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      The World’s Oldest Active Torrent Turns 20 Years Old / TorrentFreak · 6 days ago - 21:24 · 3 minutes

    fanimatrix In 2003, the World Wide Web was still in its infancy. Dial-up connections were still the default and YouTube, Facebook, and Gmail had yet to be invented.

    There was a new technology making waves at the time. BitTorrent made it much easier for people to transfer large files, opening the door to unlimited video-sharing without restraints.

    Many people started experimenting with BitTorrent by sharing pirated films and TV shows. These files made their way all over the world and remained available as long as all pieces were shared in the swarm.

    Most of these early releases remained available for a few days or weeks, and some lasted well over a year before people lost interest. In extreme cases, some torrents have managed to survive for over a decade.

    The Fanimatrix Torrent Turns 20

    The oldest surviving torrent we have seen is a copy of the Matrix fan film “ The Fanimatrix ”. The torrent was created in September 2003 and will turn 20 years old in a few days. A truly remarkable achievement.

    The film was shot by a group of New Zealand friends. With a limited budget of just $800, nearly half of which was spent on a leather jacket, they managed to complete the project in nine days.

    While shooting the film was possible with these financial constraints, finding a distribution channel proved to be a major hurdle. Free video-sharing services didn’t exist yet and server bandwidth was still very costly.

    Technically the team could host their own server, but that would cost thousands of dollars, which wasn’t an option. Luckily, however, the group’s IT guy, Sebastian Kai Frost, went looking for alternatives.

    Promising New Technology

    Frost had a bit part in the film and did some other work as well, but the true breakthrough came when he stumbled upon a new technology called BitTorrent. This appeared to be exactly what they were looking for.

    “It looked promising because it scaled such that the more popular the file became, the more the bandwidth load was shared. It seemed like the perfect solution,” Frost told us earlier.

    After convincing the crew that BitTorrent was the right choice, Frost created a torrent on September 28, 2003. He also compiled a tracker on his own Linux box and made sure everything was running correctly.


    Today, more than twenty years have passed and the torrent is still up and running with more than a hundred seeders. As far as we know, it’s the oldest active torrent on the Internet, one that deserves to be in the history books.

    A Proper Celebration for the 25th?

    Initially, there was a plan to celebrate the 20th anniversary but that hasn’t come to fruition. Some of the original cast members have fairly successful careers now and are scattered around the world, so getting the team back together is a challenge.

    Director and writer Rajneel Singh, who is still active in the film industry, would like to do something special for the 25th anniversary. Frost says that there is a plan to get the cast together to shoot and release a new clip, perhaps coupled with some fresh “Fanimatrix” merchandise.

    Whether the torrent will still be going by that time is unclear, but Frost will do everything in his power to make that happen.

    “I never expected to become the world’s oldest torrent but now it’s definitely become a thing I’d love to keep carrying on. So I’ll be keeping this active as long as I physically can,” Frost tells us.

    There were a few times that the torrent almost died but after the news broke that this was the oldest active torrent, dozens of people stepped forward to donate their bandwidth.

    “It’s really heartening seeing the community pull together around this torrent, despite its usually low transfer count, and work together to keep it alive and kicking. It warms my heart on the daily.”

    “We’re super pumped that it’s still going and that people still take an interest in it. Looking forward to the 25th and having something special to share with the world,” Frost concludes.

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

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      Terminate Future Piracy? You’re Talking About Things I Haven’t Done Yet / TorrentFreak · 7 days ago - 18:06 · 4 minutes

    things-i-havent-done-yet “You’re talking about things I haven’t done yet, in the past tense. It’s driving me crazy. Are you sure you have the right person?”

    Sarah Connor’s bewilderment in the 1984 masterpiece The Terminator is convincing. Important actions she was yet to take had already led to events happening in the future; the Terminator’s job was travel back from the future and stop her doing the stuff she hadn’t even done yet.

    Determining the Future

    Time travel never makes sense in movies and the text of the DMCA makes no attempt to address any takedown grievances a T-1000 may have experienced in 2029. It states that if a copyright holder sees their work being infringed online, they can send a notice that identifies the location of the content along with a request for its removal.

    This would not have confused Sarah Connor. The alleged infringement happened and as per the DMCA, the content that can be seen in the present can be removed, so it’s not seen in the future. No time-traveling conundrums, just past, present and future, in one direction.

    Proactive Help For Rightsholders

    For some time, rightsholders have been submitting DMCA notices to Google that request the removal of URLs in Google’s search indexes that do not yet exist in Google’s search indexes. By default, these ‘DMCA’ notices are invalid; no infringement means there’s a) no content to locate and b) nothing to take down.

    The caveat here is that Google is simply going the extra mile to help rightsholders. One example is the tendency of pirate site URLs to follow a formula; it’s possible to predict an infringing URL in advance, and when Google crawls it, it’s immediately flagged and never appears in search results. There are other examples, but it’s the intent that’s important.

    Google recently revealed that it preemptively blocks hundreds of millions of URLs before they appear in its indexes. This isn’t required under law so referring to them as DMCA takedown notices is immediately problematic.

