Why Simple File Sharing Is Serious Business

Two startups that make it possible to share files at home and work have ambitions to rule the cloud. Tom Simonite It could be among most obvious business plans ever: offer to store people’s files online so they can access them anywhere. The failure of any mainstream computing company to meet that simple need has … Continue reading

Judge calls $1.5M file-sharing judgment "appalling,"

slashes to $54,000 Nate Anderson | Published 2 days ago Thong underwear sold by Jammie Thomas-Rasset after her first trial to pay her legal bills Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the first US resident to have the file-sharing lawsuits against her go all the way to trial and verdict back in 2007, “lied in her trial testimony," said … Continue reading

ISPs nearing agreement on piracy crackdown system

Matthew Lasar A post from CNET’s Greg Sandoval reports that United States ISPs and top content providers are "closer than ever" to a regimen for punishing ISP subscribers who engage in illegal file sharing. The story suggests that AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Motion Picture Association of America are … Continue reading

Pirate Bay becomes "Research Bay" to aid P2P researchers

By Nate Anderson The Cybernorms group at Sweden’s Lund University has partnered with The Pirate Bay to "help researchers to better understand habits and norms within the file-sharing community"—and the site has temporarily rechristened itself "The Research Bay" in response. Cybernorms started in 2009 at Lund as a research project from a PhD student in … Continue reading

Japan’s earthquake didn’t even slow BitTorrent use

By Nate Anderson Not even the worst earthquake in its recorded history can keep Japan’s file-swapping community down. Last month, a team at Northwestern University near Chicago used its own BitTorrent monitoring tools to watch the number of BitTorrent peers exchanging data during the week before the earthquake and the week of the earthquake. They … Continue reading

Studio Suing BitTorrent Pirates Does Not Own the Movie, Records Show

By David Kravets A film company suing 5,865 BitTorrent downloaders over the flick Nude Nuns with Big Guns doesn’t own the rights to the movie, according to court documents and interviews. Incentive Capital of Utah took ownership last month of the B-rated flick about a sister who is “one Bad Mother.” Yet two weeks after … Continue reading

5 years later, first P2P case to be tried still chugging along

By Nate Anderson Yes, the first file-sharing case in the US to go all the way to trial is still going. Filed on April 19, 2006 and progressing through a remarkable three trials, the recording industry case against Minnesota resident Jammie Thomas-Rasset continues to burn through cash and judicial attention. Thomas-Rasset was at first hit … Continue reading

P2P lawyers score a victory;

mass subpoenas can proceed By Nate Anderson Judges across the country have been hammering mass file-sharing lawsuits in recent months, with one in West Virginia even going so far as to “sever” every such lawsuit filed in that district. But it’s not all bad news for the attorneys bringing these suits, as they managed to … Continue reading

Only 9% (and falling) of US Internet users are P2P pirates

By Nate Anderson In its 2010 annual report (PDF), recorded music’s global trade body said that the industry would "struggle to survive unless we address the fundamental problem of piracy." Just how "fundamental" a problem is that piracy? Not very, as new research suggests that only 9 percent of US Internet users even use peer-to-peer … Continue reading

Far Cry P2P defendant pens a heartfelt "not guilty" plea

By Nate Anderson I am not a person who breaks the law. In my 37 years I have not even gotten so much as a ticket for jay walking! I am a certified Human Resources Professional who works for an art education nonprofit in downtown Washington that introduces persons with disabilities to the arts. I … Continue reading

Filesoup fans cheer

(and worry) as UK police drop charges against Torrent site By Matthew Lasar It’s smiley emoticons all around over at Filesoup, following the news that United Kingdom police have withdrawn all criminal charges for copyright infringement against the Bristol based BitTorrent file sharing site. Crown Prosecution Service attorneys have finally conceded before a judge that … Continue reading

Random defendant outlawyers P2P attorney, gets lawsuit tossed

By Nate Anderson You know it’s tough out there for a P2P lawyer when even some random, anonymous, non-lawyer defendant is the more convincing party. That strange scenario unfolded yesterday in Illinois, where divorce-attorney-turned-porn-copyright-lawyer John Steele had his entire case against 300 defendants thrown out completely. The case involved CP Productions, "a leading producer of … Continue reading

Court confirms: IP addresses aren’t people (and P2P lawyers know it)

