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Do Justifications For Content Piracy Really Hold Up Under Scrutiny?

There are hundreds of places around the Internet inhabited by content pirates. From dedicated forums and chat channels attached to file-sharing sites to more public entities like Reddit, discussion about piracy isn’t difficult to find.

Reddit’s /r/piracy sub-Reddit, for example, is both huge, public, and intriguing. To outsiders, its 534,000+ members are hardcore content pirates who will copy anything digital, in any way humanly possible. But that only describes a sub-set of the population.

For those who stick around long enough, a more diverse mix can be discerned. While the place is clearly inhabited by some who flat-out refuse to buy anything, there are also plenty of contributors who appear to buy content but pirate on the odd occasion, to supplement an already expensive monthly outlay. Reasons to pirate can be seen everywhere and are often expressed by posters.

Some of the most common and recurring posts are now titled/flaired “dAtS wHy I pIrAtE!!!” These can range from a picture of an empty wallet to memes bemoaning security systems such as Denuvo. Dozens of variants can be found, such as the timeless classic of depriving increasingly ‘greedy’ corporate entities of cash to ensure they don’t “take over the world”.

When put under the microscope, however, do they stand up to scrutiny? As personal reasons to pirate, they are all legitimate, as legitimate as something can be when it’s illegal, of course. But as strict justification, as a solid argument that piracy is actually a reasonable response to a complicated set of negative circumstances and perceptions, things begin to get interesting.

This week one Reddit user attempted to put every reason why someone might pirate into a single post and while the list seems pretty comprehensive, it fails – as this article will too – to cover every possible angle. That is because everyone is different or, as some will argue, the reasons aren’t reasons at all but merely excuses to pirate.

It will come as no surprise that not being able to afford content comes at the top of the list. It is the most enduring reason for piracy since piracy began but one that can be viewed from another angle too. Is it always about not having the money, period, or is it often about saving that money so it can be spent elsewhere on things that can’t be obtained for free?

This leads to another infamous theory, the one regarding the so-called ‘lost sale’. If people genuinely have no money, then there isn’t a lost sale. If they do have money but choose not to spend it, that raises questions of whether something was lost as a result of that instance of piracy and why another business sector, one selling alcohol or sneakers, for example, has more right to that revenue than content creators.

Ah, content creators…and distributors. Now there’s an interesting bunch. There can be little doubt that video services like Netflix and Disney+ and gaming platforms like Steam are smash-hits with consumers. They appear to offer content not only at a fair price but also surrounded by a user-friendly experience. At least to some extent they are solving the piracy puzzle by hitting that sweet spot of being pocket-friendly and a pleasure to use. Until they aren’t.

While Netflix aims to release its own content around the world simultaneously, its country-specific libraries are a constant pain in the neck for consumers. How many times have Netflix customers read online that a show is available to stream and yet when they try to find it, it’s unavailable in their region? These geo-restrictions seem absolutely ridiculous to Joe Public and while they don’t provide a cast-iron reason to pirate, some people – arguably quite rightly – feel justified in obtaining that content for free.

After all, they’re being short-changed, aren’t they?

The problem here is that while there are genuine business reasons for geo-blocking due to licensing issues, people with access to piracy sources have very little time or sympathy for them. The same is true for DRM on games, which may prevent a certain amount of piracy but only affects legitimate buyers. By their very nature, pirated games come without DRM. It isn’t difficult to see why people feel aggrieved at being punished for being a loyal customer and why excuses for piracy suddenly become justifications.

Justification for piracy is perhaps most keenly witnessed among people who already invest significant sums on official content and media every month but then find themselves backed into a corner on specific items they’d like to experience. With budgets only stretching so far, why would anyone be happy to subscribe to yet another service to access a single TV show ‘exclusive’ when that is all they want from the platform?

Equally, why would someone happily subscribe to a massive TV package in order to access a single channel that gets watched for an hour each week, purely because the TV company insists on selling an overpriced bundle that it refuses to split? Is this a reason to pirate or is it a justification? Indeed, after spending all of their available funds on official media, does accessing this TV channel for free even represent a ‘lost sale’ now?

