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Major US Sports Leagues Identify Foreign Pirate Streaming Threats 2019-02-11 19:40:13

When online piracy first hit the masses with Napster, Limewire, and later torrent sites, it wasn’t really a concern for sports leagues.

Most sports fans want to see their favorite players or teams live, not a day later when they already know the result.

Over the past years, live-streaming piracy has caught up with traditional media piracy. Pretty much every significant sports event can now be seen for free, through streaming websites or dedicated pirate set-top boxes.

This means that sports leagues have also taken an interest in anti-piracy enforcement. This became apparent once again last week when the Sports Coalition, which represents MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and others,  sent an overview of piracy threats to the US Trade Representative (USTR).

The submission is part of the annual Special 301 Review, where the USTR uses input from various stakeholders to make a list of countries that could do more to protect the copyright industry. According to the Sports Coalition, live-streaming is one of the threats that should be highlighted.

“Sports organizations, including Sports Coalition members, are heavily affected by live sports telecast piracy, including the unauthorized live retransmission of sports telecasts over the Internet,” the submission reads.

Live streaming piracy is a persistent problem, according to the sports leagues, but also a global one. It involves “bad actors” in a wide variety of countries, they note.

“Pirate services and those complicit with them (such as content distribution networks and hosting services) are believed to be located in many nations including the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

The six mentioned countries are the worst offenders, the Sports Coalition writes, urging the US Government to take appropriate action in response. The Netherlands and Saudi Arabia deserve priority, they say, due to the prevalence or severity of the piracy problem in these countries.

The sports leagues identify several “infringing services” in the Netherlands, which contribute to the streaming piracy problem.

These include sportshd.me, strikezone.co, wiz1.net, vip7stream.pw, livebar.ow, 9stream.pw, ucasterplayer.com, Quasi Networks, Severius Holding, Leaseweb, Server Hosting Pty, and SNEL, which either pirated or provided services contributing to the piracy of a material number of Sports Coalition game and event telecasts.

This overview includes dedicated streaming sites and services, but also general purpose hosting providers. Leaseweb is an example of the latter. While the company may indeed have bad apples among its clients, it has many legitimate customers as well.

We see the same pattern with other countries, where both dedicated streaming platforms as well as hosting companies are mentioned among the infringing services.

Saudi Arabia is an outlier in this regard. The Sports Coalition mentions that the country deserves a priority mention because of BeoutQ. This service operates as a commercial venture offering “pirate “sports broadcasts through dedicated boxes.

“During 2018, an Infringing Service, beoutQ, operating either in whole or in part in Saudi Arabia pirated Sports Coalition game and event telecasts via unauthorized IPTV streaming devices and the beoutQ.se website,” the Sports Coalition writes.

BeoutQ is a thorn in the side of many other rightsholders as well. It launched in 2017 and for more than a year, various parties have tried to stop the infringing activity. 

The service is also mentioned in several other USTR submissions, including the one from Sky, which links it to ArabSat and the Saudi Arabian government.

“[T]he speed of proliferation of the illegal beoutQ service is particularly alarming, as is the evidence suggesting that the Riyadh based satellite operator, ArabSat, whose main shareholder is the Saudi Arabian government, provides satellite services to enable beoutQ’s distribution,” Sky writes.

Given the sheer volume of mentions, live-streaming piracy will likely end up in USTR’s 2019 Special 301 Review, which is expected to be released in a few weeks.

A copy of the Sports Coalition’s submission for USTR’s 2019 Special 301 Review is available here (pdf) and Sky’s version can be found here (pdf).

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Article 13 Negotiations Move Ahead, Artists Slam Labels For Disrespecting Them 2019-02-11 10:36:26

As the saga over the EU’s controversial Article 13 continues, new fronts of agreement and countering disapproval are appearing all the time.

As reported last week, a deal agreed between Germany and France emerged as a potential way forward for the legislation.

The skeleton of the agreement requires Internet platforms to license content from copyright holders. If that is not possible, they should ensure that infringing content is taken down and not re-uploaded to their services.

