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  1. Pirate streaming sites are continuously switching their domain names. Why? Because the anti-piracy law has given the right to the respective governments to ban piracy streaming sites. The pirate streaming sites list is vast and grown is the past decade. Piracy sites are causing a massive hit on the revenue earned by the entertainment industry. People are watching video content without paying anything. Some piracy sites also allow free downloading. These reasons are badly hitting the overall business of the entertainment industry in every county. Government has banned many streaming services, but every they switch the name or domain and come back again. Piracy sites also using media houses, publications, bloggers, press distribution services etc., for promotion. Search Results: Even on Google, multi-million users are searching for piracy and free streaming sites. For example; 123movies, 1234movies, bmovies, cmovies, yesmovies, gomovies, fmovies, yomovies, rainierland, lunchflix, yolamovies, couchtuner, Pri**wire, putlocker, letmewatchthis, solarmovies, etc. the list of piracy downloading sites is also huge. HdPopcorn, and besthddownloads are few names. SEO promotion: Pirate sites are also using SEO services to rank on the top position in search results. This has made the easy for users to find the new pirate streaming site when the old one gets banned. There is extensive research done on much popular piracy streaming and published online for the people to make them aware of the dangers of using piracy website. Piracy sites are earning backlinks by paying to the writer or publishers. This is helping them to rank on the first page and get more visitors every day. Even sites like Wikipedia are being used to promote piracy sites and links. Traffic: Most of these piracy streaming sites are attracting millions of page views every year. They are using low-quality ad services to monetize this traffic—too many popup ads, malicious ads, etc. the primary source of income for the piracy website. People are not aware of the dangers, and they keep on visiting the piracy sites just for free entertainment. These sites don't ask the user for signup. latest movies, tv shows, web series, live tv, live sports, live news, etc. have made these sites popular. Switching domain and names are the only way for these sites to sustain as they are banned in many countries. Risks: Piracy sites are always risky. First, they are banned by the government. Second, they place malicious ads that can put your device in the hands of hackers. Hackers can steal your personal and official information. This information can cause you loss of money or assets. Accessing these piracy sites is illegal. The guilty person has to pay fine to even spend years in jail. Risks are high, some users even complain about hacked devices, hacked social media accounts and worse bank account hacking by using piracy sites. The only way to stay safe is by ignoring all of the piracy streaming sites. Where some people are promoting these sites, some are revealing the secrets of these websites to make the user aware of the dangers of visiting piracy streaming services. It is important to learn the truth behind these piracy streaming sites. Source: eAskme
  2. The ongoing protests across the US likely prompted the decision. Twitch has removed an emote that featured an image of a cartoon character dressed as a police officer blowing a whistle. "TwitchCop," as the emoticon was known as, was a global emote Twitch viewers could use in chat across all of the platform's channels. The company told The Verge it removed the image to stop people from abusing it. "We made the decision to proactively pull down the TwitchCop emote to prevent misuse," the company said. "We are constantly evaluating our policies to ensure we are addressing emerging behaviors and language on our platform." Twitch didn't say if it plans to bring back the emote, nor did it elaborate what prompted its decision. However, as The Verge points out, the emoticon's removal likely comes in response to the ongoing protests across the US that were sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. In recent days, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with videos documenting rampant police brutality. In light of what's going on at the moment, some viewers may have used the emote to harass black streamers and other people of color. Despite its newfound notoriety, the emote doesn't seem to have been popular before its removal. A tweet found by The Verge suggests Twitch added the image in 2017 following a community vote. Compared to the statements we’ve seen some companies share recently, Twitch's decision to remove a potentially hurtful emoticon is one of the more tangible responses to the current situation. We've also seen companies like Sony delay their promotional events. On Monday, the console-maker announced it was delaying its June 4th PlayStation 5 livestream. "We do not feel that right now is a time for celebration..." the company said at the time, without sharing a revised air date. Source
  3. TV is exhausting now. Where once the future of streaming promised to cut down bloated cable bills and create a more efficient customer-provider service—“Imagine a future where you only pay for the 10 channels you actually watch,” I remember excitedly telling my parents earlier in the decade—the reality is that now, there are simply more channels that you need to pay for. Aside from traditional cable, which remains a must for any sports fan at the absolute least, there now exist more than a half-dozen prominent streaming services (and lots more small ones), all filled with a couple of buzzy shows, some old favorites, and endless filler crap that makes the library of content seem more valuable than it is. And if keeping up with the Emmy-nominated offerings of services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime didn’t already feel like a financial strain, the launch of Apple TV+ and the fawned-over premiere of Disney+ might have done it. By my count, if you want to watch shows on HBO, Apple TV+, Disney+, CBS All-Access, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix, it’d run you $60.93 a month or $731.16 a year, and that’s before factoring in a standard cable package for live events and other shows, or the other streaming services sure to launch in the near future. (NBC’s got one coming down the pike.) Of course, nobody has to pay for all these things, but the problem here is that, with the arguable exception of CBS, all of these services have at least something resembling a buzzy hit show. If you want to watch, for example, Euphoria, Dickinson, The Mandalorian, Fleabag, Killing Eve, and Stranger Things, you’re going to need a lot of accounts. With two of the largest companies in the world joining the game this month, adding their own movie stars and iconic IP to the slush pile, it’s worth wondering if the streaming revolution has officially failed TV and movie fans with its endless mitosis and fragmentation. Instead of letting viewers just pay for the stuff they watch, they’re forced, instead, to choose between equally flawed packages where the fun and/or high-quality shows get bundled with pointless crap that jacks up the price. Unlike Spotify and its clones, which include essentially all the music a person could want, one relatively cheap subscription to any Movie/TV streaming service doesn’t give you access to more-or-less the entire history of moving pictures. And unlike Spotify and its clones, which have caused a massive downturn in music piracy, the shows on all these platforms are ripe for stealing. Piracy has never truly died, whether it occurs when users torrent files through thepiratebay.org or 1337x.to, or download shows through Usenet, a site like MegaUpload or Rapidshare, or find cleverly hidden files on Google Docs, Facebook, or even Wikipedia. Hell, there’s even a thriving network of USB drive-based piracy in some countries. But in the era of Netflix’s dominance as a legit streaming service, piracy’s prevalence fell greatly. Between 2011 and 2015, Bittorrent’s share of upstream traffic on North American broadband networks dropped from 52.01 percent to 26.83 percent. More recently, an EU study found that the number of young people (age 15-24) who intentionally accessed illegal content dropped from 25 percent to 21 percent from 2016 to 2019. And visits to piracy websites dropped from 206 billion in 2017 to 190 billion in 2018. But now, more paywalled content means that viewers either can’t afford to pay for everything they might want to watch or don’t feel like dealing with a bunch of different services. There’s already evidence people are turning back to piracy: Bittorrent’s traffic freefall has stopped, and has seen a recent small bounceback. “If people have to spend more money to satisfy their movie and TV consumption needs, a large group will either consume less or look for alternatives,” Ernesto van der Sar, owner of piracy trend website TorrentFreak recently told Motherboard. “A likely result is that more people will pirate on the side.” A simple glance at torrent websites shows that plenty of people are stealing from the brand new steaming services—episodes of The Mandalorian and Dickinson all have hundreds or thousands of seeders and are among the most popular shows on torrent sites. I reached out specifically to Disney, Apple, and Netflix to ask what their policy was on going after pirated content, and haven’t heard back, but it’s obvious that these companies assume that at least some of their viewers aren’t paying the full price for their services. Given that you can watch as many as six simultaneous streams with Apple TV+, and four with Disney+ and the top Netflix package, the more common form of piracy—password sharing—is built into the system. But for pirates who don’t have any access to the legit services, what makes stealing content particularly appealing in this age is that there are few if any people who face consequences for the crime. Since the discontinuation