Like all of the other questions in this niche, the answer is not straightforward. In fact, we’re dealing with a moving target here. Once we determine that this is a lost sale in the example above and then decide to shift the available funds from one company to another, the consumer loses out by paying for things he doesn’t want, loses out by losing access to things that he does, and generally walks away feeling disappointed.

And disappointed customers are bad things. Disappointed customers, those who feel like they’ve been exploited or taken for granted, can turn against companies long-term. Then, as if by magic, their excuses to pirate suddenly become their personal and solid justifications to pirate, which could last for a very long time. But, not only that, it might lead them down the track of paying for even less media, media that they are now particularly militant about obtaining for free.

So, do justifications for content piracy really hold up under scrutiny? Well, it’s a question of personal perspective but broadly, some do and some don’t. Others absolutely don’t, while others are borderline. The argument always remains that if someone has created something the least people can do is pay for it, or not “steal it” in industry parlance. Perhaps the real question is this: does it really make any difference why people pirate to the people who do it?

Multi-billion dollar content companies and smaller players alike already know what they must do to win and maintain business while converting pirates. They have to deliver the best product they can and ensure that the offer is perceived as good value for money by customers. Perhaps most importantly of all, they must never offer a product that is inferior to piracy in any significant way and then, when they have customers on board, they shouldn’t take them for granted.

Because when they do, reasons to pirate are tossed aside and people start to feel justified in not buying the real thing. That’s when the real problems begin.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN.

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DISH Sues Pirate IPTV Suppliers Who Sold Through Amazon and Walmart

Given the huge number of pirate IPTV providers, sellers and resellers operating all around the world today, shutting them all down must seem like an impossible dream for copyright holders.

Nevertheless, the MPA, anti-piracy coalition ACE, plus companies like DISH Network persist in their quest, targeting operators large and small in the hope that a combination of lawsuits and threats will eventually prove a suitable deterrent.

This week DISH filed yet another lawsuit in the United States targeting several individuals and companies said to be behind the capture of DISH content, the manufacture of infringing devices, and the sale of pirate IPTV subscriptions in the US.

Filed in a Texas district court, the complaint begins by detailing the activities of defendant and Texas resident Yahya Alghafir. According to DISH, he distributes, sells and promotes Super Arab IPTV (also known as Super IPTV, herein SAIPTV) using a variety of aliases and companies including Texas Communication and Technology LLC (TCT), one of the other defendant entities named in the suit.

Two other defendants, Shenzhen Street Cat Technology Co. and Shenzhen Jiemao Technology Co., are described as companies operating out of Shenzhen City in China.

According to DISH, Street Cat plays a key role by capturing broadcasts of exclusively-licensed DISH content and retransmitting it over the Internet to subscribers of the SAIPTV service.

“Street Cat captures live broadcast signals of the Protected Channels, transcodes these signals into a format useful for streaming over the Internet, transfers the transcoded content to one or more servers provided, controlled, and maintained by Street Cat, and then transmits the Protected Channels to Service Users through OTT delivery,” the complaint reads.

The company is further accused of manufacturing, distributing and selling SAIPTV set-top boxes and subscriptions, including to Jiemao Technology Co. which in turn sells them to Alghafir and TCT, the provider’s distributor in the United States.

“No need to install Dish” and “Best after-sales service” were phrases allegedly used to promote the devices and service to customers.

Super Arab IPTV devices

In 2017, DISH says it sent numerous copyright infringement notices to Jiemao Technology. A response received from the company claimed that it was “only rebranding and reselling” the IPTV devices and had disabled the websites used to sell them. Its reseller in the United States would soon run out of boxes to sell so the matter would be closed, the company added.

DISH says that the sales didn’t stop with devices and subscriptions continued to be offered on a number of dedicated websites, Amazon.com and Walmart.com, plus via a network of distributors and resellers throughout the United States.

DISH also reveals that in response to copyright infringement notices sent to Street Cat, the manufacturer of the devices and the apparent IPTV service supplier, the company offered a “business deal” with DISH. The company said it could stop assembling and activating the SAIPTV devices but never followed through on that promise.