    Crimes of the Future

    Google’s web takedown form states that it’s company policy to “respond to legally valid copyright removal requests.” In addition, however, it also accepts notices that aren’t legally valid, at least under the DMCA.

    “Search accepts notices for web pages that are not even in our index at the time of submission. Nevertheless, we will proactively block such web pages from appearing in our Search results and will apply these notices to our demotion signal,” the page reads.

    Given that no infringement has taken place, what happens when people start making predictions about future infringements that never happen, or they decide to start sending bogus notices to ensure that sites are punished by preemptive blocking?

    Future Blocking Warning

    In a post to the /r/google community on Reddit yesterday, a user reported that they had received “many DMCA notices from Google regarding a pornography actor.”

    The notification from Google, which clearly references the DMCA, notes that some of the reported URLs in the complaint may not actually be in its search results.

    “Although some of these URLs may not be available in our search results now, we are retaining these notices and will act on them if at some point in the future we do crawl these pages for inclusion in search results,” the notice reads.

    Problem #1: The Allegations Are Bogus

    The DMCA notice posted by the Reddit user is listed on the Lumen Database ( link ). It claims to protect the rights of an OnlyFans/Instagram user but actually targets a policy page on the Reddit users’ site, a mobile phone store , another mobile phone store , and a meme page .

    Only one URL hits an appropriate target, unless beach footwear qualifies.

    The sender is identified as ‘Venus Group’ and according to Lumen Database records, it represents a long list of similar OnlyFans/influencer-type people.

    In another notice listed on Lumen ( link ), a page on the Reddit user’s website selling smartphones is a target, along with a site selling a dog-feeding device , and a site selling a specialist alcoholic drink .

    Whether the company received a similar warning about future piracy is unclear, but the same DMCA complaint also requests the removal of a Sony Pictures Publicity administration portal .

    Problem #2: Doing Nothing Isn’t An Option

    As Google’s notification explains, if URLs aren’t in its indexes now, as soon as it sees them there’s a reasonable chance they will never appear in its search results and the notices will form part of a demotion signal. So what are the options for those wrongfully targeted?

    The suggestion from Google is to file a DMCA counter notice; Sarah is confused again.

    On the basis that a DMCA notice may only reference an infringement that has actually happened and must state the current location of the infringing content, any notice that fails to do so is invalid.

    Regardless of whether Google accepts infringement notices to enable it to respond proactively, how can a DMCA counternotice attempt to revoke an invalid DMCA notice that references allegedly infringing content that simply doesn’t exist in Google’s search results, but may appear sometime in the future?

    This is one of the inevitable problems of letting people predict the future and mess around with the normal flowing of time. The logical progression from here is for people to get their DMCA counter notices in first, to counteract the bogus notices that haven’t been sent, referencing content that doesn’t exist.

    If the past can change, then so can the future.

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

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      Google & Cloudflare Must Share Traffic Stats in Manga Piracy Case / TorrentFreak · 7 days ago - 09:14 · 3 minutes

    manga Manga comics have always been popular on pirate sites but where other categories have seen stalled growth, manga piracy boomed .

    This unauthorized activity has not gone unnoticed by publishers, who’ve made it clear that piracy will not be tolerated, especially in Japan.

    Publishers are tackling the problem by ramping up enforcement. This recently led to a major success when a Cloudflare probe helped to shut down 13DL , Japan’s largest pirate site.

    Mangamura Shutdown

    These enforcement efforts are intensifying but they are not new. Back in 2019, Japanese authorities arrested the operator of Mangamura, the leading manga piracy site at the time.

    Mangamura had only been around for roughly two years but according to Japan-based anti-piracy group CODA, it caused well over $2 billion in damages to the local manga industry. The operator of the site, Romi Hoshino, was held responsible and eventually pleaded guilty in a criminal prosecution.

    In 2021 the Fukuoka District Court sentenced Hoshino to three years in prison and over $650,000 in fines. That was a major win for the publishers, but they still weren’t done.

    Publishers Want Millions

    Last year, manga publishers Kodakawa, Shogakukan, and Shueisha filed a civil lawsuit against the former operator of Mangamura. Together, the companies requested 1.9 billion yen in damages. That’s close to US$13 million based on today’s exchange rate, without taking into account the 5% interest rate on top.

    According to the complaint, Mangamura had around 100 million monthly visits at its peak. This arguably made it one of the largest pirate sites in history with Hoshino, who is now in his early thirties, as the main defendant.

    To back up these claims and formulate a claim for damages, the publishers started to verify the site’s traffic statistics. They also hoped to find more evidence of Hoshino’s personal involvement. This quest eventually brought them to the U.S., as Mangamura used the services of both Google and Cloudflare.

    Help from Google and Cloudflare

    A few weeks ago the rightsholders made an appearance at a California federal court where they requested a subpoena to obtain detailed information from these two American tech companies. According to the court filing, the requested details are critical.

