TorrentFreak details at great length how Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom did his best to get hacking group Lizard Squad to stop DDoSing PlaySation Network and Xbox Live on Christmas. While it's debatable if the peace offering made by Dotcom really did stop all the Lizard Squad attacks, it shows that he at least made a strong effort to do something on behalf of gamers.
According to this TorrentFreak story, the settlement that the Motion Picture Association of America made with file-sharing site Hotfile was a lot less than the $80 million figure thrown around in public. According to the report, Hotfile ultimately paid $4 million dollars and the site was eventually shut down.
The New Zealand Supreme Court ruled this week that the 2011 raid on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's Auckland, New Zealand mansion was legal, according to this TorrentFreak report. While the highest court in New Zealand acknowledged that the search warrants used against Dotcom were 'deficient' in detail, it concluded that that fact did not result in a miscarriage of justice.
According to this TorrentFreak report, BitTorrent Inc. (the parent company of the popular file-sharing tools uTorrent and BitTorrent) has over $2.2 million in damages from a German company that used brand confusion to sell things to unsuspecting users. The company, Bittorrent Marketing GMBH, did not show up for court and lost by default, according to the report.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has to share his personal financial information with Hollywood, according to a ruling by the New Zealand High Court. While Hollywood (or rather, those in Hollywood suing him) will be given access to his financial information, the public will not be provided with this information.
What are the most pirated games state-by-state? According to data collected by Movoto (as detailed by GamesBeat), the most popular game to download illegally from filesharing sites in the United States is Ubisoft's Watch Dogs. By state, Watch Dogs was downloaded the most in Washington, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and a host of other states. It is by far the most pirated game in many regions in the country.
A leaked document from the Australian government reveals discussion points on implementing a potential online piracy crackdown. Among them, changing the law to bypass a 2012 court ruling by an Australian court that protected ISP iiNet from suffering for the infringements of its users, and new legislation to allow for ISP-level blocking of alleged 'pirate' sites.
Much of this is coming from Attorney-General George Brandis, but he faces the usual accusations about a lack of transparency during the preliminary phase of discussions by digital rights groups.
UK households that repeatedly pirate music, movies, and other copyrighted material online will receive warning letters beginning in 2015. Beyond that, the new informational initiative to educate the UK populace on the ills of piracy and where to find legal sources for content seems to have no punitive component attached to it.
TorrentFreak reports that a Spanish court has overturned a lower court ruling that saw rights holders successfully block several file-sharing sites that they claim engaged in illegal file uploading and downloading.
Lawyers for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom are taking their appeal of a decision on the 2012 raid of his mansion that led to the file-sharing site owner's property being seized. Yesterday the Supreme Court gave Dotcom permission to appeal a February Court of Appeal ruling that overturned an earlier High Court decision that the 2012 raid was unlawful. At the center of the raid is whether the warrants used to launch the operation were legal.
Ciro Continisio, the developer behind the successfully crowd-funded turn-based strategy title UFHO2, released his game as a torrent on Pirate Bay after the game failed to get approved via Steam's Greenlight program. The game was successfully funded by a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign in early 2012, and in August of that same year Continisio submitted it to the Greenlight program.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has launched The Internet Party in New Zealand. Dotcom, whose file-sharing site was shut down in 2012 by U.S. and New Zealand authorities, formed the political party to promote "freedom of the internet and technology, for privacy and political reform."
Dotcom is currently fighting extradition to the U.S. over charges of copyright infringement on a "massive scale." While a date for that to happen has not been announced, many expect that Dotcom will have his day in U.S. courts sometime this summer.
Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde has been selected by the European Pirate Party as candidate for the European Commission presidency, according to TorrentFreak. In two months time citizens of all European Union member states will vote on who can represent them in the European Parliament and Finland's Pirate Party has put forth one of the most recognized candidates as a choice for voters.
The U.S. government does not have to disclose the evidence it will use against Megaupload owner Kim Dotcom prior to extraditing him to the United States, the New Zealand Supreme Court has ruled. In a 123-page ruling on Thursday the highest court in New Zealand said that there is no precedent to force the U.S. government to show its evidence prior to extradition.
A new patent filed by AT&T Mobility in September 2013 and published this month hopes to keep customers from "abusing a telecommunications system" by consuming too much bandwidth, according to a report on TorrentFreak. The ultimate goal of such a patent is to apparently keep users from using certain services within the confines of packages they subscribe to.