In 2018, the company did acknowledge that DISH has the rights to its exclusive channels but refused to capitulate, claiming that as a non-US-based company with no servers in the US, it didn’t need to. Street Cat also suggested that a big company like DISH wouldn’t be negatively affected by the sale of SAIPTV devices.

DISH claims that it matched Alghafir and TCT to numerous domains used to sell the pirate devices and service to customers in the United States. The TV provider then sent “numerous” copyright infringement notices to which Alghafir responded on August 29, 2017.

“I do not sell any service for any of the channels you have listed,” he claimed. In follow-up correspondence, Alghafir demanded that DISH should remove references to TCT and his email address from any future notices.

Overall, DISH says it sent at least 34 copyright infringement notices to the defendants between May 2017 and this week, demanding that defendants “cease transmitting the Protected Channels identified in the notices, or otherwise cease distributing, selling, and promoting” the SAIPTV service in the United States.

At least 27 additional complaints were sent to CDN companies utilized by the service plus numerous targeted at Amazon and Walmart to remove listings for the product.

As recently as January 2020, the devices and accompanying service were still being sold in the US. DISH says that one of its investigators bought one from Alghafir and TCT via Amazon for $299.00, which included a two-year subscription.

With no progress to report, this week’s lawsuit claims that Street Cat is liable for direct copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501 after distributing and publicly performing DISH programming.

It further seeks to hold Alghafir, TCT and Jiemao liable for inducing and materially contributing to copyright infringement by providing their customers with illegal access to DISH content. For a sample of 21 or more registered works, DISH demands statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work. It also seeks a broad injunction preventing future infringement of its rights.

Finally, DISH wants to seize any remaining pirate devices and have the defendants transfer over all domain names used to infringe the TV company’s rights.

The DISH complaint and supporting documents can be found here (pdf)

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Pirate Release Group ‘TRUMP’ Promises the Best From the US, but Don’t Count Out ‘HILLARY’

For decades the top of the piracy pyramid was the territory of release groups. While these come in all shapes and sizes nowadays, it all started with The Scene.

Scene groups tend to be highly organized and only share content among themselves through topsites. At least, that’s what they are supposed to do.

For most Scene release groups reputation is key. Their goal is not to share files with as many people as possible, but to beat other groups by releasing content first. While the stakes are high, the game is simple.

In recent months a new name appeared among these groups while catching the attention of a broader audience. Tucked in between names such as ALiGN, CAFFEiNE, KILLERS and LEViTATE, the name TRUMP appeared.

Needless to say, a group carrying this name is bound to get people talking. And indeed, when TRUMP releases made their way to torrent sites, people started to associate them with the U.S. President.

Some people think TRUMP is the best thing ever, others hate the name and all that comes with it. Just search for ‘Trump’ on any social media platform and you get a pretty good idea.

TRUMP

Of course, the word TRUMP has been around much longer than the President, so it’s not 100% certain that Donald Trump is the inspiration. However, there are some interesting observations to make.

For example, in their release notes, TRUMP used the following tagline: “Bringing you the best from the US.” Also, TRUMP’s first release ever was an episode of the TV-show “American Ninja Warrior.”

It seems plausible that the release group in question supports the US President. Or perhaps they’re just stirring things up. Whatever the reason, it didn’t take too long before another familiar name entered the scene.

A few months ago, the group HILLARY showed up, which directly competes with TRUMP in getting pirated copies of the latest TV-shows online. A coincidence?

HILLARY

Whatever the case, it’s certainly not the first time that US political elements have appeared in pirate circles. Back in 2006, Bushtorrent.com was one of the most popular torrent sites. That was clearly inspired by the then incumbent president.

TorrentFreak has it on good authority that this site was operated from Russia, which adds another intriguing element to the mix. Not to mention the many fake torrents that were shared there.

Bushtorrent.com

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Wrong Pirate Bay URL in BBC Video Report Triggers Malware Warnings

During these uncertain times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, people are increasingly turning to pirate sources for their entertainment fix.

As previously reported, downloads of the movie Contagion skyrocketed, and torrent-based piracy went up in several countries in line with their lockdown measures.

