Site Blocking Gaining Steam Globally as Anti-Piracy Measure

A U.S. district judge in New York has established a new front in the anti-piracy war, ruling that a long list of domestic ISPs must block three Israeli websites found to be in violation of copyright law. Judge Katherine Polk Failla ordered the ISPs to block the sites Israeli-TV.com, Israel.tv and Sdarot.tv, and also any domains known to be “used in the future … by any technological means available.” Also affected are web hosting service providers, web designers, domain registrars and advertising companies, now banned from doing business with the sites. Continue reading Site Blocking Gaining Steam Globally as Anti-Piracy Measure

The Death of Day-and-Date Theatrical and Streaming Releases

National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian proclaimed the end of day-and-date streaming and theatrical releases in an address at CinemaCon 2022, which wraps today in Las Vegas. “I am pleased to announce that simultaneous release is dead as a serious business model, and piracy is what killed it,” Fithian declared Tuesday during his state-of-the-industry address. “When a pristine copy of a movie makes its way online and spreads, it has a very damaging impact.” Motion Picture Association chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said that pre-release piracy reduces box office revenue by as much as 20 percent. Continue reading The Death of Day-and-Date Theatrical and Streaming Releases

SMART Copyright Act Updates DMCA in Fight Against Piracy

Senators Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) introduced the SMART Copyright Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation they say will “hold tech accountable by developing effective, widely-available measures to combat copyright theft.” While intellectual property owners see the proposal as a positive step to protect creators, critics view it as a potential threat to free speech. Essentially an update to 1998’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act, SMART allows the U.S. Copyright Office to create standard technical measures (STMs) to protect rightsholders through a filtering system implemented by online hosting platforms. Continue reading SMART Copyright Act Updates DMCA in Fight Against Piracy

VPN Unlimited Settles with U.S. Filmmakers in BitTorrent Suit

VPN Unlimited has agreed to block BitTorrent traffic via sites such as The Pirate Bay as well as access to online pirate services on U.S. servers. The move is part of a settlement in a federal lawsuit brought by a consortium of independent film production companies. The complaint alleges that VPN Unlimited’s subsidiary KeepSolid Inc. has perpetuated widespread copyright infringement. BitTorrent sites YTS and RARBG are also targeted in the settlement. By failing to disconnect repeat offenders, VPN and KeepSolid are accused of encouraging copyright infringement. Continue reading VPN Unlimited Settles with U.S. Filmmakers in BitTorrent Suit

Global Movie Piracy Skyrockets with Day-and-Date Releases

When the opening weekend of “Black Widow” fell below expectations, theater owners were suspicious that it didn’t match the well-attended Thursday night preview. That’s because, as reported by TorrentFreak, “Black Widow” was the most pirated movie in the world for three weeks following its July 9 debut. Likewise, pirated copies of “The Suicide Squad,” “Jungle Cruise” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” proliferated shortly after their releases, shooting to the top of The Pirate Bay and LimeTorrents, two popular piracy websites. Continue reading Global Movie Piracy Skyrockets with Day-and-Date Releases

Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

Netflix now blocks residential IP addresses in its efforts to stymie VPN and proxy users from bypassing geographical restrictions. But some ordinary Internet users without a VPN have been impacted and now report “missing content” on Netflix. When Netflix began this crackdown six years ago, it was in response to copyright holders complaining about piracy. But the ban hit a lot of legitimate VPN users and VPN pirates found other ways to get around geographic blocking including using residential IP addresses as proxies. Continue reading Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

Netflix Running Test to Curb Unauthorized Password Sharing

Netflix is reportedly considering a move to enforce one of its terms of service: that a customer’s account credentials cannot be shared with individuals beyond the account holder’s household. The company recently introduced a limited test that displays a warning that reads, “if you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” It next prompts viewers with three options: to get an email or text verification code to authenticate the account, click on a button to verify later, or sign up for a new account. Continue reading Netflix Running Test to Curb Unauthorized Password Sharing

