• chevron_right

    Denuvo wants to convince you its DRM isn’t “evil” / ArsTechnica · Friday, 7 July - 19:54

You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Enlarge / You have nothing to lose but your chains. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

Simply mentioning the name "Denuvo" among some gamers is pretty much guaranteed to get you an instant, strong reaction. Just look at the comment threads underneath any Ars article covering Denuvo and you'll see plenty of complaints about the DRM-enhancing anti-piracy technology.

Irdeto, the company that acquired Denuvo in a 2018 purchase , doesn't generally make a habit of commenting at length on this reputation (or its secretive DRM schemes) in the public press. So when Irdeto Chief Operating Officer of Video Games Steeve Huin agreed to defend his company publicly in an exclusive interview with Ars Technica, I jumped at the chance to talk to him.

Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • To chevron_right

    GitHub Reinstated YouTube-DL But Restoring Forks is Apparently a Problem / TorrentFreak · Saturday, 17 April, 2021 - 21:37 · 3 minutes

hithub Last October the RIAA infuriated many players in the open source community by targeting YouTube-ripping tool youtube-dl in a DMCA takedown notice filed at GitHub .

What followed was a broad backlash against the RIAA, the likes of which hadn’t been seen for many years. The music industry group’s claims of DMCA violations due to the software allegedly bypassing technological protection measures were met with intense criticism, including from the EFF.

In a surprise move several weeks later, GitHub reinstated the youtube-dl repository after concluding that the code doesn’t violate the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions. In addition, GitHub sought to boost its standing with developers by placing $1m into a takedown defense fund.

“We are taking a stand for developers and have reinstated the youtube-dl repo. Section 1201 of the DMCA is broken and needs to be fixed. Developers should have the freedom to tinker. That’s how you get great tools like youtube-dl,” GitHub CEO Nat Friedman explained .

Dust Settles But The Fix Was Incomplete, Dev Says

When the RIAA took down GitHub, its DMCA notice affected many developers who had forked the youtube-dl code. Many repositories were listed in the RIAA’s complaint so those were disabled too, replaced with the familiar GitHub page indicating they had been removed for alleged copyright infringement.

However, despite youtube-dl being reinstated, these forks remain down following the RIAA’s complaint and according to one developer, GitHub isn’t responding to calls to reinstate them.

In a DMCA counternotice filed this week, the operator of the ‘spookyahell’ repo describes the situation, noting that his previous requests to have his repository restored are being ignored by GitHub.

youtube-dl fork

In supporting evidence detailing why the repo should be restored, the developer covers earlier ground noting that the RIAA’s notice was “way too broad”, is believed to be “wildly invalid”, failed to correctly interpret the law, and cited anti-circumvention methods that “do not apply.”

The dev also points out that when the RIAA cited a German legal process that determined that youtube-dl is illegal, that should be considered irrelevant to the United States since European law has “no place in a DMCA takedown”. The RIAA, for its part, insists that the relevant German law is “materially identical to Title 17 U.S.C. §1201 of the United States Code.”

This Dev is Clearly Irritated

While the developer appears to accept that GitHub eventually stood up to the RIAA, he isn’t entirely convinced of the coding platform’s overall support.

“[I]t seems like GitHub is still kinda ‘the bitch of the RIAA’ because they side with RIAA rather than developers who wish to reinstate the repos (unchanged) which according to the EFF would be perfectly legal,” his notice reads.

“The issues that raised from this takedown have lead to a major statement from github and change of already in-place policies and it seems they had to re-convince the developers that they actually support developers. The action they are taking with the actual forks however is unconvincing of their so-called principals [sic].”

The dev continues by stating that in addition to restoring the original project, GitHub should’ve reinstated all the forks as well, while notifying the RIAA that its claims were wrong. However, there are some important issues that the counternotice doesn’t address.

