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    Discord’s new feature looks a bit like Internet forums—with a dash of Reddit

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 15 September - 17:20

Discord announced a new feature on Wednesday called "Forum Channels" to allow for more organized and asynchronous discussions within servers.

The intent with Forum Channels seems to be to make it easier for specific conversations to continue for extended periods without the worry that a topic change or another simultaneous conversation will bury a subject in the annals of chat log history.

The feature will most benefit large servers, where multiple, simultaneous, open-ended conversations can make it hard to keep up. Often, members of these servers might just mute channels because they become overwhelming, or they might lose the plot on conversations they care about when they step away for a few minutes.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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    Reddit’s DMCA Removals Surged 15,000% in Five Years

    news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Sunday, 21 August - 18:03 · 1 minute

reddit Every day, millions of people from all over the world submit posts, comments, and other content to Reddit.

The social news and discussion platform has been around for more than 17 years and over time its popularity has only increased.

In addition to rising visitor numbers, the volume of DMCA takedown requests has also skyrocketed to previously unimaginable levels.

15,000% Increase

Reddit’s recent ban (and unban) of the /r/PiratedGames sub prompted us to take a look at how takedown volumes have developed over time. The results are quite surprising. As shown below, pieces of content taken down surged from 4,352 to 665,898 in just five years. This marks an increase of more than 15,000%.

DMCA Removed Content

reddit removed dmca

The largest increase in percentage terms happened in the early years but there is no indication that this trend will reverse anytime soon. When we go back even further in time the differences are even more striking.

66 Takedowns in 2014

For example, when Reddit published its first transparency report in 2014, the platform removed just 66 pieces of content during the entire year. After being founded in 2005, the site wasn’t exactly a newcomer either. That said, user submissions have grown due to Reddit’s expanding audience.

We have previously covered Reddit’s transparency reports in isolation but taking a step back to review the broader trends adds a new perspective.

For example, we see that the percentage of rejected takedown requests has remained very stable in recent years, hovering around 27%. In 2016 the figure was much higher, with more than 80% of all takedown requests denied at the time.

Banned Users and Subs

Three years ago Reddit’s transparency report began detailing the number of users and subreddits banned under its repeat infringement policy. There’s a clear upward trend visible here as well.

Banned Users and Subs

banned users and subs reddit

The graph above shows that, relative to the number of takedown requests, user and subreddit bans have increased significantly over the past year. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues.

All in all, it’s clear that Reddit has its hands full complying with DMCA takedown notices. With billions of pieces of user-generated content, this isn’t a major surprise. That said, it’s good to keep an eye on these developments with help from Reddit’s transparency reports .

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

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    Reddit Bans ‘/r/PiratedGames’ for Excessive Copyright Claims (Updated)

    news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 18 August - 15:25 · 3 minutes

reddit (see update below the article for the latest info)

Reddit is without doubt one of the most popular user-submitted content sites that exists on the Internet.

The community-driven platform has “subreddits” dedicated to pretty much every topic you can think of. These generate a constant stream of discussions and links, some more useful than others.

Moderators play an essential role in bringing order to this chaos. They delete spam, remove off-topic content, and make sure that ‘unauthorized’ content is swiftly removed. The latter category includes links to copyright infringing material.

Despite these moderation efforts, problematic links can remain online longer than rightsholders wish. This can lead to Reddit receiving DMCA takedown notices, which over the course of the last year led to the removal of 665,898 pieces of content from the platform. Subreddits that are repeatedly targeted in takedown notices risk a permanent ban.

/r/PiratedGames Banned

Yesterday, the popular /r/PiratedGames was banned for this very reason, with Reddit stating that the community was targeted by too many copyright removals.

piratedgames

The decision may seem logical considering the name of the subreddit but posting infringing links to /r/PiratedGames was strictly forbidden. Instead, users were asked to keep their contributions limited to discussing pirated games and cracks.

With more than 300,000 members, it isn’t always easy to spot all problematic content. Keeping an eye on submitted posts isn’t that hard but user comments are the real problem as these are harder to keep up with.

No Advance Warning or Notice?

TorrentFreak spoke to PiratedGames moderator GrowAsguard who said that the team wasn’t warned about the ban in advance. In fact, he says that Reddit never informed them about any of the takedown notices. The ban just appeared out of the blue.

“None of us in the moderator team were informed of either the then-upcoming ban or the various pieces of content Reddit had removed from the sub due to copyright Infringement,” GrowAsguard said.

