When Building a Torrent Site, Streaming Service, or App, Intent is Almost Everything
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Every few weeks, plans for starting new torrent sites, streaming platforms, and apps, appear on Internet discussion platforms. While most have lofty goals, few consider what might happen when they hit the jackpot. Initial intent is crucial so careless actions early on can easily come back to haunt and then undermine successful projects.

Several weeks ago, former BitTorrent Inc. executive Simon Morris published a series of articles on Medium, discussing his time at the company and thoughts for the future.

By any standard, his articles are absolutely first class and a must-read for anyone interested in the resilience of the BitTorrent protocol, decentralization, and how ‘breaking rules’ can create both winners and losers.

The third piece in the series raises an extremely important issue – that of initial intent when creating disruptive platforms or technologies.

Perhaps mos...

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Posted on TorrentFreak
Pirate Site Slammed for Meddling with DRM-Free Games, Circumvention Ensues
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Pirate site IGG-Games, which sits among the top 1,500 sites in the world, is under fire for meddling with pirate releases. One particular example involves the DRM-free game The Eternal Castle, which has been modified not to run if people remove IGG-Games' advertising code. The site says it needs to do this to prevent other sites "stealing" its releases but pirates are not impressed. In fact, they've developed a tool to remove this 'DRM'.

When piracy groups or sites release games online, consumers (despite paying nothing for the pleasure) expect certain standards.

On a base level the game must work as advertised, any DRM should be removed, and no one should add any unwanted extras – particularly not malware, spyware, or forced advertising.

In the vast majority of cases, pirate releases tend to conform to these standards but a popular pirate site called IGG-Games (Ranked the 1,500th most popular site in the world by SimilarWeb) has been widely accused of not playing by the accepted rules for quit...

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Posted on TorrentFreak
Filmmakers Want Phone Ban and Special Court to Tackle Indian ‘Cam’ Piracy
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Now that 'cam' piracy is being outlawed in India, the local Film Federation is calling for a special court to handle these cases. In addition, it wants phones to be banned from theaters. While the movie industry requests these tough measures, new data suggest that Indian 'cam' piracy has dropped drastically in recent years, at least for some movies.

With Bollywood, India has a thriving movie industry that’s known all around the world.

On the other hand, the country also has one of the highest piracy rates, which is seen as a major threat by industry insiders.

Following pressure from U.S. movie companies, India’s government recently agreed to update its Cinematograph Act to outlaw ‘cam’ piracy. Anyone recording or transmitting movies in a movie theater without permission now faces a three-year prison sentence.

This change was welcomed by film industry insiders around the w...

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Posted on TorrentFreak
Vox Targets The Verge Critic With Dubious YouTube Takedown
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Vox Media has targeted a YouTuber over a critical reaction video of The Verge's highly criticized "PC Build" how-to. The company sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, claiming that the video infringed its rights. While Vox may have hoped to bury the video, it move swiftly backfired.

The Verge is typically known as a news operation that’s fairly critical of copyright abuse. 

The site has repeatedly highlighted problems with YouTube’s Content-ID and copyright takedown system. 

Just this week it reported how YouTube is being used for extortion scams, an issue that we covered last month. The site also covered the Article 13 plans in the EU, with a headline stating that it threatens the Internet as we knew it.

Given the above, it’s surprising that a video from The Verge is now at the center of the latest YouTube cop...

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Posted on TorrentFreak
EU Commission Portrays “Article 13” Opponents as a Misled and Misinformed Mob
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With the ink barely dry on Wednesday's agreement for the final draft of Article 13, the EU Commission published an eyebrow-raising piece Thursday. While much of it is implied, the Commission suggests that the millions of people who opposed Article 13 have been misled and are therefore poorly informed.

This Wednesday the European Parliament and European Council agreed on the final text of the EU Copyright Directive.

That, of course, includes the hugely controversial Article 13, which critics insist will lead to upload filtering, censorship, plus all kinds of unintended consequences that could change the shape of the Internet forever.

