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Topics - olddays1

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P2P - Filesharing / MPAA Lists "notorious" pirate sites to US government
« on: October 28, 2011, 06:45:11 am »
The MPAA has submitted a new list of “notorious websites” to the Office of the US Trade Representative, sites that are all in danger of becoming the target of planned U.S. legislation. The list contains the most-visited torrent sites including The Pirate Bay, file-hosting and linking sites such as MegaUpload, and Russia’s Facebook equivalent, VKontakte.

 List here....!+Mail

P2P - Filesharing / BitTorrent throttling practices of ISPs
« on: October 23, 2011, 09:59:30 am »
Data published by the Google-backed Measurement Lab gives a unique insight into the BitTorrent throttling practices of ISPs all over the world. It reveals that Comcast was slowing down nearly half of all BitTorrent traffic in the U.S. early 2008, but only 3% last year. In Canada, Rogers has the worst track record as it systematically throttles more than three-quarters of all BitTorrent traffic.

 Hundreds of ISPs all over the world limit and restrict BitTorrent traffic on their networks. Unfortunately, most companies are not very open about their network management solutions.

Thanks to data collected by Measurement Lab (M-Lab) the public is now able to take a look at the frequency of these BitTorrent throttling practices. Among other tools, M-Lab runs the Glasnost application developed by the Max Planck Institute.

The interactive data set published yesterday spans a two-year period and this initial release covers the period between April 2008 and May 2010. It includes BitTorrent throttling percentages of ISPs in dozens of countries, divided into three-month periods. Below we discuss a few trends and notable findings.
United States

The BitTorrent throttling practices of Comcast, exposed by Robb Topolski and TorrentFreak in 2007, were in part what led to the Measurement Lab research. After an FCC investigation Comcast was ordered to stop slowing down BitTorrent on a large-scale, and the data shows that the company has kept its word.

Early 2008 Comcast limited nearly half (49%) of all BitTorrent traffic but this was reduced to 3 percent by the first quarter of last year. Cox, another heavy throttler, went from 51 percent to 3 percent in the same time period. The data further shows that in 2010, Clearwire was the only U.S. Internet provider that limited more than 10 percent of all BitTorrent traffic, 17 percent to be precise.

Worst: Clearwire (17%)

Best: Comcast and others (3%)

In Canada, all large ISPs have admitted to slowing down BitTorrent traffic, and some do so to a great extent. Since the start of the measurements Rogers has continuously throttled more than three-quarter of all BitTorrent traffic, and there are no signs that this will stop.

During the first quarter of 2010 the two other large Canadian ISPs, Bell and Shaw, were throttling 16 and 14 percent respectively. Videotron on the other hand has never slowed down more than 7 percent, and only 3 percent during the last measurement year.

Worst: Rogers (78%)

Best: Videotron (3%)
Great Britain

In Great Britain, TalkTalk used to limit a third of all BitTorrent traffic, but this was reduced significantly by the end of 2009. They now only slow down BitTorrent during peak hours which resulted in a 12 percent throttling rate early 2010. Tiscali and BT Group are exposed as the most heavy throttlers while Virgin Media, O2 and BSkyB have had relatively low percentages throughout the measurement period.

Worst: Tiscali and BT Group (27%)

Best: BSkyB (5%)

A quick look at some other countries shows that in Australia none of the large ISPs were throttling BitTorrent traffic heavily in 2010, and the same can be said for Sweden and France. In The Netherlands UPC used to throttle heavily, but this was no longer the case early 2010.

In Germany, Kabel Deutschland seems to be the poorest choice for BitTorrent users (36%), and in Poland UPC has to be avoided as they limit 87 percent of all BitTorrent traffic.

Those who are interested in seeing how their own ISP performs can take a look at the full dataset at The researchers promise to release more recent data in the future, and it will be interesting to see how the various throttling habits of ISPs develop.

For those who have a choice, which us unfortunately not always the case, the data can definitely help to make an informed decision when signing up at a new Internet Provider.!+Mail

P2P - Filesharing / 200,000 bittorrent users sued in the US
« on: August 08, 2011, 08:08:00 am »
   The avalanche of mass-lawsuits in the United States that target BitTorrent users has reached a new milestone. Since last year, more than 200,000 people have been sued for allegedly sharing copyrighted material online, and this number continues to expand at a rapid pace. Added up, the potential profit from the so-called pay-up-or-else scheme runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mass file-sharing lawsuits have been filed all across the United States in recent months, almost exclusively targeting BitTorrent users. Copyright holders have embraced this new revenue stream by the dozen and new lawsuits are being filed every week.

