Pirate Bay Founder Aims to Disrupt Online Advertising Industry

flatabpWhen the Pirate Bay launched over a decade ago the entertainment industry was blown away by the pirates’ utter disrespect for copyright.

The site’s founders argued that people have the right to watch what they want whenever they please, and in a way this attitude acted as a catalyst for many of the legal services we have today.

Fast forward a few years and another industry is facing massive pushback from the Internet.

Growing tired with a constant stream of invasive and annoying ads on many websites, millions of people are now using ad-blockers to clean up their web-browsing experience.

This has led to frustration among publishers and advertising companies who somehow feel that they are entitled to dictate what people get to see. Some even go as far as equating it to “piracy,” as ad blockers take away ad-views and thus income for publishers and ad-vendors.

However, like the entertainment industry before them, advertisers and publishers can’t complain their way back to the pre-adblock era. They should interpret the rise of adblocking as an important signal and adapt their businesses accordingly.

And this is where a familiar name comes in.

Today, Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde announces that his micropayment service Flattr is teaming up with Adblock Plus. Their new service, Flattr Plus, allows publishers to generate revenue directly from readers instead of forcing ads upon them.

Flattr Plus is built on the existing micropayment platform that was launched in 2010. Through a new browser add-on it allows users to automatically share money with website owners when an ad is blocked.

“For us it’s super important to show that we’re not generation free, but generation sustainability. I think Flattr has been that way all the time and it’s obvious that Adblock Plus has kind of also been thinking about a good open web,” Sunde informs TorrentFreak.

Those who equate ad blocking to piracy should move on, and try to come up with better monetization models themselves. Advertising on the Internet is not sustainable in its current form, at least not for everyone.

“I think it’s funny how people compare that to piracy – especially since I have been part of that discussion for forever,” Sunde says.

“The media industry seems to think everything is piracy. Then again, it’s hard for them to complain about Flattr Plus, because it contains a solution for exactly the thing they’re complaining about and haven’t fixed themselves,” he adds.

That said, Sunde sees some parallels between Flattr Plus and The Pirate Bay. Both are about sharing information, but this time the creators are compensated.

“Flattr is for me just an extension to the same thinking that I’ve had with The Pirate Bay – information needs to be spread, we need to share information but we also need to fix that missing link of supporting people. And now, finally, we’ll have the user base size to fix that!”

Whether the partnership between Flattr and Adblock Plus will be as disruptive as The Pirate Bay has yet to be seen, but it will certainly cause some waves.

Announcing Flattr Plus

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Source: TorrentFreak

Android Piracy Group Leaders Plead Guilty to Criminal Copyright Infringement

Assisted by police in France and the Netherlands, in the summer of 2012 the FBI took down three unauthorized Android app stores.

Appbucket, Applanet and SnappzMarket all had their domains seized in a first of its kind operation. Several men were arrested and over the past four years have been slowly pleading guilty to various copyright infringement charges.

According to the Department of Justice, two more can now be added to the list.

Before his 16th birthday Aaron Blake Buckley launched Applanet, a service dedicated to the sharing of Android software. After being raided in 2012, Buckley attempted to crowdfund a defense against the U.S. government in 2014.

Now a 22-year-old, Buckley has just pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and to one count of criminal copyright infringement before U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. of the Northern District of Georgia.

Co-conspirator Gary Edwin Sharp II, 29, of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement in January.

applanet“According to statements made in court, the conspirators identified themselves as members of the Applanet Group,” the DoJ said in a statement.

“From May 2010 through August 2012, they conspired to reproduce and distribute more than four million copies of copyrighted Android apps through the Applanet alternative online market without permission from the victim copyright owners, who would otherwise sell copies of the apps on legitimate online markets for a fee.”

In addition to his role within Applanet, Sharp also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement as the leader of SnappzMarket. Sharp admitted that along with two other members the group conspired to distribute more than a million pirate Android apps worth $1.7m.

Overall, the groups are said to have distributed Android apps with a retail value in excess of $17 million.

The guilty pleas come on the heels of several others (1,2) since the raids in 2012. Buckley and Sharp will be sentenced in August.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Source: TorrentFreak

KickassTorrents Must Be Blocked in Finland, Court Rules

kickassWith The Pirate Bay no longer the world’s most popular torrent site, attentions are increasingly turning to KickassTorrents (KAT).

Currently the most visited torrent index on the planet, KAT is also one of the most-blocked sites on the Internet and the focus of legal action in increasing numbers of countries. With cases pending as far away as Australia, the latest European addition to the list is Finland.

A decision just handed down by the Market Court, a specialist venue hearing IP, competition and market law disputes, compels a total of seven Internet service providers to begin blocking KAT. They include the three largest providers DNA, Elisa and TeliaSonera Finland plus Anvia, Kaisanet, Lounea and MPY Palvelut.

The decision follows June 2015 amendments to copyright law that allow sites which are run by people who conceal their identities and are “clearly” set up to infringe copyright to be blocked at the ISP level.

But despite the important ruling, rightsholders are disappointed that the mechanism of blocking requested in the original application has been diluted by the Court. Although ISPs will be expected to block KickassTorrents’ URLs there will be no obligation to block the site’s IP addresses.

“Unfortunately the Market Court granted the rightsholders behind the initial application a considerably more limited blocking order, which in the rightsholders’ view will make the blocking partially ineffective,” says Jaana Pihkala, Executive Director at the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Center (CIAPC).

CIAPC says it will take time to consider the decision and may in time seek an opinion from the Supreme Court.

Once the KAT blockade is put in place it’s expected that users of the site will either try to circumvent the ban with VPNs and/or proxies or will simply migrate to other sites. That will likely trigger more applications to the court in which rightsholders will seek to block even more domains. As the UK example shows, that is likely to descend into a seemingly never-ending game of whac-a-mole.

The Pirate Bay is already blocked in Finland following a process that dates back to May 2011 when the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Center (CIAPC) and music industry group IFPI filed a lawsuit at the District Court.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Source: TorrentFreak