Urgent claims have been made on both sides, including that the music industry could be brought to its knees if Article 13 doesn’t pass, and the Internet will break if the worst fears of the legislation come true. In the end and a...

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South Korea Expands Site Blocking Efforts with SNI Eavesdropping
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South Korea will expand its site blocking measures with SNI eavesdropping, so HTTPS sites can be blocked as well. The new measure, which will also affect pirate sites, has generated widespread opposition. While it's more effective than standard DNS blocking, it's certainly not impossible to circumvent.

When it comes to pirate site blocking, South Korea is one of the most active countries in the Asia-Pacific region. 

According to recent data from the Motion Picture Association, the country has blocked 456 sites to prevent the public from accessing pirated material.

These blocking orders are sanctioned by the Korean Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), which also oversees other blocking efforts, including those targeted at porn or illegal gambling sites. 

While the ISP blockades work well for regular HTTP sites, they are fairly easy to bypass ...

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Posted on TorrentFreak
Downloading Any Pirate Content To Be Made Illegal in Japan
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Japan is set to make it illegal to download any infringing content from the Internet after the government adopted the policy this week. The law currently covers movies and music but will be extended to encompass games, manga, and other copyrighted content. Infringers will face up to two years in jail.

Downloading music and movies in Japan is prohibited under the country’s Copyright Act, meaning that anyone who does so is liable to prosecution or civil suits.

Unusually, however, current legislation doesn’t offer the same levels of protection for creators of other creative works, such as still images (including ever-popular manga publications), software, and games. This disparity has prompted complaints from rightsholders who have been pressurizing the government to close the gap.

Last year it was reported that an advisory panel for the Cultural Affairs...

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Posted on TorrentFreak
EU Reaches Deal on Article 13 and Other Copyright Reform Plans
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The European Parliament and Council agreed on the final text of the EU Copyright Directive. This includes the controversial Article 13, which opponents fear will lead to broad upload filters. The full package will now go to the European Parliament for a final vote, which is expected to take place in March or April.

Last September the European Parliament backed the controversial Article 13 plans, which are part of the EU’s broader copyright reform plans.

This was followed by several rounds of trilogue negotiations, during which the final text would be drawn up. This process was completed today.

The European Parliament and Council have finally agreed on a final text of the EU copyright reforms. This includes Article 13, which was highly debated and criticized over the past several months.

Despite the protests and objections, which also came from rightsholders i...

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Google Begins Removing Banned Sites From Search Results in Russia
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After breaching Russian federal law by failing to remove banned sites from its search results, Google now appears to be complying. Local reports indicate that the US search giant has removed around 73% of the URLs present in the country's register of banned sites, a move which heads off its own blocking in Russia.

Authorities in Russia maintain a huge database of banned sites, from platforms that promote terrorism to those that engage in unlicensed gambling and copyright infringement.

ISPs are required to prevent their users from accessing these sites by interfacing their systems with the so-called FGIS (Unified Register of Prohibited Information) database. More recently, however, legislation was tweaked so that search engines must also prevent banned sites from appearing in their search results.

Late 2018, this caused problems for Google. While local providers including Yande...

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China Aks The Public to Help Crack Down on Movie Piracy
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As the Chinese blockbuster movie “The Wandering Earth” is breaking records at the box office, copyright holders and authorities are trying to crack down on piracy. China's Copyright Administration is calling on the public to help report piracy and clean up the Internet. Reportedly, this strategy is having some results.

With more than a billion citizens, China is seen as both a great opportunity and a great threat to the entertainment industries, Holywood included. 

While China has traditionally been very reluctant to show ‘western’ movies, it has opened up in recent years much to the delight of the American movie studios. 

The problem, however, is that both physical and online movie piracy is rampant. Hollywood and the US Government have signaled this in the past, and with a booming local movie industry, China is now committed to taking action as well. 

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