Category Archives: Online TV/Music

MPA Reveals Scale of Worldwide Pirate Site Blocking

Motion Picture Association Canada has revealed the scale of pirate site-blocking around the world. In a submission to the CRTC, the Hollywood group states that at least 42 countries are now obligated to block infringing sites. In Europe alone, 1,800 sites and 5,300 domains have been rendered inaccessible, with Portugal, Italy, the UK, and Denmark leading the way.

Few people following the controversial topic of Internet piracy will be unaware of the site-blocking phenomenon. It’s now one of the main weapons in the entertainment industries’ arsenal and it’s affecting dozens of countries.

While general figures can be culled from the hundreds of news reports covering the issue, the manner in which blocking is handled in several regions means that updates aren’t always provided. New sites are regularly added to blocklists without fanfare, meaning that the public is kept largely in the dark.
https://torrentfreak.com/mpa-reveals-scale-of-worldwide-pirate-site-blocking-180410/

Online Piracy Is More Popular Than Ever, Research Suggests

A broad and detailed report from piracy tracking outfit MUSO shows that visits to pirate sites went up last year. The company recorded more than 300 billion visits in 2017, which suggests that “piracy is more popular than ever.” TV remained the most popular category and most pirates prefer streaming over torrents or direct downloading.

Despite the growing availability of legal options, online piracy remains rampant. Every day pirate sites are visited hundreds of millions of times.

Piracy tracking outfit MUSO has documented the piracy landscape with data from tens of thousands of the largest global piracy sites.
https://torrentfreak.com/online-piracy-is-more-popular-than-ever-research-suggests-180321/

Law enforcement and private sector join forces to shut down illegal Streaming Network

On 11 January 2018, a crime group suspected of hosting a large-scale illegal IPTV streaming business has been dismantled. The investigations were led by the Cypriot Police – Intellectual Property Crime Unit, with the support of the Cybercrime Division of the Greek Police, the Dutch Fiscal Investigative and Intelligence Service (FIOD), the Cybercrime Unit of the Bulgarian Police, Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC³) and with the support of members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA). In total, four individuals have been arrested and 17 houses searches have been carried out in Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece.

The network is accused of illicitly distributing Greek, Cypriot and foreign pay TV subscriber channels, using several servers to facilitate illegal signal dissemination via subscription channels. These services were allegedly offered through retailers throughout Europe and sold as a monthly illegal subscription for as little as 20 Euros. The investigation also uncovered machine sites that worked with the central server to relay subscriber channels.

In total, one individual was arrested in Bulgaria on the action day, alongside three others in Cyprus. The servers used to distribute the channels were shut down, and IP addresses hosted by a Dutch company were also deactivated thanks to the cooperation of the authorities of The Netherlands. In Bulgaria, 84 servers and 70 satellite receivers were seized, with decoders, computers and accounting documents.

The raids involved cooperation with local police authorities and were supported by Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC³) and the private sector, which provided technical and forensic expertise.

Europol has supported the investigation since the beginning by providing continued analytical support. On the action day, Europol experts were deployed to provide on-the-spot support with mobile office and data extraction tools.
https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/law-enforcement-and-private-sector-join-forces-to-shut-down-illegal-streaming-network

Europol Hits Huge 500,000 Subscriber Pirate IPTV Operation

A Europol-led operation involving police forces from Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands, has targeted one of the largest pirate IPTV operations in the world. At least three people have been arrested. Servers in Bulgaria and the Netherlands reportedly supplied the content to an estimated 500,000 subscribers worldwide, generating annual revenues of around five million euros.

Live TV is in massive demand but accessing all content in a particular region can be a hugely expensive proposition, with tradtional broadcasting monopolies demanding large subscription fees.

For millions around the world, this ‘problem’ can be easily circumvented. Pirate IPTV operations, which supply thousands of otherwise subscription channels via the Internet, are on the increase. They’re accessible for just a few dollars, euros, or pounds per month, slashing bills versus official providers on a grand scale.
https://torrentfreak.com/europol-hits-huge-500000-subscriber-pirate-iptv-operation-180111/

Netflix Is Not Going to Kill Piracy, Research Suggests

Netflix and other on-demand streaming services barely help to curtail piracy, new research shows. While legal streaming services are commonly used nowadays, the limited availability of recent content and the associated price tag are serious hurdles for many pirates.

There is little doubt that, in many countries, Netflix has become the standard for watching movies on the Internet.

