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Affordable Legal Options Are the Best Anti-Piracy Tool, US Senators Are Told * TorrentFreak

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The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property is currently in the process of finding ways through which the U.S. can better address online piracy.

The initiative, launched by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, aims to hear experts from various sides, to get a balanced view of the challenges and opportunities.

During a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee earlier this month, key movie industry players argued that pirate site blocking and upload filtering are viable and effective options. However, not everyone agreed with this conclusion.

The senators also heard Julia Reda, former MEP for the Pirate Party, who currently works as a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. In her initial testimony, Reda pointed out that the EU’s ‘indirect’ upload filter requirements, which are part of last year’s copyright reform, are problematic.

Reda’s comments and presentation triggered several follow up questions from senators, who asked her to address some issues in more detail. These answers, which came in a few days ago, caution against stringent measures such as site blocking and upload filters.

Responding to a question from Committee Chairman Tillis, Reda stresses that instead of focusing on restrictions and legislation, the best answer to piracy lies in the hands of copyright holders and the broader entertainment industry.

“When it comes to reducing copyright infringement online, I am convinced that the availability of affordable, attractive legal streaming services is paramount,” Reda writes, adding that legal options have made music piracy less relevant.

The former MEP acknowledges that piracy continues to be a major challenge in the TV and movie industries. However, she attributes this in large part to increased fragmentation and the lack of an affordable all-in-one video platform.

“While legal video streaming services have grown rapidly in popularity and revenue over the recent years, there is still a lack of comprehensive video streaming services that give users access to all the content they want to see in one place,” Reda writes.

“Exclusive deals between rightsholders and streaming services are much more common than in the music industry, therefore users have to choose between a large number of different streaming services with distinct offerings. Subscribing to all major streaming services is not affordable to the average consumer,” she adds.

Next up is the response to Senator Chris Coons, who asked Reda specifically about her views on website blocking and upload filtering. These measures were presented as effective anti-piracy tools by copyright holders.

Reda, however, sees things differently. While she mentions that legal scholars are best placed to evaluate the applicability in the US context, caution against site-blocking measures is warranted.

For example, it can raise free speech concerns when there is overblocking, which has happened in the EU on a few occasions.

“From a free speech perspective, it is very difficult to implement site blocking that only blocks illegal content without adversely affecting users’ rights to access legal content,” Reda writes.

In addition, blocking can make security measures more difficult. This includes the use of DNSSEC, which can be used against phishing attacks but uses the same re-routing techniques as website blockades.

Free speech is also a problem with upload filters, Reda warns. She points out that automated filters can’t check for factors such as fair use, something even the providers of filtering tools themselves openly admit.

“I don’t think there is any possibility, neither today nor in the near to medium-term future, to automate these decisions,” Reda writes.

“Therefore, upload filters for copyrighted content will always lead to many instances of overblocking of legal speech, as many examples of automated notices sent under the current notice-and-takedown regime illustrate.”

Instead, Reda again points out that facilitating the development of affordable legal sources is a more reliable strategy.

This is also the message in response to questions from Senator Richard Blumenthal, who asked whether there are any examples of statutes or technological tools that have proven to curb online piracy.

Instead of focusing on enforcements or restrictions, Reda once again turns the tables, highlighting that the entertainment industry holds the key.

“When tracking the history of online copyright infringement over the course of the last 25 years, the single most successful intervention to increase industry revenues and reduce copyright infringement has been the introduction of affordable, convenient legal alternatives.

“I believe that rather than a legislative intervention, the support of better legal offers for online content is the more successful strategy to curb online copyright infringement and produce new revenue streams,” Reda adds.

These views are obviously one side of the debate. As we previously highlighted, copyright holders see things quite differently. It will be interesting to see if and how the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property can find some common ground.

Julia Reda’s full answers to the senators’ questions are available here (pdf).




Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.

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Anime Fans Find ‘Pirate’ Subtitles in Netflix Streams of City Hunter * TorrentFreak

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Netflix subscribers in France shared a wry smile over the weekend when a screenshot from the anime movie City Hunter was shared on Twitter. The screenshot revealed that the subtitles hadn’t been obtained from an official supplier. Instead, they were apparently culled from a ‘pirate’ file distributed by an IRC channel specializing in anime content, one that could’ve been dead for some time.

