Category Archives: News (Internet news)

Pirate Bay’s Oldest Torrents Are ‘Teenagers’ Now

The Pirate Bay is one of the most established brands on the Internet, but this certainly wasn’t the case 13 years ago.

The notorious torrent site was originally founded by Swedish pro-culture organization Piratbyrån, during the summer of 2003.

It was first hosted in Mexico, where Gottfrid Svartholm operated the site on a server owned by the company he was working for at the time. After a few months, it moved to Sweden, where Fredrik Neij ran the site and tracker from a Pentium III 1GHz laptop with 256MB of RAM.

While some of the site’s current users weren’t even born at the time, several of the torrents that were uploaded back then are still available today. This week the site’s longest surviving torrents turn thirteen years old. In other words, they’re teenagers now.

Below are the oldest listed torrents as of this week. An episode of “The High Chaparral” has the honor of being the oldest torrent. The file was originally uploaded on March 25, 2004, and although it lists zero seeders in the search results, there are still several people sharing it.

Pirate Bay’s oldest torrents listed

The ‘unofficial’ record hasn’t gone unnoticed to Pirate Bay users. Several commenters refer to the torrent’s achievement as the oldest surviving torrent on the site.

“Well, I guess since this is a part of TPB history i’ll add it to my Raspberry Pi torrent server to seed forever. Hopefully others will do the same,” one person writes in the comment section.

Other torrents that will soon reach teenager status are a copy of the first season of “Oz,” a book with “Top Secret Recipes,” and the “Revolution OS” documentary, which covers the history of Linux, GNU and the free software movement.

What’s most remarkable is that people are still sharing these files after all this time. A torrent only remains available if there’s at least one person sharing it. Over the years millions of torrents have stopped working, but these have weathered all the storms.

To give an idea of how many older torrents are still listed on The Pirate Bay, we looked at one of the site’s most recent database dumps.

Of the 60,000 torrents that were initially available on TPB at the end of 2004, roughly 3,000 are still online today. This number goes up to 10,000 for the 2006 torrents, and 300,000 of all torrents that were uploaded last year are still around.

Given the iconic status of the “High Chaparral” torrent, it’s not unthinkable that this one will live on to become an adult. That is, if The Pirate Bay itself is still operational in 2022.

Lawyers & Academics Warn UK Against Criminalizing File-Sharers

Last year the UK Government introduced the Digital Economy Bill, which is set to revamp current copyright legislation.

One of the most controversial proposals is to lengthen the maximum sentence for online copyright infringement, without a clear criminal threshold.

If the bill passes, it will increase the maximum prison term for copyright infringement five-fold, from two to ten years. According to the Government, this change is needed to deter notorious copyright infringers. However, opponents warn that its broad definitions also put casual file-sharers at risk.

This week a group of campaigners, copyright scholars and lawyers teamed up to share their concerns with the Government and its Intellectual Property Office (IPO). In their letter, they urge the lawmakers to narrow the definition of ‘criminal online copyright infringement’ to prevent abuse and keep it proportionate.

Under the current draft of the bill, anyone who makes pirated content available will open themselves up to criminal liability, if they expose a copyright owner to the “risk of loss”. That definition is too broad, opponents warn, as it allows rightsholders to frame average file-sharers as criminals.

In the letter, the experts suggest two minor changes to the current text.

As it stands, the bill criminalizes people who make infringing files available in the knowledge that this “will cause loss to the owner of the copyright, or will expose the owner of the copyright to a risk of loss.”

The proposed change would swap the general mention of “loss” and “risk of loss” with “commercial scale loss” and “serious risk of causing commercial scale loss” respectively.

The proposed changes

“It is important to stress that this amendment would introduce thresholds for criminal liability to avoid prosecution of minor, small-scale, non-commercial copyright infringers such as file sharers,” the letter reads.

The Open Rights Group has been campaigning for this change for a while, but thus far the Government has seen no reason to alter the proposed text. With backing from many prominent experts, including scholars and lawyers, they hope lawmakers will consider it once more.

