For more than a decade, file-sharers around the world have been pressured to pay significant settlement fees, or face worse in court.

The practice is particularly common in the United States. While there is only a small group of independent companies involved, thousands of people are taken to court each year.

These efforts, often characterized as “copyright trolling,” share a familiar pattern. After the film companies acquire a subpoena to get the personal details of an alleged pirate, they contact this person with a settlement request.

These cases are not intended to go to trial, however. Instead, the copyright holders often drop their complaint when the accused person fights back.

This was the case when Darren Brinkley was sued in a Utah federal court last year. In a complaint filed by Criminal Productions, he and 31 others were accused of illegally sharing a copy of the movie Criminal.

Brinkley denied these claims and rejected the settlement offer but the film company still didn’t back off.

“Plaintiff persisted, forcing Defendant to retain counsel and incur significant attorneys’ fees and costs. Yet Plaintiff had no intention of litigating its claims,” Brinkley’s lawyers write.

“Rather, these filings are shameless efforts to extort inflated settlements from infringers and non-infringers alike.”

The above is quoted from a recent motion for attorney fees, because things changed significantly when Brinkley lawyered up. While Criminal Productions initially refused to let the case go, recently it voluntarily dismissed the case.

According to Brinkley’s lawyers, the film company dropped the case like a hot potato when it discovered that the defendant was attempting to look into its business.

“As expected, when Plaintiff realized a Motion to Compel discovery was in draft, Criminal sought voluntary dismissal of both its affirmative claims and Brinkley’s counterclaims, which this Court granted, with prejudice, on July 6, 2018.”

The dismissal came after nearly a year and all this time Criminal Productions failed to produce any evidence. The defense argues that, while the filmmakers had no intention to litigate the “baseless suit,” their client was forced to run up significant costs.

The same also happened in other cases, where so-called copyright trolls quickly bailed out when defense attorneys sought discovery. Brinkley’s attorneys see this as a typical example of “cut and run” litigation, and argue that Criminal Productions must pay their client’s legal bill.

“These tactics should at minimum require that Defendant Brinkley be made whole for Plaintiff’s filing of litigation it clearly had no intention of pursuing and that may have had no basis in the first instance. This is the very definition of ‘cut and run’ litigation,” the motion reads.

The defendant requests compensation for the attorneys’ fees and costs to the tune of $62,818.35, providing a detailed accounting of the costs it made.

Fees and costs

This request is warranted and not unprecedented, the defense team states, pointing to a recent order in the District of Nevada where a defendant was awarded more than $48,000 compensation in a similar case filed by this same movie outfit.

Finally, the attorneys add that they see this case being part of the larger “BitTorrent litigation model,” noting that Criminal Productions had no basis for the lawsuit.

Companies such as Criminal Productions are “special purpose entities” (SPE) which are allegedly used to shield the true beneficiaries. The lawsuits are presumably being run by the German investigating firm Guardaley and the lawyers.

In a separate testimony, defense attorney Lisa Clay writes that Guardaley and the lawyers are the ones that benefit financially from these cases.

“In short, if this case had continued, Defendant is confident it would have established that Plaintiff lacked a good faith basis for its filing in the first instance, and that the claims were brought in bad faith,” the motion concludes.

A copy of the motion for attorneys’ fees and costs is available here (pdf).

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

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Cory’s most recent book, Walkaway, is a story of refusing a life of surveillance and control under a high-tech oligarchy and the struggle to live in a post-scarcity gift economy where even death has been defeated.

Over this one hour plus interview we discuss:

– Whether file-sharing & P2P communities have lost the battle to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and why the ‘copyfight’ is still important
– How the European Copyright Directive eats at the fabric of the Web, making it even harder to compete with content giants
– Why breaking up companies like Google and Facebook might be the only way to restore an internet — and a society — we can all live with.

Steal This Show aims to release bi-weekly episodes featuring insiders discussing crypto, privacy, copyright and file-sharing developments. It complements our regular reporting by adding more room for opinion, commentary, and analysis.

Host: Jamie King

Guest: Cory Doctorow

If you enjoy this episode, consider becoming a patron and getting involved with the show. Check out Steal This Show’s Patreon campaign: support us and get all kinds of fantastic benefits!

