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NelsonG

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  1. Upon the announcement of the 2024 March Madness NCAA Tournament men’s basketball field, you will want to get your hands on a bracket. Action in the 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament gets underway Tuesday, March 19 with the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio. The first round of the NCAA Tournament starts Thursday, March 21. The best place to get a bracket is on the NCAA website. Sites for the first and second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament are Brooklyn, New York; Charlotte; Indianapolis; Memphis; Omaha, Nebraska; Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; and Spokane, Washington. Games will take place in Charlotte, Omaha, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 21 and Sunday, March 23. The games in Brooklyn, Indianapolis, Memphis, and Spokane will take place on Friday, March 22 and Sunday, March 24. The Sweet 16 is set to take place on Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29. The Elite Eight will occur on Saturday, March 30 and Sunday, March 31. Sites for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight are Boston, Dallas, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Boston and Los Angeles will play on Thursday, March 28 and Saturday, March 30. The Dallas and Detroit games will be on Friday, March 29 and Sunday, March 31. SEE ALSO: How to watch college basketball without cable this season The NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four is scheduled for Saturday, April 6 with the championship game set for Monday, April 8. The Final Four and national championship will occur at State Farm Stadium in Phoenix. The UConn men’s basketball team won the 2023 NCAA Tournament. It defeated San Diego State 76-59 in the championship game on April 3, 2023, in Houston’s NRG Stadium. View the full article
  2. March Madness goes to another level on Sunday, March 17. The 2024 NCAA Tournament men’s basketball bracket will be announced for the 68-team field. The one-hour selection show is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT. Action in the 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament gets underway Tuesday, March 19 with the first four games in Dayton, Ohio. The first round of the NCAA Tournament starts Thursday, March 21. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four is scheduled for Saturday, April 6 with the championship game set for Monday, April 8. The Final Four and national championship will occur at State Farm Stadium in Phoenix. SEE ALSO: How to watch college basketball without cable this season March Madness: How to watch the 2024 NCAA Tournament men’s basketball selection showStart time: 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on Sunday, March 17 TV channel: CBS Selection show broadcasters: Adam Zucker, Clark Kellogg, Jay Wright, and Seth Davis Online live stream: ParamountPlus.com and NCAA.com/march-madness-live/watch Mobile live stream: CBS Sports app; March Madness Live app; and Paramount+ app The UConn men’s basketball team won the 2023 NCAA Tournament. It defeated San Diego State 76-59 in the championship game on April 3, 2023, in Houston’s NRG Stadium. The 2023 national championship marks the fifth by the UConn men’s basketball program. View the full article
  3. The Starbucks NFT rewards program will soon be no more. In late 2022, Starbucks dipped its toes into the world of Web3 with a beta launch of its new NFT rewards program, Starbucks Odyssey. It has remained as a closed, invite-only beta ever since. However, according to a recently updated FAQ on the official Starbucks Odyssey website, it seems that the NFT reward program will never leave beta. That's because Starbucks is killing it. SEE ALSO: The pink Starbucks x Stanley cup is going for $200 on eBay. Shop these dupes instead. What's happening to Starbucks Odyssey?On March 15, Starbucks added the following question to its FAQ: "Why are you ending the Starbucks Odyssey Beta program?" "The Starbucks Odyssey Beta must come to an end to prepare for what comes next as we continue to evolve the program," reads Starbucks' answer. According to the website, the Starbucks Odyssey program will officially end on March 31. Users in the closed beta have until March 25 to complete any remaining Journeys, which were "themed activities" like online games and quizzes that enabled members to earn NFTs and reward points. The project's Discord channel, a major element for any Web3 community, will be shut down on March 19. Starbucks shared its crypto-related ambitions in early 2022, when the market was still booming. During a "Partner Open Forum" that year, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz attempted to shut down an ongoing union drive among its employees. One of the talking points Shultz used in an attempt to excite them about a union-less future with the company: NFTs. "We are going to be in the NFT business," Schultz declared. Cryptocurrency has seen a minor resurgence over the past few months, with Bitcoin's value rising to a new all-time high. However, wariness among retail investors continues to remain after 2022's crypto crash and FTX's demise. Furthermore, NFTs or non-fungible tokens have yet to really see signs of a potential comeback in the way that certain crypto tokens have. Even social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, have removed NFT-related features that they had added in anticipation for a Web3 boom. Still, for those who viewed the Starbucks Odyssey reward program as a major win for the NFT space, the move came as a surprise. In February, TechCrunch published an interview with Starbucks Odyssey’s community lead Steve Kaczynski, who said he expected NFT brand building to expand. On Friday, Kaczynski shared that the coffee company was indeed sunsetting the Starbucks Odyssey program and he had unfortunately lost his job as a result. As for the Polygon blockchain-based NFTs doled out as part of the program, Starbucks says users can continue to hold them, trade them, and buy or sell them on the Nifty Gateway NFT marketplace. View the full article
  4. In recent months, we have reported on the rollout of Italy’s blocking regime and the Piracy Shield system which operates under the auspices of telecoms regulator AGCOM. AGCOM issues the relevant site IP address blocking orders and, from the get-go, it countered critics by stating that the system was “working perfectly”. High marks aside, Internet providers and network specialists painted a different picture. They noticed several overblocking examples and not just small ones either. In response to one order, ISPs were required to block an IP address belonging to Internet infrastructure provider Cloudflare, which reportedly rendered thousands of websites unreachable across Italy. AGCOM prefers not to give credence to the widespread critique and remains laser-focused on defeating online piracy. This week, tensions rose to alarming levels when AGCOM chief Massimiliano Capitanio issued a new warning, suggesting that people watching pirate streams or downloading piracy apps, risk fines of up to 5,000 euros. While Capitanio’s comments are certainly not intended as “psychological terrorism,” some framed it as nuanceless scaremongering. At this point, however, it’s clear that very little is going to stop AGCOM from going full steam ahead with its anti-piracy efforts. And, as long as the group operates within the legal boundaries, they have every right to do so. Taking the hard-line does come with risks, however. Small mistakes can turn into big ones and oversights risk being framed as incompetence; or worse; counter-ammunition. For example, the Piracy Shield’s overblocking errors may fuel site-blocking opposition in other countries, including in the United States where lawmakers are wary of overblocking. AGCOM Domain ‘Troubles’ In a similar vein, the public may start to notice other purported errors. That happened earlier this week when we were alerted to the fact that AGCOM’s domain name, agcom.it, is configured rather peculiarly. The domain only works through the www version, but not without it. While the www. subdomain is a largely outdated concept nowadays, most sites still support it by properly configuring the domain’s A records. For example, if you try to access https://www.torrentfreak.com in a browser we will redirect you to the non-www version you’re on now. Pretty much all websites operate this way, including the domain names of anti-piracy outfits such as ACE, the RIAA, and BREIN. The sites can be accessed with and without www, with one redirecting visitors to the other. Setting this up this way takes less than a minute. For some reason, however, AGCOM has decided not to add any official records for its