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japanIn an effort to crackdown on Internet piracy, during October 2012 the Japanese government introduced new legislation targeted at file-sharers.

To support existing punishments of up to 10 years in prison for uploaders, knowingly downloading copyright-infringing material became an offense carrying a potential two years in jail. While it was hoped that these measures would encourage consumers to do the right thing, today the problems persist.

As a result, this week the Japanese government will act in order to preserve what it sees as one of its greatest cultural exports.

Anime and manga are now consumed in countries right around the world and Japan sees this interest in Japanese culture as useful to its relationships abroad. However, with that popularity comes piracy, much of it facilitated by unlicensed overseas sites.

In the hope of remedying the situation overseas, this Friday will see the launch of a massive anti-piracy campaign aimed at making a huge dent in anime and manga piracy.

The government and 15 leading producers and distributors will begin contacting an estimated 580 “overseas pirate sites” with demands that they mass-delete infringing content. The sites are located in various regions, but there will be a particular focus on China.

Whether those sites will comply will remain to be seen, but should pirate content become harder to find the campaign wants to be able to capitalize on that opportunity. According to NHK, a new site will direct fans to legal copies of the 250 affected works at a flat price of a few hundred yen.

“We want to create a project so that anime fans overseas can enjoy Japanese content legally and without infringement worries while the profits are paid to anime production companies and publishers,” a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry spokesman said.

It seems highly unlikely that overseas sites will comply fully with the requests of the Japanese. However, by attempting to serve the overseas markets with legal content it will at least make it easier for foreigners to open their wallets, should they feel inclined to do so.

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

expendablesThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

The Expendables 3, which leaked several weeks before the official premiere, is the most downloaded movie this week.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (…) The Expendables 3 (DVDscr) ?.? / trailer
2 (…) Divergent 7.2 / trailer
3 (2) The Other Woman 6.5 / trailer
4 (1) Need For Speed 7.1 / trailer
5 (8) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 7.4 / trailer
6 (5) Transformers: Age of Extinction (HDTS) 6.3 / trailer
7 (4) Noah 6.3 / trailer
8 (…) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (TS) 8.3 / trailer
9 (3) Transcendence 6.4 / trailer
10 (…) Hercules Reborn 3.4 / trailer

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

google-bayEach week many millions of DMCA-style copyright notices are sent to sites and services around the planet. Initially the process flew almost entirely under the radar, with senders and recipients dealing with complaints privately.

In 2001, that began to change with the advent of Chilling Effects, an archive created by activists who had become concerned that increasing volumes of cease-and-desist letters were having a “chilling effect” on speech.

In the decade-and-a-third that followed the archive grew to unprecedented levels, with giants such as Google and Twitter routinely sending received notices to the site for public retrieval.

However, while Chilling Effects strives to maintain free speech, several times a month rightsholders from around the world try to silence the archive in specific ways by asking Google to de-index pages from the site.

As can be seen from the tables below, Home Box Office has tried to de-index Chilling Effects pages 240 times, with Microsoft and NBC Universal making 99 and 65 attempts respectively.

Chilling1

The ‘problem’ for these copyright holders is two-fold. Firstly, Chilling Effects does indeed list millions of URLs that potentially link to infringing content. That does not sit well with copyright holders.

“Because the site does not redact information about the infringing URLs identified in the notices, it has effectively become the largest repository of URLs hosting infringing content on the internet,” the Copyright Alliance’s Sandra Aistars complained earlier this year.

However, what Aistars omits to mention is that Chilling Effects has a huge team of lawyers under the hood who know only too well that their archive receives protection under the law. Chilling Effects isn’t a pirate index, it’s an educational, informational, research resource.

Thanks to Google, which routinely throws out all attempts at removing Chilling Effects URLs from its indexes, we are able to see copyright holder attempts at de-indexing.

Earlier this month, for example, Wild Side Video and their anti-piracy partners LeakID sent this notice to Google aiming to protect their title “Young Detective Dee.” As shown below, the notice contained several Chilling Effects URLs.

chill2

Each URL links to other DMCA notices on Chilling Effects, each sent by rival anti-piracy outfit Remove Your Media on behalf of Well Go USA Entertainment. They also target “Young Detective Dee”. This is an interesting situation that offers the potential for an endless loop, with the anti-piracy companies reporting each others’ “infringing” links on Chilling Effects in fresh notices, each time failing to get them removed.

chilling3

The seeds of the “endless loop” phenomenon were also experienced by HBO for a while, with the anti-piracy company sending notices (such as this one) targeting dozens of Chilling Effects pages listing notices previously sent by the company.