Produced by Jamie King
Edited & Mixed by Lucas Marston
Original Music by David Triana
Web Production by Eric Barch

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Doctor Who fans all around the world are looking forward to the upcoming season, which will be the first to have a female lead.

While the debut is still a few months away, leaked footage of the first episode recently started to appear.

A short unfinished clip of the new season surfaced in several places. This frustrated some fans, who prefer not to see any spoilers, as well as the BBC which doesn’t want unapproved teasers of their hit show to be circulating online.

In an effort to track down the source of the leak the BBC has taken the matter to the US courts. Last month it obtained a DMCA subpoena from a California federal court, ordering the forum tool Tapatalk to identify the source of an infringing post.

Whether this resulted in any useful information is unknown, but a few days ago it became clear that BBC is still investigating the matter.

In a separate effort, BBC Studios have filed a request for a DMCA subpoena at a Federal court in Washington. This time it’s directed at Microsoft. According to the BBC, a user of Microsoft’s OneDrive stored and shared a copy of the leaked file, titled ‘IMG_ l563.TRIM.MOV.’

“The infringing material includes, without limitation, an unauthorized copy of copyrighted video content from Season 11, Episode 1 of Doctor Who, for which BBC Worldwide Limited t/a BBC Studios (Distribution) is the exclusive licensee,” the BBC writes.

According to the BBC, the footage in question was stolen from the studio. Through the subpoena, the company hopes to find out more about the source of this leak, to prevent similar situations going forward.

It asks Microsoft to hand over any relevant information that can help to identify the account holder who uploaded the video, which was added to OneDrive back in June.

This includes “any name, account name, address, telephone number, email address, birth date, profile photo, device information, browser info1mation, location information, information from others (e.g., Facebook or Google+) and time posted.”

Requested information

This is not the first time that the BBC has dealt with a Doctor Who leak. In 2014 a heavily watermarked and unfinished copy of Doctor Who appeared on The Pirate Bay months before the official premiere.

That was later followed by leaked scripts and episodes. The latter was not the work of skilled hackers, but rather the result of a catastrophic error at a BBC office in Miami.

According to the court records, it’s not clear whether the subpoena against Microsoft has been issued. However, DMCA subpoenas are generally signed off by a court clerk without any oversight from a judge, so this should be relatively straightforward.

A copy of the BBC’s DMCA subpoena request is available here (pdf).

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While there are encouraging signs for the recording industry that piracy is being brought under control, there is no shortage of unlicensed music online.

This content is obtained in a number of ways but some of the key sources are effectively right under record labels’ noses.

Sites including YouTube, Spotify and Deezer are all exploitable and with the right know-how, music can be downloaded from them and permanently stored on users’ devices.

This escalating ‘ripping’ phenomenon is now viewed as a more serious threat to the industry than traditional piracy, mostly since it eats away at streaming revenues. On that basis, it’s no surprise that fresh legal action is underway in the United States.

A lawsuit reportedly filed Friday (but not yet publicly available at the time of writing) has Universal, Warner Bros, Sony and other major record labels targeting and, Billboard reports.

That these two portals have effectively become targets for the RIAA isn’t much of a surprise. Last year the music group submitted its list of “notorious” piracy websites to the U.S. Government, noting that it’s tracking 70 ‘ripping’ sites while detailing several, and included.

“The overall popularity of these sites and the staggering volume of traffic it attracts evidences the enormous damage being inflicted on the U.S. record industry,” the RIAA wrote.

The RIAA’s claim that these sites generate huge volumes of traffic is beyond dispute. According to SimilarWeb data, is a monster attracting more than 94 million visits per month, making it the #322 most popular site in the world. With almost 12% of that traffic coming from the United States, it’s no wonder the RIAA is concerned.

While is a smaller site, it too is extremely successful. Every month the site pulls in around 23 million visitors, giving it a global ranking of #1,021. Unlike FLVTO, 2conv is more popular in Poland, Brazil, and Italy than it is in the United States.

It’s reported that both sites are operated out of Russia but according to a report filed by the IIPA earlier this year, they’re actually connected and serving MP3s to the public from servers in Germany.

“The recording industry also notes many stream-ripping services believed to be sourced from Russia including, 2Conv and (all three are essentially the same service operating from different domains). The sites provide downloads of converted YouTube videos to users as MP3 audio files (from servers in Germany),” the IIPA wrote.

