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  1. "We are back. Sorry for the inconvenience." Tracker is up but unstable. Torrent Announcer still down
  2. Winners of the Competition: 2018 World Cup For details here
  3. Google Translation: The chariots of the Gold Mine are full! Freeleech for all until 2018-07-17 22:00:00, Quebec time.
  4. A large coalition of movie and TV show companies has filed for a record-setting site-blocking injunction Down Under. Village Roadshow and several Hollywood companies have teamed up with Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts and local distributor Madman Entertainment Pty. If successful, the application will force Australian ISPs to block 151 domains linked to 77 'pirate' sites. As the battle against online piracy continues, entertainment industry companies are persisting with their site-blocking strategy. There’s some doubt as to whether blockades work but the companies behind them appear happy to commit significant legal resources to have them implemented wherever legislation allows. Australia is one of the few regions where site blocking is specifically baked into local law so it’s no surprise that once entertainment groups got going with successful applications, they would be difficult to rein back. In a new show of force, Village Roadshow Films and Hollywood partners Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal, Warner Bros have been joined by Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Limited and Aussie distributor Madman Entertainment Pty Limited. Together the companies have filed the broadest-ever blocking injunction at the Federal Court. If it succeeds – and there’s nothing thus far to suggest that the application won’t be successful – it will compel Australia’s ISPs to block a record-setting 151 domains related to 77 ‘pirate’ sites. ComputerWorld, which first reported the news, notes that Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG and their subsidiaries are named as respondents in the case. In addition, Vodafone becomes a respondent in a blocking case for the first time, after confirming its entry to the fixed-line broadband market. The injunction application seeks to protect many high-profile movies and TV shows owned by the entertainment companies including The Lego Movie, Dunkirk, Tron: Legacy, and Kingsman: The Secret Service, to The Big Bang Theory and Shameless. Aside from Madman Entertainment Pty, all of the other companies involved in the current coalition have previously filed for blocking injunctions of their own. In addition to several successful previous actions, Village Roadshow and several Hollywood studios won a blocking injunction in April against a pirate IPTV service. Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasts Limited is currently tied up in a case of its own after applying for a blocking injunction last year against several unauthorized IPTV services. Under the Copyright Act, the broadcaster asked the Federal Court to order ISPs including Telstra, Optus, Vocus, and TPG plus their subsidiaries to block access to seven Android-based services named as A1, BlueTV, EVPAD, FunTV, MoonBox, Unblock, and hTV5. However, the application is complex and a final decision is still pending. After fighting their corners for years, the ISPs targeted in these actions now let these applications go unchallenged. None appear in court and are happy for Australia’s custom site-blocking legislation to do its work. The ISPs are left with the choice of how to block (DNS and/or IP address blocking, for example) and are given AUS$50 per domain to help with costs. As a side note, 2018 marks the 10-year anniversary of Aussie ISPs being dragged into the copyright wars. In 2008, iiNet was sued by Village Roadshow and the Hollywood companies behind the current blocking application. They argued that the ISP was responsible for the infringements of its customers but after an epic battle, that eventually ended up at the High Court, the studios lost their case. With ISPs presumably safe and suggestions that users could be sued still sitting in the background, site-blocking is currently the preferred anti-piracy measure Down Under. In February, the Australian government launched a review of its pirate site-blocking laws, with the Department of Communications seeking feedback on the effectiveness of the mechanism, from initial injunction application through to website blocking itself. While no major changes are expected as a result of the review, a tune-up here and there, to further assist rightsholders, is the most likely outcome longer term.
  5. After an uproar among Facebook users whose complaints range from the spread of fake news to the use of the network to manipulate elections and the harvesting of 87 million people’s data by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, the social media giant can add one more nagging problem to that growing list: Pirated movies. In a report on the site of Business Insider, the network told the publication it wasn't the company's responsibility to take down pirated content unless asked to by the rights holders. The stance stands in sharp contrast to its response to manipulated photos and videos being circulated on the network. Facebook had said it had begun proactively “fact-checking” photos and videos to reduce the hoaxes and false news stories. But movie privacy is probably going unchecked. Several groups share pirated movies like ‘Ocean’s 8’ and ‘A Quiet Place’. Some groups, which are several years old, boast titles such as ‘Full HD English Movies’ and ‘Free full movies 2018’ and flaunt more than 150,000 members each. Despite the acquisition of content rights management Source3 last year, to save the work of independent content creators from piracy on the network, Facebook is unable to (or doesn’t want to) effectively deploy the startup’s automated tech and human resources to curb improper sharing of movies as several groups share pirated movies with impunity. Facebook has about 15,000 people working on security and content review, and the figure will rise to more than 20,000 by 2018-end, the social media giant had said in March. But it is not clear is that force is being deployed to curb movie piracy. The latest Facebook transparency report holds that it took down more than 2.8 million pieces of content from 370,000 user copyright violation reports in the second half of 2017. On the financial front as well, Facebook is becoming unpopular with socially-conscious stakeholders as they look to rethink their Facebook holdings after a scandal involving the improper sharing of users’ information.