While publishing notices is entirely legal, the potential for these loops really angers some notice senders.

On April 10 this year a Peter Walley sent a notice to Google complaining that his book was being made available on a “pirate site” without permission. Google removed the link in its indexes but, as is standard practice, linked to the notice on Chilling Effects. This enraged Walley.

chilling4

None of these rantings had any effect, except to place yet another notice on Chilling Effects highlighting where the infringing material could be found.

It’s a lesson others should learn from too.

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

appletvEarlier this year Popcorn Time made headlines all over the Internet as one of the first apps to combine a simple and stylish user interface with an effective way to stream torrents.

The application also inspired dozens of developers to start their own spinoffs. While most of these apps mimicked the looks and functionality of the original application, TorrenTV offers something completely different.

Instead of providing a Netflix-style index of movies, TorrenTV allows people to add their own torrents and stream these directly to an Apple TV.

“Popcorn Time is beautiful in code and in looks but I wanted to do two things that PopcornTime didn’t allow me, watch movies directly on my TV and add new torrents which Popcorn Time doesn’t have yet,” TorrenTV developer Carlos tells TorrentFreak.

Carlos started coding and a few weeks later TorrenTV was born. The application works by simply dropping a torrent or magnet link into it. The video file starts downloading and via Airplay it can be streamed directly to an Apple TV.

TorrenTV for Linux, Mac and Windows

torrentv-apps

TorrenTV uses Popcorn Time code and is built on the same Peerflix and torrent-stream libraries. There are plans to extend its functionality by adding Chromecast and Roku support in the future, but its simplicity will remain.

One of the main differences compared to Popcorn time is that TorrenTV doesn’t offer an index of movies. This may be a downside for some, but according to Carlos this is an advantage.

With no index of pirated content it can’t be taken down by the MPAA, which happened to Popcorn Time a few weeks ago.

For those who are interested in taking it for a spin, TorrenTV is available for Mac, Windows and Linux and can be downloaded from the official site.

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

pirate-runningFebruary last year, five U.S. Internet providers started sending copyright alerts to customers who allegedly pirate movies, TV-shows and music.

During the first year they sent out 1.3 million educational notices, warning account holders that their connection was used to share pirated content. However, its scope pales in comparison to what others are doing.

TorrentFreak spoke with anti-piracy outfit CEG TEK, who also send out warning letters on behalf of copyright holders. However, their version comes with a sting.

In addition to the traditional slap on the wrist their notices also include a settlement proposal, which can reach hundreds of dollars. These emails are sent as regular DMCA notices which the ISPs then forward to their customers.

Little has been revealed about the scope of this program, but CEG TEK’s Kyle Reed now informs us that in 2013 they sent out 26 million notices to U.S. based Internet providers. The volume is expected to double this year as the company currently sends out 1.1 million notices per week.

It’s an impressive number, but since not all ISPs are happy with the process only a small fraction of their customers receive the settlement offer to the respective account holder.

CEG TEK currently sends out requests to 3,493 Internet providers and 342 of these forward the settlement offer, which is roughly 10%. This includes many small ISPs as well as companies and universities.

Some providers forward the notice but without the request for a settlement. Comcast, for example, is known to do this. While CEG TEK prefers it if providers forward the entire notice, the stripped ones are also of value to their clients.

“There are various levels of cooperation. Success doesn’t always mean getting a settlement from an account holder. Rightsholders are also happy when they can get their anti-piracy message out there,” CEG TEK’s Kyle Reed tells TorrentFreak.

Interestingly, there are also various ISPs who don’t forward anything. According to their interpretation of the DMCA they are not obliged to send the notices to their customers.

“Several Internet providers don’t comply at all. They simply ignore our notices,” Reed says.

CEG TEK is not the only company to send these settlement requests as a DMCA takedown notice, Rightscorp does the same. Both companies have increased their output in recent years and major rightsholders such as Warner Bros. are in on the scheme.

It’s an interesting trend, one that goes above and beyond the official Copyright Alert System. According to CEG TEK the approach is effective. The company has gathered data on how their notices influence piracy rates, which it plans to publish in the future.

Whether that will be enough to make a dent in piracy rates remains to be seen though.

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

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