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      Court Denies ISP’s Request to Dismiss Music and Movie Piracy Liability Claims

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Tuesday, 2 April - 10:44 · 4 minutes

    pirate-flag Online piracy continues to present massive challenges for the entertainment industries.

    It’s a global issue that’s hard to contain, but the major U.S. record labels and several movie companies believe that Internet providers can offer a helping hand.

    For roughly a quarter-century, rightsholders have sent copyright infringement notices to ISPs, informing them about alleged copyright infringements carried out by subscribers. While many providers forwarded these notices to their customers, they rarely led to follow-up action.

    This is a problem according to some rightsholders, who want ISPs to terminate the connections of subscribers repeatedly linked to pirating activity. They point to the DMCA, which states that online service providers must terminate the accounts of repeat infringers “in appropriate circumstances.”

    In an earlier case, Internet provider Cox was ordered to pay a billion dollars in damages after a jury found the ISP liable for copyright infringement. This damages award was recently reversed but the liability finding remains. Meanwhile, other ISPs are fighting similar legal battles.

    Frontier vs. Music and Movie Companies

    Most of these lawsuits take place in federal courts, but the New York bankruptcy court is dealing with a similar dispute. In two separate cases, one filed by several movie companies and the other by record labels , Internet provider Frontier Communications stands accused of failing to terminate repeat infringers.

    The financially challenged Internet provider emerged from bankruptcy and is trying to rebuild its business. However, ghosts of the past continue to follow the company, including piracy liability allegations.

    Last December, Frontier hoped to sway both cases in its favor. The ISP submitted a motion for judgment on the pleadings, asking the court to dismiss the claims from the movie and music companies, noting that these fail “as a matter of law.”

    The motion’s central argument stems from the ‘ Twitter vs. Taamneh ‘ Supreme Court decision, where it was determined that social media platforms were not responsible for ISIS terrorists who used their services to recruit and raise funds. In a similar vein, Frontier believes that it shouldn’t be held liable for subscribers who pirate content.

    Based on these and other arguments, Frontier asked the bankruptcy court to dismiss all piracy liability claims. Needless to say, the movie and music companies disagreed and both filed objections, urging the court to keep the claims intact.

    Court Denies Dismissal Request

    A few days ago, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn ruled on the motion, which brought bad news for Frontier. After reviewing the matter, Judge Glenn saw no reason to dismiss the copyright liability claims at this stage.

    In a detailed memorandum opinion, the court concludes that the Supreme Court ruling in the social media case doesn’t directly translate to the matter at hand. While both deal with third-party liability, terrorism and copyright infringement are certainly not the same thing.

    The Supreme Court ruling made it clear that secondary liability for online services doesn’t always apply. However, the court believes that decades of copyright infringement liability jurisprudence can’t be overlooked.

    “The Court declines to graft an analysis of secondary criminal liability for aiding and abetting terrorism onto the well-established branch of law governing secondary liability for copyright infringement. Under the relevant standard, Claimants have alleged facts sufficient to state a claim,” Judge Glenn writes.

    Pirates vs. Terrorists

    The court notes that Internet providers are not automatically liable for everything that happens through their service. Even general knowledge of potentially illegal activity doesn’t automatically lead to a liability finding; context is key.

    In the ‘Twitter vs. Taamneh‘ case, the terrorist attacks happened outside of the platform, at a nightclub in Istanbul. While the terrorists may have used Twitter and other social media platforms to facilitate their operations, there was no direct connection to the attack.

    The movie and music companies alleged a more direct connection (nexus) between Frontier and the alleged copyright infringement in their case and the bankruptcy court agreed.

    “The Reina attack was not carried out on or through a social media platform, but rather in Istanbul by terrorists who had maintained accounts on the platforms; in contrast, the copyright infringement alleged here took place via Frontier’s network itself. Twitter is thus distinguishable and does not compel dismissal,” Judge Glenn notes.

    The court further clarifies that this doesn’t mean that ISPs are automatically liable for everything subscribers do through their connections. The DMCA has set clear guidelines Internet providers must adhere to if they want to rely on safe harbor protection.

    In addition to simply providing an Internet connection, contributory copyright infringement also involves specific knowledge of infringement and the continued provision of the means to infringe. These issues play a role here too and, based on the pleadings, a dismissal is premature.

    All in all, the court denies Frontier’s request to dismiss all the movie and music companies’ piracy liability claims. This is important for the present dispute, but it may also foreshadow what other courts may conclude in similar cases going forward.

    glann conclude

    A copy of Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn’s order is available here (pdf) . Frontier’s originating motion can be found here (pdf) and the music and movie company responses are available here ( 1 , 2 )

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

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      The Pirate Bay’s Oldest Torrent is Now 20 Years Old

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Monday, 1 April - 17:56 · 3 minutes

    pirate bay logo When The Pirate Bay first came online, in the second half of 2003 , the ‘internet’ looked nothing like it does today.

    A Harvard student had yet to start writing the first lines of code on a new idea, called “TheFacebook”. YouTube wasn’t around yet either, and the same was true for the smartphones that dominate people’s lives today.

    At the time, all popular entertainment was consumed offline. People interested in watching a movie could use the Internet to buy a DVD at one of the early webshops, or sign up with Netflix, which shipped discs through the mail. However, on-demand access was simply not a thing. At least, not legally.

