News Posts matching #Piracy

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Thinking Outside the DRM: Denuvo Sues Founder of Piracy Group "REVOLT"

What do you do when your main product keeps being bypassed in the eternal cat and mouse game of DRM versus piracy groups? If you're with Denuvo, you think "outside the box" and look for slightly different ways to eliminate the competition, such as actual legal action.

Following this legal action and a collaboration with Bulgaria's police, the justice system has managed to identify Aka Voksi as the founder of scene group "Revolt", seizing his personal computer - events that resulted in Voksi stating he would be dropping all piracy-related activities immediately and for the future (a wise move considering the circumstances). Reddit and piracy-focused websites have already begun fundraising efforts to prepare for Voksi's defense.

"Scene Groups Have Figured Out Denuvo", Piracy Group Declares

Denuvo's fall from grace - and current thread of obsolescence waters - has been a long time coming for scene crackers and pirates. One of the only anti-tamper mechanisms to actually deter pirates in their cracking efforts as of late, Denuvo ushered in an era of unmitigated success upon the first months after its launch, by any measure. Marketed as a "best in class" solution, Denuvo's makers were smart enough to know that any kind of protection they made would be eventually surpassed by pirates' efforts - which is why they simply said that Denuvo's mission was to " (...) provide the longest crack-free release window compared to competitors." Looking to guarantee developers and publishers the arguably most important time-frame for new game releases and sales, Denuvo's sales and marketing director Thomas Goebl said that their aim was "to help publishers to secure the initial sales windows of their games, hence delaying piracy."

In Wake Of SOPA Defeat and Rising Profits, IFPI Calls For 'SOPA Plus' Migraine Tablet

Yes, that's right, SOPA might have been set back for now, but the vested interests from the big media corporations (music/movies/news etc) that want it implemented unsurprisingly aren't sitting idle and are pushing for ever more draconian measures aka 'SOPA Plus'. A digital music report (PDF) asks for everything that was in the original SOPA and then some, with a wishlist of seven 'fixes':

Starved of Consensus, SOPA and PIPA to Get US President's Veto

Gobs and gobs of lobbyists' cash are about to go down the drain as the now stalled Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) could be postponed "indefinitely". What's more, Barack Obama's (D) cabinet hinted that the President could veto the two pending House's bills out of concern that the bills Orwellian takedown provisions could damage the legitimate internet economy. This essentially means that SOPA and PIPA in their present forms are shelved till a consensus can emerge on them, which is nowhere in sight, as the juggernaut of public and institutional outrage has rolled over PR of several of the bills' previous proponents and endorsers.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, one of the architects of these two works of literature today posted a statement in response to the Senate decision to what he calls a postponment of the two bills. SOPA and PIPA have been widely criticized by everyone from large corporations such as Google and Microsoft, to the Human Rights Watch. The bills are criticized to be too broad scoped to tackle piracy and IP theft, and could be misused for corporate censorship.

English Wikipedia to go dark January 18 in opposition to SOPA/PIPA

On January 18, 2012, in an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States - the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and PROTECTIP (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States.

SOPA Stalled!

Yes, you've read that right. The draconian and much despised internet censorship bill introduced by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith and being steamrollered through Congress, backed by Big Media, who's interests it serves has been stalled due to a lack of 'consensus', reports The Hill. The serious backlash from companies large and small, plus boycotts of companies that supported it, such as GoDaddy, has forced this bill to be stalled. On Saturday, the House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was promised by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that the House won't vote on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) unless there is consensus on the bill. Issa said in a statement:
While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House. Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote.
Note that this comes a mere hours after Smith was forced to back down on the website blocking provision in the bill (one of its central aims). The bill may still continue wending its way through Congress after a delay, however, it doesn't look all that likely, thankfully. Now the general public just need to make enough noise about PROTECT IP and ACTA so that they don't get in either, as they're really just the same thing by any another name.

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off (UPDATED)

Hilbert Hagedoorn of well-known PC tech review site recently bought a copy of Ubisoft's Anno 2070 and wanted to use it in one of his graphics card reviews. However, he became badly unstuck. This game comes on the Steam platform and the store page states: "3rd-party DRM: Solidshield Tages SAS 3 machine activation limit". Unfortunately for Guru3D, they found out exactly what this means, which resulted in just one performance graph, an aborted review, an unplayable game - and bad publicity for Ubisoft once again. They have published an article about their experience, pledging not to use their titles again because of this DRM.

