RIAA Caught Downloading Illegal Torrents

Well well well if it isn’t a ripe case of somebody set up us the bomb. At least that is what the Recording Industry Association of America claims after being caught red-handed; many people in its offices have been downloading illegal torrents of movies and music, the same kind of people that the RIAA has been on a crusade against for the past years and fining them enormous amounts of money because it infringed on their copyright. Not only are they downloading music torrents (which some may claim may be for research purposes), they are also downloading TV shows and cracked versions of software. All this was done with the aid of a crawler for torrent downloads called YouHaveDownloaded.com, in which the IP addresses logged in public trackers coupled with your current IP address show the torrents downloaded by your IP address. While totally worthless with dynamic IP addresses or with those who use private trackers to download torrents, it is still a very useful site that can be used for a lot of purposes. That is exactly what Torrentfreak did and caught RIAA, amongst others, in the act of doing exactly what they want to crack down upon.


So what was RIAA’s response to this? We totally did not download it, guys. Seriously!. Yes they gave pretty much the exact excuse that those who get the dreaded legal letter from RIAA suing them do. In most cases, the people whom the RIAA sues are actually innocent, because many people do not know the dangers of having an open WiFi connection, and some do not know what a dynamic IP is. However, it seems that the RIAA has built an interesting excuse to get away with this, as a spokesperson for the RIAA claims:-

Those partial IP addresses are similar to block addresses assigned to RIAA. However, those addresses are used by a third party vendor to serve up our public Web site. As I said earlier, they are not used by RIAA staff to access the Internet.

What is actually funny around here is that it is quite obvious that the IP addresses found to be downloading torrents are completely registered to RIAA such as Moreover a company cannot register a block of IP addresses for its own use and then allowa third party vendor to usethese IP addresses.

For a company that is used to suing children, old people without working internet connections or computers, and even dead people, this comes off as a godly smack on the face. I wish this evil organization is taken down, but if wishes were horses…

[Photo To Doby Benjamin Gray]

Major US ISPs Agree to a Six Strikes Plan for Copyright Violators

CopyrightMajor internet service providers in the US, including AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon, have agreed to limit the services of repeat copyright offenders. Unsurprisingly, the agreement was welcomed by both RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). Cary Sherman, the RIAA’s president, hailed the pact as groundbreakingclaimed that it ushers in a new day and a fresh approach to addressing the digital theft of copyrighted works.

The pact comes after RIAA and MPAA’s scaremongering tactics failed to have a significant effect on piracy. The new “Copyright Alert System” takes a more nuanced approach and focuses strongly on educating the subscribers. The process highlighted by the mitigation measures document is as follows:

First Infringement: An ISP, in response to a notice from a copyright holder, will send an alert to a subscriber notifying the subscriber that his/her account may have been misused for online content theft, that content theft is illegal and a violation of the published policies of the ISP, and that consequences could result from any such conduct.

Second Infringement: If the alleged content theft persists despite the receipt of the first alert, the subscriber may get a second similar alert that will underscore the educational messages, or the ISP may in its discretion proceed to the next alert.

Third Infringement: If the alleged content theft persists after educational alerts are sent, then an additional alert will be sent which will include a conspicuous mechanism (such as a click-through pop-up notice, landing page, or other mechanism) asking the subscriber to acknowledge receipt of the alert.

Fourth Infringement: If, after this alert asking for acknowledgment, the subscriber’s account again appears to have been used in connection with online content theft, the subscriber will be sent yet another alert that again will require the subscriber to acknowledge receipt.

Fifth Infringement: If, after these educational and acknowledgment alerts, the subscriber’s account still appears to be engaged in content theft, the ISP will send yet another alert. At this time, the ISP may take one of several steps, referred to as Mitigation Measuresreasonably calculated to stop future content theft. These Mitigation Measures may include, for example: temporary reductions of Internet speeds, redirection to a landing page until the subscriber contacts the ISP to discuss the matter or reviews and responds to some educational information about copyright, or other measures (as specified in published policies) that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter. ISPs are not required to impose any Mitigation Measure which would disable or be reasonably likely to disable the subscriber’s voice telephone service (including the ability to call 911), e-mail account, or any security or health service (such as home security or medical monitoring). The ISP may also waive the Mitigation Measure. Any and all steps an ISP may take will be specified by their published policies.

Sixth Infringement: If, after this latest alert, the subscriber’s account still appears to be engaged in content theft, the ISP will send yet another alert and will implement a Mitigation Measure as described above. We anticipate that very few subscribers, after repeated alerts, will persist (or allow others to persist) in the content theft.

Before any of the mitigation measures are imposed, the subscriber can request an independent review, which has a waivable $35 filing fee. The subscriber can also take up the matter in a court of law.

