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  1. Site is unstable, experiencing constant outages.
  2. Google Translation: The activity has an additional reward of 0.01 condom See the announcement for details
  3. Convicted Copyright Troll Lawyer Sues US Attorney General Over His Right to ‘Trap’ Pirates Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys behind the controversial Prenda Law firm, has sued US Attorney General William Barr. The former attorney, who's sitting out a 14-year prison sentence, wants the court to greenlight his plans to trap pirates with a honeypot. The US sees this as a criminal act but, according to Hansmeier, it is the only effective way to stop torrent piracy. The now-defunct Prenda Law firm became notorious for taking alleged BitTorrent pirates to court. These copyright lawsuits were not illegal in themselves, but Prenda crossed criminal lines when it lied to courts and trapped people by uploading self-made adult content on The Pirate Bay. They were effectively running a honeypot scheme. The matter landed on the desk of the FBI and with help from The Pirate Bay, eventually resulted in two criminal convictions. Last summer, Prenda lawyer John Steele was sentenced to five years in prison, and his colleague Paul Hansmeier received a 14-year sentence. The different terms in part reflect the lawyers’ cooperation with the authorities. Steele was remorseful and admitted guilt while Hansmeier fought back, something he continues to do to this day. Hansmeier Sues US Attorney General This week, the convicted lawyer filed a new lawsuit at a federal court in Wisconsin. In a handwritten complaint, filed from prison, the disbarred attorney sues US Attorney General William Bar, requesting a declaratory judgment that harkens back to the honeypot scheme. As we reported a few weeks ago, Hansmeier has plans to sue alleged BitTorrent pirates again. He obtained the copyrights to a small adult video and informed the court that he would like to upload this to pirate sites with help from an investigator, so he can track down and prosecute pirates. In order to set this honeypot up, the former Prenda attorney wants the court to rule that his strategy is not illegal. Because it’s similar to the original scheme he ran, Hansmeier requests a declaratory judgment ruling confirming that various criminal statutes violate his first amendment rights, among other things. US Government is Powerless Against Torrent Sites The complaint starts by describing the economic losses caused by piracy. A lot of this harm is done by torrent sites, he writes, pointing out that the government is well aware of the problem as it shut down the popular KickassTorrent site a few years ago. While this site remains offline, it hasn’t solved the larger problem. “Ultimately, though, the government is powerless to stop the proliferation of these websites. Whenever one website is shut down, another website just pops up in place of the old one – after all, the new website need only copy the links from the old website,” Hansmeier writes. The convicted attorney believes that, in the long run, his own honeypot scheme is the only effective enforcement tool. The complaint describes a ‘testing strategy’ where the rightsholder uses an investigator to populate pirate sites with copyrighted material to track and prosecute pirates. Trapping Pirates Works “The only strategy that has been effective is the testing strategy described above,” Hansmeier argues, noting that the torrents will be posted anonymously, so users won’t know which ones are linked to the honeypot. https://torrentfreak.com/images/testingstrategy.jpg “Once pirates believe that links on torrent websites were posted by copyright holders as a lawsuit trap then, in Plaintiff’s personal experience, the pirates will warn each other and stop using the site. And, since it is easy and free to post links on torrent websites, new sites that pop up can easily get any inundated with testing links.” When enough lawsuits are filed around the world, traffic to torrent sites should decrease, which results in less advertising revenue for the site’s operators. This strategy should eventually lead to the demise of torrent sites, Handmeier envisions. “With robust testing efforts, copyright holders could very quickly make piracy websites unprofitable to operate by deterring lucrative advertising targets (Americans, Europeans and some Asians) from using the sites. Anti-piracy claims can readily be filed in most countries which were signatories to international copyright treaties.” Hansmeier Has Started Tracking Pirates Already Hansmeier says he already started up the scheme. An investigator recently uploaded a torrent to a popular piracy site, tracking three downloaders. He would like to prosecute them but is worried that the US Attorney General may come after him for doing so. With the current lawsuit, the convicted attorney effectively asks the court to greenlight his strategy. Specifically, he asks for a declaration that paragraphs 1341, 1343, and 1951 of the US Criminal Code violate his First Amendment rights, the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, as well as the Constitution’s separation of powers. Given the position Hansmeier is in, this lawsuit is likely a defensive move. While he may indeed want to prove a point by going after pirates in a similar, but more open, fashion as Prenda did. The ulterior motive is likely to get a ruling he can use to fight his own prison sentence. — A copy of Hansmeier’s complaint against US Attorney General William Barr is available here (pdf). Source: Torrentfreak.com