Every day massive volumes of movies and TV shows are shared on the Internet without the permission of copyright holders.

While the majority will be viewed by speakers of the default language, the addition of subtitles allows content to be consumed across continents and on a global scale.

As a result, anti-piracy groups often claim that the existence of subtitles – whether from original sources or so-called ‘fansub’ creations – helps to drive up piracy levels everywhere. So, in response, several have taken legal measures in an effort to reduce their spread.

Of course, they can’t plug all of the holes but interestingly, it’s not just unlicensed consumers and platforms that can benefit from these leaks, as an incident reported on Twitter at the weekend revealed.

When translated, the tweet in question asks the following rhetorical question: “We agree that the inscription at the top is fan-made stuff? On Netflix. Well done Dybex.”

The screenshot is from the 1999 anime movie ‘City Hunter: Death of the Vicious Criminal Ryo Saeba‘ which in common with other anime titles is alternatively titled in various regions. However, what is unusual here is the caption at the top of the screen.

Rizon.net is an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network that has been around for approximately 17 years. Anyone can set up a channel (denoted by hashtag #channelname) for free to discuss any topic they like, uncensored. So, in this case, the caption relates to the channel #anime101 on the Rizon network, which means that the subtitles used by Netflix were obtained from an unofficial and unlicensed source.

TF visited the #anime101 channel on Rizon to ask questions but we found only a ghost town. A single user was idling in the channel so as a result, no conversation was taking place. It seems likely that the channel has been all-but-dead for some time, which raises the question of exactly how old these subtitles are.

Momo, the Twitter user who made the discovery on Netflix France, ‘credited’ Dybex with the apparent subtitling ‘oversight’. Founded in the mid-nineties, Dybex is a company involved in the distribution of anime, originally on videotapes and DVD (City Hunter was available on this format just after the turn of the century) and more recently blu-ray and platforms like Netflix.

Thanks to Netflix having different libraries in various regions, the movie isn’t available everywhere. However, we managed to access the show this morning and tracked down the precise frame reported by Momo. The French subtitles were still there but as the image below shows, the marker indicating that they had been sourced from Rizon’s #anime101 had been removed.

This development was also noted by Twitter user ViCklatereur who describes him/herself as an ‘audiovisual professional’. After confirming that the report by Momo was accurate at the weekend, now confirms that the ‘problem’ has been fixed.

“The problem is solved,” ViCklatereur writes. “The pirate channel irc address has disappeared.”

This isn’t the first time that ‘pirate’ subtitles have inadvertently found their way onto Netflix and other platforms. Back in 2012, subtitles created by fansub community “DivX Finland” were shown to Netflix viewers of Canadian-American science fiction series Andromeda.

More recently, Comcast-owned Sky Switzerland managed to show pirated subtitles alongside the hit series Chernobyl. These were sourced from fansubbing site Addic7ed.com, a platform that is blocked by ISPs in Australia for breaching copyright law.




Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.

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Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week on BitTorrent

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This week we have six newcomers in our chart.

Bloodshot 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 articles of the recent weekly movie download charts.

This week’s most downloaded movies are:


Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.

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Copyright Holders Continue to Report Fewer Piracy Links to Google Search * TorrentFreak

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Over the past year, copyright holders have asked Google to remove a little over 500 million URLs from its search engine. This is a 50% decrease compared to a few years ago when the company processed over a billion URLs in a year. At least in part, the decease is likely the result of Google’s anti-piracy measures.

For most people, search engines such as Google are an essential tool to discover and enjoy the web in all its glory.

With help from complicated algorithms, the company offers a gateway to billions of sites, many of which would otherwise remain undiscovered.

This also includes many ‘pirate’ sites. While there are plenty of people who don’t mind seeing these show up in search results, their presence is a thorn in the side of copyright holders.

Roughly a decade ago this was hardly recognized as a problem. At the time, Google was asked to remove a few dozen URLs per day. In the years that followed, that changed drastically.

In 2012, Google was asked to remove more than 50 million URLs and by 2016, the search engine processed more than a billion reported URLs a year. This increase in notices coincided in large part with heavy critique from copyright holders, which asked Google to do more to curb piracy.

