Staffers reflect on the fifth anniversary of the iPad, ponder the Surface 3
Presenting episode nine of The MacNN Podcast, which this week features a hands-on report on the new 2015 MacBook Pro, along with some chatting about the recently-revealed new MacBook benchmarks, well ahead of its April 10 debut. We also celebrate the fifth anniversary of the iPad by talking about the many ways, big and small, it has changed our lives. We discuss the new Surface 3 from Microsoft, the Doctor Who BBC bundle on BitTorrent, and more.
Daring move offers entire Series Eight and extras for $1 per episode
In one of the most daring moves in recent memory, the BBC is experimenting with a BitTorrent "bundle" to offer a box set of the popular sf/fantasy series Doctor Who as a legal download. The "Decade of the Doctor" bundle includes some free content, including a welcome video featuring the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and a 10-minute except of the first of the "modern era" episodes from 2005. For $12, buyers can unlock 12 full episodes and bonus content.
Some claim that installation was without user permission
BitTorrent client Āµtorrent is plaguing its users by installing a virtual currency miner alongside its latest revision. While the company denies tricking users into installation, the torrent client does come bundled with "Epic Scale," a Windows application that is used to mine Litecoin. Some users claim to have discovered it only after noticing significant processor load following installation of the client.
Company looks to change the way the web is accessed, consumed with new project
BitTorrent, for good or ill, was a giant step for pushing data out to clients. While it's most often associated with piracy, it has many practical applications on the correct side of the law. The transfer technology is allowing the company to look in new directions -- such as chat clients and commerce -- but its now looking to additional avenues like web browsing with "Project Maelstrom."
Paid BitTorrent Bundles offer content creators 90-percent revenue share
BitTorrent is allowing more companies and content creators the ability to sell content packages across the peer-to-peer file sharing network, by opening up BitTorrent Bundle to more artists. A project using paygates which has been under development since last year, BitTorrent Bundle aims to make collections of songs and other media available to purchase, with content creators set to receive the lion's share of funds.
Encrypted chat used BitTorrent backbone to provide secure communications
Peer-to-peer protocol pioneer BitTorrent has released an alpha version of its chat client. BitTorrent has revealed Bleep -- what used to be called BitTorrent Chat -- for Android and OS X. Bleep offers fully-encrypted, end-to-end communications between users only stored locally on devices, and not retained by servers any step of the way.
Exec proposes bonuses for users, websites assisting with 'congestion'
BitTorrent's Chief Executive Officer Eric Klinker has made his response to the US Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality proposal, using the "fast lane" provisions, known. Klinker believes that a model similar to that of the electric distribution in the US can be used, where users and websites get lower rates for use in times of lower demand rather than the potential conflict of interest, and double-payment, that ISPs would get for having sponsored faster access under FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal.
Watch ABC app for iOS updated, adds AirPlay and Chromecast support
American television network ABC has updated its content streaming app for iOS. Watch ABC allows its users to view the network's shows, sports content, news and weather reports on demand - so long as a participating cable TV provider account is used to sign in to the service. Live video content is available in Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles and other major cities, subject to the participating TV provider as well. Watch ABC v3.4.0 now includes the ability to stream content with AirPlay, via Apple TV, and as well by using Chromecast via Google Chromecast. Watch ABC for iOS is free to download, and requires iOS 5.0 or later to run.
Company releases first chat application Bleep, currently only available for Windows
BitTorrent is making an attempt to diversify its offerings even more. While the company has said it was adding pay options to its Bundles early in the month, it has now launched a server-less chat client called Bleep. BitTorrent says that the app is created in a way that the experience is decentralized, only exposing messages and phone calls to people users choose to trust.
'Paygate' endeavor starts with bundle for original series 'Children of the Machine'
BitTorrent is trying to evolve into a bigger business, as it attempts to expand its bundled offerings by putting "paygates" into place. The company, best known for its file transfer protocol, originally launched its BitTorrent Bundle as an alpha experiment in May 2013, in hopes of providing a better platform distribution and connecting with fans.
Data collected from BitTorrent, Hollywood Stock Exchange used to find figures
Economist Kolem Strumpf of the University of Kansas School of Business recently conducted a study looking into the financial impact of movie piracy on film revenues. Using data from BitTorrent and the Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX), Strumpf looked at the top 150 films each year from 2003 to 2009. The study found that there's a "quite small" revenue displacement caused by the illegal films.
Original repository remains intact, popcorn-official and time4popcorn dead
The US Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests for code repositories for BitTorrent-based video streaming projects based on the Popcorn Time core. The MPAA requested that the code for "popcorn-official" and "time4popcorn" projects be removed from GitHub, but the original Popcorn Time repository remains intact and undeleted.
