Popcorn Time Now Available as iOS App

September 30th, 2014

popiosThe Popcorn Time phenomenon is one of the biggest piracy stories of the year thus far.

The software amassed millions of users by offering BitTorrent-powered streaming in an easy-to-use Netflix-style interface.

When the original version shut down various forks continued the project, each releasing their own features. One of the most-used Popcorn Time versions comes from time4popcorn.eu, who remain very active on the development side.

After previously rolling out an Android version and Chromecast and Apple TV support, today the fork released the first Popcorn Time app for iOS. The first release requires a jailbreak and can be accessed through the Cydia platform.

TorrentFreak spoke with the developers who say they are working on a solution for non-jailbroken devices as well, but that will take some more time to complete. Nonetheless, they are happy with the progress they’ve made thus far.

“After only 5.5 months, Popcorn Time is available on all major platforms! And this is only the beginning. Our future plans are huge,” the time4popcorn.eu team notes.

The iOS app is currently missing some features that are available in the desktop version. Chromecast and Apple TV support are still works in progress, likewise the built-in VPN.

The standard functionality appears to work just fine, provided that there’s enough bandwidth available to stream the video files via BitTorrent.

The developers have released the iOS source code under a GPL V3 license, which allows others to extend and improve it. The team itself will also continue to work on improving the code, and they promise to release more “exiting details” on the application’s future in a week or two.

Popcorn Time’s appeal to pirates hasn’t gone unnoticed by Hollywood. Two months ago the MPAA pushed back and managed to get two popular forks removed from Github claiming that the apps are hurting the major movie studios.

While this was a setback, it doesn’t seem to have hindered development much. Both Popcorn Time forks are still around and show no sign of throwing the towel voluntarily anytime soon.

Popcorn Time fork on iOS

captiospopcorn

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

BitTorrent Wants to Become RIAA Certified Music Service

September 30th, 2014

bittorrent-logoLast Friday Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke released his new solo album via BitTorrent. A few tracks were made available for free, but those who want the full album are charged $6.

The new experiment is part of BitTorrent Inc’s bundles project, which allows artists to easily share their work with fans. While many artists tested the waters before Yorke, he is the first to ask for money directly from consumers.

“If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of Internet commerce back to people who are creating the work. Enabling those people who make either music, video or any other kind of digital content to sell it themselves. Bypassing the self elected gate-keepers,” commented Thom Yorke on his decision to join.

Fast forward a few days and the album release has turned out to be a great success. At the time of writing the number of downloads surpassed 500,000, and at the current rate this will have doubled before the end of the week.

These numbers are for both the free sample and the full album, which are both being counted by BitTorrent. Thom Yorke doesn’t want the sales figures to become public but judging from the number of people sharing the torrent this lies well above one hundred thousand.

“When the Bundle is downloaded using one of our clients, it pings back with a torrent added event which is how these are being counted. Thom Yorke has asked that sales figures remain undisclosed, which is his discretion,” BitTorrent spokesman Christian Averill told TorrentFreak.

yorke500k

Now that BitTorrent Inc. has become a paid music service, a whole new world opens up. Will there soon be a BitTorrent release at the top of the charts for example? We asked BitTorrent whether they are considering becoming an RIAA-certified seller, and the company’s answer was an unequivocal yes.

“Our vision is absolutely that Bundles will count toward all the usual industry accolades and charts. Again, it will be up to the publisher of the specific Bundle. But the numbers certainly merit the recognition,” Averill says.

If that happens, BitTorrent sales will be eligible for RIAA’s gold and platinum awards as well as other charts.

While some music industry insiders may need some time to adjust to the idea of BitTorrent (Inc) as an authorized music service, the RIAA itself doesn’t see any reason why the company can’t apply.

“Music sales … on digital music services that are authorized by and reported to the record labels, whether paid for by the consumer through a subscription or free to the consumer through ad-supported services, are accepted for RIAA certifications,” RIAA’s Liz Kennedy tells TorrentFreak.

