Digital mutiny sinks piracy bill

An online revolt has forced US Congress to rethink a draconian piracy bill, but the war isn’t over Jim Giles SO THAT’S what a digital revolt looks like. A million-and-a-half emails and almost 90,000 phone calls to US Congress. Public complaints from Google and Facebook. Even a few thousand old-fashioned letters to the US House … Continue reading

Now We Can All Use the FBI Anti-Piracy Warning!

David Kravets Bloggers rejoice! No longer will the recording, movie and software industries retain exclusive rights to the FBI’s familiar anti-piracy logo. The “FBI Anti-Piracy Warning Seal,” which has been draped on Big Content’s wares since 2004, is going to be made available for use on all copyright content. Even personal websites can proudly display … Continue reading

Did the UK police picked up the wrong Topiary?

Peter Bright Also not the Topiary wanted by law enforcement The Metropolitan Police claimed yesterday that they had arrested prominent Lulz Security and AnonOps member Topiary. The initial report claimed that a 19-year-old man was arrested in the Shetland Islands and was being flown down to London for questioning. That report has now been adjusted, … 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

French "three strikes" anti-piracy software riddled with flaws

Peter Bright The French "three strikes" policy was put on hold last week after the private company tasked with collecting piracy data, TMG, was hacked and found to be insecure. The hack has allowed the company’s data-collecting software to be examined. It turns out that servers weren’t the only thing that TMG failed to properly … Continue reading

US Navy creates MMO wargame to fight Somali pirates

By Spencer Ackerman, Office of Naval Research OK, so it’s not exactly Call of Duty: Somali Coast. Your avatar won’t get its SEAL Team Six on and shoot pirates in the head. But the Navy still wants you—yes, you, gamer—to join in its online gaming effort to figure out what to do about the … Continue reading

WikiLeaks: US offered to bankroll New Zealand piracy crackdown

By Matthew Lasar Making your country’s views known is a principal function of foreign embassies, but the US goes much further. According to cables released by WikiLeaks, the US embassy in New Zealand urged Uncle Sam to fork over about half a million New Zealand dollars back in 2005 to bankroll a private intellectual property … Continue reading

Hostage Oversupply in Somalia?

Pirates Negotiate Better Deals to Free Up Space Somali pirates may have reached their limit, at least for now. Security agencies have suggested that Somali pirates are willing to negotiate lower ransoms to release ships they have seized — because they are running out of room.   Reuters/ MoD/ Crown Copyright The British Royal Navy … Continue reading

Where have all the music pirates gone?

By Nate Anderson Remember when music was cool? Back in the days of Napster, it was music that defined file-sharing; millions of people raced to listen to the most obscure artists found in the libraries of friends and strangers. But that was back when music came on CD, was sold only by the album, and … 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

How many Internet pirates are there, anyway?

By Nate Anderson The music industry’s latest annual report on the digital world has one main "ask" in it: would governments around the world please, please, pretty please get off their collective lard-filled posteriors and start passing the sorts of laws that would dragoon Internet providers into the antipiracy wars? Whatever one thinks of this … Continue reading

Avast Network

What is the Pirate Party—and why is it helping Wikileaks? James Downie This past December, when the host of the Wikileaks domain shut down the organization’s online presence, the Pirate Party came to the rescue. No, the saviors were not renegade Somalis or Internet bootleggers, but, rather, a small but growing five-year-old political party focused … Continue reading

Arrr! Pirates Take Up to $12 Billion Worth of Booty

By Spencer Ackerman Don’t let the dilapidated fishing boats or the rusting AK-47s fool you. Pirates mean serious business. A maritime industry group crunched the numbers and found that the measures companies and governments take to avoid and combat the piracy threat cost between $7 billion and $12 billion every year. The One Earth Future … Continue reading

Jailed Pirate Party member becomes Tunisian government minister

By Nate Anderson From imprisoned Pirate Party member to government leader, it’s been an eventful week for Tunisian blogger and software developer Slim Amamou. Arrested by security forces a week ago, Amamou emerged from jail a few days later only to watch as president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country and the new "unity" … Continue reading

Japanese publishers complain of pirated books in App Store

By Chris Foresman A group of Japanese book publishers is taking Apple to task for distributing pirated versions of books by Japanese authors via the App Store. The group claims that despite complaints, books by authors such as Haruki Murakami and Keigo Higashino are still available as unauthorized apps. "We have no choice but to … Continue reading

MPAA to universities: curb piracy or lose federal funding

Jacqui Cheng Peter Szustka The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has decided to mimic the efforts of its music industry counterpart and put pressure on universities to curb student piracy. The organization notified its partners this week that it would begin sending out letters to college and university presidents in the US "calling their … Continue reading

The Age of Music Piracy Is Officially Over

Paul Boutin Illustration: Brock Davis Mark down the date: The age of stealing music via the Internet is officially over. It’s time for everybody to go legit. The reason: We won. And all you audiophiles and copyfighters, you know who fixed our problems? The record labels and online stores we loved to hate. Granted, when … Continue reading

