Showing posts with label piracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label piracy. Show all posts

Sunday, December 2, 2012

UK Student Strikes Deal to Avoid US Prison Time For Web Piracy

As this blog reported in July 2012, a student in the United Kingdom was facing extradition to the U.S. on charges of illegal copyright piracy.

The student, Richard O’Dwyer, a 24-year-old college student from Great Britain, was facing possible extradition on criminal charges of copyright infringement. The possible punishment: 10 years in a U.S. federal penitentiary.

In 2008, O’Dwyer first set up a website,, which allowed users to search for and link to other sites, including ones that the federal authorities argue showed pirated movies and television shows.  

The US government shut down in summer 2010.  But Mr. O’Dwyer was apparently unbowed. had been growing in popularity, and it made about $230,000 from advertising over the course of two years, federal prosecutors claim.

“America? They have nothing to do with me,” Mr. O’Dwyer had declared, according to his mother.  He then subsequently reopened his site as, which he reckoned was beyond the reach of the United States.  He was wrong.

A few months later came a knock on the door from the British police. A judge ruled that Mr. O’Dwyer would not be prosecuted in Britain.  Instead, the US Department of Justice would seek to extradite him.

Prosecutors also claimed that O'Dwyer was well aware that the material was copyrighted.  They cited an announcement on TVShack that urged users to be patient with download times because they were “saving quite a lot of money (especially when putting several visits to the theater or seasons together).”

Subsequently, the BBC has reported the student has struck a deal to avoid extradition.  A High Court judge was informed that Mr O'Dwyer was expected to travel to the U.S. in the next 14 days to complete a plea agreement, pay an undisclosed sum in compensation and give undertakings not to infringe any copyright laws again.  If he does, he may face immediate extradition.

Monday, September 10, 2012

GoDaddy Attacked By Pro-Piracy Hacker(?)

Yesterday, GoDaddy, one of the Internet's largest webhosts and registrars, was believed to have been attacked by an anonymous cyber-terrorist purportedly because of the Internet company's initial support for the Stop Online Piracy Act ("SOPA").

Our readers will recall that SOPA became a hot topic earlier this year, but the controversial anti-piracy legislation was effectively tabled due to vocal online protests.

It would appear from more recent reports that GoDaddy's problems may have been of the more internal variety, and not the work of pro-piracy hackers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FBI Shuts Down Major Android Application Piracy Sites

On August 21, the FBI announced that it had seized,, and with the cooperation of domestic and foreign governments, for offering illegally pirated android applications in violation of copyright laws.
Between the three sites, they hosted more than 50,000 cracked applications and games, and had collectively over 120,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.
Prior to the execution of warrants and the seizure of the domain names, FBI agents downloaded thousands of "popular copyrighted mobile device apps" from the alternative online markets.
Apparently these applications were stored on web servers outside the U.S., which required the cooperation of Dutch and French law enforcement agencies.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FBI Now Permits Use of Government Seal by All Copyright Owners

The official Anti-Piracy Warning (APW) Seal, seen above, has been approved by the U.S. Attorney General as an official insignia of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Previously, use of the Anti-Piracy Warning Seal previously was limited to entertainment and software industry associations that had entered into written agreements with the FBI.  It became an ubiquitous symbol at the beginning of movies on VHS and DVD's.

However, as of this Monday, any copyright holder from any sector, regardless of membership in a formal association, can obtain the seal by checking off a box to confirm consent with a list of prohibitions and conditions.  The terms of use cite, among other things, that holders cannot animate or alter the emblem, or use it on child pornography.

The seal is part of a public awareness campaign to remind consumers they are subject to fines or jail time for intellectual property infringement.  Copyrighted works include films, audio recordings, electronic media, software, books and photographs.

The symbol does not provide greater legal protections for owners or signal additional penalties for violators.

Rather, the official insignia “simply serves as a widely recognizable reminder of the FBI’s authority and mission with respect to the protection of intellectual property rights,” bureau officials said in a statement.

Lawful use requires the below authorized text to be placed immediately adjacent to Seal on the copyrighted work:

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by fines and federal imprisonment.

Monday, August 6, 2012

MegaUpload Lawyers Seek Dismissal of Prosecution Case in Virginia

In our blog post on July 7, we declared that the "war to regulate the Internet had only just begun," despite Internet Independence Day celebrations.

On July 20, Kim Dot Com, the founder of MegaUpload who is under house arrest for illegal file sharing in New Zealand, repeated exactly that in a YouTube video.

His defense lawyers have recently filed motions in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, seeking to have the indictments dismissed on the theory that the Defendants could not have been served without a domestic agent representative.  Justice Department officials scoffed at the defense's motion, and District Court Judge Liam O'Grady has taken the motion under advisement.

After search warrants issued in New Zealand were dismissed, commentators have begun to question whether the Justice Department's case against Dot Com and MegaUpload will stick.