root domain. We can’t think of a practical reason why this is the case, so we assume that this is an oversight that makes the site harder to reach. Root Domain Unreachable Luckily, most popular browsers correct these types of errors when you enter the domain name in the address bar, but following a direct link will lead nowhere. DNS resolvers simply don’t know to what IP-address the traffic should go. This isn’t some type of standard we’re making up, it’s one of the basic principles of the web as DNSimple explains. “Each domain needs to have a record for the root domain. Otherwise your domain won’t resolve, and accessing the URL in the browser will return a resolution error.” To make matters more confusing, AGCOM also has some other subdomains, including geo.agcom.it and conciliaweb.agcom.it. These both work fine, without an extra www subdomain. Again, we have no idea why AGCOM hasn’t configured its root domain properly. For many other organizations, this would be a petty issue, but since AGCOM is a key player in one of the largest blocking operations on the Internet, dubious technical decisions may find themselves under the spotlight. TorrentFreak asked AGCOM for a comment on our findings but the telco watchdog didn’t immediately respond. The MX records for agcom.it are properly configured, however, so our question should have arrived, assuming that our domain isn’t on any blocklist. From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  5. Start saving up, PlayStation fans. It appears a new Sony gaming console is on the way. According to new documents leaked from a PlayStation game developer portal, Sony is readying the release of the PS5 Pro just in time for the 2024 holiday season. SEE ALSO: PS5 Pro: Release date, controller, price and other rumors The YouTube channel Moore’s Law is Dead originally reported the leaked documents. Video game news outlet Insider Gaming says they've also seen the documents and confirmed that the leaked information is legitimate. While a late 2024 release may come to fruition, there is potential for delays, especially as it relates to first-party game releases. So, there's also a possibility that the PS5 Pro won't arrive in time for Christmas. But, the documents point to the fact that it won't be too long before the new PlayStation hits stores. What to expect from the PS5 ProThe leak from the Sony PlayStation developer portal doesn't just provide a potential release schedule. These documents also lay out some very interesting specs for the PS5 Pro. According to Insider Gaming, the PS5 Pro will see "improved and consistent FPS at 4K resolution, a new ‘performance mode’ for 8K resolution, and accelerated ray tracing." The documents also mention PlayStation Spectral Super Resolution or PSSR, which is believed to be Sony's own in-house machine-learning solution for upscaling images. Most notable in the leaked documents is the comparison made to the previous generation of PlayStation. Insider Gaming's report says the leak shows the PS5 Pro rendering 45% faster than the PS5. As PCMag points out, "allegedly the PS5 Pro's GPU has a 16-bit floating point calculation figure of 67 TFLOPs, which equates to an estimated 33.5 TFLOPs of FP32 compute performance." The Verge further breaks down the significance by sharing that "the existing PS5 is a 10.28-teraflop console, so tripling that would be a significant performance increase on the GPU side alone." PS5 Pro's 3x performance increase over the PlayStation 5 is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Nor is the additionally leaked spec of 2x to 3x the ray tracing performance, with the documentation saying in some cases it's even as much as 4x its predecessor. Insider Gaming reports that the devkits for the new PS5 Pro have been available to first-party studios since September 2023 and third-party developers since January of this year. The PlayStation 5 Pro will be Sony's first new gaming console since the PlayStation 5 was released 4 years ago. The original PS5 was launched amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently global semiconductor chip shortage. As a result, PS5s were very hard to come by in stores for quite some time. Hopefully, now that those issues are — mostly — over, gamers will have a much easier experience getting their hands on the new PS5 Pro later this year. View the full article
  6. The Mini is a bite-sized version of The New York Times' revered daily crossword. While the crossword is a lengthier experience that requires both knowledge and patience to complete, The Mini is an entirely different vibe. With only a handful of clues to answer, the daily puzzle doubles as a speed-running test for many who play it. So, when a tricky clue disrupts a player's flow, it can be frustrating! If you find yourself stumped playing The Mini — much like with Wordle and Connections — we have you covered. SEE ALSO: NYT Connections today: See hints and answers for March 16 SEE ALSO: Wordle today: Here's the answer and hints for March 16 Here are the clues and answers to NYT's The Mini for Saturday, March 16, 2024: AcrossRottenThe answer is Bad. Window SegmentsThe answer is Panes. Part of school that totally bitesThe answer is Piranha. 2003 Will Ferrell filmThe answer is Elf. Approximate percentage of the world's population that is left-handedThe answer is Ten. Party bag contentsThe answer is Goodies. Wedding reception speechThe answer is Toast. When tripled, symbol of a texter's typingThe answer is Dot. DownWings, nachos, onion rings, etc.The answer is Bar food. Actress de ArmasThe answer is Ana. Canine HandlerThe answer is Dentist. Season one, episode oneThe answer is Pilot. Mattress coverThe answer is Sheet. Place to hang coatThe answer is Peg. The "A" of Q&A: Abbr.The answer is Ans. Philosophy for LaoziThe answer is Dao. View the full article
  7. The powerful eye of the James Webb Space Telescope has spotted vital chemicals around two youthful stars. Astronomers focused the space observatory, which orbits 1 million miles from Earth, on cosmic regions around these protostars, which are so youthful they haven't yet formed planets. But they almost certainly will: NASA suspects nearly every star has at least one planet. And in these planet-forming regions the Webb telescope found "complex organic molecules," including ethanol (the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages) as well as another ingredient found in vinegar. Crucially, these ingredients, which form into icy materials in frigid space, might one day become part of future solar system objects, including the large space rocks that can carry organic molecules and important materials to planets. (Much of Earth's water, for example, may have come from asteroid impacts.) "All of these molecules can become part of comets and asteroids and eventually new planetary systems when the icy material is transported inward to the planet-forming disk as the protostellar system evolves," Ewine van Dishoeck, an astronomer at Leiden University and an author of the new research, said in a NASA statement. "We look forward to following this astrochemical trail step-by-step with more Webb data in the coming years." SEE ALSO: Webb telescope makes unexpected find in outskirts of our solar system The new research has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. The Webb telescope carries instruments, called spectrometers, that can detect the composition of distant objects or places, like the atmospheres of alien planets. Spectrometers separate the light coming from these objects, similar to a prism. Different elements or molecules absorb different types of light, so the light viewed by Webb can discern what chemicals are there, and which aren't. The first graphic below shows the different light spectrums Webb picked up while scanning the distant protostar IRAS 2A. Ethanol was present in different groups of icy materials. The complex organic molecules identified by the James Webb Space Telescope around the protostar IRAS 2A. Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / L. Hustak (STScI) // Science: W. Rocha (Leiden University) The chemical-rich region of space around the protostar IRAS 23385. Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / W. Rocha (Leiden University) In addition to alcohol, the Webb telescope identified formic acid, methane, and likely acetic acid, NASA explained. Crucially, these are "key ingredients for making potentially habitable worlds," the space agency said. A habitable world is one that harbors conditions that can sustain life — though this doesn't nearly mean there's life there. NASA is currently sleuthing for worlds that might be habitable, some of which might even resemble ocean-covered Earth. The Webb telescope's powerful abilitiesThe Webb telescope — a scientific collaboration between NASA, the ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency — is designed to peer into the deepest cosmos and reveal new insights about the early universe. But it's also peering at intriguing planets in our galaxy, along with the planets and moons in our solar system. Here's how Webb is achieving unparalleled feats, and likely will for decades: - Giant mirror: Webb's mirror, which captures light, is over 21 feet across. That's over two-and-a-half times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope's mirror. Capturing more light allows Webb to see more distant, ancient objects. As described above, the telescope is peering at stars and galaxies that formed over 13 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. "We're going to see the very first stars and galaxies that ever formed," Jean Creighton, an astronomer and the director of the Manfred Olson Planetarium at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, told Mashable in 2021. - Infrared view: Unlike Hubble, which largely views light that's visible to us, Webb is primarily an infrared telescope, meaning it views light in the infrared spectrum. This allows us to see far more of the universe. Infrared has longer wavelengths than visible light, so the light waves more efficiently slip through cosmic clouds; the light doesn't as often collide with and get scattered by these densely packed particles. Ultimately, Webb's infrared eyesight can penetrate places Hubble can't. "It lifts the veil," said Creighton. - Peering into distant exoplanets: As noted earlier, the Webb telescope carries specialized equipment called spectrographs that will revolutionize our understanding of these far-off worlds. The instruments can decipher what molecules (such as water, carbon dioxide, and methane) exist in the atmospheres of distant exoplanets — be they gas giants or smaller rocky worlds. Webb will look at exoplanets in the Milky Way galaxy. Who knows what we'll find? "We might learn things we never thought about," Mercedes López-Morales, an exoplanet researcher and astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics-Harvard & Smithsonian, told Mashable in 2021. Already, astronomers have successfully found intriguing chemical reactions on a planet 700 light-years away, and as described above, the observatory has started looking at one of the most anticipated places in the cosmos: the rocky, Earth-sized planets of the TRAPPIST solar system. View the full article
  8. In 1979, Alan Cummings, a scientist working on NASA's unprecedented Voyager mission, entered a Caltech room in Pasadena, California, and saw an unusual, alien world projected on a screen. The brand-new image, just beamed back from space, revealed a place like no other ever seen. It was a moon teeming with vibrant volcanoes. Cummings, a cosmic-ray physicist at Caltech — the research university that manages the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory — couldn't believe his eyes. "I thought the Caltech students had pulled a prank," Cummings told Mashable. "But no, it was real." It was Jupiter's moon Io, the most volcanic place in our solar system. It was nothing like our pale moon, a barren surface beaten into fine dust by countless impacts. On Io, volcanoes erupted. Lava flowed. It was alive. "It gives me chills, even just now," Cummings, who started working on the Voyager mission 51 years ago, said. SEE ALSO: NASA spacecraft keeps on going faster and faster and faster The two Voyager craft, both launched in 1977, were built to last five years. They're now approaching 50 years of operation, and are respectively over 15 and 12 billion miles away. They've left behind the influence of our star and entered interstellar space. "These are the only spacecraft that have been there," Cummings marveled. Decades later, the craft and their antiquated computers have each encountered a number of glitches — which have been repeatedly remedied by a clever group of devoted Voyager engineers. The latest hurdle, however, could be serious. NASA reported that engineers were still working to fix a stubborn problem the agency identified in December: They can send messages to Voyager 1, but "no science or engineering data is being sent back to Earth." There's an issue with a critical onboard computer, the flight data system. The space agency more recently received a memory "readout" from Voyager 1 (at such a great distance, it takes nearly a day for a message from the craft to reach us), which the team is now scrutinizing for hints of a solution. The prolonged issue has space onlookers worried. "It gives me chills, even just now." Indeed, the Voyager craft have continually persevered. But their power is finite. In the coming few years or so, NASA may need to turn off more instruments to preserve dwindling nuclear fuel. Eventually, perhaps in the mid-2030s, communication will cease. But these robotic explorers have forever altered Cummings' view — and our own — of what's out there. Voyager 1 captured this image of Io on March 4, 1979. A volcano is seen erupting on the moon's surface. Credit: NASA / JPL The Voyager missions changed our view of deep spaceThe Voyager missions, originally conceived to explore Jupiter and Saturn, have vastly exceeded their original two-planet itinerary. For Cummings and some of his Voyager colleagues, that was always the plan. After all, the craft are nuclear-powered; they wouldn't run out of fuel for decades. "The biggest problem was getting it past the launchpad," the physicist said, recalling a number of failed launches. "A lot of us had a goal of getting to interstellar space." Soon after launching, both craft made good time to Jupiter, venturing by the gas giant in 1979. They revealed the planet like never before. Scientists saw Jupiter's roiling atmosphere, with vibrant belts of clouds traveling in alternate directions and teeming with giant storms — some bigger than Earth. "We were shocked and amazed," Cummings said. But the Jovian moons were stars of the show, too. Besides volcano-blanketed Io, the mission captured views of ice-clad Europa, with giant cracks crisscrossing the surface. Intrigued planetary scientists have continued to investigate Europa, and now suspect a briny ocean — reaching some 40 to 100 miles (60 to 150 kilometers) down — sloshes beneath that icy surface. Another NASA probe, bound for Europa, will soon depart Earth. "We were shocked and amazed." Both Voyagers then continued to majestic Saturn. The craft spied astounding detail in the rings, discovered moons, and found that the moon Titan harbors a thick atmosphere, and possibly seas of methane. Years later, researchers can't stay away. NASA will send a car-sized craft, fitted with eight spinning rotors, to the Saturnian moon in 2028, a mission called Dragonfly. It will land on Titan's ice-covered dunes, an environment that might have resembled early Earth. Saturn and four of its moons, captured by Voyager 2 in 1981. Credit: NASA / JPL / USGS At this juncture, the Voyager craft took disparate paths through the solar system. Voyager 1 continued toward the far reaches of our cosmic neighborhood, while Voyager 2 would first make historic swoops by Uranus and Neptune — the "ice giants." Again, the moons were stars. For the first time, scientists like Cummings saw Uranus' icy, grooved moon Miranda. It had been walloped by something. "It looked like the Death Star," he said, referencing the moon-sized space station in Star Wars. And then there was Neptune's bizarre moon Triton, a world some 3 billion miles away. Voyager 2 detected extreme surface temperatures of minus 391 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 235 degrees Celsius) on this frozen realm. Even so, the moon still shot out miles-high plumes of icy material from geysers. "It's so amazing we saw all this activity on cold moons," Cummings said. The Voyager craft, however, weren't nearly finished. After all, it was only 1989. Uranus' icy moon Miranda, captured by Voyager 2 in 1986. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech On Feb. 14, 1990, NASA engineers planned to turn off Voyager 1's cameras to conserve power. The flybys of glorious worlds had ended, and the journey into the farthest reaches of our solar system had begun. But the space agency captured one final group of shots, a "family portrait" of the faraway planets that Voyager left in the dust. Included is a view called the "Pale Blue Dot"; it's a look back home, from some 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers) away. "Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us," wrote the famed cosmologist Carl Sagan. The Voyager craft would press on, surviving perpetual cold and enduring the hazard of galactic cosmic rays — energetic particles created by powerful events in the cosmos, like the explosion of stars. Both craft have now entered interstellar space, the region between stars. They've traveled beyond the protective balloon of particles and magnetic fields generated by the sun, and have collected unprecedented information about the radiation in an uncharted realm of space (though Voyager 1 isn't currently sending back this information). "The science data that the Voyagers are returning gets more valuable the farther away from the Sun they go, so we are definitely interested in keeping as many science instruments operating as long as possible," Linda Spilker, Voyager’s project scientist, said last year. The "Pale Blue Dot," or Earth, captured by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech Cummings hopes the remaining instruments can stay online for another few years or so, at least until the mission reaches the half-century mark. Yet even when both spacecraft run out of power, the greater mission won't be over. In fact, the longest part of its expedition, as a spacefaring messenger, will commence. The Voyager craft carry "a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials," NASA explains. "The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth." Included on the album is Chuck Berry's scintillating single, "Johnny B. Goode." Out in the vast emptiness of space, the craft certainly aren't likely to be smashed by anything. They'll keep going, and going. I asked Cummings if the mission might just keep journeying in perpetuity, for perhaps billions of years. "It will," he said. View the full article
  9. Human masseuses, beware! AI massage robots are here — and they have untiring arms and hands that no human can compete with. Aescape, a lifestyle robotics company, invited Mashable to check out an AI-assisted massage robot in New York City. "Sign me up!" I said. "Who am I to turn down a free massage?" Now, when I pictured "AI massage robot," I was thinking I'd be shown some sort of handheld gadget — or something like the viral TikTok neck-and-back massager. Little did I know I'd be laying down on a full-sized massage bed with gigantic, gnarly robot arms. After allowing Aescape's robot masseuse to work its magic on my back and butt for 30 minutes, I foresaw a future of disruption in which robots become the new lifestyle companions. Here are five reasons why I'm quitting human masseuses: SEE ALSO: It's like ChatGPT with a body: Watch creepy demo of OpenAI-powered robot 'Figure 01' 1. No more naked massagesDue to scarring from several surgeries early this year, I'm admittedly insecure about stripping down to my birthday suit for massages. I know human masseuses are professional and will still do their job — scars or no scars. However, I can't help but feel as if I'm being silently judged. Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable Aescape's massage robot, however, can't judge me because it's a heap of metal with no thoughts nor opinions. In fact, for those who hate getting naked for rub downs, you'll be relieved to know that Aescape lends users a branded grey, two-piece athleisure set to wear for the massage. It's form-fitting, but comfortable and premium. Aescape's robot masseuse works best when you're clothed; I'd imagine the friction of robo hands on bare skin wouldn't feel very nice. In addition to wearing the set, you'll be asked to wear your hair up, ensuring it doesn't get in the way of the massage process. 2. Adjust pressure to your likingI placed my face inside the cradle of the massage bed. In front of me was a tablet, which kicked off a few prompts. For example, it asked how "firm" I wanted the massage. Suddenly, I felt two robot "hands" rubbing my upper back, as if two smooth fists were digging into my sore muscles. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable "Whoa!" I said. If I was none the wiser, and you told me that a human was massaging me, I would've believed you. I was being kneeded like a ball of dough. I even felt the robot alternating its arms on my back, with its right hand going down and left hand going up — and vice versa. The best part is, using the tablet, I could adjust the pressure to my liking. For example, if I felt like the robot was being too vigorous, I could use the slider to reduce the tension. During the session, I must have increased and decreased the slider at least 15 times — simply because certain parts need more attention than others. And truthfully, I would have felt too sheepish to voice my needs to a human masseuse that often. Fortunately, robots have inexhaustible patience — and I took full advantage of that. As a cherry on top, as I hinted at the outset, unlike human hands, Aescape's robot masseuse doesn't get tired; I can utilize its robot fists to my heart's desire. 3. Pause and play whenever you wantThere's also a pause and play button on the tablet. If you need a break, or you're feeling uncomfortable, you can hit pause, which will make the robot arms withdraw and revert back to its resting position. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable However, once you're ready to jump back in, you can hit play again — and the robot masseuse will get continue where it left off. There's also an Immersion Mode, which lets you swipe through visual effects, like rain, snow, and ocean waves, to lull you into a hypnotic, restful state. If you want, you can play music, too. I listened to everything from classical tunes to pop hits that you'll find on your favorite Top 40 radio stations. 4. Speed up to the good partIt's worth noting that, on the tablet, I could see a 3D map of my body facing down. Circular cues on that 3D figure told me which regions on my body the robot is currently targeting. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable Plus, on the left side of the tablet, there is pre-planned program, an itinerary if you will, of where the robot plans to go throughout the 30-minute massage. As such, if you're getting bored of a specific manuever, and you want to skip to a region that needs more attention, you can do that. 5. AI assistanceOf course, you can't escape most technological advancements today without talking about AI. Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable "Core to Aescape's customizability is its integration of AI, enabling the system to continually evolve its understanding of the human body and personalized preferences. We generate over 1.1 million 3D data points to accurately map the body's position on the table, identifying key anatomical points for targeted massage," Aescape told Mashable. Through this AI-driven method, not only does Aescape's bot personalize the experience for each individual seeking a massage, but it also adapts to their specific preferences over time, offering more personalized options such as a 30-minute deep tissue session or a quick 10-minute recovery session aimed at reducing stress. Final thoughtsAs it stands now, a massage at Aescape's robo-massage table costs $60 for a 30-minute session and $120 for an hour-long session. Not bad, and in my opinion, totally worth it. I'd 100% do it again on a monthly basis. Aescape's spokesperson Molly O'Connor told me that the AI massage robot is launching in Equinox locations this spring. When it does, the cost will likely change, leaving it up to the provider to set rates. Do I think robot massages will become a thing? Yes. In the same way some people gravitate toward apps like Lyft and UberEats because they want to minimize human interactions (e.g., calling up taxis and local pizzerias in the pre-Uber era was always such an awkward experience for many), I believe people want the opportunity to have complete control over their massage experience — without articulating their needs to a human. View the full article