While youtube-dl was indeed reinstated, that didn’t take place before the original code was tweaked. Its functionality doesn’t appear to have been degraded but an examination of the code reveals that before it was put back, modifications took place to remove references to copyright works, including a song by Taylor Swift.

If we work on the premise that GitHub believed that these changes were enough to ease youtube-dl back onto the non-infringing side of the fence, then any original forks would still relate to the unmodified code, meaning that the RIAA’s original takedown notice would carry more weight.

This probably explains why GitHub hasn’t reinstated this developer’s repository on request, despite the filing of a counternotice.

Technically speaking, GitHub still has a number of days left before it needs to reinstate the fork under the DMCA, pending the filing of a lawsuit by the RIAA. However, since the music group has had since October to take action against youtube-dl itself, that doesn’t seem likely.

To learn more about how Github views the situation, TorrentFreak contacted CEO Nat Friedman for additional information, including whether youtube-dl forks will be restored automatically or if devs need to file an official DMCA counternotice. Friedman did not immediately respond to our request for comment but it seems likely that devs will have to let their original forks go and fork the modified project instead.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

  • To chevron_right

    Reckless DMCA Takedown Purges Legitimate Websites from Google Search / TorrentFreak · Saturday, 17 April, 2021 - 15:24 · 2 minutes

Over the past few years, copyright holders have asked Google to remove billions of links to allegedly pirated content.

Most of these DMCA notices are pretty accurate but occasionally mistakes are made as well, which can do serious harm.

This week our eye was drawn to a request that RightsHero filed on behalf of the company Vuclip Middle East, which offers on-demand entertainment to emerging markets.

The DMCA notice identifies more than 7,000 URLs that allegedly infringe the copyrights of several movies, including the United Arab Emirates series عود حي, which translates to “Live Oud.”

Error After Error

When we took a closer look, we soon noticed that the takedown notice is nothing short of a trainwreck that involves some high-profile names.

For example, NASA’s live streaming and multimedia pages are targeted. The same is true for Al Jazeera’s live streaming site, as well as the BBC’s page that allows people to stream Radio One.

NASA down

None of these pages are infringing. In fact, the only thing that ties them to the “Live Oud” series is the word ‘live’, which comes back in other reported URLs as well.

BBC and other takedowns

In fact, the takedown notice is filled with these ‘live’ errors. It lists a page from the UK Government which gives advice on living in Austria, a page where Apple provides information on Live Photos, and the ‘Live’ entry in the Cambridge dictionary.

We can go on for a while but the point is clear. This DMCA notice should have never been sent. The good news is that Google caught all the errors we pointed out above. This means that these were not removed from search results.

Homepages Removed

Unfortunately, not all targeted sites were that lucky. We spotted several legitimate websites that had their homepages removed from Google simply because they somehow reference the word “live” or “living.”

This includes the homepage of Live Nation Asia , the Living Architecture website, as well as the homepage of the UK technology company Living Map .

living takedowns

All have been purged from Google, which shows the following message at the bottom of the search results . “In response to a complaint that we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 12 result(s) from this page.”


Needless to say, these are all obvious errors that should have been avoided if there was some human oversight. It also shows how risky relying on ‘automated filters’ and ‘takedown bots’ can be.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

  • To chevron_right

    Philippines Government & ISPs Reach Agreement to Rapidly Block Pirate Sites / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 14 April, 2021 - 09:25 · 4 minutes

block Alongside various initiatives to discourage Internet users from visiting pirate sites, including improved legitimate offerings, governments, rights holders and service providers are pressing ahead with their site blocking plans.

Broadly speaking, site blocking takes place under two regimes – court-ordered injunctions and voluntary arrangements between stakeholders. The former can prove effective but there are considerable costs involved and blocking doesn’t always happen as swiftly as rightsholders would like. Voluntary arrangements, on the other hand, are less formal and have the advantage of being less adversarial, not to mention less expensive.

