An anonymous reader writes "A piece of software called 'Popcorn Time' drew a lot of attention last week for encapsulating movie torrents within a slick, stream-based UI that made watching pirated films as easy as firing up Netflix. The app ran into trouble a few days ago when it was pulled from its hosting provider, Mega, and now Popcorn Time's creators say they're shutting it down altogether. They say it was mainly an experiment: 'Piracy is not a people problem. It's a service problem. A problem created by an industry that portrays innovation as a threat to their antique recipe to collect value. It seems to everyone that they just don't care. But people do. We've shown that people will risk fines, lawsuits and whatever consequences that may come just to be able to watch a recent movie in slippers. Just to get the kind of experience they deserve.' However, the software itself isn't a complete loss — the project is being picked up by the founder of a torrent site, and he says development will continue."
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Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Jose Pagliery reports at CNN that the 68-year-old rock star unveiled his startup, Pono, at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas raising $1.4 million in a single day. Young has developed a portable music player that stores high-resolution recordings and promises to deliver all the delicate details that get chopped out of modern-day formats, like MP3s and CDs. 'Pono' is Hawaiian for righteous. 'What righteous means to our founder Neil Young is honoring the artist's intention, and the soul of music. That's why he's been on a quest, for a few years now, to revive the magic that has been squeezed out of digital music.' With 128 GB of space, the PonoPlayer can carry about 3,200 tracks of high-resolution recordings while an MP3 player of the same size can hold maybe 10 times that many songs. Young says the MP3 files we're all listening to actually are pretty poor from an audio-quality standpoint and only contains about five percent of the audio from an original recording. But isn't FLAC already lossless? What makes Pono better?"
An anonymous reader writes "In the aftermath of the Canadian file sharing decision involving Voltage Pictures that includes an order to disclose thousands of subscriber names, the big question is what comes next. Michael Geist examines the law and economics behind file sharing litigation in Canada and concludes that copyright trolling doesn't pay as the economics of suing thousands of Canadians for downloading a movie for personal purposes is likely to lead to hundreds of thousands in losses for rights holders."
An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian federal court has released its much-anticipated decision in Voltage Pictures v. Does, a case involving demands that TekSavvy, a leading independent ISP, disclose the identities of roughly 2,000 subscribers alleged to have downloaded movies without authorization. Michael Geist notes that the court was sensitive to the copyright troll concern, noting that 'given the issues in play the answers require a delicate balancing of privacy rights versus the rights of copyright holders. This is especially so in the context of modern day technology and users of the Internet.' In order to strike the balance, the court required full court approval of the content of any demand letters and bold warnings that no court had found a recipient liable for any damages."
The anti-piracy organization BREIN managed to force major Dutch ISPs to block the Pirate Bay two years ago. XS4all and Ziggo mounted an appeal, and two weeks ago the courts ruled in favor of Ziggo and XS4all with BREIN vowing to appeal. Now it looks like they might have given up on the appeal: BREIN agreed to let the 2nd largest ISP, UPC, lift their blockade of the Pirate Bay pending a possible appeal to the Supreme Court. From the article: "Starting today subscribers of the second largest ISP in the Netherlands will be able to freely access The Pirate Bay once again. According to UPC, anti-piracy group BREIN agreed to a lifting of the ban pending the outcome of a possible appeal in a case against two other Dutch Internet providers. ... In a surprise announcement today, this situation changed. UPC Netherlands, the second largest ISP in the country, said it has decided to lift the Pirate Bay blockade. This is a significant move since the court has yet to decide on the appeal in UPC’s case, a decision which isn’t expected before April this year."