of the “six strikes” copyright policy in 2017, there’s been lax enforcement of copyright laws. Rather than going after individuals for exorbitant fines for downloading a handful of songs like copyright holders did a decade ago, enforcement these days has focused on the providers of pirated content, with the much more efficient goal of taking down entire streaming sites rather than just a few of their visitors. Of course, as the continued resilience of The Pirate Bay shows, the current strategy isn’t particularly effective at stopping piracy, either. But it does mean that those who only download already-stolen content are safer than they’ve ever been. And the widespread use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and the less common but more secure use of services like Tor means that people are getting better at pirating, too. Even if you’re not breaking the law, you should pay for a VPN, because there’s reason to suspect ISPs are monetizing your browsing data. But having some form of VPN is non-negotiable if you’re downloading content illegally. Typically, if a pirate is using a torrent program to download files peer to peer, their IP address is visible to anyone using the program. (That’s how copyright holders could track down pirates and take them to court.) But with a VPN, a pirate’s data gets laundered through the location of the private network—meaning someone in New York could have a public IP address showing Chicago, Toronto, or anywhere in the world. If a pirate is careful, it’s much harder to know who they are. None of this is to say you should steal—it’s illegal! But whether you’re on the business side spending millions of dollars on new shows, or you’re just a girl who likes to watch hot people punch each other for a few hours every week, it’s clear that companies are overwhelming customers with products, and a breaking point is coming where people won’t be able to pay for all of it. As more and more streaming services launch, each with their own content walled off from the others, it’d be ignorant and naive to think that piracy won’t increase with it. Source
  4. John Edwards said digital platforms need to adapt to the jurisdictions in which they operate, and take steps to prevent their platform, and audience and technology, from being used in such a way as was seen in Christchurch. New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has used his keynote address to the IAPP ANZ Summit in Sydney this week to discuss some of the challenges of the new digital economic order, specifically how one country can take on the tech giants. "Digital platforms need to adapt to the jurisdictions in which they operate -- not the other way around," he said. There are over 100 data protection and privacy commissioners working nationally and in-country, providing independent regulation in a "patchwork quilt of domestic laws". "It is a challenge for me to meaningfully coordinate domestically with authorities with a shared interest in the values, mores, and cultural settings we are ingesting with our imported technology," Edwards said. "When you multiply the challenge across every jurisdiction with a censor, electoral commission, competition authority, consumer protection authority and online harms agency, the scale of the fragmentation becomes immediately evident. Yet 'They' remain 'One'." Edwards shared concern that in 2019 there are companies bigger than countries; Facebook has a "population" of over 2 billion, none of whom has voting or regulatory rights there. "They move fast and break things, innovate at the speed of fibre optic broadband, deliver fantastic services that improve the lives of billions, and leave regulators in the dust; unable to keep up, unable to match their resources unable to assert effectively that their 'one size fits all product' does not in fact, fit all," he said. A video of the terror attack in Christchurch was viewed around 4,000 times on Facebook and took 29 minutes before it was finally reported, Facebook said previously. Despite its removal, approximately 1.5 million copies of the video sprung up on the network in the first 24 hours after the attack. However, only approximately 300,000 copies were published as over 1.2 million videos were blocked at upload. Over on YouTube, a copy of the video was uploaded once every second during the first 24 hours following the terrorist attack. Edwards said Facebook knew of the potential for its service to be used in this way before it launched it. "It knew, and failed to take steps to prevent its platform, and audience and technology from being used in that way," he said. "It was predictable and predicted. And the company responsible was silent -- confident that the protection afforded by its home jurisdiction would shield it from liability everywhere." Edwards said that both New Zealand and Australia did not vote on and were not consulted on section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act, but still feel its effects: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." But, as Edwards said, pharmaceutical entrepreneurs can't just launch a product without strict testing and regulation. "Facebook launched its live-streaming product with the knowledge that it could be used for the purposes the gunman ultimately chose on March 15 and went ahead anyway," he said. "They knew the platform could be used to broadcast rape, suicide, murder, and other such content. They assured the public that a combination of artificial intelligence, and human moderation would mitigate those risks and allow the public to have the benefits of the technology." As disclosed in a statement from Facebook's policy director for counter-terrorism to US Congress, the company's AI didn't pick up the video initially as it was trained mostly on ISIS beheading footage, which meant at the time there wasn't "enough gore" in the gunman's video. "Data protection laws alone cannot combat these harms. It may be that we need some more agile consumer protection mechanism to allow data protection and privacy authorities to work together with other consumer safety regulators to respond more assertively to the emergence of harmful products in the marketplace," Edwards said. "One of the lessons from Christchurch is that when we join together and present the irrefutable moral right, it can force industry to act," he said, pointing to the Christchurch Call. "But it mustn't take another terrorist atrocity, or corrupted election or referendum, or Myanmar genocide to get and hold their attention." Edwards also pointed to the murder of a young woman, whose trial was put in peril as a result of Google's algorithms doing the very thing they were designed to do. Her now-accused murderer had been granted a suppression order against the release of his name. However, international media weren't bound by this order and as a result of 100,000 or-so individuals "Googling" his name, the search giant's trending topics algorithm was triggered. While he said the individuals searching and the media reporting hold some blame, New Zealand's Minister of Justice singled out Google for blame and criticism for its failure to ensure the orders of the courts were respected. Google in July apologised and suspended its Trends Alert subscriber email system. "It appears that Google's highly sophisticated, automated service simply acted as it was designed to," Edwards said. 'It seems to have been incapable of responding to the combination of factors that the humans in charge of New Zealand's media outlets do, that is; the making of an order, the breaching of the order by irresponsible international media, and the many name searches made by curious individuals." He said that unique combinations of events pose a real challenge to a global company. "Its systems are designed to deploy at a scale that regards the entire population of New Zealand as trivial. So, it is possible to have some sympathy for its plight," Edwards said. "But not much. "The problem of scale is a problem of that platform's own making." Source: NZ Privacy Commissioner: Facebook knew what could be streamed on its platform (via ZDNet)
  5. Amazon, after big hire, experimenting with sports media strategy: interview NEW YORK (Reuters) - When Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos was spotted schmoozing in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s booth during the Super Bowl in February, the media world exploded with anticipation about Amazon’s imminent domination of sports media. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo But two years after first dabbling in live sports streaming, Amazon has yet to settle on a strategy as it continues to experiment and analyze consumer behavior, Marie Donoghue, Vice President of Global Sports Video, told Reuters. “We’re literally at day one in sports, so we’re learning and experimenting,” Donoghue said in New York this week in her first interview after she took over the sports media division of the world’s largest online retailer last fall. The arrival of Donoghue, a nearly twenty-year veteran of Walt Disney Co’s ESPN cable network and who was responsible for shows including the ‘30 for 30’ series and ‘OJ: Made in America,’ signaled a new level of seriousness to Amazon’s pursuit of live sports. While the real impact of her arrival remains to be seen, that hasn’t stopped chatter of a big tech takeover of live sports as Amazon, Facebook Inc (FB.O), Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube’s threaten to loosen TV’s grip on one of the last remaining reasons to pay for live television. Tech companies and startup digital platforms - like DAZN, which in October agreed to pay boxing champion Canelo Alvarez a minimum of $365 million for five years, the richest contract in sports history - are also seen driving up the cost of media rights when major contracts start coming up for renewal in 2021. Will Amazon lead the pack in pursuing streaming rights for live sports? “We don’t talk about specific rights ... as a matter of course, but also because we’re just not sure yet,” Donoghue said. Since 2017, Amazon has snapped up digital rights to some of England’s Premier League soccer matches, U.S. Open Tennis Championships in the UK and three seasons of Thursday Night Football, among others. Donoghue said the current focus is on how to enable Amazon Prime subscribers to control nearly every component of their viewing experience, including how, when and where they watch. As a streaming service, “we don’t have to serve the same content in the same way to everybody,” she said. To figure out which sports products are successful and what to offer next, Amazon is analyzing market research and its own viewership data, as well as consumers’ use of its X-Ray tool for digging into details about shows. It also co-streams Thursday Night Football on its Twitch video game streaming platform, which has an interactive extension that lets viewers predict game developments, including who they think will win. “We’re watching all of that,” Donoghue said. “We want to use live sports to drive value for Prime customers.” Source: Amazon, after big hire, experimenting with sports media strategy: interview