This morning the BBC published a video news piece titled ‘Why I’m downloading pirated films in lockdown’. It begins with a short interview with MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley, who discussed data captured by his monitoring company during the lockdown indicating that piracy had increased significantly. The piece also features ‘Freddy’, a disguised 29-year-old New Yorker who explains why he’s downloading films during the pandemic.

To illustrate the process, the BBC report shows ‘footage’ of The Pirate Bay in action, revealing that movies including 1917 and Bad Boys For Life are available on the platform. However, instead of showing The Pirate Bay’s true domain, the BBC fell into the trap of showing the wrong site.

BBC shows the wrong domain for The Pirate Bay

At first view, this may not appear to be a significant blunder but the publication of the wrong domain is likely to have prompted some people who aren’t aware of The Pirate Bay’s real domain (or may not have even heard of the site before) tapping the URL into their browser in search of movies to watch. Unfortunately, movies might not be the only thing on offer.

People who visit the URL in question who have MalwareBytes installed are informed that the domain quickly accesses another domain, tpb.party, which immediately triggers a trojan warning from the anti-malware software, blocking the platform.

TPB.party malware warning

TorrentFreak has contacted Malwarebytes for more information on why it considers tpb.party and/or thepirate-bay.org unsafe and will update this article when that response comes in. However, we can confirm right now that there a no malware warnings at all on thepiratebay.org, The Pirate Bay’s true domain.

Importantly, this isn’t really a question of the BBC making a massive error here. Rather, it appears they may have been led into a search trap, a by-product of anti-piracy activities that force Google to make pirate popular sites harder to find and gives prominence to lesser-known domains.

For some time and under massive industry pressure, Google has been downranking pirate sites in its search results. The precise algorithm is unknown but Google says it uses the number of DMCA notices received against a domain as a marker to show that the site is problematic to rightsholders and should be pushed down in search results.

In fact, if one carries out a search for ‘the pirate bay’ on Google from a UK IP address (where the BBC is based), thepiratebay.org won’t appear in at least the first 10 pages of results. Instead, due to the downrankings, Google now prioritizes a Wikipedia and entry and two sites that claim to be The Pirate Bay but are not.

Both of them trigger the same malware warning and one of them is the domain published by the BBC.

Google results for The Pirate Bay search

While only the creator of the BBC video will know why he or she included the wrong URL for The Pirate Bay, it seems likely that they expected a very high-ranking Google search result to be authoritative. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with these types of Google searches anymore. That will be music to the ears of copyright holders for a number of reasons.

Firstly, true pirate sites with plenty of quality releases are already harder to find in many regions, something entertainment companies have been trying to achieve for a long time. Also, poor quality results are pushed from the bottom to the top of search results, leading to dissatisfaction among people looking for content.

Finally, the claim that pirate site visitors are vulnerable to malware can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as the sites where that is least likely to happen are disappeared and the ones that are in it to make money from any means possible get more and more traffic.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN.

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MPA/ACE Wants Cloudflare to Identify Operators of Nites Pirate Streaming Site

There are many strategies for disrupting the activities of pirate sites and services. Blocking, for example, leaves sites intact but aims to prevent users from visiting platforms so easily.

This presents a window of opportunity for pirates who through VPNs, proxies and mirror platforms, can still access the sites in question. A much more permanent option is shutting services down completely, a tactic currently being deployed by the Motion Picture Association and global anti-piracy coalition ACE, the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment.

While details are hammered out behind the scenes, ACE – which is headed up by the studios of the MPA plus Netflix and Amazon – reaches agreements with site operators to shut down their operations. This can sometimes involve a cash settlement (such as in the Openload case) but the most visible sign is the handing over of domain names to the MPA, to prevent any resurrection.

This appears to have been the plan behind the recent closure of Nites.tv, a polished streaming and torrent platform that rapidly grew in popularity over the past several months. In April, following an announcement that it was shutting down to protect copyrights, Nites.tv disappeared and its domain was eventually taken over by the MPA. However, that wasn’t the end of the matter.

This week, an almost perfect clone of Nites.tv reappeared under a new domain, Nites.is. It has all of the features of the old site with identical functionality, suggesting that the ACE action to shutter the original site had been seriously undermined. Who is behind this reincarnation isn’t known but several major Hollywood studios are now trying to find out.

