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Iowa judge rules joinder improper in mass Doe piracy case

02/01, 5:30pm

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.

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Dutch court orders Pirate Bay blocking ceased, BREIN fined $445,600

01/28, 4:16pm

Ruling the first of its kind favoring the Pirate Bay

The Court of the Hague today ruled that Dutch ISPs Ziggo and XS4ALL are not required to block traffic to and from BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay, reversing a January 2012 order. The court found during the hearing that the blocks were both ineffectual and unnecessary censorship, and forced anti-piracy group BREIN to pay 326,000 Euro ($445,600) in damages to the affected broadband providers.

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Federal Judge: IP address insufficient to identify potential infringer

01/23, 4:15pm

New ruling speaks towards weakness of IP address as a definite identification

In a ruling likely to complicate mass-piracy lawsuits, a judge in Washington state tossed out a lawsuit accusing eight "John Does" and four named individuals of illegally downloading the movie Elf-Man. The presiding judge has declared that an IP address alone isn't sufficient to identify a user, and lacks sufficient granularity of identity to sue the possessor for copyright infringement.

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Netflix uses video piracy statistics to decide show acquisitions

09/15, 7:30pm

Piracy figures triggered Prison Break purchase for Netflix in the Netherlands

Netflix monitors piracy sites for shows being downloaded, in order to decide what to acquire for its users. The video streaming service uses statistics relating to video piracy as a social barometer, along with other metrics, in working out what shows and films it doesn't currently offer that it needs to secure for members to view.

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The Pirate Bay celebrates 10th anniversary by launching web browser

08/10, 8:38pm

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.

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Comcast rumored working on 'six strikes' anti-piracy alternative

08/06, 11:16am

Plan will provide downloaders with legal content links, claims report

Comcast is said to be working on its own alternative to the Copyright Alert System (CAS) anti-piracy system, also known as "six strikes," operated by the Center for Copyright Infromation (CCI). The rumored system would see Comcast providing users identified as downloading infringing content links to buy or rent the content legally.

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Studies: Android's malware, piracy problem growing

05/15, 3:44pm

Drives developers to freemium model, hurts platform

New research from F-Secure Labs on the prevalence of malware on smartphones, along with developer data on game app piracy rates paints a pretty clear -- and damning -- portrait of Android compared to other mobile platforms. The growth in mobile malware on Google's platform is increasing at such a pace that the malware threat is approaching the relative level of compromised Windows systems, while the rampant piracy is driving developers away and making paid apps scarce in favour of the "freemium" model.

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Heavy piracy of Game of Thrones a compliment to HBO

04/02, 6:03am

Piracy fails to 'negatively impact DVD sales' of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones may retain its crown of being the most pirated television show, based on reports. Despite the number of downloads of the season premiere entering the millions within 24 hours of its first broadcast, the programming president of HBO appears to be taking the dubious accolade as a compliment.

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Google takedown requests increase tenfold in six months

12/16, 9:40pm

Over 2.5 million copyright infringement notices received per week

Google has seen the number of copyright removal requests increase by a factor of ten since the search giant started to publicize takedown notices. Requests have increased from around 250,000 per week in May to over 2.5 million notices a week, continuing the trend of the number of copyright infringement notices vastly accelerating ever since the service started.

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Chinese IP chief says China piracy record distorted, untrue

11/11, 1:11pm

Statement claims China 'pays the most' for IP, software

Amidst the Chinese 18th Communist Party congress, the State Intellectual Property Office head Tian Lipu claims that there is deliberate distortion of the piracy issue in China by the Western media, caused by the country's bad reputation overseas. Despite the claimed mischaracterization he defended the practice, claiming that "Speaking honestly, there is a market. People use and buy pirated goods."

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Ruling: torrent site host liable for copyright infringement

10/24, 8:35pm

Court fees plus undetermined copyright damages due from host

Anti-piracy outfit BREIN has won a prescedent-setting case against web host XS Networks, the previous provider for torrent site SumoTorrent. XS Networks was found to be culpable in facilitation of copyright infringement, and has been acting unlawfully against the interests if the copyright holders represented by BREIN. The landmark ruling at the Court of the Hague has implications worldwide for the liability of hosting companies for the conduct of and content hosted by paid clients.

