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Hollywood studios sue the operator behind Popcorn Time in US Court

Hollywood studios sue the operator behind Popcorn Time in US Court

Popcorn Time operator sued in US Court by movie companies

Popcorn Time, the popular multi-platform, free software BitTorrent client that is often compared to Netflix for its ease of use, took the internet by storm five years ago. Despite increased popularity, the program was abruptly taken down by its original developers in March 2014 due to pressure from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

However, the shutdown did not stop other developers from forking the application over and over. While many of these forks were shut down, there were still some which continued to operate.

Popcorn-Time.to, originally operating from Popcorn-Time.se, is one of the longest standing forks that is operational since 2014 until today.

For those unaware, Popcorn Time software is in itself legal, but if the app is used to share copyrighted content that they don’t own rights to, it becomes illegal. As a result, content creators including Hollywood studios have been threatening such apps, their distributors, as well as users with legal consequences for quite some time now.

Venice PI, Millennium Funding, and Bodyguard Productions, which own the rights to prominent film titles such as “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” “London Has Fallen,” and “Once Upon a Time in Venice” are working hard to shut down Popcorn-Time.to through a federal court in Hawaii.

Although the movie companies had filed a case against Popcorn-Time.to over a year ago, the alleged mastermind behind the Popcorn Time fork was revealed in an amended complaint filed only a few days ago, reports TorrentFreak.

Stanislav Amelychyts, a Ukrainian resident, whose name was obtained by the filmmakers through a former hosting provider, BlackHOST, has been identified as the brain behind the operation. BlackHOST had served the Popcorn-Time.to website last year.

“Plaintiffs bring this action to stop the massive piracy of their motion pictures brought on by the BitTorrent protocol software application Popcorn Time,” the movie companies write in their complaint.

“Defendant STANISLAV AMELYCHYTS distributes copies of Popcorn time and promotes it for the infringing purpose of ‘watch torrent movies instantly’, including Plaintiffs’ copyright protected Works, via various distribution channels.”

The defendant has been accused of running the entire operation including distributing copies of the software through the Google Play store and the uptodown.com website. Popcorn Time was also advertised as a ‘pirate’ tool on the latter’s site.

“Here, once again Defendant makes no secret of Popcorn Time’s illegitimate purpose – infringing Copyright protected content by stating ‘Popcorn Time is an app that enables you to watch tons of streaming movies – from classics to new releases…’,” the movie companies write.

The movie companies also found out that the Windows and Android versions of Uptodown.com – another popular source – were downloaded more than 4 million and 12 million times respectively.

While the lawsuit originally started as a case against several anonymous BitTorrent pirates, all but one has been dismissed now. Clinton Bovee, a Hawaiian resident is the remaining ‘user’ who is accused of using Popcorn Time and downloading several movies without permission.

The movie companies have blamed Bovee of direct copyright infringement and the Ukranian mastermind behind Popcorn Time of contributory copyright infringement.

They have also demanded damages, which can go up to $150,000 per pirated film, in the lawsuit. Additionally, the companies have requested an injunction to shut down Popcorn-Time.to and have the domain transferred to an account under their control. The Court has yet to provide a ruling on the request.

Although the lawsuit gives a detailed explanation of the allegations against Popcorn Time, the only information related to the Ukranian defendant comes from hosting company BlackHOST, which can be accurate. However, this information could also be inaccurate, since ‘pirate’ operations mostly depend on fake account details.

The Popcorn Time team has yet to comment on the allegations.

In the past, the attorney representing the movie studios has filed similar actions against other alleged pirates and pirate services, including Showbox and Dragon Box.

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Popular Gaming Pirate Site ‘Good Old Downloads’ Announces Shutdown

Good Old Downloads’ shuts down

‘Good Old Downloads’ shuts down, publishes source on GitHub

Good Old Downloads (GOD), a pirate site dedicated to gaming titles, announced on its website that it is shutting down with immediate effect, reports TorrentFreak.

For those unaware, GOD started as an alternative to GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games), that offered downloads of DRM-free games from GOG.com for people to pirate for free.