The United States judicial system is currently being overloaded with new cases, and a few days ago the number of targeted Internet subscribers in federal courts broke the 200,000 barrier.

Through these mass lawsuits the copyright holders are trying to obtain the personal details of (mostly) BitTorrent users who allegedly shared their material online. Once this information is handed over, they then offer the defendant the opportunity to settle the case for a few hundred up to a couple of thousand dollars, thereby avoiding a full trial and potentially even bigger financial penalties.

A fairly exhaustive spreadsheet shows that the current number of Does that have been sued since the beginning of 2010 currently stands at 201,828. Nearly all of the defendants are accused of sharing copyrighted files via BitTorrent, and 1,237 allegedly used the eD2k network.

Over the course of the year several cases have been dismissed and settled and the estimated number of defendants who are still at risk lies at 145,417.

Most defendants are being sued in the high profile case brought by the makers of The Hurt Locker. As of May this year this lawsuit targeted 24,583 alleged BitTorrent users, and the first batch of settlement letters have been sent out to the people who pay for the allegedly-infringing Internet connections.

Despite the massive number of defendants, none of the cases have made it into a full jury trial as the copyright holders ask for in their original complaint. This also means that the evidence they claim to hold has not been properly tested.

It is believed that a significant amount of the people who are accused in these cases are not the actual infringer. However, since the copyright holders prefer settlements above full trials and because defendants don’t want to risk a $150,000 fine, the accuracy of the evidence remains a mystery.

What’s very clear is that for the copyright holders, tracking companies and lawyers, the settlement scheme is extremely profitable. If half of the original defendants eventually settle for an average fee of $2,500 they would generate a quarter billion dollars in revenue – from piracy.!+Mail

A movie pirate who pleaded guilty to a count of forgery for camcording in a local cinema, is now suing the Somerset County police and the MPAA after his leg was broken during the arrest in 2009. The 23-year old Timothy Epifan of Manville, New Jersey, has filed a lawsuit against the parties involved for using deadly force to apprehend him for a non-violent crime.

During the summer of 2009 two Martinsville brothers were arrested in connection with the camming of the movie Bruno at a cinema in Manville, New Jersey. Tipped off by the MPAA, the police claimed the pair had been recording first-run movies and selling the copies on the Internet.

As the brothers left the cinema, detectives stopped them and allegedly announced that they were under arrest. Paul Epifan complied without a struggle, but according to the prosecutor his brother Timothy fled and was pursued by police.

After a short chase of 20 seconds, during which Timothy Epifan lost his flip-flops and was running barefoot, the suspect stopped at the sight of two marked police cars. But while he was standing still, a third and unmarked police car ran into him.

For this arrest with deadly force, Timothy Epifan has now sued both the police and the MPAA, seeking thousands of dollars in damages.

According to the complaint filed at the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, Timothy Epifan was hit from behind and dragged 10 feet into the parking lot.

In a statement the plaintiffs claim the collision “left a 10-foot trail of skid marks, bone, blood and skin,” and as a result “Epifan sustained severe leg fractures, has undergone multiple surgeries, incurred hundreds of thousands in medical bills and now walks with a cane.”

Among other things, the defendants are accused of using deadly force when there was no indication it was needed.

“Using a police motor vehicle to apprehend a suspect who is fleeing on foot by physically striking the suspect to disable and arrest the suspect constitutes deadly force,” the complaint reads.

Epifan, who was sentenced to a year in county jail and three years of probation after pleading guilty last year, hopes to be compensated for the emotional, physical and economical damages he suffered as the result of the violent arrest.!+Mail

 The seizure of file-sharing related domain names by the US Government hasn’t been as effective as the entertainment industries had hoped since many of them simply continued their operations under new domains. To make these type of domain transitions go more smoothly, an anonymous group has coded a simple Firefox add-on that automatically redirects users to these new homes. more.........!+Mail

P2P - Filesharing / Filesoup admin walk free
« on: February 25, 2011, 07:34:36 am »
Two administrators of FileSoup – the longest standing BitTorrent community – had their case dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today. The prosecution relied solely on one-sided evidence provided by the anti-piracy group FACT and was not able to build a case. Following the trial of OiNK BitTorrent tracker operator Alan Ellis, the FileSoup case marks the second where UK-based BitTorrent site operators have walked free.