  6. Email addresses, passwords, and lists of file names were exposed. Thousands of credentials for accounts associated with New Zealand-based file storage service Mega have been published online, ZDNet has learned. The text file contains over 15,500 usernames, passwords, and files names, indicating that each account had been improperly accessed and file names scraped. Patrick Wardle, chief research officer and co-founder at Digita Security, found the text file in June after it had been uploaded to malware analysis site VirusTotal some months earlier by a user purportedly in Vietnam. Wardle passed the data to ZDNet. We verified that the data belonged to Mega, the file-sharing site formerly owned by internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom by contacting several users, who confirmed that the email address, password, and some of the files we showed them were used on Mega. The listings date back to the cloud service's debut in 2013, and as recently as January. We sent the data to Troy Hunt, who runs data breach notification site Have I Been Pwned, to analyze. His analysis pointed to credential stuffing -- where usernames and passwords are stolen from other sites and ran against other sites -- rather than a direct breach of Mega's systems. He said that 98 percent of the email addresses in the file had already been in a previous breach collected in his database. Some 87 percent of the accounts in the Mega file were found in a massive collection of 2,844 data breaches that he uploaded to the service in February, said Hunt. Of those we contacted, five said that they had used the same password on different sites. When reached, Mega chairman Stephen Hall also said the exposed credentials pointed to credential stuffing, and not a breach. He said in an email that the list is "only 0.0001 percent of our 115 million registered users." It's not known who compiled the list or how the data was scraped. Although the site claims to offer end-to-end encryption so that even the company can't see what is uploaded, the site doesn't allow for two-factor authentication -- making it far easier to break into accounts when a user's account password leaks. An attacker would only need to use the credentials to log in to each account to confirm they work, and to scrap the file names. Hall said the company plans to introduce two-factor authentication "soon," but did not say when. Mega keeps a record of the IP address of each user who logs in to an account. Three users said they saw suspicious logins accessing their account from countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, and South America in the past few months since the credentials file was uploaded. One of the accounts in the file contained file listings for what appeared to describe child abuse content. Given the nature of the account's content, ZDNet informed the authorities. In a reply to our email, Hall said it was "unclear" if the child abuse content was uploaded by the original account owner or if it was uploaded by someone else using the account as an anonymous drop box. But the illegal content was uploaded years earlier, according to upload dates on the file listing, making any recent third-party involvement unlikely. "Mega has zero tolerance for child sexual abuse materials," said Hall. "Any reports result in links being deactivated immediately, the user's account closed and the details provided to the authorities." "Mega can't act as censor by examining content as it is encrypted at the user's device before being transferred to Mega," he said. "As well as it being technically impossible, it is also practically infeasible for Mega and other major cloud storage providers, with 100s of files being uploaded each second." It's not the first time Mega has faced security issues. In 2016, hackers claimed to obtain internal Mega documents. Hall said at the time that no user data was compromised.
  7. The Saudi-based Arabsat has accused Qatari-owned BeIN Sports of a 'smear campaign' An investigation carried out by seven independent satellite communications experts has found no evidence that satellite frequencies belonging to the Riyadh-based Arab Satellite Communications Organisation were used for illegal broadcasts of the World Cup by ‘beoutQ’, Arabsat announced on Monday. Broadcaster BeIN Sports had earlier claimed that beoutQ was using an Arabsat signal to illegally transmit its broadcasts since last October, appearing in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan and countries further afield. The allegation was later repeated by FIFA, world football’s governing body. Four days before the end of the tournament on Sunday, FIFA announced it was preparing to take legal action against pirate broadcasters in Saudi Arabia. In a letter sent to FIFA on Arabsat’s behalf, the organisation presented evidence is says “conclusively” shows that FIFA’s allegations are inaccurate. “Arabsat has always been confident that our satellite network has not been used by beoutQ,” said Khalid Balkheyour, Arabsat’s CEO. “Nevertheless, we undertook a very costly investigation to eliminate any doubts and to provide evidence to share with FIFA and the world.” The Arabsat letter detailed specific tests which it claims show why FIFA’s allegations that beoutQ was operating on specific Arabsat frequencies at specific times were wrong. The Riyadh-based satellite firm said FIFA claimed that beoutQ was broadcasting on Arabsat frequency 12341 MHz for several matches. However, Arabsat’s investigation purports to show that no video content was carried on the dates and times specified by FIFA. Arabsat also said that its investigation shows that other satellite carriers might be carrying beoutQ’s pirate broadcasts. “We received one set of test results in which our expert blocked all Arabsat frequencies, but beoutQ’s World Cup broadcasts continued,” Balkheyour said. “Arabsat is entirely vindicated in its decision to undertake its comprehensive investigation before taking the drastic step of shutting down satellite transponders, as FIFA had demanded.” Smear campaign In a statement, Arabsat said that the findings have “deepened” its belief that BeIN Sports - a subsidiary of Al Jazeera, is “behind allegations that Arabsat satellites have been used by beoutQ. “Arabsat believes BeIN Sports contrived the allegations as part of a smear campaign to deflect attention away from its technological inability to prevent beoutQ’s piracy,” the statement said. “Arabsat has demanded that FIFA immediately issue a public retraction of and apology for its claims that Arabsat was somehow complicit or did not do enough to stop beoutQ. “Arabsat has been deeply offended and harmed by BeIN’s and FIFA’s attacks,” Balkheyour said. “Now that FIFA has been proven wrong, it should apologize for making such offensive statements.”
  8. Sharing music, images and movies - using a PVR to record TV shows, creating your own Hitler parodies from Downfall and using photos from websites - is something many of people do every day. But are they legal activities? It's possible that you're breaking copyright laws, either intentionally or inadvertently every day. Here's a look at copyright law and what you can do to protect yourself. Australian Copyright law is so complex that lawyers, lawmakers and experts can make careers arguing over how it's interpreted and applied. But if you're caught out, you can't use ignorance as an excuse as the law doesn't (officially) offer leniency for misunderstanding or lack of knowledge. How can you comply with convoluted copyright laws when you can't realistically understand them all? We've all seen the messages warning us against pirating when we pop a movie into a DVD player or visit the cinema. And we've seen some recent cases where content distributors have taken action against websites that facilitate access to pirated material. So, despite the copyright messages and warnings, it's still enough of a problem that the Village Roadshow CEO penned a letter that bordered on hysterical suggesting Australia could end up "as bleak as a remote Bejing suburb" as a result of content piracy. Of course, if we had more warnings like this one, perhaps things wouldn't be as dire. Format shifting is OK - sometimes It's legal for you to create backups, for personal use, of some types of media. If you own a CD, you can rip a copy of it for personal use but you have to retain the original CD and you can't distribute the copy. For books, it's illegal to download a "pirated" version of a physical book you own but it's legal for you to scan every page and make your own backup copy for personal use. With movies, it is illegal to rip DVDs or Blu-ray to make a copy for backup purposes. But if you purchased a VHS movie, you can format shift that. The difference is that the disc-bound movies are encrypted whereas the tape isn't. Here's what the Australian Law Reform Commission says about DVD and Blu-ray ripping: The format shifting exception for films only applies to copies made from films in analog form. It does not allow digital-to-digital copying. This means the exception does not apply to copies made for example, from DVDs and Blu-Ray discs and digital copies downloaded from the internet. One reason given for this limitation is that ‘unrestricted digital-to-digital copying could allow consumers to reproduce the full picture quality and features provided in commercially produced digital film content’. Time-Shifting If you choose to record something from TV for later viewing, what the legal-eagles call "time-shifting", then you can do that and watch the recording in a reasonable time. Of course, reasonable is a super-fuzzy term. Let's say you recorded the FIFA World Cup final the other night, you could watch that next week but keeping it in your personal library to watch in a few year's time probably doesn't fit the definition of "reasonable". But Sharing Is Caring I often see friends share a favourite page from a book or a recipe by taking a picture of the page and popping it onto Facebook or Instagram. This falls into the murky waters of "fair dealing" (the US calls this "fair use"). A recent article looked at this and said that under Australian law, you can use copyrighted material in the following situations. research or study criticism or review parody or satire reporting the news provision of legal advice The advice given in that article says you should consider whether the copying is necessary, that you shouldn't copy any ore than what's needed and you ought not use the copy to compete with the original. So, it's unlikely sharing a page from a book is going to get you into trouble if you're basically using it to provide a mini review or critique. Enforcement Regimes And Rules Vary Across The Word There's a great example in article on The Conversation I referred to earlier where a mother used a short clip of the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" with a video of her toddler. YouTube removed the clip, citing copyright violation, but was forced to put the clip back as the mother was protected under US fair use law. However, if she'd been Australian, she would to have had the same rights as our fair dealing laws are different. So, it can be tricky to even work out what's allowed because the rules are different depending on where you are. The Challenge Rights holders can be fickle about what they choose to have removed and what to leave alone. So it's difficult to rely on the law for guidance. The result is that we - the average users and consumers of the internet - are unsure of how to proceed when dealing with copyrighted works and either have to assume we have no rights or make our best guess and hope it doesn't lead to legal consequences. Some actions, like the creation of a "mix tape" have been tolerated in the past as the effort required to create "playlists" of songs we liked and share them with others was very high. Now that we have digital music files, we can throw together a mix "tape" in a matter of seconds. While the action of making a mix tape violated copyright law it was tolerated because it required a lot of effort, had a inefficient method of mass distribution, and was often an effective marketing tool. Digital files made mass distribution both efficient and easy, which led to intolerance on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and several ineffective lawsuits. Now that we have streaming music services like Spotify, Apple Music and others, the music industry has more or less caught up with what consumers want. We have relatively low-cost access to a massive library of music and we can create our own playlist as long as we pay our monthly fee. Downloading TV Shows and Movies remains a problem but the situation is changing. It is clearly illegal to download unlicensed TV shows and movies from file sharing services. While some are stealing television and film content because they do not want to pay, many are employing piracy because the barrier to entry is unrealistic for most consumers. But that is changing. Stan, Netflix and iTunes all make video content easily available on demand for monthly or short-term rental fees. But content deals that lock certain content to specific delivery channels - such as shows that are only available to terrestrial broadcasters or exclusively in theatres for long periods - provide an incentive for some people to access content from streaming sites, like the one blocked recently following Foxtel's successful legal action. What Can You Do? The easy answer is to be really careful. But even taking a photo with a poster in the background can be a copyright violation in some circumstances. When it comes to music, movies and TV shows, the answer is simple. If you pay a licensed content provider for the content then you're not breaking the law. If you're making backups of your digital media then that's fine but you need to retain the originals and not distribute the copies. If you're sharing a small mount of content from a copyrighted source, like a short clip of a song or a page from a book, limit what you share to the smallest amount possible and make it clear that what you're offering is a view or critique.
  9. China's copyright watchdog launched a four-month national campaign on Monday to crack down on online copyright infringement, mostly targeting online reposts of articles, video clips and animation games. The campaign will target copyright infringement in online media, particularly self-employed accounts on social media such as weibo and WeChat. Without permission, those accounts repost news stories, take excerpts from original articles or tamper with them. The campaign will regulate such behavior in search engines, browsers, application stores, weibo and WeChat, according to the National Copyright Administration of China. "We will inspect illegal cases involving reposting stories, shutting down illegal news websites and their online accounts, to rectify and improve infringement behaviors," said Yu Cike, director of copyright management for the National Copyright Administration of China. The campaign will also target unauthorized short videos. It will oversee popular short video apps, such as Douyin and Kuaishou, to crack down on pirated short videos, and also guide such sites in self-regulation through copyright and communication protocols to establish a positive business model. Animation games will also be targeted. The battle will crack down on behaviors spreading pirated animation works through website, apps and social media accounts. It will target those making related products without permission, such as animations related to toys and customs. The battle will target online livestreaming, knowledge sharing and podcast platforms against infringement. Yu urged internet companies to carry out internal copyright inspection management and also to improve their procedures to quickly deal with infringement reports. To carry out effective law enforcement in the campaign, a meeting was held in Beijing on Thursday with about 120 business representatives. The national annual campaign, called Sword at the Internet, began in 2005 and aims to tackle online copyright infringement in music, movies, literature, games, e-commerce, software and applications - everything involved in online copyright infringement. It has become a calling card for China to crack down on online copyright infringement. Each year, the campaign chose some specialized areas in which to focus. The campaign is successful and has made inroads in cleaning up the online environment. In the last campaign in 2017, supervisory departments performed 63,000 evaluations of websites, either online or at physical premises, and subsequently closed down 2,554 sites. Law enforcement officers confiscated more than 2.76 million printed books, CDs and DVDs. Some 543 cases involving alleged online infringement were filed for investigation by the copyright authorities. Of those, 57 were investigated in cooperation with local police.
