Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ahashare ‘Disappears’ After Domain Name Suspension

ahasharelogoWith tens of thousands of visitors per day, torrent site Ahashare has built a decent sized community in recent years.

The site has an active team of uploaders and many regular visitors, or should we say had? For the past few days, the site has been unreachable on its regular Ahashare.com domain.

Roughly a week ago the site vanished without a trace. After some digging, it appears that the site’s domain name has been suspended by Public Domain Registry (PDR), with a “clienthold” status.

We have seen this status on suspended domains before. According to ICANN the clienthold tag is uncommon and “usually enacted during legal disputes, non-payment, or when your domain is subject to deletion.”



TorrentFreak contacted the site’s team via the publicly listed address hoping to find out more, but we have yet to hear back.

The site’s operators are quiet on social media as well. The Twitter account posted the last site update more than five years ago. Two weeks ago a new tweet was posted linking to what seems to be a counterfeit sunglasses site, suggesting that it’s compromised.

Generally speaking, domain name suspensions are easily countered if sites switch to a new domain. Thus far it looks like the Ahashare team hasn’t done this yet, so it’s possible that more is going on.

Ahashare.com in better times


Ahashare registered its domain through the Indian domain registrar PDR, which is no stranger when it comes to suspensions.

The company previously seized the domains of ExtraTorrent and several other popular torrent sites. However, in recent years there might have been less compliance. The MPAA now lists PDR as a non-cooperative registrar in a recent recommendation to the Government, but it’s possible this doesn’t apply universally.

Whether Ahashare will return in the future is unknown, but in the meantime, the site’s users will have to look elsewhere for their daily torrent fix.

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

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Install Acestream on Linux Mint 18 device in a few simple steps

Acestream on Linux MintInstall Acestream on Linux Mint 18! Acestream brings you the ability to start online playback of torrent videos in one click on any website that contains links to torrent files, therefore it is an excellent BitTorrent client. Acestream serves another great purpose since it is also necessary to play live sports feeds in Kodi sports […]

Install Acestream on Linux Mint 18 device in a few simple steps is a post from htpcBeginner.

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Swedish Govt. Mulls Tougher Punishments to Tackle Pirate Sites

law-hammerWhen most country’s copyright laws were first laid down, the Internet simply did not exist. So, when the world-changing network began to develop, the law was often left playing catch-up.

Through various amendments and interpretations, many developed countries have found a way to shoehorn existing legislation to apply to the Internet era. But the fit is rarely perfect and for copyright holders keen to protect their interests, not nearly tight enough to deal with the rise of pirate sites.

Among others, Sweden is now considering its options when it comes to its future prosecutions of large-scale copyright infringement cases. As part of a review now underway, the government is accessing the powers it needs to deal with more serious cases of copyright infringement.

Police national coordinator for intellectual property crimes Paul Pintér hopes that any changes will enable police to operate more efficiently in the future.

“If you have a felony, you can get access to a whole new toolkit. In the terms of reference for the inquiry, the government mentions almost all of the points that we have previously proposed,” he told IDG.

Considering the way anti-piracy enforcement has developed over the past several years, few of the suggestions from the police come as a surprise.

At the top of the tree is treating pirate site operators as more than just large-scale copyright infringers. The Justice Department says that due to the manner in which sites are organized and the subsequent development of revenue, treating them as self-contained crime operations may be appropriate.

“With the help of well-organized sites, infringement is made fast, easy, and both openly and more or less anonymous,” says Anna Enbert, legal adviser at the Department of Justice.

“Not infrequently, there is a business motive for the major players, which is roughly comparable to organized crime. This has made infringement more extensive, difficult to investigate, and harmful in relation to both rights holders, consumers, and society at large.”

Like the UK, the current maximum sentence for online copyright infringement in Sweden is two years in prison. The UK is about to boost this to ten years via the Digital Economy Act but in recent years has seen many prosecutions carried out under fraud legislation.