    “[T]he number of visits or accesses to each of the Infringing Websites and the identifying information relating to the Mangamura would be critical in the Lawsuit,” the publishers wrote, adding that Google and Cloudflare are the only parties that can provide access to it.

    The request landed on the desk of U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim who, after reviewing all the arguments, recommended the court grant the subpoena. Neither Google nor Cloudflare objected or made an appearance.

    In a report and recommendations, Judge Kim concludes that all statutory and discretionary factors weigh in favor of granting the subpoena. The requested information is targeted enough and appears to be vital to the ongoing legal battle in Japan.

    “[D]iscovery sought does not appear unduly burdensome or intrusive. Petitioners’ request is narrowly tailored to seek the website analytics necessary to calculate damages in their suit and identifying information solely for the registered account holder and registered billing contact for Mangamura,” Judge Kim wrote.

    A few days ago, District Court Judge Vince Chhabria took over this recommendation, granting the subpoena.

    Analytics, IP-addresses, and More

    The subpoenas seek information about accounts related to “” and “”. This includes traffic statistics, including the number of visitors these domains received.


    In addition, the Manga publishers are also looking for all names, phone numbers, email addresses and billing addresses, payment methods, IP addresses, and access logs that are tied to the accounts.

    more info


    Whether Google and Cloudflare can deliver the requested information has yet to be seen. In any case, the publishers are determined to hold the operator of the defunct site financially responsible for the damages they suffered.

    The Japanese complaint mentions that Hoshino likely had help from co-conspirators but no other names are listed. The Tokyo District Court did previously fine two advertising companies for placing ads on Mangamura. Neither of these companies are listed in the publishers’ civil lawsuit.

    Despite the fact that there’s only a single target in the Japanese lawsuit, the publishers hope that their legal action will eventually make other pirate site operators rethink their actions.

    “We hope that the lawsuit will be conveyed to operators around the world and will deter them [from pirating],” Shueisha’s head of PR, Atsushi Ito, previously said .

    A copy of U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim’s report and recommendations in available here (pdf) , and the order granting the subpoenas can be found here (pdf)

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

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      Sports Streaming Domain Sidelined Following Court Order / TorrentFreak · 7 days ago - 09:10 · 3 minutes

    basketball In recent years, rightsholders of major sports events have repeatedly complained that piracy of live sports is getting out of hand.

    Ideally, they would like to see updates to the current legislative frameworks so the problem can be targeted more efficiently. These comments have prompted lawmakers to look into the matter but, for now, the status quo remains.

    That’s not to say that it’s impossible to address sports streaming piracy under current laws. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment has used its network and law enforcement connections to take out several large sports streaming operations , for example.

    U.S. Domain Seizures

    The U.S. Government also proved its abilities late last year, when it seized dozens of sports streaming-related domains in a FIFA World Cup-themed enforcement push.

    In the initial wave, Homeland Security Investigations took down 55 domain names operated by pirate sports streaming sites and, in a follow-up , several more were pointed to a seizure banner.

    This high-profile action affected millions of pirates and was successful in shutting some sites down permanently. SoccerStreams, one of the main targets, initially moved to a new domain but later announced that it had shut down permanently .

    New Crackdown?

    Earlier this week, several websites associated with brands that were targeted by U.S. seizures suddenly became unreachable. The domain names of popular sites such as,, and stopped resolving.


    More than a dozen sports streaming domains appeared to be taken out. These domains were registered through Njalla, which advertises itself as the “world’s most notorious privacy provider for domains.”

    Privacy doesn’t mean that domains will remain online at all costs though. Njalla initially changed the nameservers of the domains to,,, which made these unreachable. Or as the French would say, Ceci n’est pas .


    Indian Court Order

    Given the recent history, it seemed likely that the U.S. Government might be involved, but that’s not the case. Njalla informs us that it took action following a court order from the New Delhi High Court in India.

    “The domains are all with our ICANN-accredited partner and it’s out of both ours and their hands because of the court decision,” Njalla explains.

    If Njalla or its partner, presumably Tucows, ignored the court order the latter would risk losing its ICANN accreditation. That could effectively put the company out of business.

    Njalla still doesn’t have all the information but may share more details in the future, if the domain registrants give permission. What’s clear is that the court order requires domain name registrants and registries to cooperate.

    Not All Domains Remain Suspended

    This enforcement action isn’t as broad as it first appeared, however. Several domains that initially pointed to “suspended” nameservers have resurfaced again on their original nameservers. Apparently, these domains are not listed in the court order.

    Njalla informs us that the domain names that currently have a ‘clienthold’ status are the real targets. That appears to include, which currently points to “” nameservers.

    Needless to say, the domain suspension immediately stopped all traffic to this site, albeit with a slight delay due to DNS caching. However, sites that have previously survived U.S. domain seizures are not quick to back down, so the domain whack-a-mole will likely continue.

    Demand for pirated streams doesn’t appear to wane either. A recent poll by Oddspedia among 3,200 American football fans shows that 93% don’t have any moral objections to using pirated streams. According to most respondents, the legal options are simply too expensive.

