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Google announced today that it will lower the search engine rankings of websites that receive a high number of DMCA takedown requests, independent of whether the linked content is lawful or not. The algorithm change is the result of extensive lobbying efforts by Hollywood and the major music labels, and could severely degrade the rankings of websites such as The Pirate Bay, FilesTube, and even YouTube.
This study investigated how the Great Firewall of China (GFC) is blocking the Tor anonymity network . Tor is an overlay network which provides its users with anonymity on the Internet. A more detailed explanation is available on the project website or in the design paper .
The RIAA has been one of the most dedicated supporters of the PIPA and SOPA bills, but not all of the people they represent share their enthusiasm. EMI’s VP of Urban Promotions Craig Davis made some very reasonable remarks on the controversial anti-piracy plans, stating that “the method they’re using is incorrect.”
Mid-December, data from YouHaveDownloaded was used to show that several illegal downloads had taken place in the palace of French President Sarkozy. These, however, were just the tip of the iceberg. More than 250 further IP addresses belonging to the French Ministry of Culture have now been linked to illegal downloads but the government, unsurprisingly, say they are completely innocent.
If there’s one organization known for its crusade against online piracy, it’s the RIAA. Nevertheless, even in the RIAA’s headquarters several people use BitTorrent to download pirated music, movies, TV-shows and software. And they are in good company.
While most of the major entertainment industry companies wage war against BitTorrent sites, the Songwriters Association of Canada prefers to embrace file-sharing. Speaking with TorrentFreak, vice president Jean-Robert Bisaillon says that the Internet has revived the music business. Sharing music is part of people’s nature and the songwriters want to legalize file-sharing, while compensating the artists whose works are shared.
One in three people in Switzerland download unauthorized music, movies and games from the Internet and since last year the government has been wondering what to do about it. This week their response was published and it was crystal clear.
After court action in Denmark ended with the country’s major Internet service providers blocking The Pirate Bay, copyright holders now have a new target in their sights. An anti-piracy group say they have sent an urgent letter to a court demanding that Grooveshark should be subjected to an ISP DNS blockade, an action which would take the site offline in Denmark. Anti-piracy group RettighedsAlliancen, who are better known by their former name of Antipiratgruppen, have revealed their latest target. Surprisingly though, it’s not a notorious torrent portal or some other so-called ‘rogue site’.
Despite having booked and paid for their booth at Gamex, Sweden’s largest gaming exhibition, the Pirate Party have been excluded from the action this week. The party, who say they were nagged for 2 to 3 months to book for the event, were this week informed they were too controversial and no longer welcome. Running from the 3rd to 6th November, Gamex is Sweden’s biggest gaming show. All the big names in interactive entertainment are there showing off their wares, including giants such as Activision, Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Nintendo.
The Helsinki District Court has ordered the Finnish ISP Elisa to block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. The ISP has to block the domain names and IP-addresses of the world’s most-visited torrent site before the end of next month or face a 100,000 euro fine. Elisa described the court order as vague and ineffective, and has announced that it will appeal the decision. In May, the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) and the Finnish branch of the music industry group IFPI announced that they had filed a lawsuit at the District Court in Helsinki. The groups demanded that Finnish ISP Elisa should censor The Pirate Bay to protect the copyrights of their members. Elisa, however, refused to do so and described the blocking demands as “unreasonable”.
Following last year’s failed High Court bid to force an ISP to adopt a 3 strikes-style regime to deal with pirates, the Big Four record labels are set to get their way through a change in the law. If adopted, proposals published yesterday by the Irish government would allow copyright holders to hold ISPs liable for infringements and take out injunctions against them. After reaching a negotiated settlement with ISP Eircom to deal with illicit file-sharing, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) took ISP UPC to court after it refused to implement a similar scheme. IRMA wanted UPC to disconnect persistent pirates, UPC insisted there was no legal basis for doing so. The case went to the High Court but although Mr Justice Peter Charleton acknowledged that recording companies were being harmed by Internet piracy, he said that laws to cut off file-sharers were not enforceable in Ireland.
US authorities have resumed “Operation In Our Sites” and have seized several domain names associated with copyright infringement or counterfeit related crimes. Among the new targets are two sites that linked to copyrighted films hosted on third party streaming sites such as megavideo.com and veoh.com. Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has yet to officially announce the new operation. Over the past several months a series of domain name seizures by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made headlines across the Internet. Under the flag of “Operation In Our Sites” the authorities shut down a dozen file-sharing and streaming sites and many more accused of selling counterfeit goods.
During a speech on Wednesday, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said that proposals from both the U.S. and British governments to block access to file-sharing websites would threaten freedom of speech. Google, he said, is opposed to such measures and will fight them, presumably in court, if necessary. There can be little doubt that when it comes to hot tools for dealing with sites allegedly infringing the copyrights of the music and movie industries, site blocking and web filtering is absolutely in fashion this year. The United States (with its PROTECT IP bill) and the United Kingdom (with its Digital Economy Act), are both preparing what they believe could be their best chance at a silver bullet approach to piracy – the complete blocking of ‘infringing’ domains. Yesterday though, they discovered that apart from the usual legislative stumbling blocks, an Internet giant intends to hinder their progress.
Following a weekend security breach at Trident Media Guard, the outfit spearheading data collection for France’s 3 strikes anti-piracy drive, the country’s HADOPI agency has severed interconnection with the company. This means that, pending an enquiry, French file-sharers are no longer being tracked, a major embarrassment for the government. On Saturday evening, with the invaluable assistance of blogger and security researcher Olivier Laurelli, aka Bluetouff, TorrentFreak first reported that Trident Media Guard (TMG), the private company entrusted to carry out file-sharing network monitoring for the French government, had been hacked.
An American science fiction writer is trying to get his hard-copy out-of-print books online and to that end he’s actually using illicit sources to build his stock of eBooks. However, he thinks that some of his books are so obscure that pirates have overlooked them, and he’s offering a prize to anyone that can provide them. TorrentFreak has found one, anyone up for the rest of the challenge? American sci-fi Walter Jon Williams is determined to bring enjoyment and availability of his books to the digital domain.