By Matthew Lasar Wrapping up the last of the United Kingdom’s notorious copyright infringement "pay up" letter cases, a UK patent and copyright judge has had a major revelation. Just because some lawyer cites an Internet Protocol (IP) address where illegal file sharing may have taken place, that doesn’t mean that the subscriber living there … Continue reading

PirateBox lets you share files with anyone close by

Jacob Aron, technology reporter (Image: David Darts) Online file-sharers disheartened at the news that Google has begun censoring peer-to-peer search terms can now take their data into the real world with the PirateBox, a lunchbox-sized device created by David Darts, a professor of art and technology at NYU Steinhardt. The PirateBox broadcasts an open WiFi … Continue reading

MPAA, BREIN take down more torrent sites; Internet barely notices

By Jacqui Cheng At least 51 torrent sites have been taken down this month thanks to joint efforts by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its dutch counterpart BREIN—12 in the US and 39 in the Netherlands. The two groups say they were able to work with the sites’ hosting providers to take … Continue reading

"Bullies": P2P lawyers demand sanctions against those suing them

By Nate Anderson Late last year, Massachusetts resident Dmitriy Shirokov teamed up with a pair of young lawyers to file a class-action lawsuit against attorneys from Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver—the firm operating as the US Copyright Group. Shirokov had received a letter from DGW saying that he had shared the film Far Cry online; would … Continue reading

Porn purveyors target 13,000 more Does in P2P lawsuits

By Matthew Lasar Looks like the P2P settlement industry is starting off the new year with a bang. By our scanning of the Justia Federal court dockets database, over 13,000 people could be dragged into "Doe" lawsuits based on complaints filed since December 20, and almost all of them are for porn. Here are some … Continue reading

LimeWire seeks data from Amazon in bid to avoid big payout to RIAA

By Jacqui Cheng As LimeWire awaits its jury trial to determine how much it owes the recording industry, the company is trying to get the inside scoop on how much the RIAA really makes off the work it represents. LimeWire has begun pushing third-party licensees to hand over their internal records and documentation related to … Continue reading

How Wikileaks killed Spain’s anti-P2P law

By Nate Anderson Spain last night killed a controversial anti-P2P bill that would have made it easier to shut down websites that link to infringing content. The move was a blow to the ruling Socialist government, but it may be of even bigger concern to the US, which pushed, threatened, and cajoled Spain to clamp … Continue reading

Undue process: how Uncle Sam seized BitTorrent domain names

By Nate Anderson Back in November, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Andrew T. Reynolds signed an affidavit asking a judge to put five domain names under the control of the US government. All were accused of contributing to online piracy, and it was essential for the domain names to be seized without a … Continue reading

Illegal file-sharers: friend of the struggling musician?

By Matthew Lasar Here’s the bad news, musicians. Illegitimate file downloading has definitely hurt the legal sale of your content, a recent academic paper confirms. This is particularly true for very popular music groups. But there’s also good news—at least for smaller bands. The widespread dissemination of MP3 files over the ‘Net has encouraged a … Continue reading

BPI: 1.2 billion illegal music downloads in 2010 a record

By Jacqui Cheng The illegal downloading of copyrighted songs in the UK has reached record levels in 2010, on track to hit 1.2 billion before the year is over. This bit of data comes courtesy of a new report released by UK recording industry group BPI, which says that the music industry is growing slower … Continue reading

P2P first seeders: pirates or "masked philanthropists"?

By Matthew Lasar Do some P2P file sharers see themselves as the Robin Hoods of the digital age—taking from the greedy content companies and giving to the global have-nots? Amidst all the angst over illegal Internet file sharing and what to do about it, there’s a related debate raging over two questions—why do people share … Continue reading

ACS: Law takes P2P users to court, fails miserably

By Nate Anderson Andrew Crossley, the UK lawyer behind P2P settlement letter firm ACS: Law, has actually filed lawsuits against several named individuals. Well, sort of. And it didn’t go so well. Crossley has said for years that he wasn’t in the shakedown business and that real lawsuits would be filed against alleged file-sharers who … Continue reading

No harm, no foul? P2P user says $1.5M award should be zeroed out

By Nate Anderson Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the first US citizen to take her file-sharing lawsuit all the way to a verdict, has been hit with three separate damage awards: $222,000, $1.92 million, and recently $1.5 million. The judge has made clear that these figures are absurd; after the second trial, he declared $54,000 the most that … Continue reading