Movie streaming BitTorrent app now available on Android devices
Popcorn Time, a BitTorrent for streaming movies has announced its upcoming launch for Android devices. Popcorn Time allows users to watch pirated video content for free, including TV shows and movies. Any video can be viewed as many times as desired, offered in the highest quality possible, with subtitles available. The source code for the Android version of Popcorn Time will soon be available on GitHub.
Application to lower the broadcast barrier for news
BitTorrent is set to release the first peer-to-peer broadcast application for mobile devices based on its BitTorrent Live protocol. Positioned as a new way bring news to the people, the idea will be to distribute news through P2P crowdsourcing as it happens, instead of relying on broadcast news.
Judge states that participation in swarm is too imprecise
In December, an Iowa judge dealt a heavy blow to the multiple-party anonymous "Doe" lawsuits involving piracy when she ruled that defendants couldn't be joined together due to the nature in which BitTorrent works. District Judge Stephanie M. Rose ruled that the cases, in which three independent films were pirated, couldn't have defendants lumped into single cases and must instead be limited to one party each.
BitTorrent Sync hits version 1.2.29
The BitTorrent Sync app for iOS has hit version 1.2.29, bringing new capabilities, as well as an iPad version. BitTorrent Sync users will now be able to access their files from iPads, as well as iPhones. The app has also been updated with a new design to reflect its iOS 7 compatibility. Users will see improved connection speed, and they can also save pictures and video from synced folders to the Camera Roll on an iOS device.
Landmark settlement intended to send a message to future infringers
According to court records filed today, Canadian Gary Fung has until the end of the week to close his BitTorrent search engine IsoHunt in addition to related sites TorrentBox, and Podtropolis. Fung has also agreed to pay various movie studios and other media production groups $110 million in damages to end the seven year-old legal skirmish.
Files only accessible to desired users, with three levels of permissions
BitTorrent has revealed that it is making its mobile BitTorrent Sync available to iOS users this week. BitTorrent Sync is a free, unlimited, and secure way to move large files across devices, and between people. There are no size caps or pricing tiers, as the bandwidth is provided by the users, and not a cloud service with remote corporate-provided servers.
PirateBrowser to use Tor for circumventing connection blocks
The Pirate Bay has launched its own web browser, as part of its tenth-anniversary celebrations. The browser, dubbed "PirateBrowser," is a combination of Firefox 23 and a Tor client, which the BitTorrent site hopes will allow users to be able to access the site, which is currently blocked from view by a considerable number of Internet service providers.
App uses BitTorrent protocol, encryption to synchronize files
BitTorrent has launched its free file synchronization software as a beta, and has introduced a mobile app version of its client. BitTorrent Sync allows for files stored on various devices to be synchronized across all the systems, effectively providing a similar service to Dropbox and SugarSync, though without storing files on a server online.
First transfer with new protocol requires only an email to unlock
File-sharing network BitTorrent has revealed a "direct-to-fan" collaboration with music label Ultra. Using a new protocol called the BitTorrent Bundle, an interaction by the downloader -- such as providing information or even paying for the content -- is required before unlocking restricted content. The mechanism for secure distribution is embedded within the protocol, and compatible with existing BitTorrent clients.
New user monitoring system powered by error-prone MarkMonitor
As expected, the Center for Copyright Information's BitTorrent monitoring system has launched, but with all five previously-announced ISPs starting up in one day. Participating ISPs in the measure, also known as "six strikes," include Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision, and Time Warner, plus all subsidiaries of the parent companies.
Files synced between devices
BitTorrent has announced plans to offer a new service that utilizes peer-to-peer technology to synchronize personal files between multiple devices. The project, which is still in its pre-Alpha testing stage, aims to directly synchronize content without relying on cloud caching, accordingto details posted by GigaOM.
Motion to suppress subpoenas filed, information not revealed
Internet provider Comcast historically complies with content owner's requests to name BitTorrent infringers when provided with sufficient data, but a legal skirmish in the Illinois district court is playing out differently. Comcast has asked the court to dismiss the subpoenas for subscriber's information issued in a battle with four adult video purveyors, saying the case is about coercing settlements out of the 264 potential infringers rather than pursuing legal action.
Leaked album piracy raised sales by 60 on average
A recent study has found that raised BitTorrent piracy may be related to higher album sales. North Carolina State University assistant professor Robert Hammond monitored prerelease albums being downloaded through BitTorrent and compared the numbers with actual album sales. The investigation is said to have uncovered a direct correlation between the two, albeit minor.
New system tracks and shuts down infringing torrents
Microsoft has joined with a Russian startup in an effort to crack down on online copyright infringement. The resulting partnership could prove a boon for Hollywood, which has long sought to curtail illegal filesharing on the Web. Pirate Pay, as the startup calls itself, may be the answer to copyright holders' prayers, as it targets torrents directly and takes them down.
