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Satellite news 01.11.13

Marchingontogether

TK Veteran
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Got this off another site just thought i would share ;)

Satellite news 01.11.13

UK ISPs block 21 torrent sites

The latest measures to combat digital piracy in the UK has come into force with a court order from BPI asking ISPs to block 21 sites that link to infringing material.

“We asked the sites to stop infringing copyright but unfortunately they did not and we were left with little choice but to apply to the court, where the judge considered the evidence and declared that ISPs should not serve access to them,” said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor.

Blocking sites via ISPs is considered by the BPI and other copyright holders to be a more effective method of combatting piracy than targeting individuals via warnings and data throttling – the tactics favoured by the Digital Economy Act 2010.

The full list of blocked sites is:
• Abmp3
• BeeMP3
• Bomb-Mp3
• FileCrop
• FilesTube
• Mp3Juices
• eMp3World
• Mp3lemon
• Mp3Raid
• Mp3skull
• NewAlbumReleases
• Rapidlibrary
• 1337x
• BitSnoop
• ExtraTorrent
• Monova
• TorrentCrazy
• TorrentDownloads
• TorrentHound
• Torrentreactor
• Torrentz

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Sky takes UKTV online

Sky and UKTV have extended their long-term partnership with a new multi-year agreement that will see UKTV’s network of pay-TV channels made available across Sky’s full range of TV products for the first time.

The new multi-platform agreement further expands UKTV’s footprint in the British broadcasting market, which currently sees the network reach over 42 million viewers a month. In addition to the continued availability of popular Pay exclusive channels Gold, Watch, Alibi, Dave HD, Good Food, Eden and Home, UKTV content will be available through catch-up, on demand, on the go, and, where available, in HD.

To give Sky customers ultimate control over how, where and when they enjoy UKTV channels, content will be available through Sky On Demand as well as the company’s mobile TV service, Sky Go. More than 3.4 million Sky homes have already connected their Sky box to broadband to enjoy the UK’s most comprehensive catch-up and on demand service, while 3.3 million Sky homes regularly use Sky Go. UKTV will also provide complete series as box sets – including shows such as Red Dwarf X, The Roux Scholarship 2013 and Primeval – to allow customers to watch entire series on their terms.

In addition, UKTV’s Gold, the popular British comedy channel that celebrates its 21st birthday this year, will join NOW TV, as one of a selection of high-quality partner channels to sit alongside Sky’s own network of channels.

UKTV recently committed to investing a record amount of £110 million on-screen this year, making innovative shows and buying bold and exclusive acquisitions. Upcoming highlights include an exciting new series of award-winning Dynamo: Magician Impossible, JJ Abrams’ new supernatural thriller Believe, a darkly comedic take on storytelling in Crackanory, and Tony Jordan’s new 10 part drama Legion.

UKTV’s free-to-air channels, including Dave, Drama, Really and Yesterday will continue to be available to Sky customers.

Rob Webster, Sky’s Commercial Group Director, said: “We are delighted to have extended our partnership with UKTV so that we can offer our customers even more great ways to enjoy some of their favourite shows. We’ll be adding UKTV’s content to our Catch Up, On Demand and Sky Go services, which is great news for customers. This takes our partnership with UKTV to the next level and demonstrates the extra value that we can create with our content partners.”

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BT Sport attracts 2m sign-ups

BT has reported that more than two million customers are now signed up to its BT Sport TV service, which it launched in August this year to compete with Sky Sports.

BT saw six-month pre-tax profits of £948 million (€1.16bn), a fall of 13 per cent from the same period in 2012.

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive Officer, commenting on the results, said: “These are good results, with growth in earnings per share and free cash flow.”

“This has been our strongest ever quarter for fibre take-up with Openreach net connections up 70 per cent. Our fibre network now passes more than 17 million premises. It is open to all and many other service providers have now got behind it.”

“BT Sport has made a confident start and is already delivering for viewers. More than two million of our customers are signed up to it and our wholesale contract with Virgin Media means it is available to around four million homes in total. It is also delivering for the business, helping us achieve a record 93 per cent share of broadband net adds in the quarter, our lowest line losses for five years and 4 per cent revenue growth in our BT Retail Consumer business.”