Philippines’ Authorities and ISPs Reach Agreement

In common with most regions of the world, the Philippines has a problem with piracy but a new agreement announced this morning hopes to reduce the number of citizens being able to directly access pirate sites for their fix.

A joint announcement by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines ( IPOPHL ), the National Telecommunications Commission ( NTC ) and the country’s internet service providers reveals that a voluntary agreement has been reached to block pirate sites in a streamlined and swift manner.

The proposal was tabled last week by IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba during a focus group discussion attended by around 50 representatives from government agencies and ISPs, including Globe Telecom, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc., PLDT, Inc., Sky Cable Corp., Converge ICT Solutions Inc., and DITO Telecommunity Corp.

How the System Will Work

Via a memorandum of understanding, the parties have agreed to form an alliance that will define coordination protocols that will enable pirate sites to be quickly blocked following an official complaint of infringing activity. The system will work as follows:

In the first instance, rightsholders will present a complaint to IPOPHL which will work to assess the evidence and the need for action.

“The duration of IPOPHL’s investigations will depend on the merits of the case and evidence submitted, but we always ensure a speedy and thoroughly validated decision,” says IPOPHL’s IP Rights Enforcement Office (IEO) Officer-in-Charge Director Ann N. Edillon.

Edillon says that the complaints validation process is a “fine-toothed comb” that aims to ensure that all evidence points to infringing activity before a blocking order is handed down. The requirements for blocking are yet to be published so at this stage the relevant thresholds are unclear.

When IPOPHL is satisfied that blocking is warranted it will hand down an order to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the government body responsible for the supervision and control of all telecoms services, television and radio networks in the country, including ISPs.

Once received and validated by NTC, the blocking order will be distributed among the participating ISPs listed above, which will then go about the practicalities of blocking. At this point, the ISPs believe that blocking can be put in place within two hours but according to the government, further streamlining is not out of the question.

Reducing the Steps Before Blocking

The validation process carried out by NTC after receiving a blocking order from IPOPHL can reportedly take a few days, a delay that rightsholders would like to reduce.

The government says that some of the ISPs are willing to cut out the ‘middle man’ and take their blocking orders directly from IPOPHL. Others, on the other hand, say that this would require a new law that would formalize IPOPHL’s authority to directly block pirate sites, without the involvement of NTC. Another scenario would see IPOPHL hand down a blocking order to NTC, which would immediately forward it to ISPs.

IPOPHL Signs MoU With Anti-Piracy Group AVIA

Earlier this week the IPOPHL announced the signing a memorandum of understanding with the Asia Video Industry Association ( AVIA ), an anti-piracy group responsible for protecting the interests of video and TV rightsholders in the region.

The MoU envisions cooperation on several fronts including the sharing of information to help prevent and reduce piracy in the Philippines, the development of piracy monitoring and site-blocking processes and their implementation, and assisting local authorities to build their anti-piracy expertise.

“I eagerly look forward to the work with AVIA in the months ahead,” said IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba during a virtual signing ceremony.

“Together, may IPOPHL and AVIA successfully stamp out the infringers and enable Filipino film and video producers, artists and contributors to wholly enjoy the rewards they deserve and to continue creating fresh original works for the benefit of society, culture and economy.”

AVIA CEO Louis Boswell said that piracy is on the increase in the region and since hosts of pirated content are often outside the country, site blocking is the obvious solution.

“Site blocking is a responsible means of not allowing access to pirated sites. We have experience now in multiple markets all around the region that site blocking, where it is done properly, can be incredibly effective at reducing the levels of piracy in a market,” Boswell said.

As part of the agreement, the IPOPHL has agreed to take action against pirates based on information provided by AVIA.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

  • To chevron_right

    MPA Targets Pirate Streaming Sites With More Than Half a Billion Visits / TorrentFreak · Monday, 12 April, 2021 - 18:42 · 5 minutes

MPA The world’s major movie and TV show studios are in fierce competition, aiming to release the next blockbuster or series to capture the imaginations of the public and generate much needed revenue.