The moderators did hear from Reddit when the ban was instated. They received a message in their inboxes that contained, among other things, the following statement from the admins.

A subreddit you moderate has been banned for excessive copyright infringement. Note that reconstituting the community under an alternative subreddit will be considered under our ban evasion policy – Reddit

Appeal

GrowAsguard says that the moderators plan to file an appeal. If that’s not successful, they will look for an alternative venue to host the community. There are no plans to start a new subreddit.

“Hopefully the decision sides with us and the community. But if it does not, then we might move the subreddit to either Raddle, Saidit or Lemmy. Another sub will not be made as it will just get banned again.

“Anonymity is important for us, so our options are limited now in terms of moving the community forward,” GrowAsguard added.

PiratedGames is one of the largest communities to find itself banned by Reddit but it’s not the only one . Last year, 2,625 subreddits were taken down permanently under the platform’s “repeat infringer” policy . This included the popular mmastreams subreddit. In addition, 283 users were banned for repeat infringement.

Previously /r/Piracy, another popular piracy-related subreddit, did get an advance warning from Reddit that it was on the verge of being banned. The moderators managed to avoid this fate but that required the deletion of more than 10 years of history .

The DMCA Minefield

The PiratedGames ban is not unexpected considering Reddit’s strict policy but the implementation raises questions. If moderators are not informed about DMCA notices, they may not even be aware that there’s a problem.

Reddit is required by the DMCA to adopt and reasonably implement a policy that allows for the termination of repeat infringers. But is it ‘reasonable’ to shut down a 300,000-member community without warning?

It’s essentially a DMCA minefield that can make it particularly hard for communities to survive, even when they have good intentions.

We don’t know what the ban threshold is for subreddits and neither do the moderators we spoke with. We asked Reddit for more information but the company didn’t immediately respond to our request.

For the PiratedGames community, these questions and considerations are irrelevant now, as the damage is already done.

Update: A few hours after publication Reddit informed us that /r/PiratedGames was reinstated. We asked for additional details and will apprend this article if we hear more.

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

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    House of the Dragon Leaks: HBO Wields DMCA in Hunt For Mystery Reddit User

    news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Friday, 12 August - 07:18 · 3 minutes

house of the dragon Few people need to be reminded of the massive success story attached to HBO’s hit TV series, Game of Thrones.

Aside from massive viewing numbers, the fantasy drama generated headlines due to various piracy-related controversies, including leaked episodes and the setting of piracy records , with the latter responsible for a global surge in internet traffic.

HBO took all of this in its stride early on and at one point an executive even described massive piracy as a ‘ compliment ‘. Almost a decade later a new controversy has hit HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragons, even before its official release.

This time around, HBO seems done with the flattery.

Reddit User Spills The Beans

Reddit’s /r/freefolk subreddit describes itself as a “wide open and minimally moderated subreddit” where Game of Thrones and related leaks can be discussed. Minimal moderation may be the aim but there are limits on what people can post to Reddit and live to tell the tale.

Last week a user called ‘HOTDleaks’ kicked up a storm with a post titled: ‘Leaked plot summary for every episode of House of the Dragon’. According to various comments, the post delivered on its promises but not everyone was convinced of its credibility.

Soon after, however, Reddit suspended the ‘ HOTDleaks ‘ account.

An account suspension can be a pretty good sign that a nerve has been touched somewhere. Brand new user ‘HOTDleak2’, who posted just after ‘HOTDleaks’ was suspended, seemed to agree. “HOTD LEAKS VERIFIED BY COPYRIGHT STRIKE” they declared , before continuing the suspended user’s work.

Not long after ‘ HOTDleak2 ‘ was suspended too. “My original account just got removed by Reddit’s legal team. How do you address this?” they wrote.

Perhaps the bigger question related to who ordered the account suspensions. After scouring court records in the US, we can now confirm that this time around, HBO isn’t taking copyright infringment as a compliment.

HBO Sent Multiple DMCA notices to Reddit

Documents filed at a court in California by Home Box Office, Inc. feature a declaration by Patrick Perkins, Senior Vice President, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. Perkins reveals that one of his responsibilities is anti-piracy enforcement for HBO.

The filing includes 20 pages of communications with Reddit beginning August 4, 2022, and relate to several DMCA takedown notices sent by Warner. The initial notice targets the original post made by ‘HOTDleaks’ alongside a claim that it contained a “Leaked full summary of episode 1 of the upcoming HBO series HOUSE OF THE DRAGON”

“Please remove immediately,” the notice added.

