MPAA Demands Extraordinary Measures to Prevent Piracy

cameraspyAt some stage the majority of content created by the world’s leading movie and TV companies enters the digital realm. Whether during production, post-production, marketing or distribution, the digitization of video is the inevitable outcome of technological advances.

As a result, dozens of companies are involved in shifting studio content around the world, either as part of the creative process or when finished material is made available to the public via platforms such as Netflix or Amazon.

Of course, every company that gets involved represents an additional weak link in the chain, with the potential for movies to be pirated before they’re ready for distribution (workprints, for example) or once they’re completed. Unsurprisingly, the MPAA works extremely hard to ensure that such leaks are kept to a minimum.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the documentation that accompanies the MPAA’s Content Security Model, a set of best practices aimed at companies entrusted with handling protected media and content. Amazon, one of the MPAA’s partners, has published the Hollywood group’s latest set of requirements.

Admittedly many of the MPAA’s demands will be already-established business practices for a big company like Amazon, but a few really stand out as examples of how far Hollywood is prepared to reach into its suppliers’ operations.

For example, in addition to carrying out background screening on all employees and third party contractors, the MPAA demands that all workers sign annual confidentiality agreements that forbid them from talking about protected content.

With an eye on local law, companies must also implement random searches of their workers for traces of MPAA content, including the removal of coats, hats and belts, the emptying of pockets, a full security pat-down, scanning with metal detectors and inspection of electronic devices.

Workers are also forbidden from entering/exiting premises with any digital recording devices such as USB drives, cameras and cellphones, while anyone bringing food into a production area must do so using a transparent bag or container.

And to ensure that no one tries to smuggle content out, companies such as Amazon are required to implement a worker dress code which bans the use of “oversized clothing” such as baggy pants or hooded sweatshirts.

Overseeing all of these precautions are any number of security guards, but not even they escape the eyes of the MPAA. Studio partners are also required to implement additional controls to ensure that their own security guards are “actively” monitored.

For workers with computer access there are dozens of rules and regulations (most making complete sense from an IT security perspective), but those thinking of smuggling out a file or two should perhaps reconsider. The MPAA insists that all movement of content, both internally and externally, should be subject to comprehensive logging, including username, timestamps, filenames, plus source and destination IP addresses.

The above represent just a few examples of the MPAA’s comprehensive requirements but no matter how stringent the rules, content leaks happen each and every year.

Whether that’s the handful of movie workprints that periodically make the headlines or the dozens of fully finished Oscar screeners hitting the web annually, leaks are here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future.

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

Source: TorrentFreak

Offcloud Downloads Torrents to Google Drive and Dropbox

offcloudlogoDownloading torrents remotely is nothing new. Most of the popular torrent clients support this functionality, but for many users it’s too much of a hassle to configure it correctly.

This is where Offcloud comes in.

The new startup offers users a wide range of tools to download and backup files from video services and file-hosters, and recently added torrent support and Google drive integration as well.

The idea is simple and straightforward. Users simply paste a torrent link into their Offcloud account and the service then downloads the files right away.

One of the main benefits to users is that they can add torrents from work, school or on the road. After the torrent is downloaded to Offcloud’s server the files can be downloaded to a local computer or synced to Google Drive, Dropbox or an FTP server.

Once the files are synced people can access or play the files directly from the cloud, since Dropbox and Google Drive support online streaming for various media formats.

Google Drive Streaming


Downloading files only to Offcloud is an option as well of course, as the service has a built-in media player.

The main downside of Offcloud is that it limits the number of downloads to two torrent links per day on a free account for the first 7 days. This should be good enough for the casual user to try it out, but paid plans are also available starting at $1.99.

TF also asked the service about its seeding policy and the company clarified that it’s not a seedbox service.

“Offcloud does not have the ambition to be a seedbox service. We are not here to help BitTorrent uploaders, but rather to provide a simple cloud-based solution to users who simply wish to leech from BitTorrent in a fast and secure manner,” Offcloud’s spokesperson says.

The company tries to maintain torrent etiquette by uploading and downloading an equal amount of data. And thanks to the high bandwidth capacity the overall torrent swarm speeds will increase, at least temporarily.

“We usually aim at a 1:1 ratio for the sake of the BitTorrent swarm’s quality. Furthermore, our 10-Gbit nodes are truly boosting the swarm at the moment they are active on a certain torrent,” Offcloud notes.