Industry counterparts are rivals in that respect but when it comes to dealing with piracy, especially when that propagates from hundreds if not thousands of unlicensed streaming platforms, teamwork is the key.

Through their global coalition, Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), rivalries become partnerships, with resources shared to disrupt and destroy sites that dare to offer free movies and TV shows to the public.

ACE Homes in On Several Major Streaming Platforms

Investigations into pirate sites take place in the shadows, with little outward sign that a streaming platform is under investigation until it’s too late. However, there is a “canary in the coal mine” that can reveal early signs that legal or other enforcement action might not be far away.

In legal terms, the DMCA subpoena application is a straightforward and cheap-to-file legal document yet it has the power to yield crucial information when building a case against pirate site operators. Late last week ACE and the MPA went to court in the United States with such a request, one that targets several streaming platforms with well over half a billion views per year.

Cloudflare: Weak Link or Useful Proxy?

With so many pirate platforms using Cloudflare, the company has become a go-to point of contact for ACE and the MPA. An application for a DMCA subpoena filed by the groups late Friday in a California court shows that at least in theory, Cloudflare could be in a position to give up valuable information.

Listing sample infringements of movies including Almost Christmas, 47 Ronin, Varsity Blues, Forrest Gump and Flashdance, ACE and the MPA are now seeking to identify the operators of Lookmovie, Watchmovie, YesMovies, Himovies and Adfah.

Say them quickly and the domains don’t sound like they would amount to much but together they account for well over half a billion ‘pirate’ views every year.

The Targeted Domains is by far the most popular domain on the list. From a standing start last October, the platform captured a million visits in just a month. By December, that figure had risen to just shy of 15 million.

By March 2021 the site was pulling in 18m visits per month – a potential 216 million per year – with around 30% of its traffic hailing from the United States. Interestingly, is not blocked by ISPs in the United Kingdom as similar platforms usually are, meaning that almost 14% of its traffic now comes from the region. appears to be an alternative domain for, a domain blocked in Australia due to legal action in 2019 .

In traffic terms, has also been on the rise. Last October the domain was good for around five million visits per month but by last month, that had risen to just short of 12.5 million, around 150 million visits per year. The domain has seen traffic increase from all major regions recently, with the United States accounting for around 19% of views.


In common with, is doing well in the UK, where traffic share is as high as the United States after recently receiving a 35% boost. The site, which is branded on-site as WatchSeries, is not blocked by ISPs so until that situation changes, UK visitors are likely to increase.

Interestingly, data available from SimilarWeb relating to the site’s display advertising lists several ad companies but one in particular stands out. While potentially very small, – a prominent ACE and MPA member – is listed as a publisher.


Generating around 9.2 million visits per month, is another streaming platform being eyed by MPA and ACE for some kind of legal or enforcement action.

Its traffic has see-sawed for the past six months but in most regions traffic is on the increase, including in the United Kingdom where the site is not blocked by ISPs.


Since there have been so many sites using YesMovies branding, it’s not straightforward to link this domain to the many others previously and currently in operation. However, YesMovies domains have been targeted in numerous earlier actions, including in the United States and Australia .

The final sites listed on the MPA and ACE subpoena are and The former is currently enjoying around 6.25 million visits per month according to SimilarWeb, with the latter pulling in close to 6.2 million. Both are most popular in the United States but also in the United Kingdom too, where are neither are currently subjected to ISP blocking.

ACE and MPA Subpoena Demands Action From Cloudflare

“The ACE Members (via the Motion Picture Association, Inc.) are requesting issuance of the attached proposed subpoena that would order Cloudflare, Inc. to disclose the identities, including names, physical addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, payment information, account updates and account histories of the users operating the websites listed [above],” the DMCA subpoena application reads.

Precisely what the applicants want to do with the information is unclear at this stage but we have seen in the past that in addition to direct legal action, sites listed in DMCA subpoenas can later appear in applications for ISP blocking in the UK.

