wwphx writes "According to Wired, 'German researchers have created a new DRM feature that changes the text and punctuation of an e-book ever so slightly. Called SiDiM, which Google translates to 'secure documents by individual marking,' the changes are unique to each e-book sold. These alterations serve as a digital watermark that can be used to track books that have had any other DRM layers stripped out of them before being shared online. The researchers are hoping the new DRM feature will curb digital piracy by simply making consumers paranoid that they'll be caught if they share an e-book illicitly.' I seem to recall reading about this in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games, when Jack Ryan used this technique to identify someone who was leaking secret documents. It would be so very difficult for someone to write a little program that, when stripping the DRM, randomized a couple of pieces of punctuation to break the hash that the vendor is storing along with the sales record of the individual book."
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An anonymous reader sends this quote from Bloomberg: "A Chinese national was sentenced to 12 years in a U.S. prison for selling more than $100 million worth of software pirated from American companies, including Agilent Technologies Inc., from his home in China. Li and his wife, of Chengdu, China, were accused of running a website called 'Crack 99' that sold copies of software for which 'access-control mechanisms had been circumvented, the U.S. said in an unsealed 46-count indictment. The pair was charged with distributing more than 500 copyrighted works to more than 300 buyers in the U.S. and overseas from April 2008 to June 2011. The retail value of the products was more than $100 million, the government said. Li is the first Chinese citizen to be 'apprehended and prosecuted in the U.S. for cybercrimes he engaged in entirely from China,' prosecutors said in court filings."
An anonymous reader writes "Several UK Internet providers have quietly added a list of new sites to their secretive anti-piracy blocklists. Following in the footsteps of Sky, the first ISP to initiate a proxy blockade, Virgin, BT and several other providers now restrict access to several torrent site proxies. The surprise isn't really that proxies have been added to the blocklist, but that the music industry and ISPs are failing to disclose which sites are being banned."
coolnumbr12 writes "In a recent New York Times article called 'No TV? No Subscription? No Problem?' Jenna Wortham noted how she used, 'the information of a guy in New Jersey that I had once met in a Mexican restaurant.' Dave Their of Forbes admitted that he used his sister's boyfriend's father's account in exchange for his Netflix information. But this is stealing under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which makes it a misdemeanor with a maximum one-year prison sentence to 'obtain without authorization information from a protected computer.' It is also a violation of the Digital Millennium Copy Act because it is knowingly circumventing a protection measure set up to prevent someone from watching content like 'Game of Thrones' without paying. Forbes points out that a crafty prosecutor could also claim that using an HBO Go password without paying is a form of identity theft."
jones_supa writes "During a debate in London last night, the game of whac-a-mole related to blocking pirate sites was discussed by artists, labels, the BPI, and Google. Most interestingly, Google's Theo Bertram brought to the table the idea of going after the sites as a business, which in practice would mean strangling their (often voluminous) advertising budget. A test performed by musician David Lowery confirmed that a search for Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' conjured up a list of unlicensed sites, some of which have an advertising relationship with Google. Geoff Taylor of the BPI said that Google has the both the information and technological ability to directly stomp infringing sites, but at the same time noted that somewhat oddly iTunes has not arranged itself a prominent position in the results to promote legally-purchased music, which can't be completely Google's fault."
richlv writes "Latvian police recently raided the home of a history teacher and confiscated his computer. The crime? Scanning a history book and making it available on his website covering various topics on history. The raid was based on a complaint from the publisher (Google Translate to English), which has a near-monopoly on educational materials in Latvia, often linked with shady connections in the Ministry of Education."
danomac writes "Canipre, a Canadian anti-infringement enforcement company, has been using photos on their official website without permission. This company hopes to bring U.S.-style copyright lawsuits to Canada, and they are the company behind Voltage's current lawsuits. It says right on their website, 'they all know it's wrong, and they're still doing it' overlaid on top of the image used without permission. Multiple photos from different photographers are used; none of them with permission. Canipre's response? 'We used a third party vendor to develop the website and they purchased images off of an image bank,' they said, trying to pass the blame to someone else. Some of the photos were released under the Creative Commons, meaning they could have used the photos legally if they'd provided proper attribution."
