Items tagged with Piracy

Software pirates worldwide are no doubt dancing a jig with this morning's news out of China that the upcoming Microsoft Windows 10 release will be a free upgrade not only for users running genuine copies of Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 but for all who are running less-than-legitimate copies of those OS versions as well. Speaking at the WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Community) technology conference in Shenzhen, Microsoft Executive Vice President of Operating Systems Terry Myerson told Reuters, "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10." He went on to offer the first glimpse of a release date for Windows 10, sharing the news... Read more...
HBO's hit series Game of Thrones has the double-edged distinction of being the most pirated TV show in all of 2014. This is the third year in a row that Game of Thrones has been downloaded more times than any other TV show, with its latest season finale attracting more than 8 million downloads on BitTorrent alone. That's higher than the number of people who actually tuned in to watch the finale. We say it's a "double-edged distinction" because on one hand, if you're HBO, you wish that at least a portion of those record numbers would subscribe to your service and watch the show legally. There's certainly some lost revenue there, though at the same time, HBO's programming president Michael... Read more...
Just like nearly every other site on the web, piracy portals survive on advertising revenue -- the people running these sites have bills to pay too. With that in mind, entertainment conglomerates have figured out it might be easier to cut so-called "rogue" sites off at the knees rather than chase after individual file sharers, and one way to do that is by attacking their revenue stream. Interestingly enough, there are some big names with conflicting interests doling out doubloons to pirate sites through ad impressions, including Sony.Yes, Sony -- the same company that was recently hacked for the gazillionth time over "The Interview," a comedy that went straight to streaming and saw only a limited... Read more...
It has been five days since it was reported that law enforcement officials raided a server room in Greater Stockholm that resulted in the takedown of The Pirate Bay. Three days after Swedish raid, it was back up and running courtesy of Isohunt. Despite efforts to curtail online piracy, the impact of shutting down TPB has had no effect on piracy levels. According to anti-piracy firm Excipio, there were a total of 101.5 million Internet addresses worldwide that had engaged in torrent titles on December 8. When TPB was taken down, the firm reported that the total number of IP addresses participating in peer-to-peer downloads dropped from 99 million, on December 9, to roughly... Read more...
The search game is changing as Google makes a concerted effort to cut down on music piracy while simultaneously helping to promote legitimate download sites like Netflix and Google Play. In keeping with its transparent theme, Google spelled out some specific changes it's making (as well as already made) to search in an updated How Google Fights Piracy report. So, what can you expect? One of the things Google has been doing is experimenting with its ad formats. The sultan of search wants to make it easier for people to find legitimate sources of media. And for the "relatively small number" of search queries for movies that use terms like "download," "free," or "watch," Google's ads will point... Read more...
It’s the war of the open letters. Last week, the CEO of News Corp took a shot at Google in a letter to the European Commissioner for Competition, claiming that “Google has been remarkably successful in its ability to monetize users, but has not shown the willingness, even though it clearly has the ability, to respect fundamental property rights.” Google explains its copyright policies with a (somewhat) entertaining video. Image credits: Google Google has responded with a letter of its own, in which SVP of Global Communications Rachel Whetstone defended Google’s record of fighting piracy. The letter highlights several claims made in News Corp’s letter and addresses... Read more...
U2’s collaboration goes way beyond the album Apple forced on iPhone users at the launch event. According to a report in TIME, the band and tech company have been working on a project that could give bands a new way to deliver albums to their audiences. Hopefully, this new album format doesn’t involve auto-downloads. Itunes already puts album artwork front-and-center. The new album format Apple and U2 are developing is expected to make new uses of album artwork. Image credit: Apple People involved in the project are stressing that, although this new format is expected to be difficult to pirate, it’s not based on major new technology. Instead, the new format is based on presenting... Read more...