Subsequent DMCA notices targeting dozens of Reddit posts are less specific, citing “Leaked plot information for the upcoming HBO original series HOUSE OF THE DRAGON” as the reason for takedown. But in this context, that’s not the most important thing about these notices.

By first sending notifications to Reddit and then presenting them to the court, HBO can request a DMCA subpoena that requires Reddit to hand over the details of alleged infringers. And that’s exactly what the company is doing.

HBO Wants The Leaker’s Personal Details

Technically speaking HBO could do a sweep of the many users responsible for posting or reposting House of the Dragon leaks on Reddit but instead it appears to have just two users in mind. The accounts probably relate to the same person but if the court grants the DMCA subpoena and Reddit doesn’t fight it, HBO will be in a good position to find out for sure.

Citing 17 U.S. Code § 512 , HBO says the court must order Reddit to disclose identifying information on the operators of the above usernames, from “any and all sources.” In any event the information should include names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, account numbers, IP addresses and all other contact information.

What HBO will do with the information is unknown, but it must only be used to protect its copyrights. For the Reddit user/s targeted, that probably won’t be much of a comfort.

The application and proposed DMCA subpoena can be found here ( 1 , 2 , 3 , pdf)

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

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    Le mystère niveau secret de NieR enfin dévoilé aux fans : c’était un mod

    news.movim.eu / Numerama · Saturday, 30 July - 10:36

Une église encore inédite dans le jeu avait été dévoilée dans une vidéo publiée par un utilisateur anonyme. Après plusieurs jours de spéculation, trois programmeurs, fans de NieR, ont admis avoir réalisé eux-mêmes ce niveau. [Lire la suite]

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    Reddit Warns U.S. That Upload Filters Threaten Free Expression and Creativity

    news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Saturday, 4 June - 07:28 · 3 minutes

reddit logo For several years, U.S. lawmakers have considered options to update the DMCA so it can more effectively deal with today’s online copyright issues.

Many proposals have come and gone, without resulting in any significant legislative update. That could change in the near future.

Following repeated nudges from Senators Thom Tillis and Patrick Leahy, the U.S. Copyright Office started looking into automated tools that online services can deploy to ensure that pirated content can’t be easily reuploaded.

Mandatory Technical Protection Tools

This “takedown and staydown’ approach would rely on Standard Technical Measures (STMs), a range of tools that includes upload filters. This is a sensitive topic as became clear from the massive response to a public consultation published earlier this year.

A few weeks ago the Copyright Office launched a follow-up consultation. This time, it asked the public whether it’s wise to make certain anti-piracy tools mandatory under the DMCA. This is what’s currently being proposed in the SMART Copyright Act of 2022 .

As expected, the consultation triggered a wide variety of responses. Several copyright holder groups are backing a proposal to make protection measures mandatory but most of the online services and platforms that would be required to filter content are fiercely opposed.

Reddit Warns Against Filters

As one of the most popular user-submitted content sites on the internet today, Reddit falls in the latter camp. The company says that mandatory filters would severely harm free expression and creativity.

“Filtering technologies and STMs ill-suited to the variety of content on Reddit would limit the vitality of some of our platform’s most active communities,” Reddit informs the Copyright Office.

Reddit hosts thousands of large and vibrant communities that are centered around a wide range of topics. Many of these use copyrighted content in a fair use context, ranging from memes, through news and commentary, to research.

Trying to automatically filter out potentially infringing content will simply create a mess, Reddit’s submission points out.

“Filtering technologies have difficulty merely identifying copyrighted material, let alone assessing the specific context the content was found. They cannot make nuanced judgments about fair use or transformative works.”

Overblocking and False Positives

Reddit fears that automated filters will lead to false positives and overblocking, which will directly harm free expression on the platform. These major drawbacks for the public at large trump any benefits rightsholders may see, Reddit warns.

“As a result, standardized measures are likely to remove non-infringing content and suffer from false positives. Worse, these over-removals would strike at the heart of the transformative user-generated content that makes Reddit communities unique.

“That is a severe, unnecessary, and unacceptable cost to the free expression of our users and the communities they build,” Reddit adds.

The social community platform is not alone in its criticism. Other organizations also point out that mandatory protection measures will likely do more harm than good. These include Amazon, the EFF, Google, Wikipedia, the BSA, US Telecom, and many others.

Content-ID Doesn’t Work (for everyone)

Some of the respondents agree that it may make sense for some services to use upload filters. Google, for example, stresses that it has developed a wide range of custom anti-piracy measures, including YouTube’s Content ID system.

