Anti-Piracy Group Shuts Down Pirate Bay Proxies – once again demonstrating a staggering understanding of how the internet works
Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN is trying to stop the massive influx of Pirate Bay proxy sites that circumvent a court-ordered blockade in the Netherlands. The group obtained an injunction against one proxy and has threatened many others with legal action. While BREIN’s efforts appear to have had some effect, the question is for how long.
In January, the Court of The Hague ruled that Ziggo, the largest ISP in the Netherlands, and competitor XS4ALL, must block access to The Pirate Bay.
The ruling was the first to bring broad censorship to the Netherlands, but as always the Internet finds ways to route around such blockades. In the space of a few days hundreds of individuals setup proxy websites that allow customers of the ISPs to continue using The Pirate Bay.
These proxies render the court order useless, which is a thorn in the side of local anti-piracy outfit BREIN. In an attempt to take these proxies offline, BREIN has contacted the owners of these proxy sites, ordering to take down the proxies – or else.
This week the anti-piracy group obtained an injunction from the Court of The Hague which instructs the proxy site tpb.dehomies.nl to shut down. If the site owner continues to offer access to The Pirate Bay he risks a fine of 1000 euros per day.
Armed with the court papers, BREIN also contacted the operators of many other proxy sites including alwaysapirate.org and remastered.nl who quickly took their sites offline and replaced them with a message from the anti-piracy group.
Depiratebay.nl and thepiratebay2.nl were also contacted by BREIN, but these sites remain accessible for now.
The 15-year old operator of the latter site confirmed that he will take the site offline before BREIN’s deadline passes this Friday. While he doesn’t agree with BREIN’s request, he simply doesn’t have the resources to put up a fight in court.
In their letter to the site owners, BREIN threatens legal action against those who continue to keep their proxies online. In many cases, this threat of being sued by a conglomerate of US movie studios is enough to convince proxy owners to fold.
“These sites deliberately offer a service to circumvent a court injunction. If they do not comply, we will hold them liable for damages,” BREIN director Tim Kuik said in a comment to Tweakers.
It will be interesting to see for how long BREIN can continue this cat and mouse game. The proxies targeted so far were all specifically aimed at Dutch visitors and hosted on Dutch servers. Whether it will be as effective against sites hosted elsewhere remains to be seen.
The Pirate Bay team informed TorrentFreak that they are not worried about the fate of their Dutch visitors. They expect that for every proxy that goes offline, new ones will spring up, as is usually the case. There are plenty of free proxy tools available and everyone with a WordPress blog can set one up in a few clicks.
If anything, The Pirate Bay crew believes that BREIN is giving them a helping hand.
“Thanks yet again for the free advertising,” they say.
The Pirate Bay has a point here. All the talk about censorship and blockades only appears to strengthen the notorious torrent site. When there was talk about a UK blockade two weeks ago, local traffic surged. And visitors from Belgium and the Netherlands have massively turned to proxy sites after the torrent site was censored there.
To quote John Gilmore once again: “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”
The UK and 21 other European Union member states have signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, better known as ACTA.
The countries signed the treaty, which aims to harmonise copyright enforcement across much of the world, in Tokyo on Thursday. However, the signatures of the EU member states and the EU itself will count for nothing unless the European Parliament gives its approval to ACTA in June, and digital activists have urged citizens to lobby their MEPs against voting yes.
Only five EU countries did not sign ACTA – Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus and Slovakia. Good on You! Though I fear they will ultimately be coerced.
An excellent comment (from Hadzy01) from the Guardian, regarding their coverage of Twitter censorship, but complete avoidance of the ACTA bill.
You know, Guardian… I find it amusing how you report on this, but not on ACTA, despite the EU signing it yesterday.
[ http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111219/02385917123/eu-council-quietly-adopts-acta-hiding-it-agriculture-fisheries-meeting.shtml ]
You report on this, but you don’t report on the fact that the EU signed this treaty, despite both lawyers and the Foundation for Free Information pointing out that ACTA in its current FINAL form violates EU treaties, human rights, and criminalises damn near anyone with a computer.
And despite the fact that the Chief of the EU resigned in disgust over how the issue has been handled by the EU.
Or the fact that there were protests throughout Poland to protest just how wrong ACTA in its current form is.
Or the fact that by 10pm yesterday, across all the major ANTI-ACTA petitions, near 500,000 people had signed up to say NO.
You report on this, but you don’t report on the fact that the Irish were planning to instate a “SOPA” on their people without even going through parliament.
I’ll leave people to Google the last two. You know, let them enjoy freedom of information and expression before it’s stripped away from them without their knowledge.
And you’re not the only major publication in the UK to even do this. As a UK citizen, I am both disgusted and disappointed by your lack of informative information on these subjects in the UK media. You’re leading your readers wilfully blind, and honestly? It’s a damn shame.
Twitter doing this to people who rely on them is a disappointment especially considering how important it and other similar services were when overthrowing dictatorships. The Guardian refusing to report on ACTA and related, wide-affecting “agreements”, though, is just as bad. I have never been so disappointed with this publication.
Google and other search engines “overwhelmingly” direct music fans to illegal copies of copyrighted tracks online, a coalition of entertainment industry groups has told the government.
In a confidential document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, lobbying groups for the major rights holders claimed Google and Microsoft’s Bing are making it “much more difficult” for people to find legal music and films online.