The hosting position doesn’t appear to have changed much since the IIPA report was filed in February. and are hosted on consecutive IP addresses handled by German-based hosting company Hetzner Online GmbH.

Supporting the claim that they’re connected by infrastructure, both sites provide the same email address in the event copyright holders want to get in touch. It’s reported that both the RIAA and IFPI did that but without success.

“These sites have no place in today’s music market where fans have access to millions of songs from dozens of legitimate services that pay creators and value their work, all at the tap of a finger,” the RIAA said in a comment.

“This action should serve as an unmistakable warning to operators of similar sites that schemes to rob music creators and profit from the theft of their music will not be tolerated.”

How these platforms will respond to the filing of a lawsuit in the United States isn’t clear. In their respective ‘Copyright Claims’ sections (which are identical), both point out that their cooperation under the DMCA is purely voluntary.

“Although we are not subject to United States law, we voluntarily comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Pursuant to Title 17, Section 512(c)(2) of the United States Code, if you believe that any of your copyrighted material is being infringed on the Website, we have designated an agent to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement,” the sites state.

Perhaps surprisingly, both also have repeat infringer policies which note (in block capitals and in bold) that “any user for whose material we receive three good-faith and effective complaints within any contiguous six-month period will have his grant of use of the website terminated.”

Despite the major labels filing a copyright infringement suit against YouTube-MP3 in 2016, a YouTube-ripper case has never gone to trial in the United States. That case was settled confidentially, with YouTube-MP3 handing over its domain to the RIAA.

This lack of legal clarity previously prompted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to inform the USTR that not all stream ripping sites facilitate copyright infringement by definition.

“RIAA’s discussion of ‘stream-ripping’ websites misstates copyright law. Websites that simply allow users to extract the audio track from a user-selected online video are not ‘illegal sites’ and are not liable for copyright infringement, unless they engage in additional conduct that meets the definition of infringement,” the EFF wrote.

While the case never went to trial, it seems unlikely that YouTube-MP3 would have survived the claims of direct infringement leveled at it. It was reported that YouTube-MP3 stored converted MP3 files on its servers long term so while the ripping and conversion may have resided in a gray area, the storage of infringing files would have been tougher to defend.

At the time of writing, both and remain online.

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 it was confirmed that BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the uTorrent and Mainline clients, had been acquired by TRON.

This week TRON founder Justin Sun revealed that he’s considering building some kind of system, presumably into his uTorrent and Mainline clients, that will reward people if they’re sharing particularly well.

The theory is that if people are incentivized to seed for longer, they will share more and content will stay available for much longer. The big question is whether things will turn out that way once currency starts flying around.

Right now, the vast amount of sharing carried out on public BitTorrent networks is motivated by very little other than obtaining content. This is because large volumes of users jump onto torrents with the intention of getting whatever content they need and deleting the torrent soon after it reaches 100%.

Of course, they can’t do this alone, so other people just like them assist by default, with everyone’s BitTorrent clients busily uploading at the same time as they’re downloading. Others in the swarm, the rarer ‘hardcore’ seeders, stick around much longer than everyone else, making sure that the content is shared among all and then staying after everyone else has gone home.

So what happens one day, when these generous guys turn on their torrent clients and find a button saying: “Get your sharing benefits here”? Once they realize that there’s money (virtual or otherwise) to be made, it’s likely that many – if they can benefit anonymously – will take the opportunity. Why wouldn’t they? It’s absolutely free.

But there are issues. The happy volunteer – who up until now didn’t ask for a penny – is now signed up to a business relationship with this torrent client. He seeds a lot and he gets paid, but suddenly he has a robot boss counting the beans. It’s a significant shift in culture for what is currently a casual, altruistic, and effective system.

But let’s forget all that for a moment. Anyone can get paid for seeding you say? Right, let’s crunch numbers because this might be a decent business proposition. I’m awful with figures but shall we just get a couple of dozen fat-piped seedboxes on the case for the first month and see how this goes?

The point is that if there is money to be made, every man and his dog will want a piece of the action. Sadly, however, it’s likely that many will leave disappointed after being bullied out by the serious players with the heavy bandwidth artillery.

A similar phenomenon can be witnessed on some smaller private trackers when a few big guns step in with their fast seedboxes and no one with a regular connection is able to build a decent sharing ratio due to a shortage of leechers. Of course, public swarms are bigger but that just means more bandwidth for the professionals to supply.