Founded in 2003, UK-based FileSoup is one of the original torrent sites. It outlived many of the sites that sprung up around the time and developed a great reputation and a warm community in the years that followed.

After years of operating the site without any noticeable trouble, in the summer of 2009 police and the Hollywood-backed Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) conducted a raid on the home address of the site’s owner, known online as ‘TheGeeker’. Another raid was carried out around the same time on the property of fellow administrator ‘Snookered’. Both were arrested and taken in for questioning.

In the summer of 2010 the two administrators were charged with conspiracy to infringe copyright for their involvement with the site. As in previous cases in the UK, the evidence was solely gathered by the Hollywood-funded anti-piracy group FACT. No independent investigation was carried out by the police.

This critical lack of investigation on the prosecution’s part was brought to the Court’s attention by the solicitors of the two administrators. The solicitors, who successfully defended the owner of BitTorrent tracker OiNK in an earlier trial, pushed the prosecutor to formulate their charges. This turned out to be problematic.

The prosecution failed to understand some of the technical issues, did not know whether to prosecute FileSoup as a business or not, and was unsure whether the copyright holder had caused prejudice. Since there was no independent investigation into the case, all these questions remained unanswered.

Today the Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop the case entirely. It concluded that the alleged offenses are a civil rather than a criminal matter and decided not to spend any more public money on the prosecution. As a result, ‘TheGeeker’ and ‘Snookered’ are free to go.

Both men are relieved that the case has finally come to an end, and are grateful for the excellent work their solicitors carried out.

“It has been a long and stressful 18 months but I am happy to finally have the weight lifted from me,” Snookered told TorrentFreak. “During this time my solicitors, Burrows Bussin and David Cook in particular have kept me sane. Nothing was too much for them. I owe them a debt of gratitude along with my Barrister Ian Whitehurst.”

“I hope to have some more details in the next few days so I may say more then. Thank you to everyone for all the support. It was greatly appreciated,” he added.

Morgan Rose solicitors, who defended TheGeeker, are now able to add another win in a prominent BitTorrent case to their resume, which is welcomed by other UK-based operators of file-sharing sites.

“This case is not a one-off,” David Cook, Snookered’s solicitor said in a comment. “We have now seen two prosecutions for allegations such as these, both of which were fundamentally flawed. We have persistently worked in exposing the flaws in these cases, which have resulted in the absolute failure of both prosecutions.”

Today’s news is a great blow to the UK anti-piracy outfit FACT, who have spent tens of thousands of pounds on this case alone. According to the prosecution FACT’s involvement created a great inequality. The movie industry funded group has enormous financial resources while the defendants only ran a non-profit website.

Yet again the prosecution was led by FACT to believe that they were dealing with a criminal gang, a picture that didn’t hold up on closer inspection. Luckily for the UK tax payer and the FileSoup admins, the Court realized in time that justice was best served by dropping the case.!+Mail

P2P - Filesharing / File sharers handing over $1000 in amnesty program
« on: February 18, 2011, 03:50:18 am »!+Mail

Ten individuals have freely and bizarrely handed over $1,000 each to movie studio Liberty Media in piracy settlements, despite the company having absolutely no idea who they are or if they did anything wrong. Now Liberty have a new amnesty and are offering BitTorrent users the chance to hand themselves in or risk being involved in 36,000 upcoming lawsuits.

After running rampant in Germany and the UK, the United States is now suffering under an onslaught of Speculative Invoicing – mass file-sharing lawsuits designed to scare people into paying cash settlements on the basis that by doing so they avoid a much more costly trial later.

While these cynical schemes seem straightforward enough, they are currently suffering drawbacks. Judges are increasingly ruling that it is improper to join so many unconnected individuals together in a single lawsuit, which leaves the alternative of suing each defendant individually, a costly exercise which eats away at valuable profits.

Movie studio Liberty Media, however, had a new trick up their sleeve last month which didn’t require any lawsuits at all. The simply announced that they intended to sue people sometime in the future, and that if people who had downloaded their products wanted to avoid being involved in that, they should simply turn themselves in.

Bizarrely, with Liberty Media having absolutely no idea who they are, where they live or even if they’re guilty, so far a total of 10 seemingly crazy individuals have freely handed over $1,000 each to the company.

But there’s more. Liberty Media general counsel, Marc Randazza, has announced that the company is preparing to file lawsuits against 36,000 BitTorrent users. And guess what? He’s running another amnesty program, this time at nearly double the settlement price of the earlier one.