  10. It takes guts to attempt an action-packed romantic comedy. For every Romancing The Stone, there's a barrage of forgettable imitators. (See: Argylle. Well, don't see Argylle. It's awful.) It's a tricky thing to strike a satisfying balance of thrills and laughs with a love story that gets our hearts (and/or loins) engaged. But David Leitch, the former Brad Pitt stunt double turned director of such gonzo action movies as John Wick, Bullet Train, and Atomic Blonde, doesn't scare easily. And now he's delivered the gonzo gift to cinema that is The Fall Guy. Adapted from the 1980s TV series of the same name, this action-comedy centers on one of the unsung heroes of Hollywood: the stuntman (Barbie's Academy Award-nominated Ryan Gosling) who takes all the hits so that the arrogant A-lister (Bullet Train's Aaron Taylor-Johnson) doesn't have to. But don't fret if you aren't familiar with the small-screen inspo. The Fall Guy is making its own fun, thanks to a crackling script from Drew Pearce, and the dazzling chemistry between Gosling and Emily Blunt. How does The Fall Guy movie relate to the TV series? Ryan Gosling is under attack in "The Fall Guy." Credit: Eric Laciste / Universal Pictures Ryan Gosling plays Colt Seavers, a stuntman character originated by Lee Majors in the show created by Glen A. Larson. However, where Majors' hero was moonlighting as a bounty hunter when he wasn't on set, Gosling's version is more a hapless nobody who stumbles into a criminal conspiracy. And it's love that keeps him there. There's trouble on the set of Metalstorm, a sci-fi epic/romance that stars the obnoxious Tom Ryder (Johnson) as a daring space cowboy. But when the mercurial movie star goes MIA, his old stunt double is called back into action. Not only is Colt tasked with doing intense stunts to keep the movie's production schedule on track, but the high-strung producer Gail Meyer (Ted Lasso's Hannah Waddingham) asks him to unearth the missing actor. It's not just the movie Colt is trying to save. You see, this is the directorial debut of his former flame, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). With his heart on his sleeve, this stuntman throws himself into the fray to make her dreams come true, all in hopes of scoring a second chance at romance. Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are perfectly paired in The Fall Guy. Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt star in "The Fall Guy." Credit: Eric Laciste / Universal Pictures Crucial to a good action/rom-com is a dynamic where conflict and chemistry collide. You need the stars to click on screen so the audience is invested in their getting together. But they need to be believably pugnacious with each other so the why of not being together is clear. Smartly, Blunt and Gosling gave the world a preview of their chemistry at the 96th Annual Academy Awards, where they playfully bickered over the Barbenheimer rivalry. In The Fall Guy, the characters are less openly hostile. Jody favors passive-aggressively dressing down Colt over a megaphone on set, while he pushes back with sheepish flirtations. (Look, he knows what he did.) While this sounds less than romantic, it is nonetheless enchanting. There is some suspension of disbelief required, of course, but not in the movie's premise — it's that Gosling is supposed to look like he's not a movie star, while he still basically looks like Ken, albeit with some scruffy facial hair. However, as he did playing Ken or the battered detective in The Nice Guys, Gosling has a looseness to the physicality in his comedy that plays divinely. The stunts here are done by a top-notch stunt team, which the movie's promotional tour is keen to celebrate. But Gosling brings to banter scenes and other comedic moments an ego-free display of mugging, an earnest thumbs-up gesture, and even crying to Taylor Swift's "All Too Well" that establishes Colt as a goofball as much as a tough guy. When Blunt coolly instructs him to drive her to her car — parked just feet away from where they idle — you can see the core sense of humor they have in common. After a couple of Quiet Place movies and the sternness of Oppenheimer, it's a delight to see Blunt back in comedy. She's got terrific comedic timing that pairs perfectly with her well-placed hard stare. Her Jody isn't made to be an ambitious bitch in the way of broad '80s movie stereotypes, but she has her moments of playing rough. Yet Jody is chiefly defined by trying to maintain her cool under incredibly stressful circumstances, which makes little moments where she breaks down burst with humor — be it a karaoke jam to Phil Collins or literally grasping at a straw. Together, Gosling and Blunt create a could-be couple that's alluring not only for their looks but also their awkwardness. Dumb jokes and fumbling flirtations shrewdly undercut what could be a glossy, unnatural rom-com to make a movie that's endearing and entertaining. The Fall Guy is a winsome showbiz comedy. Ryan Gosling, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and several stuntmen from "The Fall Guy." Credit: Eric Laciste / Universal Pictures True to his reputation, Leitch provides plenty of outrageous action scenes once again. Some are for the movie-within-the-movie, including a car roll that broke a Guinness World Record. Some are part of Colt's off-set misadventures, which include swordplay, fire fights, daring escapes, and a speedboat chase. As the discourse around including stunts in the Oscars rages on, The Fall Guy will definitely be a major talking point for advocates of the category addition. However, the stunt community representation within the film feels a bit thin, being just Colt and his stunt coordinator, played by a jovial Winston Duke. They're a terrifically funny duo, but as the third act leans hard on the concept of community, I wished the broader stunt team were more present to make a big leap land more powerfully. Winston Duke kicks ass in "The Fall Guy." Credit: Eric Laciste / Universal Pictures The Fall Guy is about more than stunts, folding in the bonds that form across departments on set, including a horny VFX supervisor (Zara Michales), a too-Method ingenue (Teresa Palmer), and a perturbed personal assistant (Everything Everywhere All at Once's Stephanie Hsu). As a whole, this movie delights in giving a peek behind the scenes to reveal the messy human conflicts (which also make for great on-screen drama), as well as the absurdity inherent in playing pretend for a living. What is never mocked is the dream of making movies. Whether she's furious at Colt or frustrated by outrageous obstacles, Jody is driven by making the movie that she's dreamed of her whole life. Colt isn't just dedicated to her but also to her vision, as is much of the supporting cast of characters. And in this, there's an enveloping exhilaration, as if we the viewer are part of this collaboration too. This energetic sense of inclusion welcomes us into the twists, fails, and breakthroughs the characters face in an electrifying way. All of that barrels into a finale that is not just exciting but enthralling. The Fall Guy is action/romantic-comedy done right, a rare gem in the crown of this challenging subgenre. The Fall Guy was reviewed out of SXSW 2024. The film opens in theaters May 3. View the full article
  11. How to watch 'The Zone of Interest' at a glance: BEST MAX DEAL FOR MOST PEOPLE Max (With Ads) annual subscription $69.99/year through April 9 (save 42%) Get Deal BEST MAX DEAL WITH NO ADS Max (No Ads) annual subscription $104.99/year through April 9 (save 45%) Get Deal BEST FOR CRICKET CUSTOMERS Max (With Ads) Free for Cricket customers on the $60/month unlimited plan (save $9.99/month) Get Deal BEST NON-STREAMING OPTION Rent or purchase 'The Zone of Interest' $5.99 or $19.99 at Prime Video Get Deal The Max streaming platform is gaining another Oscar winner next month. One of our favorite films of the year, The Zone of Interest finally has an official streaming date so you can watch it at home. Nominated for five Oscars (including Best Picture), the A24 Holocaust-based film took home two statuettes on the big night: Best Sound and Best International Feature Film. If you've been curious about the historical drama and want to watch it for yourself, here's what you need to know. What is The Zone of Interest about?Loosely based on Martin Amis's 2014 novel of the same name, The Zone of Interest centers around Commandant Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller), who live in a charming domestic oasis with their children. Meanwhile, just next door, the atrocities of Auschwitz are unfolding. The resulting film is a "a chilling portrait of complicity among atrocity," as Mashable's Shannon Connellan wrote in her review. "Essentially, Glazer's A24 film makes you sit at the table for family dinner, lounge beside the backyard pool, and celebrate birthdays, right next to the site that would become the symbol of Nazi genocide." Read our full review of The Zone of Interest. Here's a glimpse at Jonathan Glazer's "magnificent, yet disquieting" film in the official trailer: When is The Zone of Interest streaming?The Zone of Interest premiered back in May 2023 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it took home the Grand Prix and FIPRESCI Prize. Months later, it debuted in theaters in the U.S. on Dec. 15. Now, nearly a year after its initial premiere, it's coming to streaming. The film debuts on Max on April 5, 2024. Of course, it's also available to rent or purchase at digital retailers (more on that below). Is there a Max free trial?There's currently no active Max free trial on Max directly or through third-parties like Prime Video or Hulu. However, the Prime Video Max add-on had an active seven-day free trial just days before writing this. Keep an eye out, as the free trials tend to pop up sporadically — and disappear just as quickly. The best Max streaming dealsBest limited-time deal: Save over 40% on an annual plan Opens in a new window Credit: Max Max annual subscriptions Save over 40% on Max With Ads, Max Ad-Free, and Max Ultimate Watch Now Through April 9, you can save