Sunday, April 22, 2018

Netflix, Amazon and Hollywood Sue “SET TV” Over IPTV Piracy | TorrentFreak

In recent years, piracy streaming tools and services have become a prime target for copyright enforcers.

This is particularly true for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), an anti-piracy partnership forged between Hollywood studios, Netflix, Amazon, and more than two dozen other companies.

After taking action against Kodi-powered devices Tickbox and Dragonbox, key ACE members have now filed a similar lawsuit against the Florida-based company Set Broadcast, LLC, which sells the popular IPTV service SET TV.

The complaint, filed at a California federal court on Friday, further lists company owner Jason Labbosiere and employee Nelson Johnson among the defendants.

According to the movie companies, the Set TV software is little more than a pirate tool, allowing buyers to stream copyright infringing content.

“Defendants market and sell subscriptions to ‘Setvnow,’ a software application that Defendants urge their customers to use as a tool for the mass infringement of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted motion pictures and television shows,” the complaint reads.

In addition to the software, the company also offers a preloaded box. Both allow users to connect to live streams of TV channels and ‘on demand’ content. The latter includes movies that are still in theaters, which SET TV allegedly streams through third-party sources.

“For its on-demand options, Setvnow relies on third-party sources that illicitly reproduce copyrighted works and then provide streams of popular content such as movies still exclusively in theaters and television shows.”

From the complaint

The intended use of SET TV is clear, according to the movie companies. They frame it as a pirate service and believe that this is the main draw for consumers.

“Defendants promote the use of Setvnow for overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, infringing purposes, and that is how their customers use Setvnow,” the complaint reads.

Interestingly, the complaint also states that SET TV pays for sponsored reviews to reach a broader audience. The videos, posted by popular YouTubers such as Solo Man, who is quoted in the complaint, advertise the IPTV service.

“[The] sponsored reviewer promotes Setvnow as a quick and easy way to access on demand movies: ‘You have new releases right there and you simply click on the movie … you click it and click on play again and here you have the movie just like that in 1 2 3 in beautiful HD quality’.”

The lawsuit aims to bring an end to this. The movie companies ask the California District for an injunction to shut down the infringing service and impound all pre-loaded devices. In addition, they’re requesting statutory damages which could go up to several million dollars.

At the time of writing the SET TV website is still in the air, selling subscriptions. The company itself has yet to comment on the allegations.

A copy of the complaint is available here (pdf), courtesy of GeekWire.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.


The Pirate Bay Suffers Extended Downtime, Tor Domain Is Up | TorrentFreak

pirate bayThe main Pirate Bay domain has been offline for the last one-and-a-half days.

For most people, the site currently displays a Cloudflare error message across the entire site, with the CDN provider referring to a “bad gateway.”

No further details are available to us and there is no known ETA for the site’s full return. Judging from past experience, however, it’s likely a small technical hiccup that needs fixing.

There are no issues with the domain name itself and Cloudflare seems to be fully functional as well.

Pirate Bay downtime, bad gateway

TorrentFreak hasn’t heard anything from the TPB team but these type of outages are not unusual. The Pirate Bay has had quite a few stints of downtime in recent months. The popular torrent site usually returns after several hours.

Amid the downtime, there’s still some good news for those who desperately need to access the notorious torrent site. TPB is still available via its .onion address on the Tor network, accessible using the popular Tor Browser, for example.

The site’s Tor traffic goes through a separate server and works just fine. However, based on the irregular uploads, that’s not going completely smoothly either.

In addition, some of The Pirate Bay’s unofficial proxy sites are still working fine and showing new torrents.

As always, more details on The Pirate Bay’s current status are available on the official forum, but don’t expect any ETA there.

“Patience is the game we are all playing for now,” TPB moderator demonS notes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.


Certain Songs #1193: The Monkees – “For Pete’s Sake” | Medialoper

Album: Headquarters
Year: 1967

Artistic freedom! Asked for and answered!!

Life comes at you fast when you’re at the top of the pop world, and on their third album in six months, The Monkees got what they’d been asking for from the start: the chance to write for and play on their own records. So they tossed Don Kirshner out on his ass, and with a core group of Mike Nesmith & Peter Tork on various guitars & keyboards, Mickey Dolenz on drums and Davy Jones on, let’s say, percussion, they set out to record their third album, Headquarters.