This kind of amendment has caught the eyes of Sweden. By viewing ‘pirate’ sites as platforms for commercial and organized crime, harsher sentences may also become available. Currently, punishments are often limited to fines and suspended sentences.

Also on the table for discussion are domain seizures and site-blocking. In a memorandum submitted to the government last year, Pintér said that websites that violate copyright or trademark law should be blocked by ISPs. Furthermore, while preliminary investigations are underway, domain names should be seized by the authorities.

While specific provisions in law for both blockades and seizures would undoubtedly be welcomed by both police and rightsholders, current law may yet be up to the job. Attempts to seize The Pirate Bay’s domains are still ongoing and ISPs are digging in over demands to block the site. Nevertheless, both could still succeed.

In the meantime, however, the review will press ahead, although not at a speed that pleases the police. IDG notes that the investigation is to presented in February 2018, a time-scale that Paul Pintér finds unacceptable.

“The only thing is, is that the review will take far too long. It should be completed faster than a year,” he concludes.

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

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Tax Authority Grilled VLC Player Over Link From a Torrent Site

vlcconeVideoLAN’s VLC Media Player(*) is installed on hundreds of millions of devices around the world.

It’s widely regarded as the best tool to play videos and audio in just about any format. When something can’t be played, VLC Media Player almost always provides the answer.

The application has a wide variety of legal uses, but pirates are also pretty keen on the tool. In fact, some sites actively recommend it to their users, including the French torrent site Torrent9 who list it in their help section.

Of course, these type of links are only a one-way endorsement. However, for some reason the National Tax Investigation Branch of the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance, was concerned that something more was up.

A few hours ago, Next INpact reported that VideoLAN had received a letter from the tax authority, asking for detailed information on Torrent9.biz.

The reason for the inquiry is that the site in question, also accessible via Torrent9.me, has a help section that explains how people can download torrents. This guide ends with a link to the VLC Media Player, as can be seen below.

Torrent9’s help page


While the Internet is full of links, the National Tax Investigation Branch suspected that VideoLAN was closely involved with the torrent site, asking the organization to hand over all sorts of documentation.

Specifically, they requested “complete customer details,” “bank details,” “payment methods of the customer and date of last payment,” and a copy of the “referencing contract” for the Torrent9.biz and Torrent9.me domains.

When confronted with the usual request by a reporter, the Ministry of Economy and Finance didn’t give in. Instead, it reportedly stated that “if they have a link to your website, it’s because you pay them: SEO is not free..,” suggesting some kind of active cooperation.

VideoLAN received quite a bit of support after the news broke as many people had trouble wrapping their head around the absurd situation.

After a storm of protests, the authorities eventually decided to back down. In a response on Twitter, the ministry described the situation as an ‘error of judgment,’ adding that failures like this can always happen.

For VideoLAN this means everything will return to normal now. They initially planned to reply to the request with a blank piece of paper, but even that’s no longer needed.

* Disclaimer: VideoLAN did not compensate TorrentFreak for the link in this article.

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

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Denuvo Piracy Crisis as Resident Evil 7 Gets Cracked in Record Time

denuvoDeath. Taxes. Immediate PC games piracy. That was pretty much the state of play before anti-piracy technology company Denuvo Software Solutions came along a few years back.

With its anti-tamper system of the same name, Denuvo took the inevitability of day-of-release PC games piracy and pushed back the boundaries in a way never seen before. Indeed, some older Denuvo-protected games are still piracy free to this day.

In recent times, however, the company has found itself under increasing pressure. In August 2016, cracking group CONSPIR4CY (CPY) dumped a Denuvo-removed version of Rise of the Tomb Raider on torrent sites, some five months after its release. Despite the long delay, it was a landmark moment. Denuvo had been defeated.

Just days later, CPY doubled down by giving puzzle-platformer ‘Inside‘ the same treatment, but in a record time of just six weeks from launch. What followed was a cascade of cracked games, including Doom, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and Watch Dogs 2, to name just a few. Now, however, Denuvo is facing its biggest threat yet.