over 40% on Max's annual plans. The Max with ads yearly subscription is usually $99.99, but with this limited-time deal, you'll only pay $69.99 (or $5.83/month). Max Ad-Free is down to $104.99 from $149.99, saving you 45% and knocking the price down $8.75 per month. The highest tier, Max Ultimate, is just $139.99 (reg. $199.99) during the promotional period. That's 42% in savings and breaks down to just $11.67 per month. Best Max deal for Cricket customers: Free Max with ads for customers on the $60/month unlimited plan Opens in a new window Credit: Cricket / Max Max With Ads Free for Cricket customers on the $60/month plan Watch Now If you're a Cricket Wireless customer on the $60 per month unlimited plan, congrats. You get Max With Ads for free as long as your account remains in good standing. Head over to the Max app or navigate to Max on a browser, then choose Cricket as your provider. Your Cricket credentials will unlock full access to Max With Ads, which is typically a $99.99 per year value. If you're a Cricket customer, but on a different plan, you can upgrade or switch over to secure the deal. Check out the terms and conditions on Cricket's website to learn more. What are the different Max subscription tiers?Formerly HBO Max, the Max streaming service offers three different subscription tiers: With Ads, Ad-Free, and Ultimate Ad-Free. The most affordable option is Max With Ads, which will run you $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year (unless you take advantage of the limited-time deal above). The Ad-Free tier eliminates ads during your viewing experience and allows you 30 downloads on the go for $15.99 per month or $149.99 per year. And finally, the Ultimate Ad-Free tier offers an ad-less viewing experience, as well as 4K Ultra HD video quality, Dolby Atmos immersive audio, and 100 downloads to watch on the go for $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year. Opens in a new window Credit: Max Max With Ads $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year Watch Now Opens in a new window Credit: Max Max Ad-Free $15.99 per month or $149.99 per year Watch Now Opens in a new window Credit: Max Max Ultimate Ad-Free $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year Watch Now Other ways to watch The Zone of InterestThanks to video-on-demand services like Prime Video or Apple TV+, you can also rent or purchase the digital version of The Zone of Interest and avoid having to sign up for yet another streaming service. Renting is the cheapest option, but just note that you'll only get 30 days of access and just 48 hours to finish watching once you begin. If you don't like limitations and would rather watch The Zone of Interest on your own timeline, we recommend purchasing it for your digital library instead. You can rent or purchase The Zone of Interest on demand at the following digital retailers: Prime Video — $5.99 to rent, $19.99 to purchase Apple TV — $5.99 to rent, $19.99 to purchase Fandango at Home — $5.99 to rent, $19.99 to purchase YouTube — $4.99 to rent, $19.99 to purchase Google Play — $4.99 to rent, $19.99 to purchase View the full article
  12. In the past two decades, Internet traffic has exploded with more bytes being transferred in each successive year. While this stable trend continues, the types of traffic that pass through the pipes have changed radically. Back in 2004, in the pre-Web 2.0 era, research indicated that BitTorrent was responsible for an impressive 35% of all Internet traffic. At the time, file-sharing via peer-to-peer networks was the main traffic driver as no other services consumed large amounts of bandwidth. Video Streaming Killed the Torrent Star Fast-forward two decades and these statistics are ancient history. With the growth of video streaming, including services such as YouTube, Netflix, and TikTok, file-sharing traffic is nothing more than a drop in today’s data pool. Even among pirates, file-sharing is no longer as relevant as it once was. Most pirate sites today are streaming-based and BitTorrent lost pretty much all of its ‘market share’ there too. As these changes took place, BitTorrent-watchers, including the undersigned, started to focus on upload traffic. This continued to be dominated by BitTorrent for a long time. Two years ago, the file-sharing protocol still accounted for the largest share of global upstream Internet traffic. The main question was how long this would last. In 2013, BitTorrent still accounted for roughly a third of all upload traffic. It remained the dominant upload source in the years that followed, but trended downwards, reaching a new low of 10% two years ago. BitTorrent Dethroned This week, Canadian broadband management company Sandvine released its latest Global Internet Phenomena Report which makes it clear that BitTorrent no longer leads any charts. The latest data show that video and social media are the leading drivers of downstream traffic, accounting for more than half of all fixed access and mobile data worldwide. Needless to say, BitTorrent is nowhere to be found in the list of ‘top apps’. Looking at upstream traffic, BitTorrent still has some relevance on fixed access networks where it accounts for 4% of the bandwidth. However, it’s been surpassed by cloud storage apps, FaceTime, Google, and YouTube. On mobile connections, BitTorrent no longer makes it into the top ten. Top Upstream Apps (fixed/mobile) The average of 46 MB upstream traffic per subscriber shouldn’t impress any file-sharer. However, since only a small percentage of all subscribers use BitTorrent, the upstream traffic per user is of course much higher. End of an Era The report mentions BitTorrent as a “significant factor” as the traffic is generated by a small number of users. These include pirates, but also academics who use torrents to share large datasets. However, Sandvine also sees the writing on the wall. “[U]sage of BitTorrent might go down as people use the cloud and tap the content that is increasingly available through streaming services,” the report reads. Finally, it’s worth noting that not all torrent traffic can be accurately measured. When people use VPNs, for example. While this may impact the statistics, the VPN category doesn’t appear in the top upload lists so its usage won’t change the overall conclusion that BitTorrent no longer dominates. This marks the end of an era; two decades of BitTorrent’s status as a traffic leader in some way, shape, or form, disappearing in the rearview mirror. As such, this will likely be the last report of this kind on TorrentFreak. Unless there’s an unforeseen revival somewhere in the future, of course. — From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  13. One of the most frustrating aspects of DMCA notices outside the usual complaints aired by rightsholders, is their ability to trigger policies that assume notices are accurate and in some cases, should be blindly obeyed. Certainly, if the sender of a bogus notice puts in enough effort, the end result can be the removal of whatever material appears in the notice, even when sent to the largest platforms most familiar with fraudulent claims. In March 2022, someone began sending DMCA notices to YouTube, claiming that the content listed in the notices infringed the rights of videogame developer Bungie. YouTube removed the videos, some of which belonged to high-profile Destiny content creators. Other notices targeted Bungie’s own channels, yet fingers of blame soon pointed toward the company itself, compelling Bungie to defend its reputation and clean up the mess. Impressive Investigation, Culprit Found During the early days of its investigation, Bungie revealed that the notices sent to YouTube came from a fraudulent Google account; the username was crafted to give the appearance it was sent by a Bungie anti-piracy partner. Bungie also filed a full-blown lawsuit in the United States which is currently in its third year. The lawsuit alleged that the bogus copyright complaints not only disrupted Bungie’s gaming community, it caused “nearly incalculable damage” to Bungie itself. The language deployed in the complaint was unusually aggressive, noting that one of its key aims was to “demonstrate to anyone else stupid enough to volunteer as a Defendant by targeting Bungie’s community for similar attack that they will be met by legal process.” In June 2022, Bungie filed an amended complaint which demanded $7.65m in damages against a YouTuber called Lord Nazo, aka Nicholas Minor. Not only had Bungie’s investigation tracked down the culprit, the details were laid out in unusual detail in the amended complaint. Bungie methodically followed the online trails, capitalized on the YouTuber’s mistakes, and then identified, located and named Minor as their defendant. Among other things, the investigation showed how persistent email addresses, used across multiple