The termination of the Swedish investigation is, in one sense, good news for Assange. But it is unlikely to change his inability to leave the embassy any time soon. If anything, given the apparent determination of the Trump administration to put him in a U.S. prison cell for the “crime” of publishing documents, his freedom appears further away than it has since 2010, when the Swedish case began.
“Today is an important victory for me,” Assange says, adding that his seven-year legal ordeal, which he calls unjust detention, “is not something that I can forgive.”It was “extremely regretful” that he was still being threatened with arrest if he leaves the embassy, he added,
Popcorn Time was an instant hit when it launched just over a year ago: The video streaming service made BitTorrent piracy as easy as Netflix, but with far more content and none of those pesky monthly payments. Hollywood quickly intervened, pressuring Popcorn Time’s Argentinian developers to walk away from their creation. But anonymous coders soon relaunched the copyright-flouting software. Today, Popcorn Time is growing at a rate that has likely surpassed the original, and the people behind it say they’re working on changes designed to make the service virtually impervious to law enforcement.
As Popcorn Time celebrated the first anniversary of its rebirth, WIRED chatted via email and instant message with a software developer from Popcorn-Time.se, one of the most popular of several reincarnations of Popcorn Time. (The anonymous developer asked us to use Popcorn Time’s smiling popcorn-box mascot “Pochoclin” as his or her pseudonym.) Popcorn Time’s masked spokesperson says the streaming movie and TV app is flourishing—in defiance of many of the world’s most powerful copyright holders and EURid, the domain registrar that seized the original site’s web domain last year.
After everything we went through, this will be our sweetest revenge. Anonymous Popcorn Time spokesperson
Popcorn-Time.se, Pochoclin says, has millions of users and is growing at the mind-bending rate of 100,000 downloads per day. He or she also hinted that a forthcoming switch to a peer-to-peer architecture will make the service far harder for copyright cops to attack. “We’re at the threshold of one of the most exciting times since we started this project,” Pochoclin writes. “Making all our data available via p2p will mean that Popcorn Time will no longer rely on domains and centralized servers but only on its user base.”
“After everything we went through,” Pochoclin said, “this will be our sweetest revenge and our biggest victory.”
When Popcorn-Time.se started responding to WIRED’s questions in November, Pochoclin said the reborn project already had 4 million users. But it had taken a serious hit a few months earlier, when Brussels-based domain registrar EURid revoked its website domain, Time4Popcorn.eu. At its new Swedish domain, it’s only recently returned to that earlier adoption rate. (Pochoclin wouldn’t reveal the size of its current user base for fear of drawing more attention from law enforcement or copyright holders.) “[EURid’s domain seizure] was just a small setback … a small but painful kick to the balls,” the spokesperson says. “We’ve grown this project tremendously since we picked it up … The numbers just keep rising.”
Pirate Bay’s revival seems certain after the torrent site has started to display a logo of phoenix with a timer counting down to 1 February.
The timer was unveiled last week along with a revived but non-functioning site. Now the phoenix, a symbol of rebirth used by the Pirate Bay in previous relaunches of the site, has replaced the iconic battleship logo and the animated waving pirate flag.
On the homepage, the Pirate Bay battleship travels towards a cartoon of an island harbour named “welcome home”, now positioned overlapping the island.
Swedish police have raided and seized computer and server equipment in Stockholm, taking the notorious piracy site the Pirate Bay offline.
The site, which has survived the arrest and jailing of its founders, several attempts to remove it from the internet and blockade by internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK and internationally, has been unavailable for more than 24 hours.
“We had a crackdown on a server room in greater Stockholm because of a copyright infringement, and yes it was Pirate Bay,” said Paul Pinter, national co-ordinator for intellectual property crime at Stockholm County Police.
He said that Rights Alliance, a Swedish anti-piracy group, had made the complaint. Sara Lindback, its head, said that Pirate Bay was “an illegal commercial service” making “considerable earnings by infringing the works of others”.
Servers and computers seized
Sources quoted by BitTorrent news site TorrentFreak have confirmed that the servers seized in the raid belonged to the Pirate Bay. Despite several sites appearing to be the piracy site briefly coming back online, it has not yet been resurrected.
Several sites affiliated with the Pirate Bay, including EZTV, Zoink, Torrage, Istole, bayimg.com, pastebay.net and Pirate Bay’s internet forum suprbay.org, have also been taken offline.
Fredrik Ingblad, a Swedish intellectual property crime prosecutor, said: “There were a number of police officers and digital forensics experts there. This took place during the morning and continued until this afternoon. Several servers and computers were seized, but I cannot say exactly how many.”
It is not known whether Swedish authorities also seized the Pirate Bay domain names as part of their action against the piracy site.
The Pirate Bay has been blocked at the ISP level in the UK since 2012. Users of the site have been able to circumvent the court-ordered block by accessing proxy sites, which replicate the Pirate Bay services and pull data from the main site when a user accesses them operating as a relay.
Many of these proxy sites are still operating despite the primary Pirate Bay site being taken offline, but they have no data of their own and are essentially crippled by the removal of the Pirate Bay from the internet.