  6. Fragmented Streaming Landscape Keeps Piracy Relevant, Research Suggests Streaming video services are, in theory, great competitors to pirate sites and services. However, when you have to sign up for half a dozen subscriptions to watch your favorite movies and shows, something is wrong. New research suggests that this fragmented streaming landscape is keeping piracy relevant. There is little doubt that, for many people, streaming services have become the standard for watching movies and TV-shows. This is no surprise, since subscription-based streaming services are among the best and most convenient alternatives to piracy at this point. There is a problem though. The whole appeal of the streaming model becomes diluted when there are too many ‘Netflixes.’ More choice wouldn’t be a bad thing if all these services offered a broad library of content. The problem, however, is that all have different ‘libraries’ and exclusive productions are becoming more and more common. Since most households have a limited budget for online entertainment, consumers have to choose which services they want. This is a problem that keeps getting worse, especially now that Apple and Disney are planning to release their own streaming platforms soon. The irony of this situation is that the platforms, which are supposed to make piracy obsolete, are in fact keeping it relevant. This has been argued anecdotally in the past, but research by piracy research firm MUSO among 1,000 UK adults, shows that this is indeed happening. The vast majority of all surveyed consumers, 80.4%, feel that they’re already paying too much for content streaming. At the same time, 64.2% of the people who took part in the survey are not willing to pay for any more streaming services this year. Even more worrying is that more than half of all respondents, 50.8%, said they were likely or very likely to use unlicensed platforms to search for content that’s not available to them. In other words, they are considering to pirate video in order to get what they want. “This research shows that people will inevitably seek it elsewhere via unlicensed platforms, but this does, however, create further opportunities for content owners to understand this audience with meaningful and valuable insights,” MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley notes. “With most people only subscribing to only a couple of services, it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens with the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+. Will consumers ditch an existing service for one of the new ones? Or will Apple struggle to crack the TV market again?” While it’s easy to blame rightsholders and streaming platforms, this puzzle isn’t easy to solve. Ideally, there would be a single platform where people can access everything they want, similar to pirate sites and services. The problem is, however, that this won’t bring in enough revenue, at least not at the subscription rates we have now. That said, there has to be a better option than to keep adding more and more services and fragmenting the steaming landscape? In any case, the flawed argument that people have no ‘excuse’ to pirate because there are plenty of legal alternatives is weakening every year. Yes, pretty much everything can be accessed legally, but people need deep pockets to do so. It appears that the people who benefit the most from increased fragmentation are the operators of pirate sites and services. That’s probably not what Hollywood intended. Source
  7. It certainly seems like the world of streaming video entered a new epoch recently. Last week, Comcast finally handed the reigns of Hulu over to Disney, which means the company will have not only the impending Disney+ streaming service but also a live TV service that competes with the big cable companies. Then, the very same day, we saw a genuinely awful outcome of AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, when CEO Randall Stephenson announced that Friends and other WarnerMedia-owned shows would be pulled from Netflix to run exclusively on the company’s forthcoming streaming platform. Apple reminded us of its foray into streaming with the release of the new Apple TV app, which will support TV+ later this year, and cable channel IFC announced it’s own streaming service for a monthly fee of $6. Look at all those content fiefdoms. As these companies snatch hold of rights and create their new exclusive content, they’re cordoning off their empires and demanding you to either ignore some of the most talked about TV shows and films available or pay your way into their services. Either way, it’s a dark future for the streamer. Now you might think “well I can just not subscribe!” or maybe “I don’t need to revisit Friends or the enormous catalog of classic films Warner now owns.” And that’s very true. But for many, that’s not realistic. People naturally want to be included in conversations. The internet has only bolstered the water cooler imperative of keeping up with mass culture events like Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones. Disney recognizes this. The company now owns the rights to some of the largest franchises in the business and is slowly pulling them form all other competing streaming platforms to force people to watch them on Disney+. Want to watch a Marvel movie or Star Wars? What about X-Men? Got a hankering for those blue Avatar people? Need to check out Frozen, Moana, The Incredibles, or Aladdin? You’ll have to cough up cash for Disney+. And you’ll be paying Disney for the privilege of watching ESPN too. It owns that, not to mention A&E, ABC, History Channel, a big chunk of Vice, FX, and even Lifetime. As we said before, Disney now owns Hulu outright, too—AT&T sold its share last month, and Comcast agreed to relinquish its share last week. Whenever a company consolidates large portions of a commodity that everyone wants, the first concern that comes to mind is cost. Streaming could get a whole lot more expensive. Remember how cheap Netflix was when it was just a dinky little add-on to the disc subscription service? But over the years it’s crept up. It’s now double the price it was five years ago. Disney, with its now enormous catalog of content (a catalog far more extensive and potentially more lucrative than Netflix’s), has already spread subscriptions across three different services, Hulu, ESPN, and soon Disney+. After it hooks you on Disney+ for $7 a month later this year, it could very easily start increasing the price. (No one at Disney has said as much to date.) It’s a tactic that has served TV providers well for some time. Lure them in with introductory prices, get them addicted to the service provided, and then raise the price. Sure you could shut off the never-ending stream of Moana, but will you? As irritating and expensive as Disney’s streaming monopoly will be, it’s the company’s dominance over culture that feels the most terrifying. So far this year, Disney has dominated roughly 35-percent of the American box office sales, according to Box Office Mojo. Combined with Warner Bros., that number jumps to about half of the U.S. box office. Very few companies are producing a large percentage of what we watch, and as they consolidate the means of distribution via the internet, it’s beginning to feel like they’ve got too much power—it ends badly. And we know that because this isn’t the first time a few companies have controlled both the production and distribution of huge amounts of entertainment. Back in the 1940s, you had a similar system, in some respects. “Basically the studios financed the movies, produced them themselves at their own companies and then they also owned some movie theaters,” Karina Longworth, a Hollywood historian and host of You Must Remember This, told me. This meant they could give sweetheart distribution deals to their own theaters while gouging competitors, and it meant if you wanted to be in the business of making movies, you also probably had to be in the business of building theaters all across the United States. According to Longworth, the U.S. government perceived that vertical integration of the entertainment business as a monopoly. Following a series of anti-trust actions and negotiations in the 1930s and 1940s, the studios ended up divesting themselves of their control over theaters. According to Longworth, the effect wasn’t immediately felt by consumers in any kind of financial way, but it had huge ramifications for the film industry, and for the kind of voices that were prioritized in movies. “There was, for all intents and purposes, no such thing as independent film that got any kind of distribution until the 1950s.” No indie film meant every single movie being made was dictated, to some degree, by a very small group of people at the very top of these studios. And while the people running studios can lift up and amplify a wide variety of voices and experiences, that’s not always practically the case. Black cinema wasn’t embraced by the big studios, nor was queer cinema. Films featuring people from other countries weren’t common. And thanks to the draconian nature of the Hays code and its enforcers (collectively working as the precursor to the frequently as awful MPAA) there was a broad swath of subject matter the big studios wouldn’t touch. You couldn’t even make a film decrying Nazism until right before the U.S. entered World War II. Source
