the purge began.

“Given the speed, this might take weeks,” says moderator ‘dbzer0’, a nine-year veteran of the sub-Reddit.

It’s unclear when this sweeping process with be fully completed, but it’s hoped that it can keep the community alive. Not all of the moderators were in favor of the mass deletion since that, of course, deletes the community’s history too.

The Scrubbing [as the deletion process is now called] is just a poorly, rushed attempt to elongate the community’s lifespan on Reddit,” dysgraphical says.

“We have already seen this performed in other subreddits in which mod teams have bent over backwards to please the administration by implementing their own set of stringent rules. These communities no longer exist.”

But the vote was cast and the final decision appears to have been a democratic one rooted in self-preservation. It does raise interesting points, however.

The recently highlighted situation shows that sub-Reddits devoted to controversial topics – especially those related to piracy – are at risk of being targeted. When they are, the copyright notice and counter-notice process is somewhat undermined.

While users can be banned for repeat infringements, it’s trivial to open a new account. And when the notices start to pile up on Reddit – legitimately or not – whole communities can be banned, despite working above and beyond the requirements of the law.

“The issue at hand is not that r/Piracy distributes copyrighted content, but rather that the discussion of digital piracy is no longer protected; it never was,” dysgraphical adds.

“As copyright holders continue pushing the envelope, by claiming that the mention of streaming sites infringe their IP, Reddit will continue complying and effectively ban r/Piracy. Copyright holders on Reddit no longer need to dig deep to find infringing content, they can pick any thread or comment at random that loosely relates to their IP, and file a DMCA takedown notice.”

To give a school analogy, it appears that if a few kids misbehave, get misinterpreted, or targeted incompetently, the whole class gets kept behind after school – before being permanently expelled. It’s effectively mass punishment based on the acts of a few – or the whims of bots.

Finally, subscriptions to /r/piracy have always been on the increase and are now edging towards 370,000 subscribers but the ongoing purge is having a clear effect on traffic to the sub-Reddit, when the two unusual peaks (including the April 1 surge) are discounted.

Reddit’s /r/piracy traffic stats

Whether the popular forum can fight back from this decline will remain to be seen but it’s clear that deleting most of its history is already causing pain. The big question is whether Reddit’s admins are taking note of this huge olive branch or whether they’ll still choose to chop down the whole tree regardless.

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A few weeks ago, we reported that anti-piracy company DMCAForce offered a rather unique partnership to torrent and streaming sites.

Where many companies in the advertising industry do their best to avoid sites that are linked to piracy, the San Diego-based company takes the opposite approach.

In an email, the company promised the sites a revenue-sharing opportunity. Instead of removing a link or file, they can remain up, if the site owner agrees to share part of its advertising space.

“DMCAForce recently launched a new way for File Sharing sites to work with content creators. Where you as the file sharing site can distribute their content for free, but in exchange provide the advertising space around the product,” the email read.

It’s a rather intriguing proposal which we were eager to hear more about. DMCAForce had clearly seen our article, as the company used it in its communication to prospective clients, which prompted us to reach out.

We spoke to Mark Bauman, the CEO of DMCAForce. He explained that the company sought a solution to keep both copyright holders and website operators happy.

“We chose this approach as corporations, large to small, constantly pay DMCAForce and our other companies like DigiRegs, for services to remove content all day every day,” Bauman said.

“It’s a loss on the content creators books to pay us, but a necessary job that needs to be done. To further that, it’s a loss on the books of the place it’s taken from, as it is technically ad space for users who are looking for their product.”

When copyright holders have to pay to remove content and site owners lose appealing content and advertising space, nobody wins.

This provided an opportunity for Bauman, who also has a strong footprint in the advertising business. Combining classic anti-piracy tools with advertising expertise, was a logical next step.

“Since I’m also the owner of an Ad Platform; TrafficHaus, which provides advertising and revenue to sites, including torrent sites, I decided it’s time to bridge that gap,” Bauman told us.

So, instead of removing content through takedown notices, the company now offers to show ads around it, with the websites and rightsholders sharing the revenue.

It’s a noteworthy move in a time where more and more advertisers are taking measures to avoid sites with a pirate stigma. The advertising and entertainment industry has been rather active on this front, with help from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and Europol, among others.