In an application for a DMCA subpoena filed at a California court this week, Jan Van Voorn, the Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Content Protection at the MPA, explained that Nites.is infringing on the rights of Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal City Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Amazon Content Services and Netflix Studios.

“The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identities of the individuals assigned to these websites who have exploited ACE Members’ exclusive rights in their copyrighted motion pictures without their authorization,” the application reads.

“This information will only be used for the purposes of protecting the rights granted to ACE Members, the motion picture copyright owners, under Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

The companies, all members of ACE and represented by the MPA, request an order that would compel Cloudflare to hand over the personal details of the entities behind Nites.is. That information, according to the MPA, should include names, physical addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, payment information, account updates and account histories.

What happens next is dependent on a few factors, starting with the information held by Cloudflare. Presuming the subpoena is granted, the big question is whether the CDN company has any useful information to hand over to the MPA. If it doesn’t, the trail could go cold, at least for now. If Cloudflare does have pertinent details, however, then the people behind Nites.is can expect a follow-up from the MPA.

The big question is whether those people, whoever they might be, are the same people as those behind Nites.tv. If they are (and presuming a settlement agreement was signed with the MPA/ACE to shut down permanently), then it will be a question of whether MPA/ACE are open to another settlement or in light of any breach, feel inclined to take the matter further.

ACE does not respond to requests to comment on any ongoing cases so at least for now, it will be a waiting game to see how this plays out.

The DMCA subpoena application documents can be found here (1,2,3)

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Music, Publishing and Sports Industries Back Canada’s Pirate Site Blockades

Two years ago, Canadian broadcasting giants Groupe TVA, Bell, and Rogers took the relatively small pirate IPTV service GoldTV to court.

What started as a straightforward copyright lawsuit soon became much more than that. With the pirate site not responding, the rightsholders requested an injunction requiring local ISPs to block the service.

Fast forward a few months and Canada became the first North American country to implement a court-ordered Internet provider blockade of a pirate site.

This was a big win for the three companies whose plan for a Government-sanctioned pirate site blocking scheme was previously denied. And, given the interest in site-blocking orders around the world, it was likely just the start.

While most ISPs accepted the order without protest, TekSavvy appealed. This appeal is ongoing and has gained the interest of many copyright groups, which would all like to have their say in court.

Last week, several companies and groups representing the music industry, publishers, and sports organizations, asked the Federal Court of Appeal to have their say in the matter. As so-called intervenors, they plan to stress the importance of pirate site-blocking.

The first filing comes from the International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP), Music Canada, and IFPI. They inform the court that their opinion should be heard as they have vast experience with anti-piracy measures, which they believe are vital to the survival of the music industry.

The music organizations inform the court that they have “significant international experience” when it comes to “effective enforcement” against Internet piracy. This includes site-blocking efforts in other countries.

In addition, they argue that they have a good understanding of the broader implications of these anti-piracy measures, which can guide the Federal Court of Appeal to make the right decision.

“[A]s representatives of the music industry, which has long been at the forefront of the battle against online copyright piracy, the Music Industry Associations seek to assist the Court in understanding the broader impacts of its decision across the cultural industries,” their submission reads.

The second motion to intervene comes from a broader group of rightsholders. This includes several publisher groups, such as the International Publishers Association, and sports companies, including the Premier League and streaming service DAZN.

screenshot from the publishing and sports organizations' motion to intervene in the site blocking appeal

Similar to the music industry, the groups offer to bring their own unique perspective to the table. They argue that their respective industries are harmed by piracy and see site-blocking as a prime tool to limit the effects.

The groups don’t agree with Teksavvy’s argument that blockades violate freedom of speech values or rights and would like to present their own argument in court.

In addition, they also counter similar arguments from United Nations Special Rapporteur David Kaye, who previously warned that website blocking is an extreme measure that could restrict people’s freedom of expression.

“The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression analysis is flawed, is inconsistent with the international jurisprudence, and should not be relied on by this Court,” the publishing and sports groups write.

In their motion, the groups acknowledge that any site-blocking decision should balance the interests of copyright holders, ISPs and internet users. However, they believe that the scale clearly tips in their favor.