“BT Retail’s Business division again saw good growth in IT services while BT Global Services and BT Wholesale both generated strong order books.”

BT now has a total of 900,000 television customers – still some way behind Virgin’s 3.8 million and Sky’s 10.5 million

BT added that profits slipped because of the sports investment. However, the company saw 156,000 new broadband additions in the single quarter to the end of September. That is up from 81,000 for the same period in 2012.

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BSkyB: UK media policy ‘living in the past’

A senior executive at BSkyB has accused the UK government of missing an opportunity to think more widely about the future of the broadcasting industry, suggesting its strategy paper wrongly concentrates on old arguments in an already heavily-regulated industry, risking handing the advantage to rival players.

Participating in a session on responses to the government’s digital communications strategy at the Westminster eForum, David Wheeldon, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, argued that the paper ignored the key market dynamics that had occurred in the last five years. “Netflix, which is a company with 40 million subscribers and has invested $200 million in original content is referenced only once. Twitter gets a single mention, despite the impact it is having on news dissemination and plurality,” he noted.

“The UK’s commercial TV sector that is growing faster than the PSBs combined and now invests more in UK content than Channel 4 gets a paltry sentence. Instead, the paper revisits arguments that Ofcom was examining four or five years ago on issues such as protecting the intransigent position of PSBs, the challenge of content standards in an Internet age and switching [suppliers],” he said.

“It’s a shame that so much energy is devoted to bits of the industry that are already heavily regulated, all subject to massive public intervention while our international rivals let the market drive innovation and investment. I’m afraid I fear that the government’s missed an opportunity to think more widely about the future of our industry in broad strategic terms. How will technology alter the shape of the market in 10 years? How are business models going to change. What do consumers really care about and what will help the sector compete globally,” he suggested.

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Sportitalia channels to go off air in Italy

After nine years on the air, the Sportitalia channels will stop broadcasting on November 1st.

Founded in 2004, the TV sports network of French-Tunisian businessman Tarak Ben Ammar was present on DTT with three channels – Sportitalia 1, Sportitalia 2 and Sportitalia 24. In protest, journalists have proclaimed a two-day strike, because as many as 35 of them have no certainty for the future.

The fate of Sportitalia was already marked since July 29th, when the Sportitalia channels were *******ed and bought by Rome-based thematic channel producer LT Multimedia, whose portfolio includes the channels Nuvolari, Marcopolo, Alice, Leonardo and Arturo.

In unison with the closure of Sportitalia, Italian media group LT Media plans to launch three sports channels (LT Sport 1-3) that will seek to replace the defunct broadcaster. The first channel will be dedicated to football, the second to Olympic sports and the third to motor sports.

Initially, the new channels will be available only on satellite (via the TivuSat DTH platform), as the DTT frequencies are still owned by Sportitalia.

However, due to the debts of the old company towards the Italian Football League, LT Sport will not be able to air the Serie A highlights, while for the Serie B it is still trying to reach an agreement.

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Wuaki.tv partners with ITV

Video-on-demand streaming service Wuaki.tv is partnering with UK commercial broadcaster ITV in a deal that will see hundreds of hours of fresh content added to Wuaki.tv’s UK service and made available to stream on-demand.

Wuaki.tv users now have access to an extensive catalogue of TV series and movies from ITV, including primetime drama and comedy programmes The Royle Family, Cold Feet, Lewis, Law and Order, Prime Suspect, Endeavour, Lemon La Vida Loca and Titanic. The new content has been added to Wuaki.tv’s catalogue of movies and TV shows, which includes titles from major Hollywood studios and UK distributors.

The new content is available as part of the Wuaki.tv Selection, Wuaki.tv’s subscription streaming service, or for individual rental and purchase. Wuaki.tv Selection subscribers can watch an entire TV series on-demand, while those who may have missed one or two episodes of their favourite series can rent them for a one-off low cost.