    Things were changing though. Napster had made it clear that the Internet had the potential to offer music to the masses, albeit illegally. And with BitTorrent technology, The Pirate Bay expanded this ‘free library’ to various other media types, including TV shows and movies.

    Pirate Bay’s Oldest Torrent

    Today, more than two decades have passed and most of the files shared on The Pirate Bay in the early years are no longer available. BitTorrent requires at least one person to share a full file copy, which is hard to keep up for decades.

    Surprisingly, however, several torrents have managed to stand the test of time and remain available today. A few days ago the site’s longest surviving torrent turned 20 years old.

    While a few candidates have shown up over the years, we believe that an episode of “ High Chaparral ” has the honor of being the oldest Pirate Bay torrent that’s still active today. The file was originally uploaded on March 25, 2004, and several people continue to share it today.


    The screenshot above only lists one seeder but according to information passed on by OpenTrackr.org, there are four seeders with a full copy. This is quite a remarkable achievement, especially since people complained about a lack of seeders shortly after it was uploaded.

    Cult Status

    Over the years, the “High Chaparral” torrent achieved cult status among a small group of people who likely keep sharing it, simply because it’s the oldest surviving torrent. This became evident in the Pirate Bay comment section several years ago, when TPB still had comments.

    “Well, i guess since this is a part of TPB history i’ll add it to my Raspberry Pi torrent server to seed forever,” zak0403 wrote.

    torrent comments

    Revolution OS & The Fanimatrix

    Record or not, other old torrents on The Pirate Bay also continue to thrive. On March 31, 2004, someone uploaded a pirated copy of the documentary “ Revolution OS ” to the site which is alive and kicking today.

    “Revolution OS” covers the history of Linux, GNU, and the free software movement, which was a good fit for the early Pirate Bay crowd. Eleven years ago, we spoke to director J.T.S. Moore, who wasn’t pleased that people were pirating the documentary but was nevertheless glad to see it hadn’t lost its appeal.

    Fast-forward to the present day and Revolution OS still has plenty of interest, with more than 30 people actively seeding the torrent.

    While these torrents are quite old, they’re not the oldest active torrents available on the Internet. That honor goes to “The Fanimatrix” , which was created in September 2003 and, after being previously resurrected, continues to be available today with more than 100 people seeding.

    Ten years ago, we were surprised to see that any of the mentioned torrents were still active. By now, however, we wouldn’t be shocked to see these torrents survive for decades. Whether The Pirate Bay will still be around then is another question.

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

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      Hi! I’m Alan Partridge! You Lot Are Fools For Pirating Music….and Pirating Me?

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Monday, 1 April - 11:13 · 9 minutes

    alanp [Opening theme music plays, followed by the sound of a car engine starting up and revving loudly. The camera pans through the bustling streets of London until it comes to rest on a sleek silver sports car parked outside a fancy studio building.]

    [The door swings open, and out steps our beloved Alan Partridge, clad in his signature blazer and red tie. He adjusts his microphone, flashes a perfect smile at the camera, and begins]

    For those unfamiliar with the legendary Alan Partridge, he’s a fictional character created by British comedy genius Steve Coogan. Alan first appeared on the BBC Radio show ‘On The Hour’ in 1991 before starring in his own TV shows, including the BAFTA-winning spoof talk show, Knowing Me, Knowing You. In 2013, the movie Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa launched Alan onto the international stage, picking up another BAFTA on the way.

    Eccentric and inept, awkward yet self-important, Alan was named by The Guardian as one of the greatest comedy characters in British television history. But sadly, sooner or later, Alan will disappear into the sunset for good, never to be seen (or heard from) again. Or at least, that used to be the case for national treasures; today we have generative AI.

    Hopes and Dreams, Piracy and Plaintiffs

    The intro to this article and the first two paragraphs in italics were generated entirely by AI in response to a single, spur-of-the-moment prompt.

    It’s April 1, 2024, and Alan Partridge is interviewing an expert on music piracy to find out if piracy is the work of the devil or the best thing that’s ever happened. Write a funny intro in Alan’s style to introduce the interview.

    Anyone familiar with Alan’s work will immediately appreciate that an interview about piracy could go either way, but most likely end in disaster. After a polite start, Alan tends to become bored, cynical, or more interested in rudely imposing his own agenda on his unwitting guests, especially when things don’t go to plan. Fans understand this and the AI models we tested seem to ‘know’ that too.

    The only way LLMs can possibly ‘know’ all of this detail is by copying ‘Alan data’ found online; scripts, books, transcripts, most if not all of it copyrighted. Many rightsholders say this is essentially piracy; the copying of copyrighted content without obtaining permission from creators for AI purposes is illegal; it should be restricted, compensated for, or banned completely, they insist.

    Pirate Partridge – Ahaarrrr?

    When we decided to approach what many suggest is effectively an ‘infringing Alan’ to hear his opinions on piracy, we did so through his unofficial AI agents. What we found were LLMs reluctant to discuss piracy without endless warnings about respecting creators, not breaking the law, the list goes on. It’s clear that lawsuits are already having a chilling effect on ‘chat’, something that would terrify Alan to his core .