With more than million visitors visiting every month, the website started growing in popularity, which was ad-free and funded exclusively through donations.

According to a message posted on the site, the site’s operators say that they are shutting down due to attacks on the platform from rival sites and the fear of being targeted with legal action.

The farewell message on the website reads:

“We looked at other popular game piracy sites and discovered they were all filled with dozens of tracking scripts, infuriating ads (sometimes viruses) and mainly existed for the sole purpose of making money.

“In response, we created a website without any of those things and improvements; it was easy to download files, a clean design, and dead links became a thing of the past with the voting system where you could vote to have games re-uploaded automatically. Best of all, almost everything was automated so you didn’t have to rely on some person at their computer to upload files!

Which brings us to…

“Shutting Down

“Rival sites started to target us by making threats and claiming they have reported us to anti-piracy corporations. We also want to move on with our lives and enjoy other things without the constant fear of legal action breathing down our necks.”

Although GOD did not disclose the names of the rival sites due to which they decided to call it quits, they did get back at some of the other game piracy websites by publishing an investigative report (PDF file) that suggests gamers which piracy sites are safe and which ones aren’t.

“The purpose of this document is to summarize information found online that reveals the identity of the individuals that operate the gaming piracy websites ‘igg-games.com’ (http://igg-games.com/) and ‘gamestorrent.co’ (http://gamestorrent.co/) which profit from the distribution of illegal copies of video games via advertisements (pop-up ads, etc). At the time of publication, they are ranked 1,305 and 5,958 globally by Alexa.com,” the report notes.

Interestingly, the site operators of GOD decided to publish the source code of all their sites on GitHub so that its legacy lives on.

“The source code for all our sites is being released under GPLv3. Feel free to fork and improve the project; we have been working on this almost every day for nearly 2 years,” the site’s operators write.

Recently, GOD had started its own retro-gaming section on the site after Nintendo had accused gaming sites, LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co of huge copyright and trademark infringement.

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12,564 Sites Blocked To Stop Movie 2.0 leaks In India

12,564 Sites Blocked To Stop Movie 2.0 leaks In India

2.0 Movie: Madras High Court orders blocking of over 12,000+ websites to prevent piracy of the most expensive movie made in India

In the age of piracy, viewers nowadays are able to watch a new movie online or download it at the comfort of their home even before it is released in theatres.

While more and more countries are looking to adopt the site-blocking movement to stop piracy, some critics claim the process is too aggressive and can lead to collateral damage, reports TorrentFreak.

In a move to stop piracy, Madras High Court in India on Wednesday ordered 37 ISPs (internet service providers) across the country to stop torrent downloads of the sci-fi movie ‘2.0’ through 12,564 possible URLs (uniform resource locators) ahead of its release on Friday, 29 November 2018.

The pre-emptive interim order that was passed by Justice M Sundar on a civil suit filed by the producer of the film, Lyca Productions Private Limited, is being considered as one of the most aggressive site-blocking orders granted anywhere in the world.

Lyca’s counsel Vijayan Subramanian had produced a list of 12,564 illegal websites that were a threat to online piracy and asked the court to block them.

The producers and counsel, in particular, asked the Madras HC to prevent infamous movie website, TamilRockers from releasing the pirated version of the movie online.

Apparently, the list of illegal websites includes 2,000 websites that operated by TamilRockers, who is known for uploading pirated versions of various movies on the day of its release. The counsel sought an injunction against all such websites.

According to them, when the TamilRockers website is blocked, it immediately creates mirror websites by modifying a non-significant part of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or any other extension, which allows them to restore the copyrighted material with minimal effort.

Despite the order, 2.0 movie was leaked on the Internet within hours of its release yesterday by TamilRockers and was available for download. Several fans took to Twitter to report about the leak and urged the producers to take action.

Following the leak, producers of the movie took to Twitter urging audiences to not ‘spoil the experience’ considering the hard work, time, money and manpower that went into creating the ‘visual spectacle’. They also advised their fans to say ‘no to piracy’ and send all pirated links to [email protected] to ‘help Tamil cinema shine’.

