The websites targeted by the campaign include the biggest torrent pages and file-hosting search engines, like ExtraTorrent, Torrentz, TorrentReactor.The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is also threatening to ask courts to block US-based music streaming group Grooveshark.While most of the torrent sites currently set to be blocked for copyright infringement are small operations, Grooveshark is an exception as a larger company that has been battling the majors in particular for some time now, Musicweek noted.“It looks like we could be facing an onslaught of web blackouts here in the UK,” the leader of the UK Pirate Party Loz Kaye told RT. “What we’ve seen from 2012 is that it hasn’t helped with music sales at all, that actually album sales failed 10 per cent.”Loz Kaye is also sure the record companies will eventually face their plight if they don’t change their policies.“Essentially, this is about the record labels trying to remain gatekeepers and actually push other companies out. But this approach will not work! It’s going to alienate a generation of music lovers, and it’s going to perhaps radicalize internet users.”However, the BPI told RT in an online statement that their only intention is to protect the artists’ and legal services’ rights. They also confirmed that the music licensing group PPL has begun polling its members on licensing content for particular websites.“We’re not really doing any interviews about this. I can say, though, that it’s correct PPL has asked its members to confirm to us if they’ve licensed their recorded music to particular websites. This is part of our ongoing work to ensure that legal music services can flourish and that artists and labels are rewarded for their work,” a representative of the British trade body said in an email to RT. Now, it seems the BPI is starting the biggest anti-piracy initiative yet.“Over the past years, UK music labels have innovated to build one of the most vibrant digital music sectors in the world. However, the growth of digital music in the UK is held back by a raft of illegal businesses commercially exploiting music without a license from the copyright holders,” the group indicated in their official statement. In the latest successful court initiative, the BPI blocked three torrent sites (KickAssTorrents, H33T and Fenopy) three months ago. It happened after almost a year ago, an unknown official from the music industry told the TorrentFreak website that PPL had started polling its members on the matter of privacy. …
As the ISP blocks against The Pirate Bay continue to roll in across Europe, so do services offering workarounds to the censorship problem.
A common way for BitTorrent users to circumvent ISP blocks and protect themselves at the same time is to use a VPN service. These products do the job particularly well, but of course they do cost a small amount of money.
Those who prefer a free solution for unblocking their favorite torrent site are increasingly turning to dedicated proxies. These sites are as simple to access as typing a URL into a web browser and provide immediate access to sites such as The Pirate Bay and the more recently blocked KickAssTorrents.
Nevertheless, anti-piracy companies continue to claim that blocking is a success. In carefully worded statements they state that blocks are effective since visible traffic to domains has reduced since they were censored. Of course, those statements are technically true, but what they do not take into account is the number of users now accessing blocked sites through VPNs and various proxies.
And, according to the operators of The Pirate Bay, proxy websites are now driving a substantial amount of traffic to the world’s largest torrent site.
“A total of 8% of all Pirate Bay page views go through the proxy IP-address now, so I’m guessing the blockades are not working too well,” a spokesman told TorrentFreak.
But even that number is a lower-end estimate. The TPB insider told us the figure only relates to proxy sites that connect to TPB using a dedicated IP address.
“The 8% is just what goes through the dedicated IP-address, a lot of proxies use the site’s domain name instead,” he added.
Exactly how many proxy sites are out there is unknown, but TorrentProxies currently lists more than 200. The ones generating the most traffic at the moment appear to be PirateProxy.net (way out in front) followed by PirateReverse.info and ProxyBay.net.
“So far in 2013 we’ve had 4,964,424 unique visitors to our pirate bay proxies,” the operators of PirateReverse told TorrentFreak. “That equates to 61,546,871 pageviews, with a rough average of half a million a day.”
The table below shows the top countries in terms of visitors to PirateReverse. It comes as no surprise that out of the top six entires, five of those countries are currently blocking (or attempting to block) access to The Pirate Bay. An earlier review produced similar results.