Crucially, this pact “does not, in any circumstance, require the ISP to terminate a subscriber account”. Neither does it create any formal legal procedures or new laws. Consequently, it also doesn’t protect subscribers from being directly sued by the right holders.

What is MAFIAAfire? Is Mozilla a Terrorist Organization?

mafiaa-fire-logoWhy is Mozilla the target of a take-down notice from U.S. Homeland Security and what the heck is MAFIAAfire?

Back in December of last year, I asked a simple question: is Homeland Security Now Working for the Recording Industry?. In the article, I explained how the MPAA and RIAA (Movie and Music industry groups) have bribed the U.S. Congress with millions of dollars and now have ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), a division of DHS (Homeland Security) in their pockets.

ICE has seized dozens of website domains over the last few months, supposedly to crack down on piracy and copyright infringement. Several new sites were taken down this week and new targets were likely suggested to ICE by the MPAA or RIAA. In a congressional hearing last month, ICE director John Morton admitted that his organization was acting on tips from industry representatives,and other leads.

Here’s what you’ll see if a site was taken down by ICE.

Rapidshare Hires Entire Lobbying Firm to Fight the RIAA/MPAA in the US

RapidShare has hired an entire lobbying firm to fight its cause in the US. RapidShare was accused of promoting and allowing illegal file sharing. The charges were laid by the RIAA/MPAA and the lobbying firm will defend RapidShare’s case in the US. RapidShare servers are based in Germany while the headquarters are in Switzerland. This has made it hard for the RIAA to issues a takedown notice. In addition, RapidShare has much to lose from a takedown.

The  RIAA has rightfully accused RapidShare of illegally hosting digital media, especially pre-released television series and movies. The accusations have even listed these illegal downloads as the main source of traffic for these file-sharing websites like RapidShare.

The lobbying firm RapidShare hired is proving to be useful. It has already presented a comparison of RapidShare and Google. RapidShare is ready to impose filtering of content. However, even this filtering will not guarantee that the RIAA declares RapidShare innocent and leaves it alone. The RIAA gets financial backings, which amount to more than $1.8 million as that is just the amount the reportedly spent last quarter. Doing the math, we can well estimate the pressure it puts upon its law firms.

An interesting thing to watch in this case will be how seriously RIAA takes the Google-RapidShare analogy. It will possibly play a key role in deciding RIAAs next move.


Tribler: A Truly Decentralized BitTorrent and What It means To the RIAA

Truly decentralized BitTorrent has finally been realized and is available with the release of the Tribler client. It is the first client of its kind that has reached the highest possible level of decentralization. With Tribler, files, tracker and anything regarding torrents are no longer on a single server but distributed over multiple users.

Earlier, torrents depended heavily on websites that hosted links to .torrent files or aggregated them. These websites were popular but they were all based on the server-client model. Essentially, the decentralized and peer-to-peer nature of the BitTorrent  protocol was still dependent on the server-client model of the parent website.

The Tribler client is here to change this and has been released for all three popular platforms- Mac, Windows and Linux. The client has a search that is peer-to-peer in nature too. In short, Tribler is decentralized in the true essence of decentralization. You can see more on the Tribler client at Torrentfreak.

Now, coming to the RIAA bullies, this torrent client means more trouble, but at the same time more money to them. The RIAA will still try to take down the company and its backers will pour in more funds without a clue. The decentralized client will eliminate a single point of failure and will take illegal file sharing to a completely new troublesome level for them.

Ally ASL Gets Back Her Account On YouTube, Thanks to the EFF

Allyson Townsend, better known as Ally ASL on YouTube is famous for translating songs by Kesha and Owl City into American Sign Language. She has gathered a huge fan base doing this. However Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group saw that as an infringement of copyright and ordered YouTube to have her account shut down.

Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation urged YouTube to reconsider its decision in the case and convinced it and both the music labels to reinstate the page in question.

Allyson Townsend approached the EFF for help when her account was seized. Her fan page has thousands of comments and around 90 videos of popular songs. Following the ban of her account, Townsend was forbidden from having any further accounts on YouTube as well.

In a world where freedom over the Internet is threatened by organizations like the RIAA, MPAA, other recording labels and other government agencies, EFF is the strongest contenders against these in the court of law. With an army of lawyers as its fleet, the EFF has a strong voice in the decisions that affect people over the Internet. However, this matter was solved through talks and without even taking it to the courts.

Cindy Cohn of the EFF, who led the talks with YouTube said,

The problem is that the various music groups hire zombies and trained monkeys who scour the Internet searching for any use of their licensed material regardless of the context or purpose,” Cohn said by phone on Monday. Often, this leads to flagged entries and complaints on sites like YouTube that really should have been approached with greater discretion.