With half of the songs co-writes by various band members, Headquarters was more folk-rocky and less rock-rocky than its predecessors — Mickey Dolenz was far more dynamic as a singer than he was as a drummer — but still a pretty impressive record, even if it was the only album from their imperial phase to not feature any hit singles. But even that was part of the point: they wanted to record an album that hung together as an album, not hits plus filler, which their first two albums were unfairly perceived to be.

Of course, Headquarters was a smash, if not quite as much of a smash as the first two, and someone tapped its best song, Tork’s dark & groovy “For Pete’s Sake” to be the closing theme song for the TV show’s second season, exposing it to millions of people each week.

I haven’t written that much about The Monkees TV show — maybe I’ll save it for my Certain Shows blog, in 2022 — mostly because I haven’t watched it in 30 years, but I’m pretty sure that “For Pete’s Sake” ended up being the closing theme song for the entire series in syndication, because I have such strong memories of enjoying this mysterious song that always seemed way more serious than the epic silliness that had proceeded it.

In this generation (in this generation)
In this lovin’ time (in this lovin’ time)
In this generation
We will make the world shine

Yes. Of course you will. It’s actually refreshing that The Monkees weren’t completely immune to the late 1960s hippie-dippie Baby Boomer exceptionalism that affected all of their peers, and while it always easy to make fun of failed youthful idealism fifty years later, “For Pete’s Sake” gets over on the performance.

Driven by a cool guitar lick from Tork, augmented by decorative organ by Nesmith, “For Pete’s Sake” revolved around the call-and-response vocals from Dolenz, Tork and Jones. Dolenz kept it low-key vocally until the very end, hitting the upper part of his register as he sang “we gotta be freeeeeee!”

“For Pete’s Sake”

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Here Come the SPOT Analysts | MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

It’s still very early days for stock analysts to reach a consensus about Spotify except for one thing–royalties are too damn high.  We have, of course, heard this one before–remember Pandora?  When Tim Westergren was cashing out his stock to the tune of $1 million a month and the company was wasting money hand over fist, the problem, you see, was those greedy artists and songwriters.

Spotify has been making the same argument for years without much care for their overhead and executive compensation.  Daniel Ek, for example, traded a high base salary for a $1 million bonus if he hit four performance targets–he hit three of the four and got his bonus anyway.  (SPOT F-1 at p. 133: “In February 2018, our board of directors determined to pay Mr. Ek the full $1,000,000 bonus based on the Company’s 2017 performance though certain performance goals were not achieved…”)  You know, just like when you promise a club owner that you’ll draw 100 people and you only draw 75.  They always pay your guarantee anyway, right?

But the analysts are starting to crunch numbers and here’s a few infographics from Simply Wall Street, a site I like a lot that started its Spotify coverage.

SPOT Share Value

This graph suggests that a fair value for Spotify stock would be closer to $85 rather than the overvalued price point of $158.45 where the shares closed on Friday.  One implication  of the inflated share price is that the direct listing strategy Spotify devised to offer shares to the public may be artificially propping up the price since most of the sellers will be “insiders” broadly defined.  If it turns out that a meaningful number of shares in the very low volume of shares changing hands is automated trading, that could help to explain why volume is low and shares are trading in a narrow price range.

Price Value

Not surprising that SPOT is significantly overvalued based on the value of its assets by comparison to the Internet industry average as well as the market overall.

SPOT Debt Service

And then there’s the debt.  Red ink as far as the eye can see.

In fairness, analysts do project significant revenue growth from Spotify as in this chart:

SPOT Growth

But note that revenue doesn’t start to convert into earnings growth until about 2021.  Which is fine as long as the company makes it to 2021.

My hunch is that it is this inflection point that will be leverage for cramming down royalties.  One thing seems certain–the current downward trend in royalty rates from Spotify is not going to turn around.  If anything, it will probably accelerate.

So remember that Wall Street’s argument is that the lower the royalties, the better for Spotify.  Wall Street is unlikely to ever say the lower the rent, or the lower the executive compensation, or the fewer loss making country operations the better for Spotify.  It will be a while before we see the insider trades that will tell you how much Mr. Ek has profited from his money losing company that is filing mass NOIs by the tens of thousands of songs, but we will find out soon enough.  My bet is that it will put old “million a month” Tim Westergren to shame.