This problem could be countered by not paying seeders too much but if the rewards aren’t useful, people might not bother to sign up in the first place. It will be a delicate balancing act for sure.

A more important question, perhaps, is how the introduction of financial incentives will affect the mindset of the regular user. Of course, some will try to jump aboard the paid seeding scheme too, but of those who don’t, what will their perception of the rewards system be?

Will they simply ignore it while grabbing content and seeding as usual, or will they suddenly perceive seeding as a business arrangement and therefore justification for ending all of their ‘unpaid’ torrents at 100%? After all, people are professionally seeding now while getting rewarded, so why bother to contribute?

Beyond the few details announced this week, we have no idea what plans TRON has for BitTorrent but considering its focus on currency, you can be sure that any plan involves generating wealth at some point. Until now, BitTorrent Inc. has done that too but they have never put the act of sharing at the heart of the action.

That the torrent sharing mechanism itself is being touted as part of TRON’s plans has the potential to stir up a hornets’ nest, particularly among ‘free’ file-sharing advocates. Not to mention that the protocol wasn’t designed with financial benefits complicating the formula in mind.

Then there’s the monitoring. If people are to get paid, their contribution to the TRON/BitTorrent ecosystem will need to be tracked and reported back to the TRON system. Only when all this data gathering has been carried out will anyone get paid, even if it is in an experimental currency. Is this the kind of intrusion most BitTorrent users expect?

The final big question relates to where this business model goes after paid sharing. If enough users can be incentivized to earn TRX tokens by seeding, isn’t it logical to presume they’ll want to start spending them too?

Sun has already hinted at the possibility of some kind of content marketplace where currency could presumably get spent. However, is anyone confident that these tokens won’t, at some point, be handed over in exchange for faster download speeds or other file-sharing features?

There seems to be a real risk that the introduction of financial reward into a previously free sharing equation will only encourage selfish behavior among others. That’s the last thing that the BitTorrent ecosystem needs so TRON will need to be careful where they take this and how quickly.

Of course, if things get too restrictive people will be free to jump ship onto other clients such as qBittorrent or Deluge, which will still work no matter what TRON decides to do. But could there be issues there too?

If one chooses to be alarmist and take a worst case scenario, there’s always the prospect of future changes that might see uTorrent favoring other uTorrent clients over those offered by outsiders. Hopefully, that will never happen, but few people believed that getting paid for seeding would ever be a thing either, so all options are open.

Finally, (and being rather more positive for a moment) there’s always the possibility that TRON is the shot in the arm BitTorrent needed. Perhaps it’ll be a roaring capitalist success with none of the downsides of other financially-motivated markets. We’ll have to wait to find 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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Sci-Hub has often been referred to as “The Pirate Bay of Science,” but that description really sells the site short.

While both sites are helping the public to access copyrighted content without permission, Sci-Hub has also become a crucial tool that arguably helps the progress of science.

The site allows researchers to bypass expensive paywalls so they can read articles written by their fellow colleagues. The information in these ‘pirated’ articles is then used to provide the foundation for future research.

What the site does is illegal, according to the law, but Sci-Hub is praised by thousands of researchers and academics around the world. In particular, those who don’t have direct access to the expensive journals but aspire to excel in their academic field.

While publishers such as Elsevier convinced the courts that Sci-Hub is a force of evil, many scientists see it as an extremely useful tool. They don’t want research locked up behind paywalls, they want it to be read, to inspire.

Pro tip

Under the current system these researchers are often put in a position where they have to give up their copyrights, so large publishers such as Elsevier can exploit them. The researchers don’t see a penny of this money. What they see is their hard work ending up behind a paywall, out of public view.

It’s this system that prompted Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan to start Sci-Hub. She believes that it’s wrong to use copyright as a tool to shield important research from the public and hopes to tear down the paywalls.

“When Sci-Hub became known, I thought that it will provide a good case against copyright law. When the law prevents science to develop, that law must be repealed,” Elbakyan wrote in a recent blog post.

However, this was easier said than done. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, the publishers fought back.

“Instead, Sci-Hub was quickly banished as an ‘illegal’ solution and projects like Unpaywall emerged and started promoting themselves as a ‘legal’ alternatives to Sci-Hub.”