After previously demanding in a similar DMCA subpoena that Cloudflare should hand over the personal details behind several 123Movies-branded sites, the domains appeared in a High Court injunction and were subsequently blocked by the UK’s leading ISPs in February .

Over the past several years Cloudflare has been heavily criticized for allowing its services to be used by pirate sites, particularly operations such as The Pirate Bay. The argument is that the CDN service should part company with infringing sites but to date, Cloudflare has dismissed its role as that of a simple intermediary.

The ACE/MPA DMCA subpoena documents can be found here and here (pdf)

Photo Credit: Chris Yang

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

  • To chevron_right

    Is Site-Blocking Reducing Piracy or Helping to Disperse it Elsewhere? / TorrentFreak · Saturday, 10 April, 2021 - 20:51 · 2 minutes

Page Blocked As one of the most popular anti-piracy tools, site-blocking attracts plenty of attention.

Originally a mechanism to prevent static torrent and streaming sites from reaching their audiences, site-blocking is now just as likely to encompass relatively nimble live TV and sports streaming platforms too.

Over the past several years, Danish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance has invested considerable resources into blocking all kinds of pirate sites, with interesting results.

Rights Alliance Annual Report Covering 2020

Last year, Rights Alliance revealed that in 2019 its work had resulted in 141 sites being blocked by the majority of ISPs in the country. Citing a MediaVision survey covering the same period, the anti-piracy group concluded that around 450,000 Danes were using illegal sites, between them chalking up around 146 million visits annually.

In its latest annual report made available this week, Rights Alliance (RA) reveals that it had 196 “illegal domains” blocked in 2020, up 55 on the previous year. The focus was on “mirror sites”, i.e sites that look identical to their previously blocked counterparts while attempting to circumvent blocking with automated redirection systems and new domain names.

RA says that mirrors have a “volatile nature” in that they have a shorter lifespan, are harder to find, and thus require special handling when it comes to blocking. In part, however, this can be dealt with via court-ordered dynamic blocking injunctions which are currently in place covering a wide range of content including movies, music, TV series, literature and live sports.

Pirate Visits Static But Pirate Users Down?

Overall, RA observed a decrease in ‘pirate’ site users last year, down from 450,000 in 2019 to around 370,000 users in 2020. Interestingly, however, the overall number of visits to pirate sites in 2020 remained stable at around 12 million visits per month, i.e very little change when compared to the 146 million reported overall in 2019.

RA believes that the decrease in identified users can be in part attributed to blocking but concedes that VPNs and third-party DNS services play a part, as does migration to other platforms where piracy is less easily monitored.

Using Legal Platforms to Consume Pirate Content

“Unfortunately, the decline in the number of users is probably also due to the fact that the users have moved to other platforms where consumption cannot be immediately measured in the data sets of MediaVision and SimilarWeb,” RA writes.

“A new challenge that has become clearer in recent years is the increasing decentralization of illegal content to legal services, such as YouTube and Facebook. Here it is not possible to measure illegal consumption and the users are not necessarily aware that they are consuming illegal content, as the service itself is legal.”

Rights Alliance and its rightsholder partners are not defenseless in this scenario, since legal ‘UGC’ platforms are more likely to respond to takedown requests than pirate sites. Additionally, both YouTube and Facebook have their own suites of anti-piracy tools and will be required to respond to important aspects of the new EU Copyright Directive. Rights Alliance says it has this under control.

“In 2020, we have therefore intensified the work with the platforms’ responsibility for copyright infringement – i.e through dialogue with the platforms and in the work of implementing Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive in Danish law,” RA notes.

The Rights Alliance Annual Report 2020 can be found here (Danish, pdf)

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

  • To chevron_right

    New UK Police Unit Announces Two Arrests Following Pirate IPTV Investigation / TorrentFreak · Friday, 5 March, 2021 - 10:43 · 3 minutes

IPTV In summer of 2013, TorrentFreak learned that City of London Police had begin sending warning letters to torrent and streaming sites, advising them to shut down or face the consequences.