However, these solutions may not work for other platforms so making a specific solution mandatory is not advised.

“Because there is such a broad and diverse set of OSPs of all different sizes and types, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work and would stifle further innovation in this space,” Google notes .

This point is also made by Reddit, which stresses that a Content ID style system won’t work on all platforms. In fact, it is far from flawless on YouTube’s own service.

“Despite being crafted internally for YouTube’s specific purposes, complaints abound about the unfairness of the program from user advocacy groups regarding the rate of false positives. Content ID has even been weaponized by bad actors to remove videos that provide newsworthy, non-infringing content of vital civic importance,” Reddit notes.

All in all, Reddit urges the Copyright Office to keep these and other concerns in mind while it considers the best path forward.

“When technology and the law leave room for creativity, they allow people to create wonderful things and build positive communities. When they restrict that creativity, it becomes that much harder for people to unite to build fun, enriching communities,” Reddit concludes.

Ps. On a personal note, TorrentFreak recently learned that all torrentfreak.com articles are automatically marked as spam by Reddit. Needless to say, this doesn’t help to facilitate free expression. Unfortunately, our requests for a comment on this ‘filtering’ have gone unanswered.

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

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    Une bataille sur Reddit a contribué à tuer un hedge fund

    news.movim.eu / Numerama · Friday, 20 May - 07:36

WallStreetBets Reddit

Un hedge fund, qui avait parié sur la mort d'une enseigne de jeu vidéo, est en train de disparaître. Le fonds d'investissement, qui avait subi de lourdes pertes après une vaste mobilisation d'internautes sur Reddit, n'a pas réussi à remonter la pente. [Lire la suite]

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    Reddit-Born Torrent Tracker BaconBits Shuts Down

    news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Monday, 16 May - 19:09 · 2 minutes

baconbits During the final stretches of the 2000s, a group of Reddit users decided that the community should have its own torrent tracker.

The idea emerged during Christmas 2009 after some Redditors, in the spirit of ‘sharing’, posted pirated content on Dropbox and Amazon S3. When those services were swiftly targeted with takedown notices, a torrent-based solution was proposed.

After a few hours of pooling resources, a small group of people managed to get a tracker up and running . That tracker was named “BaconBits”.

BaconBits Rises

Once all systems were running and stable, the staff officially announced their new sharing platform on Reddit itself, branding it the first private torrent tracker exclusive to Reddit users.

“We’ve decided to make a tracker for only Reddit users! Its name is Baconbits.org It’s much like the S3 Dropbox that was started on Christmas, where Reddit users can share out of their hearts to the rest of Reddit,” the message read.

After just one day, the site had already amassed thousands of users. This is all the more impressive since prospective users were required to have a Reddit account for at least three months, with some respectable link and comment karma.

The swift rise of the site is a testament to the power of the crowd. Up until this day, it remains one of the most unique origins of a torrent site that we know of.

The Beginning of the End

In the years that followed BaconBits built up a small but dedicated community. It never ran into any legal trouble that we’re aware of. However, there was a massive technical failure in 2015, which nearly wiped out the site.

While the site managed to make a comeback, restoring some of the content, a permanent scar remained. Things were never the same again and now, almost seven years later, BaconBits is shutting down permanently.

“There is no easy way to say it, this site has been struggling since the great robot uprising nuked half our torrents. We’ve kept the lights on since then, but morale has been flagging, user and upload counts have never recovered, and developer bandwidth has been minimal,” staffer Blackfish explained.

“Many of us staff have moved on to focus on other things, and unfortunately, the time has come when it’s clear that life support is the best we’ll be able to manage. We don’t want you to remember us like this, but nonetheless, it’s time to pull the plug.”

Moving On…

The shut down announcement was posted last month and yesterday BaconBits eventually pulled the plug .

Over the years the site had changed quite a bit. BaconBits abandoned its Reddit requirements for prospective users and started to operate more like a traditional private tracker.

While BaconBits was an iconic site for many early Redditors who were into file-sharing, traffic to the site was relatively modest. That, paired with the change of interests and motivation among staffers, probably made the shutdown decision a bit easier.

When a tracker closes its doors there are always users calling for a restart. The closure of BaconBits is no different. However, if people want to keep the spirit going, they will have to start anew. The staff are not planning to hand over the code, period.

“No, it will not be handed over to a random user with ‘good intentions’. That’s bad security. Any relaunches will be scams,” Blackfish notes.

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