sites, one of which was the victim of a data breach, critically undermined any assumption of anonymity. Bungie was ultimately able to match a confirmed email address with a historic content purchase, made through an account that carried Minor’s full name and physical address. Trigger For the Takedown Campaign In his deposition, Minor confirmed that the seeds of the campaign were planted when Bungie sent him a takedown notice via YouTube. The video had been hosted on his channel for eight years without issue, so convinced the notice was fraudulent, he sought help from YouTube hoping to get it restored. When that failed to produce any results, a “confused” and “angry” Minor decided to “raise awareness” of transparency issues in the DMCA takedown process by filing bogus DMCA notices against legitimate videos uploaded by members of Bungie’s online community. Minor reportedly accepts that he “gravely messed up and fully accept[s] that this is [his] fault” but claims he was “oblivious to the reprehensible damages [he] was causing to the community.” Summary Judgment In December 2023, Bungie filed a motion for summary judgment on the DMCA component of its overall claim. Minor did not oppose the motion but did appear in the case as required, including for his deposition and to provide discovery responses. “The undisputed record before the Court shows that Minor violated the DMCA by knowingly, intentionally, and materially misrepresenting to YouTube that the takedown notifications were authorized by Bungie and that the material itself was infringing,” Senior District Judge Marsha J. Pechman notes in her judgment issued last week. “Bungie has provided evidence that the materials at issue did not violate its IP Policy, and that the DMCA notices were not properly issued. And, crucially, Minor admits that he had no authority to issue the notices, that he intentionally and knowingly issued the notices, and that he ‘gravely messed up.'” Referencing Section 512 of the DMCA, Judge Pechman notes that the evidence shows that Minor’s violations were intentional, and that he lacked a subjective, good faith belief that the targeted material was infringing. “Bungie has also provided evidence that the fraudulent notices harmed its reputation and caused it to devote significant resources to attempt to remediate the harm. The Court therefore GRANTS summary judgment in Bungie’s favor on this claim and GRANTS the Motion,” the judgment adds. Not Over Yet, Possibly Not For a Long Time The Court notes that the judgment is partial since it does not resolve the question of damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees Bungie will likely claim in due course. The amount could be significant and at least in public, Bungie has shown few signs of mercy recently. Then there are the rest of Bungie’s claims in this matter. They include false designation under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 501, business defamation, violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, and breach of contract. The order granting partial summary judgment is available here (pdf) From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  14. Internet provider Cox Communications has been on the sharp end of several piracy lawsuits in recent years. The biggest hit came four years ago when the Internet provider lost its legal battle against a group of major record labels, including Sony and Universal. A Virginia jury held Cox liable for pirating subscribers because it failed to terminate accounts after repeated accusations, and ordered the company to pay $1 billion in damages to the labels. This landmark ruling was appealed, leading to a mixed outcome last month. Appeals Court Issues Mixed Order After taking a fresh look at the case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled partly in favor of Cox. The Court concluded that Cox is not vicariously liable for piracy carried out by subscribers, as it didn’t directly profit from their activity. The Court did not reverse the lower court’s contributory copyright infringement finding, however. According to the Court of Appeals, there was sufficient evidence to show that Cox ‘knew’ piracy would likely occur if it continued to provide its Internet services to particular subscribers. While the ruling is a mixed bag, it also meant that the $1 billion damages award could not stand. Instead, the Court ruled that a new trial should determine the scale of the damages. Rehearing en Banc Neither party was pleased with the ruling and both Cox and the labels requested a rehearing en banc, essentially calling for a do-over. The labels, for example, would like the $1 billion in damages to remain unchanged, arguing that Cox waived a potential challenge of it earlier. In addition, the music companies argue that the Court’s decision conflicts with appeal court precedents. Cox also calls for a rehearing. The Internet provider argues that this case isn’t merely about nuances of copyright law and associated liability, it’s much bigger than that. According to the ISP, the Internet connectivity of countless people is at stake. ‘Disconnecting Schools and Nanny Cams’ In its petition, the provider argues that the current precedent results in a highly restrictive regime where Internet providers may find themselves forced to disconnect ‘innocent’ people because someone allegedly used their connection to pirate content. “If an ISP receives more than one accusation that some anonymous person used a specified internet connection to download infringing songs, it can avoid liability only by swiftly throwing every person in that home or business off the internet, disconnecting the guilty and innocent alike from their schools, their livelihoods, their nanny cams, their news, and everything else they do online,” Cox warns. “If instead the ISP continues to provide the connection, a jury can find it engaged in ‘culpable conduct’ akin to aiding-and-abetting a crime.” The ISP argues that the liability finding is at odds with a recent Supreme Court decision which concluded that a service is not necessarily liable for ‘merely’ providing a service that’s used for illegal activity. The Court of Appeal didn’t consider this in its latest ruling, but should do so, Cox notes. A rehearing is also warranted because a party shouldn’t necessarily be held liable for willful secondary infringement, as is the case here. This conflicts with earlier precedent, the ISP argues. “[W]illfulness requires the defendant’s awareness that its own conduct violates the law, as the Eighth Circuit has squarely held in a secondary infringement case like this one,” Cox writes in its petition. ‘Draconian Regime’ These two earlier conclusions of the court created “the most draconian approach in the country,” Cox argues, stressing that a rehearing should be granted to address them. The matter ultimately boils down to an interpretation of the law, which can get quite technical. However, Cox also highlights the potential consequences, stressing that these issues are “extraordinarily important.” Not just for Cox, but for millions of Internet subscribers at risk of disconnection. “The issues presented here are deeply important, not only to copyright defendants like Cox, but to millions of people who depend on internet access every day,” Cox writes. “[T]he legal regime the panel decision and BMG enact requires an ISP to cut the cord on subscribers after receiving just a handful of notices alleging that some anonymous person has used the subscribers’ connection to infringe.” The current precedent requires ISPs to disconnect subscribers based on repeated third-party claims. If they don’t, they subject themselves to liability, as the previous $1 billion verdict showed. ‘Hobson’s Choice’ Cox suggests that this looming punishment is disproportionate. Not only in terms of the financial consequences for Internet providers but also because the public’s Internet connectivity will be put at risk based on unadjudicated piracy claims from rightsholders. “Without meaningful limits on secondary liability, ISPs face powerful incentives to swiftly terminate the internet connections of innumerable businesses and households, their monthly subscription fees a pittance compared to the threat of $150,000 in damages for every downloaded song. “The full Court should grant rehearing and reject a Hobson’s choice that threatens to throw countless ordinary people offline in service of the music industry’s bottom line,” Cox concludes. The ISP’s position is supported by several amici including the American Library Association, Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and fellow Internet provider Frontier Communications, which has filed supporting briefs. — A copy of Cox’s petition for a rehearing en banc is available here (pdf) and the record labels’ petition can be found here (pdf). Frontier’s proposed amicus curiae