These comments didn’t go unnoticed at the Googleplex in Mountain View. In recent years, the search engine has taken a variety of measures to ensure that pirate sites are less visible. This includes demoting known offenders in search results.

Around the same time, the number of takedown requests from copyright holders started to drop. While we don’t know if that’s directly related to Google’s anti-piracy measures, it is clear that the number of reported URLs has gone down significantly.

According to Google’s transparency report, the company processed little over 500 million takedown requests over the past 12 months. That’s a 50% decrease compared to the billion it received a few years ago, and a 25% decrease compared to two years ago, when we first noticed the shift.

The decrease is in large part caused by the most active senders of takedown requests. For example, three years ago UK music group BPI sent in an average of two million URLs per week, with peaks of over three million. This year, the same group is averaging less than a million per week.

Similarly, the Mexican music group APDIF previously reported over four million pirate links to Google every week. This has now dropped to a few thousand, including some weeks with zero requests.

Also, MarkMonitor, which works with many Hollywood studios, reduced its takedown requests by roughly half.

While the data can’t be linked directly to Google’s anti-piracy measures, BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor informed us earlier this month that demotion of known pirate sites “has significantly improved the quality of results presented to consumers.”

After years of animosity between copyright holders and Google, both in public and behind closed doors, that’s certainly a major change in attitude.


Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.

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YesPornPlease Restricts Access as PayPal & Cloudflare Are Asked to Unmask Operators * TorrentFreak

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In September 2019, MG Premium went to court in the United States requesting a DMCA subpoena against Cloudflare.

Alleging mass infringement, the adult giant wanted the CDN company to hand over the personal details of the people behind ‘tube’ site YesPornPlease and partner platform VShare.io.

With 100 million visitors in January 2020 alone, YesPornPlease is a huge player in the space. It reportedly carries huge volumes of MG Premium content, including videos published under the Reality Kings, Brazzers, MOFOS, Babes.com, and Twistys brands.

Progress on the earlier subpoena is unknown but in February, MG Premium filed a full-blown lawsuit in a Washington court potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In the wake of that legal action both YesPornPlease and VShare went offline. At the time it appeared that the sites may not return but the situation was temporary. Now, however, visitors to the platform are being greeted by a strange ‘welcome’ page.

“Our website is banned in your country,” the greeting claims. “Please use Tor Browser, VPN or if you don’t have any get this for free.”

The “this for free” is a VPN called VPN4Test and the suggestion is that it can unlock the site. However, there are a number of confusing aspects to the message and the recommendation.

Aside from countries where porn may be illegal in general, we’re not aware that YesPornPlease is ‘banned’ in any country it was previously accessible from. That tends to suggest that the website hasn’t been banned by any authority and it’s the site’s operators that have put measures in place at their end to ensure access is hindered.

Furthermore, after extended testing with various VPNs and Tor, on what grounds access is granted by the site remains unclear. For example, in some cases UK IP addresses are allowed through yet VPN IP addresses in the same country are blocked. The same is true for those located in other regions, US and mainland Europe, for example.

After cycling through a dozen or so Tor IP addresses, access was granted roughly 50% of the time, which will please users of the site. However, people shouldn’t be streaming lots of unnecessary videos using Tor – it isn’t designed for it, especially in the volumes required to service a massive adult video site.

That leads to the question of whether one of the main aims of the blocking is to drive traffic to the promoted VPN. While it is reportedly free to use, it should come with all the usual warnings that other free VPNs carry – in a nutshell, free is rarely free and there are probably strings attached.

Nevertheless, VPN4Test is doing well out of the referrals. From very little traffic at all in December 2019, the service is now clocking up more than 1.5 million visits per month. Meanwhile, MG Premium is pressing ahead with its legal action.

It’s clear from its numerous filings that the main challenge the company faces is positively identifying the people who run the defendant sites. In a motion for early discovery, the adult giant says that can only be achieved with the assistance of several US-based companies that are doing or have done business with the site.

“Plaintiff seeks a Court order allowing it to serve discovery demands on PayPal, Inc.; Domain Protection Services; Name.com, Inc.; Cloudflare, Inc.; Namecheap.com; Tucows Domains, Inc.; Internet Security Research Group; and, Comodo, Inc. for identifying information of their customers, the Defendants in this case,” the filing reads.