    —- is now on Clienthold. There may be more of these but without a copy of the court order, we’re not able to confirm that.

    Below is a list of the domain names that (previously) pointed to suspended nameservers.


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

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      EU Study: Online Piracy Rebounds, but Not Due to COVID-19 / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 21 September - 08:34 · 5 minutes

    eu copyright The European Union Intellectual Property Office ( EUIPO ) regularly conducts studies to see how piracy rates evolve over time.

    These studies also identify the various barriers and drivers behind this activity, which helps to shape future policies.

    This week, EUIPO released the latest installment of its biannual report on copyright infringement in the EU and UK. This study aims to document various piracy trends and the socioeconomic factors that trigger them.

    The EU report is largely based on data from UK piracy tracking firm MUSO , which is widely used for these types of longitudinal studies.

    Piracy Rebounds

    In previous studies, a clear downtrend was visible, suggesting that piracy had seen its peak. While this may still be the case, the most recent data suggests that there was a notable increase in piracy levels over the past two years.

    Overall, the latest study shows that piracy traffic started to grow again at the start of 2021, after years of decline.

    “The main finding is that the declining trend seen in the earlier studies seems to be reversing, with piracy increasing again, mainly due to increases in piracy of TV content and publications,” the report reads.

    Current piracy levels are still nowhere near what they were five years ago. However, a trend reversal is notable and may suggest that we’re at a pivotal point in time.

    COVID Not to Blame

    The EU report is the first detailed multi-country piracy study to investigate the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is important, as many stakeholders maintain that this global event increased piracy overall.

    Earlier this month, for example, the Motion Picture Association presented the following conclusion in its advice on future anti-piracy strategies.

    “Studies show that piracy in the U.S. increased during the lockdown. These trends have continued past the pandemic, as consumers are now more comfortable with accessing copyrighted content through illegal piracy services,” the MPA said.

    The Hollywood group based its conclusion on an early week-to-week piracy traffic comparison from MUSO, which indeed signaled a temporary increase. However, a follow-up report by MUSO later clarified that this effect was short-lived, as online piracy declined in the months after.

    The new EU study now confirms that piracy was actually lowered during the pandemic, at least in the EU. While American trends are not included, these tend to be similar to those in Europe, at least in terms of direction.

    “The models confirm that the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to reducing film and TV piracy,” the research concludes, adding that there was no positive or negative effect on music.

    Film piracy dropped during COVID

    Indeed, looking at the graphs presented in the report, there is a clear COVID dip visible. According to the researchers, more people may have switched to legal services during the lockdowns.

    “One possible reason for this phenomenon is that users may have opted for legal platforms as a simpler way to access the type of content they are interested in, coupled with limited opportunities to spend money on outside entertainment.”

    While not mentioned in the report, another explanation is that fewer high-profile releases came out during the lockdowns. Fewer releases typically result in a piracy dip.

    TV Piracy is Booming, Music Not So

    Looking at the different content categories, we see that TV piracy remains dominant. According to the researchers, 48 % of the total aggregated piracy volume can be attributed to TV.

    TV is also largely responsible for the recent rebound, together with the new publishing category that was added to the report this year. The evolution of all content piracy shows that the piracy totals remain below the 2017 level.

    Piracy per Category

    This overview further shows that music piracy, which was once widespread, is now a relatively fringe activity in the EU. This is good news for the music industry, which has seen its enforcement efforts against streamripping platforms pay off.

    The EUIPO report also examined live sports piracy for the first time. While the available data is limited, there’s a significant increase of roughly 75% visible between the start of 2021 and the end of 2022.

    Regional Differences

    Previous studies have shown that streaming is by far the most dominant piracy vehicle today, beating alternatives such as torrents and direct downloads. This trend remains intact.

    There are notable regional differences between countries, however. As shown below, film pirates in Romania and Italy almost exclusively rely on streaming, while torrents and direct downloads remain fairly popular in Spain and the Netherlands.

    Piracy Preferences per Country

    Various countries also differ in the volume and type of content consumed. Piracy is most popular in Estonia and Latvia, while it’s relatively out of favor in Germany and Italy.

    Content per Country

    The bar chart above further shows different preferences for the type of content. In Greece, film piracy is good for 25% of the total piracy volume, for example, while in Poland it’s as low as 5%.

    Income and Legal Options

    In addition to providing dozens of descriptive graphs and charts, the researchers also analyzed the data to identify potential key drivers of piracy. This produced some interesting observations.

    The econometric analysis, which is limited to the movie, TV, and music categories, shows that the number of available legal alternatives reduces piracy. This means that the availability of more legal streaming services correlates to lower piracy numbers.

    The income level of a country has a significant impact on piracy rates. Low per capita income, a high degree of income inequality, and high youth unemployment are all associated with increased consumption of pirated content.

    A Massive Caveat

    All in all, EUIPO’s biannual report is a great way to measure and track how piracy trends develop over time. That said, it comes with a massive caveat.

