The largest single BitTorrent suit to date doesn't belong to the MPAA or any of Hollywood's major film studios, and instead originates from Axel Braun Productions, a pornography outfit targeting 7,098 John Doe plantiffs, XBizNewswire.com reports.
Their sin? Illegally downloading and sharing "Batman XXX: A Porn Parody." For doing so, Axel Braun, acting as a one man wolf pack, has now waged war with anyone who pirates his porn and had some strong words to go along with the current lawsuit.
"F*** 'em all," Braun said. "People don't realize that when you pirate a movie it hurts all of the people who work very hard to get it produced -- from the cast to the production assistants to the makeup artists. These are people who live paycheck to paycheck, and with 'Batman XXX,' that was a film I financed myself. So we are going after every one of them who pirates our content."
After reading his comments, we can't shake the image of Butthead saying, "Heh, heh... Hey Beavis, he said 'work very hard.'" But we digress. The real point here is that Braun believes that going on a legal rampage against file sharers is a "new form of revenue for adult companies." Really? We suppose that would make him the Rambus of the adult film industry, only Rambus has never actually come out and said it so plainly.
It's no surprise that Limewire is expecting hard times after being forced to shut down their p2p client. What is a bit surprising is their determination to move the company forward and make a place in the already crowded legal music service space. According to All Things D, 30% of Limewire staff got the boot. " Following the court-ordered injunction, we reduced our work force to extend our runway for bringing our new music service to market," said Limewire CEO George Searle.
There is a project already underway at Limewire to distribute music legally. The "Grapevine" service is still an unknown quantity. We don't even know if it will use p2p technology in any way. Whichever way they go, the big labels will have to sign on for it to be a success. Do you think Limewire has a shot, or is it curtains for them?
The mega-billion entity known as Facebook has scooped up most of Drop.io's technology and assets, the file sharing firm announced in a blog post. Sam Lessin, the head of Drop.io and also a former Harvard student (just like Mark Zuckerberg), is making the move to Facebook as well.
"In the coming weeks, we'll be winding down the Drop.io service," the company said. "As of this week, people will no longer be able to create new free drops, but you'll be able to download content from existing drops until December 15. Paid user accounts will still be available through December 15 and paid users will be able to continue using the service normally. After December 15, paid accounts will be discontinued as well."
Drop.io is Facebook's eight acquisition this year and follows the social networking service's trend of snatching up companies primarily for the people involved.
"We have never once bought a company for the company. We buy companies for excellent people," Mark Zuckerberg said at this year's Startup School event at Stanford.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood effectively pulled the plug on LimeWire, issuing a permanent injunction against the company responsible for distributing the file-sharing software. According to Wood, the popular peer-to-peer application caused a "massive scale of infringement" by facilitating illegal file sharing of thousands of copyrighted works.
"While this is not our ideal path, we hope to work with the music industry in moving forward," a LimeWire spokesperson said in a statement. "We look forward to embracing necessary changes and collaborating with the entire music industry in the future."
That may prove easier said than done. Citing un-named "music industry sources," CNet reports that LimeWire founder Mark Gorton has been trying to hammer out a settlement agreement with the RIAA for some time, at one time offering to license music from the top four record companies for Spoon, LimeWire's legal music service. However, Gorton wanted the music labels to agree to let LimeWire operate for a year (or more) while users migrate to Spoon, a notion that ultimately killed any potential deal.
"For the better part of the last decade, LimeWire and Gorton have violated the law," the RIAA said. "The court has now signed an injunction that will start to unwind the massive piracy machine that LimeWire and Gorton used to enrich themselves immensely."
Court ordered damages will be levied following a trial in January.
This week, a Federal Judge in South Dakota sided with ISP Midcontinent and quashed one of the many Hurt Locker subpoenas seeking subscriber information. The ISP had, on August 9, received the subpoena via fax instructing them to hand over the details on people connected to several IP addresses. Midcontinent Decided thatrather than comply, they would take the case to the local Federal Court.
The legal action stems from claims made by the US Copyright Group on behalf of a number of indie movie companies, including Hurt Locker makers Voltage Pictures. This legal group is issuing huge numbers of "Doe" subpoenas to force ISPs to divulge the real identities of those believed to have shared the film online.
While the ISP in question made a number of arguments as to why they should not have to comply, Judge John Simko decided to stop the subpoena right there because of "Federal Rule 45", which addresses how subpoenas must be handled with regard to geographic location. Simko believed that the Subpoena did not fulfill any of the four requirements, so it was quashed. The Judge also more or less called the US Copyright Group lazy for sending the document by fax instead of courier, or registered mail. Do you think this will affect other pending subpoenas in the case?