Unpaywall is a useful search tool that helps researchers to find articles that are already freely accessible. However, this is not a Sci-Hub alternative, according to Elbakyan, as it does nothing to free the locked up research

Real change can only come when copyright law changes, she argues.

On closer inspection that may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. According to the US Constitution, copyright is meant to aid the progress of arts and science. Some would argue that Sci-Hub does exactly that. However, the US courts disagree.

Elbakyan is not giving up though. She wants the law to change and encourages anyone to support this goal, by supporting their local Pirate party, for example.

“Sci-Hub always intended to be legal, and advocated for the copyright law to be repealed or changed, so that it will not prohibit the development of science,” she notes.

While Sci-Hub’s call might not sway lawmakers right away, the platform continues to make an impact. Every month, the site helps researchers to access millions of articles, which are used as the building blocks for new researchers.

These researchers publicly share the latest working Sci-Hub domain names among each other and gladly pass on Sci-Hub links to those in need.

In fact, Sci-Hub has become such a commonly used tool for some scientists that they include Sci-Hub URLs in the references sections of their published papers. Ironically, there are even links to Sci-Hub in papers published by Elsevier, showing how dangerously useful it is.

To circle back to the Pirate Bay comparison, that would be the same as Netflix linking to copyright infringing torrents of other films in their movie descriptions…

Sci-Hub references on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect…

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For as long as computer software has existed in commerical form, pirates have been keen to reap the benefits without handing over cash.

This is particularly true for video games which have been enthusiastically copied for several decades no matter whether they’ve been made available on tape, floppy discs, CDs, DVDs or digital downloads.

Stopping pirates is no easy task although that doesn’t stop companies from trying. Denuvo is perhaps the most recognizable system and one of the most fiendish. However, there are other ways of stopping pirates in their tracks without completely alienating your customer base.

Earlier this week TF received a tip about a torrent on The Pirate Bay. It links to the city builder game ‘Depraved‘ which is ordinarily available on Steam. Interestingly, the top comment on the torrent indicates that the release may not work as intended.

“This copy contains the developers DRM whereby after building a warehouse, it will start to slowly fill up with pirate hats which are irremovable thereby making the warehouse slowly useless,” the comment reads.

Depraved is created by Germany-based development team Evil Bite, which was founded in 2015 and consists of just two individuals, Danilo and David Tondl.

Speaking with TF, Evil Bite confirms that the claimed ‘pirate hat’ DRM does indeed exist.

“The pirate hats protection is real. It is a really cheap protection, but what can I say, it works,” Danilo says.

“We wanted to give the player a kind of demo. So the game works a bit until the pirate hats appear with a nice tooltip ‘Please support our 2 man development team’.”

Despite describing the protection as “cheap”, Danilo doesn’t want to reveal too much about how it works. However, the idea wasn’t to completely stop pirates but to let them get to a point where they’ve at least had a chance to test the game, hopefully in advance of a genuine purchase. This also involved fooling those who remove the protection from games.

“The protection waits in the background and ‘blocks’ or informs the player later in the game. That way the cracker thinks: ‘oh, ok it is working’ and moves on to the next title. I guess no cracker has time to play the game a couple of hours to test if there is some other protection,” he reveals.

The practice of using copy protection to convert potential pirates is probably the only type of DRM that isn’t universally pilloried by legitimate and pirate players alike. Evil Bite is pragmatic about the situation and hopes that its light-hearted approach is able to win over those considering a purchase.

“We really believe that there are people in the world who don’t have the money for such a game but on the other side there are people have the money but never bought a game because it is so easy to ‘steal’ it and in the end of the day it is our money we are losing,” Danilo notes.

“For us this DRM is more a joke than a real DRM and ‘money saver’. And like I said earlier, it is more like a demo. A lot of pirates want to test a game first before they buy it even with the Steam refund system.

“Is it worth it? I don’t know. We had at least one player who thought it was funny and bought the game because of it,” he concludes.

Danilo is the first to admit that the concept of dropping some pranks into a copy-protection method isn’t new. Several other developers have done similar things in the past, with varying levels of success (1,2).

What’s absolutely certain, however, is that this kind of approach towards copy-protection is generally better tolerated than that taken by the infamous Denuvo.

With the system criticized for reportedly being resource-hungry, the company behind Denuvo recently resorted to filing a criminal complaint against Bulgaria-based cracker Voksi.