“As well as demand for the latest blockbuster movie titles, we do see a real hunger from our users for TV series that they can watch back-to-back on-demand,” commented Jacinto Roca, Founder and CEO of Wuaki.tv. “ITV is a huge player in the UK and well known for quality drama and comedy programming. Having their catalogue is a great boost for our service.”

Neale Dennett, Controller of Pay and Distribution at ITV, said the broadcaster was committed to producing and distributing high quality content across commercially viable platforms, with the Wuaki.tv deal giving viewers further opportunities to access ITV content.

A Wuaki Selection subscription is priced at £4.99 (€5.84) per month for a limited period, providing unlimited access to the company’s extensive and regularly-refreshed selection of movies and TV shows. New users can trial the Wuaki Selection service for free for the first month. Newly released titles available to rent and purchase are priced individually. Wuaki.tv users can stream movies and TV shows direct to laptops and PCs, and to Smart TVs, tablets and games consoles through Wuaki.tv’s dedicated apps.

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PayWizard boosts BT Sport subs reach

Subscriber management and billing for multi-screen media specialist PayWizard has extended the reach of BT’s new sports channels.

PayWizard’s enterprise class software was chosen by BT prior to launch to provide platform authentication for BT Sport; and has connected BT’s internal subscriber management system (SMS) to Sky’s conditional access (CA) system. It has enabled Sky customers around the UK and Northern Ireland to subscribe to the exclusive new channels and view them through their existing set-top box.

“Extending audience reach without compromising content security is one of the biggest challenges facing premium content broadcasters today. As a sports broadcaster with high value content like Premier League football and rugby union this is especially true,” said Marc Watson. “We have chosen PayWizard to help us overcome this challenge. Its robust platform and extensive experience in the media industry make it an ideal partner for such an important part of BT Sport.”

Jamie, PayWizard Commercial Director suggested that PayWizard’s ability to reduce the time to market, based on an existing, proven market, was a significant factor in PayWizard being chosen for the launch. PayWizard has also been working with BT for more than six years to enable conditional access functionality for DTT-based ‘mini-pay’ service Top Up TV.

“This is a really exciting time for BT and it’s great to be a part of such a landmark project,” said Mackinlay. “Our platform is designed specifically to help companies like BT manage their content and this deal is a great example of exactly how we make that happen. We have a long history with BT and I’m really looking forward to being a part of its future as a sports broadcaster. ”

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Sky adds entertainment channels to NOW TV

Some of Sky’s most popular entertainment channels have joined its NOW TV OTT service as part of a new, pay-as-you-go offer.

The NOW TV Entertainment Month Pass offers a contract-free way to access ten top subscription TV channels: Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts 1, Discovery, MTV, Comedy Central, GOLD, Disney and FOX. It allows customers to stream shows live and on demand on a pay-as-you-go basis – at an introductory price of £4.99 a month.

The NOW TV Entertainment Month Pass offers premiere episodes of the latest series, including Dracula (Sky Living), The Tunnel (Sky Atlantic), Hello Ladies (Sky Atlantic) and American Horror Story (FOX) – as well as the premieres of new series of Game of Thrones, The Following and Mad Men in the near future.

In addition to current shows, the NOW TV Entertainment Month Pass will offer entire box sets of hit shows. Highlights include every episode of all five seasons of The Wire (Sky Atlantic) and seasons one to three of An Idiot Abroad (Sky 1) and Mad Dogs (Sky 1).

Gidon Katz, Director of NOW TV, commented: “Millions of people can now go online to watch some of the best entertainment channels, including Sky 1, Sky Atlantic and Comedy Central. NOW TV offers pay-as-you-go access to brand new episodes of home-grown British shows and the biggest and best US series for anyone with broadband.”

The NOW TV Entertainment Month Pass is available immediately on the NOW TV Box, PS3, Roku, Macs and PCs. Other supported devices will be introduced as part of a phased roll out over the coming months including iPhone, iPad, selected Android smartphones, Xbox, LG Smart TVs and selected LG media devices. Customers are able to register four devices at any one time.

