Halo Reach: Pirated Before Release

Poor, poor Microsoft. It seems that their line of Halo shooters is jinxed when it comes to pre-release piracy. Halo 2 was leaked, and so was Halo 3, with Microsoft issuing a 7,992 year ban on Xbox Live users who were caught playing the leaked version. Now, it’s Halo: Reach’s turn.


Though scheduled to be released on the 14th of September, this year, Halo: Reach wormed its way into the Xbox marketplace with a price-tag of a 9,999 Microsoft Points (or the princely sum of $1,250). Apparently this was the review distributable that could be unlocked by redeeming a special code in the marketplace.

And the hackers over at GameTuts.com managed to get a ton of codes for their members.

The direct quote from the staff of GameTuts goes:-

As some of you guys know, Joakim posted a thread regarding ” I have reach ” and showed a few screenshots.
The thread, words, and work is all true.
The legend series of ‘Halo’ was ending with a bang, a bang of that will leave the re-playability high, keeping Firefight blazing.
We now pronounce this to you. The team of Game-Tuts have acquired Reach. This isn’t just a bunch of files thrown together and slapped into the JTAG External Memory.
Think of it this way, “Xport”, only if we can manage it correctly since a PIRS file of 6.87gb is a “god package” – quote from Cthulhu.
We are still working on this and more information is to come. The only thing I can say is that retails might have the ability to play Reach on the files information. PIRS files are signed by Microsoft and given the ability to be played on a retail.
The game “Halo : Reach”, as if all goes well, will be shown on a LIVE stream[Offline] via our channels, I believe we will have more than 1 stream. Expect a full blown amazement of a glorious game that we all have been waiting for in 2010.

So… any takers for this pretty petite pirated program?

Anti-Piracy Team Cracks Down On Pirated Movie Digital Discs

Looks like the hindi film industry has now become very cautious over the availability of pirated digital discs of movies in the market. In a series of raids conducted recently, the anti-piracy cell of the Mumbai police seized more than 600 pirated prints of the recently released movie Raavan.

In a raid on 18 June at Andheri East, 1206 discs of Rajneeti, Kites, Prince Of Persia were seized. In another raid on the following day at Dindoshi, a raiding party initially seized 300 prints of Raavan from an Activa bike that followed the seizure of several 6 in 1 DVDs of Raavan, Raajneeti, Prince of Persia, Kites, Ek Second ..Jo Zindagi Badal De and Badmaash Company among others. Again, in a raid on 20 June in Nalasopara, 314 discs of Raavan along with those of Rajneeti, Ironman 2, Prince of Persia and Kites were seized.

Image Courtesy

Irish ISP Eircom Begins File Sharing Crackdown

If the DMCA style notice and takedown (prevalent in the US) was not enough, an Irish ISP has now started walking those footsteps by banning file sharers. The Irish ISP Eircom will begin a three month program in which they will track down and hunt file sharers.

The IrishTimes writes,

Ireland is the first country in the world where a system of graduated responseis being put in place. Under the pilot scheme, Eircom customers who illegally share copyrighted music will get three warnings before having their broadband service cut off for a year.

This system sounds overtly lenient and allows file sharers to walk free even if they are marked and caught. Not only this, if they are found guilty of three such offences, their internet connections will be blocked only for a month!

Dtecnet, a company working with the Irma (Irish Recorded Music Association)  has decided to provide Irma with a list of 50 IP addresses per week over three months. Any IP which is found guilty will be issued appropriate warnings.

This does not at all sound like a full proof plan but can mark a beginning. Let us hope Ireland is free of illegal file sharing soon.
(Via: DownloadSquad)

The Pirate Bay is Back With A Bang

Just yesterday, The Pirate Bay was shut down by pulling down it’s routing server. Though today, The Pirate Bay is back and as expected, they have an awesome reply to the shutdown. This time, the hosting has been changed to the Swedish Pirate Party.


The official Pirate Bay blog has written a post giving some hilarious update on this situation.






You do not even need to see closely to notice whats written in those bold in-between letters. There is a message for the The RIAA in it.