Feds seize 82 domains accused of selling counterfeit goods

Matthew Lasar The Department of Justice has obtained seizure orders against a slew of commercial websites accused of selling a wide variety of counterfeit commodities, including DVD box sets, music, software, sports equipment and handbags—82 sites all told. "By seizing these domain names, we have disrupted the sale of thousands of counterfeit items, while also … Continue reading

Appeals court: Pirate Bay admins still guilty, now with higher fines

Jacqui Cheng Three of the admins behind The Pirate Bay are all still guilty, a Swedish appeals court decided on Friday, but their jail time has been reduced. Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundstrom’s prison sentences have all been reduced from the original one year to between 4 and 10 months each, though the … 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

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

The Privateers of Yemen

Starved for revenue and riddled with corruption, the Yemeni navy and coast guard have adopted a novel fundraising strategy: guns for hire. BY ELLEN KNICKMEYER BEIRUT—Yemen’s leaders are pushing the United States to increase its military aid roughly 40-fold for their country to fight al Qaeda — but Yemen isn’t just relying on aid to … 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

World’s most "notorious" piracy market: the Internet

By Nate Anderson Once a year, the US government engages in an odd exercise: calling out the world’s "notorious markets" for copyright infringement and counterfeiting, often without any evidence that the markets in question are breaking either local or US law. Instead, the list is compiled from rightsholder complaints, and the US government then puts … 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

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 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

Half off! France "fights piracy" by subsidizing digital music

By Jacqui Cheng France has decided to try something… novel. The country will attempt to prop up the digital music industry by subsidizing legal music consumption by young people. Under the initiative, citizens between 12 and 25 years old will be able to purchase a "carte musique"—a prepaid card  usable on subscription-based music websites. The … Continue reading

Copied pleadings show there’s no honor among antipiracy lawyers

By Nate Anderson On September 29, Chicago divorce lawyer John Steele filed a case far outside his usual realm of family law and custody dispute; he represented First Time Videos, LLC, which an attached declaration calls "a leading producer and distributor of adult entertainment content within the transsexual niche." Internet users had been sharing First … Continue reading

ACTA text shows US caved in on Internet provisions

By Nate Anderson Talk about a cave-in. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been three years in the making, and at one point included language advocating "three strikes" regimes, ordering ISPs to develop anti-piracy plans, promoting tough DRM anticircumvention language, setting up a "takedown" notification system, and "secondary liability" for device makers. Europeans were demanding … Continue reading

MPAA <3 ACTA, but European Parliament "alarmed" by it

By Nate Anderson The motion picture business likes (PDF) the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). After a few tough years of record-setting box office receipts, the industry welcomes new legal enforcement tools that will "protect the jobs of the millions of men and women working in film and other creative industries." But the European Parliament isn’t … Continue reading

"A stab in the back": Europe tackles online piracy

By Nate Anderson As part of their rise to power in the 1930s, German National Socialists like Hitler and Heydrich bought into—and publicly proclaimed—the myth of the "stab in the back." Under this view, the patriotic German army could have won World War I, had it not been stabbed in the back by internal traitors … Continue reading

Bill would give Justice Department power to shutter piracy sites worldwide

By David Kravets, Lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would let the Justice Department seek US court orders against piracy websites anywhere in the world, and shut them down through their domain registration. The bipartisan legislation, dubbed the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act," (.pdf) amounts to the Holy Grail of intellectual-property enforcement. The recording … Continue reading

Pirates Need Science, Too

On this International Talk Like A Pirate Day, one-eye-witness account of how science helps in all weeks of life, even piracy. Arrrrr. Today, September 19th, is international talk like a pirate day. No, seriously, yo ho ho, check the web. Ya know, matey, anyone could be a pirate, all ya needed was a proper disrespect … Continue reading

Microsoft antipiracy fight caught in Russian political crackdown

By Emil Protalinski The Russian government is using Microsoft software piracy investigations as a pretext for seizing computers and other materials from political opponents and news organizations, according to a comprehensive report in The New York Times. The report accuses Microsoft of supporting the raids despite their political nature. Furthermore, the software giant is reportedly … Continue reading

Major file-sharing bust in Europe targets P2P admins

By Nate Anderson | Last updated about 11 hours ago Sweden’s Frederick Ingblad is a specialized intellectual property prosecutor, and this morning he made a very specialized announcement: at the request of Belgian authorities, Ingbland and Swedish police had just made a series of coordinated raids on ISPs and universities. Their target: "The Scene." For … Continue reading

Obama administration: "Piracy is flat, unadulterated theft"

By Nate Anderson US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke went to Nashville yesterday to address a symposium on intellectual property enforcement, and he threw down the gauntlet: the Obama administration will find, board, and scuttle digital pirate ships, and the SS Copyright is going to get a new coat of armored plating. "I think it’s important … Continue reading