    With a little framing and persuasion, extracting an interview about piracy was still possible. With some fine-tuning and corrective prompts here and there, plus some guidance on how Alan was likely to become more combative as the discussion went on, we ended up with the interview below.

    Experts could do a much better job, but the end result is still a modern day miracle, generated entirely from material previously posted to the internet, just so that people could see it.

    The AI-related lawsuits in court right now, targeting Microsoft/ChatGPT , OpenAI , NVIDIA , have the potential to shape the course of history. They could help Alan live forever, or watch him die.

    But what if Steve Coogan wants him to die ? It’s his prerogative, after all. Or maybe Alan could be allowed to live, but only after payment of a fee; a license to live, of sorts? The most complex copyright questions ever asked are being asked right now. The answers to those questions could change everything.

    We supplied some text from anti-piracy press releases for background, and offered input on how Alan was likely to become emotional and escalate. We suggested that Alan should be allowed to wander off-topic with his trademark anecdotes before being quickly brought back by his guest. Everything in the interview below was generated by AI. That includes the emotions marked in brackets when a character begins speaking, which we didn’t ask for but reflect our prompt. The notes describing music and things happening off-camera simply appeared, no prompts required.

    Alan Partridge’s Musical Marathon

    Title: ‘Alan Partridge Dissects Piracy with America’s Second Best Songwriter’

    Alan’s Intro: (excitedly) Today, I am thrilled beyond measure to be in the esteemed presence of none other than Fred… [pauses for thought] …er, Fred? Yes, that’s right, Fred. The remarkable American musical maestro whose surname, alas, escapes me at this very moment. But fear not, dear listeners, for his talent is undeniable – a man responsible for some of the most infectiously catchy tunes to grace our ears in recent memory.

    Alan: (frowning disapprovingly) Fred, I must bring up an issue that’s been causing quite a stir in the music world – your work, dear sir, is being shared freely on various nefarious sites such as The Pirate Bay, 1337x, and Torrentz2. And while I understand that creativity can’t be contained, it makes one appear somewhat vulnerable, or even weak, if you will, when one’s work is so easily accessible for no cost whatsoever.

    Fred: It’s frustrating, Alan. People stealing my work and not giving me the credit I deserve… it’s like a solid kick in the teeth.

    Alan: (pensive) I can understand that, Fred. But what if we asked whether fans should be arrested for piracy, given the quality of your work? What do you think about that?

    Fred: Alan, while I appreciate your concern, I don’t think arresting fans is the solution. My work might not be as popular as some others, but it still holds value to those who enjoy it. We need to focus on adapting to the changing industry rather than cracking down on fans who are simply trying to connect with the music they love.

    Alan: (irritated) Alright, Fred. I see your point. But you know what they say – quality is its own reward. Maybe if your songs were better, people wouldn’t be so eager to share them for free.

    Fred: (gently) Alan, I appreciate your input, but I think it’s best when you stick to topics you understand. Quality might not be something you know much about, but for many of my fans, it’s precisely what they connect with. Let’s move on.

    Alan: (defensive) Fair enough, Fred. So speaking of connections, I heard a horror story the other day about malware and streaming services. Have you ever experienced anything like that?

    Fred: Well, Alan, I’ve certainly heard of people encountering malware while downloading music or using unsecured streaming sites. It’s definitely something to be wary of. By the way, have you ever stayed at a Travel Tavern?

    Alan: (confused) Why yes, actually! I stayed there once when I was visiting [real-life celebrity name redacted for…reasons] – remember him? Anyway, it was quite an experience. So you see, I do know about infection.

    Fred: (laughing) Oh, Alan! That’s a tale worth sharing. Now, let’s get back to the discussion at hand. Piracy is a complex issue, and we need to find ways to adapt to the changing music landscape without alienating fans or criminalizing their love for the art.

    Alan: (angry) Ungrateful fans! They take, take, take, but never give anything back. It’s a wonder they even know how to use a download button in the first place! These people are idiots. I hate them.

    Fred: (calmly) Alan, it’s not fair to generalize like that. Not all fans are the same.

    Alan: (more angry) I’ve had enough of these freeloaders! We need to teach them a lesson. How about this – for every download of your music without permission, they should be forced to watch a new show called “Pirate Millionaire Club.” Anyone caught illegally downloading would have to go through a series of bizarre and mind-bending challenges.

    Fred: (amused) Now that’s just petty, Alan.

    Alan: (getting more angry) No, it’s justice! And what about this – anyone caught pirating my books should be forced to attend a public reading of my memoir, “I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan,” dressed as one of the characters from the book. They’ll have to recite lines while I judge their performances.

    Fred: (laughing) Alan, you’re a man of many ideas! But let’s get serious for a moment. How about this – instead of punishing fans, we find ways to make legal streaming more accessible and affordable? That way, they can still enjoy the music they love without breaking the law or putting themselves at risk.

    Alan: (considering) Well, Fred, I suppose that could work. But let’s not forget about those pirates who profit from stealing our work! What do you think about imposing some hefty fines on these guys? Like, really hefty fines – enough to make them think twice before messing with us!

    Fred: (nodding) I agree, Alan. Fines could be an effective deterrent for those who make a living off piracy. But let’s not go overboard. What are your top three ways to stop piracy?