So, if you’ve acquired some Liberty Media videos from BitTorrent and want to freely hand over $1,900, despite the company being as familiar with you at this point as they are with the person currently watching guard over Osama Bin Laden’s hideout, be our guest.

Easiest money making scheme ever.

P2P - Filesharing / Huge BitTorrent Porn Sites Permanently Shut Down
« on: January 14, 2011, 03:12:08 am »
Two of the Internet’s biggest adult entertainment BitTorrent trackers have today confirmed to TorrentFreak that they have permanently closed down. With comfortably more than 2.5 million members between them, the closure of Empornium and PureTNA leaves a sizeable number of porn fans both empty handed and with nowhere to put their seeds....continued....!+Mail

P2P - Filesharing / Demonoid BitTorrent Tracker Ditches .COM Domain
« on: December 03, 2010, 07:12:28 am »
Sensing Danger, Demonoid BitTorrent Tracker Ditches .COM Domain
Written by enigmax on December 02, 2010!+Mail

Demonoid, one of the most prominent BitTorrent sites on the Internet, is ditching its .COM domain. In an announcement today the world’s biggest semi-private tracker says it will move to a .ME domain with immediate effect. The move comes as no surprise since both the MPAA and RIAA listed Demonoid in their recent submissions of “notorious markets” for pirate material.

There can be little doubt that last week’s domain name seizures by the US Government’s Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have had a somewhat destabilising effect on the presumed security of BitTorrent sites.

Many sites – including the Torrent-Finder meta-search engine, the first torrent site to have its domain seized – believed they operate legally, either under US law via compliance with the DMCA or in the countries from where they are hosted or operated.

Last week’s actions changed all that, with the authorities labelling sites like Torrent-Finder “criminal” with no arrests, no trial, and to the outside world, very little due process. Indeed, the government gave no explanation at all why a search engine should appear among a list of sites offering physical counterfeit goods, other than that the entertainment industries asked for it to be there.

No surprise then that some of the Internet’s largest BitTorrent and other file-sharing related sites have been assessing their position during the last week and pondering strategies to neutralize this new threat.

Today brings an announcement from Demonoid, the world’s biggest semi-private BitTorrent tracker. Since its inception, Demonoid has been available using the .COM TLD (top-level domain) but following the action from DHS and ICE, they’re now severing their links to US control.

“We are in the process of migrating the site to our new address, Demonoid.ME,” said the site’s owner in an announcement today.

“Please update your torrents to the new tracker address, Additionally, you can re download them and get them with the new address automatically Also, don’t forget to update your bookmarks and RSS feeds.”

Anyone familiar with the BitTorrent world will know that despite its semi-private status, Demonoid hardly flies under the radar when it comes to profile. Indeed, the tracker has been under increasing pressure recently. Both the RIAA and MPAA mentioned the site in their submissions (1) (2) to the Office of the US Trade Representative which claim to list the world’s most “notorious markets” for copyright infringing material.

While news of at least half a dozen alternative DNS systems has appeared during the last week (including the BitTorrent-based Dot-P2P) to counter domain seizures, TorrentFreak has learned that most of the larger torrent sites are securing new domains in preparation for future US Government action which seems not just likely under COICA, but almost certain.

In a relatively rare event, today Demonoid is open for registration.

Update: “The situation is pretty obvious. The US is already seizing .com, .net and .org domains. When and if the COICA bill passes is going to be even worse. We don’t know if migrating will help, but it won’t hurt,” Demonoid’s owner told TorrentFreak.

P2P - Filesharing / The Pirate Bay Appeal Verdict: Guilty Again
« on: November 28, 2010, 07:18:58 am »
The Pirate Bay Appeal Verdict: Guilty Again
Written by Ernesto on November 26, 2010!+Mail

The verdict against three people associated with The Pirate Bay just been announced. The Swedish Appeal Court found Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström guilty of “contributory copyright infringement” and handed down prison sentences ranging from 4 to 10 months plus damages of more than $6.5 million in total.

In April last year the Stockholm Court sentenced the ‘The Pirate Bay Four’ to one year in prison and a fine of $905,000 each. The defendants immediately announced that they would appeal the decision and the case went before the Appeal Court two months ago.

Today, Friday November 26, the Swedish Appeal Court announced its decision. Compared to the District Court ruling, the court has decreased the prison sentences for the three defendants, but increased the damages that have to be paid to the entertainment industries.

“The Pirate Bay has facilitated illegal file-sharing in a way that results in criminal liability for those who run the service. For the three defendants the court of appeal believes it is proven that they participated in these activities in different ways and to varying degrees,” the court stated.