Finally, it is pretty much common knowledge that there are more dedicated Pirate Bay proxies around than those serving other blocked sites such as KickAssTorrents, H33T or Fenopy. As a result, PirateReverse told us that their KAT.ph proxies (kickassunblock.info and katunblock.com) are now generating more traffic than their Pirate Bay services.
There used to be a popular phrase which went something like “kill one file-sharing site and 10 more will appear in its place.” These days that’s probably untrue, but in the case of The Pirate Bay it’s fair to say that blocking one site has led to the creation of 200 new sites specifically designed to unblock it. That’s undoubtedly a powerful message.
Source: At Least 8% of All Pirate Bay Traffic Now Provided By Proxy Services
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
When the United States Trade Representative (USTR) compiles the annual ‘Notorious Pirate Markets’ list there are always a core of BitTorrent sites included.
The Pirate Bay, KickAssTorrents and isoHunt make their usual appearances but among them are always Zamunda and ArenaBG, two Bulgarian torrent trackers that are not only their country’s biggest, but also some of the most significant in the entire region.
Numerous actions have taken against both sites up to and including criminal investigations but none have succeeded in causing any real damage to either the trackers or their popularity. Today, however, Zamunda is sailing through unchartered waters and facing a catastrophic setback engineered not by local or U.S. authorities, but by a trusted member of staff.
Late Saturday night / Sunday morning, secret changes were taking place at Zamunda. A former site admin, coder and web designer who still helped out on the site decided that he would seize control. In what insiders told TorrentFreak was a carefully planned and executed operation, the site’s domain (zamunda.net) was taken over and redirected to a previously prepared set of servers.
As soon as the redirect had taken place the real Zamunda database was deleted along with several historical backups with the intention that the site could never return under its original owners.
With the majority of users oblivious to the switch the ‘new’ Zamunda – operating on the old domain of course – continued as if nothing had happened. However, things didn’t go to plan. The hijacker failed to anticipate how much server power would be required to run the site resulting in an announcement that unexpected loading issues were being experienced. There were also announcements relating to a possible hack attack, none of which made any real sense.
With all the upheaval it’s no surprise what came next. Former admins and moderators were all banned from the hijacked site along with anyone who tried to discuss the problems in the site’s forums. Mail between site members was deleted and any opposition was quashed.
However, while the hijacker had succeeded in taking over the site and deleting some backups, he hadn’t managed to delete them all. A “90% working” copy of Zamunda had been missed and within a day it had been put back online under two previously prepared backup domains – Zamunda.se and Zelka.org. But even after the setup of the new site there were further problems.
“I can confirm that the [former admin] managed a limited hack on zamunda.se deleting 10,000 torrents which will be restored from backup data,” a source close to the site told TorrentFreak.
So with two sites online it’s now a question of which will survive. Zamunda.net has the advantage of operating under the traditional URL with a full database. What it doesn’t have is the support of the site’s former staff and according to our sources it is also missing a torrent site’s most valuable commodity. Content uploaders are vital if a site is to remain popular and reports suggest they are fleeing the ship.
“The upload rate has decreased by at least 90% by rough calculations. For two days 40 torrents have been uploaded compared to roughly 10 to 15 times more the week before,” we were informed.
“However, there are still a lot of peers, seeders and leechers,” a second source added. “But that site is a lost cause now, no one supports it, and only the users are losing from this battle. The new tracker [Zamunda.se] is growing fast but it needs to grow from the beginning.”
The big question now is why the former admin took the decision to take over the site. After an initial period of smoke and mirrors he now claims he did it for the users, to protect them from admins that had become too greedy and powerful through their totalitarian regime.
“After an internal coup, these wicked people were removed from the management of the site and the whole system no longer belongs to them. We can not allow the freedom of the P2P community to be used for populist political purposes,” the hijacker said in a statement.
One of our sources agreed that rule on the site was indeed tight but added that to control so many users it was probably a necessary evil. Nevertheless, the motivation for the takeover and whether it was sincere or not has now become a side issue.