    Alan: (serious) Alright, Fred. My top three ways to stop piracy would be:

    1. Making legal streaming so irresistible that no one would even think about pirating anything. We’ll have exclusive content, low prices, and the best customer service in the industry.

    2. Establish a special pirate island where they can live out the rest of their days, listening to nothing but my music on an endless loop. (winks) No, but seriously now.

    3. Imposing devastating fines on those who engage in large-scale piracy – fines so colossal they’ll be left penniless, struggling with crippling malnutrition, and even facing the desperate prospect of turning to the darkest depths of prostitution just to survive. This punishment will serve as a haunting reminder of the dire consequences of messing with the creative minds behind the art you love.

    Fred: (laughing) Alan, you’re a true visionary! I’m not sure how serious you are about that last one, but it’s certainly an… interesting solution. Thanks for inviting me, Alan – as always, it’s been an adventure.

    Alan: (smiling) My pleasure, Fred. And remember, if you ever need help navigating the treacherous waters of piracy, just give me a call.

    TorrentFreak: Don’t get too comfortable, Alan. You could be replaced by AI in the blink of an eye. Scared?

    Alan: Ah, come on! I’m not scared of some silicon stuff. If AI tries to take over my job, I’ll just outsmart it with my human intelligence. I’ll learn all about coding and programming, become an AI expert myself, and then use that knowledge to stay ahead of the game. No big deal!

    TorrentFreak: Will you play a request for us Alan? I was thinking of ‘I Fight for the Human Race’ by Gary Numan because it seems to capture your feelings right now. [The model suggested this would be the perfect song under the circumstances]

    Alan: You know what? That’s a perfect choice! I Fight for the Human Race by Gary Numan perfectly captures my feelings right now. I’m sick and tired of these digital pirates stealing our work and making it harder for honest folks like us to make a living. But you know what? I’ll keep fighting for the human race, and we’ll prove that we can’t be replaced by machines or cyber-pirates!

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

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      This post is public

      torrentfreak.com /hi-im-alan-partridge-you-lot-are-fools-for-pirating-music-and-pirating-me-240401/

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      Telegram Block Averted For Now But Escalating Threat is Far From Over

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Friday, 29 March - 11:31 · 5 minutes

    blocked For almost a quarter of a century a subset of internet activists have equated certain types of piracy mitigation measures to censorship and attacks on free speech.

    A sampling of opinions on this controversial topic would likely place sentiments like these at the edge of a spectrum, acting as a perfect counterbalance to equally extreme positions adopted by a subset of particularly aggressive rightsholders.

    An order to block Telegram in its entirety, handed down last week by a court in Spain, gave the latter group the kind of victory dreams are made of in the anti-piracy world. It also poured credibility on the predictions of ‘extremist’ internet activists who have been warning about this type of mission creep for over 20 years.

    Blocking Order Suggested No Conflict

    The order handed down by Judge Pedraz appeared in public last weekend and despite its gravity, contains no sign that the Judge felt conflicted by the matter at hand.

    Anti-piracy group EGEDA, Mediaset España, Atresmedia, and Movistar Plus, filed a request for the whole of Telegram to be blocked across the whole of Spain, because information requested from Telegram to support a piracy investigation hadn’t been provided.

    The Judge responded by metaphorically ticking the boxes marked ‘necessary’ and ‘proportional’, regardless of the eight million non-infringing Spanish users of Telegram set to be negatively affected.

    The notion that the rightsholders somehow misunderstood the nature of Telegram and had failed to comprehend the chaos their request would cause, can be reasonably ruled out. That leaves a pair of unpalatable scenarios to support the Judge’s decision to grant the blocking order: a) no knowledge of the platform and therefore no basis to consider the consequences, or b) full comprehension and a decision to block anyway, regardless of the outcome.

    Judge’s Statement Justifies Blocking

    The Judge’s comments when suspending the blocking order, via a notice published on March 25, showed that the nature of the platform had been fully understood and the interests of rightsholders had simply taken precedence.

    Subsequent comments on the suspension of the blocking measures indicate that the referral to the General Commissioner of Information, to assess what effect blocking might have on millions of Spanish users, was never part of the plan.

    The statement begins fairly defiantly; continued infringement on Telegram justified the adoption of precautionary measures and due to the lack of cooperation from the Virgin Islands’ authorities where Telegram is based, blocking the entire platform was the only possible measure that could stop further infringement.

    The measure was considered proportional to the seriousness of the conduct, it was deemed necessary, and importantly, completely legal.

    But Was it Really Proportional?

    After the existence of the blocking order was published “in all types of media” the statement concedes that there could be a “possible impact on multiple users.” That raised the question of whether it really was proportional, and that’s why the General Commissioner was asked to take a look.

    At that point, a few signs of how Telegram is viewed bubble to the surface, including suggestions that privacy on Telegram comes at a price.

    “Well, the truth is that, without prejudice to the fact that it is known that this platform is also used for criminal activities, there are more than multiple users of all kinds (individuals, companies, civil servants, workers in general, …) who have chosen to use Telegram, providing them with ‘benefits’ that other platforms do not give. And all this under a ‘protected privacy’,” the statement continues.