In a new interview with Esquire, legendary rocker Gene Simmons claims that the music industry isn't dying - it's been dead for quite some time. As the interview was conducted by Gene's 25-year-old son Nick, it seems inevitable that file-sharing would be brought into the discussion, and it was. But despite that, this isn't a simple matter of an old crank complaining about the younger generation - he does make some great points. When asked about what advice he'd give starting musicians, Simmons replied, "Don't quit your day job is a good piece of advice. When I was coming up, it was not an insurmountable mountain. Once you had a record company on your side, they would fund you, and that also meant... Read more...
There’s a complicated battle that persists between prolific copyright violators, ISPs, and rights holders who want to take the violators down. The Internet has been the ideal place to pirate and distribute digital wares, and thus managing the issue has been problematic. However, according to TorrentFreak, a privacy monitoring firm called Rightscorp has been aggressively encouraging ISPs to disconnect those subscribers who are repeat (and presumably, particularly egregious) offenders. The company identifies certain offenders and contacts them via the ISP, and it asks the ISP to send along settlement demands. In the most severe cases, Rightscorp asks the ISP to disconnect the pirate. How... Read more...
If you're in charge of figuring out what's popular in a given market, regardless of what topic you're dealing with, you're likely to go to a place where you know you'll easily accomplish that goal. Take for example the latest video games - if you own a store need to gauge how many copies of a particular title you should be bringing in, the amount of hype you see at a specialized gaming site can help with that. Likewise, the same sort of sleuthing could be done by content delivery services to determine what they should seek out. As it appears, Netflix, is far from ignorant about any of this, and perhaps not-so-surprisingly, it knows just where to go to find the information it needs: pirate sites.... Read more...
Google has released a 26-page report detailing how it strives to balance the rights of copyright owners against fair use policies and individual users. The search giant has come under increasing fire from copyright owners over the past few years, and faced repeated accusations that it earns enormous amounts of money from the ads that run on pirate websites. Meanwhile, the company's YouTube takedown policy has been criticized at times from the other end, particularly when it's used to remove content that someone else found inconvenient, embarrassing, or just didn't like One of the changes Google made fairly recently was its agreement  to begin de-ranking pages that attracted a high number... Read more...
CBS and Time Warner have been engaged in a public battle over network access fees and the result has been a blackout in key markets that's left TWC customers unable to access certain CBS properties, including Showtime. These sorts of battles are ill-received by a public that's generally sick of paying an average of $84 a month to watch a handful of channels and now, thanks to a license dispute, finds itself unable to consume content that's been legally paid for.  The predictable result? Skyrocketing piracy rates. According to data gathered by TorrentFreak, people in the affected markets of Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Pittsburgh, accounted for... Read more...
Edward Snowden's leaks have shaken something loose in the IT industry. For years, companies have been afraid to talk about the requests and data sharing procedures the NSA and FBI have forced upon them as a result of the Patriot Act. Companies that went to court to fight these demands lost, and lost in silence, forbidden to even reveal that such requests were taking place. Now that the programs are common knowledge, multiple corporations have joined in to demand the right to tell us just how they participate in NSA requests. Today, a coalition of 63 companies, non-profits, and organizations issued a letter requesting the right to communicate the following: The number of government requests for... Read more...
Companies that monitor BitTorrent traffic are a dime a dozen, but AT&T marks the first time that an ISP itself is going to be getting in on the action. The company has just been awarded a patent that will allow it to deeply monitor BitTorrent traffic, though its ultimate use seems to be up-in-the-air. The company could simply want to monitor network congestion before it happens, or figure out which pirated content is being shared the most. Both of these cases seem likely, as AT&T is one ISP that's part of the Six Strikes program, where an Internet subscriber has up to six chances to stop downloading pirated content. It's worth noting that there, it's third-parties that monitor the traffic,... Read more...
On any given day in the United States you will find a number of really, really terrible ideas being floated as smart decisions. Flying to Hawaii to give birth in the ocean surrounded by dolphins. A drunk man repeatedly directing traffic in midtown Manhattan. And, today, from the USA Intellectual Property Theft Commission, a 90 page report on the state of IP around the world, the dangers posed to American IP by the Internet, and one remarkable suggestion on how to fix the problem. Additionally, software can be written that will allow only authorized users to open files containing valuable information. If an unauthorized person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For... Read more...
