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lacountyEarlier this month we reported how media conglomerate ABS-CBN is going after several website owners who link to pirated streams of its programming.

The Philippines-based company filed a lawsuit at a federal court in Oregon looking for millions of dollars in damages from two local residents. The court case has barely started but that didn’t prevent ABS-CBN from using its journalistic outlet to taint public opinion.

In a news report released by its American branch, the company slams the defendants who they align with hardcore criminals.

The coverage is presented as news but offers no balance. Instead it frames online piracy as a threat to everyone, with billions of dollars in losses that negatively impact America’s education and health care budgets.

But it gets even worse. It’s not just public services that are threatened by online piracy according to the news outlet, national security is at stake as well.

“Piracy actually aids and abets organized crime. Gangs and even terrorist groups have reportedly entered the piracy market because the penalties are much lighter than traditional crimes such as drug dealing – and the profit could be much higher,” ABS-CBN’s senior reporter Henni Espinosa notes.

It’s not the first time that we have heard these far-fetched allegations. However, for a news organization to present them without context to further its own cause is a line that not even the MPAA and RIAA would dare to cross today.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, on the other hand, has also noticed the link with organized crime and terrorism.

“[Piracy is] supporting their ability to buy drugs and guns and engage in violence. And then, the support of global terrorism, which is a threat to everybody,” LA County Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers tells the new outlet.

Los Angeles County police say that piracy is one of their top priorities. They hope to make the local neighborhoods a little safer by tracking down these pirates and potential terrorists.

“To identify bad guys that we need to take out of the community so the rest of the folks can enjoy their neighborhood and their families,” Rogers concludes.

Since the above might have to sink in for a moment, we turn to the two Oregon citizens who ABS-CBN based the report on. Are Jeff Ashby and his Filipina wife Lenie Ashby really hardcore criminals?

Based on public statistics the five sites they operated barely had any visitors. According to Jeff he created them for his wife so she could enjoy entertainment from her home country. He actually didn’t make any copies of the media but merely provided links to other websites.

‘I created these websites for my wife who is from the Philippines, so she and others who are far from the Philippines could enjoy materials from their culture that are otherwise unavailable to them, Jeff Ashby wrote to the court.

“Since these materials were already on the web, we did not think there would-be a problem to simply link to them. No content was ever hosted on our server,” he adds.

The websites were all closed as soon as the Oregon couple were informed about the lawsuit. They regret their mistake and say they didn’t know that it could get them into trouble, certainly not $10 million worth of it.

So are these really the evil drug lords or terrorists the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and ABS-CBN are referring to?

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

pirate-cardWhen it comes to the heated piracy debate the opinions of Hollywood are usually spoken in clear terms, with all the big companies singing from the same sheet. Piracy is universally bad, the studios chant in unison, a line from which few dare to deviate.

However, when someone in Hollywood does break ranks, it’s always worth listening to what they have to say.

Just recently movie director Lexi Alexander has been shaking things up with comments not only supporting jailed Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, but also those that blame studio bosses for leaks of movies such as The Expendables 3.

Today Alexander has delivered perhaps her most controversial revelation yet, news which suggests that direct leverage of piracy helped a major network get its own streaming services off the ground with much reduced costs.

The report comes from a contact of Alexander’s working in the industry. She’s keeping his identity a secret so as not to jeopardize his career, but his revelations are quite an eye opener.

“Many years ago, I was employed at one of the Major Networks in an R&D capacity. What our team was tasked with was figuring out how to build streaming networks. Building a parallel to the broadcast networks where a program could be digitized and then never go back to the analog world again,” he told Alexander.

“[W]hen you’re working at the level of a network, there’s too much to be done by hand, and you have to design systems. For digitizing. Transcoding. Asset management. Dealing with different audio mixes. Subtitles. Error correction. Multi-bit rate streaming for a wide variety of clients. Evolving formats and containers.”

Clearly the job of transitioning to the digital domain presented significant challenges that needed to be overcome. However, R&D workers needed experience to solve these problems and according to the insider that was obtained in a most unorthodox fashion.

“We were all pirates. I’m not saying we leaked material to the internet – nobody was that crazy. But everyone illegally downloaded media. We traded tips on our setups, best practices, the most efficient tools and workflows. Everyone was downloading illegally. The VPs. The head of content security. EVERYONE.”