    The study relies on MUSO’s data and is largely based on website visits. This means that IPTV piracy is not taken into account at all. The same is true for other types of piracy, such as apps and streaming devices.

    EU’s own research has shown that IPTV piracy is a billion-dollar industry . While it isn’t as easy to measure as web-based traffic, it would be good to see some more details on it in future reports.

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

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      Uptobox Goes Dark Following Police Raids on French Datacenters (Updated) / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 20 September - 22:09 · 5 minutes

    uptobox-s It’s no secret that French file-hosting platform Uptobox has been in the crosshairs of rightsholders for some time.

    Founded in 2011, Uptobox gained popularity by making it easy for users to upload, store, and share files with others. In April 2023 alone, Uptobox received 34 million visits, roughly a third of those from France.

    News that Uptobox domains had been blocked by French ISPs emerged in May, but the service remained unfazed. Rather than panic, it offered unblocking advice instead.

    Serious Technical Issues…

    Roughly three hours ago, the official Uptobox account on ‘X’ tweeted that the service was experiencing issues.

    “It appears that we have a technical problem, we are currently investigating, the network seems to be severely disrupted,” the platform reported.

    Reports from all over Europe confirmed that Uptobox was down, accompanied by differences of opinion as to the cause. Soon after, French news outlet l’Informé broke the news that no user of the service wanted to hear.

    Police Raids on Two Datacenters

    According to l’Informé sources, around 20 police officers (see update below) raided Scaleway and OpCore, two cloud service providers based in Vitry-sur-Seine, an area in the southeastern suburbs of Paris.

    At the time of the report, police were still on the scene, reportedly carrying out a court-ordered “counterfeit seizure” operation targeting Uptobox, which presumably utilized servers at Scaleway and OpCore.

    According to l’Informé, the raids were carried out on behalf of the world’s largest entertainment companies; Columbia, Paramount, StudioCanal, Warner Bros, Disney, Apple and Amazon. All are members of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, the world’s largest anti-piracy coalition.

    (Update: ACE has just confirmed its involvement in the operation. Statement below)

    No Uptobox domains are functional at the time of writing.

    One Image Reportedly Sealed Uptobox’s Fate

    A remarkable detail in l’Informé’s report suggests that an image posted to Twitter almost five years ago may have marked the beginning of the end for Uptobox. It was posted to the @Starouille account just before Christmas 2018 by an individual believed to be the chief technical officer of Uptobox.

    ‘Online’ is a reference to Online SAS, the cloud hosting company that rebranded as Scaleway in 2015. DC2 is a reference to datacenter 2, a 4,500 m² facility located in Vitry-sur-Seine, the same suburb targeted by police this morning. Images courtesy of Google comprehensively clear up any remaining doubts over the location.

    When contacted by l’Informé for comment, representatives of the movie industry, Scaleway and OpCore all declined to answer any questions.

    ‘Expert’ Opinions Should Be Ignored

    Some ‘experts’ posting on social media are claiming that the l’Informé article is bogus. Unfortunately, they have to overcome two massive hurdles to remain credible.

    Most importantly, the news was broken by journalist Marc Rees , so we can safely bet the house it’s authentic. Secondly, the official Uptobox account on ‘X’ has just provided important updates.

    “Following the incident, we lost access to the servers containing the user files, they are no longer reachable, we have not yet had any documented confirmation of the seizure of our servers by anyone,” the first tweet reads.

    “The database was not affected, and for security reasons, it was relocated off-web and the servers operating the site were erased in their entirety.”

    Uptobox reports that no user data is currently lost and if it can regain access to its servers, files and user accounts may be reconnected.

    “In the meantime, your files remain anonymous on our servers and are unusable. As for Premium subscriptions, these are frozen and will be restored and credited with compensation as soon as we regain access to the file servers. We are not going to give up, our team is working hard to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.”


    ACE informs us that this was not a police action, but a civil action mandated by the court. Two police officers assisted in the operation, which was orchestrated by ACE. In addition, ACE undertook action in Dubai where the main operators allegedly reside.

    Additional statement from the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment:

    The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the world’s leading anti-piracy coalition, today announced it has shut down Uptobox and Uptostream, two of the digital piracy world’s most notorious illegal video hosts.

    The action, conducted in France and the United Arab Emirates, puts an end to a piracy operation that was well known for a decade among distributors of infringing content. The illegal service boasted massive audiences, mainly from France, but also from Indonesia, India and Mexico, with 1.5 billion visits over the last three years. The services hosted a sizable infringing library of film and television titles affecting all ACE members and many other rightsholders, allowing users to stream and download copyright-protected content at no cost or through a paid premium subscription.

    The two French nationals who ran the illegal service are based in Dubai, where they amassed illegal gains from selling advertising and premium subscriptions.

    “The action we announced today demonstrates that even the most sophisticated piracy operations are not above the law,” said Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Global Content Protection Chief of the Motion Picture Association and Head of ACE. “This case sends a strong message to criminal operators that their illegal actions will be put to an end eventually. They may think their operations are undercover, but ACE has the network, resources and expertise to identify them and shut them down.”

