Google Asked to Remove 558 Million “Pirate” Links in 2015

google-bayIn recent years copyright holders have overloaded Google with DMCA takedown notices, targeting links to pirated content.

The majority of these requests are sent by the music and movie industries, targeting thousands of different websites. In recent years the volume of takedown notices has increased spectacularly and this trend continued in 2015.

Google doesn’t report yearly figures, but at TF we processed all the weekly reports and found that the number of URLs submitted by copyright holders last year surpassed the 558 million mark – 558,860,089 at the time of writing.

For the first time ever the number of reported URLs has surpassed half a billion in a 12-month period. This is an increase of 60 percent compared to last year, when the search engine processed 345 million pirate links.

The majority of the links are being removed from the search results. However, Google sometimes takes “no action” if they are deemed not to be infringing or if they have been taken down previously.

This year most takedown requests were sent for the domains, and, with more than seven million targeted URLs each. The UK Music industry group BPI is the top copyright holder of 2015, good for more than 65 million reported links.


Looking at the totals for this year we further see that 329,469 different domain names were targeted by 27,035 copyright holders. Interestingly, these staggering numbers are interpreted differently by Google and various copyright holders.

A few weeks ago Google told the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator that it has taken various measures to help copyright holders, including swift removals.

“We process more takedown notices, and faster, than any other search engine,” the search giant commented.

“We receive notices for a tiny fraction of everything we host and index, which nonetheless amounts to millions of copyright removal requests per week that are processed, on average, in under six hours.”

The company rejects broader actions, such as the removal of entire domain names, as this would prove counterproductive and lead to overbroad censorship.

Many copyright holders, however, don’t share these concerns. Over the years groups such as the MPAA and RIAA have repeatedly argued that clearly infringing sites should be barred from Google’s index. In addition, they want Google to make sure that pirated content stays down.

While Google believes that the billion reported URLs are a sign that the DMCA takedown process is working properly, rightsholders see it as a signal of an unbeatable game of whack-a-mole.

As this stalemate continues we can expect the number of reported pages to continue to rise in the future, adding millions of new URLs on a daily basis. Perhaps there will be a billion reported pirate links in 2016?

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

Source: TorrentFreak

Hive-CM8 Apologizes For Leaking Hateful Eight DVD Screener

quen-sorryWithout doubt the biggest piracy story of December was the drama surrounding the relentless stream of movies hitting the Internet from release group Hive-CM8. All more-or-less perfect copies of awards screeners, the leaks attracted attention from studios and even the FBI.

As law enforcement presumably continues to track the release group, leaks from Hive-CM8 have faltered somewhat, with sources pointing to a potential security breach as the reason.

However, after maintaining almost total silence, the people behind Hive-CM8 have not only released a couple more movies but have also broken their silence.

Their statement, aimed at close colleagues in private channels, is surprising to say the least. It accompanies the release of the Christian Bale movie The Big Short and begins with an admission that errors have been made. (some typos/grammar corrected by TF)

“We held back this title till 1 week after [theatrical release] to give the movie a fighting chance to play in the budget, we learned from our mistake,” Hive’s statement begins.

“We didn’t plan to comment at all on recent events, but we feel now that we should.”

First off, the group attempts to dispel rumors that the leaked screener copies had been sourced after some kind of hack.

“We got the copies sold from a guy on the street, no decryption was needed. We were definitely not the only ones [to have obtained copies]. A couple of other movies had been on the net days before, not done by us,” they note.


While the group has certainly released content in the past for notoriety, this time around Hive said it wanted to help those too poor to get the movies through official channels.

“So we wanted to share [these] movies with the people who are not rich enough or not able to watch all nominated movies in the cinema. Of course [these files] are not representing the movies how they can be enjoyed in the cinema.”

It’s not uncommon for release groups to request that those viewing ‘their’ movies should support the producers by enjoying content through official channels and in the cinema where possible. Hive is no different, noting that creators “need the money from ticket sales to get back [their] production costs.”

However, what then follows is a clear apology to Quentin Tarantino and those behind his movie The Hateful Eight. Hive leaked this title before it had even opened in cinemas, something which they now regret.

