Some in the music industry may have discovered that it's pointless to beat a dead horse, or in this case, a defunct file sharing service called LimeWire. Mark Gorton, founder of the once immensely popular peer-to-peer file sharing service, settled a copyright infringement suit brought on by more than 30 publishers, including those associated with EMI, Sony, and Vivendi.
A recent Danish study had some interesting things to say about the public's perception of various crimes. No surprise that most offenses are considered by respondents to be socially unacceptable, but in the instance of piracy, 70% of respondents said that it was socially acceptable to some degree. Bad news for a movie and music industry that has spent the last decade leading a war against p2p.
According to TorrentFreak, Google has begun actively censoring file-sharing related terms in their instant and autocomplete services. The Big G had hinted recently that "piracy related" terms would be getting the boot, but we're rather surprised they followed through. From now on, terms like torrent, rapidshare, and utorrent will not show up in autocomplete or instant results. Users will have to actually press enter (the horror!).
This isn't just of concern because you have to completely type in 'Ubuntu torrent' to find your Linux-y goodness. It is also about the fact that Google has assembled a fairly wide variety of words that will trigger the instant search to shut off. It's just like if you were typing a forbidden pornographic term. Google pretends to have no idea what you are talking about until you press enter.
Legitimate companies like BItTorrent Inc and Vodo are also affected by this move. Jamie King, founder of Vodo said in a statement, "Google already showed it will censor for the highest bidder — China Inc. springs to mind. Now it’s doing it for MPAA & Co.” We can't say if this is going to really decrease traffic that much, or that it's going to satisfy the copyright holders. But it does leave a bad taste in many people's mouths. How do you feel about this?
U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood essentially issued a death sentence for LimeWire after finding the peer-to-peer software firm guilty of copyright violations and issuing an injunction against he company in October. The obituary will have to wait.
According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, LimeWire's attorneys have been busy trying to get third-party licensees to fork over a bunch of documents, everything from contracts and royalty payments, to accounting books and internal company communications. One of the firms being targeted is Amazon, though the etailer is reluctant to cooperate.
"Amazon's contention that it need not produce revenue information and communications regarding its agreements with Plaintiffs because these documents are equally obtainable from Plaintiffs is wrong on the facts and the law," attorneys for LimeWire wrote in a statement. "The Subpoena requests documents that could not be within Plaintiffs' possession, e.g. purely internal Amazon communications regarding its licensing agreements with Plaintiffs placed on their copyrighted works."
LimeWire claims it has a right to these documents in order to defend against the RIAA's claim of $1 billion in damages. The argument here is that these documents and internal communications could help determine what took place while negotiating over licensing songs for sale, which "could illuminate Plaintiffs' views as to the true value of their works."
Straight and to the point, BitTorrent Inc. announced that the BitTorrent Mainline and uTorrent client software combine to serve 100 million users every month, TorrentFreak reports.
On any given day, 20 million users from over 220 countries load up one of the clients, while also distributing 400,000 new clients every day. That adds up to a lot of users, and a lot of game demos and Linux distros (and perhaps one or two illicit downloads...).
"This is an exciting day for our team. Our vision is to build a complete technology ecosystem comprised of software, content, and devices designed to connect modern creators with a massive digital audience," BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker said. "This milestone highlights the size of our user base and the power of our software."
Both clients are free, though it's estimated BitTorrent Inc. rakes in millions of dollars each year through the optional installation of an accompanying toolbar.
LimeWire’s future has been in doubt ever since a U.S. federal judge granted the music industry’s shut down request back in October, but today the company confirmed “December 31st 2010 will mark the day when LimeWire shuts its virtual doors for good”. "As a result of our current legal situation, we have no choice but to wind down LimeWire Store operations," a company spokesman said in a prepared statement for Reuters.
LimeWire has been around since 2000 when Mark Gorton swooped in to take the place of Napster, and has been at odds with the music industry ever since. LimeWire has had its day in court many times since then, but defeat after defeat has finally forced them to throw in the towel. At one point the company was making plans to launch a separate legal music service, but even this idea was ultimately scrapped.
