Archive for the ‘BitTorrent’ Category
One of the more incredible allegations about Prenda Law—the porn copyright-trolling operation that sued people for downloading movies online—was that the lawyers behind it might have created and uploaded some of the porn in question simply as a way to catch more offenders.
As a financial strategy, this made a certain amount of sense. After all, when suing on behalf of a client, you pass most of the settlement money on to them; sue on your own and you can keep it all.
But it's not a great look in a court of law, especially when you go out of your way to purposely conceal the arrangement through a complex maze of shell companies and offshore entities. This is the sort of behavior that might lead to disbarment or even a prison cell. Not even obvious boundary pushers like Prenda's John Steele and Paul Hansmeier would run this kind of a crazy risk... would they?
We covered a ton of legal cases in 2016.
The entire Apple encryption saga probably grabbed the gold medal in terms of importance. However, our coverage of a California fisherman who took a government science buoy hostage was definitely our favorite. The case was dropped in May 2016 after the fisherman gave the buoy back.
Among others, we had plenty of laser strike cases to cover. There were guilty verdicts and sentencing in the red-light camera scandal that consumed Chicago. The Federal Trade Commission settled its lawsuit with Butterfly Labs, a failed startup that mined Bitcoins. A man in Sacramento, California, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful manufacture of a firearm and one count of dealing firearms—he was using a CNC mill to help people make anonymous, untraceable AR-15s.
It took nearly 10 years, but authorities have finally targeted and taken down What.cd, which had risen to become the Internet's largest invite-only, music-trading torrent site.
The news was confirmed by the tracker's official Twitter account on Thursday via two posts: "We are not likely to return any time soon in our current form. All site and user data has been destroyed. So long, and thanks for all the fish."
Lawyers for Artem Vaulin, the alleged head of KickassTorrents (KAT), recently attempted to get criminal copyright infringement charges against their client tossed. Last week, however, prosecutors fired back. In a court filing from last Friday, authorities argued that Vaulin should not even be allowed to file a motion to dismiss until he makes a formal appearance in federal court in Chicago, where the case is underway.
Vaulin was arrested in Poland in July, where he now awaits extradition to the United States. KAT was the world’s largest BitTorrent distribution site before it was shuttered by authorities earlier this year. Prosecutors have alleged that KAT unlawfully distributed more than $1 billion worth of copyrighted materials.
After Vaulin makes an appearance, his legal team can refile a motion to dismiss. At that point, prosecutors wrote, the motion should be denied anyway as the defense’s primary theory—that there is no such law that prohibits secondary criminal copyright infringement—is bunk.
A legal flap between Warner Bros. and a Hollywood talent agency once again shows that Hollywood insiders are leaking pre-release movies to BitTorrent file-sharing sites.
The latest evidence is spelled out in a copyright infringement lawsuit (PDF) brought this week by Warner Bros. against talent agency Innovative Artists.
The studio claims Innovative Artists effectively set up its own pirate site of DVD screeners and other movie rips on a shared Google drive folder. This, according to the lawsuit, led to watermarked screener copies of Creed and Heart of the Sea being uploaded to file-sharing sites.
The pirate who in December leaked The Revenant and The Peanuts Movie days ahead of their US releases has been ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution to 20th Century Fox and was also handed eight months of home confinement, federal prosecutors said.
The defendant, William Morarity of the Los Angeles suburb of Lancaster, was working for an undisclosed studio lot when he unlawfully accessed watermarked, screener versions of the films and uploaded them to a private BitTorrent site "Pass the Popcorn," according to his guilty plea (PDF). The Revenant was downloaded more than 1 million times and The Peanuts Movie more than 220,000 times, according to court documents. (PDF)
Deirdre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, said the defendant's behavior is a killer of creativity and jobs. "Mr. Morarity used his position of trust to gain access to sensitive intellectual property, then shared that content online and incurred large-scale losses to the owner of that property," Fike said. "The theft of intellectual property—in this case, major motion pictures—discourages creative incentive and affects the average American making ends meet in the entertainment industry."
Federal authorities announced Wednesday the arrest of the alleged mastermind of KickassTorrents, the world’s largest BitTorrent distribution site. As of this writing, the site is still up.
Prosecutors have formally charged Artem Vaulin, 30, of Ukraine, with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
According to a Department of Justice press release sent to Ars, Vaulin was arrested Wednesday in Poland. The DOJ will shortly seek his extradition to the United States.