Big Dollars Not Enough? SOPA Support Continues To Wither Away

The draconian internet censorship bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) being lobbied for by wealthy big media corporations (mostly fronted by the RIAA/MPAA, News Corporation and the like) and currently being debated in Congress is still losing support wherever one turns. A week ago, we reported that GoDaddy initially supported it, but soon changed its mind as it immediately began to haemorrhage customers. Now, it turns out that many video games companies are also coming out against it and with no pressure against them required.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is the game industry's trade association and stands firmly behind the much-despised bill, which means that the gaming industry as a whole is deemed to support SOPA. However, while some members openly support it, others just won't say so publically and some of its members actively do not support it, having made official statements to this effect. Here are just three of them:

SOPA-like Legislation Mulled in Spain

The Spanish cabinet has approved a new legislation similar to America's Stop Online-Piracy Act (SOPA), designed to bring down websites facilitating copyright infringement in 10 days flat thanks to a streamlined due-process. Named after former Spanish culture minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, the legislation will be called the "Sinde Law", the legislation proposes a mechanism with which copyright holders have the ability to report websites hosting copyrighted content (direct downloads), or facilitating copyright infringement (bit-torrent tracker sites), to a commission dedicated to hearing such complaints. This body decides if it wants to act against the infringing website or the ISPs providing infrastructure to it. A case will then be passed to a judge to rule on whether the site should be shut down.

The bill is being drafted in a way that ensures the process from complaint to action/dismissal happens within a time-frame of 10 working days. The Spanish Government says that it is high time the country had such a legislation, because rampant copyright infringement is stifling innovation and creativity. A report by market-intelligence firm IDC says that 97.8% of music consumption in Spain was illegal. Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said that the objective of this legislation is "to safeguard intellectual property, boost [Spanish] culture industries and protect the rights of owners, creators and others in the face of the lucrative plundering of illegal downloading sites." The legislation is welcomed by the creative industries, and criticized by net activists.

Microsoft Takes Legal Action Against U.K. Retailer Comet

Microsoft Corp. today issued proceedings against Comet Group PLC for allegedly creating and selling more than 94,000 sets of counterfeit Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs. The alleged counterfeits were sold to customers who had purchased Windows-loaded PCs and laptops.

"As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom," said David Finn, associate general counsel, Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft. "Comet's actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products - and our customers deserve better, too."

Nintendo, Sony, EA Withdraw Support for SOPA: Too Little Too Late?

Video game industry majors Nintendo, Sony, and EA dropped financial support for the passage of Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), as an increasing number of the bill's proponents are feeling the sting of bad PR as a result of their endorsement of the bill. Last month we've seen domain registrar GoDaddy suffer a mass exodus of tens of thousands of domains to its competitors due to its initial endorsement of SOPA, which it later withdrew seeing the public outcry that has some real implications on its business.

This latest withdrawal from Nintendo, Sony, and EA appears to be similar, a knee-jerk response to the bad PR each of SOPA's endorsers are getting. The updated list of the bill's endorsements (read: here) shows the three companies to be missing from it (they were earlier listed). SOPA has been widely criticized as being overkill, too wide-ranged, and too vaguely written to tackle online piracy. Critics say it is peppered with loopholes that make censorship by corporations and governments easy. Think of it as using a tactical nuclear strike to take down a pillbox. Sure, the pillbox will be obliterated, but you end up destroying everything unrelated to it in a very wide area surrounding it.

Hurt Locker Copyright Extortion Racket In Tatters, Plaintiffs' Hypocrisy

Voltage Pictures, producers of movie Hurt Locker attempted to use a reverse class action tactic to extort hundreds of millions in 'settlement' claims aka extortion demands over alleged 'losses' due to 'piracy' - something that has never and can never, be quantified and proved. However, their attempt has failed miserably - plus read on for how Voltage Pictures did a little content 'theft' of their very own to make the movie.

The idea was to use the services of the US Copyright Group (USCG) to extract personal subscriber information from ISP's via subpoenas and then send demand letters averaging US $2,000 to hapless victims, with the hope of racking in a grand total of around US $94 million - way more than the film ever made, about US $12.6 million.
The USCG quickly unloaded lawsuit claims against 47K members of the unwitting American public, even as Voltage Picture spewed a stream of vitriol suggesting that the children and families of file sharers would hopefully "end up in jail".
explained DailyTech, putting it very well. Yes, let's get the kiddies in the name of corporate copyright and profit...