Yesterday, just five days after its January 24th retail date, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was cracked by CPY. The self-proclaimed Italian group placed RE7 on a so-called top site, with the ‘piracy pyramid‘ doing the rest of the work by cascading it to torrent sites in a matter of minutes. Currently, tens of thousands of pirates are grabbing the 23GB download.


In its defense, Denuvo has never marketed its product as an uncrackable system. The plan, the company insists, is to give games producers a piracy-free window of opportunity, from the day of launch to some undefined point in the future. Protecting those lucrative early months from pirates is the aim.

In some respects, Denuvo is still doing its job, with AAA titles such as Just Cause 3 still protected from piracy months after launch. No one but groups like CPY know why JC3 has avoided the same fate as the other titles. It could just be that they can’t be bothered to crack it. Clearly, the same cannot be said about Resident Evil 7.

Denuvo is obviously a tough system to crack but less than a week’s protection is only marginally better than having no protection at all. Pirates are notoriously impatient but a sizeable majority can probably wait a handful of days for a free game, if they believe CPY can keep pulling this off. That in itself is a problem for Denuvo and the games publishers it’s attempting to protect.

In December, Denuvo refuted claims that it gives publishers refunds if the protection it offers subsequently gets removed.

“We can’t comment on our deals with specific customers, but we do not have any deals in place that offer refunds if a game is cracked within a specific time frame,” Denuvo co-founder Robert Hernandez said.

That being said, publishers must be paying something to have Denuvo protect their titles so it’s reasonable to assume that a year’s protection must be worth more than a month. But when we get down to five days? That surely must involve some kind of discount to deter a debate over whether the protection is worth having at all.

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

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BREIN Shuts Down ‘Pirate Cinema’ on Facebook

biosIn the present day and age, online piracy is perhaps more scattered than it’s ever been.

Torrent sites, streaming services, cyberlockers, mobile apps, linking sites and many more are all labeled as infringing sources.

But, the piracy problem is not restricted to ‘shady’ sites and services alone. On many ‘legal’ platforms there’s a wide availability of copyright infringing material as well, Facebook included.

While anyone can casually post an infringing video or song on Facebook, there are some who dedicate entire pages to it. This was also the case for the Dutch page “LiveBioscoop” (LiveCinema) which was started by a 23-year-old man from Rotterdam.

As the name suggests, the page regularly streamed movies online with help from Facebook’s own live streaming service. In a relatively short period, it amassed over 25,000 followers who could regularly vote on which movies the ‘cinema’ should stream next.

The site’s popularity spilled over to the Dutch press last week, with the AD reporting on the unusual activity of LiveBioscoop and a similar page, Livebios. Commenting on the issue, anti-piracy group BREIN said they would investigate the issue, and not without result.

The operator of the Facebook page was quickly confronted by the anti-piracy group. Facing an ex-parte court order from a local court, the man agreed to stop the infringing activities and sign a settlement of €7,500. While the Facebook page itself is still online, infringements have stopped.

Commenting on the issue, BREIN director Tim Kuik says that they decided to go to court straight away, due to the gravity of the issue.

“This is just stealing revenue from cinemas and rightsholders. It has to end as soon as possible. That is why we have opted for an ex parte injunction with a penalty, instead of first issuing a summons,” Kuik says.

The other ‘pirate cinema’ on Facebook wasn’t mentioned by BREIN, but is no longer available at the time of writing. It seems likely that the operator of this page decided to stop voluntarily to avoid further problems.

Instead of simply cracking down on all these pages, copyright holders could also learn from them. As it turns out, many LiveBioscoop users sincerely enjoyed and appreciated the social cinema visit, which may prove to be an interesting opportunity.

“LiveBioscoop has to stay. It feels better and is more fun that way. People can talk. Netflix is just like, I watch a movie and that was it. Since I found LiveBioscoop I no longer watched Netflix movies,” one follower commented.

While this is the first time that we have seen a settlement with a Facebook live streamer, movie piracy is relatively common on the social network. There still are dozens, if not hundreds of popular pages dedicated to pirated movies and TV-shows.