TF tested the service which works as advertised. The torrents start quickly and download at much higher speeds than the average home connection, and they quickly appear in the designated Dropbox account or Google Drive.

In addition to torrents the service also downloads and converts videos from a range of other sites including YouTube, Vimeo, adult sites and most popular file-hosters.

People who want to take a look can head over to Offcloud to take it for a free spin.

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

Source: TorrentFreak

The Pirate Bay Is Down…

pirate bayThe Pirate Bay has become unreachable since a few hours.

It’s currently not clear what’s causing the problems. There might be a hardware issue, hosting problem or a software glitch, issues that have occurred many times in the site’s history.

What we do know is that the site’s domain names are not the culprit.

The Pirate Bay currently displays a CloudFlare error message across all domain names, suggesting that TPB’s servers are unresponsive.


With the raid of last year still fresh in memory some fear the worst, but these concerns are unwarranted for now.

In fact, the site is still accessible via the Tor network (through http://uj3wazyk5u4hnvtk.onion/), including the popular Pirate Browser.

The Tor traffic goes through a separate server and works just fine.

TorrentFreak reached out to The Pirate Bay team for a comment on the situation and we will update this article if we hear back.

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

Source: TorrentFreak

Universal: Smart Pirate Site Owners Get Round Restrictions

per-sundinFor many years Sweden was one of the most prominent battlegrounds in the global file-sharing wars, playing host to dozens of unlicensed sites including the notorious Pirate Bay. As a result, Universal Music Sweden MD Per Sundin knows a thing or two about piracy.

A key figure in the now-famous prosecution of The Pirate Bay, Sundin was one of the site’s harshest critics and one of many desperate to bring both the platform and its operators to their knees.

But despite a herculean effort from Sundin and others, The Pirate Bay not only lived through a trial and subsequent appeals, it outlived even its own founders who each served prison sentences for their crimes. Today the site may not quite hold the status it once did, but it’s certainly a major player in the file-sharing ecosystem.

If Sundin remains bothered by the Pirate Bay’s resilience he isn’t letting it show, but it’s clear that he’s picked up plenty of experience along the way. In an interview with MBW, Sundin suggests that no matter what obstacles are put in file-sharing’s way, pirates will always adapt.

“We will see piracy in the future,” Sundin says.

“The pirate site owners will get smarter and find ways around [restrictions]. If we close down one, another will pop up. That’s a fact of life.”

This admission from Sundin is not the usual thing one hears from high-powered music executives, especially those so close to the powerful anti-piracy forces of IFPI. However, Sundin is part of a revitalized local music market that projects Sweden’s success story onto the world stage, despite massive historical piracy.

According to figures from IFPI, the Swedish music revenues bounced from a low of US$144.8 million in 2008 to US$194.2 million in 2013. During the same period, digital music revenues increased from just 8% to a huge 70%, with subscription services accounting for 94% of the digital market.

“[In] 2009, we had The Pirate Bay trial and verdict; we had the [anti-piracy] enforcement directive implemented; and we had Spotify, which launched in October 2008. It was the perfect storm,” Sundin explains.

“Thanks to that – especially Spotify, I would say – we were taken out of the dark times. We went from bad boys to something much better.”

Despite Sundin’s comments concerning the difficulty of permanently blocking or shutting down sites, he remains optimistic about confronting piracy. However, rather than relying entirely on the stick, the industry veteran now openly acknowledges that beating the pirates at their own game is a better option.

“We have to help legal services, Spotify and others, be better,” Sundin says.

Interestingly – and this has been a talking point in recent weeks – Sundin also expresses concern surrounding the prevalence of ‘exclusives’ on legitimate services, such as those recently negotiated with Apple by Black Eyed Peas and Dr Dre.

“I think the exclusivity thing is dangerous – that’s my personal opinion. Hopefully we won’t see it so much,” Sundin says.

The Universal man’s thoughts are shared by Mark Dennis, Managing Director of Sony Music Sweden.

“We have to learn from what’s happened in the past: when people haven’t been able to consume music in the way they want, they turn to piracy. We’re just not learning!”

If piracy is to be kept under control long-term then such lessons will have to be learned, but whether the message will take a long or short time to sink in is another matter. History suggests later rather than sooner, but attitudes are changing.

Nevertheless, with appetites whetted, millions of people are now eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s super-advanced version of Spotify and other services that simply haven’t been envisioned yet. But whatever arrives, innovation is definitely the key, and one gets the impression that the Swedes really get that.

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

Source: TorrentFreak