Apparently, the website links or URLs have been blocked. The link of the pirated version of ‘2.0’ movie that was circulating on Twitter now shows ‘Web page blocked’.

The movie 2.0, which is one of the most expensive films made in India so far, has been made on a budget of Rs 543 crores.

The film stars southern megastar Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar, and Amy Jackson and is directed by S Shankar. The movie has been released in around 14 languages, including Mandarin in China.

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Popular Pirate Streaming Giant HDS.to Shuts Down

Popular Pirate Streaming Giant HDS.to Shuts Down

HDS.to is the next pirate streaming website to shutdown

HDS.to, one of the leading streaming sites in predominantly French-speaking countries with a large number of visitors, has shut down permanently, reports TorrentFreak.

According to a message posted on the site, the site’s operators said that they are shutting down the website for good. “HDS-TO is permanently closed,” it read, translated from French. “Thank you for your understanding and goodbye.”

Also Read- 15 Best Free Movie Download Websites

HDS.to is ranked among the 30 most-visited sites in Belgium, for instance, and had a substantial user base in France, Canada, and Switzerland too.

After the shutdown notice, there were rumors floating that the site was still accessible with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). However, HDS.to posted a follow-up message to clear the air surrounding the rumors.

“Warning! We do not have any accounts on social networks (Twitter, Facebook…). Announcements made by so-called official accounts are misleading,” the message read.

“Be careful also of sites that offer you to subscribe to a VPN to access the site, their goal is simply to earn money through an affiliate program when you subscribe to a VPN. Please understand that the site is permanently closed, there is no (VPN, account…) way to access it.”

At the time of writing, the above message has now been replaced with a standard “404 Not Found” error message.

The sudden closure of HDS.to is definitely a setback especially for those users who would have paid 3.99 euros per month for unlimited access to the site.

With no traces of legal issues behind the shutdown of the site, it is unclear why the operators decided to close down its shutters. The HDS team has yet to provide a reason for the sudden closure decision.

Keep watching this space for more as this is a developing story!

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Is WatchAsap displaying a seizure banner by the feds?

WatchAsap shows a seizure banner on its website

WatchAsap shows a seizure banner on its website

Earlier this year, 123movies, also known as 123movieshub and GoMovies, had officially announced that they would be shutting down its service.

But before it closed down, the administrators of the 123movies website encouraged their millions of users to migrate to a paid streaming site called WatchAsap.com.

However, this website is now suddenly displaying a familiar seizure banner, which says that the domain name was seized by the feds as part of an ongoing criminal case, reports TorrentFreak.

Apparently, 123movies, the popular and largest movie pirating website that received millions of visitors per day, prompted the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to label it “the most popular illegal site in the world.”

However, it was later learned that the site had decided to close down in response to a criminal investigation carried out by the authorities of Vietnam, where the site’s owners were allegedly based.

Several people were of the opinion that both sites were closely connected, as WatchAsap continued to remain online when 123movies decided to shut down.

“An important development in 2018 was the shuttering of a ring of piracy services that had operated under the names 123movies, 123movieshub, gostream, and gomovies following the launch of a criminal investigation in Vietnam and significant industry engagement,” the MPAA explained.

WatchAsap’s homepage changed considerably this month after remaining online for several months. Users are now greeted by a warning seizure banner instead of paid access to HD streams.

“This domain name associated with the website WatchAsap.com has been seized pursuant to an order issued by the U.S. District Court,” it reads, adding that a federal grand jury charged several individuals for related crimes.

In the past, such kind of banners have been used for criminal investigations. Other than the name of the website, the banner displayed at Megaupload.com in the past was actually identical.

Currently, it is unclear if the seizure banner on the site is due to any criminal case as no announcement about a related accusation has been made so far. Further, the domain “WHOIS” hasn’t been updated to indicate a seizure of the portal. Also, the site is still using Cloudflare’s nameservers, which is unusual in these cases when compared to previous seizures. Additionally, the WatchAsap team has not provided any public announcement for the seizure.

