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  1. Anti-piracy lawyer Kerry Culpepper has filed an application to register the RARBG trademark. RARBG is one of the most popular torrent sites and, if the application is granted, the trademark can be used for enforcement purposes. The same happened with the Popcorn Time and YTS trademarks earlier this year. Copyright holders can take a wide variety of measures to address piracy, with some being more effective than others. Hawaii-based attorney Kerry Culpepper has tried several different approaches. Given his profession, most of these take place in the legal realm. That includes lawsuits against downloaders and owners of well-known pirate sites and apps, including YTS, MKVcage, Cotomovies, Popcorn Time, and Showbox. These actions have resulted in some successes, with sites and apps shutting down or paying thousands of dollars in settlements. Aside from pursuing site operators with ‘classic’ copyright infringement claims, Culpepper also uses trademarks. Earlier this year he obtained the marks for popular pirate brands such as YTS, Popcorn Time, and Showbox. These were used to take social media accounts offline and in legal action against site operators. RARBG Trademark Application Last week, this quest continued with a new chapter. Through the Hawaiian company 42 Ventures, which lists Culpepper as the director, the anti-piracy lawyer filed an application for the RARBG trademark. RARBG has been a household name in piracy circles and, as one of the most-visited torrent sites, it’s certainly a high profile player. At the moment, 42 Ventures doesn’t actively use the term RARBG anywhere but the trademark application is filed with the “intent to use.“ Specifically, the application lists the intended use as “downloadable computer software for downloading and streaming multimedia content images, videos and audio.” One could argue that this application conflicts with the ‘official’ RARBG site that has been active for over a decade already. This is something the attorney is well aware of. In fact, it’s brought up in an accompanying declaration. “There are websites that have been operating under the name RARBG since at least 2008 that promote and distribute torrent files for illegally reproducing and distributing copyright protected content,” Culpepper writes. No Trademarks For Pirates The existing RARBG sites are known for their “blatant piracy,” Culpepper writes, adding that the US Trade Representative listed it as a ‘notorious market.’ Because the official site is believed to be unlawful, it should not be able to claim the trademark. “I believe that any use of RARBG prior to the present application is not lawful use in commerce because the use of RARBG by the piracy websites is unlawful under federal law,” the attorney explains. The application process can take up several months and allows interested parties to object. This means that RARBG won’t be affected immediately. However, that may change if the trademark is granted. How the company plans to use or enforce the trademark is unknown. TorrentFreak reached out to Culpepper to request further details but the attorney declined to comment. Source: TorrentFreak
  2. The makers of the films 'Ava' and 'Rambo V: Last Blood' have filed a lawsuit targeting 16 alleged movie pirates. The complaint suggests that the defendants are registered users of the popular torrent site RARBG, but provides no proof for this allegation. The film companies do have evidence that the IP-addresses were caught sharing torrent files. Lawsuits against alleged movie pirates are nothing new. We have reported on many dozens over the years. More recently, Hawaii-based attorney Kerry Culpepper added a new element to these cases when he singled out YTS users. The lawyer was able to do this because YTS handed over database information as part of a private settlement. A rather concerning development, which caused quite a stir among torrent users and site owners. This tactic is interesting from a few perspectives. For one, the database information is additional evidence and provides valuable information such as email addresses. In addition, calling a torrent site by name may deter some people from using it in the future. It’s a win-win. Lawsuit Against Alleged RARBG Users That last argument may be why a new lawsuit, filed on behalf of the makers of the films Rambo V: Last Blood and Ava, singles out the torrent site RARBG. In a complaint filed at a federal court in Hawaii, the movie companies accuse 16 “John Doe” defendants who are only known by their IP-addresses. These people were tracked by the company Maverickeye, which provides evidence for many related cases. In this case, the IP-addresses are linked to torrents for the movies ‘Ava’ and ‘Rambo V,’ which are shared on many pirate sites. However, the movie companies specifically call out RARBG. “Upon information and belief, each of the Defendants registered for an account on the movie piracy website ‘RARBG’ using an email address or installed a BitTorrent Client application on their device that retrieved torrent files from the movie piracy website ‘RARBG’,” they write. What Evidence is There? The RARBG mention is unusual because there’s no evidence to