John Wiley and Sons' request for 10 users info denied
Book publisher John Wiley and Sons has run into an unusual opponent in court -- an ISP. Verizonis refusing to comply with a subpoena ordering the company to disclose personal details of subscribers whose IP addresses have been logged pirating their popular "For Dummies" series of self-help guides. All of the subscribers allegedly acquired the copies of the books through BitTorrent-based websites.
New case started by Voltage Pictures in Florida
Voltage Pictures is back in a federal Florida court, last week naming at least 2,514 BitTorrent users in a new lawsuit. Last May, it sued about 10 times that number of alleged file sharers for the loss of income resulting from illegally sharing the studio's Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker blockbuster. Then, it listed nearly 25,000 alleged infringing users at once, the biggest such lawsuit in the US.
Book publisher seeks trial based on ip evidence
Book publisher John Wiley and Sons has named people accused of sharing books online and is calling for a trial with jury. If the trial goes ahead, this will be the first time a case based on evidence from BitTorrent will be tested in court.
Study says artificial movie release windows hurt
A joint research paper from the Departments of Economics at both Wellesley College (Brett Danaher) and the University of Minnesota (Joel Waldfogel) has suggested that BitTorrent movie rips and other Internet piracy wasn't hurting movies after they were exported to other countries. In instances where a US movie hadn't been pirated in advance of its international release, revenue from the movie was typically seven percent lower than it was when those abroad could bootleg the material. US sales also didn't necessarily go down with torrents in effect, the authors found.
uTorrent 3.1 alpha out with new device support
The latest 3.1 alpha build of uTorrent brings support for a number of new platforms, including the iPhone, iPad, PS3, Xbox 360, and Android. Users can simply sync content they've downloaded to the hardware by dragging and dropping the files. Files can also be converted into the respective formats, though this will be reportedly removed in the next update as it was a mistake.
Fox delay of Hulu TV shows results in more piracy
The decision of Fox to start an eight-day TV show delay online has been met with a spike in piracy, TorrentFreak reported. Last Monday, Fox began the eight-day delay on Hulu and its own Fox.com website. Fox hopes to have encouraged viewers to sign up and pay for its programming to watch the TV shows as they air.
Hurt Locker producers to recoup claimed losses
The producers of the Academy Award winning motion picture The Hurt Locker are suing a record 24,583 BitTorrent downloaders. Voltage Pictures hopes to recoup millions of dollars it claims it has lost through illegal downloading activities. The company has hired a group of lawyers known as the US Copyright Group to undertake the action what is the biggest lawsuit of its kind to date.
Ongoing lawsuit centers around illegal downloads
US District Court judge Beryl Howell has ordered Time Warner to hand over identities of 250 subscribers accused of illegally downloading movies. The order appears to reject Time Warner's argument that the request is excessively time consuming and expensive. The subpoenas involve three cases from movie production companies Maverick, Donkeyball Movie, and Call of the Wild Movie.
Level 3 claims Comcast extorting fees for video
(Update: Comcast response) Level 3 today raised alarms with claims that Comcast was engaging in anti-competitive behavior with a new charge for online video. The Internet backbone provider said that Comcast had suddenly started charging extra for video to its customers and threatened to block video traffic from Level 3, which supplies streams for Netflix and other major providers. It agreed to pay the fee to avoid a disruption but accused Comcast of setting up a "toll booth" deliberately designed to prevent competition with both cable TV and its own Internet features.
BitTorrent to bring open source apps to client
BitTorrent on Thursday began rolling out its Release Candidate 7.1 client, which includes built-in apps. These will allow developers to create their own programs for the platform. The same software will be distributed to all 14 million BitTorrent Mainline users over the next month.
Court approves settlement in Comcast P2P lawsuit
The class-action lawsuit that dates back to 2007 against Comcast for throttling the Internet speeds of alleged peer-to-peer file sharers has reached its practical end through a settlement later on Thursday. Judge Legrome Davis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has given final approval to payments, giving any other parties interested in joining the class-action lawsuit until August 29 in order to claim a portion of the settlement.
Brite-View CinemaGo 5005HD upgrades media hub
Brite-View today revamped its core media hub in the form of a new model altogether, the CinemaGo BV-5005HD. It touts a friendlier design for expansion than the old CinemaTube with much faster eSATA and now USB on the front; Wi-Fi is now also included through a USB adapter. Software has been given a lift, too, as the CinemaGo can download and manage BitTorrents by itself and will play Muzee Internet radio stations.
