On Monday we reported that the MPAA and the RIAA recommended to Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel that the United States government do more to combat online piracy like they did with Megaupload. Today Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom offers his two cents on the MPAA's and RIAA's recommendations and goes so far as to say that these trade groups have "corrupted the government."
Major UK Internet service provider Virgin Media has finally been ordered by the courts to block subscriber access to file-sharing site, Newzbin2. The company had rejected earlier calls by rights groups such as the Motion Picture Association to block the site voluntarily. The company issued the following statement yesterday:
Google has decided to play ball with rights holders, according to this Politico report. The world's biggest search engine revealed that it will now make search results from sites with "frequent copyright removal notices" appear lower in Google search rankings. Google announced late Friday that web sites with high numbers of "valid" removal notices would be affected by this new policy.
After the Ukrainian Government took down the BitTorrent site Demonoid (at the request of Interpol, apparently), hacktivist group Anonymous attacked several government websites and vowed more actions in the future as a form of protest. The Kyiv Post is reporting that the web pages for the Ukrainian Anti-Piracy Association, the Ukrainian Agency for Copyright and Related Rights, and the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine were unavailable for a short amount of time.
According to the BBC, one of the world's largest BitTorrent sites in the world has been shut down. Ukraine-based BitTorrent site Demonoid has been shut down by Ukrainian authorities. Officials from the Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs raided the data center that was hosting website's servers.
You can't fight city hall, and apparently you can't fight piracy online either - at least according to Dead Trigger developer Madfinger Games. The company made news earlier this month when it turned the Andorid version of its zombie shooting game "freemium," claiming that the Android version of the game had such a high piracy rate that the game needed to be free with micro-transactions.
France's new culture minister has indicated that she will drastically cut the budget from the internet copyright infringement agency Hadopi. She will also encourage the agency to lay off on kicking people off the Internet, much to the delight of internet advocates. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti has appointed former Canal+ pay-TV CEO Pierre Lescure to conduct a review of France's Act II, a set of rules for protecting culture in the digital age - which includes the use of the Hadopi agency for enforcement.
Dead Trigger developer Madfinger Games has made the iOS version of the game free, following reports earlier this month that it would make the Android version of its zombie shooter a free downloaded due to "unbelievably high" levels of piracy. Today the company has taken the same action for the iPad and iPhone version of the game, though its claims about piracy on this platform seem to be slightly more subdued.
Update: The BBC is reporting that Ubisoft has rushed to patch the exploit unearthed by a Google engineer in its Uplay DRM. The company also issued instructions for Uplay users:
"We recommend that all Uplay users update their Uplay PC application without a Web browser open," Ubisoft said. "This will allow the plug-in to update correctly. An updated version of the Uplay PC installer with the patch also is available from Uplay.com."
Wired's Game | Life is reporting that the South Korean Customs Service has taken down a criminal piracy ring comprised of 25 suspects. They are accused of allegedly selling over 90,000 illegally copied games and copying devices for the Nintendo DS worth over 100 billion won ($87 million). The South Korean agency turned over information on the suspects to prosecutors on Monday, according to the Korea Herald.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has launched a song online attacking U.S. President Barack Obama and urging supporters not to vote for him in November. The song and video on YouTube is called "Mr President" and offers dire warnings to U.S. voters about the President such as "don't vote for those who would take us back in time."
In another line from the song he says"what about free speech Mr President, what happened to change Mr President."
In a statement on Facebook, game developer Madfinger Games claims that the piracy rate for its Android zombie shooting game was "unbelievably high." The game had been priced at a mere 99 cents, but the developers say that the low price point didn’t stop pirates from stealing the game and using it for free.
As a result the company has announced that the Android version of the game is now completely free to play and enjoy. When we say free, we do not mean "free-to-play," for the record.
The legal team representing Megaupload (founder Kim Dotcom and others associated with the file-sharing and storage site) has submitted a response to the U.S. government’s argument that Megaupload should face prosecution in the U.S. despite not having a physical address in the country. They are accusing the Department of Justice of trying to make up their own rules to keep the criminal case alive when the case should be dismissed. Earlier this month lawyers for Megaupload asked the court to do just that because U.S.
The New Zealand judge overseeing the extradition of Kim Dotcom (the founder of file-sharing site Megaupload) has removed himself from the case after comments about the U.S. government being "the enemy" caught up to him. Last week at the NetHui conference in Auckland, Judge Harvey said that New Zealand had "met the enemy, and he is the US." The reference was related to how the U.S. handles copyright cases.