    “Canal+ supports swift action when acts of piracy compromise intellectual property rights, which in turn has an impact on our business,” said Céline Boyer, Head of Content Protection at Canal+. “Our partnership with ACE is essential to ensuring that the creative marketplace continues to thrive by addressing content piracy at its source.”

    “France Televisions has zero tolerance for piracy and illegal distribution of content and channels,” said Nathalie Bobineau, Senior Vice President of International Development of French public broadcaster France Televisions. “By collaborating with ACE, we reinforce our commitment to upholding the principles of copyright protection and preserving the value of original content.”

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

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      Advertising on Pirate Sites Outlawed in Ukraine Under New Law / TorrentFreak · Wednesday, 20 September - 10:27 · 3 minutes

    ukraine When Russia invaded and then annexed Crimea in 2014, Ukraine’s vision for the future would be challenged like never before. On its western borders lay peace, opportunity, and the European Union. To the east, war, regression, and Vladimir Putin.

    Following Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, even closer ties with the EU became a matter of national urgency for Ukraine. Despite widespread destruction and unimaginable loss of life, work to welcome Ukraine into Europe has somehow pressed ahead. Efforts to align Ukrainian law with EU norms face considerable challenges, but progress is being made.

    Reforming media legislation is just part of Ukraine’s path to EU membership and during the summer, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed new legislation to update Ukraine’s advertising environment to standards required by the EU. After a three-month introductory period, the new rules will start being enforced early October, including measures that govern advertising on the internet.

    Limiting Pirate Sites’ Ability to Generate Revenue

    The amendments cover a wide range of issues from discrimination to product placement and beyond. The amendments relating to online advertising are considerable but of particular interest is a section that outlaws placement of advertising on pirate platforms, in clearly defined circumstances.

    Law of Ukraine No. 3136-IX ukraine ad ban

    The reference to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) concerns the WIPO Alert ‘blacklist’ , a centrally-maintained database of piracy platforms nominated by rightsholders in participating countries. In Ukraine’s case, pirate sites and services are identified as part of the ‘ Clear Sky ‘ initiative and then added to a national blacklist.

    Ukraine’s blacklist currently contains over 3,600 domains and is available for scrutiny in a public Google spreadsheet ( here ). Once forwarded to the WIPO Alert database, any included domains are subject to the advertising prohibition detailed in the new law.

    Transparency on Eligibility

    According to WIPO, participants in the WIPO Alert program provide information on the criteria and procedures that result in a domain appearing on their respective national blacklists before being placed on WIPO Alert. Ukraine’s legal amendments explain as follows:

    The central executive body, which ensures the formation and implementation of the state policy in the field of intellectual property, determines the procedure for the formation, maintenance of the national list and consideration of applications for the inclusion of a website in the national list, informs the World Intellectual Property Organization of the information from the said national list and also publishes the national list on its official website.

    The website is included in the national list based on the results of consideration of the application of the subject of copyright or the subject of related rights…which is submitted on behalf of the applicant by his representative – a lawyer or a representative in intellectual property matters…providing adequate evidence that the website owner has, within the last 365 days, committed:

    three or more violations of intellectual property rights that have not been remedied by the website owner as of the date of submission of such appeal; or

    two or more violations of intellectual property rights, which were registered by the applicant before the date of such appeal, and at the same time there is a failure to comply with the requirements of the eleventh part of Article 56 of the Law of Ukraine On Copyright and Related Rights.

    Video sharing sites, media platforms and other services registered in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Media” cannot be included in Ukraine’s national advertising blacklist.

    Ukraine Beats Most of the EU

    While Ukraine has received widespread criticism for unaddressed and at times rampant online copyright infringement, its participation in WIPO Alert puts it ahead of nearly all EU member states.

    Italy participates in the program through telecoms regulator AGCOM, Lithuania through its Radio and Television Commission, and Spain through departments under the Ministry of Culture. No other EU country participates, despite having similar ‘pirate’ blacklists of their own.

    Ukraine is not yet listed as a participant in the WIPO Alert program, at least according to current WIPO information . Whether its inclusion will have a significant or indeed any effect on pirate sites’ ability to generate revenue is unknown. At least in part, Ukraine hopes to remove or at least reduce the prevalence of gambling advertising on local pirate sites, but the odds of success probably aren’t great.

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

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      Piracy Shield: ‘Insane’ IPTV Blocking System Revealed (and Easily Located) / TorrentFreak · Tuesday, 19 September - 17:24 · 4 minutes

    Piracyshield-logo When Italy passed new law on July 14, many believed that when the new Serie A football season began on August 8, IPTV pirates would draw their last breaths as legal football platforms burst back to life.

    In the event, none of these things happened. For various reasons, Italy’s new blocking system wasn’t ready and was never likely to have been. Initial technical meetings on security matters, even blocking itself, still hadn’t taken place.

    A meeting eventually went ahead on September 7; telecoms regulator AGCOM turned up, as did the government’s cybersecurity experts. Also in attendance, anti-piracy groups FAPAV and SIAE, representatives from the football league, plus Amazon and Google.