Of course, any major expenditure such as creating new networks would have to be passed off by the powers that be, something that could take years. But while those holding the purse-strings were deep in thought, time wasn’t being wasted down in R&D. In the pirate world, experiments were taking place.

“We honed our skills, our design ideas, our workflow concepts in illegal waters. So when we finally got the greenlight to build something, we knew what we were doing. We were fluent,” the insider said.

This unofficial training led to huge savings for the network, slashing R&D costs while bringing products more quickly to market. Alexander’s contact notes that these savings as a result of piracy are a far cry from the losses Hollywood prefers to talk about.

“So when I look at all the complaints about piracy costing corporations billions of dollars, all I can think about is the billions of free R&D the corporations have received from the pirate economy. Of all the money and resources we were not given by our bosses, which led us to solve problems with the tools that were available to us,” he concludes.

Finally, it appears that Lexi Alexander isn’t done yet. She’s now inviting others to come forward with their own anonymous “anti-piracy hypocrisy stories”. Better get the popcorn, this could get interesting.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

pirate-cardWhen it comes to the heated piracy debate the opinions of Hollywood are usually spoken in clear terms, with all the big companies singing from the same sheet. Piracy is universally bad, the studios chant in unison, a line from which few dare to deviate.

However, when someone in Hollywood does break ranks, it’s always worth listening to what they have to say.

Just recently movie director Lexi Alexander has been shaking things up with comments not only supporting jailed Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, but also those that blame studio bosses for leaks of movies such as The Expendables 3.

Today Alexander has delivered perhaps her most controversial revelation yet, news which suggests that direct leverage of piracy helped a major network get its own streaming services off the ground with much reduced costs.

The report comes from a contact of Alexander’s working in the industry. She’s keeping his identity a secret so as not to jeopardize his career, but his revelations are quite an eye opener.

“Many years ago, I was employed at one of the Major Networks in an R&D capacity. What our team was tasked with was figuring out how to build streaming networks. Building a parallel to the broadcast networks where a program could be digitized and then never go back to the analog world again,” he told Alexander.

“[W]hen you’re working at the level of a network, there’s too much to be done by hand, and you have to design systems. For digitizing. Transcoding. Asset management. Dealing with different audio mixes. Subtitles. Error correction. Multi-bit rate streaming for a wide variety of clients. Evolving formats and containers.”

Clearly the job of transitioning to the digital domain presented significant challenges that needed to be overcome. However, R&D workers needed experience to solve these problems and according to the insider that was obtained in a most unorthodox fashion.

“We were all pirates. I’m not saying we leaked material to the internet – nobody was that crazy. But everyone illegally downloaded media. We traded tips on our setups, best practices, the most efficient tools and workflows. Everyone was downloading illegally. The VPs. The head of content security. EVERYONE.”

Of course, any major expenditure such as creating new networks would have to be passed off by the powers that be, something that could take years. But while those holding the purse-strings were deep in thought, time wasn’t being wasted down in R&D. In the pirate world, experiments were taking place.

“We honed our skills, our design ideas, our workflow concepts in illegal waters. So when we finally got the greenlight to build something, we knew what we were doing. We were fluent,” the insider said.

This unofficial training led to huge savings for the network, slashing R&D costs while bringing products more quickly to market. Alexander’s contact notes that these savings as a result of piracy are a far cry from the losses Hollywood prefers to talk about.

“So when I look at all the complaints about piracy costing corporations billions of dollars, all I can think about is the billions of free R&D the corporations have received from the pirate economy. Of all the money and resources we were not given by our bosses, which led us to solve problems with the tools that were available to us,” he concludes.

Finally, it appears that Lexi Alexander isn’t done yet. She’s now inviting others to come forward with their own anonymous “anti-piracy hypocrisy stories”. Better get the popcorn, this could get interesting.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

dotcom-laptopBack in 2012, millions of dollars of Megaupload and Kim Dotcom assets were seized in New Zealand and Hong Kong, action designed to bring the Internet entrepreneur financially to his knees.

That hasn’t been the case since, however. Dotcom has continued with his very public displays of wealth, living in one of New Zealand’s most expensive houses, flying around the country in helicopters, and bankrolling a brand new political party.