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MPAA chief Chris Dodd: SOPA, PIPA gone, not coming back

10/03, 9:20pm

Comments also made about Google search, 'four strikes' rules

Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America and former Senator Christopher Dodd told Wired in an interview that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are not going to return to to the congressional floor. Dodd claimed that "that legislation is gone. It’s over. It’s not coming back" after an appearance at the San Francisco-based Commonwealth Club on Tuesday night.

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Google to penalize pirates, infringers in search rankings

08/10, 7:51pm

Will take content complaints into account for search results

Google is set to become more aggressive against sites hosting allegedpirated material. From next week, the search engine will start to factor in the number of valid copyright notices it receives against a site, penalizing those with high numbers by placing them lower in search results. The ranking will "help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily," according to a post in the company's blog post.

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Comcast: piracy case 'shaking down' potential infringers

06/14, 12:24am

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.

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German 'flash drive tax' jumps 2,338 percent

06/06, 6:47pm

Tax is 'compensation for private copying'

German publication Heise is reporting that the ZPÜ, the German organization responsible for administering a tax on blank media, has announced a sizable increase in the blank media levy. According to the ZPÜ's announcement, the fee on flash drives and similar storage devices up to 4GB will rise from about 10 cents to $1.93. For devices larger than 4GB, the fee will jump from 10 cents to $2.42. For the smaller devices, the new tax rate amounts to a 1,850 percent increase, while the rate jumps 2,338 percent for larger storage media.

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Study: More than half of computer users pirate software

06/01, 9:08pm

Survey finds piracy rampant worldwide, especially developing world

Computer users the world over are engaging in software piracy, according to a new study (pdf) from the Business Software Alliance, an industry group consisting of Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe, among others. The BSA's survey found more than half of all respondents pirating software, up dramatically over last year's findings. Additionally, the study found that piracy is quite popular in the developing world, with users in those markets installing several times more pirated software than their peers in the developed world.

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Dutch ISPs push back over Pirate Bay blocks

05/26, 6:15pm

Demands from anti-piracy group BREIN defied by some ISPs

Internet service providers in the Netherlands are refusing to block The Pirate Bay, following the file sharing site changing its IP addresses. TorrentFreak reports that the addition of a new proxy-friendly version of the site on a new IP address is allowing customers on ISPs blocking The Pirate Bay to access the site once again, with anti-piracy group BREIN attempting to censor the extra addresses to mixed results.

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MPAA uses subterfuge to investigate UK-based video site

05/22, 9:56pm

US defendant offered deal to implicate UK couple

It is a terrible cliché when a writer begins a story by claiming that a series of real-life events "reads like a Hollywood movie script," but occasionally dramatic stories occur that are hard to distinguish from the intricate plottings of screenwriters or novelists. An unusual operation involving the US-based Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) hiring investigators to spy on a UK couple that ran a "links to streaming video" site has resulted in prosecution with the help of a US defendant.

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Supreme Court rejects file-sharer appeal over $675k fine

05/21, 5:19pm

Previously lowered then reinstated damages award upheld

The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal against a $675,000 damages award to the RIAA and Sony in a file-sharing trial, reports Wired. Attorneys for Joel Tenenbaum, formerly a Boston college student, argued the defendant should be protected against "unrestrained discretionary jury damage awards against individual citizens for copyright infringement," but was denied by the court without further comment.

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Study: BitTorrent music piracy increases album sales

05/18, 11:16am

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.

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Startup, Microsoft take aim at P2P piracy with Pirate Pay

05/14, 5:05am

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.

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MPAA thinks Megaupload would restart if it reclaimed servers

04/02, 7:55pm

Fear operation would start up again off-shore

The movie industry watchdog MPAA has asked the court that is presiding over the Megaupload case to prevent the file locker site from buying the servers, and the data stored on them, from the hosting site where the equipment and data currently reside. The motion comes after Virginia-based Carpathia, which owns the servers, made an emergency motion to the court, complaining that it's incurring costs of $9,000 daily in order to maintain the data. The stored information takes up 25 petabytes of space.

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RapidShare ordered to check for pirated material

03/16, 6:00pm

Ruling covers both music and book downloads

A German appeals court has ruled that RapidShare musit monitor the traffic being uploaded by its user to look for and try to stop pirated content. The ruling upholds three lower court decisions against the storage and sharing service. In each case, the company was told to do more to prevent any violation of any copyrights.

