Game Developer Uses DMCA Notice to ‘Free’ Its Game from Steam Publisher
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Indie game developer Ammobox Studios has sent Steam a DMCA takedown notice for its own game. The company says that it was forced to take such a drastic measure after the publisher stopped making payments. While it's an unusual step to take, the takedown notice achieved the desired result.

Generally speaking, DMCA notices are sent by rightsholders to prevent third-parties from sharing their work without permission.

These are often pirated copies of movies, music, or games. However, a takedown notice game developer Ammobox Studios sent to Steam recently is far from typical.

The company asked the game platform to remove their own game “Eximius: Seize the Frontline” after it ran into trouble with its publisher. According to the game developer, the publishing partner, TheGameWallStudios, went dark and stopped making payments.

“Long...

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Hollywood Studios Agree to Settle Piracy Lawsuit With Dragon Box
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The major Hollywood studios, Netflix, and Amazon have agreed in principle to settle their piracy lawsuit with Dragon Box. The terms of the settlement are not public, but it seems likely that the box vendor will have to halt all copyright-infringing activities going forward. The company promised to do so in the past but those efforts failed, according to the movie companies.

Last year, several major Hollywood studios, Amazon, and Netflix filed a lawsuit against Dragon Media Inc, branding it a supplier of pirate streaming devices.

Under the flag of anti-piracy group ACE, the companies accused Dragon of using the Kodi media player in combination with pirate addons. As such, the company facilitates mass copyright infringement, it was argued.

Dragon Box swiftly responded to the allegations by halting its sales. The company later decided to change its business model, moving from a Kodi-addon platform to a subscription-based service ca...

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Sweden’s Supreme Court Slashes Damages Against Pirate Site Operators
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Sweden's Supreme Court has dramatically cut the level of damages previously handed down to the former operators of streaming site Dreamfilm. To the disappointment of rightsholders, compensation of around US$443,400 has now been slashed to just US$44,340.

After capturing an audience of millions of visitors since its launch in 2013, January 2015 saw the surprise shutdown of Sweden-based streaming site Dreamfilm.

One of its administrators was detained by the authorities so, in response, the extremely successful site decided to call it quits.

As the case against the site rolled on, four men – aged in their 20s and 30s – eventually had their day in court. While they admitted being involved in the site, none admitted any wrongdoing.

In 2017, however, the Linköping District Court found them all guilt...

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YouTube Ripper Wins Dismissal of Record Labels’ US Piracy Lawsuit
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The Russian operator of the YouTube-ripping sites FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com has scored an important legal win against several major record labels in the US. A Virginia federal court dismissed the piracy lawsuit after concluding that it doesn't have personal jurisdiction over these types of sites if they are operated from abroad.

YouTube rippers are seen as the largest piracy threat to the music industry, and record labels are doing their best to shut them down.

In 2017, YouTube-MP3, the world’s largest ripping site at the time, shut down after being sued, and several other folded in response to increased legal uncertainty.

Not all stream-ripping sites throw in the towel without a fight though. FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com, owned by Russian developer Tofig Kurbanov, remained online despite being sued by several record labels last August.

Where other site owners often prefer to remain in th...

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Netflix Becomes a Member of the MPAA
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In the wake of reports during 2018 that the MPAA was open to accepting new members, Netflix has now officially joined Hollywood's industry group. It's the first time that a dedicated streaming service has been welcomed as a member of the movie and TV show trade association.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been protecting the interests of Hollywood since its formation in 1922.

It generates most of its revenue from contributions by the six major Hollywood studios – Disney, Paramount, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.

But now, in a historic move, a significant new member has joined the movie and TV show trade association.

“On behalf of the MPAA and its member companies, I am delighted to welcome Netflix as a partner,” MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said in a st...

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MPAA and RIAA Want Site Blocking in New US-UK Trade Deal
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The MPAA, RIAA, and various other copyright groups see pirate site blocking as one of the priorities for a US-UK trade deal. ISP blockades are already commonplace in the UK and the groups hope to achieve the same in America.

US music and movie industry companies helped to get pirate sites blocked in countries all around the globe.

On their home turf, however, pirate sites remain freely accessible.

After the SOPA protests, the blocking issue became a no-go issue in the US. Blocking efforts continued elsewhere though, including in the UK, where hundreds of pirate domains have been blocked.

Slowly but steadily, copyright holders now appear ready to reintroduce the idea of site blocking. Recent filings from Hollywood’s MPAA and the music industry’s RIAA believe that a new US-UK...

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Three Manga Pirates Sentenced to Prison in Japan
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Three men who operated a popular site indexing pirated copies of manga publications have been jailed in Japan. The sentences range from two years and four months to three years and six months. The men are former student graduates in their 20s.

With the support of the Japanese government, content creators in Japan are attempting to crack down on the unauthorized reproduction and sharing of copyrighted content.

Due to their effect on local markets, those who offer copyrighted manga and anime works appear to be a priority.

The latest to fall foul of the authorities are three men said to be the operators of once-popular site ‘Haruka Yume no Ato’, a platform that indexed links to manga content without permission from rights holders.

The initial legal action against the site was documented ...

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Reddit SoccerStreams Effectively Shuts Down Following Piracy Complaints
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The hugely popular /r/soccerstreams discussion platform on Reddit has effectively shut down. The subreddit has well in excess of 420,000 subscribers but following a final warning from Reddit's administrators over links to matches illegally posted by users, the sub has voluntarily put an end to all user submissions.

Watching most top-tier soccer or football is an expensive option in most regions. Billions are paid out by broadcasters for the rights to matches and this cost has to be passed down to fans.

While millions dig deep to fund what has become a pricey sport to follow, others seek a free fix, often in the shape of an unauthorized online stream. These come in many formats, from websites with embedded players through to IPTV and streaming torrent links.

While these are widely available online, having these sources listed in one place is much more convenient for the end user...

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Copyright Negotiations Canceled As ‘Article 13’ Opposition Rises
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Today the EU Parliament and Council were supposed to agree on the final text of Article 13, known for its potential "upload filters." However, the negotiations were cancelled after the Member States failed to agree on a final negotiating position. This means that the finalization of the copyright reform plans is delayed again.

A year ago “Article 13” was only known to a select audience with a particular interest in copyright issues.

Today, EU’s copyright reform proposals and the potential ‘Internet filters’ have gone mainstream.

Last September the European Parliament backed the controversial Article 13 plans. This set in motion a round of trilogue negotiations during which the final text would be drawn up.

Initially, the last negotiation round was scheduled for last December, but that was later postponed to today. However, there are no negotiations...

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Voluntary Live Sports Piracy Blocking Implemented in Portugal
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In 2015, Portugal introduced a voluntary 'pirate' site-blocking regime against torrent, streaming, and similar sites, with zero court orders needed. Now the campaign has been extended to include the blocking of live sports streams, initially soccer matches. Again, the process is entirely voluntary with no injunctions required.

In July 2015, Portugal’s Ministry of Culture announced the signing of a an anti-piracy memorandum between the General Inspection of Cultural Activities (IGAC), the Portuguese Association of Telecommunication Operators (APRITEL), various rightsholder groups, the body responsible for administering Portugal’s .PT domain, and representatives from the advertising industry.

The aim of the memorandum was the creation of a super-streamlined anti-piracy mechanism which could be triggered following complaints from rightsholders. As a result, local anti-piracy outfit MAPI...

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