Whether it's software, games, movies or even books, piracy is rampant. There's no denying that, and there's no one that understands the harmful effects of it better than the content creators themselves. Over the years, we've seen some humorous attempts at trying to sway the pirate towards becoming a paying customer, and there's probably little doubt that some have worked. In recent memory, Serious Sam 3 introduced a monster only in the pirated version of the game that hunted you down indefinitely and was impossible to kill. There's also Take On Helicopters, which corrupted textures on purpose in the pirated version of the game. Humorously, before these mechanics were understood, some pirates... Read more...
Pirates flocked to BitTorrent in record numbers to download the season premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones. Within an hour of the first torrent being uploaded, there were 163,088 people sharing the single file, breaking the record for the largest BitTorrent swarm ever. That's according to TorrentFreak, which notes that the previous record was held by the season premier of Heroes with 144,663 peers. Game of Thrones blew past that mark, and if you count all the different releases, it's estimated that the season opener has been downloaded over a million times already. Despite all this, HBO doesn't seem too ticked off. Just the opposite, actually. "I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it... Read more...
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has long sought to demonize file sharers who download, trade, and share songs illegally, noting that the cumulative impact of their deeds  -- obtaining millions of songs illegally -- is nothing short of devastating. But is it really? A new study throws a wrinkle in the RIAA's argument. Before we go any further, let us be clear -- we're not condoning piracy of any kind, nor do we encourage anyone to seek out copyrighted content of any kind by illegal means. That said, we find the results of a study conducted by the American Assembly, a national non-partisan public affairs forum related to Columbia University, to be rather fascinating. AA,... Read more...
While the country's biggest music labels all seek out a passing of a "six strikes" scheme - one that would result in your Internet being cut off after your sixth offense - BMG has found another way to both increase its revenue and instill fear in music downloaders. Typically, if a copyright holder detects an infringement on your IP address, your ISP is legally-required to forward you a letter. Usually this letter is nothing more than a warning, and can usually be brushed off. But BMG has just gotten creative. Instead of sending a simple warning letter, BMG's creatively-written letter asks for $20 to smooth things over and tries to make you believe that you have no choice but to pay it. As TorrentFreak... Read more...
Game designer Richard Browne has come out swinging in favor of the rumored antipiracy features in the next-gen PlayStation Orbis and Xbox Durango. "The real cost of used games is the damage that is being wrought on the creativity and variety of games available to the consumer," Browne writes. "The real cost of used games is the death of single player gaming." Browne's comments echo those of influential programmer and Raspberry Pi developer David Braben, who wrote last month that "pre-owned has really killed core games... It's killing single player games in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk. I mean, the idea of a game... Read more...
The impact of piracy on the music business has been studied in detail, but the relationship between illegal downloads and film revenue hasn't been explored to nearly the same degree. A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan and Wellesely College has examined the impact of BitTorrent on domestic and foreign ticket sales and come back with some interesting conclusions. The results of the study are being somewhat erroneously reported as "Piracy doesn't hurt the movie industry" but the truth is rather more nuanced. What the researchers found was that in the US, the drop-off in movie revenue from week to week for the period 2003-2006 remained consistent. In theory, the widespread... Read more...
As long as it's for fair use, people living in Switzerland have what amounts to a green light to download copyrighted music and movies without any repercussions. And as far as the Swiss government is concerned, copyright holders might as well go pound sand if they're not willing to adapt to the changing landscape. Piracy is, and will remain legal. The Swiss government isn't being crass, but responding to a study it sponsored to determine the real impact of piracy and whether or not additional laws should be written up. Entertainment industries have long complained that piracy is a real problem that affects their bottom line, a claim that ultimately wasn't supported by the study. "Every time a... Read more...
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