The Digital Economy Bill will go to a third reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday next week, which would provide an opportunity to make the suggested adjustments.

TorrentFreak spoke with Dr Felipe Romero-Moreno, Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, and one of the signees of the letter. He stresses that the changes are required to ensure that casual file-sharers are dealt with through civil courts, not through criminal prosecutions.

“This amendment would give the courts, lawyers, and the public a clear indication that minor, non-commercial infringement such as file-sharing or unlicensed online publication would be unlikely to meet the thresholds of ‘serious risk’ or ‘commercial scale’ losses,” Romero-Moreno says.

The proposed changes will also ensure that the bill is not in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law in general, which may not be the case right now. At the same time, it will shield the public against aggressive “copyright trolls,” which could use the current version to back up their practices.

“Crucially, in addition to being compatible with both the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law, our proposal would protect innocent individuals who received threatening letters from speculative invoicing copyright trolls. The latter is something which, unless the UK Government takes our suggested amendment on board, appears to be alarmingly supporting,” Romero-Moreno notes.

A full copy of the letter is available here (pdf). In a few days, we will know whether it has had the desired effect.

20th Century Fox & Dreamworks Blackmailed Over The Boss Baby Leak

When copies of movies leak onto the Internet, there is usually very little studios and distributors can do about it. Once a copy gets out there, it’s invariably too late, with thousands of people downloading in the opening hours.

Recently, however, a potential leak took on a different complexion. Sometime in February, a then unknown individual managed to get his hands on a pre-release copy of the upcoming Dreamworks movie The Boss Baby.

According to a local media report, the movie was due to be distributed in Serbia by local company MEGAKOM during April. But first, it needed to be localized with a Serbian language soundtrack.

Somewhat bizarrely given the security that usually surrounds high-profile releases, the movie ended up on a translator’s PC. The movie was copied, apparently without her knowledge, to the laptop of a man who lives with her.

Instead of immediately leaking it online, the man – subsequently identified as 26-year-old Momcilo Đinović – reportedly decided to make some cash. He contacted DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox with blackmail demands – pay a large bitcoin ransom or have your global release day ruined.

With help from local police, distributor MEGAKOM launched an investigation to find out how a third-party had obtained the movie. That involved tracing back the IP addresses of the person carrying out the extortion.

Meanwhile, local media reports indicate that 20th Century Fox paid Belgrade-resident Đinović – the son of a retired policeman – first four and then five bitcoin. Apparently, that was not enough to satisfy the 26-year-old, but in any event, things didn’t end well.

After being arrested by local police, Đinović appeared at the High Prosecutor’s Office charged with extorting both 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks. The judge ordered him to be held in pre-trial detention for 30 days. Sources close to the investigation inform local news outlet Novosti that he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Serbia has certainly been busy on the piracy front in recent days. According to an announcement from the Ministry of the Interior, two suspects have just been arrested following an investigation by the country’s organized crime unit into popular local TV streaming site, Serije.rs.

Police reportedly carried out searches of flats and other premises used by the site’s administrators while seizing equipment. The pair stand accused of committing criminal copyright infringement offenses.

Lawyers & Academics Warn UK Against Criminalizing File-Sharers

Last year the UK Government introduced the Digital Economy Bill, which is set to revamp current copyright legislation.

One of the most controversial proposals is to lengthen the maximum sentence for online copyright infringement, without a clear criminal threshold.

If the bill passes, it will increase the maximum prison term for copyright infringement five-fold, from two to ten years. According to the Government, this change is needed to deter notorious copyright infringers. However, opponents warn that its broad definitions also put casual file-sharers at risk.

This week a group of campaigners, copyright scholars and lawyers teamed up to share their concerns with the Government and its Intellectual Property Office (IPO). In their letter, they urge the lawmakers to narrow the definition of ‘criminal online copyright infringement’ to prevent abuse and keep it proportionate.