  8. Popular Streaming Site Pelispedia Shuts Down, Operators Arrested Uruguayan authorities, helped by Interpol and the US movie industry, have arrested the alleged operators of the popular streaming site Pelispedia. The couple stands accused of profiting from copyright infringement. Following a raid on their house, several assets were seized and the site was shut down. With over a million visitors per day, Pelispedia.tv was one of the most popular streaming sites in Latin America. Just a few weeks ago, it was highlighted bythe US Trade Representative as a notorious pirate site, following a referral from Hollywood’s MPAA. By then, rightsholders and enforcement authorities already had their eyes focused on the site’s alleged operators, a couple from Uruguay. Following collaborative efforts from Interpol, rightsholders, and Uruguayan authorities, this culminated in two arrests last week. According to Uruguayan prosecutor Mónica Ferrero, the alleged operators are charged with “a continuing offense of making available a digital broadcast for profit without the written authorization of their respective holders or successors, and a crime of money laundering.” The two, who are referred to in local mediaby their initials JAGR and MJHG, will remain in custody for 30 days. Their case is being handled by a court specialized in organized crime, which will take a closer look at the allegations. Initially, Pelispedia.tv remained online following the arrests, but since yesterday it is no longer available. The sister site Pelisplus is still accessible but is also expected to shut down. Pelispedia The pair reportedly have no other employment and made roughly $5,000 per month from the business. In addition to the arrests, several assets were seized including hardware, a 2008 Peugeot, a 2014 Volkswagon, $1,257 in cash, and two Payoneer cards. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment collaborated with the authorities and is pleased with the outcome thus far. “We thank Interpol, the Uruguayan police, and prosecutors for their leadership in this important action against a major illegal streaming service operator,” ACE spokesperson Richard VanOrnum said, commenting on the news. MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin agrees and sees the shutdown of Pelispedia.tv as another example of ACE’s successful and ongoing global effort to reduce piracy. “Each time we collaborate with law enforcement authorities to disrupt major piracy operations like Pelispedia.tv, we support the millions of people around the world working in the film and television industry and the dynamic legal marketplace for creative content,” Rivkin notes. Source
  9. Speaking on the Freakonomics Podcast (which handily also transcribed the interview), Daniel Ek, Spotify’s co-founder and CEO, spoke at length about the streaming service’s history, its future plans and its relationship with both musicians and music industry. He talked about his past and why growing up in Sweden in the 1990s – and the country’s backing of broadband for all – was pivotal in shaping his worldview. He also discussed his Damascene moment with Napster. “It brought me this weird sense of very broad music education and quite eclectic taste, which in turn got me even further into music,” he said. He talked about how the record business before digital was massively underachieving in terms of its global reach and fumbled the ball when Napster came along. “My view is that the music industry has always been excluding the vast majority of its potential,” he argued. “And what do I mean by that? Well, at the peak of the recorded-music industry, 2001, it was about 200m people who were participating in the economy, who bought records. So was it 200m people who were listening to music? No, of course not. That number was in the billions. So what the music industry did fairly well was they priced a product at a premium for an audience that was willing to pay for it. But it only captured a very, very small portion of the revenues.” In terms of where the industry is now, he repeated the line that it’s never been easier to get your music out there, but it’s also never been harder to get it heard. “Spotify has turned out to be a life-saver for labels,” he claimed. “Spotify has been great for Spotify, and for you. And it’s been great for some musicians. But then there are others who feel that they’re worse off than they would have been.” He estimated that at the very peak of the record business at the turn of the millennium, only 20-30,000 artists could survive on recorded music income alone; but he felt that streaming is democratising that as the manufacturing and distribution costs have become negligible for many. When asked how many acts can now sustain themselves on streaming income compared to the CD days, he dodged it slightly. “I don’t know what the number is now but it’s far greater,” he said. “Even on Spotify itself, it’s far greater than that.” Here he is on competing with free and trying to build a paid subscription model. “We think $10 a month is a very, very cheap and an amazing proposition. But the amount of people who wake up in the morning thinking, Hey, I want to pay $10 a month for music isn’t as great as most people would believe. And we believe that is because not only did piracy exist in a big way just a few years ago, but there are all of these other sources where you can access music very cheaply. Mostly free. So you can go on radio and listen to it, but you can also go on YouTube and you can find the entire archive of music, including all the bootlegs and videos and you can listen to that entirely for free.” He had this to say about India, where Spotify has only recently launched. “It’s not well-monetised. But the music industry is essentially a byproduct to the film industry, which for me tells a very interesting story, that there’s so much development left to do. What would happen if the ecosystem there was healthy? Then people wouldn’t think about making music just for movies.” There is more to get your teeth into such as the move into podcasting and audio books (“It played really well into our strategy of ubiquity.”), data and privacy (“We’ve taken the stance that we don’t monetise the data itself at all. We don’t sell the data.”) and how, when he started the company, he had a five-year commitment that was slowly extended and he’s now two years into a new 10-year commitment (“What does the company have to look like for me to be interested to do this for another 10 years?”). The podcast was (we can only presume) recorded before the publication of an open letter to Ek by a collective of songwriters asking him to “do the right thing” and get Spotify to drop its appeal of the royalty rates set recently by the Copyright Royalty Board in the US. So this is not addressed here. But there is still plenty to read (or listen to) in the whole interview, so clear some time today to do just that. Source
  10. If you were looking for another reason to hate the rich, Red Carpet Home Cinema is here to help out. For $1,500 to $3,000 per film, the company will let you rent first-run films from the comfort of your tricked out mansion. But not just anyone can sign up for this anti-MoviePass service. To qualify, you have to pass through a strict verification process. The New York Times reports applicants have to own a credit card with a limit of at least $50,000 and those approved must then buy and install a $15,000 streaming box that comes with piracy protections. Furthermore, Red Carpet Home Cinema isn’t available to just any old millionaire. Right now the service is only available in Los Angeles and New York. The company’s FAQ site says it will expand to additional markets later, but that for now, “it is our intent to limit membership in 2019.” As for rental pricing, the company says films will be “variably priced” with most new films costing in the “low thousands”, with none falling below $500. What that will get you is two viewings within a 36-hour period. So far, the company has distribution deals in place with a number of major Hollywood studios, including Warner Bros., Paramount, Lionsgate, Annapurna, 20th Century Fox, and Fox Searchlight. Current films like Shazam! and Pet Sematary, as well as upcoming features like Rocketman and Detective Pikachu are among those advertised on the company’s site. This isn’t a novel idea—Sean Parker of Napster and Facebook infamy pitched his version of a home-video service called Screening Room a few years ago and sought to offer movies at home for $50 each. Likewise, Prima Cinema offered a service in 2013 that just required you to install a $35,000 box for a $500 movie rental. The main difference this time around is that Red Carpet is founded by two rich businessmen with no desire to disrupt a notoriously rigid industry: Fred Rosen, a former Ticketmaster president and CEO, and Dan Fellman, one of Hollywood’s most experienced film distribution executives. They’re also quite ambivalent when it comes to how many millionaires they need to actually sign up for their service. In an interview with the NYT, Rosen said the company could make $300 million annually if as few as 4,000 customers signed up. “We are a niche offering—I’m too old for disruption—but even if a studio makes $25 million to $40 million annually from us, that’s found money,” Rosen said in the interview. Cool. Thanks rich people for prioritizing other rich people for a service literally everyone would want. Movie theater admissions dipped to 1.23 billion in 2017, the lowest number since 1995 according to the National Association of Theater Owners. That number bounced back a bit in 2018 to 1.3 billion, but increasing ticket prices and streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video continue to chip away at normal people’s incentive to haul their butts out to the theater. Meanwhile, MoviePass, Sinema, and other theater-owned subscription passes aimed at the rest of us normals continue to flail. Source
