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  1. Despite the growing number of legal alternatives, millions of people prefer to pirate movies and TV-shows via BitTorrent instead of watching them on Netflix. Bram Cohen, the inventor of the BitTorrent protocol, says he would probably be a pirate too if he was just a regular guy since “pirate” alternatives offer much better resolutions than streaming services such as Netflix. Earlier this year the season finale of Game of Thrones was pirated by more than five million people using the popular BitTorrent protocol. While unauthorized downloading is nothing new, it appears that many of these pirates still prefer the BitTorrent option even though they can watch the show for free on Netflix. And we’re not talking about trivial numbers here. News Corp CEO Robert Thomson estimated that no less than 20% of all Foxtel subscribers who already paid for access to the show chose to pirate it instead. With other popular shows such as Breaking Bad a similar pattern emerges. According to Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent and chief scientist of the similarly named company, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Talking with the BBC’s Click, Cohen notes that in terms of video delivery BitTorrent is far superior to the systems currently used by Netflix and other video services. “The fact is that by using BitTorrent it’s possible to give customers a much better experience with much less cost than has ever been possible before. It’s really not being utilized properly and that’s really unfortunate,” Cohen says. BitTorrent’s inventor says he doesn’t own a TV at home, but he does watch Netflix on occasion. However, not with too much pleasure as the video quality that’s offered by the streaming service is less than acceptable. “I actually don’t have a TV at home myself, but I do watch stuff on Netflix and I find it very frustrating because the video quality is really terrible,” Cohen says. Cohen believes that many pirates share similar frustrations, which may explain why so many people pirate video content via BitTorrent, even those who have a Netflix account and can watch it legally. In fact, if he wasn’t such a prominent figure he probably be a pirate himself. “I really go out of my way to not do the slightest hint of pirating anything ever, but if I were just some nobody [...] I would probably pirate some of the stuff that I can watch on Netflix and already paid for, because I’d like to watch it in higher resolution.” Moving on to the legal aspects of piracy, Cohen doesn’t believe that copyright infringement is a crime that’s on par with manslaughter or shoplifting, but stops short of explaining exactly what it is. “Copyright infringement is not a crime in the way that beating up someone is a crime, or stealing an actual physical good form a store is a crime. It’s something else.” Looking at the future, Cohen says he eventually hopes to be remembered for more than just creating one of the most disruptive technologies for the entertainment industries. According to him there are more important things he can delve into, including power generation and 3D printing. “I don’t think my work is done,” Cohen says. Source: TorrentFreak
  2. The RIAA’s brand new “notorious sites” submission to the United States Trade Representative reveals that in two days time some of the world’s largest file-sharing sites will become blocked by Internet service providers in the UK. On October 30, meta-search engine Torrentz.eu, torrent indexes ExtraTorrent and BitSnoop, and cyberlocker search site FilesTube will all be blocked at the ISP level. Responding to a request from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), on Friday the MPAA submitted a new list of so-called “notorious markets.” The MPAA’s report listed many of the usual suspects such as The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent and Torrentz, plus a selection of file-hosting sites such as Netload, ExtaBit and PutLocker. A little while ago TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the RIAA’s submission and aside from doubling up on some of the same sites listed by the MPAA, it also delivers a surprise. Torrent site blocking imminent The RIAA says that in just 48 hours time a new wave of site blocking will take place in the UK covering not only the usual BitTorrent indexes, but also dedicated search engines in the torrent and file-hosting space. On October 30, ExtraTorrent will be blocked by the UK’s leading ISPs, presumably following action by the major labels of the BPI. ExtraTorrent has suffered at least two anti-piracy setbacks in the last week, first when City of London Police convinced its registrar to take its domain and second when Google removed the site’s homepage from its search results. The second indexing site to be blocked on Wednesday will be BitSnoop, which earlier this year was the eighth most-popular torrent site in the world. The RIAA says that since the site provided no way for rightsholders to make contact the decision was made to have ISPs block the site instead. The third site to be rendered inaccessible this week will be Torrentz.eu. What is unusual about this development is that Torrentz is a so-called meta-search engine, in that it carries no torrents of its own but searches other torrent sites instead. Nevertheless, the site still complies with DMCA takedown notices, a fact acknowledged by the RIAA. “[Torrentz] is currently hosted by Canadian providers. The site complies with take down notices by removing the torrents identified in those notices which provide access to infringing files. The site can take up to several days to remove infringing files following a request by right holders,” the RIAA explain. In the rest of the USTR submission on torrent sites the RIAA lists many of the usual suspects, including The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, Torrenthound.com, Fenopy.se, Monova.org, Torrentreactor.net and Sumotorrent.sx. Many of these sites are blocked around Europe already. As usual, two resilient trackers from Bulgaria – Arenabg and Zamunda – also get a mention. Cyberlockers and related search engines While there are plenty of file-hosting sites to choose from that could certainly be considered rogue (refusing to take down content etc) it’s again somewhat of a surprise that this week a copyright-compliant site will become blocked at the ISP level. FilesTube is the most popular search engine for file-hosting sites and as such has been absolutely hammered by rightsholders looking for links to be taken down. It is by far the most targeted domain in Google’s Transparency Report with 9,242,032 URLs removed, double its closest ‘competitor’. Interestingly the RIAA admits in its report that Filestube does respond to takedown notices. However, the industry can’t keep up so the implication is that this is FileTube’s fault. “Industry reports links to infringing materials to the site operator, but any action by the operator is ineffective as the speed of the takedowns cannot match the speed at which new links are added,” the RIAA writes. Along with the sites listed above, FilesTube will be blocked by the UK’s top six ISPs on Wednesday. Other hosting sites singled out for detailed criticism by the RIAA include bannedhost.net, 4Shared.com, ZippyShare.com, Rapidgator.net, TurboBit.net and a selection of lesser known sites located in the Czech Republic. Three other sites are mentioned in passing – FreakShare.com, BitShare.com and Extabit.com. “We greatly welcome this initiative designed to expose businesses who operate notorious markets for infringing materials, and who generally either directly profit from the sale or other distribution of infringing materials, or who profit from facilitating such theft—in many cases through the sale of advertising space,” the RIAA writes. “Quite simply, there is no place for open and notorious theft in a civilized world, regardless of how that theft is accomplished. Addressing the conduct of these notorious markets for piracy will go a long way towards promoting the rule of law, fuelling creativity and innovation, and maintaining US economic competitiveness,” the industry group concludes. Meanwhile, every single site listed in the notorious market reports of both the RIAA and MPAA remain 100% accessible from all of the ISPs in the United States. Source: TorrentFreak
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