The court did consider the individual input of all three, which resulted in varying prison sentences ranging from 4 to 10 months . The total damages of 46 million kroner ($6.5 million) will be equally shared among Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström.

Peter Sunde (born September 13, 1978) alias ‘brokep’
# Guilty of contributory copyright infringement
# 8 months in prison
# A share of the $6.5 million in damages

Fredrik Neij (born April 27, 1978) alias ‘TiAMO’:
# Guilty of contributory copyright infringement
# 10 months in prison
# A share of the $6.5 million in damages

Carl Lundstrom
Carl Lundström (born April 13, 1960)
# Guilty of contributory copyright infringement
# 4 months in prison
# A share of the $6.5 million in damages

The total damages are higher than in the District Court ruling. “This is because the court of appeal, to a greater extent than the district court, accepted the plaintiff companies’ evidence of its losses as a result of file-sharing,” the court noted.

All Nordic entertainment industry companies get the entire amount they asked for, and the remaining companies get about half of what they requested.

The fourth defendant, Gottfrid Svartholm, is not included in the verdict because he was absent at the court hearings due to medical circumstances. His case will be reviewed later.

From the verdict it also appears that the court chose for prison sentences to set an example, but that such sentences are generally not fit for copyright related violations.

“They’re giving us jail even though it’s not the right thing for the ‘crime.’ It’s just to scare people. That’s what you did in the 1600s…,” defendant Peter Sunde told TorrentFreak.

“This was a political trial from the start and it must be resolved politically,” Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party said in a response to the verdict. “The public has lost all confidence in the justice system in these matters, and it is beyond sad that the courts still persist in running special-interest justice.”

Entertainment industry insiders, on the other hand, applauded the verdict. “It’s a relief that the court of appeal finally affirmed that you’ll be sent to prison if you carry out this type of activity,” movie industry lawyer Monique Wadsted said.

Although none of the defendants has officially commented on how to proceed, it is very likely that this will not be the end of the case. It is expected that it eventually will go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Defendant Peter Sunde told TorrentFreak that they are all appealing at the Supreme Court as soon as possible.

Whatever happens next, not much will change for the users of the popular BitTorrent indexer. The Pirate Bay website will remain online and operating as usual. None of the defendants are involved in the site anymore, and all assets are reportedly owned by the Seychelles based company Reservella.

P2P - Filesharing / isoHunt Revives Full Search
« on: November 10, 2010, 03:00:08 am »
isoHunt Revives Full Search After U.S. Traffic Tanks
Written by Ernesto on November 10, 2010!+Mail

BitTorrent search engine isoHunt has reversed the change it made earlier this year, where all US visitors were redirected to a ‘lite’ version of the site to prevent it from being shut down. With this move, isoHunt founder Gary Fung hopes to regain some of the visitors he lost due to the change. Meanwhile, isoHunt is awaiting the appeal of the permanent injunction the District Court of California issued in their case against the MPAA.

Following legal pressure brought by the MPAA, BitTorrent search engine isoHunt redirected all visitors from the United States to a Lite version of the site in April.

With this action, isoHunt hoped to prevent a judicial order which would require the site to implement a mandatory filter and remove torrents based on a list of ‘banned words’. However, despite these changes the US District Court of California still issued a permanent injunction against isoHunt in May.

Although the lite version didn’t change the decision of the District Court, it did impact isoHunt’s traffic volume of visitors from the United States.

As with most changes, many of the US users expressed unhappiness and complained from the get go. In the months that followed it turned out that the complaints were not those of a tiny minority simply resisting change. Since April, isoHunt has lost most of its US visitors due to the new look and this is one of the main reasons why the popular torrent search engine has now reverted to its original interface.

“We lost over half of our US traffic,” isoHunt owner Gary Fung told TorrentFreak, adding that he’s now experimenting with a look that most users are happy with, while abiding with the court order. The key issue here is that the isoHunt website should not induce copyright infringement any more than other search engines such as Google. This was the main point of the lite interface: that the isoHunt search engine can be made to look and work exactly the same way as general web search engines, such as Google or Yahoo.

To most US visitors the isoHunt homepage now has a familiar look again, but there are some differences with the site the rest of the world sees. The ‘top searches’ that used to be listed on the site are gone for example, because one could potentially see this as inducement.

isoHunt appealed the permanent injunction of the District Court this summer and is now awaiting the appeal at the Ninth Circuit Appeal Court. Both the MPAA and isoHunt have filed their motions in their legal battle that will soon enter its fifth year. With this appeal, isoHunt hopes that the mandatory keyword filter will be dropped.