Belkin spins media sharing features as apps
Belkin today tried to seize on the popularity of mobile apps today by launching a set of Wi-Fi routers that apply the app metaphor to features. The Play, Play Max, Share and Surf all have varying levels of apps that both handle previous router features as well as extend them beyond their normal limitations. The Play and Play Max are the most advanced and can control media streaming themselves: they can play music directly from a USB hard drive, label tracks, auto-coreate playlists and push music to UPnP devices like game consoles.
Verizon first major to disconnect for piracy
Verizon today admitted that it has disconnected some users whose connections have repeatedly been seen carrying pirated material. The provider's spokeswoman, Bobbi Henson, wouldn't say how many or after how many notices but said Verizon has "cut some people off" in small numbers. It had already been sending notices on a wider level since April and for the RIAA in particular since November.
CRTC issues net neutrality rules
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today set groundwork for net neutrality in the country through a ruling that discourages Internet providers from throttling traffic. The guidelines will encourage monetary practices first, such as bandwidth caps or metered Internet access, and will accept slowing down some or all service only when necessary. All providers will also have to clearly publicize any throttling practices and give customers at least 30 days' notice, or 60 days' notice for wholesalers dependent on another Internet provider's network.
QNAP TS-210 gets faster CPU, new look
QNAP today upgraded one of its most mainstream network-attached storage servers by launching the two-bay TS-210. A major replacement for the TS-209, it has both a more home-friendly, sleeker look but also jumps from a 500MHz processor to 800MHz. The extra speed better handles intense network traffic, particularly RAID 1 mirroring, without bogging down.
Fonera 2.0n now in US
Fon today formally rolled out its once-teased Fonera 2.0n router. The new update adds 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds but is better known for adding built-in clients for several services independently of computers. Owners can upload content to Facebook, Flickr, Megaupload, Picasa, RapidShare and YouTube when the relevant computer is turned off; it can also download BitTorrents and send Twitter updates to signal when a transfer has been completed or a guest connects to the public hotspot.
Pirate Bay sold for $7.8m
Swedish gaming company Global Gaming Factory X (GGF) on Tuesday announced it is in the process of acquiring The Pirate Bay for $7.8 million. With the process due to be concluded by August, it will see GGF introduce new business models to and make the site legal and keep its owners out of courts. The new owners will also sell shares of The Pirate Bay to investors. GGF will also buy Peerialism and introduce its P2P distribution technology on The Pirate Bay. At the same time, The Pirate Bay will stop hosting and tracking torrents and use a third-party tracker and torrent hosting service.
MvixUSA intros Ultio
MvixUSA on Thursday announced the upcoming release and specs of its 1080p-capable Ultio networked multimedia player. The device is compatible with UPnP-standard networks and can be ordered with a 1TB hard drive. Streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other similar sites is supported, and MvixUSA says the device supports a record amount of video file formats and codecs, including the relatively uncommon RMVB or FLAC.
Dubious app rejections
Apple has made a controversial rejection of two more iPhone apps, say parties involved. The first is Maza Digital's Drivetrain, a remote control program for the Transmission BitTorrent client. Initially met with an Apple message that the app would demand "unexpected additional time for review," Maza later received a notice saying that "this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store."
LaCie B Disk d2 Network
LaCie early today rolled out network-attached storage (NAS) versions of two of its most familiar external hard drives. The single-disk d2 Network and dual-disk Big Disk Network both get gigabit Ethernet connections that let them share their storage on a local network. They're officially compatible with Mac OS X Leopard's Time Machine backups and have built-in servers to work independently of computers, including their own BitTorrent managers, media streaming through DLNA- and UPnP-compatible devices, and iTunes hosting.
Pirate Bay founders guilty
A court in Stockholm, Sweden has ruled against the four founders of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay on Friday. Accused of "assisting in making copyright content available," Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström were each sentenced to serve one year in jail and ordered to pay a fine equivalent to about $905,000 each for a total of some $3.62 million by the court. The sum was short of what the prosecution representing recording studios were seeking, though it remains unknown.
Myka Ships April 6
Myka today said it would start shipping its self-titled media hubs shortly after their initial batch is finished production on April 6th. Originally unveiled last year, the set-top box is designed as an open-source alternative to devices like the Apple TV and the VUDU Box that uses BitTorrent as its underlying framework. The feature lets users download commercial and unofficial content without being dependent on any one connection or service. Myka doesn't immediatly have content deals but claims to be in negotiations with "major" providers.
Cover Stream 2.5 ($15) is an iTunes controller that extends iTunes Cover Flow to the desktop. With the software a user can control their iTunes library without needing to open up the iTunes window. Users can set up key commands for controlling playback options and view all of their media in a customizable window that can be viewed as lists or Cover Flow. The new version eliminates the need to sync with iTunes, adds a track list sidebar, a new Core Animation fullscreen menu, and several other new features and bug fixes. [Download - 1.9MB]