Under the current draft of the bill, anyone who makes pirated content available will open themselves up to criminal liability, if they expose a copyright owner to the “risk of loss”. That definition is too broad, opponents warn, as it allows rightsholders to frame average file-sharers as criminals.

In the letter, the experts suggest two minor changes to the current text.

As it stands, the bill criminalizes people who make infringing files available in the knowledge that this “will cause loss to the owner of the copyright, or will expose the owner of the copyright to a risk of loss.”

The proposed change would swap the general mention of “loss” and “risk of loss” with “commercial scale loss” and “serious risk of causing commercial scale loss” respectively.

The proposed changes

“It is important to stress that this amendment would introduce thresholds for criminal liability to avoid prosecution of minor, small-scale, non-commercial copyright infringers such as file sharers,” the letter reads.

The Open Rights Group has been campaigning for this change for a while, but thus far the Government has seen no reason to alter the proposed text. With backing from many prominent experts, including scholars and lawyers, they hope lawmakers will consider it once more.

The Digital Economy Bill will go to a third reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday next week, which would provide an opportunity to make the suggested adjustments.

TorrentFreak spoke with Dr Felipe Romero-Moreno, Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, and one of the signees of the letter. He stresses that the changes are required to ensure that casual file-sharers are dealt with through civil courts, not through criminal prosecutions.

“This amendment would give the courts, lawyers, and the public a clear indication that minor, non-commercial infringement such as file-sharing or unlicensed online publication would be unlikely to meet the thresholds of ‘serious risk’ or ‘commercial scale’ losses,” Romero-Moreno says.

The proposed changes will also ensure that the bill is not in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law in general, which may not be the case right now. At the same time, it will shield the public against aggressive “copyright trolls,” which could use the current version to back up their practices.

“Crucially, in addition to being compatible with both the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law, our proposal would protect innocent individuals who received threatening letters from speculative invoicing copyright trolls. The latter is something which, unless the UK Government takes our suggested amendment on board, appears to be alarmingly supporting,” Romero-Moreno notes.

A full copy of the letter is available here (pdf). In a few days, we will know whether it has had the desired effect.

20th Century Fox & Dreamworks Blackmailed Over The Boss Baby Leak

When copies of movies leak onto the Internet, there is usually very little studios and distributors can do about it. Once a copy gets out there, it’s invariably too late, with thousands of people downloading in the opening hours.

Recently, however, a potential leak took on a different complexion. Sometime in February, a then unknown individual managed to get his hands on a pre-release copy of the upcoming Dreamworks movie The Boss Baby.

According to a local media report, the movie was due to be distributed in Serbia by local company MEGAKOM during April. But first, it needed to be localized with a Serbian language soundtrack.

Somewhat bizarrely given the security that usually surrounds high-profile releases, the movie ended up on a translator’s PC. The movie was copied, apparently without her knowledge, to the laptop of a man who lives with her.

Instead of immediately leaking it online, the man – subsequently identified as 26-year-old Momcilo Đinović – reportedly decided to make some cash. He contacted DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox with blackmail demands – pay a large bitcoin ransom or have your global release day ruined.

With help from local police, distributor MEGAKOM launched an investigation to find out how a third-party had obtained the movie. That involved tracing back the IP addresses of the person carrying out the extortion.

Meanwhile, local media reports indicate that 20th Century Fox paid Belgrade-resident Đinović – the son of a retired policeman – first four and then five bitcoin. Apparently, that was not enough to satisfy the 26-year-old, but in any event, things didn’t end well.

After being arrested by local police, Đinović appeared at the High Prosecutor’s Office charged with extorting both 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks. The judge ordered him to be held in pre-trial detention for 30 days. Sources close to the investigation inform local news outlet Novosti that he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Serbia has certainly been busy on the piracy front in recent days. According to an announcement from the Ministry of the Interior, two suspects have just been arrested following an investigation by the country’s organized crime unit into popular local TV streaming site, Serije.rs.

Police reportedly carried out searches of flats and other premises used by the site’s administrators while seizing equipment. The pair stand accused of committing criminal copyright infringement offenses.