    “It also means that they accept that the necessary guarantees for the protection of the rights of third parties are not carried out with the exchange of personal data of users of the application. In short, cession of fundamental rights in exchange for supposed privacy.”

    In summary, blocking Telegram would be “clearly detrimental” to the millions of users who use it, including having no access to a multitude of data uploaded to Telegram to which they no longer have access.

    Not Proportional and Not Likely to Be Effective Either

    Before agreeing that suspending the blocking order was the right thing to do, the statement notes that this is only about blocking the entire platform and whether that would’ve been a balanced response.

    “It is not a question of freedom of expression or information, but whether or not the measure is proportional. And what is found, from what has been said and after issuing the order, is that the measure would be excessive and not proportional,” the statement adds. And then something unexpected.

    “In addition, even the measure itself would be unsuitable because users could use a VPN network or a proxy to access Telegram and continue consuming or publishing such content, as pointed out by the General Information Commissioner.”

    Similar arguments have been presented in opposition to website blocking orders all around Europe, but we’re unaware of any country that has rejected a blocking injunction on the basis that it would be ineffective.

    Pressure Likely to Increase On Telegram

    While the statement amounts to a short-term defeat for the rightsholders, who seem to have requested too much, too soon, their request signals where this battle of interests seems to be headed. That a Judge was in total agreement until the matter became a national controversy should be a wake-up call for the entire country.

    This is fundamentally a dispute between the rightsholders and a handful of still-unidentified pirates on Telegram, who have barely been mentioned throughout this entire controversy. Instead, the focus is now on Telegram and there are clear signs that one way or another, it will be made to pay a price.

    “[This] is about investigating a case for a certain crime that requires an investigation and that requires information that can only be provided by [Telegram]. As it happens with others, which do provide it,” the statement adds.

    “[A]s far as we are concerned here, to be able to obtain that information will be a matter to be resolved by the legislator, which will undoubtedly do so – as required by European law – in accordance with the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act.”

    The statement is available here (pdf, Spanish)

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

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      Hollywood Studios, Amazon & Netflix Sue ‘Evasive’ Pirate IPTV Operator From Texas

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 28 March - 18:23 · 4 minutes

    tvnitro Operating a pirate IPTV service can be a dangerous endeavor, no matter where one’s located. In the United States, home to Hollywood and other major entertainment outfits, the risks are arguably even higher.

    In the past, we have seen several pirate IPTV businesses being taken to court , with rightsholders almost always on the winning side. These cases can result in million-dollar damages awards or even multi-year prison sentences , if the feds get involved.

    Despite this backdrop, some people are still willing to take a gamble. According to a new lawsuit filed at a Texan federal court, Dallas resident William Freemon and his company Freemon Technology Industries, are a prime example.

    Hollywood Lawsuit Against IPTV Operator

    The complaint, filed by Hollywood majors including Disney and Warner Bros, as well as streaming giants Amazon and Netflix, accuses the defendant of widespread copyright infringement.

    This alleged illegal activity involves selling presumed pirate IPTV subscriptions through domains such as instantiptv.net, streamingtvnow.com,streamingtvnow.net, tvnitro.net, cashappiptv.com, livetvresellers.com, stncloud.ltd, and stnlive.ltd, some of which remain online today.

    “Freemon operates an extensive and commercially scaled network of illegal streaming services that offers unauthorized access to live channels and video-on-demand streams of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted movies and TV shows,” the complaint reads.


    The defendant is a familiar name for the entertainment companies, who have followed his actions for years.

    “Freemon has a long history of brazen disregard for copyright laws, and his early foray into internet piracy is the first link in the chain leading to his current web of illegal services,” they write.

    “Beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2019, Freemon sold illegally modified Fire TV Stick devices. These devices connect to a regular TV and allow customers to access unauthorized content.”

    Firesticks Lead to IPTV

    The ‘loaded’ Firestick business was promoted on X and Facebook and the complaint includes two dated screenshots from this activity. At the time, these devices were sold through firesticksloaded.com and firesticksloaded.biz, and Freemon was listed as the registrant for the latter domain.

    ads old

    These sites are long gone now but they offered a fruitful lead to other, potentially illegal, activities. The Firesticks domains were hosted on the same IP address as several other domain names and ultimately formed a trail to the controversial IPTV operations.

    Those IPTV services include ‘Streaming TV Now’, ‘Instant IPTV’, ‘Cash App IPTV’, and ‘TV Nitro’. Some of these were subsequently advertised through the YouTube channel @williamfreemon3378, which the plaintiffs believe belongs to the defendant.

    The YouTube videos are no longer online today as they were taken down following complaints from rightsholders, but they’re used as additional evidence to support the current lawsuit.

    “These YouTube videos —and their subsequent removal— nonetheless provide further evidence that Freemon is behind this web of services and that he knows he is committing infringement,” the complaint reads.

    freemon youtube

    TV Nitro and Other IPTV Endeavors

    According to the plaintiffs, ‘TV Nitro’ was the first IPTV service that Freemon was linked to. This service originally operated as ‘Nitro TV’ between 2019 and 2021. After subsequently going offline for two years, it recently reappeared.

    ‘Streaming TV Now’ is the most popular IPTV service according to the complaint. It first appeared online in 2020 and offers access to 11,000 live channels, as well as on-demand access to over 27,000 movies and 9,000 TV series.