An anonymous reader writes "In their ongoing battle against websites said to infringe music copyrights, record labels have initiated a fresh wave of actions aimed at forcing UK ISPs to carry out domain blocking. This third wave is set to be the biggest so far, affecting as many as 25 domains and including some of the world's largest torrent sites and file-hosting search engines. Furthermore, the BPI – the entity coordinating the action – will ask courts to block U.S.-based music streaming operation, Grooveshark."
cluedweasel writes "A Federal judge in Medford, OR has dismissed a piracy case lodged against 34 Oregonians. Judge Ann Aiken ruled that Voltage Pictures LLC unfairly lumped the defendants into what she called a 'reverse class action suit' to save on legal expenses and possibly to intimidate them into paying thousands of dollars for viewing a movie that could be bought or rented for less than $10." The judge was not enthused that they offered to settle for $7500 while noting that potential penalties could be as much as $150,000.
It appears that Prenda Law, freshly defeated, has formed a new shell company named the "Anti-Piracy Law Group," and has resumed sending threatening letters to supposed porn pirates. But this time, they've expanded their threats (from a letter (PDF) sent to Fight Copyright Trolls): "The list of possible suspects includes you, members of your household, your neighbors (if you maintain an open wi-fi connection) and anyone who might have visited your house. In the coming days we will contact these individuals to investigate whether they have any knowledge of the acts described in my client’s prior letter" Naturally, the letter also notes that the recipient can avoid having the list of videos they supposedly copied sent to their neighbors and family if they settle for a few thousand bucks...
New submitter giveen1 writes "I recieved this email as a former Demonoid.me user. I tried to go to the website and link is dead. ... 'Dear Demonoid Community Member, We have all read the same news stories: The Demonoid servers shut down and seized in the Ukraine. The Demonoid admin team detained in Mexico. The demonoid.me domain snatched and put up for sale. The Demonoid trackers back online in Hong Kong, but then disappearing. ... Now for some good news: The heart and soul of Demonoid lives on! Through an amazing sequence of unlikely events, the data on those Ukrainian servers has made its way into the safe hands of members of our community and has now been re-launched as d2.vu.'" But it turns out that the site was distributing malware, hosted on an American VPS, and quickly shut down after the provider discovered this. No word yet on how the Demonoid user database was acquired, but if you did make the mistake of trying to log in Torrent Freak warns: "New information just in suggests that if you logged into the fake Demonoid and used the same user/password combo on any other site (torrent, email, Steam, PayPal) you should change them immediately."
An anonymous reader writes "BitTorrent has come up with a new way to sell music. It's called BitTorrent Bundle, and it puts the music store alongside the torrent. At last, someone has come up with a way to turn all us entitled, lawless downloaders into paying customers. BitTorrent thinks of BitTorrent Bundle as a sort of 21st century band flyer. Post a torrent with a handful of live tracks from your latest tour, Bundle it with a store that lets your groupies buy the full album." Put simply, the idea is that bands publish a basic torrent with a few songs as a teaser. When users download that .torrent file from BitTorrent.com, they're shown a page asking for something — money, an email address, or social media interaction — in exchange for the rest of the album (or other bonus content). If they comply, they get a different .torrent file. It's not intended as a guard against piracy, but as a way to link up content creators with the torrenters who are actually willing to pay.
John Wagger writes "When Greenheart Games released their very first game, Game Dev Tycoon (for Mac, Windows and Linux) yesterday, they did something unusual and as far as I know unique. They released a cracked version of the game, minutes after opening their Store. The pirated copy was completely same as the real copy, except that after a few hours into the game, players started noticing widespread piracy of their games in the game development simulator."
