After winning the right to use the term perjury in regards to Warner Bros abuse of the DMCA takedown procedure, and successfully blocking the MPAA from using the term "piracy" at their trial, Hotfile settled out of court with the MPAA today (mere days before the trial was scheduled to begin). As part of the deal, they are dropping their countersuit against Warner Bros, paying $80 million, and halting all operations immediately. The Hotfile website has been replaced by an MPAA message. From Torrent Freak: "The settlement deal was rubber stamped by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, ... The MPAA is happy with the outcome which it says will help to protect the rights of copyright holders on the Internet. 'This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone,' MPAA boss Chris Dodd says."
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hessian writes "Despite being extensively pirated worldwide, Iron Maiden have managed to put themselves in the £10-20m for 2012. This means that despite the growing popularity of the band on social media, and the extensive and pervasive torrent downloading of the band's music, books and movies, the band is turning a profit. This is in defiance of the past business model, and the idea that piracy is killing music. In fact, piracy seems to be saving music in Iron Maiden's case. One reason for this may be metal itself. It has a fiercely loyal fanbase and a clear brand and identity. The audience identifies with the genre, which stands in contrast to genericized genres. It doggedly maintains its own identity and shuns outsiders. As a result, fans tend to identify more with their music, and place a higher value on purchasing it."
192_kbps writes "Catcher in the Rye author J. D. Salinger wrote the short story The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls and left depository copies with a few academic libraries with the understanding that the work would not see mass distribution until the mid-21st century. The only authorized place to read the story is in a special reading room at Princeton where electronics are not allowed and a librarian continuously babysits the reader. A PDF of the story, as well as two other unpublished stories, appeared on private bittorrent site what.cd where a huge bounty had been placed for the work. Incredibly, the uploader (or someone connected to the uploader) bought an unauthorized copy on eBay for a pittance. The file, Three Stories, is making the bittorrent rounds but can also be read on mediafire."
Rambo Tribble writes "The BBC reports that the U. S. government has agreed to pay software maker Apptricity $50 million to settle claims that the U.S. Army pirated thousands of copies of the firm's provisioning software. The report indicates 500 licensed copies were sold, but it came to light an army official had mentioned that 'thousands' of devices were running the software." $50 million in tax money could have paid for a whole lot of open source software development, instead.
hypnosec writes "The movie industry in the UK is having a ball, as far as blocking of sites allegedly involved in piracy is concerned, as courts have asked UK ISPs to enforce a blockade on Project Free TV, YIFY, PrimeWire and others. Getting a torrent or steaming site blocked in the UK is a mere paperwork formality, since ISPs have completely stopped defending against these orders. As it stands, a total of 33 sites have been blocked in the UK, including The Pirate Bay, BitSnoop, ExtraTorrent, Torrentz, 1337x, Fenopy, H33T, KickAssTorrents, among others."
An anonymous reader sends this quote from TechDirt: "One of the bizarre side notes to Hollywood's big lawsuit against the cyberlocker Hotfile was a countersuit against Warner Bros. by Hotfile, for using the easy takedown tool that Hotfile had provided, to take down a variety of content that was (a) non-infringing and (b) had nothing to do with Warner Bros. at all (i.e., the company did not hold the copyright on those files). In that case, WB admitted that it filed a bunch of false takedowns, but said it was no big deal because it was all done by a computer. Of course, it then came out that at least one work was taken down by a WB employee, and that employee had done so on purpose, annoyed that JDownloader could help possible infringers download more quickly."
Frequent correspondent Bennett Haselton writes with a forward-looking response to a recent ruling that peer-to-peer network participants have little privacy interest in files stored on their computer and that they have made available via P2P. Writes Bennett: "A court rules that law enforcement did not improperly 'search' defendants' computers by downloading files that the computers were sharing via P2P software. This seems like a reasonable ruling, but such cases may become rare if P2P software evolves to the point where all downloads are routed anonymously through other users' computers." Read on for the rest.