Executives of Guruji.com Arrested For Alleged Music Piracy

Several Guruji.com executives, including founding CEO Anurag Dod, have been arrested for alleged copyright infringement. The police action was triggered by a FIR (First Information Report) lodged by T-Series (Super Cassettes Industries Ltd).

Guriji.com is India’s first crawler based search engine. It was started by two IIT-Delhi graduates and has raised capital from Sequoia and Sandstone Capital. Although, it covers several verticals including Music, City, Movie Timings and Cricket, its focus is clearly on Music. The search engine’s home page brandishes a list of Top Songs as well as Top Albums. Although, Guruji.com doesn’t host any illegal content, it aggregates and serves content provided by music piracy websites like songs.pk, musicplug.in, and bollymobile.in.

Speaking on the arrest, T-Series VP digital content Neeraj Kalyan said, Guruji.com was infringing our copyright under the garb of a search engine. The website was working in nexus with some music pirate websites and was exploiting our content.


Guruji.com clearly encourages its users to violate music copyrights. In fact, one can even argue that music download is one of its biggest draws. However, is Guriji.com breaking the law or is it simply exploiting a legal loophole? Does its disclaimer, “Guruji.com indexes third party websites and does not have control over, nor any liability for the content of such third party websites”, hold any legal merit? I have little expertise when it comes to laws that govern our country, so I am not in a position to say. Drop in a word if you have more to say on this developing story.

US Government Agrees, Piracy Stats Are Bloated

We all are aware of the MPAA and    RIAA crackdown on file sharers and torrent seeders over the last two years.  Well now that the crackdown is getting cold, recent studies have shown that it was all overrated. Most of the piracy claims and stats were overrated. The Government Accountability Office of the US government has checked and declared that it is

difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts

of software and music piracy. This study has been conducted over a year and a 32-page report has been released in PDF format.

There was a factor of a “Substitution Rate” in earlier estimates of piracy. According to it, every lost sale was considered as a piracy. So basically, just the fact that you did not buy the software and  inquired  about it added to the piracy figures. It did not matter if you really bought a pirated copy after that, or just switched to a free alternative.

MPAA went further to manipulate stats to show that college student accounted for 44% of piracy when the actual figure was close to 15%. Though, later they covered up by calling it a human error. Now, we all know it was a human error though not so much of a humane error!

An interesting citation from the released PDF say that file sharing can actually help in sales and promotion. It appears at  Techdirt and  says,

Consumers may use pirated goods to ‘sample’ music, movies, software, or electronic games before purchasing legitimate copies,” the GAO continued. “(This) may lead to increased sales of legitimate goods.

Sony Targets Used Games, Blocks Online Play

Sony hates the entire used-games business. They, as the publishers, get not even the slightest percentage of it; everything goes to the retailer. So they decided to make their own money from this business by targeting online play, the forte of many games including SOCOM US Navy SEALs: Fireteam Bravo 3. Bought a used copy of Fireteam Bravo 3? You need to dish out $20 to play online that is the price of the unlock code for playing online. Buyers of the UMD have to register their PSP over the PlayStation Network (PSN) with this code to be able to play online.


So what prompted Sony to make this perfectly legal, yet absolutely lame and non-gamer friendly (when you do consider that most gamers are college students who need to save up money to buy games) move? In an interview with IGN, John Keller of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) says that this is an initiative to fight piracy on the PSP. Yes he just said that you, the used-game buyer, are a pirate.

Piracy continues to be an issue of concern for the PSP platform. SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 is a trial run for a new initiative we are exploring for the platform.

On the reception of this initiative, Keller stated this:-

From our research, this will be received quite positively. Remember, piracy affects more than just the creators of the game.

Sure, Mr. Keller, the used game buyers will be very happy with this initiative.

Windows 7 Update – Microsoft Will Seek and Destroy Pirated Copies

Today on the Genuine Windows Blog, it was announced that Windows 7 will get an update to it’s “Windows Activation Technologies” (WAT). So what is WAT? This feature set was developed to detect if a copy of Windows 7 is “genuine“,  properly activated and has a valid license. In plain English, they want to find out if you have a pirated or cracked copy of Windows 7.