An anonymous reader writes "TorrentFreak reports on an internet piracy case from Finland, which saw four men found guilty and fined €45,000. During the trial, the defense attorney took note of inconsistencies in log files used as evidence against the men. An investigator for international recording industry organization IFPI revealed after questioning that the files had been tampered with. He said an MPAA executive was present when the evidence gathering took place, and altered the files to hide the identity of 'one of their spies.' 'No one from the MPAA informed the defense that the edits had been made and the tampering was revealed at the worst possible time – during the trial. This resulted in the prosecutor ordering a police investigation into the changes that had been made. "Police then proceeded by comparing the 'work copy' that the IFPI investigator produced with the material that police and the defending counsels had received. Police found out that the material had differences in over 10 files," Hietanen reveals.'"
silentbrad sends this quote from TheWrap: "'It's a deal with the devil,' one studio executive [said]. 'Cinedigm is being used as their pawn.' Cinedigm announced this weekend that it would offer the first seven minutes of the Emily Blunt-Colin Firth indie Arthur Newman exclusively to BitTorrent users, which number up to 170 million people.... Hollywood studios have spent years and many millions of dollars to protect their intellectual property and worry that by teaming up with BitTorrent, Cinedigm has embraced a company that imperils the financial underpinnings of the film business and should be kept at arm's length. 'It's great for BitTorrent and disingenuous of Cinedigm,' said the executive. 'The fact of the matter is BitTorrent is in it for themselves, they're not in it for the health of the industry.' Other executives including at Warner Brothers and Sony echoed those comments, fretting that Cinedigm had unwittingly opened a Pandora's box in a bid to get attention for its low-budget release. ... 'Blaming BitTorrent for piracy is like blaming a freeway for drunk drivers, ' Jill Calcaterra, Cinedigm's chief marketing officer said. 'How people use it can be positive for the industry or it can hurt the industry. We want it help us make this indie film successful.' ... 'We'll be working with all of [the studios] one day,' [Matt Mason, BitTorrent's vice president of marketing] said. 'It's really up to them how quickly they come to the table and realize we're not the villain, we're the heroes.'"
I've been really, really excited about digital video distribution lately: first Netflix greenlights jms's return to science fiction TV, and then Amazon announces their new pilots. Perhaps the decade long dearth of any good television is nearing its end! So, with that in mind, I finished up editing Slashdot for the day and sat down to watch some of these new pilots. Only to discover that Amazon has taken away my ability to watch entirely in the name of Digital Restrictions Management.
The Pirate Bay switched to two Greenland-based domains Tuesday morning but it looks like the party is already over. The company responsible for .GL TLD registrations said they would not allow the domains to be put to illegal use. “Tele-Post has today decided to block access to two domains operated by file-sharing network The Pirate Bay,” the company said. According to TorrentFreak: "Queries to the .GL domain registry now confirm that both the domains in question have been officially suspended."
conspirator23 writes "A 64-year-old retired English teacher is being sued by a copyright troll for illegal BitTorrent downloading of a motion picture. Perhaps it's not all that shocking in the current era. That is, until we learn that rather than protecting something like Game of Thrones, the plaintiff is accusing Emily Orlando of Estacada, Oregon of downloading Maximum Conviction, a direct-to-video action flick released earlier this year starring Steven Segal and ex-WWE wrestler Steve Austin. Voltage Pictures is demanding $7500 from Emily and 370 other defendants. If all the defendants were to pay the demands, Voltage would gross over $2.75 million, minus legal fees. Who needs Kickstarter?" As you might expect, Mrs. Orlando had never heard of BitTorrent before receiving the legal threat, and she lives in an area with dynamic IP assignments. This is the same company who has been going after file-sharers by the thousands since 2010.
another random user sends this excerpt from the BBC: "Two film studios have asked Google to take down links to messages sent by them requesting the removal of links connected to film piracy. Google receives 20 million 'takedown' requests, officially known as DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notices, every month. They are all published online. Recent submissions by Fox and Universal Studios include requests for the removal of previous takedown notices. ... By making the notices available, Google is unintentionally highlighting the location of allegedly pirated material, say some experts. 'It would only take one skilled coder to index the URLs from the DMCA notices in order to create one of the largest pirate search engines available,' wrote Torrent Freak editor Ernesto Van Der Sar on the site."