Until last week, Voksi had been dismantling Denuvo’s efforts with relative ease so if nothing else, the company’s actions suggest that there is actually no technological solution to the piracy problem. It also means that its piracy problems are likely to return, sooner rather than later.

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 LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha cycle has started! and releases for Generic (x86_64) and Raspberry Pi hardware have been published. At this stage there are still some important technical decisions to make and work to complete before we start Alpha releases for Amlogic, Rockchip and Slice hardware (August is also holiday season). There are no plans to release LibreELEC 9.0 images for NXP/iMX6 hardware as support was removed from Kodi some months ago. Support will be reinstated in a future LibreELEC release and we will update you on progress with the next-generation Kodi video pipeline (which makes that possible) soon.

Alpha releases are important to the team because we cannot test every scenario and sometimes sidestep issues without realising. The project needs a body of regular testers to go find the problems we miss. Testing will be particularly important for LibreELEC 9.0 as Kodi v18 includes substantial internal changes to VideoPlayer and introduces new retro-gaming capabilities.


Our current focus is the OS core and we are more interested in hardware and driver bugs than Kodi problems. Please report the issues you find by starting a thread in the forums or use our bug tracker. Raspberry Pi users are reminded that dtoverlay=lirc-rpi has now been deprecated. Please read the infrared remotes wiki page  before updating.


Alpha builds exist for hands-on testing not a hands-off experience. If you run Alpha builds you must be willing to report issues and engage the LibreELEC and Kodi developers in hunting bugs. If you have no idea what a debug log is or “wife acceptance factor” is critical, these builds are not for you. If you want to run Alpha builds please make a backup and store it somewhere off-box first. Your failure to make a backup is not our problem.

Enjoy 🙂

LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha 003 (Kodi 18 Alpha 3)

To update an existing installation from within the Kodi GUI select manual update in the LibreELEC settings add-on and then check for updates; select the LibreELEC 9.0 channel and then the 8.90.003 release. To create new install media please use our simple USB/SD Creator App. The following .img.gz files can also be used to create install media or update the old fashioned way:

RPi 2/3 LibreELEC-RPi2.arm-8.90.003.img.gz (info)

RPi 0/1 LibreELEC-RPi.arm-8.90.003.img.gz (info)

Generic LibreELEC-Generic.x86_64-8.90.003.img.gz (info)

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As one of the most popular consumer items in the whole world, music is important to billions of citizens globally. It’s also surrounded by a giant industry that for years has complained bitterly about online piracy.

More recently, however, there have been signs that illegally grabbing music from the Internet is not as prevalent as it once was. A new report from market research and data analytics firm YouGov only adds weight to that apparent shift.

The headline stat from the company’s Music Report is that just one in ten Brits are currently downloading music illegally. That’s down from almost double (18%) that figure five short years ago.

While this is already a decent reduction, YouGov says that the 10% figure is set to further decrease in the years to come.

More than six out of ten (63%) illegal music downloaders predict they’ll still be pirating in five years’ time but a significant 22% believe they won’t. Just over a third (36%) acknowledge that using unofficial sources for music is becoming more difficult but the summary doesn’t offer reasons why.

YouGov reports that the decrease in piracy can in part be attributed to the rise of legal streaming services such as Spotify. Indeed, its survey reveals that more than six out of ten (63%) former Brit music pirates now rely on a legal streaming service for their fix.

“It is now easier to stream music than to pirate it. And the cost is not prohibitive,” one respondent said. “Spotify has everything from new releases to old songs, it filled the vacuum, there was no longer a need for using [an] unverified source,” added another.

While the shift to legal services is certainly encouraging for the labels, millions of music consumers still obtain their content illegally.

According to YouGov, just over half of this group (51%) say that “exclusives” restricted to a single platform are an irritating factor with 44% claiming that they only download illegally when they can’t find the content elsewhere.

“While illegal downloads still present a significant challenge to the music industry, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel,” says Justin Marshall, Associate Director, YouGov.

“Our research reveals a change in behavior, with those that previously attained music by unlawful means now being enticed by the low costs and ease of use associated with streaming.”

Marshall says that since consumers are increasingly satisfied with legal services, trawling the Internet for illegal copies is no longer high on their agenda.

“Whether or not streaming is what finally banishes illegal downloads remains to be seen, but there are encouraging signs,” he concludes.