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Appeals court reinstates $675,000 filesharing verdict

09/16, 11:10pm

Judge 'erred' in challenging constitutionality

A federal appeals court has reversed a federal judge's slashing of damages against college student Joel Tenenbaum, who was found guilty of sharing 30 music tracks on Kazaa -- and reinstated the jury's award of $675,000 in damages, or $22,500 per song, reports Wired reports. The previous judge, Nancy Gertner of Boston, had reduced the jury's verdict to 10 percent, or $67,500 ($2,250 per song). The appeals court ruled that Gertner should have used a different approach.

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Filesharing service sues Warner Bros. for copyright fraud

09/13, 2:45pm

Claims Warner removed 100s of files it didn't own

The battle over software and video piracy took a turn yesterday when a Florida file hosting service sued Warner Brothers for allegedly engaging in copyright fraud and abuse of anti-piracy laws. Hotfile accuses the Warner Bros. of using the hosting company's anti-piracy tools to remove titles the studio doesn't own, including open source software. Hotfile is asking a court to make it whole for the losses they claim Warner Bros. caused.

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France IDs 18m alleged file sharers, can't cope with volume

07/14, 8:30am

France's HADOPI laws yet to make an impact

France’s HADOPI “three-strikes” anti-piracy measures have led to the identification of 18 million alleged illegal file-sharers over the past 9 months. However, due to the high volumes of pirates being tracked, only 470,000 of the 18 million traced have received an infringement warning to date. Those who have received a second-strike total 20,000, while only 10 have been issued with a third warning. A judge is currently investigating the 10.

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Baidu to pay musicians for downloads

04/02, 4:10am

Baidu to use ad revenue to compensate musos

China search engine provider Baidu has made has signed a deal that with the music industry after years of tension over the way its site handles music searches. Baidu’s music search service delivers results for illegal music downloads as well as allows users to stream music through its website. According to the Wall Street Journal [sub. req.], it has now agreed to pay songwriters who belong to the Music Copyright Society of China when users download or stream their songs using Baidu’s search engine.

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Group blames content piracy on pricing disparities

03/16, 12:45am

Solution said to be regional pricing strategies

A group of researchers has released a report, labeled the Media Piracy Project, that describes the prevalence of content piracy in emerging economies as a problem of inflexible pricing rather than enforcement. The researchers have focused on the cost of software, movies and albums relative to the average wages in various countries.

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WP7 app DRM hacker posts partial solution to own hack

01/01, 6:20am

Tobias posts code to assist developers secure apps

Tobias, the white hat hacker who recently revealed a proof-of-concept crack for the copy protection on Windows Phone 7 apps has taken steps to develop a solution for his own hack. His FreeMarketplace code (only 65.5kb in size) took only about 6 hours to develop, but in the process demonstrated how easily the Microsoft’s app DRM copy-protection for WP7 could be stripped. The crack was not intended to harm the WP7 Marketplace, but was intended as a critique of Microsoft’s seemingly lax security. To help protect developers in the interim, while Microsoft develops its own solution, Tobias has posted code that developers can deploy in their apps to help protect them from piracy.

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Homeland Security conducts website piracy crackdown

11/27, 3:50am

P2P web domains, among over 70 shut down

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security has shut down a number of online music and movie file sharing websites according to a NYTimes report. Among the sites that ICE seized were torrent-finder.com, onsmash.com and rapgodfathers.com. At least 70 other websites that were supporting either counterfeit clothing, DVDs and other items were also taken down.

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iPad: piracy machine? WiFi signal stregth weak?

04/22, 10:50am

iPad actually performs well in 5GHz band

The iPad's screen capture capability has created some controversy among comic book companies. Comic book reading has been a major selling point of the iPad with full color high-resolution comics now available on the platform. The iPad's screen capture -- achieved by clicking the power button and home button concurrently -- has allowed users to grab the high resolution imagery which could then be easily pirated and distributed against the wishes of the copyright holders.

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French Internet piracy bill advances towards law

09/15, 1:20pm

Could impose harsh measures on suspects

The French government has taken one step further towards enacting a controversial piece of Internet piracy legislation, says the Associated Press. A bill today passed through the National Assembly, having already gained approval from the Senate in July. Only one step remains before it becomes law, that being a third approval by a committee bridging both houses of parliament.