The Federal Court of Appeal will now review the motions to see if the music industry, publishing and sports organizations can have their say in court. If anything, this broad interest shows that if Teksavvy loses the appeal, many more site-blocking applications are expected to come in.

A copy of the motion from the music groups is available here (pdf) and a copy of the publishers and sports groups submissions can be found here (pdf).

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Takedown Notices From Netflix are Skyrocketing, But Are They Legit?

When Netflix had just started offering online video content years ago, piracy wasn’t seen as a major threat.

This changed when the streaming platform transformed itself into one of the biggest content producers, offering a wide variety of exclusive content.

Adapting to this changed reality, the company started working with third-party companies to issue takedown requests. Soon after, it also launched an in-house anti-piracy team and joined several copyright protection groups, including the MPA.

Today, Netflix is a major player in the anti-piracy scene. The company is involved in a wide variety of enforcement efforts, ranging from cease-and-desist letters and lawsuits to DMCA takedown notices.

In the latter category, we noticed an unusual change over the past few weeks. The number of takedown notices Netflix is sending to Google has skyrocketed.

The streaming service started sending these notices in 2016 and over the years averaged roughly 20,000 requests per week, which is fairly normal for a company of its size. However, over the past few weeks his number went up and up, reaching more than half a million reported URLs last week.

The graph below clearly shows a drastic increase towards the end. The first peak this year came in mid-March when 127,000 URLs were reported, a sixfold increase compared to previous weeks. This figure increased to 153,000 then 260,000 and after a temporary dip, went all the way up to 622,000.

It’s unclear what’s behind this 3000% increase in just a few months. Looking more closely at the targeted sites we see that French pirate streaming sites are among the major targets.

For example, Netflix reported more than 100,000 URLs from serie-streaming.net during the first week of May. This is more than half of the total number of links that were ever reported from the site. We see similar spikes with other domains, including hdpstream.la, ds-streamingvf.com, and voirseriestreaming.com.

We asked Netflix for a comment on these increased enforcement measures but, at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back. One possible explanation could be that the company is ramping up its efforts as traffic to pirate streaming sites has increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

That said, there is another viable option as well. In theory, these notices may have been sent by a competing pirate site masquerading as Netflix. We have seen similar abuses in the past, where pirate sites exploit the DMCA to downrank competitors in Google’s search results.

The latter theory is not unlikely. The recent notices seem to generate hundreds of separate “reporter” accounts in Google’s transparency report, which we have also seen in similar abuse cases. Also, they target content that’s not available on Netflix, including Disney’s The Mandalorian and HBO’s Westworld.

On top of that, the requests aren’t phrased in proper English either. “All works on this website is copyrighted for netflix and this website not allowed to share this content,” one reads.

Without an official comment from Netflix, that’s just speculation. But, what we do know is that Google hasn’t flagged any of the submissions as suspect and has removed many of the reported URLs. So whether they are legit or not, the notices have definitely had a major impact on the targeted sites.

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Movie & TV Giants Obtain Court Injunction to Shut Down Nitro TV

Last month several major movie and TV show companies filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Alejandro Galindo, the alleged operator of unlicensed IPTV provider Nitro TV, and 20 additional ‘Doe’ defendants.

Owned by Columbia, Amazon, Disney, Paramount, Warner, and Universal, the companies alleged that Nitro TV offers subscription packages consisting of thousands of “live and title-curated television channels” available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the United States and abroad.

Of particular interest to the entertainment companies were Nitro TV’s ’24/7′ channels and VOD service, consisting of movies and TV shows that, according to the lawsuit, could only function if their content had been unlawfully copied in advance. These included movies and TV shows including The Office, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Toy Story 3, Star Trek Beyond, Homecoming and Joker.

Citing the ‘unfair competition’ presented by Nitro’s service, the companies’ complaint alleged willful direct copyright infringement and in the event Nitro claimed that third-parties streamed the content, contributory copyright infringement, with each offense carrying maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringed work.

In common with most lawsuits of this type, the companies demanded preliminary and permanent injunctions not only against all of the defendants but also third-party companies acting in concert with them, such as domain registrars.