As a result, the mystery surrounding the seizure of WatchAsap still continues….

Keep watching this space for more, as this is a developing story!

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OneMov Operator’s Home Raided By Cyber police in Ukraine

OneMov Operator's Home Raided By Cyber police in Ukraine

Cyber police in Ukraine raids pirate site for infringing Universal’s copyrights

The Ukrainian cyber police recently raided the home of an alleged operator of a pirate streaming portal for infringing Universal’s copyrights, reports TorrentFreak.

The accused in question is a 24-year-old pirate website operator who is reportedly behind OneMov and 10 other pirate websites. The Ministry says that officers from the Kiev Department of Cyber policies, along with investigators from the Vasylkivsky police department, have executed a warrant in the south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhia.

Also Read- 15 Best Free Movie Download Websites

According to the authorities, the individual “reproduced and distributed audiovisual works” belonging to Universal City Studios LLLP, which is represented locally by the Ukrainian Anti-Piracy Association.

OneMov gained an international following that caught Universal City Studios’ attention. Police carried out an “authorized search” that led them to discover items relating the accused to the platform.

“In his apartment, the system unit of a personal computer containing an electronic control panel of the site was removed. In addition, a router was found that was used to administer the specified web resource and bank cards, which included funds from advertising on the specified site,” The Ministry of Affairs revealed in an official statement.

Authorities believe that the arrested man is not only linked to OneMov but could also be handling 10 other pirate websites including MovDB, OneStream and more.

The arrested man is being investigated for offenses under Part 3, Article 176 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Infringement of Copyright and Related Rights) and may face up to 6 years in prison.

Ukraine, which is known for its high piracy rates, has often been criticized for not cracking down on online and offline piracy. Authorities have often failed to take action against local pirate and gray-area hosting platforms that has helped website like OneMov remain active in Ukraine for years.

However, after legal complaints were filed by Universal City Studios and many other popular entertainment companies, the cyber police was forced to take action against OneMov.

Earlier this year, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) kept Ukraine on its Priority Watch List (pdf), blaming government agencies of using pirated software and a “failure to implement an effective means to combat the widespread online infringement of copyright in Ukraine.”

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Greek ISPs Ordered To Block The Pirate Bay, 1337x, YTS And Other Domains

Greek ISPs Ordered To Block The Pirate Bay, 1337x, YTS And Other Domains

Court Orders Greek ISPs To Block 38 Domains, Including The Pirate Bay, YTS and 1337x

Greek ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have been ordered by a special Government-affiliated commission to block 38 domains, including The Pirate Bay (TPB), 1337x, and YTS, following a request from a local anti-piracy group, reports TorrentFreak.

The local anti-piracy group, Society for the Protection of Audiovisual Works (EPOE), which represents the interests of major Greek copyright holders, had filed a blocking request in spring.

Also Read– The Pirate Bay is Down- 10 Best Torrent Sites To Download Free Movie

The group filed an application with the IPPC, a special commission that falls under the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, which decided that ISPs must block a total of 38 domain names.

The targeted sites include The Pirate Bay, 1337x, YTS, as well as several popular local sites, such as Xrysoi, Gamatotv, and Tainiomania. With Subztv.club, Subtitles.gr, and others, subtitle sites are included in the list of blocked domains as well.

The blocking request was finally approved, as the Government-affiliated commission felt that all the targeted sites are involved in large-scale copyright infringement.

ALSO READ: How To Unblock Torrent Sites

The commission has set a tight deadline of 48 hours for Greek ISPs to comply with the order. In the event of non-compliance, Greek ISPs will face a fine of 850 euros per day, reports Lawspot. The order stands for three years and it explicitly excludes offenses committed by end users.