In December 2013, the launch of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit was officially announced, with the news that the unit had secured £2.56m in initial funding from the UK government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Just a few months later, PIPCU announced the creation of the “ Infringing Website List “, an official blacklist that is regularly used by advertisers in order to disrupt cash flow to allegedly infringing sites. Since then, PIPCU has been involved in dozens of operations against piracy, including modified set-top box and IPTV suppliers, plus counterfeiting operations. More recently, however, another player began making its presence known.

North West Regional Organised Crime Unit

Starting in 2019, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) began announcing actions against various entities involved in the Kodi add-on scene and the supply of pirate IPTV

It was fairly clear that NWROCU had become involved in PIPCU-type work and there is now official confirmation that the pair have teamed up to form a brand new police unit focussed on tackling intellectual property crime.

North West Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit

“The City of London Police, the lead force for fraud, has partnered with the Intellectual Property Office and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit to set up the North West Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit,” City of London Police has now revealed.

“This is an extension of its intellectual property capability, based in the City, which is focussed on intellectual property crime, ranging from copyright offenses to fake goods.”

The unit (‘NWPIPCU’) will combat intellectual property crime in North West England, which has already seen fairly significant action against operators and other players in the pirate device and unlicensed IPTV markets. The unit says it will support existing partners in an effort to disrupt and prosecute existing and new offenders.

And work is already underway.

New Operation Targets IPTV Offenders

Following an investigation, NWPIPCU says that on Thursday March 4, it executed five warrants for IPTV offenses. This resulted in two arrests plus the seizure of electrical items, cash and counterfeit goods. While no further details have been revealed, actions of this type have become increasingly common in recent months.

Last June, Lancashire Police executed a search warrant at a house on Buckley Grove in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes. Carried out under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, a 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the supply of pirate IPTV services and illegal TV streaming devices. High-end cars, expensive jewelry and designer clothes were also seized.

In December, the Lancashire Police Cyber Crime Unit announced it would begin sending warning letters to around 7,000 users of the raided service, warning them that they should stop watching pirate services or face the possibility of prosecution.

NWPIPCU Launch Welcomed By PIPCU and NWROC

“The world of intellectual property crime is constantly evolving and the formation of the North West Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit clearly demonstrates that police, Government and industry are committed to protecting the UK from both established and emerging threats, many of which are now operating from online platforms,” says Superintendent Pete Ratcliffe at City of London Police.

“Intellectual property crime costs our economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year and threatens thousands of jobs. The unit has ongoing investigations with an estimated potential loss to industry of £2.3m. Through launching the NWPIPCU, we are sending out a clear warning to organized crime groups that IP crime won’t be tolerated.”

Superintendent Paul Denn of the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit warns that yesterday’s action against those involved in illicit IPTV represents just the start of a series of operations aimed at discovering the true scale of the IP crime problem in the North West.

The launch of the unit set to carry those out is welcomed by Intellectual Property Office CEO Time Moss.

“We are delighted to be further strengthening our partnership with City of London Police and building a new one with North West Regional Organised Crime Unit,” Moss says.

“Effective collaboration is vital for success in combatting IP crime. We are excited about the vital role the new IP crime hub will play in supporting the already impressive capability of this partnership, helping to reduce counterfeit goods and copyright offenses in the north west.”

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

  • To chevron_right

    Earn $1 Million by Snitching on Companies that “Copy That Floppy’ / TorrentFreak · Sunday, 28 February, 2021 - 20:06 · 4 minutes

don In the early nineties, software companies already realized that piracy posed a major threat to their business.

Computers became more popular and millions of people broke the law by copying floppies, without the permission of copyright holders.