    “Freemon offers customer subscription packages for Streaming TV Now at prices ranging from $20 per month to $150 per year—depending on the package and billing cycle selected. The money goes to Freemon.”


    In addition to offering IPTV packages to the public, the defendant is also accused of recruiting resellers through livetvresellers.com, presumably to expand the reach of his IPTV business.

    Warning Leads to Lawsuit

    Before taking the matter to court, Amazon, Netflix, and the Hollywood studios sent a letter to the defendant, asking him to stop all infringing activities. However, that didn’t yield the desired response. Instead of taking action, the defendant said he no longer controls the domains.

    “Freemon was not cooperative. He did not take down the Infringing Services and instead offered unsubstantiated claims that he transferred the associated domains,” the complaint reads.

    “Plaintiffs spent months negotiating with Freemon. Based on the lack of substantial change to the Infringing Services in the intervening times, including that the respective main domains are still hosted with the same hosting provider [Amarutu], Freemon is likely still controlling the Infringing Domains.

    “Freemon’s evasiveness is particularly concerning in light of his long history of willful infringement,” the plaintiffs add.

    The rightsholders allege that the defendant is liable for copyright infringement, either directly or indirectly. They therefore request a jury trial and appropriate damages.

    With 125 movies and TV shows listed in the complaint, maximum statutory damages can be as high as $18 million. The figure could increase further still, as the plaintiffs reserve the right to add more titles.

    For now, however, the priority seems to be to end the infringing activity. To that end, Amazon and the other plaintiffs request injunctive relief, including the handover of all infringing domain names and the destruction of all ‘pirate’ hardware.

    A copy of the complaint, filed yesterday at the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas, is available here (pdf)

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

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      Ukraine Commits to Piracy Crackdown, Draws Up Blacklist, Joins WIPO ALERT

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 28 March - 10:46 · 2 minutes

    ukraine After more than two years of incalculable losses following Russia’s full-blown invasion in 2022, Ukraine continues to defy the odds as it fights for the right to exist as an independent state.

    With no obvious end in sight and politics in the United States undermining offensive capability, Ukrainian gains are being reversed in several front line regions, a situation predicted to further deteriorate later this year.

    Yet for a country being consumed by war, Ukraine is still taking time to plan for a future in the EU. In that respect, matters related to intellectual property require the closest attention.

    Ukraine Pushes Ahead With Copyright Reforms

    After progress was reported in 2023 , Ukraine’s Ministry of Economy issued an order dated February 1, 2024, titled: “On Approval of the Procedure for Formation and Maintenance of the National List of Websites Raising Concerns Regarding the Observance of Intellectual Property Rights.”

    On March 11, 2024, the Ministry of Justice registered order 357/41702 and on March 21, 2024, it was adopted by the Ministry of Economy.

    Order (translated) ukraine order

    This will see Ukraine become a full participant in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s WIPO ALERT program , which operates around a centrally-maintained database of piracy platforms nominated by rightsholders in participating countries.

    Ukraine Sees Future in Europe, WIPO Invests in Russia

    Sites and services listed on WIPO ALERT should in theory find it much more difficult to fund their activities through advertising revenue. Ukraine views its participation in the program as a positive step in its bid for closer ties with the EU.

    “Despite the challenges of a full-scale war, we are making every effort to protect copyright and related rights on the Internet for Ukrainian and foreign intellectual property rights holders,” says Yuliia Svyrydenko, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Economy.

    “Ukraine has become one of the first countries in the world to comprehensively implement a relevant mechanism based on a secure online platform where authorized member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization can upload information about websites and applications that infringe copyright from the point of view of national norms. This is also a confident step towards Ukraine’s European integration.”

    Yet despite its invasion of Ukraine and threats to Western intellectual property, WIPO continues to operate an office in Moscow and provide funding for projects in Russia.

    That drew a fiery response from Ukraine last summer, which criticized the allocation of significant funds to a country “which blatantly violates WIPO principles and its statutory obligations” and does not “deserve the privilege to host a WIPO Office.”

    Ukraine is the 15th country to join the WIPO ALERT program, following recent additions Uzbekistan and the Philippines. Currently just seven countries allow searching of their databases . They include Italy, Russia, Spain, Peru, Ecuador, Lithuania and Greece.

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

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      Z-Library Scammers Use Email Campaigns to Lure Users and Extract Payments

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 27 March - 21:02 · 5 minutes

    zlibrary Z-Library is one of the largest shadow libraries on the Internet, hosting millions of books and articles that can be downloaded for free.

    The site defied all odds over the past two years. It continued to operate despite a full-fledged criminal prosecution by the United States, which resulted in the arrest of two alleged operators in Argentina.

    According to the latest available information, these two defendants are still fighting their extradition. Meanwhile, the Z-Library site has continued to operate as if nothing ever happened, serving books to millions of people all over the world.

    Z-Library Fundraising

    A few days ago, the shadow library announced a new fundraising campaign to generate revenue. While users can buy premium access all year round to obtain access to additional features and downloads, Z-Library regularly hosts additional donation drives to fund project maintenance and development.

    “Although the last 2 years have been challenging for the project and the team, we are not giving up and are continuing to work on the development of the library,” the team writes, asking users to contribute.