“I find it absurd that we are required to keyword filter which ironically all search engines in countries like China are required to do due to political censorship, but isoHunt would be the only search engine serving traffic to US users required to do similar filtering..,” Fung wrote to the Ninth Circuit Appeal Court.

Instead, a filter based on ‘infringing’ hashes is more appropriate according to the isoHunt founder. A similar system is already in use for a partnership the site has with the US Attorney General to ban child porn.

The Ninth Circuit Appeal Court has now to decide whether the permanent injunction will stay in place or not. This decision will be a crucial one to the future of isoHunt and possibly other BitTorrent sites.

LimeWire Shuts Down After Losing Court Battle With The RIAA
Written by Ernesto on October 26, 2010!+Mail

The Gnutella-based download client LimeWire has ceased all its operations after a U.S. federal judge granted a request from the RIAA. Limewire was ordered to disable all functionalities in the current application to prevent users from sharing copyrighted material. The verdict is expected to have an unprecedented impact on the P2P file-sharing landscape.

A few months ago the RIAA asked a New York District Court to shut down the world’s most installed file-sharing application, LimeWire.

The record labels argued that the Gnutella-based download client might have caused billions of dollars in lost revenue and that it’s therefore one of the largest threats to the music industry’s revenue. Today, RIAA’s request was granted by a federal judge.

According to the injunction, Limewire “intentionally encouraged infringement” by Limewire users, it is used “overwhelmingly for infringement” and it knew about the “substantial infringement being committed” by its users.

The evidence further showed that Limewire marketed its application to Napster users and that its business model depends on mass copyright infringements.

The New York District Court demanded that Limewire shuts down its entire operation, including all searches and uploading and downloading that occurs through the client. LimeWire users who start up their client will immediately notice that it is no longer usable

The outcome of this case could potentially change the file-sharing landscape for good. Despite BitTorrent being the leading file-sharing protocol for several years already, LimeWire is most likely the most installed P2P application on the market. In 2008 LimeWire was the most installed P2P application with an impressive market-share of 37%, compared to 14% for runner-up uTorrent.

Now the RIAA has scored a victory in court against LimeWire, millions of people will have to seek an alternative download client, which might mean a significant boost in user numbers for some of the major BitTorrent applications.

On the other hand, software that’s similar to LimeWire might be affected negatively by today’s judgment. In the injunction software such as FrostWire and MP3Rocket, but also BitTorrent clients including uTorrent, Vuze and Transmission are described as “similar software”. Could one of these become the next target?

In a response to TorrentFreak, the RIAA didn’t want to speculate on future targets. Instead, we were told: “The court has now signed an injunction that will start to unwind the massive piracy machine that Limewire and Gorton used to enrich themselves immensely.”

“In January, the court will conduct a trial to determine the appropriate level of damages necessary to compensate the record companies for the billions and billions of illegal downloads that occurred through the Limewire system,” the RIAA added.

Although today’s decision is the end of Limewire as we know it, the brand is expected to reappear soon with a “non-infringing” service.

Alternatives to Limewire!+Mail

P2P - Filesharing / Scammers Want File-Sharers To Pay Cash Fines
« on: October 23, 2010, 07:58:26 am »
Scammers Want File-Sharers To Pay Cash Fines
Written by enigmax on October 21, 2010!+Mail

Riding on the back of the hundreds of thousands of letters sent out by lawyers to alleged file-sharers demanding settlement for copyright infringement, scammers now want their piece of the pie. Using emails which appear to come from a known copyright holder represented by legitimate lawyers, recipients are getting a familiar message. Pay us a relatively small amount now, the emails say, or things could get a whole lot worse.

Vulnerable file-sharers, be they the users of KaZaA more than half a decade ago or those of BitTorrent today, have always been a target for the unscrupulous to generate cash from. While networks such as FastTrack and Gnutella have long been polluted to crisis point with malware-infested files designed to sit on people’s machines making money for nefarious individuals, BitTorrent has largely avoided this level of corruption, but it’s not immune.

Many torrent sites list huge amounts of ‘fakes’ that when downloaded often encourage users to travel to various websites for ‘activation’ or to install suspicious ‘codecs’ in order to watch, well, not even a movie in most cases. But in recent times BitTorrent users have become susceptible to a more advanced type of revenue generation at their expense, the highly questionable but probably legal “pre-settlement letter” business.