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  10. The entertainment industry-backed group Digital Citizens Alliance and content protection company NAGRA have published a new study which estimates the pirate IPTV market in the US to be worth a cool billion dollars. So who is making the big bucks from illicit live TV and VOD content and how? In June, TorrentFreak published an article which gave a very brief outline of the pirate IPTV business, in particular how those services are sold and how customers are serviced. The report scratched only the service of what is a highly organized industry, one that over the past several years has developed into a global phenomenon – not to mention a thorn in the side of major entertainment industry groups. A new report from content protection company NAGRA takes a much deeper dive, outlining not only the structure of pirate IPTV supply but also providing estimates on the size of the market in the United States and who’s making money from it. Right off the bat, it’s worth noting that the report is co-presented by the Digital Citizens Alliance, a Hollywood-funded group that has produced highly-critical studies in the past, focusing variously on the so-called ‘cyberlocker’ market and alleged connections between pirate content and malware. US Pirate IPTV Market Estimated to Be Worth a Cool Billion Dollars Titled “Money for Nothing”, the headline figure in the report is that the pirate IPTV market in the United States generates a billion dollars every year. This is the revenue from subscriptions alone and excludes the costs associated with buying hardware (set-top boxes etc) to play the content. NAGRA says that subscription costs vary quite wildly ($2pm to $25pm) but most average between $10pm to $15pm. For the purposes of the study, NAGRA presumes $10pm ($120 per year) for a typical sunscriber. The researchers believe that nine million households in the US currently have a pirate subscription, meaning that when other household residents are accounted for, around 30 million individuals are watching content from these sources, which is roughly nine percent of the population. The stated aim of the report is to determine whether this poses a major threat to legitimate providers, one that “should draw the immediate and sustained attention of policymakers and law enforcement.” How the Pirate IPTV Market is Structured “The consumer’s point of contact with the piracy ecosystem is the PS IPTV [Pirate Subscription IPTV] Retailer. The Retailer advertises to the public, often through social media, driving users to a storefront website where they can download the app, buy a device with the app pre-installed, or otherwise receive instructions on how to access and pay for the services,” the report reads. “Typically, the Retailer purchases its service from a PS IPTV Wholesaler. Often, the Retailer buys ‘credits’ from a Wholesaler to sell a certain number of subscriptions to consumers. The Retailer relies on the Wholesaler’s technical infrastructure and access to stolen content to deliver the service to subscribers. The Retailer spends little in upfront costs, and can purchase additional credits from the Wholesaler whenever its customer base expands.” The report shies away from providing lists of retailers and wholesalers but one well-known service, Rocketstreams, gets a particularly clear and prominent mention, as the image below shows. https://torrentfreak.com/images/rocketstreams-nagra.png “In some instances, a Wholesaler may be a fully integrated operation, gathering the feeds of the stolen channels, developing its own proprietary technology, and using its own servers and software to scrape internet sources for stored movies and television shows for Video on Demand (VOD) services. More commonly, a Wholesaler will outsource or barter for one or more of these functions,” the NAGRA report adds. It’s common knowledge that most ‘wholesalers’ don’t have direct source access to all of the channels they provide to their customers, since the logistics are both complex and expensive. Instead, as the report notes, it’s common for them to work with other ‘wholesalers’ to either share channel packages to fill gaps in their respective offerings or buy the rights to restream them outright. Pirate IPTV Retailers: Costs and Profits Beginning with the customer-facing retailers, NAGRA estimates that in the US alone, they operate via 3,500 storefront websites, social media pages, and stores within online marketplaces. A large retailer could have as many as 100,000 subscribers, NAGRA says, while highlighting YouTube star and former IPTV seller Bill Omar Carrasquillo, a.k.a. OMI IN A HELLCAT, as one of the most high-profile. Categorizing Carrasquillo as a ‘retailer’ could be up for debate, however, since he’s on record as stating that he captured his own content, meaning that he could also be considered a wholesaler under the report’s definition. However, it’s likely that at times he did both and anyway, the main point being highlighted is that he sold to the public and reportedly made millions doing so. Of course, not everyone operates on the scale that Carrasquillo did, a point acknowledged by NAGRA. Due to the low barriers to entry, retailers/resellers may have only a few thousand customers or less and for the study, the company analyzed a retailer with around 5,000 subscribers buying subscriptions at $10pm/$120 pa, generating around $600,000 per year. NAGRA looked at the investment and costs involved (including web development and buying ‘credits’ from wholesalers and arrived at profits of $265,000 per year. https://torrentfreak.com/images/nagr...iler-costs.png “In this example, a PS IPTV Retailer with just 5,000 subscribers can expect to make a yearly profit of over $335,000 on an estimated $600,000 in annual revenues. That’s a robust 56 percent profit margin. Moreover, because this is an illegal business, it is highly unlikely that the PS IPTV Retailer is reporting this income to the Internal Revenue Service, so that profit may be tax-free,” NAGRA notes. Pirate IPTV Wholesalers: Costs and Profits “NAGRA estimates that a large