“We feel sorry for the trouble we caused by releasing that great movie before [it’s release date] had even begun. We never intended to hurt anyone by doing that, we didn’t know it would get that popular that quickly,” Hive explains.

“The Hateful Eight is an excellent, thrilling and entertaining Western that combines terrific direction, a fantastic cast, a wonderful script, beautiful photography and a memorable score. All of those elements make The Hateful Eight an unforgettable film that is Quentin Tarantino at his best.”

But while acknowledging that tickets sales fund production costs and apologizing for their actions, Hive say they believe the leak of The Hateful Eight won’t do long-term damage to the title and has probably even helped it.

“Since everyone is now talking about this movie we don’t think the producers will [lose] any money [upon theatrical release]. We actually think this has created a new type of media hype that is more present in the news, radio and in the papers than Star Wars, and the promotional costs for this were free,” Hive says.

And here’s the math…..

“If let’s say 5% of the people planned to watch this movie at cinema date, due to this media push we unintentionally created, we believe that now 40% of the people will watch this movie in the cinema [because] everyone is talking about it and everyone wants to see the movie that created so much noise. This will push the cinema ticket sales for sure.

“We really hope this helped out the producers in the long-run, so that the production costs are covered and more.”

After thanking Quentin Tarantino for a “wonderful movie”, Hive notes that The Hateful Eight should be the top awards candidate and will “win by a mile” over its rivals. However, it’s pre-release will mark the last time that Hive leaks content before it appears in cinemas and for those waiting for the 40 leaks the group promised earlier, disappointment lies in wait.

“We won’t do another movie before its [theatrical release], and we definitely won’t go up to 40 as planned, we think we have done enough already,” Hive concludes.

That being said, two further screener releases have appeared in private channels during the past couple of days – The Big Short as previously noted and Golden Globe nominee Anomalisa. Both are now available publicly too, but without being attributed to Hive. Instead, both carry a generic ‘P2P’ tag.

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

Source: TorrentFreak

Pirated Screener Dump Stops After ‘Security Breach’

security-breach-lockOver the past several days more than a dozen high quality screeners of Hollywood films have appeared online, including The Hateful Eight, The Revenant and Steve Jobs.

Devastated Hollywood studios are now working with the FBI to catch the perpetrators, with some success.

Last week they traced The Hateful Eight leak back to a Hollywood executive and the feds are currently looking into additional leads.

The main targets in this case are individuals connected to the release group Hive-CM8. They’ve released the majority of the DVD screeners that are out at the moment and earlier promised to leak a total of 40.

However, it now appears that their releasing spree has come to an end.

Comments made by an insider on a private torrent site claim that a recent “expose” of a torrent uploader has something to do with it. This information was posted on various sites including KAT and in the TF comment section.

The person responsible for the expose, who uses the screen name Sup3rman, contacted TorrentFreak to provide his side of the story.

After reading an article about how easy it can sometimes be for law enforcement to catch movie pirates, he decided to test this theory on someone who uploaded many Hive-CM8 releases. To do this, he looked at the source of the movie screenshots and found that they were linked to an image sharing account with thousands of images.

All this info was (and is) rather public as the screenshots were posted with the torrent uploads. Also, everyone could see where they were hosted and figure out that the account name in question matched that of the torrent uploader.

However, not everyone close to the release group appreciated the “exposure” and as a result the public Hive-CM8 releases were halted. Hive-CM8 has not commented on the break but on a separate site he wrote that he won’t be available for some time.

On first sight the ‘leaked’ information doesn’t appear to be anything new or particularly private. However, it certainly appears that something spooked the group or uploader into halting the releases.

The reported break is confirmed by the lack of new releases over the past day or two, which is the longest gap since the first DVD screener was posted. Interestingly, however, The Big Short and Anomalisa have been published in private, or ‘internally’ as it’s known.

At the end of the day many questions remain. Could it really be that the exposed image account is the sole reason for stopping the public releases? Or is something else going on behind the scenes?

There’s no point in speculating any further at this point or drawing connections that may be totally irrelevant, but one has to wonder.

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

Source: TorrentFreak