Don’t Copy That Floppy

This illicit activity was a thorn in the side of the Software Publishers Association. In an attempt to educate the masses, it released the “Don’t Copy That Floppy” anti-piracy campaign that’s still known to this day.

The iconic video features ME Hart, starring as “MC Double Def DP,” and two teenagers who are about to tread on the piracy path. For a variety of reasons, the video struck a nerve with an entire generation.

Today, almost thirty years later, people still refer to the campaign. The PSA has its own Wikipedia entry and became a meme by itself. It has generated millions of views on YouTube and the number is still rising.

It’s safe to say that lot has changed since “Don’t Copy That Floppy” first came out. The software industry has long abandoned floppies and nowadays most piracy takes place on the Internet. However, unauthorized copying remains a problem.

Current Anti-Piracy Focus

Despite the ‘success’ of their anti-piracy campaign three decades ago, we haven’t heard much from the Software Publishers Association recently. The industry group, currently known as the Software and Information Industry Association ( SIIA ), hasn’t taken any pirates or pirate services to court, as far as we know.

However, this doesn’t mean that SIIA is no longer concerned with copyright infringements. Instead of fighting casual users or pirate sites, it now focuses on corporate copyright infringement.

This week we stumbled upon the group’s rather generous “rewards” program. While this has been in place for a while, it is worth highlighting.

Report Piracy

The industry group has a special section on its website that’s dedicated to reporting piracy. According to SIIA, unauthorized copying results in an estimated $8 billion in lost sales. To address this issue, they ask the public for help.

“Piracy is stealing. We need your help to combat this crime. If you see something, say something. Report issues of piracy here. SIIA advocates for the industry and protects intellectual property from theft,” SIIA writes.

SIIA report piracy

While not everyone likes the idea of ‘snitching’ on pirates, SIIA has an offer that many will find hard to refuse.

$1 Million Reward

“By reporting software piracy to SIIA you could earn up to $1,000,000,” they promise. At the same time, they offer strict confidentiality to whistleblowers.

Needless to say, this approach is quite different from the “Don’t Copy That Floppy” campaign. While rewards for reporting piracy are not new, $1,000,000 is a substantial sum of money that pales in comparison to the few hundred dollars or pounds theater employees can get .

That being said, when we look at SIIA’s fine print it becomes clear that one has to get very lucky to hit this jackpot.

For one, the reward only applies to situations where corporations use pirated software. If someone reports an issue at his or her employer, SIIA may choose to follow this up, which could ultimately lead to a settlement. The scale of this settlement will determine the award.

“If all the eligibility requirements are met and the settlement amount paid to SIIA is at least $10,000, the source will be considered for a reward of $500. SIIA may increase the reward to as much as $1,000,000 depending on the amount of piracy reported by the source and the settlement amount collected by SIIA.”

In other words, $500 is much more likely than $1,000,000, according to the terms and conditions.

More Caveats

There are several other caveats as well. For example, the rewards only apply to cases where SIIA reaches a settlement outside of court. If it goes to court, SIIA may still choose to “reimburse” the whistleblower for his or her time, but that’s not guaranteed.

In fact, even when all requirements are met, SIIA may still choose not to pay anything.

“The decision whether to pay a reward and the amount of that award shall be within SIIA’s sole discretion. SIIA reserves its right to deny the payment of a reward or to revoke the source reward program at any time and without notice and for any reason,” the terms read.

We reached out to SIIA to find out more about this program and how often the organization pays out rewards but after a few days we still haven’t heard back.

These settlements don’t reach the news very often but they are relatively common. Over the years there have been various reports of successes and several years ago, the group settled nearly a dozen cases on one month, recouping $1 million in lost revenue.

In the midst of all this serious business, SIIA didn’t completely ignore its roots. In 2009, it released a sequel to the “Don’t Copy That Floppy” campaign, titled: “Don’t Copy That 2.” Perhaps we’ll see the third installment of the PSA in the years to come?

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.