The BitTorrent community used to think that law enforcement had better things to do than hunt them down, but that all changed in mid-2005, when US-based EliteTorrents was raided by the FBI and ICE. The site had over 130,000 users, and was run by a small number of dedicated staff, including one 19 year-old who recently spoke about the ordeal. He gives a peek inside the first big Torrent bust of what has become an ongoing war on piracy for US law enforcement.
It’s a fact of life: Pirates be pirating. As a defence against having their intellectual properties swiped, cracked and traded online like so many baseball cards, a lot of companies have turned to Digital Right Management; a move that seldom does more than temporarily slow pirates and enrage paying customers. Fortunately, there’s a growing number of non-DRM related options out there for developers and software vendors to explore that’ll stymy piracy while respect the rights of their paying users. Read on for more!
All the fire and brimstone rhetoric following the MegaUpload shutdown makes it seem like there was no legitimate use for the site. Despite that image, thousands of users were using MegaUpload to store and share their own files, which have now been lost. In response, Pirate Parties in several countries are putting together a list of affected users in preparation for a lawsuit against the FBI.
If DRM was a Disney film character, it'd be Scar from The Lion King. It harms innocent folks, lets the riff-raff pillage and plunder as they please, and somehow magically causes widespread deforestation/drought over the course of a couple months. And yet, it's still king of the copy protection jungle – especially where developers like Ubisoft are concerned. So, what's wrong with the world? Paradox Interactive CEO Fred Wester thinks he knows, but that definitely doesn't mean he likes it.
CD Projekt Red has called off its witch hunt for…. pirates, and in an open letter to the community is asking for forgiveness. Just in-case you missed the back story, CD Projekt Red is the development studio behind The Witcher 2, and about one month ago, set off on a campaign to hunt down everyone they suspected of pirating the game. Making pirates cough up cash for stolen software sounds reasonable enough; the real controversy was in the tactics they used to collect. Threatening letters asking for money in exchange for legal immunity might have sounded like a great idea to a bunch of cash strapped PC exclusive developers, however in the real world we often give this strategy a different name, extortion.
Big media isn’t used to losing a fight, but then again this is the Internet we are talking about here. The much despised SOPA censorship bill introduced by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith seems to have completely stalled, which according to The Hill is due to a lack of consensus. If you are one of the countless thousands who called your local officials to lodge complaints, sent old fashioned mail, or even just complained in online forums give yourself a pat on the back, somebody heard you.
Bad news for Brits: you too can be punished for violating U.S. copyright law! Richard O'Dwyer, a 23 year old student at Sheffield Hallam University, created the TVShack.net website, which U.S. officials claim linked to illegal movie and TV show files. Not hosted; just linked. Today, the Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled that O’Dwyer could be extradited to the U.S. and brought to trial for copyright infringement.
The original Crysis didn't exactly give piracy a nanosuit-powered sock to the face, and Crysis 2 doesn't appear to be faring much better. TorrentFreak's annual report pegs the not-quite-as-PC-melting sequel at 3,920,000 downloads. Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, meanwhile, wouldn't even stop nipping at each other's throats while someone robbed them blind -- coming in at 3,650,000 and 3,510,000 downloads, respectively. And, because even keeping PC gaming as we know it from face-planting and flat-lining isn't worth some brand loyalty, Valve's Portal 2 also made the list with 3,240,000 downloads. Which is all our way of saying: 2012 Mayan dieties, we humbly offer the world's supply of PC pirates in exchange for the continued existence of the rest of, er, existence. Huh, what's that about a swirling abyss of pain and torment? Oh no, you won't hear any objections from us.
The torrent watching website YouHaveDownloaded.com is still astounding us with its hypocrisy-revealing powers. A new search of the site, which tracks IP addresses pulling copyrighted material from a few public BitTorrent trackers, confirms that the U.S. House of Representatives is quite the hotbed of piracy at the same time it’s working to pass the much-maligned Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
PC Gamer, Maximum PC's sister site devoted to, well, PC gamers, posted an interesting piece about CD Projekt RED going after software pirates in Germany and threatening legal action to anyone who refuses the settlement offer. In this day and age of BitTorrent, this is hardly unusual, but what's interesting here is that CD Projeckt RED claims it's able to successfully identify pirates of the game The Witcher 2 with 100 percent accuracy.