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    Group Who Operated 20 Pirate ‘beIN’ Streaming Sites Found Guilty, Leader Jailed / TorrentFreak · 08:00 · 1 minute

Streaming Key The Association Against Audiovisual Piracy ( ALPA ) has been active in France since 1985.

The group is predominantly focused on protecting the rights of companies in the audiovisual and movie sectors and over the years has targeted everything from file-sharing forums through to torrent and movie/TV show streaming platforms.

In more recent years, ALPA has worked with companies in the broadcasting sector, targeting individuals who run apps and sites dedicated to live TV programming. That work included an investigation into the administrators of and several other related sites.

Criminal Complaint Against ‘Beinsport-Streaming’ Sites

ALPA and rightsholders Canal+ Group, beIN Sports and RMC Sports subsequently filed a joint complaint with the authorities in France against the sites. Following an investigation carried out by the Cybercrime Group of the Research Section of the National Gendarmerie of Rennes, the alleged founders and administrators of the sites were arrested in June 2018 under suspicion of intellectual property crimes.

At the time, it was estimated that during the six months preceding their closure, the sites were visited by around 500,000 users every month. The sites were said to generate revenue mainly via advertising which supported the streaming of sports programming and live events.

The rightsholders involved suggested that the crimes were so serious that the suspects could be imprisoned for up to 10 years for offenses including organized counterfeiting and aggravated money laundering.

Court Finds Five Individuals Guilty

Now, more than two years later, the matter has come to a close. According to Canal+, a court in Renne has found five people guilty of reproducing, communicating and distributing copyrighted content via the 20-site ‘beinsport-streaming’ ring.

The currently unnamed leader of the group received a 12-month prison sentence, with six months suspended. The fate of his accomplices is yet to be publicly announced.

In a statement, Céline Boyer, Content Protection Director of the Canal + Group, welcomed the verdict, noting that between 2014 and 2017, just nine of the most popular sites operated by the defendants generated 7.5 million visits to illicitly-streamed content.

“The Rennes decision reinforces the position of the Canal + Group as a player committed to the fight against piracy, an expanding and multifaceted scourge which has a daily impact on the entire sports ecosystem, from professional sport to amateur sport, as well as the media and pay-TV industry,” Boyer said.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Libtorrent Adds WebTorrent Support, Expanding the Reach of Browser Torrenting / TorrentFreak · Yesterday - 20:29 · 2 minutes

Webtorrent logo When the BitTorrent protocol was first made public almost two decades ago, it was only supported by desktop apps.

As time went by, people started to do more from their web browsers, including downloading and streaming, but support for web-based torrenting was still lacking.

This is one of the reasons why Stanford University graduate Feross Aboukhadijeh invented WebTorrent . The technology, which relies on WebRTC, is supported by most modern browsers and allows users to seamlessly stream or download torrent files using the web.

Over the past few years, several tools and services have been built on WebTorrent’s technology. These include , βTorrent , as well as the popular Brave browser , which comes with a built-in torrent client based on WebTorrent.

These apps and services all work as advertised. However, WebTorrent-based implementations typically come with a major drawback. Since communication between WebTorrent peers relies on WebRTC, it can’t share files with standard torrent clients by default.

LibTorrent add Support for WebTorrent

This rift between WebTorrent and traditional torrent clients is now starting to close. Libtorrent has just created a bridge between the two ‘worlds’ by implementing official WebTorrent support.

Libtorrent is a popular implementation of the BitTorrent protocol, used by clients including Deluge, qBittorrent, rTorrent, Tribler and others. By implementing the WebTorrent extensions, these clients will become compatible with browser peers and vice-versa.

“I am very excited to see libtorrent adding support for the WebTorrent protocol,” Feross tells TorrentFreak, commenting on the news.

“This opens the door for many more torrent clients to support connecting to WebTorrent peers. Browser peers will now be able to access a huge trove of content currently only available to TCP/UDP peers,” he adds.

WebTorrent’s vision always was to make all torrents available in the browser. While that was technically possible, downloading torrents could often be a challenge in reality, simply because not enough people were sharing them.

More Peers For WebTorrent Users

Right now, WebTorrent and traditional torrent clients can’t talk to each other. However, the libtorrent peers will soon act as a hybrid, bridging the gap between these two ecosystems.

webtorrent bittorrent hybrid

With libtorrent adding WebTorrent support, the pool of available ‘hybrid’ peers will expand massively. This will render browser-based clients more usable and therefore a good alternative for casual torrenters.

“While desktop torrent clients aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, now the web browser will become a viable alternative to an installed torrent client,” Feross says .

“This is huge for less-technical users, users who can’t install native apps, or users who just feel safer using a website. WebTorrent offers more options and more ways to connect,” he adds.

While WebTorrent is now officially supported by libtorrent, it may take more time for individual clients to update to the latest version. But when that happens, WebTorrent will broaden its reach.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    EU Court: YouTube Not Required to Share Email and IP-Addresses of Movie Pirates / TorrentFreak · Yesterday - 10:24 · 3 minutes

YouTube Happy YouTube’s millions of users upload staggering amounts of content to the site every day and while most of it doesn’t present any issues, some of that material inevitably infringes someone’s copyrights.

In 2013 and 2014, three YouTube users uploaded the movies Scary Movie 5 and Parker to the platform, something which caught the eye of Constantin Film, the exclusive rights holder for the titles in Germany. Since the illegal uploads had been viewed thousands of times, the movie company decided to enforce its rights.

Demands for Extended Personal Information Rejected By YouTube

In correspondence with YouTube and owner Google, Constantin Film demanded access to the personal details of the alleged infringers, including their email addresses, IP-addresses, and phone numbers. The companies denied the request and the matter went to court.

In the first instance, the case went to the Frankfurt District Court in Germany, which rejected the demands of Constantin Film. However, a higher court partly overruled the decision, ordering YouTube to hand over the email addresses of the users but not their IP addresses and phone numbers.

The ruling was acceptable to neither party and the matter was sent to Germany’s Federal Court of Justice. In order to make its decision, however, the Court made a referral to the EU Court of Justice, seeking clarification of the term “address” as laid out in Article 8 of the EU Copyright Directive.

Win for YouTube and Google

In a judgment handed down this morning, Europe’s highest court firmly sided with YouTube and Google and arguably, by extension, the individuals who uploaded the movies several years ago.

“In the judgment in Constantin Film Verleih (C-264/19), delivered on 9 July 2020, the Court ruled that, where a film is uploaded onto an online video platform without the copyright holder’s consent, Directive 2004/481 does not oblige the judicial authorities to order the operator of the video platform to provide the email address, IP address or telephone number of the user who uploaded the film concerned,” a summary provided by the Court reads.

“The directive, which provides for disclosure of the ‘addresses’ of persons who have infringed an intellectual property right, covers only the postal address.”

While the Court notes that the Copyright Directive does provide a mechanism for judicial authorities to order disclosure of personal information to rightsholders in order to settle intellectual property disputes, the term ‘address’ is specific to physical locations. The Court cites an individual’s “permanent address or habitual residence” and expressly excludes email addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.

“That interpretation is, according to the Court, consistent with the purpose of the provision of Directive 2004/48 on the right to information,” the Court writes.

“In view of the minimum harmonization concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights in general, such harmonization is limited, according to that provision, to narrowly defined information. Furthermore, the aim of that provision is to reconcile compliance with various rights, inter alia the right of holders to information and the right of users to protection of personal data.”

Interestingly the EU Court says that obtaining additional information on users isn’t completely ruled out but such decisions are to be made by EU Member States after balancing various fundamental rights, including acting proportionately.

“The Court nevertheless stated that the Member States have the option to grant holders of intellectual property rights the right to receive fuller information, provided, however, that a fair balance is struck between the various fundamental rights involved and compliance with the other general principles of EU law, such as the principle of proportionality,” the Court adds

This final decision is in line with an opinion from Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe handed down earlier this year, which concluded that the term ‘address’ is restricted to a physical location.

“There is little doubt that, in everyday language, the concept of a person’s ‘address’, about which the referring court asks in particular, covers only the postal address, as YouTube and Google have rightly submitted,” Saugmandsgaard Øe wrote.

Following the clarification provided in today’s decision, the case will now head back to the German courts.

At the time of writing the full judgment is only available in German and French

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    GitHub Removes ‘Chimera13’ iOS Jailbreak After DMCA Notice from ‘Unc0ver’ / TorrentFreak · 2 days ago - 19:41 · 2 minutes

unc0ver Apple’s iOS devices are part of a closed ecosystem that doesn’t allow much tinkering and keeps unvetted apps out.

This works well for the vast majority of people but for those who demand more, jailbreaking is always an option.

While Apple doesn’t like the fact that outsiders are circumventing their restrictions to open up access, it generally turns a blind eye to jailbreaks. The company patches leaks but since the DMCA offers a jailbreak exemption, taking legal action is not the obvious response.

Unc0ver vs. Chimera13

In this light, it’s interesting to see that several copies of the Chimera13 jailbreak were taken down by GitHub this week, through a DMCA notice . This request didn’t come from Apple, however, but from the Unc0ver team, which is behind another iOS jailbreak.

The Unc0ver team accuses third-party developers of pirating their jailbreak code. The DMCA notice points a finger at a specific target, developer Coolstar , who allegedly “stole” Unc0ver’s code to use it as part of the Swift-based Chimera13 jailbreak.

“He was able to obtain a leaked copy of our private unc0ver repository that was previously available at [private] for selected team members of the Unc0ver Team,” the DMCA notice explains.

“We have investigated this user and found that their first appearance on the r/Jailbreak Discord Server, where they later announced that they had obtained the source code, was approximately a day after the infringer had publicly indicated that he was able to obtain information about our work on Twitter,” the Unc0ver team adds.

GitHub Takes Down Chimera13 Repositories

The DMCA notice asks GitHub to remove the Chimera13 repository as well as dozens of forks. And indeed, the official repository and the forks are all unavailable now.

Chimera13 removed DMCA

The takedown request is interesting for several reasons. First of all, a team behind an application that is exempted from copyright infringement claims under the DMCA is using the same law to go after another jailbreak app. In addition, the claim itself isn’t without controversy either.

Coolstar Sends a Counter-Notice

Chimera13 developer Coolstar, who’s a former computer science student at UC Santa Barbara, argues that the takedown notice is unwarranted. He sent a counter-notice to GitHub, asking the company to reinstate his repository.

“The code for Chimera13 is original code that I have written in Swift that relies primarily on the public techniques,” Coolstar writes, pointing out the various pieces of open source and publicly available code that’s included.

“The only 3rd-party code in this repository is Jake James’ time_waste exploit. However, this is under an open source license (GPL),” he adds, highlighting the license in question.

According to Coolstar, the original notice was sent in bad faith. He further accuses the sender of committing perjury and abusing the DMCA process, a claim he repeats on Twitter .

Without making any judgments on the claims from both sides, it is clear that this is more than just a regular DMCA request. It appears to be part of an ongoing feud between two camps, which both develop jailbreak solutions.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how GitHub responds to the counter-notice. According to the regular DMCA process, the Chimera13 repository will be reinstated within two weeks, unless the Unc0ver team takes the matter to court.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Amazon, Lee Child & John Grisham Sue ‘Kiss Library’ Pirate eBook Sites / TorrentFreak · 2 days ago - 09:30 · 3 minutes

Lawsuit Well over a decade ago, music platforms like AllofMP3 were a thorn in the side of record labels, selling tracks at cut-down prices without appropriate licensing in place.

Today, similar sites are available in many niches, eBooks included. It’s a growing problem that authors, publishers and distributors would like to reduce, in part via a lawsuit filed in a Washington court this week.

US Lawsuit Targets ‘Pirate’ Sites Under the ‘Kiss Library’ Brand

The complaint sees Amazon Content Services, publisher Penguin Random House and several authors including John Grisham and Lee Child, target a range of ‘pirate eBook sites operating under the Kiss Library brand.

The 19-page lawsuit lists several domains (,,, that claim to offer a “premium selection” of books at “unbeatable prices”. The reason for this, the plaintiffs claim, is that they are “replete” with pirated eBooks.

“Through Kiss Library, Defendants engage in rampant and willful infringement of Plaintiffs’ intellectual property rights and divert potential customers to Defendants’ sites — where the Plaintiff Authors and Publishers do not receive any royalties for the sales — to purchase and download the unauthorized works,” the complaint reads.

The stated claim of the action is to “bring down” the sites and put them out of business. It names several individuals as defendants, including alleged Ukrainian nationals Rodion Vynnychenko and Artem Besshapochny, who are said to have created Kiss Library and actively participate in and profit from its activities.

Australian national Jack Brown is said to work as a software developer while also being listed as Kiss Library’s customer service representative. Together with an additional 10 ‘Doe defendants’, Brown is said to act in concert with Kiss Library’s creators to distribute the plaintiffs’ copyright works.

Background to Kiss Library’s Activities

According to the complaint, Kiss Library first appeared at back in June 2017 after being registered by Vynnychenko in Ukraine. However, due to what the plaintiffs describe as “increased negative reviews and assertions of piracy”, the defendants registered new ‘mirror’ sites including,,,, and, and purportedly operate out of Canada but the plaintiffs couldn’t find any matching registrations in the country. is said to operate out of Bulgaria but again, no registrations could be found. Attempts by plaintiffs to make contact via the supplied telephone numbers failed.

Distribution of Pirated Content, Non-Compliance Under the DMCA

“Defendants, through these and other known and unknown Kiss Library websites, engage in the rampant, illegal copying, display, and distribution of copyright-protected ebooks for their direct financial benefit, including works written by the Authors and exclusively published or distributed by the Publishers,” the complaint alleges.

All of the targeted domains claim to have official DMCA agents to handle takedown complaints but according to the plaintiffs, the Copyright Office has no record of any registrations. Furthermore, when the defendants processed copyright infringement claims and took down eBooks, they reappeared on the platforms shortly after.

“As a result of Defendants’ wrongful conduct, Defendants also damage and harm the Publishers in the form of losses to sales, prospective customers, goodwill from authors who exclusively publish with them, goodwill from customers who receive Defendants’ inferior ebook copies, and resources expended in discovering and combatting infringement, as well as disruption and harm to their distribution arrangements, brands, and prospective business relationships with authors and others,” it continues.

Copyright Infringement Claims

Alleging willful direct copyright infringement, the plaintiffs demand actual damages and profits of the infringers or statutory damages up to $150,000 per infringed work. They further demand injunctive relief, including an order impounding all copies of the infringing materials.

Alleging vicarious and/or contributory copyright infringement in respect of offenses carried out by Kiss Library’s users, the plaintiffs demand actual damages and defendants’ profits attributable to the infringements, or statutory damages up to $150,000 per infringed work and a similar injunction.

In addition, the lawsuit demands an order requiring Kiss Library’s domain names to be disabled or handed over to the plaintiffs and preventing any commercial entities doing business with the platform, including banks, credit card companies and payment providers, from doing so.

At the time of writing, all of the listed domains are either completely down or advising maintenance issues.

The complaint, filed by plaintiffs Amazon, Random House, Lee Child, Sylvia Day, John Grisham, C.J. Lyons, Doug Preston, Jim Rasenberger, T.J. Stiles, R.L Stine, Monique Troung, Scott Turow, Nicholas Weinstock and Stuart Woods, can be found here (pdf)

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    The Pirate Bay: OVPN Responds to Movie Companies’ Court Injunction / TorrentFreak · 3 days ago - 14:52 · 4 minutes

Pirate Bay logo Last month, movie companies Svensk Filmindustri and Nordisk Film, and anti-piracy partner Rights Alliance were handed an IP address by Cloudflare believed to be in use by The Pirate Bay.

Armed with this information they went to court in Sweden, obtaining an injunction targeting Obenetwork, claiming the ISP operated the IP address. It transpired the address was actually owned by VPN provider OVPN and the injunction was thrown out .

In response, the plaintiffs filed for a new injunction against OVPN, demanding that the provider hand over the information about its customer, which they believe to be The Pirate Bay. Last week, OVPN informed TF that they would fight the case and we can now provide some details on its initial position.

The injunction application is disputed by OVPN in its entirety but the company also homes in on specific aspects that it hopes will resolve the matter.

No-Logs to Hand Over, Specific IP Address No Longer in Use

Firstly, as a no-log provider , OVPN says that it does not have access to the information requested in the injunction, including the name and address of the customer who used its IP address, how long that customer used the service, or how much money was handed over.

While that’s straightforward enough, it’s alleged that the OVPN customer used the provider’s Public IPv4 add-on. That tool is covered by exactly the same no-logging policy but since in this case a static IP address is assigned to a specific customer, OVPN does have a limited ability to determine who is using it, but only at the time it’s in use. Once that use has expired, it has no ability to carry out retroactive checks.

“[W]e can not provide any information as to who had a specific Public IPv4 address at a specific date, as users are free to change Public IPv4 address at will, and another user might have been using that Public IPv4 address at that time,” the company explains .

To illustrate this restriction, OVPN told the court that anyone attempting to access The Pirate Bay using the IP address listed in the application would find that the website can’t be reached. Furthermore, anyone trying to ping the address would find that it’s completely unavailable. Since it’s not currently in use, OVPN can’t say who was using it.

The Electronic Communications Act

According to OVPN’s response to the injunction, the provision of a VPN service “does not constitute a notifiable activity” as referenced by Sweden’s Electronic Communications Act. As a result, VPN services are exempt from the data storage obligations of the legislation.

OVPN argues that VPN services operate over the top of an Internet connection like any other Internet-based service might. Citing the Tele2 case that went all the way to the European Court of Justice, the provider says that it does not provide an electronic communications service as described under the Act and is not subject to its storage obligations.

Precautionary Measures and Financial Damage

In their application (which was conducted without OVPN being aware of the procedure) the studios and Rights Alliance demanded financial penalties if OVPN did not provide the requested information plus penalties if they deleted any user information that could show who used the IP address at the specified time.

According to OVPN, the precautionary measures demanded by the applicants were not backed up by evidence showing exceptional circumstances, as required under case law. The company further rejects suggestions made in the application that it is somehow a bad actor for providing a privacy service.

“We wholeheartedly disagree with the Rights Alliance claims that we’re running a ‘disloyal service’ used to circumvent law enforcement. On the contrary, we have a wide range of different customers, such as journalists, lawyers, politicians, government agencies and consumers.

“To be perfectly clear: We do not, in any way, endorse or advocate using OVPN to commit crimes,” the company says.

In its response, OVPN told the court that as a provider of services designed to offer a high degree of confidentiality, any order granted on behalf of private parties requiring it not to destroy information (even if any was available) would put the entire company at risk of great financial damage.

Therefore, the claim that it would not “suffer any economic injury” as a result of precautionary measures is incorrect, the provider added.

Not a Party to Copyright Infringement, Standing Firm

Finally, OVPN informed the court that as a service provider, it is not a party to any of the infringements allegedly carried out by The Pirate Bay or its users. As a result, should the injunction be dismissed, it should be entitled to have its costs covered by the applicants.

“Our main goal is to protect people from hackers and avoid being monitored online,” an OVPN statement adds.

“We wholeheartedly believe that people have a right to communicate privately whether it is in a physical or a digital world. Communications online should be as private as a communication in a room between two people. We are standing firm.”

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    U.S. Copyright Office: Disconnecting Persistent Pirates is Not Always Preferred / TorrentFreak · 3 days ago - 10:55 · 3 minutes

copyright office logo The US Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property is looking for ways through which it can better address online piracy.

Specifically, it’s working with various stakeholders to see if the DMCA can be improved to better suit today’s online environment.

The effort, announced by Senator Thom Tillis last year, partly overlaps with the Copyright Office efforts to improve the DMCA. That process has been running for years and the findings and recommendations were recently summarized in an advisory report , which suggested several ‘tweaks’ to the current law.

The Senate Subcommittee is aware of the overlap and sent a letter to the Copyright Office, asking for clarification and guidance on some key issues. The answers, which came in last week, provide further detail on how the Copyright Office would deal with some of the main stumbling blocks.

Repeat Infringer Requirements

The DMCA currently requires ISPs that want ‘safe harbor’ protection to “adopt and reasonably implement” a repeat infringer policy that terminates accounts of repeat infringers “in appropriate circumstances”.

This repeat infringer issue is at the center of several high profile lawsuits against ISPs and recently resulted in a billion-dollar damages award against Cox . It is not without controversy, however, as the law leaves a lot of room for interpretation. What’s “reasonable” and “appropriate” isn’t clearly defined.

In answer to the Senate Subcommittee, the Office stresses that there should be some minimum requirements for all service providers. However, size matters. This means that larger services with more resources could be held to a higher standard. For example, by preventing infringing content from reappearing.

This ‘reappearing’ angle hints at a filtering requirement, something the Copyright Office advised against in its report. While that may sound worrying to some, the Office also has some reassuring suggestions for average Internet users.

Not All Infringements are Equal

The Copyright Office notes that not all copyright infringements are equal. This is something that could be taken into account when deciding whether a repeat infringer should be terminated. A YouTube user who uploads full-length films will cause more harm than someone who uses part of a song as background for a homemade video, for example.

“Therefore, the number of notices in any particular repeat infringer policy that should reasonably result in account termination or other adverse action will likely be lower in the former case than in the latter,” the Copyright office writes.

“Thus, while there should be certain minimum standards addressing repeated acts of infringement, an evaluation of the reasonableness of those standards may vary depending upon individual factors in the case, including the OSP’s size and resources, the nature of the service, and the nature of the infringement itself.”

Disconnections Are Not Always ‘Appropriate’

The Copyright Office is clearly mindful of individual user rights. This is also true for potential Internet disconnections of accounts that are repeatedly used to share pirated content. Following recent court rulings, ISPs have become more strict but the Office notes that disconnections are not always “appropriate.”

Terminating someone’s Internet access can have much more drastic consequences than terminating a social media account, the letter states.

“For example, the negative consequences that are likely to result from termination of a user’s internet service if there is only one local broadband provider is likely to be greater than the negative consequences that flow from having an account terminated on a social media site for which there are other ready substitutions.”

Throttling Pirates

These potential ramifications of account termination could play a role in what’s deemed appropriate. Congress may want to consider this if the DMCA is updated. Specifically, the Copyright Office suggests that other penalties such as bandwidth throttling could be preferred over hard disconnections in some circumstances.

“Congress may want to consider the adoption of penalties short of account termination, such as limiting bandwidth or slowing service speed, to address repeat infringers for certain users of section 512(a) services,”

This is an intriguing suggestion, especially in the light of ongoing lawsuits against ISPs over the “repeat infringer” issue.

The same letter also mentions other user rights, as Re:Create highlights . This includes protecting free speech from bogus takedown notices. Right now, it can take up to two weeks before content is restored after a false or inaccurate notification. That can be too long if it censors free speech.

Similar to the Copyright Office report, the letter is a mixed bag of notes and recommendations. Some are in favor of copyright holders and others are more beneficial to Internet services, or the public at large.

A copy of the Copyright Office’s letter to Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Thom Tillis is available here (pdf) .

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Anti-Piracy Company & Record Labels Are “Running Pirate Sites”, Investigation Claims / TorrentFreak · 4 days ago - 17:11 · 4 minutes

The Music Mission Earlier this year we reported on a brand new anti-piracy initiative with an aim to shut down 200 professionally-operated music piracy sites.

Headed up by anti-piracy company AudioLock, music distributor Label Worx, and supported by hundreds of distributors, labels, and other industry players, The Music Mission has a focus on sites that give the impression of being legitimate competition for digital portals such as Beatport, Juno, and Traxsource.

After many weeks of investigations the project has now begun to release some of its initial findings. They are extremely surprising and tend to suggest that parts of the music industry may have allowed the foxes into the hen house. But first, an idea of the scale of just one of these pay-piracy sites.

Almost Eight Years’ Worth of Music on Just One Site

According to information just released by The Music Mission, an analysis of a single ‘pirate’ store has revealed a database of 780,000 unique tracks available for download in MP3 format. All told, the offer totals 10,050 GBs of music or, as the project puts it, more music than anyone could get through in the next decade.

“If all are 320kbps mp3 files, [it] would amount to a shocking 69,791 hours of music or put another way, 7.96 years of music! If you listened to all that whilst walking then you would have got to the moon before having to listen to anything twice,” the coalition says.

Seemingly Legitimate Companies Running Pirate Sites

One surprising revelation is that a company supplying what would normally be viewed as an anti-piracy service is reportedly running a pay-piracy site. Somewhat ironically claiming that its “legal team will make sure that the leaks of your files will be eliminated from illegal sharing websites”, the company appears to be playing for the other side too.

“One particular pirate store owner conveniently have their own anti-virus software company as well as a music watermarking company. Both good partners to an anti-piracy company,” The Music Mission reveals.

The project, which has some heavyweight label supporters plus music licensing group PRS for Music, is currently withholding the name of this company for legal reasons, according to documentation made available to TorrentFreak. However, the allegations against other supposedly industry-supporting entities don’t stop there.

Record Labels and Pro DJs Implicated in Running Pirate Sites

“Several site owners also run/own record labels – at a glimpse, it appears that music from these labels does not appear to be available through the pirate stores, which will be a big help for their chart positions because the other releases in those charts will be losing a large proportion of sales when copies are purchased through the many pirate stores,” The Music Mission continues.

Again, the names of these labels haven’t yet been revealed but given the hundreds of well-known labels supporting this project, it seems unlikely that this conclusion has been pulled out of thin air. The Music Mission says its investigations are continuing so more detail is expected in due course.

On top of this specific threat, there also appears to be another interesting angle.

According to the project, it has identified a number of site owners that are “moonlighting as pro DJs” who have established sizeable fan bases across social media with “gig lists that include international festivals and world-famous nightclubs of which they have graced the decks.”

Somewhat disappointingly, no DJ names have been released, with legal reasons cited once again for the omission.

Pirates Were Aware They Were Being Monitored

One of the aims of The Music Mission is to have a delisting program aimed at reducing the visibility of the sites targeting by its campaign. This appears to have suffered some delays, partly because the true scale of the pirate operations wasn’t immediately apparent and partly because the pirates may have realized they were being watched.

According to the people behind the project, the pirates went to some lengths to prevent the investigation taking place, for both the delisting program and the collection of broader forensic evidence. These “hurdles” have reportedly been overcome now but what exactly has been found remains a question.

So Who Are the Foxes in the Hen House?

Despite asking this question, TorrentFreak was unable to gain any additional information on the players involved in this alleged behavior. That being said, the list of music watermarking companies who also have an anti-virus product can’t be particularly long so if the allegations stand up to scrutiny, they will now be on notice that their adversaries are homing in.

Labels themselves will be harder to identify due to their sheer numbers but the fact that The Music Mission is prepared for this information to be heard in public may affect how these entities behave in the weeks and months ahead.

The only other surprising thing is why The Music Mission hasn’t turned this into a criminal referral, given the alleged scale and organization.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.