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SOPA: Reddit Confirms Jan. 18 Blackout; Wikipedia, Others May Follow

Techland Illustration

TECHLAND ILLUSTRATION
By GRAEME MCMILLAN | @graemem | January 12, 2012

It’s on — at least partially: Reddit has announced that it will go dark for 12 hours to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said that he hopes to coordinate with the site so that Wikipedia does the same. Will other sites join in? Should we prepare for the Great Internet Strike of 2012?

Writing that it’s “not taking this action lightly,” Reddit announced on Tuesday that it will black out its site on Jan. 18 for 12 hours, starting at 8 a.m. E.T. During that period, the site’s content will be replaced with “a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action.” The company will also run a live video stream of that day’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on Internet security, intellectual property and economic growth.

On the site’s blog, the Reddit team admitted that “we’re as addicted to reddit as the rest of you,” but also explained that “we wouldn’t do this if we didn’t believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it. Blacking out reddit is a hard choice, but we feel focusing on a day of action is the best way we can amplify the voice of the community.” The company says support for a blackout isn’t unanimous among the Reddit community, and it is asking for input as it decides what to do next.
Read more: http://techland.time.com/2012/01/12/sopa-reddit-confirms-january-18-blackout-wikipedia-and-others-may-follow/#ixzz1jHT7Nu7l

BitTorrent Use Uncovered at Major Entertainment Companies

Russian site identifies downloads, finds rampant downloading at Universal, Sony, and Fox.

TorrentFreak, a news site devoted to all things BitTorrent, has published the results of an investigation they conducted into downloads via BitTorrent software at IP addresses owned by some of the entertainment industry’s biggest companies.

Using Russian site YouHaveDownloaded.com, which identifies a user’s torrent downloading activity based on their IP address, TorrentFreak took known IPs belonging to Sony, Fox, and NBC Universal and tested them. They found rampant downloading of a variety of programming – movies, music, and TV shows – at all three companies. Highlights of the findings include the Paramount Studios film Super 8 being downloaded by someone at Fox, the complete first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones being downloaded at an NBC Universal office in Fort Lauderdale, the 2011 Conan the Barbarian remake being downloaded at Sony, and someone at Google’s New York office downloading a copy of Windows 7. They also checked on the IP of the San Francisco headquarters of BitTorrent, Inc., where they found no downloading activity at all.

As remarkable as these results are, they are made all the more amazing by debate currently raging over SOPA, the anti-piracy legislation currently working its way through the US Congress. The companies whose activity TorrentFreak examined are among the most outspoken proponents of the legislation, and have a history of aggressively pursuing those who violate copyright by downloading their content.

One Twitter user summed up the situation nicely:

@cbergdc
Chris BergTorrent downloaders at Sony, Universal and Fox: you know, the people who sue college kids over downloads? http://t.co/LbV9uZBb #hypocrites  1 hour ago via bitly · powered by @socialditto

Feds seize 130+ domain names in “Cyber Monday” crackdown

Torrent Freak
Monday, November 28, 2011

US authorities have initiated the largest round of domain name seizures yet as part of their continued crackdown on counterfeit and piracy-related websites. With just a few days to go until “Cyber Monday” more than 100 domain names have been taken over by the feds to protect the commercial interests of US companies. The seizures are disputable, as the SOPA bill which aims to specifically legitimize such actions is still pending in Congress.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have resumed “Operation In Our Sites”, the domain name seizing initiative designed to crack down on online piracy and counterfeiting.

The new round comes exactly a year after 82 domains, including Torrent-Finder, were taken over in 2010. At the time ICE labeled the actions “Cyber Monday crackdown,” referring to the Monday following Thanksgiving where consumers are persuaded to shop online.

TorrentFreak has identified more than 130 domains taken over by the government during the last 24 hours, which makes this the largest seizure round to date. The authorities have yet to comment via official channels, but we assume that they will use the same justification for the domain seizures as they did last year.

Full story here.