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

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Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 01/30/17

doctorstrangeThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Doctor Strange, of which a leaked screener was released, is the most downloaded movie.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are Web-DL/Webrip/HDRip/BDrip/DVDrip unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:
Movie Rank Rank last week Movie name IMDb Rating / Trailer
Most downloaded movies via torrents
1 (10) Doctor Strange (DVDScr) 8.0 / trailer
2 (3) La La Land (DVDscr) 8.8 / trailer
3 (2) Arrival (DVDscr) 8.3 / trailer
5 (9) Hacksaw Ridge (DVDscr) 8.5 / trailer
6 (…) Allied (DVDscr) 7.1 / trailer
6 (1) Jack Reacher: Never Go Back 6.3 / trailer
7 (…) Manchester By The Sea (DVDscr) 8.3 / trailer
8 (…) Live By Night (DVDscr) 6.6 / trailer
9 (4) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Subbed HDRip) 7.1 / trailer
10 (5) The Girl on The Train 6.6 / trailer

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

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Low Power Home Server Build 2017 for Network File and Media Storage

Budget Home Server Build 2017The term “server” may bring to mind an enterprise environment. However, servers are incredibly practical for general users. Notably, media enthusiasts should consider a low power home server build. Essentially, a server is a computer that acts as a centralized storage hub. What’s stored on this server can be accessed by other devices or programs, […]

Low Power Home Server Build 2017 for Network File and Media Storage is a post from htpcBeginner.

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BitChute is a BitTorrent-Powered YouTube Alternative

bitchute-logoYouTube attracts over a billion visitors every month, with many flocking to the platform to view original content uploaded by thousands of contributors. However, those contributors aren’t completely free to upload and make money from whatever they like.

Since it needs to please its advertisers, YouTube has rules in place over what kind of content can be monetized, something which caused a huge backlash last year alongside claims of censorship.

But what if there was an alternative to YouTube, one that doesn’t impose the same kinds of restrictions on uploaders? Enter BitChute, a BitTorrent-powered video platform that seeks to hand freedom back to its users.

“The idea comes from seeing the increased levels of censorship by the large social media platforms in the last couple of years. Bannings, demonetization, and tweaking algorithms to send certain content into obscurity and, wanting to do something about it,” BitChute founder Ray Vahey informs TorrentFreak.

“I knew building a clone wasn’t the answer, many have tried and failed. And it would inevitably grow into an organization with the same problems anyway.”

As seen in the image below, the site has a familiar layout for anyone used to YouTube-like video platforms. It has similar video controls, view counts, and the ability to vote on content. It also has a fully-functioning comment section.


Of course, one of the main obstacles for video content hosting platforms is the obscene amounts of bandwidth they consume. Any level of success is usually accompanied by big hosting bills. But along with its people-powered philosophy, BitChute does things a little differently.

Instead of utilizing central servers, BitChute uses WebTorrent, a system which allows people to share videos directly from their browser, without having to configure or install anything. Essentially this means that the site’s users become hosts of the videos they’re watching, which slams BitChute’s hosting costs into the ground.

“Distributed systems and WebTorrent invert the scalability advantage the Googles and Facebooks have. The bigger our user base grows, the more efficiently it can serve while retaining the simplicity of the web browser,” Vahey says.

“Also by the nature of all torrent technology, we are not locking users into a single site, and they have the choice to retain and continue sharing the files they download. That puts more power back in the hands of the consumer where it should be.”

The only hints that BitChute is using peer-to-peer technology are the peer counts under each video and a short delay before a selected video begins to play. This is necessary for the system to find peers but thankfully it isn’t too intrusive.

As far as we know, BitChute is the first attempt at a YouTube-like platform that leverages peer-to-peer technology. It’s only been in operation for a short time but according to its founder, things are going well.

“As far as I could tell, no one had yet run with this idea as a service, so that’s what myself and few like-minded people decided. To put it out there and see what people think. So far it’s been an amazingly positive response from people who understand and agree with what we’re doing,” Vahey explains.