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Big risks for ITV mean time to “sell”

A research note from investment bank Berenberg suggests it is time for its clients to sell their shares in UK public broadcaster ITV. Senior media analyst Sarah Simon praises ITV for its better-than-expected advertising growth, but poor online positioning could lead to a revenue downgrade over time.

She says the market is also seeing online video starting to take share from TV budgets in the USA, and she expects this trend to hit the UK, and this could be to the detriment of ITV. “Against this backdrop, ITV’s online video performance is cause for concern, despite various management reshuffles over the last few years aimed at boosting its digital business. The company is seeing online video growth, but less than that of the overall market and key peers such as Channel 4 and the BBC.”

Berenberg is also anxious that ITV (or any other network) could justify any claims for extra revenues in the form of retransmission fees, currently helping US broadcasters with extra cash from cable and satellite operators. Some have argued that ITV could earn £100 million a year from changes to the retransmission rules. However, Simon suggests that the UK regulators are not likely to favour permitting changes to the current status-quo where universal free access to network TV signals is the norm.

“ITV is currently bidding (we assume) to renew its free-to-air rights for the Champions League. These rights currently cost the company around £50 million per year,” says the bank’s report. “With BT Sport openly interested in bidding for more sports rights and BSkyB keen to maintain its premium assets, we believe there is a risk that either BT will bid for ITV games, or that BSkyB will look for total exclusivity. We believe ITV could be the squeezed middle in such a scenario. However, it cannot afford to lose the Champions League, in our view, since it is a major audience share winner, and, in odd years, it is now the only quality football broadcast by ITV since it lost the FA Cup to the BBC. As a result, the company could be forced to pay a significant increase on what it is currently paying. This could put pressure on its ability to hold programming costs to around £1 billion per year, without compromising on quality.”

“As far as TV advertising is concerned, meanwhile, we see a further issue: the internet. For while TV has proven broadly resistant to the internet thus far – with outdoor being the only other traditional media similarly blessed – we believe that, at last, there are signs that the long-awaited cannibalisation by online video may be beginning,” she adds.

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BT TV à la carte options

BT has stepped up its efforts to attract TV customers with a major launch of new channels and by offering customers the chance to build their own TV package made up of just the content they actually want to watch.

BT’s core Entertainment pack – £7 (€8.21) a month – includes 18 popular pay TV channels, such as Discovery, National Geographic, Comedy Central and Gold.

The telco launching two additional channel bolt-ons for just £3 a month each: HD Extra which features high definition versions of many of the channels in Entertainment, plus the three BT Sport channels in HD, and Kids Extra, featuring nine popular kids channels including Nickelodeon, Disney, Boomerang and Cartoon Network.

These channel bolt-ons are available to all customers with BT Infinity who take the Entertainment pack. The company has also introduced a ‘three for £20' deal for new customers, (BT line rental £15.45 a month) until December 9. This offers Infinity fibre-optic broadband, the Entertainment channels pack, BT Sport and a free award-winning YouView box featuring catch up TV from all the major public sector broadcasters and more than 70 Freeview TV and radio channels.

This compares to Sky’s entry-level TV Entertainment pack at £21.50 a month that does not include fibre broadband or Sky Sports.

BT is also changing its on demand offerings to flexible monthly bolt-ons, allowing customers to choose from Kids or Music on demand at £3 a month each or Film & TV Box Sets at £5 per month. The Music bolt on will feature music videos, karaoke, concerts and also from this week, a wide range of complete albums.

The on demand bolt-ons are available to all existing customers and can be added to the basic Essential pack at £5 a month or, for Infinity customers, added to the Entertainment pack at £7 a month.

Customers can also take advantage of BT TV’s recent deal with BSkyB by adding 11 Sky Movies channels for £16 a month and from BT’s growing Box Office service including the Curzon Home Cinema deal that the company recently announced. The partnership with Curzon offers customers the ability to view films in their theatrical window from the comfort of their own home as well as exclusively curated sessions – only available on BT TV.