Only 0.3% of files on BitTorrent confirmed to be legal

By Jacqui Cheng. The large majority of content found on BitTorrent is illegal, a new study out of the University of Ballarat in Australia has confirmed. Researchers from the university’s Internet Commerce Security Laboratory scraped torrents from 23 trackers and looked up the content to determine whether the file was confirmed to be copyrighted. They … Continue reading

More App Store hackery may be afoot

By Chris Foresman. Last weekend there were reports that iTunes and the App Store had been hacked. However, it turned out that a developer had used other users’ iTunes accounts to buy his apps repeatedly, quickly moving the apps up the App Store sales ranking. It now appears that another developer, WiiSHii Network, has started … Continue reading

Judge slams, slashes "unconstitutional" $675,000 P2P award

By Nate Anderson.  Judge Nancy Gertner knows that Joel Tenenbaum did it. Tenenbaum, the second US target of the RIAA’s five-year litigation campaign to complete a trial, eventually admitted his music-sharing liability on the stand—and Judge Gertner issued a directed verdict against him. But when the jury returned a $675,000 damage award, they went too … Continue reading

P2P plaintiffs to get just 28 Time Warner IPs each month

By Nate Anderson. Suing tens of thousands of accused peer-to-peer movie file-swappers—it can be a lucrative business model, but it works well only when Internet service providers can turn huge lists of IP addresses into real names and addresses in a timely fashion. But what if a major ISP like Time Warner Cable only had … Continue reading

Arbitration in Thomas-Rasset case fails, RIAA hit with bill

By Nate Anderson. Minnesota’s top federal judge, Michael Davis, certainly seems like a man who just wants the (in)famous Jammie Thomas-Rasset peer-to-peer file-sharing case on his docket to just go away. And the recording industry, which has prosecuted Thomas-Rasset through one name change, two trials, and three years, appears to be under the distinct impression … Continue reading

Pirate Bay soon to be hosted within Swedish Parliament?

By Nate Anderson. Sweden’s political Piratpartiet (Pirate Party) and the operators of The Pirate Bay have always stressed their independence from each other, but they are now lashed tightly together—and could soon be much tighter. If Piratpartiet has its way, The Pirate Bay won’t be using secret servers anymore. The servers will be quite public … Continue reading

The Pirate Den

Inside the modern business of wreaking havoc on the high seas. BY BRIDGET COGGINS. LESS THAN A DECADE AGO, the world was congratulating itself on a job well done. The most treacherous international shipping lanes through the Strait of Malacca and the Singapore Strait had finally been tamed after years of brazen pirate attacks. But … Continue reading

Help Wanted

Now is no time for the world to go wobbly on Somalia. BY OMAR ABDIRASHID ALI SHARMARKE. In recent months, many in the United States seem to have given up on Somalia. In March, for example, the Council on Foreign Relations issued a special report calling for a "new" policy of "constructive disengagement" from our … Continue reading

P2P lawyers tell judge: suing 5,000 "Does" at once is fine

By Nate Anderson. The US Copyright Group, a business name for the group of Virginia lawyers filing suits against tens of thousands of alleged US peer-to-peer movie downloaders, has been sharply criticized by the EFF and ACLU for suing up to 5,000 anonymous defendants at once. The suits were "improperly joined," said the groups. At … Continue reading

Finally, a way to put pirates on trial

By Elizabeth Dickinson. As we’ve reported several times here at FP, stopping the Somali pirates who are tormenting the Gulf of Aden (check out their impressive list of recent catches) is a legal disaster. No one really knows who has jurisdiction to try them; everyone is afraid of getting stuck with unwelcome Somali prisoners; and … Continue reading

Judge may dismiss 4,576 of 4,577 P2P defendants from lawsuit

By Nate Anderson. Federal judge Rosemary Collyer sits on the DC District Court, where several of the recent US Copyright Group lawsuits against alleged P2P users have been filed. A few of those lawsuits ended up on Judge Collyer’s calendar, one of them filed against over 4,000 anonymous "John Does" at once. This week, Judge … Continue reading

Songs of Innocence: accused P2P users speak out

By Nate Anderson. Let’s say it right up front: some large percentage of those targeted in the recent wave of P2P movie lawsuits are no doubt liable for their piratical behavior. But those who "didn’t do it" face an agonizing choice—pay $1,500 to $2,500 to settle the lawsuits brought by Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, or … Continue reading

Israel’s fatal mistake

By Omer Celik.  The Israeli government clearly violated international law when it attacked a civilian aid flotilla in international waters about 77 miles off the coast of Gaza. By taking over the ships and confiscating the property belonging to the aid group, Israel has committed piracy. Initial reports and eye-witness accounts confirm the brutal use … Continue reading

What’s the Right Way to Board a Hostile Ship?

Quickly and with overwhelming force … or not at all. BY JOSHUA E. KEATING: The Israeli military has admitted that failures of both planning and execution led to the botched raid on a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists last weekend, which left nine dead and has erupted into an international scandal. With two more activist ships … Continue reading