Only a few hours after it was revealed that cloud-based file-sharing destination Hotfile has agreed to pay $80 million to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) as part of a settlement for a trial set to begin next week, the site went offline. Not only did the site go offline, but it took all of the user content being stored on its servers with it. Users who stored legal personal and business-related documents are now left in much the same situation that Megaupload users were left in, but this time it can't be blamed on anyone except the service provider.
A new study by the London School of Economics suggest that the movie, music, and video games industries have been exaggerating the impact that file sharing has had on their bottom line and found that - for some creative industries - copyright infringement may actually be helping to boost revenues.
Researchers found that internet-based revenues have been a large part of the music industry's growth since 2004 because the industry has adopted methods of distributing and consuming content modeled after file-sharing services such as BitTorrent, Pirate Bay, and Napster.
According to this TorrentFreak article, the trade groups representing the music and movie industry are indoctrinating kindergartners in the state of California with an "educational program" about "sharing creative works." The Center for Copyright Information, a partnership between the MPAA, RIAA and five of the largest Internet providers in the United States, are teaching copyright classes in California public schools.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (and others related to the Megaupload case) has filed a lawsuit against the New Zealand government over its illegal spying activities against him and the subsequent raid on his house in early 2012. A New Zealand Court granted him the right to sue earlier this year. New court documents published this week by the New Zealand Herald show that Dotcom is seeking NZ$8.55 million ($6.9 million) in damages.
On August 1 Russia began using a new law designed to reduce online copyright infringement. Many called it Russia's version of SOPA, but the system is proving to be less draconian than many had first anticipated. The goal of the new law is to identify and block (at the ISP level) sites online that traffic in copyrighted material online such as movies, TV shows, music, video games, and more. As of this Thursday the system will have been in effect for three weeks, but the results might be considered surprising.
Finland has made history as being the first country to present a copyright law to lawmakers that was crafted by citizens. Last year Finland passed a law changing its constitution to allow its citizens to propose legislation if they obtained 50,000 signatures. Fast-forward to 2013 and citizens have managed to get fairer copyright law before legislators in the country because they managed to get the required support from fellow citizens.
The French government has decided that one of the tools used in its supposed "three-strikes" copyright enforcement law (commonly called Hadopi) is not necessary. Prior to the change one of the tools that the government had at its disposal was the ability to disconnect individuals who continually engaged in illicit file-sharing of copyrighted materials after several warnings and actions. Now a panel has decided that disconnecting citizens from the Internet as a punishment isn't that good of an idea.
After three years in place and "millions" of threatening letters being sent to alleged illegal file sharers in France, the French three-strikes anti-piracy law Hadopi has finally led to the disconnection of one person from the Internet. The individual, who was not named, faces two weeks without access to certain internet functions like web access and access to P2P software and a 600 euro fine.
The individual was caught sharing a few files online and never responded to earlier warnings.
A New Zealand Court has ruled that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is entitled to all the evidence that was seized illegally (according to a NZ court ruling) in early 2012. The FBI and the Department of Justice, who are looking to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand to America to face a litany of charges related to his file-sharing and data storage service, only wanted to share one document. During the raid on his mansion law enforcement seized property and lots and lots of data.
If rights holders had their way they would have the ability to install rootkits and deploy malware that would include Ransomeware (restricted access to your computer until you pay them a fee) on to the computer systems of hackers and illegal file downloaders in order to fight piracy and cyber attacks. This may sound a little too over-the-top, but these are just some of the crazy ideas presented in a new report by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.
Episode 50 of the show is certainly a milestone for hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight (and myself) - which just happens to mark nearly a year of the podcast to boot. So, yay for us! On this week's show we discuss the prank on pirates played by the maker of Game Dev Tycoon, the Nyan Cat / Keyboard Cat- Warner Bros. lawsuit, the latest poll over at GamePolitics, and some other fun stuff. Download Episode 50 now: SuperPAC Episode 50 (1 hour, 15 minutes) 68.6 MB.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released its 2013 Special 301 Report, detailing regions outside of the United States that are havens for piracy and do not enforce US copyrights. At the top of that list (which mentions 40 different countries) is Russia. Russia is named in the Priority Watch List, along with Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Venezuela, and Pakistan. China gets a lot of attention in this particular report, as does Russia.