According to MG, Domain Protection Services in Colorado anonymizes the YesPornPlease domain, while Name.com and Cloudflare provide registrar and DNS services. Vshare uses Namecheap and Cloudflare, with the latter being used by both sites to serve content in the United States. It’s further alleged that the affiliate program operated by VShare pays out through PayPal while using an SSL certificate from New Jersey-based Comodo, Inc.

MG says that its representatives contacted all of the companies with requests for cooperation but without exception they either “ignored requests for information or previously instructed that information will only be produced upon subpoena.”

“Plaintiff is aware of no available information that would identify the infringing users, other than information maintained by the domain privacy service, registrar service and
other service providers,” the motion for early discovery notes.

“Due to the nature of on-line transactions which in this case includes in certain instances of the crypto currency Bitcoin, Plaintiff has no way of determining Defendants’ identities except through immediate discovery, and follow-up discovery.”

As a result, MG requests that the court issues an order allowing it to serve subpoenas on the companies listed above, compelling them to turn over “all information pertinent to the identity of the owners, operators, and principals operating the YesPornPlease.com, VShare.io, and ezcgwym5xp7ty.com websites, domain names, and relevant accounts for each.”

The motion for early discovery can be found here (pdf)


Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.

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MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Remain on Hold * TorrentFreak

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A federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload’s request to place the cases filed by the RIAA and MPAA on hold for another six months. The lawsuits have been frozen for years now and are not expected to start anytime soon, as there’s no progress in the criminal case against the defunct file-sharing service.

When the U.S. Government shut down Megaupload in 2012, Internet traffic volumes dropped all over the world.

The destruction of one of the largest file-hosting services came as a shock to hundreds of millions of users, but particularly to the key players involved.

While the authorities had hoped to resolve the case swiftly, the opposite happened. Aside from Andrus Nomm’s plea deal years ago, there hasn’t been any progress in the criminal proceedings against Megaupload’s founder and his co-indicted associates.

After more than eight years, it is still not clear whether Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and his associates will ever stand trial in the US. They have and continue to fight this request tooth and nail in New Zealand.

While all parties await the outcome, which could take several more years, the criminal case in the United States remains pending. The same goes for the civil cases launched by the MPAA and RIAA in 2014.

This brings us to two new filings Megaupload’s legal team submitted at a Virginia federal court this week. The defunct file-sharing platform requests to keep the RIAA and MPAA cases on hold for at least six more months, noting the lack of movement in the criminal case.

“The Criminal Action is still pending, and none of the individual defendants have been extradited,” writes Megaupload attorney Craig C. Reilly, asking the court to stay the cases.

This request and the court’s swift approval to extend the delay until October doesn’t come as a surprise. The MPAA and RIAA didn’t object to it and similar requests have been granted more than a dozen times already.

The civil cases are not expected to start until after the criminal case in the U.S. has been ‘resolved.’ That can take several more years. Meanwhile, data from Megaupload’s servers remains securely stored, possibly to serve as evidence in the future.

Previously there have been attempts to make it possible for millions of former Megaupload users to retrieve their personal files. However, in recent years there hasn’t been any update on this front.

Similarly, the U.S. Department of Justice announced eight years ago that it would work on a solution to allow rightsholders to check whether their content was shared on Megaupload or related sites. Today, this feature is still listed as being “under construction.”


Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.

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YouTube Refuses to Process DMCA Counternotice for ‘Creepy Bugs’ Cartoon * TorrentFreak

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An artist who uploaded a parody cartoon to YouTube and received a strike against his channel following a Warner Bros. complaint has been denied the opportunity to fight his corner. MeatCanyon uploaded a cartoon featuring a creepy ‘Bugs Bunny’ and later appealed using a DMCA counternotice. YouTube, however, refused to pass the notice on and dismissed the claim.

Earlier this week we reported on a dark parody cartoon depicting a washed-out Bugs Bunny as a sex pest. The controversial video was created by Hunter Hancock, the person behind the MeatCanyon channel.

It was hit with a copyright complaint by Warner Bros. As a result, the MeatCanyon channel received a copyright strike and the cartoon was taken down.