    Those who didn’t take part included cloud providers, satellite broadcasters, and VPN companies. According to, AGCOM told the meeting that more companies need to participate in the project and everyone needed to “hurry because there is a deadline to meet.”

    With the new season now five weeks old, the new deadline remains unclear. As recently as late August, insiders said that the system would be up and running late September or early October. That isn’t going to happen, but there will be another technical meeting in October to talk about what should happen when it eventually does.

    Piracy Shield: It Does What It Says

    One thing running to schedule is the system’s name. Telecoms regulator AGCOM has opted for the self-explanatory brand ‘Piracy Shield’ accompanied by a shield-shaped fingerprint logo with Piracy Shield written on the front. A splash of pink perfectly matching the theme on TorrentFreak rounds things off nicely.

    Interestingly, Italian tech news site DDAY managed to obtain some screenshots of Piracy Shield. Whether they depict the software in action isn’t clear but from a presentation perspective they are pretty basic, to say the least.

    Piracy Shield Tickets piracyshield-ss1

    Information on how the system will operate also falls short of expectations, at least when compared to the media hype of the last few weeks and the inherently technical nature of sophisticated pirate IPTV operations.

    “The platform will be automatic, and is a sort of Content Management System that manages tickets. Nothing sophisticated or complex,” DDAY reports.

    “Rightsholders will have access to the dashboard via an account and will be able to create a new ticket where they enter a name, the IPs or domain names to block, and the digital proof, then a screenshot.”

    Get it Right in 60 Seconds

    The report suggests that once a ticket has been created, there will be just 60 seconds to cancel it. Once that time has expired, the blocking request will be sent to AGCOM where an unspecified automated system will first check to ensure that all fields have been populated as required.

    While it would make more sense to fix deficiencies before they’re submitted to AGCOM, DDAY reports that AGCOM will not check any blocking requests before it validates them.

    Once validated, AGCOM will instruct all kinds of online service providers to implement blocking. Consumer ISPs, DNS providers, cloud providers and hosting companies must take blocking action within 30 minutes, while companies such as Google must block or remove content from their search indexes.

    Automation and APIs

    Given that an entirely manual system would be hilariously inadequate, Piracy Shield will be accessible through APIs. These will allow rightsholders to automatically create tickets which, according to DDAY, will trigger an automatic block with no human intervention whatsoever.

    Whether there are provisions for quickly correcting errors or taking action in the event of inadvertent overblocking is unclear. DDAY reports that during the meeting on September 7, someone asked who is responsible for the blocking ‘whitelist’ containing domains or IP addresses that should never be blocked because they’re crucial for the functioning of the internet.

    “[At] the moment there appears to be no plans in this sense,” DDAY reports.

    Similar concerns noted that while IP address and domain blocking will be executed immediately, subsequent unblocking for even legitimate reasons will be subjected to an extended manual process.

    Don’t Worry About Security…..

    When an unnamed person asked if it was possible to see Piracy Shield’s source code, the question was reportedly “glossed over” with assurances that other people will carry out penetration tests. That the source won’t be made available is standard practice for anti-piracy companies; they have a product and ‘trade secrets’ to guard.

    That raises the question of who developed Piracy Shield. Media reports last month indicated that Serie A bought it and then gave it to AGCOM as a gift. We couldn’t find any mention of the developer, so we turned to the screenshots published by DDAY for any potential clues, preferably something unique.

    Impossible to find using regular reverse image search engines, it appears the Piracy Shield ‘fingerprint’ logo doubles as a favicon. Chinese ‘internet-of-things’ search engine FOFA indexes favicons and from there it was trivial to see where Piracy Shield had a web presence recently.

    SP Tech appears to be a reference to SP Tech S.R.L , a brand protection, content monitoring, anti-piracy startup that has strong rightsholder connections in Italy and whose name appears in numerous industry piracy reports.

    FOFA helpfully links an SP Tech website to AGCOM thanks to this code snippet, which also mentions Piracy Shield to round things off.

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

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      The Pirate Bay Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary / TorrentFreak · Tuesday, 19 September - 11:50 · 5 minutes

    tpb 20 During the summer of 2003, Swedish pro-culture organization Piratbyrån was making a name for itself; sharing news and educating people on how they could share media online.

    What the group’s members didn’t realize at the time, is that the plans they made would create a ripple effect that still has an impact decades later.

    Like many other people mesmerized by the unbridled ability to share files over the Internet, the new BitTorrent protocol caught Piratbyrån’s eye. From one thing came another, and Piratbyrån decided to start their own tracker.

    A Swedish Torrent Tracker

    When this idea was first brought up isn’t clear, not even to the site’s founders, but at the end of 2003 The Pirate Bay was presented to the public.

    “We have opened a BitTorrent tracker – The Pirate Bay. From there, you can download and share games, movies, discs, TV shows and more,” the short announcement reads , translated from Swedish.