Becoming RIAA-certified doesn’t happen overnight though. BitTorrent would first have to request the certification and a full audit is then required to receive an Authorized service stamp and a possible listing on whymusicmatters.com.

“Whymusicmatters.com is a joint initiative of the RIAA and Music Biz joint lists the leading authorized music services in the United States,” Kennedy explains.

For BitTorrent this would be a great achievement. The company has had to withstand a fair amount of criticism from copyright holders in recent years, and recognition as an authorized music service will surely silence some of it.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Labels Win Grooveshark Copyright Infringement Case

September 30th, 2014

Beleaguered music service Grooveshark is facing its biggest threat yet after a long-running case with the major labels of the RIAA came to a close last evening.

In a ruling by United States District Judge Thomas P. Griesa in the United States District Court in Manhattan, Grooveshark parent company Escape Media and two of the company’s top executives were found liable for infringing the rights of the labels on a grand scale.

The summary judgment is not a pretty read. It summarizes Grooveshark’s history and how the service began with licensed aims in mind, but achieved that by infringing the labels’ rights in the hope of reaching deals later on.

The initial problem was obtaining content to offer to users. The company solved the issue by getting employees to “seed” music to other users via its own P2P sharing software known as Sharkbyte. A 2007 email from co-founder Josh Greenberg to employees reads:

Please share as much music as possible from outside the office, and leave your computers on whenever you can. This initial content is what will help to get our network started—it’s very important that we all help out! If you have available hard drive space on your computer, I strongly encourage you to fill it with any music you can find. Download as many MP3’s as possible, and add them to the folders you’re sharing on Grooveshark. Some of us are setting up special “seed points” to house tens or even hundreds of thousands of files, but we can’t do this alone… There is no reason why ANYONE in the company should not be able to do this, and I expect everyone to have this done by Monday… IF I DON’T HAVE AN EMAIL FROM YOU IN MY INBOX BY MONDAY, YOU’RE ON MY OFFICIAL SHIT LIST.

In 2007, music obtained via Sharkbyte and other means was used to populate Grooveshark’s central music storage library. Internal company emails showed Greenberg, Tarantino and Escape’s senior programmer encouraging employees to bring in and download music so it could be uploaded to the company’s servers.

By 2008 the Grooveshark service carried more than a million tracks, including thousands uploaded by Greenberg, Tarantino and other employees. That service grew by another million tracks and eventually into the streaming service available today.

A year later the service was beginning to receive DMCA takedown notices but according to the decision handed down yesterday, the company had a solution to keep that content online.

“Escape’s senior officers searched for infringing songs that had [been] removed in response to DMCA takedown notices and re-uploaded infringing copies of those songs to Grooveshark to ensure that the music catalog remained complete,” the decision reads.

Furthermore, records show that thousands of the DMCA notices sent by the labels were forwarded internally to employees, including Greenberg and Tarantino, for the music they had personally uploaded. The fact that employees were uploading content became known to the labels following discovery in another case currently before the courts.

While the Court accepted that Escape and its employees uploaded thousands of tracks, the huge numbers claimed by the labels were rejected. In total the Court found that the defendants are liable for uploading ‘just’ 5,977 copyright works.

And, of course, there is the not insignificant number of tracks the company streamed to its users over the course of its operations. Escape’s own records show that it “streamed or publicly performed”, copies of plaintiffs’ copyrighted sound recordings at least 36 million times.

“Each time Escape streamed one of plaintiffs’ song recordings, it directly infringed upon plaintiffs’ exclusive performance rights,” the decision reads.

As a result of Greenberg and Tarantino instructing company employees to upload copyright-protected music to Grooveshark, the Court granted the labels’ motion for summary judgment on its claim for direct copyright infringement.

On the secondary infringement front the Court ruled that Escape Media is liable for the direct infringements of the employees it instructed to upload music.

“[The record labels] advance three theories of secondary liability: (1) vicarious copyright infringement, (2) inducement of copyright infringement, and (3) contributory copyright infringement. The court finds for plaintiffs on all three theories of liability,” the judgment reads.

In respect of Escape’s co-founders, Tarantino and Greenberg, the Court found that they are not only “jointly and severally liable for Escape’s direct and secondary copyright infringement” but also liable for direct infringement due to their own personal uploads of infringing content to Grooveshark.

The judgment concludes with an instruction for the parties to submit proposals on the scope of a permanent injunction against Grooveshark within 21 days. Escape Media has already announced its intention to appeal.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Photographer Sues Imgur For Failing to Remove Copyrighted Photos

September 29th, 2014

imgurWhen it comes to online piracy most attention usually goes out to music, TV-shows and movies. However, photos are arguably the most-infringed works online.

Virtually every person on the Internet has shared a photo without obtaining permission from its maker, whether through social networks, blogs or other services.

While this is usually not a problem with a picture of the average Internet meme, when it comes to professional photography there can be serious consequences.

Earlier this year the Seattle-based artist Christopher Boffoli discovered that dozens of photos from his well-known “miniatures of food” series were being shared on Imgur. The photos were uploaded by a user named kdcoco who published them without permission.

This type of infringement is fairly common and usually easy to stop through a DMCA notice. In this case, however, that didn’t produce any results, so the photographer saw no other option than to take Imgur to court.

In a complaint (pdf) filed at a federal court in Seattle, Boffoli explains that he sent Imgur a DMCA takedown request on February 21. This seemed to work, as the image sharing site was quick to respond.

“The images have been marked for removal and will be deleted from all of our servers within 24 hours,” Imgur quickly replied.

One of Boffoli’s photos

boffoli

But following this initial reply nothing happened. According to the complaint all of the images remained online for several months.

“As late as September 2014 — more than 200 days after receiving Boffoli’s notice — Imgur had not removed or disabled access to the Infringing Content. To date, the Infringing Content is still accessible on Imgur’s servers,” the photographer’s lawyers write.

Aside from the infringing behavior of the Imgur user, Boffoli holds the image sharing service responsible for continued copyright infringement.

“Imgur had actual knowledge of the Infringing Content. Boffoli provided notice to Imgur in compliance with the DMCA, and Imgur failed to expeditiously disable access to or remove the Infringing Website,”

The photographer is asking the court to order an injunction preventing Imgur from making his work available. In addition, the complaint asks for actual and statutory damages for willful copyright infringement.

With at least 73 photos in the lawsuit, Imgur theoretically faces more than $10 million in damages. Thus far Imgur hasn’t responded to the complaint but at the time of writing the infringing photos are no longer available online.

It’s not the first time Boffoli has sued an online service for failing to remove his photos. He also filed lawsuits against Twitter, Google and others. These cases were settled out for court under undisclosed terms.

Time will tell whether Imgur will go for the same option, or if it will defend itself in court.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Universal Music Moves For Summary Judgment Against Grooveshark

September 29th, 2014

In January 2010, Universal Music Group filed a lawsuit in a New York court in which it alleged that Grooveshark was offering unauthorized copies of its musical works. The content in question were tracks from Universal’s pre-1972 back catalog.

The date when the tracks were recorded is important, since songs recorded before February 15, 1972, are covered under New York state law and not federal copyright legislation where safe harbor provisions of the DMCA apply.

“This case arises from Defendant’s massive willful copyright infringement and unfair
competition in violation of New York common law,” Universal writes in its latest submission to the Court.

“[Grooveshark parent company] Escape infringed UMG’s copyrighted works billions of times since it launched the current iteration of Grooveshark without any license from UMG and in flagrant violation of UMG’s exclusive rights.”

Describing Escape’s “pervasive copyright infringement” as part of a “premeditated business strategy” carried out by a “blatantly infringing pirate music service”, Universal Music (UMG) has now moved for summary judgment in the case on copyright infringement and unfair competition grounds.

“Escape has admitted that it competes with UMG in the market for the
dissemination of music over the Internet. Accordingly, it obtained an unfair competitive advantage over authorized streaming services by using UMG’s sound recordings without a license or payment.”