Spotify to Introduce Hi-Fi Option, Paid Podcast Subscriptions

Spotify will debut a Hi-Fi option later this year, the company announced during its recent “Stream On” presentation. Chief executive and co-founder Daniel Ek also revealed that the company paid $5 billion in royalties during 2020, and chief content officer Dawn Ostroff added that, over the last four years, 800+ recording artists have made more than $1 million a year in recording and publishing, up over 82 percent. About 7,500 artists made more than $100,000 a year, up 79 percent. Spotify also announced that it will launch paid podcast subscriptions. Continue reading Spotify to Introduce Hi-Fi Option, Paid Podcast Subscriptions

MPAA Reports on Threat of Geolocation Piracy to Streaming

The Motion Picture Association submitted comments to the U.S. Trade Representative stating that VPNs, DNS masks and Tor networks can be a direct threat to legitimate streaming services. MPAA membership has been limited to top Hollywood studios such as Disney and Warner Bros. but that changed last year when Netflix joined. The mission, however, remains the same, which is to deter global piracy. The association goes after copyright infringers, be they site owners or app developers, and is also involved in lobbying. Continue reading MPAA Reports on Threat of Geolocation Piracy to Streaming

Facebook Detects Malware That Was Being Used for Ad Fraud

Facebook shut down malware out of China that stole user credentials to serve ads for diet pills, sexual health products and counterfeit goods including designer handbags, shoes and sunglasses. The hackers used the consumer’s associated payment method to purchase the ads, at the cost to victims of $4 million. The social media company first exposed these attacks in 2018 and traced them to ILikeAd Media International, filing a civil suit against the firm and the two Chinese nationals who allegedly developed the malware. Continue reading Facebook Detects Malware That Was Being Used for Ad Fraud

Release of ‘Tenet’ Could Be a Bellwether for Movie Exhibitors

Major Hollywood movies are finally being released in movie theaters, with “The New Mutants,” which had a $70+ million budget, and director Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” a $200 million thriller. But it’s still unclear how many people in the U.S. feel safe enough to go inside. Abroad, “Tenet” raked in $53 million on its opening day weekend from 41 global markets, a source of optimism for Warner Bros. (the film opens in the U.S. and China this week). Pirates have been foiled, meanwhile, fooled into downloading fake torrents of the blockbuster. Continue reading Release of ‘Tenet’ Could Be a Bellwether for Movie Exhibitors

International Agencies Arrest Members of Global Piracy Ring

Three members of the Sparks Group, a sophisticated global piracy ring, were arrested on federal charges of international piracy of movies and TV shows distributed online prior to their release dates, said acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss. British citizen George Bridi was arrested in Cyprus, American Jonatan Correa was arrested in Olathe, Kansas and a third man, Umar Ahmad of Norway, is still being sought. TorrentFreak founder Ernesto van der Sar said, “the charges are significant.” Continue reading International Agencies Arrest Members of Global Piracy Ring

Pirate IPTV Subscription Services Now a $1+ Billion Industry

Digital Citizens Alliance and NAGRA released a joint report revealing that illegal piracy subscription services — Internet Protocol Television (PS IPTV) — are now a $1+ billion industry. “Money for Nothing” describes an ecosystem of retailers and wholesalers enabled by legal businesses and consumed by at least nine million U.S. households. The report also looks into its infrastructure, supply chain, and ad-supported business models. Piracy injures consumers via malware among other risks. Continue reading Pirate IPTV Subscription Services Now a $1+ Billion Industry

Hollywood Uses Streaming Analytics to Collect Audience Data

As Hollywood studios and streaming companies create more content, they are increasingly turning to data to determine how to hit the mark, even for smaller projects aimed at targeted audiences. A number of companies are developing new models for measurements. One such provider is Pilotly, a Silicon Valley startup that provides streaming analytics and audience surveys to help producers create content that attracts viewers. Among its clients are NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and Netflix. This kind of high-tech approach replaces the traditional focus groups and test screenings. Continue reading Hollywood Uses Streaming Analytics to Collect Audience Data

Parrot Analytics Develops a New Model for Streaming Metrics

Measuring the success of streaming video content has been challenging, but startup Parrot Analytics said it has created a solid metric — which it dubs Demand Expressions (DEx) — that not only counts viewers but also their levels of enthusiasm. From that data, the company said it can also extract information to accurately determine how many subscribers the show will attract. Chief executive Wared Seger noted the challenge of creating a “new standard” that will measure across “different shows, on different platforms, at different times.” Continue reading Parrot Analytics Develops a New Model for Streaming Metrics