The private document, obtained by the free speech campaigners Open Rights Group and shared with the Guardian, urges the government to introduce a voluntary body that would remove rogue websites from internet search results.
The proposals were made to the culture minister Ed Vaizey as part of a series of consultations on internet piracy between rights holders, search giants and the government in November last year. The nine-page document was submitted on behalf of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK body for the music majors, the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the Premier League, the Publishers Association and the Pact, the film and TV independent producers’ trade body.
Privately, rights holders said there is a “spirit of optimism” between the entertainment groups and search engines as they attempt to usher in more legal media sites, including Google’s own fledgling music service.
Google has in the past year stepped up efforts to remove copyright-infringing content, launching a fast-track removal requests form and filtering terms “associated with infringement”. However, the rights holders claim in the document that “as time goes on, the situation is getting worse rather than better”.
“Consumers rely on search engines to find and access entertainment content and they play a vital role in the UK digital economy,” the rights holders state.
“At present, consumer searching for digital copies of copyright entertainment content are directed overwhelmingly to illegal sites and services.”
The entertainment groups want Google to “continuously review key search words” and “effectively screen” mobile apps on Android smartphones in an effort to combat illicit sharing.
The document claims that 16 of the first 20 Google search results for chart singles link to “known illegal sites”, according to searches by the BPI in September. In an attempt to persuade the government to clamp down on search engines, the groups claim that 41% of Google’s first-page results for bestselling books in April last year were “non-legal links” to websites.
“Much of the illegal activity in the digital economy is facilitated and encouraged by money-making rogue sites,” the document claimed.
“Intermediaries, unwittingly or by wilfully turning a blind eye (or in some cases, by encouraging such activity), play a key role in enabling content theft and often even profit from it. Only a comprehensive approach can address this issue.”
The entertainment bodies call for search engines to:
• Assign lower rankings to sites that “repeatedly” make available copyright-infringing material
• Prioritise sites that “obtain certification as a licensed site” for music and film downloading
• Stop indexing sites that are subject to court orders
• Stop indexing “substantially infringing websites”
• Improve “notice and takedown” system
• Ensure that users are not directed to illicit filesharing sites through suggested search
• Ensure search engines do not advertise around unlawful sites or sell keywords associated with piracy or sell mobile apps “which facilitate infringement”
The chief executive of BPI, Geoff Taylor, said on Thursday: “The vast majority of consumers want search engines to direct them to legal sources of entertainment rather than the online black market.
“As search engines roll out high-quality content services, like Google Music, we want to build a constructive partnership that supports a legal online economy. We hope that Google and other search engines will respond positively.”
A spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association added: “If you look for film or music via a search engine you usually find websites providing access to pirated films or music at the top of the list of results.
“This is confusing for consumers, damages the legal market and legitimises copyright theft. We are in dialogue with search engines, ISPs [internet service providers], advertising networks and payment processors about a code to deal with the escalating problem of online copyright theft which threatens the growth of the entire creative industries sector. This paper is a result of that dialogue and we appreciate government’s continuing efforts to help bring about a more responsible internet”.
A spokesman for Google said: “Google takes the fight against online piracy very seriously. Last year, we removed over five million infringing items from Google Search. We have made industry-leading efforts in this field, investing over $50m (£32m) in fighting bad advertisements and over $30m on Content ID software, giving rights holders control over their YouTube content.
“We continue to work in close partnership with rights holders to help them combat piracy and protect their property.”
Peter Bradwell, campaigner for the Open Rights Group, said the proposal contained “some dangerous ideas”. He said: “It’s another plan to take on far too much power over what we’re allowed to look at and do online.”
Chris Dodd, ex–US senator and current CEO of the Motion Picture Ass. of America, may face a White House investigation after he made an extraordinary outburst that appeared to threaten politicians who had the audacity to take the entertainment industry’s money and then abandon SOPA/PIPA online-piracy legislation.
“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake,” Dodd told Fox News. “Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”
Once the number of signatures on the petition reaches 25,000, the White House has to issue a statement – and as of early afternoon Washington DC time, over 19,000 signatures had been attached. It was such a petition, by the way, that prompted the White House to express its initial disapproval of SOPA.
“This is an open admission of bribery,” the petition reads, “and a threat designed to provoke a specific policy goal. This is a brazen flouting of the ‘above the law’ status people of Dodd’s position and wealth enjoy. We demand justice. Investigate this blatant bribery and indict every person, especially government officials and lawmakers, who is involved.”
Dodd may have thought he was among friends on Rupert Murdoch’s “Fair and Balanced” Fox network, or could just have been angry at the temporary hold put on the legislation, but it’s highly unusual for anyone in his position to openly acknowledge the way the US political system works. Companies and individuals who “donate” to US lawmakers usually express the convenient fiction that their financial contributions are expressions of support for a candidate, and not attempts to bribe them on specific issues.
“It was Hollywood’s arrogance in pushing bills through Congress without proper vetting that caused them to be withdrawn; these threats also are not helpful to figuring out what ails the industry and how to solve their issues,” said Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, which is fighting the legislation. “If the MPAA is truly concerned about the jobs of truck drivers and others in the industry, then it can bring its overseas filming back to the US and create more jobs.”
Original Article here > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/23/mpaa_bribery_petition_white_house/