“Just over three weeks ago we launched with limited upload access on a first come first served basis. We are flat out busy working on the next version of the site; I have two other co-founders based out of the UK who are supporting me, watch this space,” he concludes.

Certainly, people will be cheering the team on. Last September, popular YouTuber Bluedrake experimented with WebTorrent to distribute his videos after becoming frustrated with YouTube’s policies.

“All I want is a site where people can say what they want,” he said at the time. “I want a site where people can operate their business without having somebody else step in and take away their content when they say something they don’t like.”

For now, BitChute is still under development, but so far it has impressed Feross Aboukhadijeh, the Stanford University graduate who invented WebTorrent.

“BitChute is an exciting new product,” he told TF this week. “This is exactly the kind of ‘people-powered’ website that WebTorrent technology was designed to enable. I’m eager to see where the team takes it.”

BitChute can be found here.

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

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‘Nerd Judge’ Questions Evidence in KickassTorrents Case

kickasstorrents_500x500Last summer, Polish law enforcement officers arrested Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of KickassTorrents, who’s been in custory ever since.

While awaiting the start of extradition hearings, Vaulin’s defense team asked the Illinois federal court to dismiss the entire case.

Next week both parties will be allowed to argue their positions before the court during an oral argument, which District Court Judge John Z. Lee agreed to in a recent hearing.

During this hearing, Judge Lee, who describes himself as a “kind of a nerd judge,” asked both sides to shed light on the arguments and evidence provided in the US indictment.

Vaulin’s legal team stressed that the indictment fails to specify any copyrighted media that was downloaded or infringed in the United States. As such, the US Government’s claim of willful direct criminal copyright infringement for operating a torrent site fails.

During the hearing, Judge Lee tried to get a feeling for what kind of infringing action would be deemed criminal according to the defense, and what would not. Is it a criminal violation of the Copyright Act to offer a Rogue One torrent in exchange for $100, he asked as an example.

A hypothetical Rogue One torrent…


No, says Vaulin’s defense lawyer Ira Rothken, who noted that it would be a misdemeanor at best. The Judge then continued with a few more extreme examples, trying to find out what the threshold would be.

“I’m kind of a nerd judge, so I kind of like to think about things like: Where is that line?” Judge Lee said.

While the hypothetical situations were not directly applicable to the case, the Judge made it clear that he is not entirely certain whether the case presented in the indictment is sufficient for the court to have jurisdiction over the defendant.

“I understand the defendant’s argument that the government hasn’t met that level yet,” the Judge added, noting that these and other issues can be discussed in the upcoming oral hearing.

Although the indictment offers a detailed description of KickassTorrents’ operation, Judge Lee questioned whether the Department of Justice has any evidence about concrete copyright infringements that took place inside the United States.

“So, I agree that the indictment is detailed; but it’s detailed in certain respects, and it’s not in others. I mean, it’s detailed in the way the site works, in the way Mr. Vaulin and his co-conspirators kind of – what sites they owned and how they – how they administered these sites,” Judge Lee said.

“But it doesn’t provide much specific detail as to – because I was looking for it, and I was ticking it off as I went along – as to what particular acts, copyright violations, took place in the United States that would bring this within the jurisdiction of the Court,” he added.

Responding to this concern, United States Attorney William Ridgway assured the court that evidence of actual distribution of copyright infringing material would be presented at trial.

Defense lawyer Ira Rothken wasn’t so convinced, however. He pointed out that the copyright infringing material referenced in the indictment is limited to eleven torrents that were stored on foreign servers, which according to his standards is not enough to warrant a criminal case.

“They have not met that threshold in the four corners of the indictment, or more seriously, have pled themselves out of it by the way they articulated the 11 torrent files in this litigation, in this criminal case. They’ve pled themselves out of it,” Rothken noted.

The scheduled hearing on the motion to dismiss will take place next week. After both sides argue their position, Judge Lee must decide whether the case can go forward, or if it should be thrown out.

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

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