Paramount Pictures going after internet users who have downloaded The Godfather



by Matthew Dunn


31 maggio 2016


If you YOU are a pirate who thinks you are safe because you’re downloading old films instead of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, you are sadly mistaken.

Paramount Pictures has joined the legion of other Hollywood studios trying to put an end to online piracy, which is viewed as a major threat to revenues.

However, it’s not Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 10 Cloverfield Lane or any other new releases the studio has in its scope; it’s the 1972 classic The Godfather.

Why it is targeting a 44-year-old film is unclear, but the movie studio isn’t fooling around.

Paramount has joined forces with anti-piracy partner IP-Echelon to go after internet subscribers responsible for downloading and sharing the film.

As part of the plan, the Hollywood studio is requesting ISPs “disable” the copyright infringements to ensure pirates stop sharing the film.

“We are requesting your immediate assistance in removing and disabling access to the infringing material from your network. We also ask that you ensure the user and/or IP address owner refrains from future use and sharing of Paramount materials and property,” the letter reads, according to TorrentFreak.

Furthermore, Paramount strongly advises the ISP not to destroy any data such as IP-address logs as this data may be called upon if a lawsuit is filed at a later stage.

“In complying with this notice, [ISP] should not destroy any evidence, which may be relevant in a lawsuit, relating to the infringement alleged, including all associated electronic documents and data relating to the presence of infringing items on your network, which shall be preserved while disabling public access, irrespective of any document retention or corporate policy to the contrary.”

While not explaining its motives, the move is likely just a scare campaign to ruffle the feathers of illegal downloaders.

As TorrentFreak note, Paramount doesn’t have a record of filing cases against individual file-sharers — although this could change.

The news comes as HBO also teamed up with anti-piracy partner IP Echelon to take a proactive approach to stop people from downloading Game of Thrones.

As part of the plan, HBO has sent letters to ISPs asking them to warn customers they have been flagged for piracy infringements.







The Assault on Writers By Internet Pirates


By Gini Graham Scott

Author, Scammed, Lies and Liars, New Middle Ages


26  MAY 2016


Professional writers are under attack today from all sides. Not only are they being buried by millions of writers writing books and articles for free, celebrities with million dollar book deals, reduced royalties from publishers under siege, and automated software writing simple books and articles, but now book pirates are earning millions from their work. So more and more writers are becoming a dying breed.

I became aware of the problem when I was doing a routine search to see where my name was showing up, since I was up to about 100,000 results on Google. Lo and behold on the fourth page was the link announcing after my name: “download free. Electronic library. Finding books. 15+ items.” When I went to the link, I discovered 18 of my books, with one exception, that indicated “link deleted by legal owner,” all of them could be downloaded as PDFs. The website owner didn’t even remove them after I wrote to their support email, stating in the strongest terms:

“You do not have my permission or my publisher’s permission to upload any of my books and offer them for free. Please be advised that I am making a copy of your pages, and this is to request that you immediately remove any of my books from your site. You are interfering with my ability to make a living as a writer, as well as with the other writers whose books you have copied on your site and are offering for free. I am also bringing this to the attention of members of ASJA (the American Society of Journalists and Authors) and other writers groups, as well as my attorney who will be in touch with you regarding the penalties for copyright infringement and other applicable offenses.” 

Even though I got an email back a few hours later saying “removed,” in fact the titles weren’t, since a friend sent me a PDF he downloaded from the site several hours after I got that message.

After that experience, I soon discovered the pervasiveness of this piracy problem, which is seriously undermining the sales of books and the ability of many writers to make a living. For example, a few major sites brag about the millions of books they have for download, often scanned and uploaded at no charge by a community of so-called bibliophiles who think information on the Internet should be free. And there are hundreds of these sites and millions of people downloading free books.

So far, writers and publishers have done little to combat the problem, apart from sending out the occasional take-down notice and a 2012 lawsuit file by John Wiley against about 20,000 individuals who pirated some of its Dummies books. However, there are numerous ways to actively combat piracy, including filing more lawsuits to go after the site owners, uploaders, and downloaders, and reporting the violations to government agencies that can go after the biggest pirates with criminal penalties.

The damage to the industry and writers is enormous. For example, Attributor, a firm that specializes in monitoring online content, has claimed that book piracy costs the industry nearly $3 billion in sales or over 10 percent of total revenue. In a 2010 study they counted 3.2 million in downloaded books, according to C. Max Magee in an article entitled “Confessions of a Book Pirate”

Even a big raid in January 2012 on the popular cyberlocker headed by CEO Kim Dotcom by U.S. and Hong Kong authorities didn’t make much difference, since other pirates quickly pulled in their own Internet boats to take up the slack. As described in a March 2012 Attributor report: “The World After Megaupload,” during the raid, the authorities seized and shut down 19 related domains and reportedly froze $330 million in assets, and soon after two other sites: and, stopped allowing the public to share hosted files.