Bauman says that his advertising company prefers not to ban or block any sites. It doesn’t want to reward piracy either but sees cooperation between site operators and copyright holders as a win-win.

“We don’t want to reward torrent sites for stealing, and we don’t want to deter their sites from operating,” Bauman said.

This works well, Bauman said. With the adult-oriented site they were able to bring in $15,000 a month, which is nothing to sneeze at. And with that kind of extra income, copyright holders are happy too.

“Rightsholders liked it, they got a fair rate because we were able to drive solid revenues for their content that they invested in and worked so hard to create,” Bauman said.

With the revenue share model, copyright holders retain full control. If they don’t believe that they are generating enough revenue, they can still remove the content. Also, they can choose to exclude certain works, such as new releases.

This filtering can even be done automatically, through a fingerprinting API, which recognizes infringing content. This can then be removed, replaced, or monetized with ads. This technology can also come in handy when Article 13 (now 17) is implemented, Bauman adds.

The initial tests were conducted with adult-themed content, but DMCAForce is expanding its reach. While Bauman prefers not to name any clients, some music industry companies have shown an interest in the model.

The ultimate goal is to make sure that the system works for everyone involved.

Bauman believes that cooperation is key as pirates will always find a way to upload and share content somewhere. That’s not going to change anytime soon. So instead of fighting it, bringing both sides together may prove to be more fruitful.

“Users are going to steal and share and need somewhere to upload content. They’re just going to do it and there’s no way to stop it. So our stance is to protect content, but leverage it as well,” he said.

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Free access to information is a very hot topic, particularly in the academic field where many believe that putting studies behind a paywall is unethical.

This has led to the rise of ‘pirate’ sites like Sci-Hub, that aim to provide free access to information and education, for the betterment of the world.

But, when one considers how these sites operate, even this noble aim can prove controversial.

Much of the content offered by these types of platforms infringes copyright. That’s often publishing giants such as Elsevier, who in return have waged war on Sci-Hub in particular. Just this week, yet another blocking order against the site was handed down in France, with operator Alexandra Elbakyan pledging to continue as usual.

But what if there was another way to access academic content, studies, and textbooks without having to resort to piracy?

In 2018, several prestigious European research councils announced a major push for Open Access publishing, with a plan to limit the power of major copyright holders and ‘tear down academia’s paywalls.’

And, just this week, there was more news for academics and students to become cautiously excited about – the reintroduction of the Affordable College Textbook Act.

On Thursday, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Angus King (I-ME), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), along with U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO-02), introduced bicameral legislation with the aim of making high-quality textbooks available to students, professors, and the public, for free.

“One of the most basic higher education costs to students is often overlooked: textbooks,” Durbin said, citing figures from The College Board estimating costs of $1,240 per student, per year.

“In Illinois, we know federal support for open textbooks can be successful. Expanding this program to more states will mean lower costs for students to incur. This bill will help prevent the high cost of textbooks from putting students’ academic success at risk.”

Senator Smith said that when meeting with college students, they often talk about the cost of textbooks and how difficult it is to afford them.

“Sometimes textbooks are so expensive that students take the chance and don’t purchase them at all, and try to make it work without the needed material,” she said. According to U.S. PRIG, 65% of students choose to go without textbooks.

Of course, others resort to piracy too. Over the years we’ve reported on several initiatives to provide free or cheap textbooks to students, but many have either faded away or ended in criminal convictions for their operators.

There are even patents out there that attempt to prevent students from sharing their own books with others. Clearly, open alternatives are preferable to all of the above.

As per information released Thursday, the Affordable College Textbook Act, among other things, has these ambitions, should it eventually pass:

  • Authorizes a grant program, similar to the Open Textbooks Pilot, to support projects at colleges and universities to create and expand the use of open textbooks with priority for projects that will achieve the highest savings for students;
  • Ensures that any open textbooks or educational materials created using grant funds will be freely and easily accessible to the public, including individuals with disabilities;
  • Strengthens existing price transparency so students can easily identify classes that use open textbooks when they register;

While the passing of the Act certainly won’t end piracy overnight, giving students options that don’t involve compromising their already limited finances or forcing them towards popular search engines such as Library Genesis has to be considered a step forward.

More information here and here

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