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Lawyers push for RIAA to return filesharing money

05/22, 1:30pm

RIAA filesharing money

Lawyers are now challenging some of the basic tactics of the RIAA's campaign against filesharing, reports note. The most powerful allegations have been put forth in the defense of college student Brittany English, whose pro bono lawyer, K.A.D. Camara, has asked courts to declare RIAA damage requests unconstitutional. The group has asked for unreasonable statutory damages in a ratio as high as 150,000:1, according to Camara, and moreover used the potential judgments to bully individuals into settlements. The RIAA should be made to return the $100 million or more it has accrued through illicit methods, Camara insists.

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Apple drops anti-piracy measures from iWork '09

01/20, 9:25am

iWork drops serial numbers

Apple has removed a common security measure from its iWork '09 office suite, according to an official support document. Mirroring a decision taken with iLife, which is bundled with new Macs as well as sold separately, Apple has eliminated the need to enter a serial number when installing a retail copy of iWork '09. A number is still needed to unlock trial versions of iWork, unless users install a retail copy over top.

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Beta version of Windows 7 leaked to BitTorrent sites

12/30, 3:20pm

Windows 7 beta leaked

A beta version of the Microsoft's next operating system, Windows 7, has been leaked online and is available for download, according to a Tuesday report. Labeled "Build 7000," a 32-bit version of Windows 7 is currently being distributed via BitTorrent networks, with available copies numbering in the thousands. Those who have downloaded the illegal software are said to believe the build is the genuine article.

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RIAA breaking court orders in USC lawsuit?

12/18, 1:30pm

RIAA breaking court orders

Members of the RIAA may be violating court orders in one of the latest lawsuits directed against filesharers, reports say. Motown, Universal and BMG are involved in a case dubbed Motown Records vs. John Doe, targeting a number of anonymous students at the University of Southern California. The university has been ordered to provide the names of a variety of students in the case, making it possible to extract compensation should blame be assigned.

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UK government declares modchips legal

06/13, 1:00pm

UK: Modchips are legal

The creation and sale of modchips is legal, the UK government has stated. The region's Court of Appeal has ruled in favor Neil Higgs, a vendor who had been selling thousands of modification kits for consoles like the Xbox, which in turn let gamers play pirated titles. Some 26 charges were filed against Higgs in late 2007, but as a result of today's ruling, they have all been invalidated. Higgs will also receive full compensation for his legal costs.

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Canadian Copyright Act changes tabled, softened

06/12, 2:00pm

Can. Copyright Act tabled

The Canadian government's Industry Minister, Jim Prentice, has today officially tabled Bill C-61, a set of proposed amendments to the country's Copyright Act. Early versions of the changes have been criticized by thousands of citizens -- and a number of businesses and other organizations -- as overly harsh, and too close in nature to the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Prentice has defended amendments as necessary for bringing compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization treaty Canada signed in 1996.

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NBC: Vista TV restrictions were accidental

05/20, 1:15pm

NBC on Vista TV recording

Recent interference with Vista Media Center recording was accidental, NBC says. TV viewers last week reported being unable to record episodes of American Gladiators and Medium, and instead receiving messages saying that DRM restrictions had been enabled. This triggered a number of of online complaints, including concerns that NBC was attempting to deter the use of DVRs, which allow people to skip unwanted advertising and other distractions.

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Apple fighting Swiss levy on iPods

05/16, 11:55am

Apple fighting Swiss levy

Apple is resisting a blank media levy imposed by the Swiss government, according to local newspaper Basler Zeitung. The levy is managed by SUISA, the Swiss Society for the Rights of Authors of Musical Works, and is intended to compensate labels and musicians for the effect of piracy. It applies to all media players sold in the country, but Apple is said to be arguing for exemption, on the basis that Swiss iPods sold online are actually shipped out of Ireland.

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RIAA hit with legal fees in P2P case

05/15, 1:30pm

RIAA hit with legal fees

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will have to pay $107,834 in legal fees as a result of a failed lawsuit, a US federal judge has ruled. For two years, running until June 2007, the RIAA pursued a case against Tanya Andersen, accusing her of illegal file sharing; that case was dismissed with prejudice however, and Andersen and one of her lawyers were allowed to seek compensation for their defense. At points in the case, as many as six attorneys for Andersen were present in court.

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Movie studios join attack on Pirate Bay

05/08, 1:30pm

Film studios v. Pirate Bay

Movie studios are the latest group to launch a legal assault on Swedish BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay, filings indicate. The Motion Picture Association, an international extension of the MPAA, has filed a 93kr million ($15.4 million) lawsuit against Pirate Bay, which it accuses of hosting illegal torrent trackers for movies such as The Pink Panther and Syriana, as well as 13 episodes of the TV show Prison Break. Damages are said to amount to between 222 and 261kr ($37 and $43) per movie, and 415kr ($68) for each Prison Break episode.