When a video is targeted by a copyright holder with a manual complaint (i.e one not actioned as a result of ContentID matching), users can generally refer to the DMCA for guidance. This means that if they believe their content was not infringing (under fair use guidelines, for example), they can submit a DMCA counternotice to YouTube explaining why the content should not have been taken down.

This is exactly what Hancock did in response to the Warner complaint.

“This is my own creation. I animated every frame, composed the music, recorded the audio and made the backgrounds,” he told YouTube in his counternotice shared with TorrentFreak.

“This creation is under fair use,” he continued. “The characters have been stylized by myself to not reflect directly with the traditional characters. There is no branded logo to incite that this is a real video owned by Warner Brothers, but is in fact a parody video created by none other than by myself.”

As required under the law, Hancock swore that he had a “good faith belief” that the material had been removed due to a mistake and also consented to the jurisdiction of his local federal court, in case Warner chose to sue him – something it must do within two weeks to prevent the content from being restored. Should that time pass with no lawsuit, then the content would’ve been put back up and the strike removed.

In the event, however, none of those things happened. In short, YouTube declined to accept the apparently valid DMCA counternotice filed by Hancock and refused to pass it on to Warner.

“Based on the information you provided, it appears that you do not have the necessary rights to post the content on YouTube. Therefore, we regretfully cannot honor your request. It has not been forwarded to the original claimant, and we will not be able to restore your video,” YouTube’s correspondence reads.

While this response from YouTube runs counter to what most people would expect under the DMCA counter-claim process, it is not unprecedented. The EFF previously reported that agreements YouTube has with rightsholders may effectively deny access to the system.

“In many instances, even if you successfully submit a DMCA counter-notice, the video will not be reinstated. These agreements are opaque, and scope of what’s allowed under them is unknown. They may be short-term, or long-term,” the EFF previously explained.

In this case, the refusal of YouTube to allow a counter-claim represents a double-edged sword. While Hancock submitted the notice in good faith, genuinely believing he was in a good position to put his side of the argument by insisting he was protected under fair use doctrines, the reality of dealing with a lawsuit, should one be initiated, is a serious proposition and not to be underestimated.

After being denied by YouTube and further consideration, he decided that fighting probably wasn’t the best option after all.

“I am in no place to fight this in court due to financial reasons. It seems unnecessary to start a GoFund me or ask for help, because it’s between me and Warner Brothers,” he told TF.

“It also made me think YouTube wanted the video off the platform. It is a very crude video so I can’t blame them for that, but it would’ve been nice to have been given more information on why this video was unacceptable to stay up on my page. It’s very disheartening.”

While the decision by YouTube will be viewed by some as anti-consumer and a denial of due process, in this case the platform arguably did the animator a favor. Instead of expending resources he doesn’t have on a legal process that could go either way and could even prove financially ruinous, he can now concentrate on creating new content for fans.

Some battles are worth fighting but it’s definitely worth weighing the costs first.


Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.

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Anti-Piracy Campaign Against YouTube-Rippers Has Very Little Effect * TorrentFreak

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In recent months the RIAA has tried its best to remove YouTube-rippers from Google’s search results. While the search engine has deleted thousands of URLs, these actions have very little effect. The targeted sites remain the top results for the top keywords while traffic to the sites, including that from search engines, remains stable as well.

Nowadays, most popular music is legally accessible on YouTube. While everyone is allowed to play it, downloading tracks without permission is strictly forbidden.

YouTube itself also prohibits downloading or ripping unless the uploader specifically allows it. However, there are third-party sites that have found ways around these restrictions.

These ‘YouTube-rippers’ have been around for many years, much to the frustration of the music industry. The RIAA, in particular, is actively cracking down on these sites.

In recent months, the music group has filed subpoenas to identify several site operators. In addition, it sends takedown requests to search engines hoping that this will make the sites harder to find.

The latter strategy is relatively new and started just a few months ago. The RIAA doesn’t use standard DMCA notices since most YouTube-rippers don’t host content. Instead, the sites are reported for violating the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision.

Through this route, the RIAA has managed to remove thousands of URLs from Google’s search results. While that sounds effective, a closer look at the estimated traffic data, kindly shared with us by piracy tracking company MUSO, shows that the measures have surprisingly little effect.