  11. It seems that the Department of Justice has thoughts on whether Netflix movies should be eligible for Oscars. Variety reports that the DOJ has sent the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a letter expressing concern about potential changes to the eligibility requirements for the awards. Why is this something the DOJ would worry about? Apparently the letter says, “In the event that the Academy — an association that includes multiple competitors in its membership — establishes certain eligibility requirements for the Oscars that eliminate competition without procompetitive justification, such conduct may raise antitrust concerns.” This comes after Netflix’s “Roma” was seen as a frontrunner for this year’s Best Picture award. And although it ultimately lost out to “Green Book,” the movie still took home Oscars for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography. Director Steven Spielberg is reportedly pushing for changes to the Oscar rules, perhaps by creating a requirement that movies play exclusively in theaters for four weeks in order to be eligible. Spielberg hasn’t said anything publicly about these reports, and movie executive Jeffrey Katzenberg claimed that Spielberg told him, “I absolutely did not say that.” But it’s spurred a broader discussion about Netflix’s impact on the film business, and seems to have prompted Netflix to declare in a tweet, “We love cinema” — while also highlighting some of the ways the service makes movies more accessible. Variety says the Academy confirmed that it has received a letter. (Update: The Academy has confirmed this to us as well.) Its Board of Governors will hold its annual award rules meeting on April 23. We’ve reached out to the DOJ for comment and will update if we hear back. Source
  12. The scales are about to tip in favor of streaming music becoming the number one driver of global recorded music revenues – a shift that appears to be on track for sometime this year. According to a new industry report, global recorded music revenues jumped 9.7 percent in 2018 to reach $19.1 billion – up from $17.4 billion in 2017. Streaming music revenues, in particular, now account for nearly half (47%) of global revenue, thanks to a sizable 32.9 percent jump in paid streaming last year. This brought streaming revenues to $8.9 million in 2018, and puts them on track for a further jump in 2019. This is the fourth consecutive year of growth for the global music market, and the highest rate of growth since IFPI – the music industry trade group behind the new report – first started tracking the market in 1997. Paid streaming accounted for the majority of streaming’s contribution to revenues, with a 37 percent share of the market versus ad-supported streaming’s 10 percent share. At year-end, there were 255 million users of paid subscription streaming accounts, the report found. Meanwhile, physical disks dropped 10.1 percent over the past year, to account for 24.7 percent of revenues. Within that segment, vinyl is still growing – it posted its 13th consecutive year of growth, to reach a 3.6 share of the market. But it couldn’t make up for the fact that physical format revenue, overall, still declined. As consumers drop physical disks, they continued to turn to digital. Digital revenues grew by 21.1 percent in 2018 to reach $11.2 billion – which represents the first time they’ve crossed the $10 billion mark, the report noted. Within this category, streaming grew by 34 percent to reach $8.9 billion (~$7 billion was paid subscription streaming), while downloads declined 21.2 percent to 7.7 percent of the market. In 38 markets, digital makes up more than half of revenues, the report said. Revenues from performance rights and synchronization revenue (the use of music in TV, movies, games and ads), represented a 14 percent and 2.3 percent share of the total music market, respectively. North America, in particular, posted another year of double-digit revenue growth with a 14 percent jump, with strong streaming growth (33.4%) offsetting the physical revenue declines (-22%). Asia and Australia overtook Europe to become the second largest global region for revenues with 11.7 percent growth. And Latin America was the fastest growing region with 16.8 percent growth. In order, the top markets by revenue were: the U.S., Japan, the U.K., Germany, France, South Korea, China, Australia, Canada, and Brazil. Source
  13. UpGrade

    IPTV Service Advice

    Hi all, I am thinking of paying for an IPTV service i can use on my android box. I have never paid for this kind of service before and i need some recommendations. I want to be able to watch sky sports and UFC, all that kind of stuff in HD. I am in the UK. I want all the film channels and entertainment channels. I would also like it to include multi regional channels from different countries What do you do once paid ? Simply set up an app for example stbemu and thats it ? Can anybody advise of any services that are not too pricey and preferably a yearly payment?
  14. In recent years, there has been an explosion of services designed to let you access geo-restricted content from anywhere in the world. Originally, VPNs were all the rage. But with the VPN clampdown by services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, some users have turned to smart DNS providers instead. For people who are desperate to access such apps, they both have pros and cons. Of course, changing your DNS servers or using a VPN can have exceptional benefits outside the world of geo-blocking. However, many users won’t care about those benefits. To help you out, I’m going to focus on the two solutions specifically from the standpoint of someone who is using them to access blocked content. What are they? How to they work? And, most importantly, what impact do they have on your online security? Keep reading to find out. What Is a VPN? A VPN (Virtual Private Network) lets you connect to a secure private network remotely. They are widely used by companies to allow employees to access databases and business-critical apps when they are out of the office. Connecting to a VPN (such as ExpressVPN or any provider in our best VPNs list) will direct all your internet traffic to the new network, and you effectively do your browsing through that network. In addition to getting around geo-blocking, VPNs significantly improve your online security and privacy. In an age when it seems like every company in the world is trying to get access to your data and browsing history, everyone should be using one. What Is DNS? DNS stands for “Domain Name System.” It’s like the phone book of the internet. DNS servers are responsible for pairing web domains (such as google.com) with the site’s underlying IP address. As such, changing your DNS provider away from your ISP’s default service can bring awesome benefits, including faster browsing, parental controls, and increased security technology. Unlike regular DNS, smart DNS directs users to a proxy server which is specifically designed to help unblock restricted content. How Do VPNs Help Access Restricted Content? When connecting to a VPN, your computer acts like it’s in the physical location of the VPN network. More importantly, websites see an IP address in a particular location and automatically assume you’re based there. For example, if you live in the United Kingdom and connect to a VPN in the United States, websites will display the American version of the site. What’s the Problem With VPNs? In the last couple of years, websites that offer streaming content have started blocking users on VPNs. It’s surprisingly straightforward to achieve: the companies collate a list of IP addresses used by VPN providers and block any traffic that originates from them. Of course, some IP addresses will always slip through the cracks, thus resulting in a game of whack-a-mole between the content providers and VPN companies. How Do DNS Servers Help Access Restricted Content? With the ever-decreasing reliability of VPNs for accessing geo-blocked content, users have been migrating to smart DNS providers instead. The principle is the same as VPNs: both your computer and websites you visit are spoofed into thinking you’re in a different place from your true locale. However, while the effect for the user is the same, the underlying process is very different. A smart DNS will receive information about a user’s location and change it to a new location before resolving the IP query. It does this by routing all your traffic through a dedicated proxy server. The server is located in the country where the website you want to visit is based. The Security Implications of VPNs VPNs are the number one weapon in the battle to keep yourself safe from prying eyes. If you use a VPN, the biggest benefit is encrypted traffic. A hacker won’t be able to see what you’re doing online, and neither will your ISP. It passes through a secure tunnel to the VPN network, and won’t be visible by anyone until it enters the public internet. And remember, if you only visit HTTPS sites, your browsing will always be encrypted. If you’re choosing a VPN provider, you still need to pay attention to the VPN protocols. Most providers offer SSL/TLS, PPTP, IPSec, and L2TP — but they are not all equal, especially from a security standpoint. For example, there are known vulnerabilities with PPTP, with many problems deriving from the authentication processes it uses. As a rule of thumb, you should use SSL protocols. The most security-conscious VPNs won’t even anonymously log traffic. Theoretically, logs could allow a VPN provider to match an IP address and a time stamp to one of their customers. If the provider finds itself on the end of a court’s subpoena because some of its users have been accessing illegal content or downloading copyrighted videos, the company might potentially “fold” rather