If you asked companies such as ACS:Law what they’re up to they would tell you that they’re operating a legitimate business first tracking and then requesting cash settlements from infringers. But to the many innocent victims caught up in the dragnet, it’s less of a scheme and more of a scam, indistinguishable from the many scams already circulating the Internet which demand or manipulate money from their victims.

Today we bring news of a new operation which takes the work of companies such as ACS:Law as inspiration and uses the fear they generate to frighten Internet users to part with their money.

In an email titled “Investigation Against You” which at first glance appears to come from a bona fide law firm, supposed file-sharers are put on notice that they’re in trouble.

According to the text that follows, the email is being sent by the Rechtsanwalt Florian Giese law firm who claim to be representing the interests of Videorama GmbH, a 40 million euro legitimate company based in Essen, Germany.

“The subject of our assignment is that your Internet connection was used on a so-called peer-to-peer network and committed copyright infringement on works held by our clients,” explains the email which goes on to cite various elements of German law which show that the alleged activity is illegal.

Further information suggests that the recipient’s IP address has been tracked downloading multiple music tracks and that based on this evidence a complaint has been made about him or her to the prosecutor.

    Your IP address when the crimes were committed: 84.190.XX.XXX

    Illegally downloaded music pieces (mp3): 13

    Illegally uploaded music pieces (mp3): 21

“As you may have already noticed from the media, today copyright infringement cases in court usually lead to a large fine and court costs,” warns the letter.

This worrying eventuality is backed up by the citing of a real case from early 2010 where the District Court of Magdeburg sentenced a father to pay 3,000 euros because his son shared 132 MP3s on a file-sharing network some years earlier.

The letter adds that to avoid things getting much worse, including possible house searches and court hearings, the copyright holder is prepared to settle out of court – for 100 euros.

It’s suggested that in order to pay “safely and easily” the letter recipient should deposit the money via Ukash or alternative pay with Paysafecard. The letter is signed ‘Rechtsanwalt Florian Giese’, who are a real-life German law firm.

Except the whole thing is a scam from beginning to end.

“Rechtsanwalt Florian Giese is not responsible for the fraudulent e-mails with the subject ‘investigation against you’. These are spam emails from fraudsters,” the company said in response to the news. The lawfirm also confirmed that Videorama GmbH are also not involved in this scam.

However, the scammers are going to some lengths to give the impression they are legitimate, especially by their use of the email addresses “”, “”, “ and The lawfirm points out that they only use the domains and

These phony settlement emails have been sent out in large numbers and as a result the Hamburg police are now involved in the investigation. The domain used in connection with the scam,, has been deleted.

To the innocent and particularly the vulnerable with no experience of such matters, this email would seem indistinguishable from the type of correspondence sent out by the likes of ACS:Law. All the elements are there – claims of infringements, very little evidence to back up the claims, threats that things are about to get a whole lot worse and finally an offer to make it all go away for a relatively small amount.

Innocent people have paid up in both scenarios.

P2P - Filesharing / Lawyer Offers Self Help To Sued BitTorrent Users
« on: August 30, 2010, 04:32:05 am »
Lawyer Offers Self Help To Sued BitTorrent Users
Written by Ernesto on August 29, 2010

In recent months thousands of US BitTorrent users have been sued for allegedly having shared movies such as The Hurt Locker and Far Cry. Because the settlement amount proposed by the copyright holders is less than hiring a defense lawyer, many defendants have not sought legal representation. Acknowledging this injustice, attorney Graham Syfert is now offering a cheap solution to the problem.

The U.S. Copyright Group (USCG) has been all over the news in recent months. The lawyer group sued thousands of BitTorrent users who allegedly file-shared motion pictures belonging to their clients, including the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker and more obscure titles such as Far Cry and Call of the Wild.

On behalf of the copyright holders, USCG has already sent settlement offers to many affected BitTorrent users. To settle the case the alleged copyright infringers have to pay up to $2,500 or face the risk of higher penalties in a full-blown court case.

The problem with this scheme is that defendants have few viable options to defend their rights. Hiring an attorney often costs more than the settlement amount, and ignoring the settlement offer might lead to an even worse outcome.

Two months ago the EFF published a list of attorneys that could help advise and possibly represent subpoena targets. Although this is a great pointer for individuals who don’t know where to get decent legal representation, all the listed attorneys still ask hundreds of dollars or more for their services.