Together, these three sites were responsible for about 33 percent of all the pirated books available for free downloading. But soon after, two other sites grew in popularity - Putlocker and Rapidshare, and in the first month after Megaupload went down, the number of available pirated books was up 13 percent. In its report, Attributor also identified the top 20 piracy spots, which included and, with 28 percent of the supply between them. There is even a website that lists the 20 best websites for downloading free e-books which might help the anti-piracy crusaders know where to look. While some of these free e-books might actually be legal, a great many are pirated. And many articles and blogs are pirated too - they are just copied and posted on other sites without permission.

Thus, as a first step, writers and publishers need to become aware of the problem, since many are not. After I started a page at Facebook. I got one e-mail that said: “I didn’t realize this was an issue,” and other writers emailed me to say they felt sick but helpless to learn that many of their books had been uploaded on some piracy sites and there had been thousands of downloads - representing potential sales and income they didn’t receive. So if you have a published book, a good way to start checking is to put your name and the title of your book or article in Google search or other search engine and see what links turn up. You may find that many of these listings are without permission; then you can start the process of sending out take-down notices and even get damages for copyright infringement. The battle against the online pirates is just beginning.


The Australian Business Review

Research backs blocking pirate sites

Chris Griffith  

Technology reporter

Sydney, 20 maggio 2016

The Australian association representing movie houses is stepping up its campaign to block pirate movie sites. It is promoting research that says simultaneously blocking a group of popular piracy sites caused a meaningful decrease in total piracy. The US research also found a significant increase in legal consumption of video content.

But its author, Brett Danaher, a visiting research professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said that if court-ordered blocking was confined to a single website, it did not reduce piracy. Users simply increased visits to other unblocked piracy sites or found technical ways to circumvent the block.

Promotion of the research by The Australian Screen Association follows legal action taken by movie houses and media content providers in Australia against alleged pirate sites.

At least three legal cases are on the books. Village Roadshow and Hollywood Studios are taking aim at SolarMovie. Foxtel is seeking ISP blocks on sites including The Pirate Bay, isoHunt and Torrentz, and the music industry is targeting KickassTorrents. If successful, the court actions could lead to a range of sites being blocked in Australia by internet service providers.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University analysed the theatrical revenue and the availability of pirate leaks for 831 movies released in US theatres from 2006 through 2013. They found that without piracy, box office revenue would have been 14-15 per cent higher.

And although the promotional effect of piracy did increase box office revenue by an average of 1.5 per cent, the promotional impact of piracy was outweighed by the cannibalisation effect.

Dr Danaher told The Australian he understood the frustration of viewers unable to access content available in other countries, such as US TV episodes broadcast in Australia months later, if at all.

“If content is not being made available in legal channels, it’s going to be harder for anti-piracy actions to have much effect. On the other hand, no matter how available you make the content in legal channels, if piracy is free and isn’t discouraged, then you’re effectively competing with a completely free good.”

He cited other US research that found that if you reduced the windows: the time between the US release of a movie and its foreign release, you would also reduce piracy. “It also increases legal sales of that movie, But at the same time, it doesn’t eliminate all piracy.”

He said wholesale shutdowns of sites such as Megaload in 2012 were effective “but there may not be a lot of taste for that”. “But there were many countries implementing website blocking.”

Dr Danaher said he had studied company and government strategies to address piracy in the US and none were effective on their own. “Each one of these has an impact on a marginal number of consumers who are on the fence between whether to pirate or whether to acquire legally. A number of strategies in conjunction is likely to be the best answer here.”

One strategy was manipulation of search results. Research found that listing legal sites above illegal ones had “a huge impact” as to how people acquired movies. Companies such as Google and Microsoft had a role to play.

The advent of Netflix and other streaming services also had helped reduce piracy. He cited the case of Hulu in the US. One network that added its content to Hulu had a 25 per cent reduction in piracy. But at least 75 per cent of piracy of that content remained.

Paul Muller, executive chairman of the Australian Screen Association, said solving piracy “was not a one trick pony”. “We know as an industry we have to make it easy for people to access content”.

“Nine of the top 10 movies last year were released in Australia on the same day or before the US. The idea that movies are not accessible early in Australia is no longer true.

“The majority of TV shows, particularly all the bigger ones, are fast-tracked. Game of Thrones recently was fast-tracked. It was shown on Foxtel at 10am, less than an hour after it aired in the US.” He said the association had invested in educational modules that taught the value of copyright in primary schools.

Mr Muller meanwhile didn’t dismiss the concept of “zones” when it came to the new 4K Blu-ray disk format being rolled out. “I’m not quite sure if there is zoning but for films people buy rights for certain territories to distribute that and they are entitled to that.”