quickly and relinquish any information they have. The Security Implications of Smart DNS Smart DNS servers are not security measures. Yes, some top-end DNS providers introduce technology such as DNS-over-HTTPS and DNSSEC, but you won’t find those features on services that solely focus on forging your location. Most importantly, DNS servers do not encrypt your data. This dramatically increases their speed compared to VPNs (which is a big reason why they’re popular among cord-cutters), but they will not hide your traffic from companies, websites, your ISP, governments, or anyone else who wants to spy on you. Ultimately, all your traffic is logged against your IP address, and anyone with the right tools can view it. You’re also putting yourself at risk from man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM). MITM attacks occur when an attacker is intercepting and altering any traffic between two parties who believe they are communicating directly with each other. DNS servers are one of the main ways in which hackers launch MITM attacks. It is very easy for an unscrupulous smart DNS provider to offer rock bottom prices then conduct DNS hijacking on all its customers. Look no further than the now infamous Hola VPN incident to see how low some people are willing to stoop in the pursuit of profit. Before signing up to a smart DNS provider, spend a few hours carefully studying the company’s privacy policy. It will help shed light on what your provider is logging, what it knows about you, and if it is profiting off your data. The Bottom Line If you are desperate to watch the latest season of Orange Is The New Black, you need to give VPNs a wide berth. They are unreliable and no longer fit for purpose if you want to unblock content. Instead, you should use a smart DNS service. However, users should also use a VPN service. If you value your privacy and security, there is no better way to keep yourself safe online. Remember, smart DNS providers do not help your security — if anything, they hinder it. Article source
  15. App for acestream flows. See more than 600 channels on your Android device using peer-to-peer technology. Homepage: https://www.vidsoftware.ru/ Site: https://www74.zippyshare.comSharecode: /v/QqGCPK15/file.html
  16. Keeping its annual tradition, the office of the United States Trade Representative has targeted some of the world's most famous 'pirate' sites in its latest report on copyright infringing venues. In addition to torrent sites like The Pirate Bay, RARBG, and RuTracker, hosting sites 4Shared and Openload come in for criticism. Again this year, a list of sites hosted in Switzerland are under attack. In its annual “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets” the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has listed a long list of websites said to be involved in online piracy. The list is compiled with high-level input from various trade groups, including the MPAA and RIAA who both submitted their recommendations (1,2) during early October last year. With the word “allegedly” used more than two dozen times in the report, the US government notes that its report does not constitute cast-iron proof of illegal activity. However, it urges the countries from where the so-called “notorious markets” operate to take action where they can, while putting owners and facilitators on notice that their activities are under the spotlight. “A goal of the List is to motivate appropriate action by owners, operators, and service providers in the private sector of these and similar markets, as well as governments, to reduce piracy and counterfeiting,” the report reads. “USTR highlights the following marketplaces because they exemplify global counterfeiting and piracy concerns and because the scale of infringing activity in these marketplaces can cause significant harm to U.S. intellectual property (IP) owners, consumers, legitimate online platforms, and the economy.” The report begins with a page titled “Issue Focus: Illicit Streaming Devices”. Unsurprisingly, particularly given their place in dozens of headlines last year, the segment focus on the set-top box phenomenon. The piece doesn’t list any apps or software tools as such but highlights the general position, claiming a cost to the US entertainment industry of $4-5 billion a year. Torrent Sites In common with previous years, the USTR goes on to list several of the world’s top torrent sites but due to changes in circumstances, others have been delisted. ExtraTorrent, which shut down May 2017, is one such example. As the world’s most famous torrent site, The Pirate Bay gets a prominent mention, with the USTR noting that the site is of “symbolic importance as one of the longest-running and most vocal torrent sites. The USTR underlines the site’s resilience by noting its hydra-like form while revealing an apparent secret concerning its hosting arrangements. “The Pirate Bay has allegedly had more than a dozen domains hosted in various countries around the world, applies a reverse proxy service, and uses a hosting provider in Vietnam to evade further enforcement action,” the USTR notes. Other torrent sites singled out for criticism include RARBG, which was nominated for the listing by the movie industry. According to the USTR, the site is hosted in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has changed hosting services to prevent shutdowns in recent years. 1337x.to and the meta-search engine Torrentz2 are also given a prime mention, with the USTR noting that they are “two of the most popular torrent sites that allegedly infringe U.S. content industry’s copyrights.” Russia’s RuTracker is also targeted for criticism, with the government noting that it’s now one of the most popular torrent sites in the world. Streaming & Cyberlockers While torrent sites are still important, the USTR reserves considerable space in its report for streaming portals and cyberlocker-type services. 4Shared.com, a file-hosting site that has been targeted by dozens of millions of copyright notices, is reportedly no longer able to use major US payment providers. Nevertheless, the British Virgin Islands company still collects significant sums from premium accounts, advertising, and offshore payment processors, USTR notes. Cyberlocker Rapidgator gets another prominent mention in 2017, with the USTR noting that the Russian-hosted platform generates millions of dollars every year through premium memberships while employing rewards and affiliate schemes. Due to its increasing popularity as a hosting and streaming operation, Openload.co (Romania) is now a big target for the USTR. “The site is used frequently in combination with add-ons in illicit streaming devices. In November 2017, users visited Openload.co a staggering 270 million times,” the USTR writes. Owned by a Swiss company and hosted in the Netherlands, the popular site Uploaded is also criticized by the US alongside France’s 1Fichier.com, which allegedly hosts pirate games while being largely unresponsive to takedown notices. Dopefile.pk, a Pakistan-based storage outfit, is also highlighted. On the video streaming front, it’s perhaps no surprise that the USTR focuses on sites like FMovies (Sweden), GoStream (Vietnam), Movie4K.tv (Russia) and PrimeWire. An organization collectively known as the MovShare group which encompasses Nowvideo.sx, WholeCloud.net, NowDownload.cd, MeWatchSeries.to and WatchSeries.ac, among others, is also listed. Unauthorized music / research papers While most of the above are either focused on video or feature it as part of their repertoire, other sites are listed for their attention to music. Convert2MP3.net is named as one of the most popular stream-ripping sites in the world and is highlighted due to the prevalence of YouTube-downloader sites and the 2017 demise of YouTube-MP3. “Convert2MP3.net does not appear to have permission from YouTube or other sites and does not have permission from right holders for a wide variety of music represented by major U.S. labels,” the USTR notes. Given the amount of attention the site has received in 2017 as ‘The Pirate Bay of Research’, Libgen.io and Sci-Hub.io (not to mention the endless proxy and mirror sites that facilitate access) are given a detailed mention in this year’s report. “Together these sites make it possible to download — all without permission and without remunerating authors, publishers or researchers — millions of copyrighted books by commercial publishers and university presses; scientific, technical and medical journal articles; and publications of technological standards,” the USTR writes. Service providers But it’s not only sites that are being put under pressure. Following a growing list of nominations in previous years, Swiss service provider Private Layer is again singled out as a rogue player in the market for hosting 1337x.to and Torrentz2.eu, among others. “While the exact configuration of websites changes from year to year, this is the fourth consecutive year that the List has stressed the significant international trade impact of Private Layer’s hosting services and the allegedly infringing sites it hosts,” the USTR notes. “Other listed and nominated sites may also be hosted by Private Layer but are using reverse proxy services to obfuscate the true host from the public and from law enforcement.” The USTR notes Switzerland’s efforts to close a legal loophole that restricts enforcement and looks forward to a positive outcome when the draft amendment is considered by parliament. Perhaps a little surprisingly given its recent anti-piracy efforts and overtures to the US, Russia’s leading social network VK.com again gets a place on the new list. The USTR recognizes VK’s efforts but insists that more needs to be done. Social networking and e-commerce “In 2016, VK reached licensing agreements with major record companies, took steps to limit third-party applications dedicated to downloading infringing content from the site, and experimented with content recognition technologies,” the USTR writes. “Despite these positive signals, VK reportedly continues to be a hub of infringing activity and the U.S. motion picture industry reports that they find thousands of infringing files on the site each month.” Finally, in addition to traditional pirate sites, the US also lists online marketplaces that allegedly fail to meet appropriate standards. Re-added to the list in 2016 after a brief hiatus in 2015, China’s Alibaba is listed again in 2017. The development provoked an angry response from the company. Describing his company as a “scapegoat”, Alibaba Group President Michael Evans said that his platform had achieved a 25% drop in takedown requests and has even been removing infringing listings before they make it online. “In light of all this, it’s clear that no matter how much action we take and progress we make, the USTR is not actually interested in seeing tangible results,” Evans said in a statement. The full list of sites in the Notorious Markets Report 2017 (pdf) can be found below. source