  10. Vodafone broadband customers targeted for the first time Village Roadshow Films and a group of film studios — Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal, Warner Bros — have been joined by Hong Kong company Television Broadcasts Limited (and subsidiary TVBO Production Limited) as well as Australian entertainment distributor Madman Entertainment Pty Limited in a push to significantly expand the range of piracy-linked sites blocked by major Australian ISPs. The group of entertainment companies has filed an application for injunction in the Federal Court that, if granted, will force Australia’s biggest telcos to take steps to block their customers from accessing 151 domains linked to 77 separate online services that allegedly engage in or facilitate copyright infringement. That makes it the most far-reaching application for a site-blocking injunction so far, at least in terms of individual services allegedly linked to piracy. (In August, the Federal Court ordered a group of ISPs to block access to 58 sites and 200 related domains in response to separate applications from Foxtel and Roadshow.) For the first time ever Vodafone, which only late last year confirmed its entry into the fixed-line broadband market, is a respondent in the current application, alongside Telstra, Optus, Vocus and TPG. The companies’ subsidiaries are also listed, meaning customers of ISPs such as Dodo, Primus, iiNet, Internode and Adam Internet will also be affected if the injunction is granted. After the initial wave of applications, which saw rights holders and ISPs argue over the cost of implementing site blocks, telcos have not appeared in court. Computerworld understands Vodafone does not intend to appear in court. The 2015 changes to the Australian Copyright Act that facilitate the site-blocking injunctions only affect fixed-line broadband services; however, both Telstra and Optus have confirmed to Computerworld that they also prevent mobile access to sites that the Federal Court has ordered blocked. The court orders sought echo those granted in response to past applications. Telcos will have the choice of using DNS blocking, IP address blocking or re-routing, URL blocking or any alternative means (if agreement can be reached with the applicants). Telcos will receive $50 per domain name blocked to help defray their expenses. As grounds for granting the injunction, the application lists a range of copyright material: The Lego Movie, Cinderella, Toy Story, Tron: Legacy, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Spy, Mother!, The Gambler, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Shallows, This Is the End, Smurfs: The Lost Village, Despicable Me 3, Jurassic World, Straight Outta Compton, The Big Bang Theory: season 7, episode 24, Dunkirk, Shameless: season 4, episode 12, Dead Wrong: episode 1, May Fortune Smile On You: episode 1, Witness Insecurity: episode 1, House of Spirits: episode 1, Line Walker: The Prelude: episode 1, Provocateur: episode 1, Dagashi Kashi: episode 1, Sword Art Online: episode 1. In June, a Foxtel application for injunction was granted, blocking 15 sites (and 28 domains). Earlier this year, Roadshow was granted a site-blocking injunction that targeted a streaming service designed for Android-based set-top boxes. Currently before the court is another application brought TVB, which also targets Android-based set-top boxes. The Hong Kong TV producer is seeking to block online services associated with the A1, BlueTV, EVPAD, FunTV, MoonBox, Unblock, and hTVS set-top boxes. Uncertainty around the copyright status of some material used in the company’s application means it is not clear whether an injunction will be granted. INCOPRO Research commissioned by the Australian Screen Association and released in February claimed that site-blocking injunctions had helped slash traffic to targeted pirate services by more than half, compared to December 2016.
  11. "We're aware of the current downtime and looking into it."
  12. Chinese authorities have launched a new four-month crackdown on copyright infringements and piracy among the country’s vastly popular short-video platforms. The National Copyright Administration, the Cyberspace Administration, public security and information technology ministries, will work together to monitor and punish operators whose sites host large amounts of content that violate intellectual property rights, they said in a joint statement. The popularity of short-video mobile platforms has skyrocketed in China, leading to fierce competition among multiple apps that are backed by some of the country’s biggest tech firms, including Bytedance Technology’s Tik Tok and Tencent Holdings’ Kuaishou and Weishi. Each is vying for an ever bigger slice of a market that nearly tripled in value last year to CNY5.7 billion (USD900 million), according to digital media data firm iResearch. Tik Tok leads the market with more than 150 million daily active viewers, equivalent to around one-fifth of the country's total internet users. The latest crackdown, which authorities kicked off early this month, focuses on the unauthorized imitation, performance and dissemination of film and television, music, photography and written content without the creators’ permission. But the offensive is not limited just to short-video platforms. It also encompasses official accounts on social media apps such as WeChat and Weibo, as well as live-streamers and audiobooks. Regulators will draft rules regarding copyrighted content related to search engine results, browsers, app stores, social media and shut down news websites and channels found to be serial violators of intellectual property rights.