back up the claim that the defendants actually used this site. RARBG didn’t share any user data, as opposed to YTS. The only link to RARBG we can spot is that the torrents “Ava.2020.WEBDL.x264-FGT” and “Rambo.Last.Blood.2019.1080p.KORSUB.HDRip.x264.AAC2.0-STUTTERSHIT” are shared on the popular torrent site. That said, the same files, linking to the same swarms, are available elsewhere too. Nonetheless, RARBG is prominently mentioned throughout the complaint. The “notorious” pirate site “promotes and distributes” pirated content, the companies say. “As shown in the screenshot below, the movie piracy website ‘RARBG’ promotes and distributes the infringing torrent file ‘Ava.2020.WEBDL.x264-FGT’ which Defendants downloaded and used to display, reproduce and distribute the Work Ava.” Whether the defendants used RARBG or another site doesn’t change the copyright infringement allegations. These are totally independent of the site from which the torrents were downloaded. TorrentFreak reached out to the plaintiffs’ attorney who refused to comment on the issue. One possibility we could think of is that the site is mentioned to signal to users that they are vulnerable. But that would equally apply to other sites. Copyright Infringements and DMCA Violation Looking at the actual allegations, a familiar theme appears. All 16 ‘Does’ are accused of direct and contributory copyright infringement for allegedly sharing copies of the movie Ava, and one defendant also shared the Rambo film. In addition, the defendants are further accused of violating the DMCA by altering copyright management information (CMI). In this case, that means distributing the movies with an edited title, which references pirate groups such as “FGT” and “STUTTERSHIT”. “Defendants knew that neither ‘FGT’ nor ‘STUTTERSH*T’ were the authors of Plaintiffs’ Works,” the complaint reads. As is common in these types of cases, the movie companies requested a subpoena to compel the ISP, Verizon Wireless, to hand over the personal details of the associated subscribers. If granted, the accused will likely be offered a settlement of a few hundred dollars or more. Update: RARBG issued the following statement to us: “We are in no way shape or form involved in this lawsuit. We do not log ip addresses on downloads or any registered user IP addresses. It is our strong belief that these ip addresses were collected by p2p monitoring on torrent swarms.” — A copy of the complaint filed on behalf of Eve Nevada, LLC and Rambo V Productions, Inc, is available here (pdf) Source: TorrentFreak
  3. RARBG Adds .EXE Files to Torrents, But No Need to Panic During the past few days, RARBG began adding what first appear to be .exe files to their torrents. Considering that these executables are often linked to malware, some people are beginning to panic. Regular users, however, have nothing to fear. These do not contain a virus. After more than ten years in the game, RARBG is one of the most popular and resilient torrent sites on the Internet today. The site took fourth spot in our 2019 list of most popular torrent sites, a position that has been earned through regular high-quality releases of everything from movies and TV shows through to music, games and adult content. During the past few days, however, the site took a somewhat unusual step that has had some users scratching their heads. A quick look inside some new video torrents released by the site reveals not only the content itself, but also an initially mysterious file called ‘ RARBG_DO_NOT_MIRROR.exe’. The presence of an .exe file often raises alarm bells As a general rule, when video torrents contain an .exe file there is a need for caution. These executables can contain anything and in some cases may be malicious, such as a virus or malware. As a result, experienced torrent users never click them but the same can’t be said about novices. In this instance, however, there is nothing for regular users to be worried about. Renaming the file to give it a .txt extension reveals that this is just a text file that displays the following information: “This is not an .exe file. This is just a placeholder to prevent mirroring over other public sites.” So if it’s just a text file, why would RARBG include it in their torrents? The explanation, it turns out, is pretty straightforward and not directed at users at all. While the site makes thousands of releases every week, these are easily mirrored on other platforms. Since .exe files are viewed with suspicion by tools used to automate the crawling of the site (most sites don’t allow .exe files to be uploaded in video categories), their inclusion means less diffusion of RARBG torrents to other platforms. “[The .exe file] is included in torrent files to stop distribution to other public sites,” RARBG confirms in a new addition to its FAQ. Interestingly, the “.exe” experiment is also having a positive effect on the health of torrents tracked by RARBG. According to the site’s operator, the inclusion of the .exe file in torrents “reduces the average hit&run [people who grab a torrent and then fail to seed] by 35% !” As mentioned earlier, there is nothing malicious with the .exe file as far as users are concerned and, as the site points out, people can easily ‘untick’ the file in their torrent client and it won’t even be downloaded. That being said, their presence won’t be welcomed by people looking to mirror RARBG torrents elsewhere. Since the traffic to such platforms could be negatively affected following the rejection of torrents containing an .exe, the job of their operators becomes much more difficult. Finally, it’s worth reiterating that real .exe files in any torrent – or indeed anywhere on the Internet – should always be approached with caution. Running these kinds of files without due diligence can be a risky proposition so the default actions should always be to run up-to-date anti-virus/anti-malware software and/or ignore and delete unexpected content, just to be on the safe side. Source
