An anonymous reader writes "South Africa's first prosecution for online piracy was concluded this morning, with a five-year, wholly suspended sentence handed down to a filesharer who uploaded local movie Four Corners to The Pirate Bay. The man — who lost his job recently — said he's relieved by the verdict, which was the result of a plea bargain. Director Ian Gabriel, who made the film, recently said he was 'philosophical' about piracy."
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An anonymous reader writes "Ars reports on a panel at PAX East which delved into the strength of the PC as a platform for games, and what its future looks like. The outlook is positive: 'Even as major computer OEMs produce numbers showing falling sales, the PC as a platform (and especially a gaming platform) actually shows strong aggregate growth.' The panelists said that while consoles get a lot of the headlines, the PC platform remains the only and/or best option for a lot of developers and gamers. They briefly addressed piracy, as well: 'Piracy, [Matt Higby] said, is an availability and distribution problem. The more games are crowdfunded and digitally delivered and the less a "store" figures into buying games, the less of a problem piracy becomes. [Chris Roberts] was quick to agree, and he noted that the shift to digital distribution also helps the developers make more money — they ostensibly don't have everyone along the way from retailers to publishers to distributors taking their cut from the sale.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Malibu Media against an alleged BitTorrent pirate. Though Malibu Media explained how they geolocated the download site and verified that the IP address was residential rather than a public wifi hotspot, the judge reasoned that the 'Plaintiff has not shown how this geolocation software can establish the identity of the Defendant....Even if this IP address is located within a residence, the geolocation software cannot identify who has access to that residence's computer and who would actually be using it to infringe Plaintiff's copyright.' Judge Ungaro's ruling is not the first of its kind, but it could signal a growing legal trend whereby copyright lawsuits can no longer just hinge on the acquisition of an IP address."
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Alex Kibkalo, a former Microsoft employee has been arrested yesterday for stealing and leaking company secrets. The former software architecture engineer is accused of leaking early Windows 8 builds to a French tech blogger with whom he was communicating inside a forum. The ex-Microsoft employee also stands accused of leaking some Windows 7 program files and also an internal system meant to protect against software piracy. Kibkalo is said to have leaked the Windows 8 code in the middle of 2012 because he was angry over a poor performance review."
An anonymous reader writes "A piece of software called 'Popcorn Time' drew a lot of attention last week for encapsulating movie torrents within a slick, stream-based UI that made watching pirated films as easy as firing up Netflix. The app ran into trouble a few days ago when it was pulled from its hosting provider, Mega, and now Popcorn Time's creators say they're shutting it down altogether. They say it was mainly an experiment: 'Piracy is not a people problem. It's a service problem. A problem created by an industry that portrays innovation as a threat to their antique recipe to collect value. It seems to everyone that they just don't care. But people do. We've shown that people will risk fines, lawsuits and whatever consequences that may come just to be able to watch a recent movie in slippers. Just to get the kind of experience they deserve.' However, the software itself isn't a complete loss — the project is being picked up by the founder of a torrent site, and he says development will continue."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Jose Pagliery reports at CNN that the 68-year-old rock star unveiled his startup, Pono, at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas raising $1.4 million in a single day. Young has developed a portable music player that stores high-resolution recordings and promises to deliver all the delicate details that get chopped out of modern-day formats, like MP3s and CDs. 'Pono' is Hawaiian for righteous. 'What righteous means to our founder Neil Young is honoring the artist's intention, and the soul of music. That's why he's been on a quest, for a few years now, to revive the magic that has been squeezed out of digital music.' With 128 GB of space, the PonoPlayer can carry about 3,200 tracks of high-resolution recordings while an MP3 player of the same size can hold maybe 10 times that many songs. Young says the MP3 files we're all listening to actually are pretty poor from an audio-quality standpoint and only contains about five percent of the audio from an original recording. But isn't FLAC already lossless? What makes Pono better?"
