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Following purportedly leaked release schedule, cofounder Frank Pearce says studio has begun talking about title as a recruitment tool.

Early this month, an austere document appeared online purporting to be Blizzard Entertainment's road map for the next five years. Dated April 2, 2010, the document listed quarterly release windows for all of the Irvine, California-based studio's projects, including Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm (Q4 2011),
A conservative member of the British Parliament has made a move to block all pornography from reaching Internet subscribers in the UK.

The British government plans to meet with Internet service providers in the country next month to discuss the idea of censoring all Internet connections and requiring users to specifically request access to pornographic materials from their ISPs.

Not surprisingly, children are being trotted out as the reason for this mass censorship. Said Conservative
Like it or not, BitTorrent clients have become fairly standard equipment on computers.

Yes, there are some legitimate uses for having an application that can share and download Torrent files. The BitTorrent peer-to-peer file transfer protocol allows people to download huge files wherever they can get an Internet connection.

Attachment 62390Naturally, people using BitTorrent clients are
It's the tweet smell of success for courtroom microbloggers in Britain.

The head of the judiciary in England and Wales ruled Monday that there is no ban on using Twitter in court.

Lord Chief Justice Igor Judge said the use of "unobtrusive, hand held, virtually silent" equipment to give live text updates was unlikely to interfere with the administration of justice.

Among the traditions of British justice — alongside lawyers' black robes and horsehair wigs — are strict restrictions on communications. Cameras and recording
Late November, the Swedish Appeal Court found three people behind The Pirate Bay guilty of copyright infringement offenses. They were handed prison sentences and ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages. One of the defendants, Carl Lundström, has just filed his appeal and says that among other things, the Supreme Court should consider ISP liability.

pirate bayLast month, businessman Carl Lundström – along with Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij – was found guilty of contributory copyright infringement by the Appeal Court and sentenced to 4 months in prison and a share of a $6.5 million damages order.

“We do not accept the Appeal Court’s ruling,” Lundström’s lawyer Per E. Samuelsson told Swedish radio when confirming his client would take his case to the Supreme Court.

It is claimed that Lundström, who is the millionaire heir to the Wasabröd crispbread empire, provided computers, bandwidth and server rackspace for The Pirate Bay in its early days through his company Rix Telecom. He rejects the decision of the Appeal Court on a number of grounds.

Firstly, Lundström questions why The Pirate Bay should be held liable for promoting infringements when other Internet services, such as Google, can be viewed as doing the same.

Lundström also writes that the prosecutor has failed to prove that he operated “jointly and in concert” with others in respect of any crimes potentially carried out via The Pirate Bay.

According to Realtid, Lundström says the Court of Appeal’s conclusion, that he must’ve known that his company had provided equipment free of charge to The Pirate Bay, is wrong. He insists he had no knowledge of any such arrangement.

But above all, Lundström insists that since he was a provider of bandwidth to The Pirate Bay, he must therefore have been their Internet service provider.

“Assessing the criminal responsibility of ISPs should be the target key precedent in this case,” he explains.

Lundström wants the Supreme Court to consider if an ISP should be held liable for assisting in crimes committed by their customers. His lawyer, Per E Samuelson, says that to his knowledge no one has ever been found guilty on this basis before.

The appeal lodged by Lundström also questions the huge damages awarded by the Appeal Court against him. As an ISP with no knowledge of the alleged infringements, he feels a share of $6.5 million in damages is excessive.

It is believed that Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde will also file appeals with the Supreme Court in due course.

The fourth defendant, Gottfrid Svartholm, is behind in the process due to illness. His case will be handled by the Appeal Court at a later date.

Article from: TorrentFreak.

With 2010 nearing its end, we take a look at the most-pirated titles across various categories, starting with movies. Aside from the usual suspects such as Oscar winners Avatar and The Hurt Locker, the list also includes a few surprising entries and some notable absentees.

avatarLast year Avatar broke all records at the box office, and in 2010 the film’s success continued online scooping up yet another prestigious award.

With 16,580,000 downloads on BitTorrent alone, Avatar is undisputedly the most pirated film of the year.

Never before have we seen this many downloads of a movie in a single year. This honor previously belonged to last year’s winner Star Trek with 10,960,000 downloads, but Avatar quashed this previous record.

Earlier this year we already crowned Avatar as the most downloaded Blu-ray film ever, with 200,000 downloads in just 4 days. In the months that followed the number of Blu-ray downloads of Avatar have exceeded two million.

Another expected entry in the list of most pirated movies in 2010 is The Hurt Locker. This film was already available on BitTorrent for most of 2009, but really started to gain attention from the public after it won six Oscars.

This huge success online compared to the meager box-office earnings was most likely one of the reasons why the makers of the film sued thousands of alleged BitTorrent users last spring. Despite the looming threat of legal action the downloads continued pretty much undeterred, resulting in a 9th place in todays list.

As every year there are also a few notable absentees, such as the two best grossing movies at the box-office this year, Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland. On the other hand, Kick-Ass and Green Zone were both hugely popular among the downloading public, while their box office grosses were relatively modest.

The data for this list is collected by TorrentFreak from several sources, including reports from thousands of BitTorrent trackers. All release formats, including cammed versions are counted. Afterwards, the data is carefully checked and corrected.

Most Downloaded Movies on BitTorrent, 2010
rankmoviedownloadsworldwide grosses
4Shutter Island9,490,000$294,803,014
5Iron Man 28,810,000$621,751,988
6Clash of the Titans8,040,000$493,214,993
7Green Zone7,730,000$94,875,650
8Sherlock Holmes7,160,000$523,029,864
9The Hurt Locker6,850,000$48,612,915

Article from: TorrentFreak.

A coalition of file-sharing sites are voluntarily taking themselves offline to protest against the likely passing of new legislation tomorrow. The sites, which together are believed to generate up to 70% of Spain's Internet traffic, will display a black page warning that if the so-called Sinde Act is approved, their sites could disappear forever. Earlier this month, cables leaked by Wikileaks showed that Spain had bowed to US pressure to introduce the law.

noalcierreIn recent times, Spanish courts have ruled repeatedly that subject to some fairly minor conditions, operating a file-sharing site falls within the boundaries of the law.

However, as shown by diplomatic cables recently leaked by Wikileaks, under pressure from the United States, the Spanish Government proposed new legislation to close loopholes and provide sweeping new anti-filesharing powers.

The Sustainable Economy Law (LES) is likely to be approved in Spain tomorrow and is expected to pose a real problem to file-sharing sites. The legislation, popularly known as the Sinde Act in reference to its main driving force Minister of Culture Ángeles González-Sinde, has been widely protested but could be fully adopted as early as February next year.

The law will provides for the creation of a Commission on Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Culture. It would have the power to deal with complaints against websites that link to copyright movies, music and software, including blocking and taking them offline.

The opposition to the passing of the legislation is growing, not least due to the decision by Congress to approve the Sustainable Economy Law in a single meeting. Although the bill will pass to the Senate, Congress will be able to ignore any amendments introduced there.

In response, many of Spain’s largest file-sharing sites will be protesting today by voluntarily taking themselves offline. Each will display the message shown below (translated from Spanish) and link to anti-censorship website No al Cierre de Webs.

Sinde Protest

The list of sites includes Cinetube, DivxTotal, Mydescarga, Peliculasyonkis, Series Danko, Seriespepito, Seriesyonkis and SuBTorrents.

It is believed that in total the sites, which have millions of pageviews, help to generate up to 70% of Spain’s Internet traffic. However, the new law could take them offline very quickly indeed.

Following complaints by rightsholders to the Commission on Intellectual Property, site status would be reviewed by a court which would then be required to take action within 4 days.

Article from: TorrentFreak.

The top 10 most downloaded movies on BitTorrent, 'Inception' tops the chart this week, followed by 'The Social Network'. 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' completes the top three.

inceptionThis week there are three newcomers in the list including The Social Network which was previously listed as a DVDscr.

Inception is back on top again as the most downloaded movie of the week.

The data for our weekly download chart is collected by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Week ending December 19, 2010
Ranking(last week)MovieRating / Trailer
1(2)Inception9.1 / trailer
2(…)The Social Network8.4 / trailer
3(…)The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (TS)6.8 / trailer
4(1)Legend Of The Guardians7.2 / trailer
5(3)Devil6.5 / trailer
6(…)Unstoppable (R5)7.2 / trailer
7(5)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1 (TS)8.1 / trailer
8(4)Despicable Me7.6 / trailer
9(9)The Sorcerer’s Apprentice6.3 / trailer
10(8)The Town7.9 / trailer

Article from: TorrentFreak.

The recent action by US authorities against so-called rogue websites comes on the heels of significant lobbying efforts by two well known anti-piracy groups. In the last quarter the MPAA and RIAA together spent a total of $1.8 million on lobby efforts in Washington. Public records reveal that the industry groups focused heavily on legislation and authorities involved in domain name seizures.

In recent months the topic of domain name seizures has been reported heavily in the news and discussed widely. US authorities took down dozens of ‘copyright infringing’ domains and the ?Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act’ (COICA) was drafted to make such takedowns even easier in the future.

Both the recent domain name seizures and the proposed COICA bill were encouraged by the MPAA and RIAA. However, the role of the RIAA and MPAA has not been limited to passively applauding the actions of the Government. On the contrary, both groups lobbied extensively for more Government control over domain names.

A look at public filings reveal that the outfits spent more than $1.8 million in the third quarter of 2010 on lobbying efforts directly targeted at the COICA bill and the authorities that carried out the recent domain name seizures. Money, that as it stands now, was well spent.

The RIAA’s filings at the Office of the Clerk reveal that the music industry trade group invested the most, $1.29 million in total. This money was spent on a variety of subjects, including the COICA bill and ACTA. In total, the RIAA listed nine copyright/trademark lobbyists including its CEO Mitch Bainwol.

The MPAA on its turn spent $520,000 on lobbying efforts in the third quarter. Part of the money went to lobbying efforts at the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the authorities that were responsible for the recent domain seizures.

In addition, the MPAA lobbied for three-strikes anti-piracy initiatives such as ‘graduated response’ and legislation that targets digital piracy on ‘rogue sites’ such as COICA. The MPAA lists three lobbyists including Michael O’Leary who previously served as counsel to the former Senator Joe Biden.

Indeed, the same Joe Biden who is now the Vice President and declared war on digital piracy earlier this year. “Piracy Is Theft, Clean and Simple,” Biden said at the time.

Although it is no secret that the MPAA and RIAA spend millions of dollars in Washington every year, it is worth looking into where that money goes. From public filings it becomes apparent that the US Government’s move to commercial censorship is also reflected in the lobbying efforts by the entertainment industry.

And that’s just part of the influence. Aside from trying to influence lawmakers and the authorities, both groups are also playing their role in law enforcement. As we reported last Friday, the MPAA helped out Homeland Security with the application for the seizure order of Torrent-Finder and other sites.

It is of course impossible to measure if any of the lobbying efforts did indeed have an effect on the increased anti-piracy actions by the US Government, but considering the money that the MPAA and RIAA spent on lobbying, it wouldn’t come as a total surprise.

Article from: TorrentFreak.

uTorrent's parent company BitTorrent Inc. recently signed up with a new toolbar partner. Last week millions of users got the offer to install this new addon with the upgrade to uTorrent 2.2, but it appears that it wasn't that optional for everyone. Several disappointed users report that the Conduit toolbar was installed without notice, or even when they explicitly opted out. The uTorrent team regrets the dissatisfaction and is trying to get to the root of the problem.

toolbarsFor a year a bundled browser toolbar has been one of the main sources of income for uTorrent’s parent company BitTorrent Inc. The toolbar is offered to new users and is offered as an option with fresh installs.

With a few dozen million downloads a year, the added browser toolbar has provided BitTorrent Inc and the uTorrent development team with a healthy and much needed revenue stream. Initially, the Ask toolbar was promoted but recently a switch was made to the Conduit toolbar.

In addition to offering the toolbar to users who do a fresh install of the uTorrent client, the new Conduit toolbar was also promoted to users who upgraded to the latest uTorrent 2.2 release. However, this process didn’t go as smoothly as it should for everyone, and several TorrentFreak readers reported serious issues during the upgrade process.

Instead of getting a popup notification asking the user if they wanted to install the Conduit browser toolbar, it was instead installed on some users’ computers without any notification at all. Another group of users did get the popup, but when they chose not to install the toolbar, the software was installed on their computers nonetheless.

Over the last few days the uTorrent forums have been filling up with several of these confused users, and others wrote blog posts addressing this unexpected behavior and their frustration.

Despite several complaints the issues seem to be relatively isolated. We’ve tried to reproduce the “bug” on several systems but at our end everything went fine. Simon Morris, Vice President of product management at BitTorrent Inc. told TorrentFreak that they have no idea what went wrong either, but that they are aware of isolated issues.

“It has not escaped our notice and it is obviously NOT our intent,” Morris said.

Initially BitTorrent Inc. and uTorrent’s forum moderators denied that there was a problem at all. Instead, they were convinced that users must have selected the wrong checkboxes, which can be perceived as deceptive by some. However, this position became harder to hold as time went by and complaints kept coming in.

“We have seen some isolated suggestions that the toolbar installed even though the checkboxes were unselected. If this is indeed true then we would consider it a very serious bug. If anyone can help us reproduce this type of bug then we will investigate it and fix it immediately. In spite of extensive tests we have been unable to reproduce this particular problem,” he added.

uTorrent Browser Bar


Morris further said that because of this massive rollout to all upgrading users, the level of attention is probably more amplified than usual. Many long time users see the toolbar offer for the first time and might be caught by surprise, or confused by the checkboxes. Although this is partially true, it would be wrong to simply deny that something went wrong during the upgrade process for some people.

The uTorrent team has promised to get to the bottom of the issue, and fix any errors that they come across.

“Both our team and Conduit’s team have been investigating further whether there is any problem with the install, but we have been unable to find any evidence that the toolbar will ever install if you deselect all 3 checkboxes. Conduit has found and is fixing one minor uninstall issue,” Morris said.

“We regret any dissatisfaction, and we welcome inputs on anything that may be going wrong. One thing is very clear – the offer is designed to be purely optional, such that if you deselect the offer checkboxes it will not install,” he added.

All uTorrent users who had the Conduit toolbar installed ‘accidentally’ can easily remove it via the Windows control panel where the software is listed as ‘Conduit’ and ‘uTorrent toolbar.’ Did you have any issues upgrading to the latest version of uTorrent or did it go smoothly? Please let us know and drop a comment.

Article from: TorrentFreak.


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