    As last time, thousands of dollars are quickly pouring in from all over the world. Despite the legal challenges and the ongoing criminal investigation, many people seem happy to chip-in through various payment options, including cryptocurrencies.

    Donation Options

    donate zlibrary

    This type of generosity from users is rarely seen on ‘pirate’ sites. While the shadow library’s operators are undoubtedly happy with the support, popularity also comes with a major downside; scammers.

    Soon after Z-Library lost its main domain names following U.S.-orchestrated seizures, outsiders stepped in to hijack the traffic. The site has repeatedly warned against these “fraudulent” and “unsafe” copycats but the problem never went away. On the contrary, it’s getting worse.

    Email Scams

    Over the past several weeks, there have been dozens of reports from Z-Library users who received emails, purported to be from the Z-Library team, alerting them to a new domain name. One of the early versions included the following message :

    “It is with a heavy heart yet hopeful spirit that we reach out to you. We’re entering a period of significant change at Z-Library.

    As an integral part of our community we believe it’s important you’re among the first to learn of our transition to a new domain: z-lib.id. This change, though challenging, paves the way for an enhanced, more robust Z-Library experience.

    Your steadfast support has been a beacon during our journey. As we navigate these new waters, your continued presence and advocacy are more important than ever. We hope you’ll join us in embracing this change and help in sharing our new address, z-lib.id, within your circles.”

    These emails were received by actual Z-Library users but the domain being promoted has nothing to do with the original Z-Library project. On the contrary, it appears to be linked to a popular copycat site that’s been around for a while.

    In recent weeks these ‘scammy’ emails have continued, but the messaging has changed somewhat. An email sent to many people this month is more to the point, urging people to visit and bookmark the new domain.

    “Good news! Z-Library has a new web address: z-lib.id. You can simply type “z-lib.id” in Google or put it in your browser to visit us. We appreciate your support.”

    Scam Email


    Needless to say, these emails are not being sent by the Z-Library team but by scammers attempting to drive traffic to their site. There’s a clear profit motive, as “premium” access is currently required to download anything.

    ‘Not Compromised’

    Of course, it’s no surprise that outsiders are trying to profit from the popularity of an existing piracy brand. We have seen variations of this theme for several decades. However, the email campaigns are rather novel.

    At this point, it’s not clear how the scammers obtained the emails. In an email to TorrentFreak, the real Z-Library team acknowledges the scam problems but says that there’s no sign that their systems were compromised in any way.

    “Unfortunately, the situation with fraudulent mailings is getting worse. Since our domains were blocked in November 2022, there have been at least a few independent scam sites posing as z-library. They use our name, design, and highly similar domain names.

    “[W]e are confident that there have been no incidents of user data leakage. However, we strongly recommend that you change the password for your account,” a Z-Library spokesperson writes.

    The team suggests that recipients of the scam emails may have tried to sign into one of the scam sites in the past. That would have exposed their email address and password to these people, which is why Z-Library believes it’s important to update this information.

    Scam Connection

    It’s not clear who is behind these misleading email campaigns, but there are some interesting patterns to observe. The .id domain name promoted in the emails uses the same Cloudflare nameservers as z-lib.is did in the past.

    The identical nameservers are not solid proof, however, as there are thousands of sites using the same ones. However, there’s an additional traffic pattern that links the two domains as well.

    zlib domains

    As seen above, traffic to the .is domain tanked in February, around the time when the emails started coming in, while traffic to the new .id domain surged. This suggests a link between the two domains. Perhaps the scammers somehow lost control over their old domain, triggering them to launch the email campaign.

    Seizures and other Troubles

    Whatever the reason, the official Z-Library team continues to caution users to be on the lookout for copycats, including via an updated warning banner that mentions the new domain name.

    Scam Banner


    The Z-Library team believes that scammers and copycats are regularly DDoSing its servers too. At the same time, they have tried to add their links to the official Wikipedia page and hijack the top positions in search engines.

    Of course, scammers are only part of the challenge. The U.S. Government has also repeatedly seized the site’s domain names, which creates an opportunity for copycats to increase their traffic. The latest seizure round was last November, but that may not be the last.

    On the legal front, there hasn’t been any movement in the U.S. criminal case recently. The two alleged operators filed a motion to dismiss the criminal complaint last summer, but news has been quiet since then.

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

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      ‘Operation 404’ Results in First Prison Sentence for Pirate IPTV Operator

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 27 March - 10:05 · 2 minutes

    operation 404 In the fall of 2019 , Brazilian law enforcement agencies launched the first wave of anti-piracy campaign ‘Operation 404,’ referring to the well-known HTTP error code.

    With help from law enforcement in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Argentina, the authorities took down more than a hundred sites and services, while several suspects were arrested.

    Following its initial successes, several new waves ‘Operation 404’ were initiated over the ensuing years. Each wave led to raids and takedowns across the country, with assistance from international law enforcement partners. It was clear that Brazil had its enforcement apparatus in order, but the outcomes of these efforts in terms of follow-up actions were largely unknown.

    This week, anti-piracy group ALIANZA booked its first ‘404’ related victory in court. Following a criminal complaint from the group, Judge Marina Figueiredo Coelho of the Fifth Criminal Court of Campinas, Sao Paolo, convicted the operator of a pirate IPTV service that was taken down in 2020.