In an April 23 filing, Galindo filed a notice of non-opposition to the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction but according to court records, did not shut down the Nitro TV service. This claim appears to be supported by numerous videos on YouTube discussing whether customers should ditch the service as soon as possible due to the lawsuit, despite it continuing to operate.

District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson was tasked with deciding whether in advance of a trial, Nitro TV should be shut down. In an injunction handed down Monday, he sided with the entertainment companies.

“As copyright holders, Plaintiffs have the exclusive right to publicly perform the Copyrighted Works. 17 U.S.C. § 106(4),” his order reads.

“The internet streaming of full copyrighted works without authorization constitutes a violation of this exclusive right. By streaming the Copyrighted Works on Nitro TV without authorization, Defendant likely violates this exclusive right.

“Accordingly, Plaintiffs are likely to be successful on their copyright claims. Because Plaintiffs have successfully established a likelihood of success on their direct infringement claims, the Court does not reach Plaintiffs’ secondary infringement claims.”

Despite concluding that the plaintiffs are likely to be successful in their copyright infringement claims against Nitro TV, Judge Wilson notes that he was required to consider whether, in the absence of an injunction, the plaintiffs would suffer “irreparable” injury. He decided that would indeed be the case.

“Plaintiffs have shown they are likely to be irreparably harmed by the continued infringement of their copyrights. Due to the diffuse nature of streaming services, it will be difficult for Plaintiffs to discern the full extent of Defendant’s copyright violations,” he writes.

“Not only is Defendant directly infringing Plaintiffs’ copyrights, creating a financial loss to Plaintiffs, but Plaintiffs have provided evidence that the unlawfully distributed Copyrighted Works may undermine the value of Plaintiffs’ legitimate licenses. This could also lead to unquantifiable customer confusion and an overall diminution of value of the Copyrighted Works.”

Given that preliminary injunctions can have an effect on all parties in a dispute, the Judge also considered whether damage could be caused to Nitro. He found that since the operator of the service had not disputed he was infringing the entertainment companies’ rights and that illegal conduct does not merit “significant equitable protection”, no injury would be suffered by Nitro TV.

“The balance of the equities tips strongly in Plaintiffs’ favor,” his order reads.

Finally, the Judge considered whether a preliminary injunction would be in the public interest. Similarly, he found in the plaintiffs’ favor, noting that Nitro TV had offered no evidence to counter the claim that its alleged copyright infringements offered no lawful benefit to the public.

The preliminary injunction handed down Monday requires that Galindo and all individuals acting in concert, participation, or in privity with him in connection with his alleged activities, must immediately cease all direct and secondary copyright infringement related to the plaintiffs’ copyrighted works, including all public performances and reproduction.

In response to requests in the original complaint, the Judge specifically ordered Namecheap and Domain.com, the domain registrars for Tekkhosting.com and NitroIPTV.com respectively, to prevent the domains from being modified, sold, transferred or deleted.

Alongside an instruction for the domains to be disabled, the Judge ordered that current WHOIS information must be preserved alongside all evidence related to the domains’ ownership.

The preliminary injunction can be obtained here (pdf)

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‘Viral’ Pirate Site Nites.tv is Back From the Dead Following ACE Seizure

If there’s one thing that movie and TV show companies hate more than regular pirate streaming services, it’s pirate streaming services that look and feel like the real deal.

Popcorn Time was arguably the first mainstream entrant to this niche but, over the past six years, there have been many pretenders to the throne. Nites.tv certainly fell into that category and then some.

Appearing seemingly out of nowhere just a few short months ago, Nites.tv gained significant traction with an unusually polished interface that in presentation terms certainly gave Netflix a run for its money. But then, just as the site was beginning to soar, a major setback became apparent.

Around April 19, Nites.tv suddenly disappeared and was replaced by the familiar ‘seizure’ notice of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the global anti-piracy coalition that has taken down dozens of piracy-related domains during the past couple of years.