Previously, Escape Media counter-claimed against UMG when the company allegedly that UMG had tried to interfere with its business by influencing third-party companies to curtail relationships with the streaming service. UMG states those were legitimate anti-piracy tactics and dismisses Escape’s claims as an attempt to distract from the case in hand.

“Having no substantive defense to UMG’s infringement claims, Escape filed several baseless counterclaims against UMG for alleged interference with contracts and business relations,” UMG writes.

“The undisputed record confirms that the communications at issue directly related to the efforts by UMG and related companies to curtail the massive infringement of its copyrights by Escape’s Grooveshark service and thus were wholly appropriate and justified.”

UMG says it is entitled to summary judgment on all matters including copyright infringement, unfair competition and Escape’s counter-claims.

“In view of the foregoing, UMG respectfully requests that this Court grant summary
judgment against Escape for common law copyright infringement of UMG’s copyrights in the Works-in-Suit, based on Escape’s invasion of its rights of reproduction, distribution, and performance, as well as for unfair competition, and for UMG on Escape’s counterclaims for tortious interference with contract and business relations,” UMG concludes.

In 2011 it appeared that Grooveshark would be able to claim safe harbor protections on pre-1972 recordings after all when a court ruled in its favor. However, in April 2013 a panel reversed the decision.

“The statutory language at issue involves two equally clear and compelling Congressional priorities: to promote the existence of intellectual property on the Internet, and to insulate pre-1972 sound recordings from federal regulation,” Justice Angela Mazzarrelli wrote.

Whether UMG will obtain their summary judgment and at what financial expense to Escape Media and Grooveshark will be developments for the months to come.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 09/29/14

September 29th, 2014

transThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Transformers: Age of Extinction is the most downloaded movie for the second week in a row.

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 BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (1) Transformers: Age of Extinction 6.1 / trailer
2 (2) Edge Of Tomorrow 8.1 / trailer
3 (…) 22 Jump Street 7.6 / trailer
4 (…) Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 7.0 / trailer
5 (3) X-Men: Days of Future Past 8.4 / trailer
6 (4) Maleficent 7.4 / trailer
7 (…) Good People 5.4 / trailer
8 (8) Million Dollar Arm 7.3 / trailer
9 (7) The Fault in Our Stars 8.3 / trailer
10 (6) How To Train Your Dragon 2 8.3 / trailer

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Copyright Apocalypse: Trolls Attack the Net, From the Future

September 28th, 2014

badtrollWithout copyright, people in the creative industries would have no incentive to keep on creating. In recent years this kind of statement has been regularly pumped out by entertainment companies in their defense of tougher intellectual property legislation.

Countering, advocates such as Swedish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge frequently argue that copyright monopolies stifle creativity and hinder innovation.

But what would happen if rather than providing an incentive to create, the existence of copyright meant that no-one would ever need to create anything original online ever again? And if they did, they could be sued for it?

That’s the staggering notion being put forward by Qentis Corporation. The outfit, which claims a base in Russia, says that its business model is to use massive computing power to generate digital intellectual property on a never-seen-before scale and transfer the rights to its partners.

“Our clients are private high net-worth individuals (HNWI), investment funds and corporations that act as pure investors,” Qentis explains.

What Qentis are proposing is the bulk algorithmic creation of content – music, text, images etc – on such a large scale that in a few years its clients will own the rights to just about anything people might care to create and upload.


The worrying claim on the Qentis homepage

qentisclaim

“Qentis aims to produce all possible combinations of text (and later on images and sound) and to copyright them,” Qentis’ Michael Marcovici told TorrentFreak.

“Concerning text we try this in chunks of 400 word articles in English, German and Spanish. That would mean that we will hold the copyright to any text produced from now on and that it becomes impossible for anyone to circumvent Qentis when writing a text.”

In terms of graphics, Qentis promotional material states that a subsidiary has already generated 3.23% of “all possible images” in the 1000×800 pixel format.