An anonymous reader writes "In the aftermath of the Canadian file sharing decision involving Voltage Pictures that includes an order to disclose thousands of subscriber names, the big question is what comes next. Michael Geist examines the law and economics behind file sharing litigation in Canada and concludes that copyright trolling doesn't pay as the economics of suing thousands of Canadians for downloading a movie for personal purposes is likely to lead to hundreds of thousands in losses for rights holders."
An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian federal court has released its much-anticipated decision in Voltage Pictures v. Does, a case involving demands that TekSavvy, a leading independent ISP, disclose the identities of roughly 2,000 subscribers alleged to have downloaded movies without authorization. Michael Geist notes that the court was sensitive to the copyright troll concern, noting that 'given the issues in play the answers require a delicate balancing of privacy rights versus the rights of copyright holders. This is especially so in the context of modern day technology and users of the Internet.' In order to strike the balance, the court required full court approval of the content of any demand letters and bold warnings that no court had found a recipient liable for any damages."
The anti-piracy organization BREIN managed to force major Dutch ISPs to block the Pirate Bay two years ago. XS4all and Ziggo mounted an appeal, and two weeks ago the courts ruled in favor of Ziggo and XS4all with BREIN vowing to appeal. Now it looks like they might have given up on the appeal: BREIN agreed to let the 2nd largest ISP, UPC, lift their blockade of the Pirate Bay pending a possible appeal to the Supreme Court. From the article: "Starting today subscribers of the second largest ISP in the Netherlands will be able to freely access The Pirate Bay once again. According to UPC, anti-piracy group BREIN agreed to a lifting of the ban pending the outcome of a possible appeal in a case against two other Dutch Internet providers. ... In a surprise announcement today, this situation changed. UPC Netherlands, the second largest ISP in the country, said it has decided to lift the Pirate Bay blockade. This is a significant move since the court has yet to decide on the appeal in UPC’s case, a decision which isn’t expected before April this year."
New submitter aberglas writes "The conservative government's George Brandis wants to force ISPs to block sites that might infringe copyright. Brandis said he stood firmly on the side of content creators (a.k.a. Hollywood). Ban gross violators today, obscure ones tomorrow, porn sites, far left sites the day after..." From the article, too, this snippet: "The federal government is also considering implementing a "graduated response scheme" that could lead to consumers' internet accounts being temporarily suspended if they ignore notifications to stop downloading illegal content." Shades of the Copyright Alert System.
jfruh writes "When the German domain registrar Key-Systems registered and maintained the domain h33t.com, should it have been obvious that their customer would use the site for unauthorized distribution of Robin Thicke albums? A regional German court says that they should've known, and once they had been notified they should have taken steps to prevent it from happening. Obviously domain registrars are worried that this will upend their entire business model."
Robotron23 writes "Rock, Paper, Shotgun writer John Walker shook a hornet's nest by suggesting old videogames should enter the public domain during GOG's Time Machine sale. George Broussard of Duke Nukem fame took to Twitter, saying the author should be fired. In response to these comments RPS commissioned an editorial arguing why games and other media should enter the public domain much more rapidly than at present. 'I would no more steal a car than I would tolerate a company telling me that they had the exclusive rights to the idea of cars themselves.' says Walker, paraphrasing a notorious anti-piracy ad (video). 'However, there are things I'm very happy to "steal," like knowledge, inspiration, or good ideas...It was until incredibly recently that amongst such things as knowledge, inspiration and good ideas were the likes of literature and music.'"