Alex Green, director of TV for BT, said the new line-up was undoubtedly BT’s strongest TV offering. “BT TV now offers over 100 TV channels, including more than 50 delivered via our broadband network. We can offer a fantastic HD quality experience through the power of fibre, and there’s something for all the family with our great new Kids channels. We know that customers don’t like paying a fortune for hundreds of channels they never watch so we’re making things easier for them and putting the choice in their hands.”

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UK music launches YouTube channel

UK music labels are launching their own YouTube channel, Transmitter, to promote UK artists with a mixture of live performances, interviews and album playbacks. The channel will launch in November as a joint venture between industry body BPI and online video firm LoveLive, which has previously worked with a range of artists, labels and brands on video projects.

“There’s been a lack of platforms that promote multiple artists. It used to happen on television, but since Top of the Pops finished there’s no weekly show any more in primetime that introduces consumers to what’s going on in music,” BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor told The Guardian.

“And on YouTube, there’s nothing for mainstream chart music that does that. The audience has moved from television to mobile, so we want to both help labels promote their artists and help fans find really high-quality content.”

The BPI points to a YouGov survey in May 2013 that found 77 per cent of 16-24 year-olds in the UK listening to music on YouTube, compared to 33 per cent listening to streaming music services like Spotify.

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Superfast broadband available in 73% of UK homes

Superfast broadband is now available to almost three quarters of UK homes, and the number of people using the technology has more than doubled in the last year, Ofcom has revealed.

The trends reflect wider changes in the UK’s communications infrastructure, which is evolving to meet consumers’ growing demand for data, both at home and on the move.

Ofcom’s annual Infrastructure Report update shows that in June this year 73 per cent of UK premises could receive superfast broadband, up from 65 per cent in 2012. Some 22 per cent of broadband connections are superfast, up from 10 per cent last year. Around 4.8 million UK customers have taken up the technology, up from 2.1 million last year.

In total, 650m gigabytes of data were sent or received by UK internet users over fixed lines in the single month of June – an increase of 26 per cent over the same month last year, and an amount of data equivalent to more than one billion copies of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

The growth in data usage is set to continue, as superfast networks are rolled out further, and consumers demand higher speeds to support high-quality internet TV services and multiple devices on their broadband connection.

As well as indoors, people are increasingly demanding faster connection speeds when out and about. 4G networks are helping to meet this demand. Several operators – EE, O2 and Vodafone – have now launched 4G services, while Three is expected to join them in the coming months.

The report shows that consumers are also making far greater use of public Wi-Fi ‘hotspots’ – which allow them to access fixed-line internet via their mobile devices in places such as restaurants, hotels, banks, supermarkets and coffee shops.

The number of public Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the UK doubled over the year to 34,000 (from 16,000). And the amount of data being sent or received by consumers in these hotspots almost trebled, to almost 2 million gigabytes in a month – up from 0.75 million gigabytes during the same month in 2012.

The rapid growth in superfast broadband, the arrival of 4G mobile and the doubling of public Wi-Fi hotspots are all part of an emerging picture of soaring consumer demand for data-hungry services.

As higher speeds become the norm, Ofcom believes the challenge is to focus on wider coverage for consumers, including those in hard-to-reach areas. Ofcom will also be conducting work aimed at ensuring wider coverage does not come at the expense of service quality.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “Superfast broadband is rolling out fast across the country, and 4G mobile will reach at least 98 per cent of the population. This is really good news but there remain considerable challenges, not least in hard-to-reach areas for mobile and home Internet services. We know consumers increasingly expect superfast speeds, but it’s also important to make sure people can connect over a very wide area. That is why we are doing everything we can to support moves to improve coverage in difficult areas such as roads and train lines.

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Sky Sports takes Champions League to Twitter

Grabyo, the real-time TV clip-sharing platform, is helping Sky Sports to promote its coverage of the UEFA Champions League by sharing clips of live games - as well as other clips from Sky Sports News - to social and digital channels.

The clips will be promoted by NOW TV, Sky’s OTT service, who will be using Grabyo Studio combined with Twitter’s Promoted Tweets to share real-time video from Sky Sports. This is aimed at increasing awareness and engagement of live Champions League coverage on Sky Sports and NOW TV.