New submitter aberglas writes "The conservative government's George Brandis wants to force ISPs to block sites that might infringe copyright. Brandis said he stood firmly on the side of content creators (a.k.a. Hollywood). Ban gross violators today, obscure ones tomorrow, porn sites, far left sites the day after..." From the article, too, this snippet: "The federal government is also considering implementing a "graduated response scheme" that could lead to consumers' internet accounts being temporarily suspended if they ignore notifications to stop downloading illegal content." Shades of the Copyright Alert System.
jfruh writes "When the German domain registrar Key-Systems registered and maintained the domain h33t.com, should it have been obvious that their customer would use the site for unauthorized distribution of Robin Thicke albums? A regional German court says that they should've known, and once they had been notified they should have taken steps to prevent it from happening. Obviously domain registrars are worried that this will upend their entire business model."
Robotron23 writes "Rock, Paper, Shotgun writer John Walker shook a hornet's nest by suggesting old videogames should enter the public domain during GOG's Time Machine sale. George Broussard of Duke Nukem fame took to Twitter, saying the author should be fired. In response to these comments RPS commissioned an editorial arguing why games and other media should enter the public domain much more rapidly than at present. 'I would no more steal a car than I would tolerate a company telling me that they had the exclusive rights to the idea of cars themselves.' says Walker, paraphrasing a notorious anti-piracy ad (video). 'However, there are things I'm very happy to "steal," like knowledge, inspiration, or good ideas...It was until incredibly recently that amongst such things as knowledge, inspiration and good ideas were the likes of literature and music.'"
PhrostyMcByte writes: "TorrentFreak reports that Federal Judge Stephanie Rose recently put a thorn in the plans of copyright holders hoping to file cheap mass-lawsuits against alleged pirates. Rejecting all but one Doe for such a lawsuit, Rose's order mentions that the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate the five Does in the case were a part of the same 'transaction' needed to be tried together, with an uncommon understanding of BitTorrent showing that '... even in all five cases where Doe defendants allegedly have "hit dates" on the same day and close in time, there is no showing that the earlier defendants were still connected to the Internet and actively distributing data through the BitTorrent client at the same time as the later defendants.'"
swinferno writes "The Dutch ISPs Ziggo and XS4all are no longer required to block access to the websites of The Pirate Bay. [Original in Dutch; here's Google's translation.] This has been decided by the court in The Hague. The blockade has proven to be ineffective. The Dutch anti-piracy organization BREIN will have to reimburse legal costs of €326,000. The internet provider XS4ALL has already started lifting the ban. The website of The Pirate Bay was ordered to be blocked by the two major ISPs in January 2012. Recent studies by Amsterdam University and CentERdata showed that this did not reduce the number of downloads from illegal sources. Many people circumvented the blockade."
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "During a debate on the UK's Intellectual Property Bill, the Prime Minister's Intellectual Property Adviser has again called for a tougher approach to online file-sharing. In addition to recommending 'withdrawing Internet rights from lawbreakers,' Mike Weatherley MP significantly raised the bar by stating that the government must now consider 'some sort of custodial sentence for persistent offenders.' Google also got a bashing – again." The article goes on to say "Weatherley noted that the Bill does not currently match penalties for online infringement with those available to punish infringers in the physical world. The point was detailed by John Leech MP, who called for the maximum penalty for digital infringement to be increased to 10 years’ imprisonment instead of the current two years."
Freshly Exhumed writes "TorrentFreak has broken the news that after more than a year of downtime the Demonoid tracker is back online. The tracker is linked to nearly 400,000 torrent files and more than a million peers, which makes it one of the largest working BitTorrent trackers on the Internet. There is no word yet on when the site will make a full comeback, but the people behind it say they are working to revive one of the most famous file-sharing communities. As the single largest semi-private BitTorrent tracker that ever existed, Demonoid used to offer a home to millions of file-sharers. Note that this is apparently the original Demonoid and not the d2 site that claims to be using the Demonoid database."
judgecorp writes "TorrentFreak, a news site covering copyright issues and file sharing news, has been blocked by the porn filter of British ISP Sky. As TorrentFreak points out, the filter is provided by Symantec, and doesn't block Symantec when the company reports malware news: 'Thanks to their very own self-categorization process they wear the "Technology and Telecommunication" label. Is their website blocked by any of their own filters? I won’t even bother answering that.'" From the TorrentFreak article: "Our crimes are the topics we cover. As readers know we write about file-sharing, copyright and closely linked issues including privacy and web censorship. We write about the positives and the negatives of those topics and we solicit comments from not only the swarthiest of pirates, but also the most hated anti-piracy people on the planet."