PhrostyMcByte writes: "TorrentFreak reports that Federal Judge Stephanie Rose recently put a thorn in the plans of copyright holders hoping to file cheap mass-lawsuits against alleged pirates. Rejecting all but one Doe for such a lawsuit, Rose's order mentions that the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate the five Does in the case were a part of the same 'transaction' needed to be tried together, with an uncommon understanding of BitTorrent showing that '... even in all five cases where Doe defendants allegedly have "hit dates" on the same day and close in time, there is no showing that the earlier defendants were still connected to the Internet and actively distributing data through the BitTorrent client at the same time as the later defendants.'"
swinferno writes "The Dutch ISPs Ziggo and XS4all are no longer required to block access to the websites of The Pirate Bay. [Original in Dutch; here's Google's translation.] This has been decided by the court in The Hague. The blockade has proven to be ineffective. The Dutch anti-piracy organization BREIN will have to reimburse legal costs of €326,000. The internet provider XS4ALL has already started lifting the ban. The website of The Pirate Bay was ordered to be blocked by the two major ISPs in January 2012. Recent studies by Amsterdam University and CentERdata showed that this did not reduce the number of downloads from illegal sources. Many people circumvented the blockade."
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "During a debate on the UK's Intellectual Property Bill, the Prime Minister's Intellectual Property Adviser has again called for a tougher approach to online file-sharing. In addition to recommending 'withdrawing Internet rights from lawbreakers,' Mike Weatherley MP significantly raised the bar by stating that the government must now consider 'some sort of custodial sentence for persistent offenders.' Google also got a bashing – again." The article goes on to say "Weatherley noted that the Bill does not currently match penalties for online infringement with those available to punish infringers in the physical world. The point was detailed by John Leech MP, who called for the maximum penalty for digital infringement to be increased to 10 years’ imprisonment instead of the current two years."
Freshly Exhumed writes "TorrentFreak has broken the news that after more than a year of downtime the Demonoid tracker is back online. The tracker is linked to nearly 400,000 torrent files and more than a million peers, which makes it one of the largest working BitTorrent trackers on the Internet. There is no word yet on when the site will make a full comeback, but the people behind it say they are working to revive one of the most famous file-sharing communities. As the single largest semi-private BitTorrent tracker that ever existed, Demonoid used to offer a home to millions of file-sharers. Note that this is apparently the original Demonoid and not the d2 site that claims to be using the Demonoid database."
judgecorp writes "TorrentFreak, a news site covering copyright issues and file sharing news, has been blocked by the porn filter of British ISP Sky. As TorrentFreak points out, the filter is provided by Symantec, and doesn't block Symantec when the company reports malware news: 'Thanks to their very own self-categorization process they wear the "Technology and Telecommunication" label. Is their website blocked by any of their own filters? I won’t even bother answering that.'" From the TorrentFreak article: "Our crimes are the topics we cover. As readers know we write about file-sharing, copyright and closely linked issues including privacy and web censorship. We write about the positives and the negatives of those topics and we solicit comments from not only the swarthiest of pirates, but also the most hated anti-piracy people on the planet."
Bismillah writes "Evad3rs' new iOS 7 jailbreak featured a Chinese app store that sold pirated software, and which was pulled from Evasi0n7 soon after launch. Latest rumors say that the exploit used for Evasi0n7 was stolen by a certain person, offered up for sale, so the Evad3rs did a deal with TaiG instead. Jay 'Saurik' Freeman of Cydia meanwhile isn't happy about the whole thing, saying he was given no time to test Evasi0n7."
An anonymous reader writes "A 28-year-old man in Sweden has been fined 4.3 million SEK (~650,000 USD) for uploading one movie. 300,000 SEK of that was added because of the upload's low technical quality (Google translation of Swedish original). The court ruled that the viewer watching the pirated version of the movie had a worse experience than people watching it legally, thereby causing damage to the movie's reputation (full judgement in Swedish)."
judgecorp writes "A branch of the City of London police seems to be censoring suspected pirates worldwide, using threats. The Police Intellectual Proerty Crime Unit (PIPCU), acts on tip-offs from copyright owners to attempt to close down websites accused of piracy. the process involves cease-and-desist letters, followed by pressure on advertisers not to fund the site, and finally PIPCU uses threats to the domain registrar (not the ISP), all without any sort of court order."