“In my opinion the takeover was a big mistake,” a source told TorrentFreak. “Since there’s no support it’ll be hard for this ‘fake’ site to survive, and it’ll take years for the new tracker [and old community] to get back on their feet and once again become one of the most popular Bulgarian sites with one of the biggest communities.”
Only time will tell if that will come to pass but it’s interesting to consider that one man has been able to achieve what the combined resources of Hollywood, the record industry and two governments could not. Although nothing has worked up to now, maybe that thought will prompt the site’s return to its rightful owners.
Source: Hijacker Tears Large BitTorrent Site Apart, Succeeds Where U.S. Authorities Failed
Last month, Finnish anti-piracy group CIAPC, known internationally for tracking down a 9 year-old girl and having her Winnie The Pooh laptop confiscated, launched a new publicity campaign.
Their efforts caused immediate controversy when it was discovered that the campaign site, which depicted a Pirate Bay-style ship sinking into the sea, had been constructed with components ripped from The Pirate Bay itself. To use a turn of phrase preferred by the copyright industries, it was a product of “stolen” content.
This apparent double standard caused headlines around the world which only intensified after The Pirate Bay mockingly threatened to sue, CIAPC said bring it on, and the whole thing ended up in police threats.
A couple of months on and the entertainment industry anti-piracy group have just revealed how pleased they are with the results of their efforts.
“The publicity campaign exceeded CIAPC’s expectations. In less than two months we have received visits from an average of 5,000 people a day, a total of more than 200,000 unique visitors,” CIAPC reveal.
But interestingly and despite its reported success, CIAPC say they have taken the decision to terminate the campaign and replace it with another. The image below shows their new effort.
CIAPC say their ‘movie poster’ is designed to sum up the past few months of news – illegal pirate sites profiting from advertising revenue and running away more often due to mounting problems – although the picture seems to depict a laptop with the screen broken away.
Nevertheless, The Pirate Bay has indeed had more problems than most. The site, its former owners, affiliated connectivity providers and ISPs providing user access to the torrent site have lost countless court battles in recent years. It’s been one disappointment after another.
But while none of these setbacks can be denied, it is also evident that The Pirate Bay is operating in a new mode and mindset, where court battles, endless paperwork and propaganda campaigns against them do little to change the position on the ground. The site is up, running and doing the same work as it always has done.
So the arguments continue, largely around whether the efforts against the world’s most famous torrent site are damaging to the extent the anti-piracy groups claim.
CIAPC say that following their successful legal action to have the site blocked by local ISPs Elisa, TeliaSonera and DNA, between January 2012 and January 2013 visitors to The Pirate Bay from Finland were reduced by a massive 81%.
This figure is an interesting one. The three ISPs now blocking TPB have a market share of around 80%, so on face value CIAPC are sort of telling the truth, but it’s not the whole truth.
TorrentFreak spoke to The Pirate Bay who told us that direct traffic to the site from Finland did indeed drop significantly. CIAPC, however, are deliberately missing out other problematic factors. The Pirate Bay spokesman told us that many Finns have probably switched to using proxy sites.
So how many might that be? Precise figures are unavailable, but the graph below shows the times during last year when Finnish Google users became most interested in the search term “pirate bay proxy”. It will come as no surprise that Elisa implemented their block in January and the other ISPs began blocking mid year.
These are just searches though, so how many are successful in getting through?
According to stats from Alexa, ThePirateBay.se is the 111th most popular domain in Finland. To compare, Vimeo is 109th, YouPorn is 144th, Torrentz is 146th and isoHunt 169th, none of which are blocked.
There can be little doubt that Finns are getting through in large numbers. If they aren’t and 80% of the problem really has been removed, surely we can expect The Pirate Bay to fall out of the headlines as a significant problem for the entertainment companies in Finland.
Yeah, kun lehmät lentävät….
Source: Anti-Piracy Group Shuts Down Pirated Pirate Bay