An anonymous reader writes "A number of groups, including the MPAA, are pushing to educate elementary school kids about the dangers of piracy. From the article: 'A nonprofit group called the Center for Copyright Information, which is supported by the MPAA and other groups, has commissioned a school curriculum to teach elementary-age children about the value of copyrights. The proposed curriculum is still in draft stage, but it's already taking flak. Some critics say the curriculum promotes the biased agenda of Hollywood studios and music labels. Others contend it would use up valuable classroom time when U.S. public schools are already struggling to teach the basics.'"
New submitter souperfly writes "The Inquirer has a list of 21 sites that the RIAA is looking to get shut down by ISPs this week. The list includes sites filestube, Bomb-Mp3, Mp3skull, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Torrenthound, Torrentreactor and Monova, and at least one ISP — Virgin Media in the UK — has confirmed the number of targeted sites. BT confirmed it will block the site, but didn't say when. Before, it was thought that only six sites were lined up for a chop."
An anonymous reader writes "The administrator of file-sharing site UploaderTalk shocked and enraged his userbase a few days ago when he revealed that the site was nothing more than a honeypot set up by a company called Nuke Piracy. The main purpose of the site had been to gather data on its users. The administrator said, 'I collected info on file hosts, web hosts, websites. I suckered $#!&loads of you. I built a history, got the trust of some very important people in the warez scene collecting information and data all the time.' Nobody knows what Nuke Piracy is going to do with the data, but it seems reasonable to expect lawsuits and the further investigation of any services the users discussed. His very public betrayal is likely meant to sow discord and distrust among the groups responsible for distributing pirated files."
Mark Gibbs writes "Shiver me timbers: Antigua and Barbuda's 'WTO Remedies Implementation Committee', is said to be recommending the establishment by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda of a statutory body to own, manage and operate the ultimate platform to be created for the monetisation or other exploitation of the suspension of American intellectual property rights authorised earlier this year by the WTO ... Additionally, an announcement regarding the opening of tenders for private sector participation in the operating of the platform should be announced shortly. Arghhh ... matey!" See also this Slashdot post (from 2007) for some background.
New submitter stewartrob70 writes with an explanation of the inadvertent (or at least unwarranted) blocking of innocuous sites that UK ISPs Virgin and Sky are engaged in, as reported by PC Pro. The ISPs' filtering systems "appear to be blocking innocent third-party sites with apparently little or no human oversight." stewartrob70 excerpts from a blog posting with an explanation of why: "In order to understand why this specific issue happened, you need to be familiar with a quirk in how DNS is commonly used in third-party load-balanced site deployments. Many third-party load balanced systems, for example those using Amazon's AWS infrastructure, are enabled by pointing CNAME records at names controlled by those third-party systems. For example www.example.com may be pointed at loadbalancer.example.net. However, 'example.com' usually cannot be directly given a CNAME record (CNAME records cannot be mixed with the other record types needed such as those pointing to nameservers and mailservers). A common approach is to point "example.com" to a server that merely redirects all requests to 'www.example.com.' From forum posts we can see that it's this redirection system, in this specific case an A record used for 'http-redirection-a.dnsmadeeasy.com,' that has been blocked by the ISPs — probably a court-order-blocked site is also using the service — making numerous sites unavailable for any request made without the ''www' prefix."
hypnosec writes "The MPAA and Gary Fung, owner of IsoHunt.com, have settled their case out of court, with the torrent indexing site closing as part of the deal. The judge presiding over the MPAA vs. IsoHunt.com case, Jacqueline Chooljian, canceled the hearing which was planned after she was informed that both the parties have settled outside court. 'The website isoHunt.com today agreed to halt all operations worldwide in connection with a settlement of the major movie studios' landmark copyright lawsuit against the site and its operator Gary Fung' reads the press release." Only a few days after the MPAA was accosted by the judge for seeking damages several times the total worth of isoHunt: "But if you strip him of all his assets — and you’re suggesting that a much lesser number of copyright infringements would accomplish that, where is the deterrence by telling the world that you took someone’s resources away because of illegal conduct entirely or 50 times over?" Still, the settlement seems unfair: The MPAA has asked the court for $110 million, when the MPAA itself admitted that isoHunt only has $5 or $6 million. So much for the optimism for isoHunt's successor.