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UK music group pushes for media player tax

04/16, 3:30pm

UK MP3 player tax?

The British government should tax the sale of media players, a body of the UK music industry is advocating. The Music Business Group is said to have rejected a recent government proposal, which would see people legally able to transfer music from CDs to media players for free; while the practice is widespread and taken for granted by the public and companies like Apple, in the UK it is technically a violation of copyright. The MBG is said to have taken the same position as America's RIAA however, and called for a levy on sale of devices such as iPods.

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Comcast pushes P2P 'Bill of Rights'

04/15, 4:00pm

Comcast P2P 'rights' bill

Cable and Internet provider Comcast, in tandem with peer-to-peer tech company Pando Networks, says it is launching a new industry initiative in order to address conflicts relating to P2P file sharing. Dubbed the "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities," it would see the creation of a document addressing "best practices" for both ISPs and filesharers themselves. The companies hope to gradually involve other parties, such as experts, media producers and other ISP or P2P companies; controversially, they have no present intentions of involving public interest groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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Latest Blu-ray copy protection cracked

03/20, 2:00pm

BD+ protection cracked

The latest effort at blocking unofficial copying of Blu-ray movies has been undone, the developers of a cracking utility claim. AnyDVD 6.4.0.0 adds the ability to bypass BD+ encoding, used on a number of discs to prevent either direct copying, or ripping to a hard drive. This change is said to particularly affect releases from 20th Century Fox, who have led the adoption of BD+, while other companies continue with variants of AACS. AnyDVD is now also better compatible with regular DVDs using Arccos protection.

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Pirate Bay blockage may violate EU law

02/13, 2:55pm

Pirate Bay access in EU

A recent Danish court decision against an ISP violates EU law, a Swedish judge has declared. Cecilia Renfors, a government investigator being asked to propose new file-sharing legislation, says that Denmark was in error when it told Tele2 to prevent customers from reaching The Pirate Bay, a site well-known for aiding piracy through hosting BitTorrent trackers. The site's owners are in fact facing copyright infringement accusations from a group including Fox, EMI, Sony BMG and Universal.

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Major Chinese search engine attacked over piracy

02/05, 12:25pm

Chinese piracy allegations

The most popular search engine in China may be facing legal sanctions over music piracy, says Agence France-Presse. Three of the four major labels -- Warner, Universal and Sony BMG -- have filed a request in a Beijing court, asking that Baidu pull down links to illegal music. Specifically, the labels allege that Baidu is indexing illegal hosting sites, while simultaneously profiting from advertising. Music trade group IFPI claims that piracy in China has dramatically hurt its own profits, with over 99 percent of tracks in the country said to be distributed illegally.

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U2 manager blames ISPs for Internet piracy

01/29, 4:05pm

U2 manager blames ISPs

Internet service providers should be the focus of blame for continuing music piracy, says the manager for the internationally famous rock band U2. Paul McGuinness, speaking at the current MIDEM conference in Cannes, France, has argued that ISPs should be disconnecting those who download tracks illegally. ISPs have "been at our trough for too long," McGuinness says, and a part of the "shoddy, careless and downright dishonest way" in which artists have been treated in the era of digital music.

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EU: Telcos can withhold downloaders' identities

01/29, 3:15pm

EU rules on d/l privacy

As a pan-European policy, telecom companies have no obligation to hand over the personal information of those accused of illegal downloading, the European Court of Justice has ruled. The decision is a response to a Spanish court, which requested guidance in a case involving Telefonica SA and Promusicae, a trade organization for film and music producers. The Associated Press writes that Promusicae had asked for the names and addresses of suspected file sharers, but as the ECJ is now arguing, there is no EU law requiring this information to be handed over for civil cases.

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MPAA: College students not to blame for piracy

01/23, 12:35pm

MPAA: We were wrong

A 2005 study grossly distorted the role of colleges in movie piracy, the Motion Picture Association of America now admits. Commissioned by the trade group, the study blamed a massive 44 percent of all domestic piracy on college students, who frequently have access not only to broadband Internet connections but high-speed local networks. The MPAA is currently telling educational groups that the figure was a result of "human error," and is in fact closer to just 15 percent, the Associated Press writes.

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