  17. When the Popcorn Time app brought BitTorrent streaming to the masses this year the "Netflix for pirates" gained the hearts of millions. Today, one of the most popular Popcorn Time forks continues to innovate by adding Airplay support, and a native iOS app is coming soon. The Popcorn Time phenomenon is one of the biggest piracy stories of the year thus far. The software became an instant hit by offering BitTorrent-powered streaming in an easy-to-use Netflix-style interface. While the original app was shut down by the developers after a few weeks, the project was quickly picked up by others. This resulted in several popular forks that have gained millions of users in recent months. Today one of the most popular Popcorn Time forks releases a highly anticipated feature. The developers inform TorrentFreak that the latest version now has Airplay support, making it possible to stream movies directly to Apple TVs and other supported devices. Ironically, Airplay support is currently limited to the Windows release, but a Mac version is due early next week and the Linux release will follow shortly after. The latest feature follows the addition of Chromecast support a few weeks ago, but this is by no means the last planned development. Popcorn Time adds Airplay support Looking ahead the developers hope to bring the Popcorn Time experience to as many operating systems and devices as possible. “Our ultimate goal is to bring Popcorn Time to every platform, operating system and device that can play videos, so Airplay is one particle of a huge revolution we’re making to the torrents and movies world online,” the time4popcorn.eu team told us. “This is only the beginning… You know us, we have many more surprises coming your way,” they add. One of the “surprises” is a native iOS app. Although it probably won’t be featured in Apple’s App Store anytime soon, Popcorn Time will be available on jailbroken iPhones and iPads in the near future. “Support for iOS devices will be ready in August. It’s already working in our development environment and it’s looking beautiful,” the team notes. Popcorn Time’s popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by Hollywood. A few weeks ago the MPAA pushed back and managed to get two popular forks removed from Github claiming that the apps are hurting the major movie studios. While this was a setback, it doesn’t seem to have hindered development much. Both Popcorn Time forks are still around and new features are being rolled out faster than ever. Source: TorrentFreak
  18. SOPA and PIPA are dead, but the Obama administration is still determined to make illicit movie and streaming a felony. The DOJ argues that change is needed to adequately prosecute unauthorized streaming services. In addition, the administration is requesting permanent funding to target foreign sites such as The Pirate Bay through "diplomatic and trade-based pressure." Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on punishments for and remedies against online copyright infringement. One of the speakers was David Bitkower, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General, who laid out the wishes of the Obama administration. After praising previous successes, such as the shutdown of Megaupload and the prosecution of several IMAGiNE members, Bitkower explained the evolving challenges copyright holders are dealing with. From illegal piano rolls in the early 1900s to floppy disks a century later, new technologies have presented new threats, he argued. With the rise of broadband access this process has worsened and the most recent challenge is combating illegal streaming services. “One new challenge confronting copyright owners and law enforcement authorities is the rise of Internet ‘streaming’ as the dominant means of disseminating many types of copyrighted content online. This activity also derives from advances in technology: in this case, the growth in availability of high-speed Internet to the average consumer,” Bitkower said. The problem for the Department of Justice and copyright holders is that these services are harder to prosecute. Technically, streaming doesn’t count as distribution but as a public performance, which can only be charged as a misdemeanor. The administration tried to remedy this in 2012, by implementing the SOPA and PIPA bills, but these were shelved after public outrage. Many people feared that uploading copyrighted YouTube videos could possibly land them in jail and took their concerns to the streets. However, fast forward a few years and the same plan is back on the table. “The Administration recommends that Congress amend the law to create a felony penalty for unauthorized Internet streaming. Specifically, we recommend the creation of legislation to establish a felony charge for infringement through unauthorized public performances conducted for commercial advantage or private financial gain,” Bitkower explained. “It would emphasize the seriousness of the threat that unauthorized streaming poses to legitimate copyright holders, clarify the scope of conduct deemed to be illegal in order to deter potential infringers, and provide the Department with an important tool to prosecute and deter illicit Internet streaming.” In addition to criminalizing illicit streaming, Bitkower also called for persistent funds to support its international operations. In recent years the DoJ has educated police forces abroad to deal with copyright infringement. This apparently includes training on very basic skills, such as how to connect to the Internet in the first place. “The program has realized numerous successes, including a Ukrainian police officer who, after receiving training, was able to use a dial-up Internet connection from his home computer to bring down the largest illegal file sharing service in his country,” Bitkower said. The international program helped to shut down Megaupload, but could also target The Pirate Bay through tools such as “diplomatic and trade-based pressure.” Worryingly, the United States has trouble getting the facts rights, as it believes that the political Pirate Party is connected to The Pirate Bay. “In addition to the Mega Conspiracy described above, we have seen The Pirate Bay start as a file sharing site for unauthorized copies of works in Sweden, expand to other countries, and even develop its own political party in Europe,” Bitkower noted. Mistakes aside, it’s clear that the Obama administration hasn’t lost its focus on copyright infringement. All recommendations are aimed at more prosecutions, more international pressure and tougher punishments for pirates. Time will tell whether they can get Congress to agree this time around. Source: TorrentFreak
  19. TorrenTV is a cross-platform movie streaming app that allows people to stream torrents directly to Apple TV. The open source application has a simple drag and drop torrent interface and also supports streaming of previously downloaded videos. Earlier this year Popcorn Time made headlines all over the Internet as one of the first apps to combine a simple and stylish user interface with an effective way to stream torrents. The application also inspired dozens of developers to start their own spinoffs. While most of these apps mimicked the looks and functionality of the original application, TorrenTV offers something completely different. Instead of providing a Netflix-style index of movies, TorrenTV allows people to add their own torrents and stream these directly to an Apple TV. “Popcorn Time is beautiful in code and in looks but I wanted to do two things that PopcornTime didn’t allow me, watch movies directly on my TV and add new torrents which Popcorn Time doesn’t have yet,” TorrenTV developer Carlos tells TorrentFreak. Carlos started coding and a few weeks later TorrenTV was born. The application works by simply dropping a torrent or magnet link into it. The video file starts downloading and via Airplay it can be streamed directly to an Apple TV. TorrenTV for Linux, Mac and Windows TorrenTV uses Popcorn Time code and is built on the same Peerflix and torrent-stream libraries. There are plans to extend its functionality by adding Chromecast and Roku support in the future, but its simplicity will remain. One of the main differences compared to Popcorn time is that TorrenTV doesn’t offer an index of movies. This may be a downside for some, but according to Carlos this is an advantage. With no index of pirated content it can’t be taken down by the MPAA, which happened to Popcorn Time a few weeks ago. For those who are interested in taking it for a spin, TorrenTV is available for Mac, Windows and Linux and can be downloaded from the official site. Source: TorrentFreak