Wholesaler may serve streams — through multiple retailers — to millions of subscribers worldwide. This research is rooted in close scrutiny of these operators. For example, NAGRA assisted the investigation that led to the June 2020 Spanish National Police raid that took down dozens of related PS IPTV brands, serving over 2 million subscribers worldwide. “NAGRA discovered 566 domain names pointing to the raided servers, many of which included terms that suggest that they are used to sell or deliver PS IPTV services,” the report reads. For the purposes of the report, NAGRA looked at what it believes to be a typically-sized wholesaler serving around 30,000 subscribers through retailers, meaning that it had no associated retail costs. NAGRA estimates that a typical wholesaler sells restreaming connections for $6 per subscriber per month, with one connection servicing as many consumers as needed. If the wholesaler sells restreaming connections to 10 other wholesalers, it can generate revenues of $144,000 per year. In respect of retail sales, when offered to retailers/resellers at $4 per credit (1 credit = 1 month subscription), the cost is $48.00 to the retailer. “Assuming the 30,000 subscribers are all acquired through its Retailers, the Wholesaler’s revenue would be ($48 x 30,000) = $1,440,000 per year, bringing the Wholesaler’s total revenue to $1,584,000 per year.” Of course, no business exists without costs and NAGRA provides a fairly detailed overview of its estimates, available as images here and here. The bottom line, however, is that wholesalers are more profitable than retailers/resellers, at least when their setup costs are gradually removed as their business gets into full swing. “Once the service has ramped up and capital expenditures have been amortized, this typical Wholesaler would make a yearly profit of over $1,345,200, with a profit margin of 85 percent, also likely tax-free,” the company adds. Legitimate Companies Are Supporting Illegal Business Over the past several years there have been growing demands for legitimate companies to stop doing business with pirate sites and services. At least in part, the report – which will no doubt be used as a lobbying tool in the months and years to come – aims to put those entities under pressure. Payment processors, credit card companies, hosting providers, CDN companies, website services and social media companies all get a general mention for playing a role, from directly processing subscription payments through to tolerating marketing campaigns that drive traffic to pirate services. Alleged Harms to the Consumer While there doesn’t appear to be any major or fundamental issues with NAGRA’s industry overview, no Digital Citizens Alliance report would be complete without claims of piracy hurting the consumer. Indeed, the report speaks loosely of malware issues in respect of pirate apps being unsafe and some pirates collaborating with “hackers and other bad actors” to steal or hijack data, mine cryptocurrency, and other nefarious activities. However, the section is worth reading closely since most references do not relate to premium pirate IPTV subscriptions, with NAGRA only noting that “PS IPTV operators may, either currently or in the future, engage in the same behavior.” Another observation appears to be targeted at government and lawmakers. It has little to do with piracy but has the potential to throw fuel on the fire in the corridors of power since it links terrorism with IPTV providers. “[O]ut of the hundreds of PS IPTV services monitored in NAGRA labs over recent years, nearly 50 percent included Al-Manar in their channel list. The Al-Manar channel was labeled in 2004 by the U.S. government as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity.’ It is banned in the United States and in a number of European countries,” the report reads. Al-Manar, of course, is a Lebanese-based TV station owned and operated by political party/militant group Hezbollah which is not only considered a terrorist group by many countries around the world, but also receives backing from Iran. It’s a small point in the report but is almost guaranteed to make headlines in the future. The full report can be downloaded here (pdf) Source: Torrentfreak.com
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  13. Often, many people download media through a torrent network and this is a common practice among young people. But sharing or downloading the files online could be an infringement of the copyright law. Many believe that downloading files for personal use doesn’t result in any legal consequences. On the contrary, they do. Filmmakers repeatedly take action against those who illegally download their works and people who lose intellectual property lawsuits have to pay a huge penalty to the plaintiff. Lawsuits associated with online intellectual property issues are a common concern and you may find yourself in serious trouble with such content. Anybody facing a lawsuit related to downloading copyrighted materials or BitTorrent must carefully evaluate their options. Online downloading and BitTorrent lawsuits is a quite complicated legal area. To some people, a settlement is a better option. You may not be able to fathom how serious the matter can be and if you are wondering how can a company prove that you are responsible for the act of copyright infringement, the truth is that anything you do online leaves a footprint. There could be records of downloads in the hard drive, even after the file has been deleted. Some people try to take advantage of various IP addresses or use a public network to hide behind anonymity. No matter how carefully you try to hide your online actions, it is likely that the plaintiff can prove that you downloaded copyrighted content. What you will need to do is fair negotiation and a fair settlement. Defense possibilities