Windows 7 TipsThe new WAT update will detect over 70 “known and potentially dangerous activation exploits“. It may be true that many PCs that have been activated using a crack or hack are infected or at risk of infection. However, Microsoft is plainly stating that this update is mainly for the protection of the users. I have a feeling that there are lots of users who don’t want this protection.

According to the post, this Windows 7 update is “voluntary” and it doesn’t have to be installed. I have to take this statement as the truth, however, I’ve seen plenty of times when I had no choice but to accept updates. Have you ever shut down your PC and then discovered that it’s gone into an automatic update before it shuts down? Who has a choice when this happens?

I’m keeping my hopes up, but I would guess that we are going to see lots of problems stemming from this new update. In the past, any time a change has been made to Windows activations, even legitimate copies of Windows suddenly stop working, or start displaying warnings.

Be sure to post a comment below if you see the new update or experience a problem because of it.

Delhi Court Fines Microsoft for Harassing Prejudice Pirates

In the startling news of the day, a Delhi court has reportedly fined Microsoft for suing pirates who used their intellectual property without permission. The court case which was filed against 4 individuals in the Delhi High court took a turn of events when the judge found out that the case filed by Microsoft were against individuals who lived in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Mumbai.

The court was not amused with Microsoft as the defendants would have had to travel from all across India to Delhi and spend money in the process to defend themselves.

When the constitution of India provides equality before law, this equality has to be all pervasive and cannot be allowed to be diluted because of money power or lobbying power,Judge Dhingra commented on the case.

Microsoft was ordered to pay a fine of $4000 for each defendant as the Judge ruled that piracy claims were unfounded.

On the strength of its money power it [Microsoft] has the added advantage of choosing a court of its own liking which is so far away from the defendant that it becomes problematic and a harassment for the defendant to contest the suit itself,the Delhi High Court ruling read.

Was it fit justice, or did Microsoft just think that they could get away with harassing people? Money buys power, and the $16000 Microsoft will lose is no big deal to them, however, this would definitely have taught them a big lesson.

However, there is no doubt that piracy is one of the biggest cause of revenue loss for software companies, specifically in Asian countries, hopefully this does not set a precedent for software pirates to keep exploiting software and selling it at the software companies cost.

[via Torrent Freak]

End of Piracy Imminent? SceneTorrents Tracker Shuts Down

Many people are speculating that we might see the end of the world in the year 2012, and the Movie 2012 did more than enough to fuel those speculations. However, are we going to see a end of illegal downloads and piracy sooner than that?

P2P has come a long way since the Napster and Kazaa era, when illegal downloads of music and videos were at its highest. Napster did go legal later, after several court cases, and it definitely changed how P2P was done. Kazaa did flourish for a long time, however, torrents started taking over.

Over the period of several years, torrents have definitely taken over the original way of sharing files through P2P, and it did flourish for a long time, until The Pirate Bay, the largest indexer and tracker of torrents were embroiled in several court cases and had to eventually keep moving their servers from one end of the world to another.


Recently, Mininova gave into the authorities and went legal, however, there are no dearth of alternatives and we also put up a list of Mininova Alternative Torrent Indexers. Now, TorrentFreak is reporting that another private torrent tracker SceneTorrents have shut down operations.

In addition to that, recently Virgin Media, an ISP from UK has decided to setup a watch on illegal P2P sharing and downloads. Another US ISP Comcast had started to throttle BitTorrent downloads sometime back, but had to give in to public pressure and stop doing it.

So are we finally going to see saturation of illegal downloads and piracy? Well not exactly, but we should definitely see a death of the wide scale piracy that exists today. There is no doubt that the Internet will get smarter and there will be new ways of downloading content, legal or illegal. Who knows, in near future we might have a download speed of 100MB or 1GB per second and there would be no need for all these secondary means for sharing large files. Only time will tell what is written in the future. What do you think?