All this, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros insist, are clear signs that Dotcom is disposing of wealth that will transfer to their hands should they prevail in their legal action against him – if there is any left of course.

Last month the High Court’s Judge Courtney agreed with the studios and ordered Dotcom to reveal all of his global assets “wherever they are located” and to identify “the nature of his interest in them.”

Needless to say, Dotcom has been putting up a fight, and has filed an appeal which will be heard in the second week of October. However, that date falls way beyond September 5, the date by which Dotcom has to comply with Judge Courtney’s disclosure order.

During a hearing today at the Court of Appeal, Dotcom’s legal team argued that their client should not have to hand over a list of his assets in advance of the October appeal as several legal points needed to be aired during the hearing.

According to Stuff, lawyer Tracey Walker said that the 2012 restraining order covered assets generated before that date, but have no scope moving forward.

“The assets that they are talking about now are new assets that were created because of my entrepreneurial skill after the raid,” Dotcom explained previously.

Dotcom has remained extremely active in the business sector since 2012, helping to create cloud storage service Mega.co.nz and then generating cash by selling shares in the company. The authorities and Hollywood are clearly trying to keep an eye on the money.

In Court, Walker said that since $11.8 million was seized from Dotcom in 2012 and other funds are currently frozen in Hong Kong, the studios have a fund to draw on should they win their case. Revealing more about his current financial situation would breach Dotcom’s privacy, Walker added.

Appearing for the US-based studios, lawyer Jack Hodder said the disclosure order was fully justified.

Ending the hearing, the Court of Appeal reserved its decision on whether Dotcom will have to comply with the High Court ruling and disclose on September 9, or whether he will indeed be able to wait until after the October hearing.

In the meantime the political mudslinging continues in New Zealand, with Kim Dotcom now preparing legal action against controversial blogger Cameron Slater who he accuses of publishing “200 plus smear stories” as part of a “character assassination” campaign handled by the ruling National Party.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

dotcom-laptopBack in 2012, millions of dollars of Megaupload and Kim Dotcom assets were seized in New Zealand and Hong Kong, action designed to bring the Internet entrepreneur financially to his knees.

That hasn’t been the case since, however. Dotcom has continued with his very public displays of wealth, living in one of New Zealand’s most expensive houses, flying around the country in helicopters, and bankrolling a brand new political party.

All this, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros insist, are clear signs that Dotcom is disposing of wealth that will transfer to their hands should they prevail in their legal action against him – if there is any left of course.

Last month the High Court’s Judge Courtney agreed with the studios and ordered Dotcom to reveal all of his global assets “wherever they are located” and to identify “the nature of his interest in them.”

Needless to say, Dotcom has been putting up a fight, and has filed an appeal which will be heard in the second week of October. However, that date falls way beyond September 5, the date by which Dotcom has to comply with Judge Courtney’s disclosure order.

During a hearing today at the Court of Appeal, Dotcom’s legal team argued that their client should not have to hand over a list of his assets in advance of the October appeal as several legal points needed to be aired during the hearing.

According to Stuff, lawyer Tracey Walker said that the 2012 restraining order covered assets generated before that date, but have no scope moving forward.

“The assets that they are talking about now are new assets that were created because of my entrepreneurial skill after the raid,” Dotcom explained previously.

Dotcom has remained extremely active in the business sector since 2012, helping to create cloud storage service Mega.co.nz and then generating cash by selling shares in the company. The authorities and Hollywood are clearly trying to keep an eye on the money.

In Court, Walker said that since $11.8 million was seized from Dotcom in 2012 and other funds are currently frozen in Hong Kong, the studios have a fund to draw on should they win their case. Revealing more about his current financial situation would breach Dotcom’s privacy, Walker added.

Appearing for the US-based studios, lawyer Jack Hodder said the disclosure order was fully justified.

Ending the hearing, the Court of Appeal reserved its decision on whether Dotcom will have to comply with the High Court ruling and disclose on September 9, or whether he will indeed be able to wait until after the October hearing.

In the meantime the political mudslinging continues in New Zealand, with Kim Dotcom now preparing legal action against controversial blogger Cameron Slater who he accuses of publishing “200 plus smear stories” as part of a “character assassination” campaign handled by the ruling National Party.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

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