I suppose this means the music industry will now turn its attention to Bit Torrent next. Good luck with that one!
Pirate Bay co-founder has other things on his mind than jail time and multi-million dollar fines. Rather than worry about such trivial matters, Sunde has taken to championing a new, uncensored Internet, one that takes the general concept of BitTorrent and applys it to Domain Name System (DNS) lookups.
"By using existing technology for de-centralization together with already having a crew with skilled programmers, communicators, and network specialists, an alternative system is not far away," Sunde wrote in a blog. "We're not going to re-invent the wheel, we're going to build an existing technology as much as possible."
The way it works now, DNS is tasked with translating a site name, like maximumpc.com, with a string of numbers that represent the domain's actual address on the Web, one that computers can read. You can think of it as a telephone number, and ICANN holds the phone book via over a dozen PCs called "Root Servers." These servers contain the IP addresses of all the Top Level Domains (TLDs).
What Sunde wants to do is set up a P2P DNS system to take the place of these centralized root servers, the upshot being it would then be impossible for government agencies to block sites from being looked up.
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, or COICA, was recently passed through committee, and is set to move on to the full Senate. The bill would make it easier for the Justice Department to take domestic websites suspected of copyright infringement offline. It would also empower them to force ISPs to redirect traffic away from foreign infringing sites. But PC World is reporting that Senator Ron Wyden (D) from Oregon has promised to block the measure.
Wyden believes the bill is overreaching and could affect innovation on the internet. He does have the option to block it for now, which likely means the bill is dead in this session of Congress. The bill would have to be reintroduced next year. Opponents and supporters of the bill are both staunch in their positions. Supporters say drastic steps are necessary to combat rampant copyright infringement online. But the detractors believe these tools would be wielded clumsily, and would have the effect of censorship.
The bill was a bipartisan effort, but with the new atmosphere in Washington, it is unclear if the two sides will be able to bring the bill back next session. Do you think COICA is a good idea?
It appears all that good natured DDoS-ing allegedly perpetrated by 4chan forum members has attracted the attention of the FBI. In the last few months, the group known as Anonymous has engaged in attacks on sites for the RIAA, Gene Simmons, the BPI, and other anti-piracy groups. The case may have been kicked into high gear when Anonymous attacked the US Copyright Office site last week.
A DDoS attack is a dead simple proposition. A particular web site is hit with huge amounts of traffic at a predetermined time. This almost always makes the site unreachable by overwhelming the servers. Participating in a DDoS attack could result in felony changes and large fines. In fact, a 23 year old from Ohio was just sentenced to 30 months in prison for (among other things) launching DDoS attacks.
Anonymous has always contended they are fighting for the free flow of information. The group considers the heavy-handed copyright laws to be a form of censorship. Those on the other side of the fence say they are simply trying to rationalize stealing content over p2p networks. Should members of Anonymous be prosecuted?
Things weren't looking so well for LimeWire, the peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing service the RIAA managed to shut down via a court order last month. But according to TorrentFreak.com, a secret development team has gone and brought LimeWire back from the dead, while adding a few changes in the process.
"On October 26 the remaining LimeWire developers were forced to shut down the company's servers and modify remote settings in the file sharing client to try to harm the Gnutella network. There were then laid off," a source told TorrentFreak.
"Shortly after, a horde of piratical monkeys climbed aboard the abandoned ship, mended its sails, polished its cannons, and released it free to the community."
The latest version, blatantly known as LimeWire Pirate Edition, is making the rounds via BitTorrent. TorrentFreak's name-less source says the new version differs from the original in that all dependencies on LimeWire LLC's servers have been removed, remote settings have been disabled, the Ask toolbar unbundled, and all features of LimeWire Pro have been activated for free. There's also no adware or spyware, basically leaving the core app without all the cruft, or so the source says. It also underscores the never ending battle between the MPAA/RIAA and file sharing community.
While this new version wastes no time beating around the bush, the real LimeWire founder (Mark Gorton) has been trying to reach a settlement agreement with the RIAA and music labels to turn LimeWire into a legit music distribution service, laying off 30 percent of its workforce in the process.