It turns out that your nosey neighbor isn't the only one interested in that cache of 100 million Facebook profiles that showed up on torrent trackers. Some major companies that you do business with are getting the package as well. By connecting to the torrent and recording IP addresses that are also in the swarm, some have noticed the extent of interest here.
Among the companies seen downloading the data are Apple, Boeing, Church of Scientology, Disney, Intel, Pepsi Cola, Sony, and Viacom. It is worth noting that the mere fact that connections from these companies are present, does not mean this is a sanctioned action. All it means is that someone inside the company is downloading it. But our experience with corporate IT leads us be suspect Pepsi and Disney aren't in the habit of allowing employees to go around downloading torrents on their own.
The Swedish Pirate party announced back in May that they would be providing hosting for torrent site The Pirate Bay. Now they are taking things a step further and are expected to run the site's business from within the Swedish Parliament. The Swedish Constitution, they say, would protect this endeavor with its guarantee of legal immunity for actions undertaken as part of a party's political mandate.
The Pirate Party stresses the issues of government transparency, privacy, free speech, and copyright reform. An election is coming up soon, so much of this could just be political bluster. Still, they sound pretty serious. "We can never accept the copyright industry’s way of systematically and legally harassing anyone who tries to build next-generation industries," said Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge.
It seems The Pirate Bay just won't die, no matter how many battles they lose. There's always someone to clean things up and fill in the missing pieces.
Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a Thursday press conference with the administration's intellectual property enforcement coordinator to outline the government's new strategy to protect the nation's copyright holders. In the speech, the VP did not, in any way, mince words. " But piracy is theft. Clean and simple. It's smash and grab. It ain't no different than smashing a window at Tiffany's and grabbing [merchandise]," said Biden.
The guidelines contain 33 recommendations. One major point is an intention to work with foreign governments to shut down infringing websites. As expected, Hollywood studios applaud the new list of recommendations. The movie and music industries contend that they are losing billions of dollars to piracy, though many have disputed the numbers. Biden also commented that ISPs should be cooperating with entertainment industry efforts to penalize users. He was likely referring to various plans for so-called "three strikes" rules that would result in users being disconnected after repeated accusations of infringement.
The document also discussed more conventional counterfeit product smuggling, but the online piracy talk stole the show. The tone was a little heavy-handed, but we should remember this is basically just a document of ideas. It's unclear what sort of enforcement activities may per pursued. Where do you come down on the issue?
File sharing service Limewire looks to be on its last legs. Late last week, the RIAA filed a motion with the court asking for a permanent injunction against Limewire offering their software. There was a possibility that the Judge could order Limewire shuttered immediately this morning. Instead, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood is giving Limewire two weeks to respond to the motion. At that time, in all likelihood, Limewire will be ordered to close up shop.
It was just last month that Wood found that Limewire and its founder, Mark Gorton, were liable for copyright infringement. Limewire has made significant sums of cash while providing their file sharing software. Limewire's legal counsel asked for an additional two weeks to respond to the motion, but was denied. "We feel a permanent injunction is not the best course of action. It could hold back the creation of new digita-music technologies that LimeWire is in the process of developing..." the company said.
Damages have not yet been awarded, but many expect the judgment could top $1 billion. Is anyone out there still using Limewire's products? How do you feel about the precedent of a company being held liable for copyright infringement committed by users?
Many would argue that Lime Wire has been running on borrowed time for years, but their luck appears to be running out fast. The music industry has asked a New York federal court to shutdown Lime Wire permanently, and they might just get their way this time based on the summary judgment leveled against them last month. "Every day that Lime Wire's conduct continues unabated guarantees harm to plaintiffs that money damages cannot and will not compensate," RIAA lawyers wrote to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. "The scope of the infringements that Lime Wire induced...boggles the mind."
Representatives from Lime Wire and the RIAA are scheduled to meet before the judge on Monday, but failing any last minute plea bargains, they could potentially be given a final date by which they must fully cease operations. Despite the gloomy prospects for Lime Wire's future a spokeswoman for the company claims "We are looking forward to an opportunity to address the Court for the first time in two years and show that as a matter of fact and law there is no support for this motion."
The RIAA's primary focus at this point is shutting down the service once and for all, but they are also starting to get concerned that Lime Wire's founder Mark Gorton has been squirreling away the Lime Wire profits into "family partnerships". With liability running into the "hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars", the RIAA could find itself raiding an empty cash drawer by the time they finally finish shutting down the service.