  20. Starting today, internet providers in the United States will finally be held to account for lackluster YouTube streaming speeds. Google has brought its Video Quality Report — first launched in Canada at the start of this year — to the US, and is now ranking ISPs like Cablevision and Verizon FiOS based on the fidelity of their YouTube streams. If you've been experiencing buffering issues or playback interruptions despite paying for a speedy internet connection, this monthly report could help answer the lingering question of why. "Making sure you can watch YouTube in HD from anywhere, anytime is a shared effort among us, your Internet service provider and even you," the company says. On that last point, Google is offering consumers a number of tips to help boost YouTube performance. That's assuming of course that your chosen ISP and YouTube are on good, cooperative terms. But we're in a different world now. And as Netflix has shown (more than once), ensuring smooth streaming sometimes means pulling out the checkbook. You'll know which ISPs are faring best because they're labeled as "HD Verified." This means that customers can expect reliable streams of at least 720p; apparently setting the bar at 1080p was too great of a challenge for these companies to meet. More specifics on the methodology YouTube's using to grade ISPs can be found here. If you can only successfully watch videos at a resolution of 360p, your ISP is offering what YouTube describes as standard definition. But some internet providers are apparently doing even worse than that; the worst designation of "lower definition" is reserved for ISPs plagued by stuttering video and buffering — even when you're trying to watch something at less than 360p quality. The Video Quality Report also lends an interesting look at what time of day YouTube is most popular with other people on your network and in your city. Surprise: many people use it to waste time at work. Source
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  22. Hoping to limit the availability of pirated World Cup matches, FIFA has sent advance warnings to the owners of several sites that host or link to unauthorized live streams of sports events. The football organization warns site owners that they face criminal liability, and demands unprecedented takedown powers during the World Cup. In a few hours the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil, an event that will be seen by hundreds of millions of people from all over the world. While most people watch the matches through licensed broadcasters, there is also a large group of people who resort to unauthorized sources. These so-called “pirate” streams are available through dozens of sites, including Firstrow and Rojadirecta, which generate millions of views during popular sporting events. These broadcasts are a thorn in the side of world football association FIFA who have contacted several owners of streaming-related sites over the past few days. TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the letter from a site owner who asked to remain anonymous. In the letter, signed by Director of Legal Affairs Marco Villiger and his colleague Jörg Vollmüller, FIFA asks the site operators to do all they can to take these streams offline. Those who refuse to do so could face criminal liability. “Due to the nature of your service, we anticipate that a large number of users will continually use your website to create, distribute and/or link to live streams via the Internet of the 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilTM. We want to ensure that all infringing streams can be promptly identified and removed, regardless of whether they can be viewed openly or through private areas of your site,” FIFA writes. The letter then goes on to emphasize that the site owners bear full responsibility for all unauthorized live streams, or links to live streams. FIFA strongly recommends that site operators immediately block access to unauthorized broadcasts when these are pointed out to them. To facilitate this process the football association has included a link to the tournament schedule, further demanding that the websites in question have people available during the matches, to ensure rapid takedowns. “As you have been provided with the specific dates and times of all matches, we thereby expect a member of your website team to be present and available to promptly perform this duty during and throughout ALL matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilTM,” FIFA writes. In addition, FIFA requests a special takedown tool so their monitoring and enforcement company NetResult can remove streams whenever needed. “Provide a service or tool whereby NetResult, FIFA’s service provider for online monitoring, will have the ability to immediately take down and remove ANY and ALL unauthorized streams of the 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilTM found on your website,” FIFA demands. While the site owner we spoke with only received the letter two days ago, the deadline to comply with the demands ends today. Toward the end of the letter FIFA points out that those who fail to comply will face civil and criminal liability. “Should you fail to implement either of the above by the beginning of the 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilTM on June 12, your failure to comply will expose you to civil and criminal liability,” the letter states. The FIFA letter is unique in its kind, as copyright holders generally don’t take these types of proactive measures. As far as we know this is the first time that FIFA has sent an advance warning to site owners. While most site operators are happy to comply with takedown notices, FIFA’s demands go above and beyond the common takedown procedure. Whether this will have the desired effect has yet to be seen. FIFA letter obtained by TorrentFreak Source: TorrentFreak
  23. A survey into the movie and TV show consumption habits of Danish citizens has revealed an interesting trend. While streaming service subscriptions are up 40% over the previous year and are credited with reducing piracy by 7% in the same period, the number of people still engaging in illegal downloading has remained static. In 2012, Denmark effectively rejected entertainment industry calls to crack down hard on citizens engaged in illegal file-sharing. Instead the government announced its “Pirate Package“, an initiative focused on the development and promotion of legal offerings rather than punishing file-sharers. A YouGov study in the same year suggested this was a good move. While many people admitted engaging in piracy they also indicated a desire to obtain their movies and TV shows from legal sources – if those services were convenient and accessible. Two years on and YouGov are back with a new media consumption study of 1,180 Danes aged between 20-65. Commissioned by TDC Group, Denmark’s leading telecoms company, it reveals encouraging signs for the both the entertainment industry and the government’s strategy, but also an interesting twist. Firstly, piracy of both movies and TV shows is down. This year’s survey suggests that illegal consumption of movies sits at 5.1 million copies. That’s down from the 5.8 million reported in last year’s study and the 8.6 million from 2012. TV shows tell a similar story. In 2012, around 10 million TV shows were pirated, a figure that dropped to 8.1 million in 2013. This year’s study shows a drop again to 7.9 million copies. According to TDC Group media director Ulf Lund, the continued decrease in the consumption of infringing content is due to the development of legal offerings. “Our position has always been that the best way to combat illegal consumption is by developing good legal alternatives,” Lund says. “This is what we can see now that services like Netflix, HBO, Viaplay and YouBio have really materialized here at home.” The study’s findings show that the public is responding to this increased availability. In last year’s survey 32 percent of households with resident 20 to 65-year-olds reported subscribing to a premium streaming service. This year that figure increased to an impressive 45 percent. But while piracy of movies and TV shows continues to fall in the face of impressive take-up of streaming services, it appears that pirates aren’t prepared to kick their old habits just yet. The study found that the total of those who download or stream illegally has not significantly changed from last year, with 15 percent of respondents admitting that someone in their household had obtained content illegally in the preceding three months, up from 14 percent in 2013. “Things are certainly going in the right direction, but we are far from there yet,” Lund says. “Magnitude has decreased, but the level is still very high and there are still many who admit that they consume content illegally.” Source: TorrentFreak
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  25. Megashare, one of the most popular movie / TV streaming sites on the Internet, has informed its users that it will shut down. The site remains operational for now, but won't add any new videos. Problems with the current video hosting provider is the main reason for the abrupt decision, according to a message posted on the site. With over a million visitors a day, Megashare is one of the largest video streaming portals on the Internet. The site operates from .sh and .info domains and has enjoyed steady growth since its launch in 2010. However, out of nowhere, visitors were welcomed by a rather shocking notice on the site’s homepage this morning. Apparently, Megashare has plans to shut down due to trouble with its video hosting provider. “Because there are problems with video hosting company, MEGASHARE is closing and not updaing new movies in future. Thank you for your support!” the announcement reads. The abrupt decision comes as a surprise, and seems illogical for a site of its nature. Megashare doesn’t host any of the videos itself but relies on files from third-party sites such as Google, Putlocker and Sockshare. Interestingly, a few days ago we published an article which revealed that Megashare was one of the streaming portals that used Google as video hosting provider. Whether this is related to the “video hosting troubles” is unknown. In any case, users are not happy with the site’s decision and the site’s Facebook page and Twitter are filling up with people begging the site not to throw in the towel. Whether this will have any effect remains to be seen. Tweets about “megashare” Source: TorrentFreak
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