Generally speaking, on-demand streaming services are convenient alternatives to piracy. However, millions of people stick to their old pirate habits, Netflix subscription or not.
https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-not-going-kill-piracy-research-suggests-171129/

Site blocking won’t work

InternetNZ is surprised by today’s announcement of court action from Sky TV to a range of ISPs, asking them to block New Zealand Internet users from accessing certain websites. Sky’s assertion is that this move is designed to hamper piracy of online content.

“This is an extreme step in response to a problem of limited scale, and one that is unlikely to achieve the stated goal,” says InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter.

“InternetNZ cares about the rights of Kiwi Internet users. We are taking an interest here to make sure that the fundamental openness of the Internet in New Zealand is not hampered.

“Site blocking works against the very nature of the Internet. Site blocking is very easily evaded by people with the right skills or tools. Those who are deliberate pirates will be able to get around site blocking without difficulty.

“If blocking is ordered, it risks driving content piracy further underground, with the help of easily-deployed and common Internet tools. This could well end up making the issues that Sky are facing even harder to police in the future.

“The introduction of legal, easy to use streaming like Neon from Sky, or Lightbox, or Netflix and more, makes piracy less desirable over time. We encourage Sky and others to focus on getting their content online and easy to see and pay for, rather than going down avenues like site blocking.

“InternetNZ is taking legal advice on this matter, to understand better whether the Court has the ability to order such a block. Parliament has never signalled an intention to allow this when it has considered these matters, and if site blocking was to be introduced it should only happen after a broad public debate establishes it is unavoidable, and a parliamentary mandate is given.

“In the meantime, we would expect the ISPs named to decline to proceed with blocking the sites named by Sky. ISPs should never act on the simple request or demand of a content owner. Only proper due process should lead to any interference of this type,” Jordan Carter says.

https://internetnz.nz/news/site-blocking-wont-work

Musical.ly, a Chinese App Big in the U.S., Sells for $1 Billion

The only Chinese social media company to build a major network outside China will be taken over by a fast-growing Chinese upstart.

Musical.ly, a video-based social network popular with teenagers in the United States and Europe, is being sold for between $800 million and $1 billion to Bytedance, the company that controls the Chinese news aggregator Toutiao, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The deal knits together Toutiao’s 120 million Chinese users with the roughly 60 million who use Musical.ly in the United States and Europe, ultimately linking a platform in China with a more global one.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/10/business/dealbook/musically-sold-app-video.html

MPAA Warns Australia Not to ‘Mess’ With Fair Use and Geo-Blocking

The MPAA has submitted its 2018 list of foreign trade barriers to the U.S. Government. The document reveals that Hollywood is concerned that Australia is considering implementing fair use exceptions, allowing circumvention of geo-blocking, and expanding safe harbor provisions for online services. In addition, the MPAA notes that stiffer penalties are required to deter piracy.

Last year, the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission published a Draft Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements, recommending various amendments to local copyright law.

The Commission suggested allowing the use of VPNs and similar technologies to enable consumers to bypass restrictive geo-blocking. It also tabled proposals to introduce fair use exceptions and to expand safe harbors for online services.
https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-warns-australia-not-mess-with-fair-use-and-geo-blocking-171107/

EU study finds piracy doesn’t hurt game sales, may actually help

For as long as video game piracy has existed, gamers and the industry have argued about whether the practice really hurts sales of legitimate games. In 2010, the Business Software Alliance estimated that generalized software piracy costs the world $51 billion annually and half a million jobs. Even most people who doubt every pirated download is equivalent to a lost sale will admit that illegal downloads have some negative effect on overall game sales.

So it's more than a bit surprising that an exhaustive study of piracy's effects by the European Commission found that “illegal consumption [of games] leads to increased legal consumption.” To be more precise, the study estimates that for every 100 games that are downloaded illegally, players actually legally obtain 24 more games (including free games) than they would in a world in which piracy didn't exist.
https://arstechnica.co.uk/gaming/2017/09/eu-study-finds-piracy-doesnt-hurt-game-sales-may-actually-help/

Crowded TV Marketplace Gets Ready for Three Tech Giants

Apple has more than $1 billion budgeted for original programming, Facebook wants its own version of “Scandal” and Google is ready to spend up to $3 million per episode on a drama.

The three digital giants have signaled to Hollywood that they are serious about entering a television landscape that Netflix and Amazon shook up just a few years ago. Their arrival will make an already hypercompetitive industry even more ferocious. This year, there are expected to be more than 500 scripted TV shows, more than double the number six years ago.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/20/business/media/tv-marketplace-apple-facebook-google.html