Of course, Amazon is also a poor value by these metrics, doesn’t pay a dividend, but also has significant grown expectation.  There’s another way that Spotify is similar to Amazon.  Jeff Bezos’s core business philosophy is “Your margin is my opportunity.”

So don’t be surprised if Mr. Ek is coming after your margin just like Amazon did in one of the great income transfers of commercial history.


This Week In Music Commentary | hypebot

6a00d83451b36c69e201bb09aae429970d-100wiCommentators in the music industry this week shared their thoughts in knowledge on the problem of sexual harassment at festivals, the problem with the policy behind the music modernization act, and why Cardi B is right.


Avicii | Lefsetz Letter

I am the only one fucked up about this?

I was at a doctor’s appointment and when I got out my phone was blowing up. Put me in a bad mood, ruined my whole day.

Death is final. What about this do young people not understand?

I’m not sure what happened here. But I’m thinking it’s drugs, it’s always drugs, especially when it comes out of the blue. Sure, Avicii spoke of health problems before, they caused him to retire from the road, but what was he doing in Oman anyway.

But he’s gone now, we’ll get no answers, what went through his head, he’s just another casualty on the music road. But at 28? THAT’S CRIMINAL!

Now this is having the wrong tone. Funny how between your brain and your fingers your thoughts change.

But why does this have to happen? Why are drugs glorified by the music set? Is that what makes you a rebel, doing drugs?

And I know sometimes they’re used to deal with the lifestyle, but how come the handlers don’t acknowledge this. But the truth is musicians are like racehorses, run into the ground, shot when they’re broken, sometimes by themselves. They’re not seen as people.

Life is short, but in truth it’s really long. And it’s not a constant upward arc. Nobody’s on top forever. The key is to adjust and to live.

And sure, taking a break can sometimes mean you’re passed over.

But at least you get a chance to come back.

I always think about what Joe Walsh said, that the challenge is LIVING!

So it’s kinda like school shootings. Everyone laments the deceased’s passing, talks about what a wonderful person they were, how great their music was, and then it’s business as usual.

Meanwhile, what kind of outlaw ties up with corporations, doing sponsorships? If it’s about image, your credibility is immediately shot.

So we never get to hear another Avicii song. Oh, they’ll plumb the archives, come up with something, hell, Jimi Hendrix just made a new record. But imagine what Jimi Hendrix would be playing today.

Then again, the longer you live the less of a legend you are. You’re revealed to be normal, with foibles.

But ain’t that the truth, how we’re all equal under the skin, normal?

And I don’t want to stop typing, because I’ll be left with that creepy feeling again. The exact opposite of how I felt when I heard “Wake Me Up” come out of the speakers for the very first time. It’s hard to have a hit, but it’s even harder to create a track you only have to hear once to get, that you’ve got to hear incessantly, over and over again, until it’s so embedded in your brain you can play it to yourself. That’s what Avicii achieved.

And there will be more hits. Time marches on. That’s what the dead don’t realize, no one is that important, everyone is superseded, time doesn’t stop.

It’s bad enough when people are ill, get cancer…but when you mistreat yourself…

Like all the people still smoking. Why do you think you’re the exception? You’re gonna get old and wanna live but you won’t. And your spouse and your children will be so disappointed when you’re gone.

I didn’t even know Avicii and I’m disappointed when he’s gone.

And they must reveal the cause of death for all these people who die before their time, although it will come out, it almost always does. We demand it as human beings. Life is a struggle under the best of circumstances, we want answers, explanations, guidance, we don’t want to think we can just go along minding our business and have it all end.

But it can. In an automobile accident. Or maybe your time is up, like that woman sucked out of that Southwest plane.

Tom Petty O.D.’ed. As did Prince. And they might not have had hits recently, but if you saw them perform they were still at the top of their game.

And Bonzo killed Led Zeppelin with his death.

And I’m not saying everybody can stand up and fly straight.

But the truth is the body is quite resilient. It takes a lot to kill yourself.

Drugs are not cool. No matter what you say.

It’s uncool to say that, but all my best highs have been natural, when I’m fully aware and can experience the excellence.