Below is an overview of the worldwide traffic to stream-ripper sites in the music category. It runs from September 2019, before the RIAA’s mass takedown campaign started, all the way to the end of January 2020. This reveals that traffic to these sites has remained relatively stable, without any sign of declining visitor numbers.

Global traffic in the music category to stream-rippers

The lack of movement by itself doesn’t say much about search traffic, so we decided to take a detailed look at that as well. MUSO reports search traffic separately, and this shows a similar pattern. In fact, search traffic to stream-rippers briefly appeared to grow at the end of last year.

In September, search engines were sending roughly 7.5 million visitors to stream-rippers per day, and at the end of January, that figure was pretty much the same.

Global search traffic in the music category to stream-rippers

These data are not entirely unexpected as YouTube-rippers are actively fighting back against the RIAA’s anti-piracy campaign. As we highlighted earlier, several sites are switching to new URL structures, to make sure that they remain visible in search engines.

And indeed, if we search on Google for the phrase “YouTube to MP3,” we see several YouTube-rippers in the top results.

Google search for “YouTube to MP3″”

Looking at the traffic statistics of individual sites we see some movement here and there. The two most popular stream-rippers, y2mate.com and ytmp3.cc, increased their traffic, while the third in line, flvto.biz, lost some visitors.

Flvto.biz’s sister site 2conv.com, however, saw its traffic go up. Both sites are also currently involved in a legal battle with the RIAA. While they won their first round, this case is currently on appeal.

The above shows that, thus far, the RIAA’s takedown efforts have had little effect. However, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to celebrate at all. Onlinevideoconverter.com, which was the most popular stream-ripper just a year ago, is no longer a major threat.

The site saw its traffic drop from 207 million visitors in March 2019, to 15 million last month. This loss in visitors isn’t directly linked to the RIAA’s efforts, however. Instead, it’s the result of the site’s decision to disable YouTube ripping, after YouTube started to block its servers.


Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.

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Bad Boys For Life Leads Wave of Early Movie Releases Flooding Pirate Sites * TorrentFreak

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As cinemas around the globe continue their shutdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of movies are now enjoying early digital releases. Of course, many of these are also hitting pirate sites, with Bad Boys For Life, Bloodshot and The Gentlemen currently proving most popular with downloaders.

As the planet struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, businesses around the world are looking at ways to mitigate the disruption caused by voluntary and in some cases mandatory isolation.

Social distancing is now vital to the health of billions of people and as a result, visiting cinemas is no longer an option. Instead, movie companies are bringing forward digital release dates for many movies, hoping that people will rent or buy these titles, as a temporary replacement for venturing out to the big screen.

Somewhat inevitably these releases are now appearing on pirate sites, available to download or stream depending on the platform. Last Friday, The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma were readily available for viewing and this week many new titles can be added to the list.

Despite the movie only hitting cinema screens in mid-January, the much-anticipated Bad Boys For Life is now pulling in considerable numbers on unofficial platforms. It wasn’t expected until March 31 but this morning there are various HD copies culled from a digital source doing the rounds on torrent and streaming platforms.

Switching back and forth between second and third place in this batch is superhero movie Bloodshot. Starring Vin Diesel, the title was released early on March 13 but just a handful of days later, Sony Pictures said it would appear digitally on March 24 in response to the outbreak.

Next up is the Guy Ritchie action/comedy The Gentleman. Available in 1080p WEBRip format after being captured from platforms such as Amazon, the movie was previously slated for a home release on April 7. In the event, it appeared March 24 and almost immediately found itself on unlicensed platforms.

In no particular order (our regular weekly download chart will determine that in due course), several other titles are also readily available after early digital releases.

After being released digitally last Friday, animated release Onward was quickly made available unofficially. The same thing happened to the Harrison Ford movie The Call of the Wild today, just hours after being made available on Disney Plus.

Another Disney movie, Downhill starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, also appeared this morning but doesn’t appear to be particularly popular, at least for now.

Finally, after a February theatrical release, Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn was slated for a digital release on March 24 by DC. In the event, it actually appeared on pirate sites as early as March 21.

Quite how this state of play is being received at the studios is unclear. However, these are unprecedented times and since the vast majority of the public buy, rent or stream their movies legally, sales figures may yet be respectable – for the good films at least.


Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.

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