Below is the complete list of the domain names that are to be blocked by the Greek decision:

  1. https://xrysoi.online
    2. xrysoi.se
    3. xrysoi.eu
    4. http://gamatotv.me
    5. thegmtv.org,
    6. gamatotv.to
    7. https: //onlinemoviestar.xyz
    8. onlinemoviestar.com
    9. tainies.online
    10. tenies.online
    11. https://tenies-online.com
    12. teniesonline.ucoz.com
    13. https: // oipeirates .online
    14. oipeirates.eu
    15. oipeirates.se
    16. http://tainio-mania.com
    17. tainiomania.ucoz.com
    18. https: // liomen oi.com
    19. moviecinema.gr
    20. moviecinematv.online
    21. http://tainiesonline.tv
    22. https://magico.info
    23. http://www.subs4free.com
    24. small-industry.com
    25. rnedium-industry.com
    26. https://subztv.club
    27. http: // www .greeksubtitles.info
    28. htt : // www.subtitles.gr
    29. https://thepiratebay.org
    30. thepiratebay.se
    31. thepiratebay.me
    32. thepiratebay3.org
    33. https://yts.am
    34. https: //www.1337x.to
    35. 1337x.st
    36. 1337x.ws
    37. 1337x.eu
    38. 1337x.se

The Pirate Bay has become one of the main targets of the anti-piracy groups. The site has been blocked in approximately two-dozen countries already, mostly in Europe.

Also Read

Earlier this week, we reported that local ISPs in Romania were ordered to block access to The Pirate Bay following a court order obtained by several Hollywood studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Sony, Paramount, Universal, and Columbia.

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Members of piracy website TamilRockers arrested, What’s next?

Members of piracy website TamilRockers got arrested

Piracy, the biggest fear of the film industry is expected to end soon as the members of big piracy websites are being arrested every year. TamilRockers, an Indian piracy website was a danger to Kollywood filmmakers and producers. TR is since 26th of July.

Fortunately, the members of TamilRockers including admin got arrested on Thursday in Coimbatore.

According to the sources, the anti-piracy cell tracked down the culprits and arrested them.

The reported crime of the culprits was, they uploaded the pirated versions of Tamil, Telugu, English, Malayalam and other language films on their website.

It has also been said that the site had a connection with an International piracy racket which somehow contributes more to their crime. Unfortunately, the site became popular and had a considerable amount of audience. The popularity of the site was so immense that millions of people relied on it to watch and download movies online.

Due to this, the site became visible to the anti-piracy cell. But smartly they started constantly changing the domain names from the beginning of this year.

What is Piracy?

Piracy is an act of unauthorized duplication of digital content that is copyrighted and/is under the registered trademark of a company.
It is often sold in black market at substantially lower rates than the original product. It can be in the form a digital disk, flash drive or online sharing sites itself.

Also check outAre Filmywap back from the dead?

The domains used by the Tamilrockers site  are mentioned below:

Tamilrockers.cc (From Mar 7)
Tamilrockers.to (From Apr 20)
Tamilrockers.be (From Jul 6)
Tamilrockers.pm (From Jul 28)
Tamilrockers.ws (From Aug 11)
Tamilrockers.lu (From Sep 6)
Tamilrockers.cl
Tamilrockers.mu
Tamilrockers.gd
Tamilrockers.vc
Tamilrockers.gy
Tamilrockers.cl
Tamilrockers.gs
Tamilrockers.st
Tamilrockers.tv
Tamilrockers.com
Tamilrockers.cl
Tamilrockers.net

When TamilRockers team leaked ‘Kaala’ on the day of its release, the anti-piracy cell announced they have successfully suspended the account of the website. In contrast to that, the Twitter handle of this anti-piracy cell tweeted:
“Tfpc antipiracy cell has suspended http://tamilrockers.gs and http://tamilrage.eu. #killpiracy #saynotopircay”

On July 4th 2018, The central government of India invited Tamil producers, Council anti piracy team in order to discuss the shortcomings in the industry. You can check by yourself in their Twitter handle.

But the sad part is despite all the efforts from anti piracy cell Tamilrockers still manages to come back with different domain names. Even Netizens were openly asking for the new domain name of the website on twitter.

On 14th september 2018, it was reported that Tamilrockers leaked ‘Sivakarthikeyan’ and Samantha Ruth Prabhu starrer ‘Seema Raja‘.