US Copyright Group drops 5,000 P2P defendants from cases

By Nate Anderson Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer last month told the US Copyright Group that no, it couldn’t have five years to decide who it actually wanted to sue for sharing movies online. Instead, it had until December 6. So the lawyers dutifully filed papers with the court yesterday, bringing 6,230 defendants down to just … Continue reading

"It’s organized crime": one P2P defendant speaks out

By Nate Anderson Tom (not his real name, due to concerns about retribution) was accused earlier this year of downloading and then sharing two films over the Internet. But Tom retired a few years back and has never heard of either Far Cry—a bad film based on a decent video game—or The Steam Experiment—a bad … Continue reading

Fed up with ICANN, Pirate Bay cofounder floats P2P DNS system

Iljitsch van Beijnum Peter Sunde of Pirate Bay fame has had it with ICANN. Now that the US government is ordering the Internet governance body to remove domain names of copyright infringers from the global DNS, Sunde has sounded a call to arms to create a new Domain Name System to help pirates remain masters … Continue reading

P2P settlement lawyers lied, committed fraud says new lawsuit

Nate Anderson Sending settlement letters to accused Internet movie pirates has become big business in the US this year, but a new class action lawsuit seeks to put the brakes on one of the main "settlement fraud and extortion" outfits: the law firm of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver. Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver (DGW) is a … Continue reading

Supreme Court refuses innocent infringement P2P case

Nate Anderson The US Supreme Court today refused to hear the case of a file-swapper who claimed she was an "innocent infringer," but one justice at least understands the absurdity of the current law. The case concerned Whitney Harper, who shared some music on the family computer when she was a teenager and was subsequently … Continue reading

Manhunt! LimeWire, RIAA both search for "Pirate Edition" creator

Nate Anderson Last week, hacker "MetaPirate" and his "horde of piratical monkeys" released LimeWire: Pirate Edition to the world. The program took all the file-sharing features of the popular LimeWire Pro and made them free of charge and free of central controls. "Speaking for myself, the motivation is to make RIAA lawyers cry into their … Continue reading

P2P lawyers face discipline for demanding cash from innocents

Nate Anderson "Each of the respondents knew that in conducting generic campaigns against those identified as IP holders whose IP [numbers] had been used for downloading or uploading of material that they might in such generic campaigns be targeting people innocent of any copyright breach," it says. IP addresses point only to machines, which can … Continue reading

Warner Bros. vows to prosecute Deathly Hallows leaker

Hugh Hart Warner Bros. is scrambling to identify who leaked the first 36 minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 to dozens of BitTorrent sites. The movie does not open until Friday, but Potter fans who want a sneak peek currently have plenty of unauthorized options. “Last night a portion of Harry … Continue reading

"Horde of piratical monkeys" creates LimeWire: Pirate Edition

Nate Anderson | Last updated about 7 hours ago After a years-long battle with LimeWire, the recording industry finally scuppered the pirate ship last month, obtaining a wide-ranging injunction against LimeWire LLC and its file-sharing software. LimeWire devs were bound by the court to remove their software downloads and source code from the Web, and … Continue reading

A new record: 9,729 P2P porn pushers sued at once

By Nate Anderson Move over, US Copyright Group—the pornographers are going to show you how they do it (in several senses). Over the last two weeks, one lawyer with an AOL e-mail address, working out of a Martinsburg, West Virginia office, has managed to file more than 16,700 new lawsuits against file-swappers with a taste … Continue reading

New Zealand P2P proposal: guilty until proven innocent

By Nate Anderson Say you have a DSL connection at home. Should you be liable for big fines over infringements committed using your connection… even if you had nothing to do with them? And should rightsholder complaints carry the assumption of accuracy? New Zealand politicians say yes. New Zealand is taking its second attempt at … Continue reading

$42 German P2P fine stark contrast to seven-figure US judgments

By Nate Anderson Accused file-swapper Jammie Thomas-Rasset was yesterday hit with a $1.5 million fine for downloading and distributing tunes by Richard Marx, Journey, Def Leppard, the Goo Goo Dolls, No Doubt, and others. Each of the 24 songs at issue in the case cost her $62,500. Meanwhile, the same offense in Germany might cost … Continue reading

LimeWire Shutters File Sharing Services After RIAA Win

By David Kravets  LimeWire on Tuesday finally shuttered its file sharing services, months after a federal judge sided with the Recording Industry Association of America and found the New York company liable for a “substantial amount of copyright infringement” that the music industry claims amount to $1 billion. The 4-year-old case, brought by the RIAA, … Continue reading