    A New Torrent Tracker

    tpb announcement

    One of the group’s unwritten goals was to offer a counterweight to the propaganda being spread by local anti-piracy outfit Antipiratbyrån. The pro-culture group saw sharing as something positive instead, and a file-sharing website would surely bring this point across.

    The Pirate Bay first came online in Mexico where Gottfrid Svartholm, aka Anakata, hosted the site on a server owned by the company he was working for at the time.

    After a few months, the site moved to Sweden where it was hosted on a Pentium III 1GHz laptop with 256MB RAM. This one machine, which belonged to Fredrik Neij, aka TiAMO, kept the site online and included a fully operational tracker.

    This early setup was quite primitive, as shown here , and some of the hardware was later put on display at the Computer Museum in Linköping.

    The Pirate Bay server
    tpb classic

    Piratbyrån initially planned to create the first public file-sharing network in Sweden but, in the years that followed, the site grew out to become a global file-sharing icon.

    While The Pirate Bay team was proud of this success, it was not without consequences. Initially, various takedown messages from copyright holders were met with mocking responses, but the legal pressure became a heavy burden.

    Behind the scenes, the US Government applied pressure on Sweden , urging the country do something about the taunting pirate site. At the same time, the site’s founders noticed that they were being shadowed by private investigators, who smelled blood.

    The Raid

    The pressure eventually reached its first peak when The Pirate Bay’s infrastructure was raided.

    May 31, 2006, less than three years after The Pirate Bay was founded, 65 Swedish police officers entered a datacenter in Stockholm. The policemen had instructions to shut down the Pirate Bay’s servers, and that’s exactly what they did.

    Footage from The Pirate Bay raid

    For most pirate sites the road would end there, but The Pirate Bay was no ordinary site, and it wasn’t planning to cave in just yet.

    Shortly before the raid began, Gottfrid noticed some unusual activity. He warned Fredrik who, as a precaution, decided to make a backup. This turned out to be a pivotal moment in the site’s history. Because of this backup, Fredrik and the rest of the Pirate Bay team managed to resurrect the site within three days.

    Instead of hiding in the shadows, Pirate Bay’s spokesperson Peter Sunde, aka Brokep, told the world that The Pirate Bay wasn’t going anywhere.

    This swift and defiant comeback turned the site’s founders into heroes for many. The site made headline news around the world and in Stockholm, people were waving pirate flags in the streets, a sentiment that benefited the newly founded Pirate Party as well.

    The Turning Point

    There was also a major downside, however. The raid was the start of a criminal investigation, which led to a spectacular trial, and prison sentences for several of the site’s founders.

    Pirate Bay supporters at the first day in Court

    This became another turning point. Many of the early Piratbyrån members cut their ties with the site. Gottfrid, Fredrik and Peter also left the ship, which was handed over to a more anonymous group ostensibly located in the Seychelles.

    The outspokenness of the early years eventually gave way to the silent treatment. While the site’s moderators are easy to reach nowadays, the people (Winston) who pull the strings at the top remain behind the scenes at all times.

    This was made quite obvious when the site disappeared for weeks following another raid at a Stockholm datacenter in 2014 . At the time, even the site’s staffers had no idea what was going on.

    The Pirate Bay eventually recovered from this second raid too, but by then something had clearly changed. The torrent site now seems content with just being there.

    Over the years the site simplified its setup by removing the tracker, introducing magnet links , and further decentralizing its setup. The ability to comment was also sacrificed at some point, and user registrations were closed for years, although there’s some progress on that front now.

    The Mods and Admins

    Today’s manual user registrations are processed by a dedicated moderator team, which also ensures that the site remains free of spam and malware. This team of volunteers is separate from the site’s ‘operator’ and many have been in that role for over a decade.

    Earlier today, Pirate Bay admin Spud17 posted a message in the Pirate Bay forum to celebrate the 20th anniversary.

    “Most of the current TPB Crew have been here for well over 10 years, many for much, much longer, and we’re proud to be associated with the world’s most iconic torrent site,” she notes.

    “We volunteer our time freely to help keep the site clean, nuking the fakes and malware to kingdom come, and help edit/move/delete torrents as and when uploaders request help in the forum’s Account Issues subforum.”

    Crypto Miner and Token

    After two decades, TPB still manages to make headlines on occasion. For example, when yet another country orders Internet providers to block the site, or when it suddenly decides to ‘deploy’ its users to mine cryptocurrency .

    The last major project was announced in 2021 when The Pirate Bay released its very own ‘crypto’ token out of the blue. There was no official whitepaper for these PirateTokens, but the torrent site envisioned the ‘coin’ being used to access VIP content or donate to uploaders.

    These plans never came to fruition and the token price soon entered a freefall . After a few months, the official token announcement disappeared from the site as well, leaving token holders with worthless digital memorabilia.

    The Pirate Bay itself isn’t going anywhere it seems. The events listed above are really just a fraction of events spanning 20 extraordinary years. The question now is whether the site will survive until its 25th anniversary.

    Note: The 20-year anniversary logo was created by theSEMAR.

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