No one here is the bad guy. However, these matters got so caught up in red tape, seemingly, no one actually bothered to read between the lines before signing off the ban. Matters like these should be handled with some respect and these recording labels can do better by hiring Allyson Townsend to do this full time.


LimeWire Alternatives Lands PCMag In RIAA Soup

The notorious RIAA is at it again, sending unwarranted notices to people just for the sake of it. It’s newest victim is none other than PCMag.com a popular technology website.

RIAA Sucks

According to PCMag.com, a recent article about Limewire Alternatives got them on the RIAA radar who sent them a letter saying that they were encouraging music piracy through that post.

Now writing articles about alternatives to a software is not illegal in any sense, it does not really say that you should go ahead an download software and then pirate music. Along with this, there are several sites which write about software including us with a disclaimer that people should be vary enough of legal laws in their country before using it.

RIAA has also accused PCMag of encouraging the new LimeWire Pirated edition which was being hunted down by both LimeWire and RIAA. PCMag has obviously shunned a request from the agencies to remove the post and have replied back to them saying that they will not stop covering things like this in future.

In 2008 RIAA had spent over $16 million to recover $0.391 million and I assume they will continue to recover much lesser thanks to such obnoxious claims.

So, how does this RIAA and PCMag case affect other website owners and publishers? Will website owners now have to adhere to governance by these agencies on what should be written and what should not be? I would be very interested to see where this heads as it will be an important step towards knowing whether or not freedom of speech or writing is neglected just because someone has a problem with things you write.

LimeWire and RIAA: Join Hands to Search for LimeWire Pirated Edition

The RIAA made some big crackdown records this year. Though, going after LimeWire turned out to be a big loss for RIAA. So much of time and money spent after pleasing the recording media bosses went #fail. Shutting down of the LimeWire assets only resulted in the creation of a  pirated version of the popular peer-to-peer file sharing application over which, neither LimeWire nor the RIAA has any control whatsoever and users are drooling over.

Now, both RIAA and LimeWire are after MetaPirate, the company behind the forked pirated edition of LimeWire. As the story goes, the RIAA is directly accusing LimeWire for a second time on this. The RIAA writes,

Defendants have demonstrated clearly that they either will not or cannot do what the injunction commands.

The court has shut down the MetaPirate blog. Now, even if it is wants to fight the RIAA in court, this website’s owner has to reveal his/her identity first. That is something no one is willing to do and it is expected that the website will not come up in near future. However, the pirated version of LimeWire is available from other torrent sites.


LimeWire Forked Into A Pirated Edition. What Now RIAA?

The RIAA made a record win over the world of piracy by bringing down the popular P2P service LimeWire. As per the terms of the lawsuit, LimeWire was to shut down its complete operations and abiding by that, it did issue a cease-and-desist notice this Wednesday. However, a new (independent) pirated version of the application that goes by the name of LimeWire Pirate Edition has surfaced over the Internet.

The RIAA should understand that LimeWire is a company that is powered by its users. They will use anything and everything that is thrown their way (for file-sharing) and as long as it is an application that does just that, no one cares if it is from LimeWire or not. File-sharers are not as answerable to the law as LimeWire is being a company. The RIAA has created an even bigger problem for itself by bringing down LimeWire since, had this void not been there, there would not have been a pirated version over which they can have no control whatsoever.

The RIAA has responded on this matter saying,

It’s critical that LimeWire complies with the court-ordered injunction. We are monitoring the situation closely.

That can mean a couple of things starting with issuing another lawsuit on LimeWire and pleasing some more recording label bosses to ordering LimeWire to take care of the matter. The RIAA has endless antics and following this event, we will see some more of it soon.


LimeWire Alternatives See a Download Surge After the RIAA Lawsuit Decision

LimeWire being thrown out of the file-sharing business was the biggest blow to this business and now, this has gotten other LimeWire alternatives worried as they are seeing a huge increase in popularity and download and will soon be as much of a threat as LimeWire was.

Earlier this week, LimeWire lost a case with the RIAA and was asked to shut down its entire operations by a NY district court. This fueled a search for that much-needed LimeWire alternative, as it was hardly a move to curb file sharing. Seemingly, the  RIAA is only interested in shelling out big bucks from file-sharing services for its customers.

MP3Rocket was worried by the proceedings of this case and revealed plans of re-branding their software and leaving the Gnutella network while talking to TorrentFreak. All this, because they are seeing a nice increase in traffic and have run into a threat zone now.

As obvious, BearShare, the only RIAA backed file-sharing client has received a 780% increase in traffic. However, they have not revealed any stats on the number of paid downloads.

BearShare was turned legal by the RIAA after it lost a lawsuit against them and was asked to pay $30 million. Survival was a better alternative for them.