Two days later Nites.tv made an announcement via Twitter, declaring that since it took “copyright violations very seriously” and intended to “vigorously protect the rights of legal copyright owners”, it would be shutting down. By early May the circle was complete when its domains were officially taken over by the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

At that point, it seemed unlikely that we would be writing about Nites again. But, today, we have news that can be firmly filed under the “ACE isn’t going to like this” category.

Nites.tv appears to be back in full effect under a new domain, Nites.is, and as the image below shows, the reincarnation is indistinguishable from the original.

The new Nites.is domain was registered on April 23, just days after the original domain first displayed signs of conflict with the dozens of entertainment industry giants that make up ACE. It was registered with Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde’s Njalla privacy service, meaning that it won’t be easy to find out who is behind it, a big plus for whoever’s at the helm.

There’s little doubt that ACE will now seek to take the site down and there is no shortage of reasons for that. Putting the obvious embarrassment aside for a moment, with its tight interface, video previews, and even a Netflix-like “+MY LIST” feature, Nites.is is an unusually glossy platform with a number of interesting features behind the scenes.

Aside from streaming the latest movies and TV shows from direct hosting sources in both 720 and 1080 qualities, the site provides movie trailers for those undecided on what to watch next and even provides torrent download links culled from popular torrent index YTS. It also has other BitTorrent technologies quietly waiting under the hood including Webtorrent tracker OpenWebTorrent and Webtorrent client βtorrent.

The only thing the new site doesn’t have at the moment is a new logo but the text “Nites is Back” on some open tabs is a clear statement that Nites.is aims to pick up where Nites.tv left off.

The big question now, however, is how long it will last.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN.

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ETTV & ETHD Stopped Uploading Torrents But a Comeback is Planned

The piracy ecosystem is more structured than most people assume. While anyone can upload a file online, the most popular content is distributed by a small number of uploaders.

ETTV and ETHD are in this top echelon. The groups, which have their roots in the defunct ExtraTorrent site, have shared tens of thousands of videos in recent years. This has resulted in a following of millions of people.

In reality, these ‘groups’ are little more than some lines of code, or bots. These pull videos from private sources to make them available to the public. It’s an effective system but one that relies on a central hosting facility that has to be paid for. That is where things went wrong recently.

Little over a week ago, avid torrenters began to notice that ETTV and ETHD releases had stopped appearing online. Not just on the main ETTVdl site but also on other torrent sites, including 1337x. It seemed like the groups had simply disappeared.

Initially, it wasn’t clear what was going on, but ETTV administrator ‘sidekickbob’ tells us that the outage is linked to the recent troubles at the torrent site. They started when the original operator disappeared and that situation still hasn’t improved.

Sidekickbob has taken it upon himself to salvage the situation. A few weeks ago, he moved the ETTV site to a new domain, fearing that it would become inaccessible. However, the hosting accounts are also at risk and that’s where the ETTV and ETHD bots were hit.

The hosting accounts of the bots expired as the bills were not paid and Sidekickbob says that funding remains an issue. However, he ordered new servers to get the bots up and running again in the near future.

“Just got new servers today and I will reinstall the script that will start uploading again on all sites it uploaded before. Should be back to normal by Thursday… or close to normal,” he says.

This is good news for ETTV and ETHD fans. That said, the trouble at ETTV is bigger than just the bots. As we mentioned before, the future of the site is uncertain and as the original operator remains missing in action, things could start to fall further apart.

ETTV’s official image hosting services, extraimage.net is down as well, including all content. This site was often used by uploaders to add screenshots. Sidekickbob says he still has access to snoopimages.com, but all older content on this site has gone.

“We lost all the previous content we had on both extraimage.net and snoopimages.com … because also those servers went down as they were on a hosting I didn’t have access to, or time to move it all… extraimage had a massive database of images, gone forever,” Sidekickbob says.

On top of that, the ettv.online domain is set to expire if the original operator doesn’t resurface. Sidekickbob managed to redirect that to ettv.be, which is under his control, but ettv.online might eventually disappear.

It is clear that the troubles at ETTV are far from over. This, despite efforts from the remaining team members who continue to do whatever they can to keep things afloat.

While we don’t want to speculate too much, there might be an even larger drama at play since the site’s operator hasn’t disappeared without a reason. Thus far, however, there is no further information on precisely what happened.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN.