Following a six month investigation initiated by international tech companies including Microsoft, Graphisoft and Adobe, Ukrainian authorities have shut down the popular file-hosting site Ex.ua. The police confiscated 200 servers on which more than 6,000 terabytes of data was stored. The Ex.ua raids follow less than two weeks after US authorities ordered the shutdown of another file-hosting service, MegaUpload. With millions of users, Ex.ua was one of the most visited sites in the Ukraine. Founded in 2009, the file-hosting site allowed users to share files up to 50 gigabytes.
Every single ISP in India has been ordered to block 104 sites offering unauthorized music. A total of 387 ISPs must block the sites immediately via DNS and IP address blocking, backed up with Deep Packet Inspection. While the IFPI praised the action, their Indian counterparts are singing are more interesting tune – they don’t want to destroy their opponents, but bring them into the business. “Content theft is a global problem and we must have a global commitment to solving it. This is an important opportunity for the Indian government to move forward with strong protections against online theft,” MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd told the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry conference this week in Mumbai.
A group of more than 30 rightsholders have won their case targeted against Grooveshark in Denmark. A court agreed that both the streaming music service and its users infringe recording label copyrights and granted an injunction forcing an ISP to initiate a block of the service. The anti-piracy group behind the action hopes that other ISPs will now follow suit. Last year, a group of entertainment companies known collectively as RettighedsAlliancen sent a demand to the Danish Bailiff Court (known locally as Fogedretten) to have the country’s Internet service providers block US-based streaming music service Grooveshark. RettighedsAlliancen chief Maria Fredenslund said that Grooveshark had no content agreements or licenses with members of her group, accused the service of being “completely uncooperative” in negotiations, and that effectively taking down content from Grooveshark had proven impossible.
As part of a criminal investigation the UK Government has shut down the popular blog RnBXclusive which posted news, commentary and links to music. Authorities have arrested the owners of the site for allegedly defrauding the music industry. In addition, the Serious Organised Crime Agency is threatening users of RnBXclusive that they face 10 years in prison if they downloaded music through the site.
Richard O’Dwyer, the UK-based ex-administrator of the video linking website TVShack will be extradited to the US to face copyright infringement charges. Despite public outrage Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition order today. The 23-year-old student has never visited United States, but now faces several years in a US prison.
Internet service providers BT and TalkTalk have lost their appeal against the UK’s Digital Economy Act. The ISPs had argued that the legislation was incompatible with EU law, but this morning the Court of Appeal decided otherwise and dismissed their appeal. While the decision was welcomed by copyright holders, Internet account holders now face warnings, disconnections and speed throttling. For almost a year the UK’s Digital Economy Act has been in limbo after two of the country’s largest Internet service providers challenged the legislation.
Firstrow, one of the sites that had several of its domain names seized by the Feds yesterday, is furious at the US Government. Convinced that the service they are providing does not violate the law, the site continues to operate under a new domain name. One of the owners told TorrentFreak that they don’t intend to stop until a court shuts them down. Yesterday, several sports streaming sites had their domain names seized by the Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s ICE unit.
The book download portal Library.nu and cyberlocker ifile.it appear to have ‘shut down’ voluntarily after a coalition of book publishers managed to get an injunction against the two sites. According to the complaint, the sites offered users access to 400,000 e-books and made more than $11 million in revenue in the process. During the past week users of the popular book downloading portal Library.nu started to notice that the site no longer carried links to files. Today delivered another surprise when the site suddenly began redirecting to Google books. Initially it was unclear what motivated the site’s owners to take these drastic actions, but a statement by a coalition of the world’s largest book publishers including Cambridge University Press, Harper Collins, Elsevier and John Wiley & Sons, seems to have cleared up the mystery.
Sweden’s second largest torrent site has shut down its operations with immediate effect following threats from Antipiratbyrån. In closing, the site – which appeared in Google’s 2010 Zeitgeist report – bemoaned the “fascist tendencies” of the entertainment industries. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Pirate Party is celebrating the influx of hundreds of new members as a direct result of the closure. On February 1st, Sweden’s Supreme Court announced that it would not be granting leave to appeal in the long-running Pirate Bay case. This means that the prison sentences and millions of dollars in fines previously handed out to the four defendants will stand. Quickly, prominent copyright enforcers for the entertainment industries – Hollywood lawyer Monique Wadsted and Antipiratbyrån lawyer Henrik Pontén – announced that the decision would signal a new crackdown on file-sharing sites in Sweden.
Anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån is making good on its threats to take file-sharing sites offline in Sweden. During the last 48 hours, police in Sweden and the Netherlands swooped on key staff and hardware connected to a long-standing private BitTorrent tracker. As yet another popular eBook site closes, famous tracker Scene Access is being warned – you’re next. Following the announcement this month that Sweden’s Supreme Court would not be hearing an appeal of the Pirate Bay trial, entertainment industry lawyers warned that file-sharing sites in Sweden were living on borrowed time. All 150 sites with Swedish connections were advised to shut down – or else. For Swepiracy, a private BitTorrent tracker founded in 2006, it’s now too late.
It’s a sad fact of life on the Internet: People are thieves. A lot of people steal a lot on the Internet. The overwhelming majority of people would never walk into a department store and swipe a Polo shirt because they like it but believe it costs too much. Far too many, though, see nothing wrong with watching a pay-per-view sporting event on an illegal live stream because they think it costs too much despite the fact that it, too, is theft. Fans shouldn't rip off pay-per-view fights like Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem, but PIPA isn't the answer.
To back up their demands for tougher anti-piracy laws, the music industry often promotes statistics that show how drastically sales improve when they have their way. This week the music industry did this again by claiming that the French three-strikes law has been highly effective and has boosted iTunes sales tremendously. But is this really the case?
A new report on the effectiveness of the French three-strikes anti-piracy law claims that it managed to cut Internet piracy in half last year. While lobbyists are making preparations to show these great results to politicians worldwide, there is one thing the report fails to mention. Despite the claimed decrease in piracy, revenues through legal channels are down as well. This is strange, because in previous years these losses were solely attributed to piracy.
Protesters try to break into Egypt state security headquarters in March, 2011 AFP/Getty Images. On March 5, 2011, protesters stormed the Egyptian state security headquarters . In real time, activists shared their discoveries on Twitter as they moved through a building that had until recently been one of the Mubarak regime’s largest torture facilities.
In a 2010 submission to the US Government, RapidShare was described by the RIAA and MPAA as a “notorious market” for pirated media. Just one year later the file-hosting service was given a tacit clean bill of health. TorrentFreak caught up with RapidShare attorney Daniel Raimer who explained that this achievement was down to a combination of education and industry-leading proactive anti-piracy measures. In common with every file-sharing, video hosting or other digital storage facility on the web, RapidShare has been used by some of its members to host infringing material. Just like Google-owned YouTube, RapidShare has been sued for the actions of its users and just like the video giant, has prevailed in court.