Congress Debates SOPA, Hypocritically Downloads Illegally Itself

Almost everyone who understands something about technology will have heard of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (H.R.3261) currently being debated in the U.S. House. This is internet censorship legislation by any other name and anyone that doesn't have a vested interest in it like the big media cartels is against it. This is because it hands almost total control of the internet to powerful (read: money) special interest groups, allowing them to shut down websites at the mere whiff of an accusation of 'piracy', however small and however unfounded. This will easily ruin many legitimate businesses, all on the pretext of 'protecting copyright' from supposed 'financial losses' due to content 'theft'. It also does an awful lot of other things, all of them bad, which are fully detailed in the link above. Now, if anyone thinks that this is far-fetched, just look at how the current 'darling' of the internet, GoDaddy operates: they pulled the DNS records of, because of one little complaint against the site and without even contacting the domain owner first to advise of the situation. Disgraceful. Give them SOPA and a webmaster doesn't stand a chance, regardless of their size.

The GoDaddy Boycott: It Worked

The GoDaddy boycott over their support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation, which took effect today, appears to have worked. The initial fallout over GoDaddy's support for it, resulted in a furious backpedal and then a bit of dirty tricks to stop customers leaving. However, this backpedal stopped short of actually criticising it. The boycott, called by a user on Reddit and aided by Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, appears to have focused GoDaddy's mind on what's right and what's wrong. They have finally given us that criticism of SOPA that they should have made in the first place, as CEO Warren Adelman, said in this statement:
We have observed a spike in domain name transfers, which are running above normal rates and which we attribute to GoDaddy's prior support for SOPA, which was reversed. GoDaddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities. Our company regrets the loss of any of our customers, who remain our highest priority, and we hope to repair those relationships and win back their business over time.

Battlefield 3 Torrent Leak: An Inside Job?

DICE's PC version has been leaked to various torrent sites almost two weeks before release on October 28th, with console versions being safe for now, DSOGaming reports. This is perhaps unsurprising because most, if not all high profile games are leaked early one way or another. It looks like it might have possibly been done by a retailer - but why would they risk reducing sales of the product like this? Perhaps a disgruntled employee? We can only speculate. Apparently, the single player campaign is fully playable and the file size weighs in at around 10GB.

The one thing that seems to hold true about such situations, as undesirable as they are, is that a game's success will be on its own merit, regardless of how much it has been downloaded illegally. No doubt though, however large the profits from this game turn out to be (and they're likely to be substantial for this triple A title) the publishers will complain that they would have been even bigger without piracy, but without being able to offer any actual proof of this, of course.

Microsoft Announces Global Anti-Piracy Day

Microsoft Corp. today announced Global Anti-Piracy Day, a simultaneous launch of education initiatives and enforcement actions in 49 countries on six continents to combat the sophisticated, illegal trade of pirated and counterfeit software. The programs announced today include intellectual property awareness campaigns, engagements with partner businesses, educational forums, local law enforcement training, and new legal actions against alleged software counterfeiters and pirates.

Microsoft is taking these steps as part of its commitment to working with communities, national governments and local law enforcement agencies around the world to help protect its customers and partners and promote the value of intellectual property as a driver of innovation. An interactive map detailing specific legal actions and education efforts being announced today can be found here.

RIAA Drops Charges Against AllofMP3

A Russian music downloading site/store used to sell music and did not give any money to the actual recording studios artists. And so, the RIAA sued. AllofMP3 changed their ways, was declared legal, and the smug RIAA gave AllofMP3 a pat on the back and sent it on its merry way. What's the news story here? The news story is in what AllofMP3 left behind. When AllofMP3 went on the long journey to becoming legal, what made it illegal spread around to several websites and shady music stores. And so, while the RIAA can claim victory over one site, they really haven't accomplished much at all, other than making software pirates more determined than ever before.

Programming Error Made Years Ago turns Open Source Software into Ticking Time Bomb

When open source software makers made what would eventually become the more current versions of Linux, Unix, and Mac OS X, they undertook a very important task: ensuring that whenever a password was generated to keep confidential data secret, that it would actually be secure. However, they apparently made a rudimentary programming error, and it went out into the world of open source software unnoticed. A couple years down the road, some hackers pointed out with glee that the OpenSSL key generator is basically useless as a security measure (the actual flaw is explained much more thoroughly in the source link). Because OpenSSL is used in far more systems than a couple home servers, we have a serious problem on our hands. Even though the original authors have issued a patch, there's no guarantee that it will get around fast enough to prevent some serious damage.

Sony BMG Accused of Piracy

None of the big record labels support music piracy, but it has to be said that Sony BMG has come into the spotlight more than most about this topic, especially when it sold CDs which secretly installed a rootkit on the customer's computer in an attempt to prevent them illegally sharing songs. However, the company is now on the receiving end of an anti-piracy case regarding software installed on four of its servers. French software developer PointDev discovered that Sony BMG was supplying pirated license keys to some employees for the company's Ideal Migration software, which meant it was able to mandate a seizer of Sony BMG's assets. The subsequent raid has revealed that as much as 47% of software on Sony BMG's servers may be pirated, and the music label now faces a €300,000 (over $470,000) lawsuit from PointDev.

