“Yes we are responsible for the attack on #RT_com,” read a tweet from AntiLeaks Monday. The same hackers previously used a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in August of 2012 during the debut episode of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s show on RT. Did you miss us? #RT — Anti Leaks (@AntiLeaks) June 3, 2013 Hackers often use DDoS attacks to disable websites by fabricating Internet traffic and overwhelming a site’s hosting service, which is what happened in this case. “This is a continuation of our protest against RT.com for their support of the traitor Bradly Manning and cyber terrorist Julian Assange who I need to remind your viewers once threatened to release a ‘thermonuclear device’ of government files containing the names of spies, sources, and informants if he’s killed or brought to trial,” AntiLeaks wrote in an email to journalist Michael Rusch. Yes we are responsible for the attack on #RT_Com. If you’ve been following our twitter you should already know this. #AntiLeaks — Anti Leaks (@AntiLeaks) June 3, 2013 Monday’s leak coincides with the first day of the Bradley Manning trial, with the AntiLeaks spokesman referring to Manning, who risked his life to reveal atrocities carried out by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a “coward.” AntiLeaks has previously described Assange as “a new breed of terrorist” and warned him Monday that “you will see your final days here in America.” This attack however, like the one last year, did not impede RT’s ongoing coverage of the Manning trial or the protests in Turkey. I’m tired of Watching RT. *Turns off the TV* @rt_com #AntiLeaks — Anti Leaks (@AntiLeaks) June 3, 2013 The AntiLeaks hackers also make reference to RT’s announcement that the number of people who have watched our coverage has exceeded one billion. @rt_com I’m sorry I spoiled your “1 Billion Views’ Special Program” parading around a bunch of terrorists (cont) tl.gd/n_1rkkolg — Anti Leaks (@AntiLeaks) June 3, 2013 Little information can be gleaned on AntiLeaks aside from the organization’s Twitter feed, though its few dozen tweets over the course of nearly a year are peppered with patriotic American lines like “Semper Fi,” the motto of the US Marine Corps. Various blogs have speculated the group is made up of staff from the National Security Agency, the decades-old, fabled intelligence organization only made public under the George W. Bush administration, or computer experts affiliated with the NSA. One tweet, sent after AntiLeaks disabled WikiLeaks’ website in August 2012, reveals little more. “You can call me DietPepsi,” the message read. “I am the leader of AntiLeaks. We are not doing this to call attention to ourselves. We are young adults, citizens of the United States of America and are deeply concerned about the recent developments with Julian Assange and his attempt at Asylum in Ecuador.” …
For many years it was relatively easy to fund file-sharing sites. There were a number of options available, from advertising and affiliate schemes, to straightforward PayPal-type donations.
While all of these mechanisms still exist today, there has been a tightening of restrictions.
Pressure is being applied to advertisers like never before and outfits such as PayPal are clamping down on payment processing for file-sharing sites. Unless they successfully pass through PayPal’s pre-approval system, facilities can be withdrawn in an instant.
File-hosting sites have suffered a great deal from this new regime too, and the signs are that private torrent sites – who rely heavily on donations – are also feeling the pain. Both are generally unwelcome to do business with PayPal and the signs are that companies such as Mastercard and Visa are also hardening their stances too.
However, as these forces come into play, sites are looking to augment their income by other means and as we’ve seen recently the crypto-currency BitCoin is appearing more regularly on file-sharing sites and services.
More and more VPN and seedbox companies are accepting BitCoin payments and last week The Pirate Bay added their BitCoin link to the site’s main page.
The site has never accepted donations from its users but the decision to add this anonymous chip-in option has turned out well. In just seven days the site has received a total of 174 Bitcoin donation transactions with a value today of around $2,000, a decent amount that could stretch out to more than $100,000 over the next 12 months.
While BitCoin (BTC) is definitely the number one player in the crypto-currency market, there are other options, some of which claim technical improvements over BTC making them more usable on a day to day basis. The Pirate Bay has just added donation support for one such currency – LiteCoin.
LiteCoin is a peer-to-peer currency based on the BitCoin protocol and is the number two player in the market. One LTC is currently worth just over $3.70, a far cry from a single BTC’s value of around $140 at the time of writing.
Nevertheless, according to its creators LiteCoin (LTC) boasts a couple of advantages. Unlike BitCoin, LiteCoin can still be mined on consumer hardware, and where BitCoin transaction times can sit between ten minutes and an hour, LTC takes a couple of minutes.
At the time of writing The Pirate Bay had received 50.6 LTC so getting rich by this mechanism will take a considerable time yet. Still, it’s money they would’ve never had and when added to the BitCoins already coming in it helps to pay the bills.
The question now is that considering the building pressure from authorities and payment processing companies, how long will it take for currencies such as BitCoin and LiteCoin to become a viable means of keeping file-sharing sites alive. Adaption and evolution in response to aggressive market forces isn’t only something that entertainment industry companies have to think about.
Know a torrent or file-sharing related site that accepts BitCoin, LiteCoin or similar currency? Please let us know.
Source: As BitCoins Roll In, The Pirate Bay Adds Support For LiteCoin Donations
PayPal is widely known for their aggressive stance towards BitTorrent sites, Usenet providers and file-hosting services, and now this policy has also been actively applied to a VPN provider.