Porn publisher Liberty Media is trying out a new tactic in fighting against illegal downloads of its adult films: suing Wi-Fi network owners with negligence. The tactic, which it tested in the Southern District Court of New York (LIBERTY MEDIA HOLDINGS, LLC, v. CARY TABORA and SCHUYLER WHETSTONE) failed miserably.
Megaupload founder Kim DotCom was probably delighted to learn this week in a New Zealand court that his extradition hearing had been pushed to March of 2013. This gives him and his co-defendants a lot more time to fight the U.S. government's plans to extradite them to America to face a number of charges related to the popular file-sharing and hosting site allegedly used to share copyrighted materials. The U.S. government and New Zealand authorities took the site offline in January of this year and arrested DotCom and his colleagues for the aforementioned crimes.
Megaupload found Kim DotCom won't have to worry about the prospect of being shipped off to the United States to faces various charges related to the U.S. government's takedown of the popular file sharing and storage site. A New Zealand judge has pushed DotCom's extradition hearing to March of 2013. Naturally this will give DotCom more time to prepare for whatever lawyers for the U.S. government can throw at him.
The European Parliament has officially rejected the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The Parliament voted 478 to 39 to reject the ACTA, which means that it will never be implemented in any member country of the European Parliament. The news is not surprising, given that five committees voted against the treaty leading up to the showdown on the floor of the European Parliament this week. It also didn't help that ACTA was negotiated in secret and citizens in various member countries protested against it because of its loose and murky language.
A New Zealand Judge has handed a partial victory to Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom today, ruling that part of the search and seizure that resulted in the shutdown and destruction of MegaUpload’s business and the arrest of Dotcom was illegal. The judge said that police went too far when they secured and then copied the contents of hard drives from some 135 computers under a "general warrant."
Individuals claiming to be a part of the hacktivist group Anonymous have claimed responsibility for a series of cyber attacks on Japanese government websites. The websites for Japan's Finance Ministry, Supreme Court, and the DPJ and LDP political parties were taken down temporarily by attacks. The sites are now back online.
Ofcom, the regulations body in charge of media in the UK, has released details of a proposed plan that forces British ISPs to send warning letters to subscribers accused of copyright infringement by video game, music, film and other media companies. Under these proposed guidelines, individuals who receive three letters in a 12-month period would have their personal data, downloading and filesharing history handed over to the copyright owners to help them prepare for a lawsuit.
Denmark's government has decided that the best way to deal with illegal filesharing and piracy isn't by using letter-writing campaigns or punishing downloaders. After a long debate on the topic, the country has decided that the best course of action moving forward is to focus on the development and creation of better legal offerings for end users and education.
According to a Wired report, Japanese politicians are pushing hard for a new law that would make it a crime to download or make unauthorized copies of copyrighted material. The new law would also make it illegal to use copyright circumvention devices. Those breaking the law could face up to two years in prison and a two million yen ($25,400) fine. We assume the devices being referred to are like the R4 used to copy DS games...
According to New Zealand publication Stuff, the FBI is on the defense after being accused in court by lawyers representing file sharing site Megaupload that it illegally exported data it seized from the company and its founder Kim Dotcom.
Whatever side of the issue you are on, it is never a good thing when a company that is seen as a major rights holder rails against piracy and file-sharing and then gets called out for ... piracy and file-sharing. Using the site YouHaveDownloaded.com, TorrentFreak has once again caught the employees of a major corporation engaging in the very thing that it publicly rails against and pays millions of dollars to fight.
Movie industry trade organization the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has hired a former Nintendo lawyer to head up its efforts to combat piracy. The group is also responsible for movie ratings. The MPAA announced on Monday that it hired Marc Miller to take control of its international anti-piracy enforcement operations.
He will serve as the senior vice president of Internet content protection and will work closely with the group’s army of lawyers to develop a refined civil and criminal litigation strategy to fight against copyright infringement.
The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Poland says that BitTorrent’s uTP protocol is under serious attack from unknown forces in Russia, Canada, China, Australia and the USA. The group, which monitors cyber attacks around the world, says that attacks on the BitTorrent protocol are up substantially from 2011.
The attacks work by sending fake data packages that appear to be legitimate, but use IP-addresses that are forged. CERT also notes that these attacks seem to be targeting specific BitTorrent swarms that are sharing Russian movie releases.