Microsoft Makes WGA Smarter

Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage software, which was designed to prevent piracy, is doing anything but. Cracks that get around, or even shut off, WGA are easily found by true pirates, while innocents are bagged for piracy when they've never even heard of the term. Fortunately, Microsoft has figured out how to make WGA friendly. Instead of WGA trying to use fancy code to find out if the Windows copy it is attached to is hacked, WGA will now search for the presence of common hacks, and only common hacks. This will drastically reduce the number of false flaggings, and make WGA a lot friendlier. Another large change is that the Vista version of WGA will no longer feature a "kill switch", or go into reduced functionality mode when WGA calls a hacked copy. Instead, there will be a long, politically-correct stream of dialog boxes that won't go away until you've validated. Microsoft made no mention of when this new, superior version of WGA will fly out factory doors.

UK to Threaten ISPs who Refuse to Comply with Demands of Pirate-Hunters

One by one, the European Union territories are falling to the will of the music and movie industries. If either of those industries demands to see some information from an ISP, they'd better comply. By April 2009, if an ISP does not co-operate, then they can face legal punishment from the government. This move came after a meeting between ISPs and the recording industries, which resulted in no universally pleasing solution. The government would much rather see a voluntary solution, but understands that when that isn't going to happen, they have to step in and do what they feel is right. More secure legislation should be developed over the course of this year. Current estimates claim that over 6 million broadband internet subscribers are active pirates.

Norwegian Police Pwn MPAA Lawyer

"Pirate chasing" lawyer Espen Tøndel works for the MPAA, and would love to see everyone who's ever used a file sharing network/client to download or upload copyrighted content either make reparations or go to jail. Tøndel was most recently seen in Norway, chasing a bunch of IP addresses. When Tøndel took this list of IP addresses to the police, they flat out told him that they will not chase petty criminals when murderers, rapists and other baddies roam Norwegian streets. Tøndel, infuriated, decided to take his case to higher court. He requested a meeting with the Norwegian department of justice. He instead got a flat "no" answer, and was effectively told that he might as well file suits against the pile of IP addresses, because no Norwegian police agency was going to bother itself with solving the petty piracy cases. It is unclear whether or not Tøndel has actually tried to sue the IP addresses, or if the suits utterly failed because he never could tie the IP addresses to a name.

BitTorrent Developers Find Ways to Circumvent ISP Blocking Measures

TorrentFreak summed up the gist of this story in a short paragraph.
Several BitTorrent developers have joined forces to propose a new protocol extension with the ability to bypass the BitTorrent interfering techniques used by Comcast and other ISPs. This new form of encryption will be implemented in BitTorrent clients including uTorrent, so Comcast subscribers are free to share again.
Basically, ISPs like Comcast block piracy by banning the extensions BitTorrent trackers use. BitTorrent clients are currently adapting to a new file extension, so that Comcast subscribers are once again free to download and share whatever they please freely. Please check the source link for a more detailed description of how the crack worked. TechPowerUp! does not condone piracy.

Demonoid Tracker Back Online, Site to Follow?

It has been three months since Demonoid went offline at the hands of Canadian authorities. However, for some odd reason, the Demonoid tracker is responding again. Since the frontend was hosted in America, the Subdemon forums never even went down. The tracker itself is hosted in Malaysia now, and has been online for a little more than 2 days. While pirates everywhere will likely begin using the Demonoid tracker, the site itself is still down, and there has been no word from the official Demonoid team. In regards to restarting one of the most famous Bittorrent trackers of all time, founder and admin Deimos has this to say.
Money is an issue, but the real problem at the moment is finding a suitable place to host the website. There has been no luck there. And there's some personal stuff I need to take care of that takes most of my time at the moment, and that does not help.
Please check the source link for a history lesson on Demonoid.

Half of All BitTorrent Downloads are Television Shows

Despite the apparent popularity of getting the latest Windows and Photoshop versions off of BitTorrent, a new pie chart based on download statistics from torrent tracker Mininova shows that people are downloading far more than just that. Out of all the .torrent downloads that happened in the past two year, caught by Mininova, roughly half of them were television shows. The rest of the downloads break into what users would expect: games, movies, software, and "other". For an intrepid analysis of what exactly all this means, please follow the source link. Otherwise, do enjoy the pie graph.
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