  4. Pirate Bay, RARBG, 1337x & Torrentz2 to be Permanently Blocked in India A judge has handed down an order which requires ISPs in India to permanently block The Pirate Bay, RARBG, Torrentz2, 1337x, FMovies, and several similar sites. The order further suggests that if users in India continue accessing pirated content, they could be hit with emails, popups, and fines. Website blocking on copyright grounds has been going on for some time in India, mainly via so-called John Doe orders, where large numbers of websites are blocked temporarily to protect various new movie releases. As highlighted last year, however, rightsholders have been looking for a more permanent solution. Going back and forth to court is an inefficient process, particularly when the same key ‘pirate’ sites are often in the thick of the action. Their wishes now appear to have been granted by the High Court in Delhi. Following a series of eight complaints filed by Twentieth Century Fox and local Disney-owned media giant UTV Software Communications, Justice Manmohan handed down an order Wednesday which targets some of the largest torrent and streaming sites on the Internet. The Pirate Bay, RARBG, Torrentz2, 1337x, ExtraTorrent, YTS, FMovies and BMovies are all listed, along with several alternative domain names and/or proxies employed by some of the sites (full list below). The plaintiffs’ arguments were in line with the majority of similar blocking orders requested elsewhere in the world. The sites and their users infringe their copyrights by offering or facilitating access to their protected content, contrary to local law, they argued. The 99-page order (pdf) is extremely detailed and alphabetically lists successful blocking cases in many other countries – from Australia to Uruguay – adding weight to the argument that they should also be blocked in India. The Court also noted that despite being served via the contact information provided in their WHOIS details, none of the sites chose to “rebut or challenge” any of the evidence produced by the plaintiffs, which inevitably led to the conclusion that in the opinion of the Court, all are liable for copyright infringement under Section 51 of the Copyright Act. When making its order, the Court also considered whether handing down a blocking injunction would “make one an opponent of a free and open Internet”. It concluded otherwise, noting that “advocating limits on accessing illegal content online” does not violate the principles of an open Internet. On the thorny issue of tackling the inevitable appearance of mirrors and proxies after a blocking order is issued, the Court said that the plaintiffs will be able to file an affidavit containing the details. These will be considered and, where appropriate, blocking instructions will be handed to ISPs. In closing, the Court ordered all of the defendant websites and anyone working with them to stop “hosting, streaming, reproducing, distributing, making available to the public and/or communicating to the public, or facilitating the same, on their websites, through the internet in any manner whatsoever, any cinematograph work/content/programme/show in relation to which plaintiffs have copyright.” A decree was also passed instructing local ISPs to permanently block the websites in question. Finally, the Court also published a “suggestion” which could set hearts racing among pirates in India. Describing website blocking as “cumbersome”, the order states that the majority of visitors to pirate sites are by “youngsters who do not have knowledge that the said content is infringing and / orpirated.” It’s therefore suggested that the relevant authorities should explore the possibility of sending emails, pop-ups, or other warnings to those who continue to consume infringing content. “In the event the warning is not heeded to and the viewers / subscribers continue to view, access or download the infringing/pirated content then a fine could be levied on the viewers/subscribers,” the Court added. The full list of domains to be blocked is as follows: 1337x.to, torrentz2.eu, bmovies.to, bmovies.is, fmovies.is, fmovies.se, fmovies.to, bmovies.se, fmovies.pe, fmovies.io, fmovies.taxi, bmovies.ru, fmovies.world, rarbg.is, rarbg.com, rarbg.to, rarbgproxy.org, thepiratebay.org, thepiratebay.se, yts.am, yts.ag, yts.tw, yts-yify.gold, yts.altorrente.com, yts.gy, yify.is, extratorrent.ag, torrentz.ht, torrentmovies.co Source
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