Previously, the size and nature of the platforms to be affected remained unclear, but the deal laid down clarified that platforms over three years old with more than five million visitors, with a turnover of more than 10 million euros would be subject to the legislation.

Those under these thresholds would be excluded but still required to obtain content licenses. Re-upload prevention would not be required, however.

On Friday and despite opposition from Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Malta and Slovakia, the governments of the EU agreed that they will move forward on the basis of this France – Germany deal.

Pirate MEP Julia Reda described the deal as “the worst version of Article 13 yet”, sentiments that appear to be broadly shared by the very people who have pushed hardest for the legislation – major music labels, broadcasters, and other content owners.

Also on Friday, IFPI and several other major organizations called for Article 13 to be scrapped entirely, an indication that almost no-one wants what Article 13 has become – despite the EU now pushing ahead.

That being said, another new front appears to have opened in what is becoming an increasingly confused confrontation.

All along, labels, content owners, broadcasters and distributors have claimed that Article 13 is desperately needed to protect artists and other creative talent from piracy of their content. One might presume, therefore, that artists would be singing along with them in objection of Article 13, but that is simply not the case.

In an open letter, the UK Council of Music Makers – comprising the British Academy of Songwriters , Composers & Authors (BASCA), Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), Music Managers Forum (MMF), Music Producers Guild (MPG) and the Musicians’ Union (MU) – are now calling on the EU to go ahead with Article 13, against the wishes of the labels.

“We are the voice of UK songwriters, music producers, performing artists, musicians and music managers. We speak on behalf of thousands of makers of the music this ‘industry’ represents. We speak with one voice with all the creator-led organisations across Europe and around the world in supporting the Copyright Directive,” their letter begins.

“While the current text could be improved and still includes some problematic provisions, it is a compromise. At every step of this process the creative community has sought compromise and been open to dialogue.”

While labels, publishers, and distributors now want Article 13 scrapped, it is seen as a savior by the above groups, enabling them to get “fair remuneration in the online environment.”

That their partners at the labels and publishers don’t want it now is clearly baffling to them and they air their displeasure in no uncertain terms. In fact, the open-letter tearing into the labels is scathingly unprecedented.

“It is hugely disappointing to see the music labels and publishers disregard the interests of their creators and artists in this way. They are trying to overturn years of collaborative work at the 11th hour by killing the Copyright Directive. Like YouTube, they have lobbied negotiators hard without consulting or informing the creative community. Heavy-handed tactics of heavyweight businesses,” they write.

“The labels and publishers have shown an unsettling disrespect for the talent that they have the privilege of representing, raising serious questions about their suitability to be the custodians of copyright.

“We have worked in tandem with UK Music and colleagues across the industry to find compromise and solutions that enable legislation to pass. This Directive will affect future generations of creators and performers whose interests need protecting beyond the interests of current models,” they add.

That the music industry now appears to be at war with itself over Article 13 is just another twist in what has become an extremely unorthodox process. Nevertheless, matters will press ahead.

“The deal in Council paves the way for a final round of negotiations with the Parliament over the course of [this] week, before the entire European Parliament and the Council vote on the final agreement,” says Julia Reda MEP as she calls on everyone to reject Article 13.

As unlikely at it seems (and even just for a moment), a pirate is in loose agreement with the record labels over Article 13, with artists in disagreement with all. Strange times indeed.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent – 02/11/19 2019-02-11 10:01:51

This week we have two newcomers in our chart.

Robin Hood is the most downloaded movie.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (…) Robin Hood 5.3 / trailer
2 (3) Mortal Engines 6.3 / trailer
3 (1) Bohemian Rhapsody 8.3 / trailer
4 (…) Overlord 6.9 / trailer
5 (2) The Grinch 6.3 / trailer
6 (back) A Star Is Born 7.7 / trailer
7 (5) Aquaman (Subbed HDRip) 7.7 / trailer
8 (9) Venom 7.0 / trailer
9 (7) Bumblebee (Subbed HDRip) 7.2 / trailer
10 (10) Widows 7.2 / trailer

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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