in copyright infringement lawsuits Suppose you are not the responsible person, but a member of your family or your friend downloaded any file from your system, this may help you in court. There are many ways to defend yourself or someone you know, who is facing allegations of copyright infringement. The only best way to deal with it is to talk to a national torrent defense attorney who has experience with intellectual property cases. With professional guidance, you can mitigate the harsher impact of a lawsuit in such cases. Another important mention is that if your name gets inserted into the lawsuit then that may appear in online searches that are carried out during employment-related background searches, and that can hinder you from fetching a job in the future on having to explain why you had been a defendant in a movie piracy case. After how many days of downloading can a movie production company sue? Generally, the copyright statute of limitations is three years and you may get a notice for infringement before the period expires. Sometimes a movie company may wait to allow you many downloads so that the cases of infringement against you get racked up and then take legal action. This is done to increase infringement damages and claim more penalty from you. The legal defenses to a piracy allegation A common defense is an unsecured Wi-Fi network where you can show that a third person, maybe your roommate, friend, family member, or a neighbour is responsible for the illegal download through the Wi-Fi. But know that many ISP agreements may show that you could be held responsible for any activity from your account. How long does it take to settle a case? It can take from a few days to a few months. Winding-up In situations where you find yourself facing infringement lawsuits, consult with a reputed national torrent defense attorney to save you from heavy penalties. It is an essential responsibility of a lawyer to represent you rightly and guide you well through the legal proceedings and carry out all paperwork. Do not waste tour valuable time, and find an expert in this niche to efficiently and effectively settle your case.
  14. Movie studios estimate that they lose billions of dollars to digital movie piracy. But a new marketing study from the University of Georgia finds that piracy can actually boost ticket sales in certain situations. The reason: pirates talk. Pirated movies circulated online after their theatrical release saw about 3% higher box office receipts because of the increase in word-of-mouth advertising, according to Neil Bendle, an associate professor of marketing at the Terry College of Business. Bendle is quick to point out that prerelease piracy is still financially damaging for movie studios. But post-theatrical release piracy was connected to more word-of-mouth and higher ticket sales. “We don’t want to give the impression that piracy is a good thing, but there is something to the argument that piracy can increase markets,” Bendle said. “We wanted to find out when that might be the case.” Bendle and his co-authors — Shane Wang of the University of Western Ontario and Shije Lu of the University of Houston — published their findings in a recent issue of Management Science. They analyzed movie ticket sales, piracy rates and crowdsourced movie reviews between July 2015 and June 2017, using data from Russia, where authorities have blocked the popular Pirate Bay torrent since 2015. Pirate Bay was one of the most significant digital piracy sites on the internet for several years between 2010 and 2020 but is now banned in many countries. The research team used activity on the site as a benchmark for piracy rates. They analyzed movie revenues before and during 2015, after a late 2014 law enforcement raid shut down the Pirate Bay website for about a year. During Pirate Bay’s hiatus, word-of-mouth and movie revenues both dipped. “When the Pirate Bay was taken down by the Swedish police, we see a drop in word-of-mouth because people can’t watch these movies on the Pirate Bay,” Bendle said. “And then, we see a contemporaneous decline in ticket sales. When we see that associated fall in word-of-mouth, and then a decline in movie sales, it was a nice bit of evidence that we were moving in the right direction.” Though it sounds counterintuitive, Bendle’s team connected the dips to a decline in movie fans talking about the titles online. With the reduction in online buzz, fewer people were interested in seeing the movies in theaters or streaming them legally. “With post-theatrical release piracy, people who are super keen on it or would have gone anyhow have already gone,” Bendle said. “People who are not going on the opening weekend can be drawn to it by people who have watched the movie and blogged about it. Bloggers don’t have to produce their ticket before they write about it. Pirates can still give a useful, valid opinion for consumers.” Movies only benefitted from the boost in word-of-mouth advertising if the title was pirated and circulated after its theatrical release. Films that were pirated before their release dates saw an 11% decline in their overall revenue, despite increased word-of-mouth. “There’s a key distinction between pre- and post-release piracy,” Bendle said. “We substantiate that prerelease piracy is very bad. It can undermine a film before it comes out.” The takeaway for movie studios is that they should target their anti-piracy efforts to prevent pirated copies of their movies from leaking onto the internet before their theatrical release, Bendle said. “They’ve got limited resources to try to track down movie pirates,” he said. “We’re saying that the best use of those resources should be put toward controlling digital copies of the movie prerelease and not at who’s pirating it after the theatrical release.”
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