I know, I know, I should be lauding Tim Bergling, talk about how wonderful he was.

But the truth is I’m still here and he’s not. And I’m off-kilter, I’ve got this horrible feeling inside.



Little League | Lefsetz Letter

I lived to play baseball.

This was back when the Yankees never lost and the Giants were in San Francisco and the biggest stars in the game were Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. I knew that Mickey grew up in Oklahoma and suffered from osteomyelitis and I purchased a biography of the Say Hey Kid on vacation in Atlantic City that I never read and I listened to the game on my transistor, under my pillow, I was addicted.

Not that my father paved the way. My mother was very athletic, she played golf, she’d watch the game, but my father never would.

But he stoked my jones, buying me a glove, taking me to the Stadium, but even more than being a fan I liked to play.

This was back when you’d leave the house and tell your mother you’d be home for dinner, when she had no idea where you really were, not that she was worried. And sure, there were some couch potatoes, but most kids played outside, sometimes making up their own games, I remember building miniature golf courses in the backyard, and walking up to the schoolyard to play baseball.

It wasn’t organized. It was just whoever showed up. And you knew who was good and you knew who was bad but you chose teams and decided who’d be up first by choking up on the bat.

Actually, I never walked, I always rode my bike, before you had to lock it up, when tires were fat and pedaling was slow and you had to haul it up a hill but the bike was just a vehicle…

To the diamond.

And in my town there were three leagues, National, American and Greenfield Hill. And ultimately, in July, a town championship played amongst the three. We made it all the way back in ’64, but were bounced in the final in ’65. In ’63 we didn’t make it at all, I was on the Beechmont Dairy team, one of two designated ten year olds, I got a weak infield hit before I went to camp, I never told the coach I was going, missing the final four games, and when I showed up the following season to play…

I got cut.

Now this was back when it used to snow. Although it’s snowing again now, how wacky is the weather? But you never brought out the ball in February, it was unheard of, but as soon as you got to March 1st…

It was baseball season!

We watched the Grapefruit League on TV, but even more we threw the ball, even though the ground might still be frozen. We were ready.

And in Connecticut in March, the winds are fierce. To the point where it would impact the game. But we played anyway.

And tryouts began on April 1st.

By time you hit April…

It was spring. It was not gonna snow again. There were occasionally winds, but practice was never canceled.

There was a new coach for Beechmont Dairy, his son had to play, therefore I got bounced. But I ended up on a much better team, the Korner Market, where down the street they had the team photos in the store, coached by Mr. Russo, who only had girls, who was into the game, who was doing it to give back, where are these people today?

My father knew him, he was a liquor salesman and my dad owned a liquor store.

And we had a very good team.

Opening day was right around now. We’d all go down to Gould Manor Park where we’d strut around in our uniforms and there would be introductions and a game and my parents would come with me, which was the only time they’d show up. Oh, once during the season maybe my dad would come, but when they moved the field further away he never did.

And if we won, we got Dairy Queen.

If we lost, we headed home heads down, dejected.

But I lived to play.

And I thought of all this when I looked out the window last night and it was still light at 7:30. You see at the beginning of the season that was always a factor, whether the six inning game would make it to the end, before it got dark. You’d be fighting the light, it would be hard to see the ball, but as spring moved on this was no longer an issue.

And it was not like Los Angeles, because of the humidity spring would get HOT! You didn’t need a jacket when you rode your bicycle, but you didn’t go to the beach and swim the day of a game, that would slow you down, but that was the only precaution.

I know it’s different now. I know little kids play soccer. And then comes t-ball. And everybody gets a trophy. But back in my day…

You either had the goods or you didn’t. Either you made the team or you didn’t. And a trophy meant everything.

Maybe that’s the difference between baby boomers and their children. We strove towards excellence, it was more important than being a member of the group. Then again, we were bullied with no pushback from our parents. We endured and we survived. Physically anyway.

And I never watch baseball anymore. I got out when the teams went to double knits. And now it’s even worse, because of the dedication of my brethren, my fellow baby boomers. They believe the game will keep them young. But the players are faceless and the kids would rather play eSports and the excitement is gone.

But still… The one great thing about baseball is it ain’t over till it’s over, you can always come back.

Like life.