Porn pros hope to squelch online piracy by 2012

By Nate Anderson The film and music businesses couldn’t stop file-sharing, but the porn industry has a plan to drive piracy into the shadows in 15 months or less. Can DogFart, Lords of Porn, and Naughty Bank succeed where others have failed? They certainly hope so. To that end, a company called Pink Visual rounded … Continue reading

No base station required: peer-to-peer WiFi Direct is go

The Wi-Fi Alliance on Monday announced that its direct peer-to-peer networking version of WiFi, called WiFi Direct, is now available on several new WiFi devices. The Alliance is also announcing that it has begun the process of certifying devices for WiFi Direct compatibility. The new protocol allows compatible devices to connect in a peer-to-peer fashion, … Continue reading

French three strikes agency getting 25,000 complaints a day

By Matthew Lasar Nobody knows how many file sharers are getting warnings from France’s new P2P infringement authority, but Billboard.biz says that French labels are sending 25,000 complaints a day to Hadopi, the agency enforcing that country’s "three strikes" law. France’s tough online infringement law allows Hadopi to, following a complaint, track down the user … Continue reading

Third trial against P2P user Jammie Thomas will go ahead

By Nate Anderson The first file-swapper to take her copyright infringement case all the way to a verdict will have a remarkable third trial next month. Jammie Thomas-Rasset has fought the RIAA through four years, two trials, a name change, and a $1.92 million judgment; on November 2, she gets to do it again. Just … Continue reading

Jammie Thomas’ third P2P trial looms; RIAA complains about cost

By Nate Anderson The recording industry has deep pockets, but even RIAA largesse has its limits. Case in point: the Jammie Thomas-Rasset peer-to-peer trial in Minnesota, the first of the file-sharing cases to make it all the way to a verdict. In two weeks, Thomas-Rasset will have an extraordinary third trial, and the recording industry … Continue reading

Former music label boss: beat piracy by selling albums for £1

By Nate Anderson Would musicians make more money selling more copies of albums at a fraction of the current price? Or does dirt-cheap music simply devalue the product art? The former head of Warner Music in the UK, Rob Dickins, threw some gasoline onto this burning question last week at a music conference. Dickins suggested … Continue reading

US anti-P2P law firms sue more in 2010 than RIAA ever did

By Nate Anderson In the UK, the Information Commissioner is investigating data security at an anti-piracy law firm, the country’s ISPs have started challenging the legitimacy of the entire detection process in court, and members of the House of Lords rage about "legal blackmail." But here in the US, the antipiracy lawyers are just getting … Continue reading

Bomb threat as US Copyright Group sues 2,000 more file-swappers

By Nate Anderson After filing its high-profile infringement case against Hurt Locker file-sharers back in May, the US Copyright Group went quiet. While the lawyers moved against the 14,000 anonymous "Doe" defendants they have accused of sharing films online this year, US Copyright Group appeared to suffer a summer drought. No new cases were filed. … Continue reading

Antipiracy lawyers pirate from other antipiracy lawyers

By Nate Anderson Sure, going after file-swappers has the potential to be hugely lucrative, but there are problems. Problem number one: someone needs to write all of the warning letters and response letter templates and all sorts of other legal miscellania. Sound simple? It’s not, and even anti-piracy lawyers aren’t above (allegedly) nicking the letters … Continue reading

P2P settlement factory expects £10 million from… mailing letters

By Nate Anderson Andrew Crossley, the lawyer behind the UK’s leading P2P settlement factory, is serious about mailing out his "pay up" letters, and he knows just what kind of return he’ll get. As part of firm’s huge e-mail leak (read our major investigation), Ars has now seen the company’s "strictly private and confidential" business … Continue reading

The "legal blackmail" business: inside a P2P settlement factory

By Nate Anderson UK pornographer Jasper Feversham was fed up. The Internets were sharing his films, quality work like Catch Her in the Eye, Skin City, and MILF Magic 3. He wanted revenge—or at least a cut. So Feversham signed on to a relatively new scheme: track down BitTorrent infringers, convert their IP addresses into … Continue reading

Porn studios borrowing from RIAA playbook with P2P lawsuits

By Jacqui Cheng The porn industry, long plagued by piracy, has apparently had enough and is beginning to band together to target infringers. Like a move straight out of the RIAA playbook, some companies are beginning to file lawsuits en masse against anonymous P2P users, and have also begun to formulate ways to target sites … Continue reading