Bismillah writes "Evad3rs' new iOS 7 jailbreak featured a Chinese app store that sold pirated software, and which was pulled from Evasi0n7 soon after launch. Latest rumors say that the exploit used for Evasi0n7 was stolen by a certain person, offered up for sale, so the Evad3rs did a deal with TaiG instead. Jay 'Saurik' Freeman of Cydia meanwhile isn't happy about the whole thing, saying he was given no time to test Evasi0n7."
An anonymous reader writes "A 28-year-old man in Sweden has been fined 4.3 million SEK (~650,000 USD) for uploading one movie. 300,000 SEK of that was added because of the upload's low technical quality (Google translation of Swedish original). The court ruled that the viewer watching the pirated version of the movie had a worse experience than people watching it legally, thereby causing damage to the movie's reputation (full judgement in Swedish)."
judgecorp writes "A branch of the City of London police seems to be censoring suspected pirates worldwide, using threats. The Police Intellectual Proerty Crime Unit (PIPCU), acts on tip-offs from copyright owners to attempt to close down websites accused of piracy. the process involves cease-and-desist letters, followed by pressure on advertisers not to fund the site, and finally PIPCU uses threats to the domain registrar (not the ISP), all without any sort of court order."
New submitter Error27 writes "Last month Wikileaks leaked a draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty. Here is Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's response to the leaked documents. She points out that there several troubling issues with the trade agreement. It locks countries into extremely long copyright terms. It limits fair use. It includes DRM provisions which would make it illegal to unlock your cell phone. These laws come from the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which Americans already rejected."
After winning the right to use the term perjury in regards to Warner Bros abuse of the DMCA takedown procedure, and successfully blocking the MPAA from using the term "piracy" at their trial, Hotfile settled out of court with the MPAA today (mere days before the trial was scheduled to begin). As part of the deal, they are dropping their countersuit against Warner Bros, paying $80 million, and halting all operations immediately. The Hotfile website has been replaced by an MPAA message. From Torrent Freak: "The settlement deal was rubber stamped by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, ... The MPAA is happy with the outcome which it says will help to protect the rights of copyright holders on the Internet. 'This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone,' MPAA boss Chris Dodd says."
hessian writes "Despite being extensively pirated worldwide, Iron Maiden have managed to put themselves in the £10-20m for 2012. This means that despite the growing popularity of the band on social media, and the extensive and pervasive torrent downloading of the band's music, books and movies, the band is turning a profit. This is in defiance of the past business model, and the idea that piracy is killing music. In fact, piracy seems to be saving music in Iron Maiden's case. One reason for this may be metal itself. It has a fiercely loyal fanbase and a clear brand and identity. The audience identifies with the genre, which stands in contrast to genericized genres. It doggedly maintains its own identity and shuns outsiders. As a result, fans tend to identify more with their music, and place a higher value on purchasing it."
192_kbps writes "Catcher in the Rye author J. D. Salinger wrote the short story The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls and left depository copies with a few academic libraries with the understanding that the work would not see mass distribution until the mid-21st century. The only authorized place to read the story is in a special reading room at Princeton where electronics are not allowed and a librarian continuously babysits the reader. A PDF of the story, as well as two other unpublished stories, appeared on private bittorrent site what.cd where a huge bounty had been placed for the work. Incredibly, the uploader (or someone connected to the uploader) bought an unauthorized copy on eBay for a pittance. The file, Three Stories, is making the bittorrent rounds but can also be read on mediafire."