Socguy writes "The London School of Economics has published a new study (PDF) which shows that the claims about digital downloading killing music and movies are overblown. In fact, there is new evidence to indicate that it actually generates more income in certain cases. 'While it acknowledges that sales have stagnated in recent years, the report points out that the overall revenue of the music industry in 2011 was almost $60 billion US, and in 2012, worldwide sales of recorded music increased for the first time since 1999, with 34 per cent of revenues for that year coming from digital channels such as streaming and downloads. "The music industry may be stagnating, but the drastic decline in revenues warned of by the lobby associations of record labels is not in evidence," the report says. ... The growing use of streaming, cloud computing, so-called digital lockers that facilitate the sharing of content and sites that offer a mix of free and paid methods of getting content will, the study predicts, spur the entertainment industries to shift their focus from pursuing illegal downloading to creating more legal avenues for getting content online.'"
nk497 writes "If Google can block child abuse images, it can also block piracy sites, according to a report from MPs, who said they were 'unimpressed' by Google's 'derisorily ineffective' efforts to battle online piracy, according to a Commons Select Committee report looking into protecting creative industries. John Whittingdale MP, the chair of the Committee — and also a non-executive director at Audio Network, an online music catalogue — noted that Google manages to remove other illegal content. 'Google and others already work with international law enforcement to block for example child porn from search results and it has provided no coherent, responsible reason why it can't do the same for illegal, pirated content,' he said."
New submitter newbie_fantod writes "Ignoring the fact that the surest way to get a child to do something is to tell them not to, the RIAA and MPAA have developed an anti-piracy curriculum for kindergarten through grade 6. The pilot project is scheduled for testing in California schools later this year." Mitch Stoltz, an EFF attorney, isn't impressed: “It suggests, falsely, that ideas are property and that building on others’ ideas always requires permission,” Stoltz says. “The overriding message of this curriculum is that students’ time should be consumed not in creating but in worrying about their impact on corporate profits.”
cervesaebraciator writes "The Guardian reports that the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has arrested two men from Birmingham and have seized 'suspected counterfeit DVD box sets worth around £40,000, including titles such as Game of Thrones, CSI and Vampire Diaries.' The claim is that the men were buying foreign counterfeit copies and selling them online as genuine. London police commissioner Adriad Leppard offers commentary indicative of the thinking behind these efforts, saying, 'Intellectual property crime is already costing our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and placing thousands of jobs under threat, and left unchecked and free to feed on new technology could destroy some of our most creative and productive industries.' The article offers £51 billion as an estimate for the cost of illegal downloading to the music, film, and software industry, a figure they say will triple by 2015." Meanwhile, Netflix is paying attention to piracy via torrent sites as well. The difference is that they're using that data to decide what shows they should buy.
David Gerard writes "Here in the future, musicians and record companies complain they can't make a living any more. The problem isn't piracy — it's competition. There is too much music and too many musicians, and the amateurs are often good enough for the public. This is healthy for culture, not so much for aesthetics, and terrible for musicians. There are bands who would have trouble playing a police siren in tune, who download a cracked copy of Cubase — you know how much musicians pirate their software, VSTs and sample packs, right? — and tap in every note. There are people like me who do this. A two-hundred-quid laptop with LMMS and I suddenly have better studio equipment than I could have hired for $100/hour thirty years ago. You can do better with a proper engineer in a proper studio, but you don’t have to. And whenever quality competes with convenience, convenience wins every time. You can protest that your music is a finely-prepared steak cooked by sheer genius, and be quite correct in this, and you have trouble paying for your kitchen, your restaurant, your cow."
Bismillah writes "Graduated response regimes that warn and then penalize users for infringing file sharing do not appear to work, new research from Monash University in Australia has found. The paper studied 'three strikes' laws (abstract, freely downloadable as a PDF from there) in France, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and the UK, as well as other anti-filesharing regimes in the U.S. and Ireland, but found scant evidence that they're effective."
An anonymous reader writes "Fed up with piracy and the availability of cracked versions of his software, Cobalt Strike developer Raphael Mudge wrote a blog post telling people how to crack his software. Some gifts are poisoned, and Raphael goes into deep detail about how to backdoor his software and use it to distribute malware. Will this increase piracy of his software, or will it discourage would-be pirates from downloading cracked versions?"