PayPal has stopped providing service to the Germany based VPN provider GT Guard. In addition, all the company’s funds have been frozen.
GT Guard is a relatively small provider with about 450 active users, 90% of whom pay through PayPal. The company targets BitTorrent users who use the VPN and proxy service to download anonymously while bypassing throttling Internet providers.
GT Guard’s owner Mike was taken by surprise by PayPal’s decision as he is merely providing an anonymizing service to his customers. Initially PayPal stated that GT Guard violated the terms of service because it linked to adult sites but later on its affiliation with BitTorrent became a problem.
In an email received yesterday, PayPal’s Brand Risk Management department explains that “file-sharing, BitTorrent and Usenet websites, as well as similar services, require prior approval from PayPal.”
This policy has been in force since last year and has resulted in PayPal banning many file-sharing related services. However, the same strict demands generally don’t apply to a VPN provider.
During a previous phone conversation GT Guard explained to the payment processor that they were merely offering security services. In addition, the VPN/proxy provider also offered PayPal full access to the VPN and proxy. However, none of the above changed PayPal’s position.
GT Guard’s owner tells TorrentFreak that he would like to continue the service but that payment issues will most likely result in an exodus of customers.
This is not the first time that PayPal has gone after a BitTorrent-friendly VPN provider. Last year TorGuard was also banned but after a careful review PayPal decided that this was a mistake and eventually restored service.
Whether the action against GT Guard represents the early stages of a new crackdown on privacy services or is simply an isolated incident remains to be seen.
Source: PayPal Bans BitTorrent VPN / Proxy Service
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As one of the largest file-sharing sites on the Internet, Hotfile has become a prime target for Hollywood.
Two years ago the inevitable finally happened when the MPAA filed a lawsuit against the file-hosting service. Since then there have been dozens of court filings and Hotfile even sued MPAA member Warner Bros. right back for allegedly abusing its copyright takedown tools.
The case is now heading towards trial later this year but the bickering in court hasn’t stopped.
The MPAA is using its recent win against BitTorrent site isoHunt to insist that Hotfile does not qualify for safe harbor protections. In the United States, safe harbor protects service providers from being held liable for copyright infringements carried out by their users, but this right doesn’t apply when certain conditions are met.
One of these conditions is “red flag” knowledge, a situation where it is obvious that the service provider is assisting people in pirating copyrighted material. In isoHunt’s case the court raised a “red flag” because the site owner pointed users to “obviously” copyright infringing material in the forums and according to the MPAA something similar happened in Hotfile’s case.
The MPAA points out that Hotfile received and in many cases responded to hundreds of user requests for technical support, where users were downloading files with names referencing popular movies and television programs.
Hotfile disputes this in a filing of its own by pointing out that it’s far from obvious that certain titles were infringing. They note that 50% of the files were uploaded exclusively for personal storage, meaning they would fall under fair use. Hotfile further points out that some file names were rather ambiguous and that many artists and studios uploaded content themselves.
“Here there is no evidence that Hotfile ‘actively encouraged infringement’ or ‘solicited and assisted’ with ‘particular copyrighted works’ that were ‘obviously’ ‘both copyrighted and not licensed’,” the file-hosting service replies.
The MPAA responded to some of Hotfile’s arguments, pointing again to the recent isoHunt ruling (Fung II). The movie studios did not respond to the fair use argument, or the suggestion that some files were uploaded by copyright holders themselves.
“As for ‘red flag’ knowledge, Fung II’s holding that it is objectively obvious that ‘current and well-known’ movies and television programs are not ‘licensed to random members of the public’ is in all respects identical to this case.”
“There as here, the names of the files made obvious that they represented copyrighted content, and Hotfile’s attempt to distract the Court by pointing to a small number of ‘closer calls’ is no defense with respect to the vast number of instances presenting no such ambiguity,” MPAA writes.
The MPAA further told the court that under the isoHunt decision it can be argued that Hotfile doesn’t qualify for safe harbor protection because it substantially influenced the (infringing) actions of users through the affiliate system.
“Here, Hotfile’s payments to users to upload content, including infringing content, are precisely the kind of ‘substantial influence’ that, under Fung II, would disqualify a defendant from the safe harbor when the ‘financial benefit’ prong is also met,” MPAA states.
Hotfile responded to this claim by pointing out that MPAA previously stated that it reserved this issue for trial, and the file-hosting service added that their top affiliates were legitimate software distributors.
“Hotfile’s affiliate program does not have a ‘substantial influence’ over infringement, because ‘popular’ does not equal infringing: the top paid affiliates were selling open source software and the Studios’ allegedly infringed content was not even among the top 100 most downloaded files on the site,” Hotfile writes.
The latest standoff in court once again shows that both sides have totally different views on virtually every aspect of the case.
The trial is currently scheduled to start in September but it’s still not clear what will be at stake. The MPAA wants Hotfile to be shut down as soon as possible and there are still several motions for default judgment pending.
The judge now has to decide how to go forward. Whatever the outcome, the case is expected to set an important precedent for the future of similar cloud hosting services that operate in the United States.
Source: MPAA: “Red Flags” Make Hotfile Liable for Pirate Users
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