    Prison for Flash IPTV Operator

    The operator of Flash IPTV, who is referred to by the initials A.W.A.P., was found guilty of criminal copyright infringement and sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

    Flash IPTV was a relatively large IPTV service with 13,547 active users at its peak. According to local news reports , the service generated R$4,542,034 ($912,000) in revenue over twelve months, before it was taken offline in 2020 as part of the second ‘Operation 404’ campaign .

    Speaking with TorrentFreak, ALIANZA says that this is a historic verdict, as it’s the first criminal IPTV prosecution linked to ‘Operation 404’ in Brazil.

    “We appreciate the commitment of the police and judicial authorities in resolving this important case. The conviction of A.W.A.P. is a milestone that reinforces our commitment to defending the rights of creators and fighting against illegal practices that harm the creative economy,” says Víctor Roldán, ALIANZA’s executive director.

    More to Come?

    A copy of the verdict wasn’t released to the public, as is common with these types of convictions, so further details are scarce.

    While Operation 404 resulted in many arrests over the years, follow-up prosecutions have been rare in Brazil. Previously, ALIANZA did score a similar victory in Ecuador , where the operator of the pirate IPTV service IPTVlisto.com was sentenced to a year in prison.

    Last fall, Brazilian authorities conducted the sixth wave of Operation 404 and more are expected to follow in the future. These enforcement initiatives are broadly praised by rightsholders and the recent conviction will only strengthen their support.

    There’s always room for improvement, of course. A few weeks ago, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) recommended Brazil to remain on the US ‘ Special 301 ‘ Watch List of countries with IP-related challenges.

    IIPA saw various positive developments, especially regarding Operation 404. However, disagreement between rightsholders over enforcement action could still improve.

    “Brazil still suffers from a lack of specific norms and regulations regarding the enforcement of copyrighted works over the Internet and a lack of resources and staff to support enforcement actions considering the reach and amount of content piracy in the region,” IIPA wrote.

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

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      Piracy Shield Source Code & Internal Documentation Leak Online

      news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Tuesday, 26 March - 21:30 · 3 minutes

    Logo piracy shield Ever since Italian authorities announced their intent to introduce an even more aggressive anti-piracy blocking system than the one already in place, controversy has rarely been far behind.

    Recent reports of avoidable overblocking, a reluctance to admit that the Piracy Shield system is fallible, and new reports that telecoms regulator AGCOM is now rejecting complaints from wrongfully blocked Cloudflare customers, are just some of the ingredients in a volatile mix that has always threatened to boil over.

    Piracy Shield: Source Code Leaked Online

    In what could develop into the biggest crisis yet for the Piracy Shield system and those who operate it, nine repositories of source code, internal documentation, and other related data, claiming to be the various components of the Piracy Shield system, appear to have leaked online.

    An announcement in Italian and English, posted on GitHub a few hours ago, criticizes AGCOM and SP Tech Legal, the law firm-linked developer behind Piracy Shield, for creating a “tool of censorship disguised as a solution to piracy.”

    The main ‘fuckpiracyshield’ repository on GitHub was created by a user of the same name; they appear to have joined the site for the purposes of leaking the code online and, after signing up at 15:55 on Tuesday, by 16:50 they were gone. Aside from the leaked material, a message was left behind.

    “This is not the way to stop piracy. This is a gateway to censorship,” the bio message reads.

    Content Allegedly Leaked

    The apparently leaked collection spans nine repositories; they are named and described as follows:

    frontend (The frontend of Piracy Shield), data (Guides for the ISPs and reporters that use Piracy Shield), variations (Some code that was probably used for testing for Piracy Shield?), service (Services and main logic of the Piracy Shield API), data-storage (Storage and filesystem management for the Piracy Shield API), data-model (Data models of objects used by the Piracy Shield code), component (Components needed by other Piracy Shield packages), api (This is the API for Piracy Shield)

    For those unfamiliar with Python or no interest in code, period, the ‘data’ repository probably offers the most interesting information. It contains what appears to be up-to-date operations manuals for Piracy Shield, with the ‘ISP TECHNICAL MANUAL – PIRACY SHIELD’ described as v2.4.1, current on February 2nd when Piracy Shield made its full debut.

    All documents are named and presented in Italian and the titles suggest that there are two versions of two distinct manuals: ‘Piracy Shield Manual’ and ‘Piracy Shield Error Codes’. One version seems to be directed at those reporting domains and IP addresses for blocking and the other toward the ISPs expected to carry out the blocking.

    Unusual Feature of the Leak

    When browsing the source code and attempting to work out its purpose, on some repositories something immediately stands out. With no assumptions as to who the name refers, a contributor to the Piracy Shield project appears to be someone called Daniele Maglie. Their name appears time and again throughout the code, which in itself isn’t especially unusual.

    However, when looking more closely at the leaker’s bio, which includes an image of AGCOM’s president apparently deep in thought, leaving the mouse pointer in place for a moment produces a piece of popup text, as highlighted in the image below.

    piracy shield popup

    What the text means, if indeed it means anything at all, will be just one of the questions being asked in the days to come. In the meantime, AGCOM has yet another blocking target to contend with, although a DMCA notice will be much more effective.

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