And at last on 20th october 2018, Tamilrockers is blocked and other piracy websites were suspended by TFPC Anti Piracy cell for pirating the movies Vada Chennai and Sandaikozhi 2.

 

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Movierulz 2018 : This Website still leaks Bollywood Movies

Movierulz 2018 : This Website still leaks Bollywood Movies

Piracy has become an issue of global concern, it’s a fact. There are tons of websites available in the market which let you download pirated movies for free.

Websites such as filmywap, movies 365 and Movierulz 2018 are responsible are promoting piracy and there is no doubt about it.

Talking about Movierulz, then this website is still spreading piracy even after the government banned its domain. Yes, it’s true. Now you must be thinking how is this possible if the domain is banned?.

Well, the answer is, they use different domain names to do this. And the sad part is even if the government has strict laws to stop this, they have no control over it.


Are You Looking For Free Movie Download Or To Stream Movies Online?


Telugu movie leaked by Movierulz 2018

Yes, recently a film of Telugu, starring movie star Vijay Deverakonda leaked on Movierulz. The real twist began when people took the screenshots of the movie. They conveyed the message of leaks to the people was related to that movie.

Vijay Deverakonda was very upset about this and he also said that piracy is the biggest boon for the film industry in India.


Movierulz 2018 team arrested by Police

A few years back probably in 2015, some officials of cyber crime cell arrested 3 people in Hyderabad in the crime of spreading piracy. Those people uploaded movies online which constituted as piracy.

It has also been observed that the owners of these kinds of websites reside in some foreign countries which makes them even hard to catch.

In the police investigation of 2015, police also stated that the hosting servers of this website are from the Sri Lanka region.

Furthermore, locals were recording movies in cinema halls by using their mobile cameras and then upload it online. All these things happened and still, police have not managed to catch the suspects.

At last, we hope that the suspects are arrested as soon as possible.

Stay tuned for more.

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Roku devices to be back on sale in Mexico following court ruling

Roku devices to be back on sale in Mexico following court ruling

Roku to resume sales in Mexico after court ruling

A favorable ruling from the 11th Collegiate Court in Mexico City will now allow the popular streaming device, Roku, to resume sales of its set-top boxes in Mexico in the coming weeks.

Roku devices were prohibited for sale in Mexico back in July 2017 due to a piracy lawsuit filed by TV company Cablevision, the cable TV operator owned by Mexican media giant Televisa. Cablevision took Roku to court alleging that the devices manufactured by Roku were being hacked to allow users to watch pirated channels. However, this ruling has now been overturned and Roku has been declared legal that allows it to enter the streaming market in Mexico once again.

Roku General Counsel Stephen Kay says, “Today’s decision is an important victory for Roku and its Mexican distributor, Latamel Distribuidora, S. de R.L. de C.V. and Mexican retailers in the legal battle against an improper ban on sales of its popular streaming players in Mexico. We are pleased with the Collegiate Court’s decision and look forward to continuing to build Roku’s TV streaming business in Mexico.”

Also, Roku CMO Matthew Anderson after the latest ruling said, “Streaming is the future of TV. It offers a great opportunity for consumers in Mexico by providing more entertainment choices, the ability to watch TV on their schedules and more value for money. We are grateful for our customers in Mexico who, despite the sales ban, continued to stream more and more hours; and for our retail partners and content providers who supported us throughout this past year. We look forward to launching the latest Roku devices in Mexico soon and giving customers an even richer streaming experience.”

However, Cablevision also issued a statement warning Roku that it would take further legal action if it found pirate channels appearing on Roku devices in the future. “In the event they fail to take due care about carrying unauthorized content, we will continue with legal action such as the dozens of actions that the Mexican Intellectual Property Institute (IMPI) and various judicial, local and federal governments have taken to block pirated sites on Roku,” said Cablevision.

Roku devices are expected to become available for sale via distributors including Amazon, Best Buy, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Sears, and Walmart in the coming weeks.

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