Attorney Graham Syfert of the Affinity Law Firm is one of the lawyers listed by the EFF, and like the others he has been contacted numerous times by those targeted by USCG. Although Syfert is willing to help them all, for many the costs of hiring an attorney are simply too high.

“One of the major problems that people encounter when trying to hire me on these cases, is that a settlement is approximately what an attorney would need to even begin a defense,” Syfert told TorrentFreak.

To address this issue, Syfert decided to prepare several documents that allow defendants to represent themselves. The forms for pro se (self help) representation include a Motion to Quash, Motion to Dismiss, Affidavit in Support and a Motion for Protective Support. All forms are fillable and are accompanied with detailed instructions of how they should be used.

In preparing the documents, Syfert collaborated with other attorney’s listed on EFF’s website, and he has high hopes that they will be sufficient to dismantle USCG’s ‘pay-up-or-else’ scheme.

“My dream would be to have 10,000-20,000 people file all three documents to the lawyers and severely cripple the entire process and show them that you shouldn’t be allowed to join so many defendants,” Syfert informed TorrentFreak.
Two of the many defenses listed in the documents:!+Mail

However, as is often the case when dealing with lawyers, there is a catch. When first contacting TorrentFreak, Syfert was offering the documents for sale, priced at $99.00. Although that’s still much cheaper than hiring an attorney, we voiced concerns that it looks like another attempt to make a few bucks off the lawsuits.

Luckily, these words didn’t go completely unnoticed to Syfert. “I decided to make it $9.99 instead of $99.00, probably for the next 5 days. Still cheaper than a DVD,” he told us after he slashed the price. Defendants can now buy the full package for under 10 bucks. To our best knowledge that is the cheapest solution to counter USCG’s threats thus far.

Even at the low price of $9.99, considering the target group of these cases it probably won’t take long for ‘pirated’ versions of these documents to appear on torrent and other file-sharing sites. Those tempted should keep in mind though that sharing copyrighted material without consent can sometimes lead to trouble, but it’s highly probable they know that already.

P2P - Filesharing / uTorrent’s New Privacy Settings Cause Confusion
« on: August 27, 2010, 08:28:13 am »
uTorrent’s New Privacy Settings Cause Confusion
Written by Ernesto on August 23, 2010

A few days ago the uTorrent team updated the 3.0 release with several privacy features. Due to some unfortunate wording, the new feature caused confusion among users. One of the new options, “do not share your IP with peers”, led some to believe that uTorrent had implemented a new feature that makes BitTorrent transfers anonymous.

tA day before we published an article on how BitTorrent users can hide their identities from the outside world , the uTorrent development team released build 21340 of the uTorrent 3.0 client.

Aside from the usual changes and fixes, there was also a new feature listed in the changelog that piqued the interest of several uTorrent users who were looking for increased privacy.

In the last days multiple TorrentFreak readers informed us about this new feature that could, according to their understanding, make BitTorrent transfers completely anonymous. If true, this would be a breakthrough for BitTorrent and render our earlier article useless.

In the changelog the new feature is listed as “added privacy options to BitTorrent settings” and the screenshot below shows three options under the new privacy heading. The first one reads “do not share your IP with peers”, which does indeed suggest some form of anonymity.!+Mail

Unfortunately the reality is not as exciting as the wording of the new option suggests. After conducting some tests it seems that for regular BitTorrent users this option does very little. When downloading a torrent file, other people in the swarm still get to see the IP-address of users who have this option enabled.

From our testing it seemed that the option was only effective for peer-to-peer communications that go beyond the downloading process, such as DHT and PEX. The new privacy features do not eliminate the need for an anonymizing proxy, on the contrary, they are specifically there for people using proxies.

This was confirmed by BitTorrent’s VP of Product Management Simon Morris, who told TorrentFreak. “This is actually related to not ‘over-communicating’ IP-addresses with other peers – for example when connecting to clients using a proxy, peers might have a habit of forwarding on their IPv6 address.

“This option is intended to simplify privacy settings in some edge cases. Actually I’d agree its not ideally worded right now – we’ll probably clarify the label shortly,” Morris added, noting that the new feature is only implemented in the 3.0 ‘alpha’ client, so it doesn’t affect the largest part of uTorrent’s users.

For those who do use the latest 3.0 version of uTorrent and those who plan to use it in the future, please be aware that “don’t share your IP with peers” doesn’t equal anonymity. For those who already use anonymizing software, the new options prevent their real IP-address from leaking, for all others the new options should be left untouched.

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