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First off today, Ernesto at Torrentfreak writes that YouTube has begun blocking various stream ripping sites, causing them to return errors when users attempt to download songs or other audio files from YouTube videos.
Music companies have long battled stream ripping sites, which make it easy to illegally download music from YouTube. Though the companies have been successful with many such sites, they’ve asked for YouTube’s help in blocking others but have been rebuffed. Now, however, YouTube appears to be taking action with many of the largest stream ripping sites giving errors when users attempt to download audio.
Though many of the most popular stream ripping sites are not functioning as of this writing but several smaller ones are still functioning. It is unclear how those sites will respond. The move comes at the same time YouTube has announced revisions to its manual Content ID claims policy to put extra requirements on rightsholders. I’ll have more on that in a full post later.
Next up today, Kim Morrissy at Anime News Network reports that a man from the Niigata prefecture in Japan has been arrested for modifying and reselling Pokémon games for the 3DS. It marks the first such arrest since the Unfair Competition Prevention Act was revised in November last year.
The man, who was not named, is an office worker in his 30s and would extract data from a second-hand copy of a Pokémon game and then overwrite the data of another game. He would then turn around and sell the new game for approximately 10,000 yen ($92).
When arrested the man admitted to his guilt but said that he couldn’t stop because of the money he was earning. He was handed a fine of 300,000 yen ($2,782). The shop that sold him the device he used to make the modified games is also under investigation.
Finally today, Martin Moylan at Minnesota Public Radio reports that former lawyer Peter Steele has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the Prenda Law case.
Steele, along with his partner Paul Hansmeier ran Prenda law from 2010-2014. They became some of the most prolific copyright “trolls” and would subpoena ISPs to unveil the identities of suspected file sharers of pornographic films. They would then threaten those file sharers with copyright lawsuits in order to procure quick settlements. However, the two men used an elaborate scheme to hide the fact they were also the owners of the films in question and that they had uploaded the films themselves to pirate websites.
Hansmeier previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and was sentenced to 14 years for fraud among other crimes. Steele, however, was granted a much more lenient sentence on account of his cooperation in the case and that prosecutors felt his help was instrumental in securing Hansmeier’s plea. Both men have already been ordered to pay back some $1.5 million in restitution.