In an effort to appreciate the nuances behind the figures, TorrentFreak asked YouGov for a copy of the report. Sadly we were told that it won’t appear publicly since it’s part of a wider study being made available to clients.

That leaves the question of how “stream-ripping” (downloading music from sites like YouTube onto a user’s machine) fits into this overall decrease in music piracy. While the record labels once considered file-sharing sites and services as the work of the devil, today they’re much more likely to be heard complaining about stream-ripping and how this affects revenues.

It’s not clear whether stream-ripping is considered an illegal download as far as the report goes. However, there are plenty of signs that downloading music in this manner is gaining traction among younger people for whom YouTube is often the default music source. The labels are extremely keen to bring this kind of activity to an end.

All that said and despite the persistent piracy problem, the popularity of legal services, especially among pirates, cannot be ignored.

A report released by MUSO found that 91% of all pirates already have a streaming subscription, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify or Apple Music. That’s a higher rate than their non-pirating counterparts, of which less than 80% subscribe to legal services.

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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After several successful previous applications, last month Village Roadshow Films and Hollywood partners Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal, Warner Bros teamed up with Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Limited and Aussie distributor Madman Entertainment Pty Limited.

Together the companies filed an application for the broadest-ever blocking injunction at the Federal Court in Australia. If successful, it would compel Australia’s ISPs to block a record-setting 151 domains related to 77 ‘pirate’ sites.

The list of ISPs in the case is familiar. Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG and their subsidiaries are all named as respondents in the case with the addition of Vodafone, which was added after recently entering the fixed-line broadband market.

As obtained by ComputerWorld, the list of sites involved is now confirmed as follows:

2ddl;;; Addic7edAnilinkz; Animefreak; Animeshow; Avxhm;; Bilutv; Bt-scene; Cartooncrazy; Cmovieshd; Ddlvalley; Dnvod;;;; Glodls; Gogoanime; Hdpopcorns;;;; icdramase;; IPTorrents; Kantv; Kimcartoon; Kissanime;;;; Myanimeseries; Nyaa; Nzbplanet; Ondarewatch; Openloadmovies;; Otakustream; Phimbathu;;;; Rmz;; Scnsrc; Seasonvar; Seriesfree; Solarmoviez; Soul-anime;; Subscene; Subsmovies; Torrentday; Torrentfunk; Torrentmovies; Tvbox; Tw116; Two-movies; Ultra-vid; Usabit; VexMovies;; Vkool; Vmovee;;;; Watchonlinemovies; Watchseries-online;; Yify-movies; Yifysubtitles;; Zimuzu; Zooqle.

What is notable about the list is the inclusion, for the first time, of sites such as Subscene, Subsmovies, YIFYSubtitles. As their names suggest, these platforms offer subtitles for the latest movies and TV shows, something that doesn’t sit well with any of the companies involved but particularly Madman Entertainment which specializes in Japanese anime.

“People unknown have recorded from the motion pictures … then translated the words into different languages and then those websites make available files that contain the subtitles in those languages,” counsel for the applicants told the Federal Court this morning, as reported by CW.

While most previous cases have passed the scrutiny of the Court relatively easily, this case – with the inclusion of subtitle sites – represents new ground. While the standard for infringement of video copyrights has been well tested in earlier applications, literary copyrights (in what are effectively scripts) are now under consideration for the first time.

As a result, the ever precise Justice Nicholas told the parties to ensure that no stone is left unturned in preparing evidence for the Court.

“You better make sure your evidence in relation to that is particularly thorough,” the Judge said.

“There’s some creep here occurring – I don’t say that critically… [but] it’s a new angle so I’ll need to look at that closely.”

Justice Nicholas won’t be short of source material for his studies. There are instances of subtitles sites being blocked in other jurisdictions and several cases where site operators have been successfully targeted (1,2,3) in legal action.

In common with most recent hearings, none of the ISPs listed as defendants in the case turned up for today’s case management hearing. The case itself is scheduled to be heard on September 7.

In parallel, Television Broadcasts Limited is currently tied up in a case of its own after applying for a blocking injunction last year against several unauthorized IPTV services. The case against A1, BlueTV, EVPAD, FunTV, MoonBox, Unblock, and hTV5 is seen as more complex by the Court, so a final decision is still pending.

The full list of sites and more than 150 associated URLs can be found here courtesy of Rohan Pearce.

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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