Mar 182015

Microsoft just dropped a bomb that will echo through the world of software piracy for a long time: Windows 10 will be a free upgrade even for non-genuine versions of Windows.

“We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,” Windows operating systems chief Terry Myerson told Reuters on Wednesday.

This means that all users running a pirated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 — a stark contrast to Microsoft’s anti-piracy measures in the past, which included an activation system as well as warnings and reduced functionality for Windows systems that were determined to be non-genuine.

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Sep 162013


Netflix is following the pirates as it chooses content to add to its streaming-video service.

When rolling out its service in the Netherlands, the company looked at what content to offer based in part on what shows were popular on piracy websites. “Prison Break is exceptionally popular on piracy sites,” Kelly Merryman, Netflix’s vice president of content acquisition, told Torrent Freak, a website that tracks news about the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol.

Netflix takes the view that it can draw people away from a life of video piracy by offering the same content, only with a better user experience and less risk of legal fallout. Reed Hastings, the company’s chief executive, has said that whenever Netflix is launched in a market, the level of activity on piracy sites drops.

MORE:  Netflix Uses Content Pirates to Help With Programming.




Aug 232012

It hasn’t been an especially felicitous year for the founder of file-sharing site MegaUpload: his domain name has been seized, his assets have been impounded, and Kim Dotcom faces potential extradition to the U.S. on criminal charges of copyright infringement.

That’s a fate that RapidShare is determined to avoid. The Swiss company says it wants to be a legitimate hosting service that not only responds promptly to removal requests from copyright holders, but that goes far beyond what the law requires.

RapidShare’s “responsible practices” policy may have pleased Hollywood when it was announced in April, but it nevertheless remains controversial. The U.S. advocacy group Public Knowledge responded by saying the policy “implies that cloud services that choose to merely comply with copyright law” are “somehow morally deficient or in favor of copyright infringement.”

RapidShare says it employs over 50 people and has over 400,000 files a day uploaded by its users to over 1,000 servers.

CNET spoke this week with Daniel Raimer, the company’s general counsel, about the techniques RapidShare uses to detect piratical material, and how far it’s willing to go.

MORE:  RapidShare: We’ll help Hollywood, but ‘not at all costs’ (Q&A) | Politics and Law – CNET News.


Mar 222012

The group plans to move its front-end proxy servers into the sky, creating a network of small mobile computers that are tethered to GPS-enabled aerial drones. The airborne computers, called Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS), will supposedly be harder for law enforcement agencies to terminate. TPB contends that any attempt to ground its vessels will be viewed as an act of war.

The MPAA declined to comment on whether it intends to bring its anti-air capabilities to bear against the pirate fleet. We imagine that the industry trade group will respond by developing a surface-to-air missile system capable of delivering high-speed ballistic takedown notices. The MPAA could also potentially retake the skies by weaponizing carrier pigeons. Alongside such takedown efforts, the content industry’s lobbyists will likely pursue a legislative strategy, such as encouraging sympathetic legislators to ban GPS.

TPB said that it plans to use low-cost Linux computers, such as the $35 Raspberry Pi ARM board, to build its fleet. Although the idea is somewhat preposterous and the whole thing is probably a bad joke, a group of technologists apparently already have a real proof-of-concept ready to soar.


via Pirate Bay plans to build aerial server drones with $35 Linux computer.


Jan 032012

TorrentFreak’s top 10 most pirated games of 2011 list is out and taking the top prize was Crytek’s Crysis 2. What were the other top nine games that pirates stole last year? Find out after the jump.

With nearly 4 million illegal downloads Crysis 2 easily took first place. Coming in a close behind were Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, FIFA 12 and Portal 2 for PC.

Rounding out the top 10 most pirated games were Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii), Mario Sports Mix (Wii), Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) and Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360).

via Crysis 2 was the most pirated game of 2011 | DVICE.

Oct 122011



When illegal downloaders illegally downloaded an illegal copy of the illegal Deus Ex: Human Revolution beta, they illegally enjoyed themselves for the first few illegal levels before the game was all like, “lol j/k” and kicked them out to a Web-based form that started asking them all kinds of probing questions about their illegal activities, courtesy of a startup anti-piracy firm called Anti-Piracy Strategies.

The strangest part, though, was that 90% of the victims actually went and filled out the questionnaire rather than ripping their ethernet cords out of the wall, encasing their hard drives in blocks of concrete, and dumping them into the nearest major body of water like I would have done.

via Anti-piracy company pirates a million copies of Deus Ex | DVICE.

Oct 112011

The standard line that Digital Rights Management (DRM) functions as a bulwark against online music piracy is being challenged by a trio of economists from Rice and Duke Universities. Their game theory research sides with a growing sentiment that DRM technologies which restrict music file copying and moving sometimes encourage illegal file sharing instead.

“In many cases, DRM restrictions prevent legal users from doing something as normal as making backup copies of their music,” contends one of the researchers, Dinahy Vernik, assistant professor of marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business. “Because of these inconveniences, some consumers choose to pirate.”

The paper in question is titled “Music Downloads and the Flip Side of Digital Rights Management Protection.”

Under certain conditions, “we find that eliminating DRM restrictions can lead to an increase in sales of legal downloads, a decrease in sales of traditional CDs, and a decrease in piracy,” conclude marketing scholars Vernik and Devavrat Purohit and Preyas Desai of Duke. “This is in stark contrast to the view that removing DRM will unconditionally increase the level of piracy.”

via A game we all win: Dumping DRM can increase sales while reducing piracy.

Aug 242011



Art is about freedom of expression, and it sometimes results in controversial pieces that challenge the social norms or intentionally push the boundaries of decency for one reason or another. But does there ever come a point when artwork crosses the line? A 1TB external hard drive sitting on a white pedestal at the Art 404 gallery begs that very question, the one you have to ask when someone crams $5 million worth of illegally downloaded software into a storage device and calls it art.

via Maximum PC | Dude Downloads $5 Million of Stolen Software to 1TB Hard Drive for Art Exhibit.