“We are now generating images at a much faster pace and expect to complete 10 percent of all possible images by the end of 2015. At current projections, we will by 2020 generate every possible image in the 1000×800 pixel resolution,” the company claims.

qentisimage

Of course, ‘creating’ this ‘content’ has a purpose. According to Qentis it effectively seeks to become the biggest copyright troll on the planet. The company says it will identify copyright infringements and help investors to pursue infringers. And, astonishingly, it claims it will free companies from having to rely on people to come up with creative content.

“It is only a matter of time before Qentis becomes the universal single source for all web content, freeing corporations from their expensive dependence on writers, musicians and artists,” says Qentis co-founder Howard Lafarge.

TF spoke with Rick Falkvinge about Qentis’ stated aims and needless to say he’s completely unimpressed.

“Interesting, and complete bullshit,” Rick said.

“They claim to have generated all possible texts in English that are up to 400 words in length, and therefore, any text below that length ‘infringes’. However, having the copyright monopoly on a text is solidly dependent on having had artistic skill gone into generating it. Merely mechanically generating all combinations does not, repeat NOT, reward a copyright monopoly.”

Having spent way more time on the Qentis website than we probably should, (and arriving at the conclusion that they’re either crazy, evil geniuses or masters of parody) we’re still left with an interesting concept.

The fact remains that there are plenty of huge, heavily pro-copyright corporations on the planet today who would happily embark on a Qentis-style operation of copyrighting all content before a human can create it, if indeed such a thing was possible. Rest assured, at that point the ‘artists’ would be a forgotten and inconvenient part of their business models.

“The mere concept that somebody thinks of generating all possible texts and then thinks they can sue humanity for coming up with one of these combinations through actual artistic talent shows how completely screwed up copyright monopoly law is,” Rick concludes.

Since Qentis claims to have come up with the lyrics to Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’ before she did, TF pressed Qentis to give us more examples where their creations have successfully predicted the future. The company couldn’t immediately give us any, but said there were “many more” to be found.

We also asked about the mathematical implications of coming up with every available combination of text in a 400 word article, given there are one million words in the English language alone. How many generated articles would be a ‘miss’ in trying to come up with one ‘hit’?

“About the mathematics, this is mainly about working with n-grams, we don’t work iteratively with misses because that would produce as you mention a LOT of misses, probably only 1 out of few million would be readable,” the company’s Michael Marcovici told us.

“We do not include entities in the text as it does not matter and we concentrate on the structure of the text. Using known or predicted combinations is more economical, the main challenge is storage and not so much generating text.”

For those interested in reading just how bad things could get on the copyright front, given the chance, the fully comprehensive and quite incredible Qentis website can be found here. We’re not sure what their endgame is, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they have a secret underground base.

Everyone is invited to comment below, scholars of copyright and mathematics in particular.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Hetzjagd – “A.C.A.B.” Compact Disc

September 28th, 2014
Hetzjagd – "A.C.A.B." Compact Disc 01. Kampf Des System 02. Wir Jungen Schreiten 03. Deutscher Soldat 04. Hetzjagd 05. A.C.A.B. 06. Treue 07. BRD 08. Sie Hassen Uns 09. White Rock 'n' Roll Life 10. Revolution 11. Handelt Jetzt! 12. Europäische Usa 13. Das Reine 14. Ich Scheiße Auf Euch 15. Zeit Der Stille 16. Final War 17. Raise Your Voice 18. Wildgänse Rauschen Durch Die Nacht (bonus) 19. Die Eisenfaust Am Lanzenschaft (bonus)

Terror 88 – “Ready To Fight” Compact Disc

September 28th, 2014
Terror 88 - "Ready To Fight" Compact Disc 01. Svi U Stroj 02. Kosovo 03. Marsiraj S Nama (Providenje Cover) 04. Ja Mrzim Komuniste (Fortress Cover)

Red White And Black ‎– “Skinhead Rock ‘N’ Roll” Compact Disc

September 28th, 2014
Red White And Black ‎– "Skinhead Rock 'N' Roll" Compact Disc 1. Lifestyle Or Faith 2. American Pride 3. Where Have All The Fasces Gone?