NOW TV will be using Grabyo Studio to drive engagement and TV tune-in by instantly amplifying clips from Sky Sports live UEFA Champions League coverage. This will include in-game clips, the best goals, build-up and post-match interviews which will be shared in real-time and promoted to football fans that have joined the conversation on Twitter.

The decision by Sky Sports, and NOW TV, to partner with Grabyo follows a successful trial using the Grabyo platform on Transfer Deadline Day in September. This pilot generated over 570,000 clip views within twelve hours and saw over 6,000 clips being re-shared across social networks with a total reach of over 7 million users

Gidon Katz, Director of NOW TV comments: “We know that lots of people want access to great Sky Sports content but would rather dip in and out rather than having a full subscription. Sharing UEFA Champions League clips in real-time on social platforms helps us to highlight the benefits of instant, pay-as-you-go access to Sky Sports via NOW TV.”

Dave Gibbs, Director of Sky Sports Digital Media, adds: “Grabyo Studio brings simplicity and speed to clip-sharing, making sure that we are first and own the social conversation around TV highlights as well as maximising the impact and reach of the promo clips we share.”

“It’s great to be working with the most innovative pay-TV broadcaster in the UK and Ireland as well as showcasing the Grabyo Studio capability for such a high profile format in the UK,” comments Grabyo founder Will Neale. “This is an exciting time for broadcasting and we’re delighted to be right at the epicentre of industry innovation. We’re confident that by focusing on building an end-to-end service focused on speed and simplicity, Grabyo will become the platform of choice for TV clip-sharing.”

The project will commence on Sky Sports’ live coverage of the UEFA Champions League on October 22nd. Sky will also be using Grabyo Studio to instantly share ad-supported clips of Sky Sports News.

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NOW TV cuts subs price

Sky has reduced the monthly subscription cost of its NOW TV VoD service from £15 (€17.60) to £8.99, to more closely match rivals.

The NOW TV website says the service will allow users to “Watch more of the latest and biggest movies 12 months before Netflix or Lovefilm Instant… Unlimited blockbusters whenever you want. No strings. No contract.”

“We’re playing our hand on NOW TV to find what is the sweet spot in terms of pricing,” said BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch. “Generally these over-the-top services are coming in at these lower price points, so we decided to go with the lower price.”

The price-drop comes as Sky starts retail sales of its Now TV box which is available for £9.99 at Argos, Curry’s and soon John Lewis stores in the UK.

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Eurosport, MCE British Superbikes partnership

Eurosport Group has agreed a new long term partnership with MotorSport Vision (MSV), rights holders of the MCE British Superbike Championship, to extend their deal past its original 2015 term to the end of the 2020 season. The deal renews exclusive TV and digital worldwide rights for coverage of all rounds of the MCE British Superbike Championship (BSB) live and in HD in all Eurosport’s markets.

The new agreement also increases live coverage of the premier and support classes in the UK specifically, extending to Saturday’s qualifying sessions which will see both the established three stage MCE BSB knockout qualifying and the Motorpoint British Supersport sprint race broadcast live and in HD.

British Eurosport Managing Director David Kerr said, “MCE British Superbikes continues to be one of the strongest set of rights on the channel, so extending the term of the deal and adding even more depth to our coverage is fantastic news.

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Russian torrent moderators convicted of piracy

A Moscow court has found a Russian couple who moderated torrent trackers website guilty of piracy in a ruling both sides claim indicates the authorities’ intention to take a harder line on illegal file sharing.

Andrei and Nadezhda Lopukhov were given a four-year suspended sentence on copyright infringement charges in Moscow’s Timiryazevsky District court

The couple was accused of inflicting 750 million rubles’ ($23 million) worth of damage on copyright holders to some 30 movies, including “Shrek the Third” and “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” through torrent tracker sites they moderated.

Russia has stepped up Internet regulations in recent months, including by passing a tough law against online film piracy that came into force in August and is expected to be expanded by the end of the year to cover all forms of copyright infringement.
 
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