brief can be found here (pdf) and the brief of the other supporters is available here From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  15. It took less than a week for Nintendo’s lawsuit against the company behind the Yuzu Switch emulator to have the desired effect. After agreeing to hand over $2.4m to Nintendo while complying with the terms of a broad injunction, Tropic Haze LLC evaporated in all but name and its developers drifted away into the night, apologetic and presumably penniless. At least, that’s what the paperwork and subsequent announcement implied, give or take. Nintendo: We’re Back With plenty of time in the interim to clone the Yuzu repo, many people did, purely for old times’ sake. Others still involved with projects related to Switch hacking and emulation had decisions to make, at least based on the theory that things had somehow changed. Some took evasive action, others took steps towards limiting liability, some appeared to do nothing; the usual mixed bag of responses following a big shutdown event. That Nintendo was not too far away comes as zero surprise. Among the targets this week were over 25 GitHub repos offering Sigpatch-Updater, a tool to update SigPatch files created by developer iTotalJustice. In conjunction with a modded console, SigPatches bypass signature verification when games are downloaded digitally, a red line for Nintendo. “The necessity of SigPatches to operate pirated copies of Nintendo’s video games is widely discussed in groups dedicated to modifying (hacking) the Nintendo Switch console,” Nintendo’s lengthy DMCA takedown notice reads. “For example, [redacted by GitHub], a site that instructs users how to modify their Nintendo Switch console, states that ‘Signature patches or SigPatches allow your device to bypass signature checks performed by [private] for installed titles,” Nintendo notes, before adding the following: Trafficking in circumvention software, such as SigPatches, violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the United States (specifically, 17 U.S.C. §1201) (the “DMCA”), and infringes copyrights owned by Nintendo. Nintendo Gets Reacquainted With iTotalJustice Back in the summer of 2022, a previous set of DMCA notices included one that targeted a repo operated by iTotalJustice. Before it was taken down, the repo contained actual SigPatches and Nintendo makes the same allegation here, albeit with additional detail that broadens the scope beyond actual hosting. “With the iTotalJustice repository reported in this current notice, iTotalJustice is attempting to evade Nintendo’s enforcement efforts by providing SigPatches via a link to a third-party website ([private]), rather than including SigPatches in the repository itself,” Nintendo writes. “The link is accompanied by the statement ‘The patches are downloaded from a new host. Huge thanks to them!’ Several of the forks reported in this notice also link to the third-party website [private] to provide SigPatches.” Repos removed for trafficking in circumvention devices According to Nintendo, a hyperlink posted to a website that links to another website (not even to the SigPatches themselves), which in turn offers the SigPatch files for download, is illegal under the DMCA when the linker demonstrates knowledge and intent. “Linking to circumvention software is considered ‘trafficking’ in violation of the DMCA where, as here, the party responsible for the link (a) knows that the offending material is on the linked site, (b) knows that the linked material is circumvention technology, and (c) maintains the link for the purpose of disseminating that technology,” the company explains, citing 17 U.S. Code § 1201. Takedown Notice Targets Lockpick A second notice targets a piece of software known as Lockpick. This circumvention tool bypasses Nintendo’s security (Technological Protection Measures, or TPM) on the Switch console, providing access to cryptographic keys, including product keys, which are then decrypted and extracted. This allows pirated Switch games to be played on modified consoles or if users prefer, on emulators like Yuzu. Nintendo states that Lockpick is illegal under 17 U.S.C. §1201 and those who facilitate access to it, under the conditions previously outlined for SigPatches, similarly traffic in circumvention software, contrary to the DMCA. These won’t be the last notices of their type from Nintendo and another Yuzu-style lawsuit can’t be ruled out either. In an article published by Ars earlier this week, the developers behind apparent Yuzu successor ‘Suyu’ outlined a few of their lawsuit-avoidance strategies. After confirming that Suyu is pronounced “sue-you (wink, wink)” the strategy as outlined doesn’t really contain anything that might discourage a fairly litigious Nintendo even slightly. Having read the Contributor License Agreement, it can’t be ruled out that the people behind this have a dark sense of humor. Nintendo’s notices are available here and here From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  16. The Oscars is the most prestigious movie awards show of the year, one that’s closely followed by hundreds of millions of movie fans around the world. This year’s awards ceremony was no exception. In the U.S. alone, close to 20 million people tuned in to the ABC show on Sunday evening; a four-year record. In today’s connected world, news spreads quickly across other entertainment channels. As always, most interest goes out to the big winners. This weekend, Oppenheimer emerged as the clear victor with five Oscars, including the most prestigious “Best Picture”. Poor Things and The Zone of Interest followed at a respectable distance with two wins each, followed by the rest of the field of single winners, including Barbie, The Zone of Interest, and Killers of the Flower Moon. The Oscar-Effect In the past we have seen that Oscar wins are not just about prestige, they can also increase sales. This was particularly impactful for titles that are sold separately, as opposed to being part of a streaming bundle. On the flip side, the Oscars can also impact piracy rates. This is something we can measure directly, as we did when the Oscar nominations were announced in January. We saw interest in many contenders rise but with Oppenheimer, there was little impact. At the time, we theorized that Oppenheimer was already widely promoted and seen by many millions of people. As a result, the extra attention from the Oscar nomination didn’t move the needle, as it did with ‘smaller’ titles. When we gathered the new piracy data this Monday and Tuesday, we didn’t expect to see a massive boost in piracy activity for Oppenheimer. The fact that high quality pirated copies of the film have been available since November last year only reinforced that assumption. The data show that assumption was incorrect. Oppenheimer Piracy Spikes Post-Oscars Looking through the data we see that Oppenheimer saw a massive 135% increase in downloads on Monday and Tuesday, compared to the same days a week earlier. This made it the second most pirated movie on these days, just behind Damsel which came out on pirate sites a few days ago. This level of interest in a movie that’s been out for months is a rarity. The Oscar win convinced many people who hadn’t seen it yet to finally give it a go. This effect isn’t just limited to pirate sites as Oppenheimer also moved up Apple’s movie rental charts, and probably elsewhere too. While Oppenheimer saw the largest piracy increase, other Oscar winners recorded download spikes as well. Poor Things, for example, saw a healthy 39% increase. Killers of the Flower Moon (30%) saw a healthy double-figure increases too and The Zone of Interest downloads surged 116%, as shown below. Oscar Winners See Piracy Boost Barbie? When Barbie and Oppenheimer premiered in theaters last summer, the term “Barbenheimer” became somewhat of an Internet phenomenon. Today, however, the differences between these box office hits couldn’t be bigger. Although Barbie managed to secure an Oscar in the ‘Best Song’ category, the number of pirate downloads is lower than all other films mentioned here. The piracy volume did spike somewhat compared to last week, but at 28% this boost is rather modest compared to Oppenheimer. All in all, it’s safe to say that after 95 years, the Academy Awards ceremony is as relevant today as it ever was. While people now have the freedom to watch what they want, whenever they want, their free choice continues to be directed by external forces. As with all trends today, the piracy boosts don’t last long. They already started to drop off after a day and will likely be back to normal by the end of the week. — Note: The data used in this article comes from Iknow, which tracks torrent downloads through DHT and PEX. While it may not be able to track all downloads, it’s a substantial sample, which acts as a good proxy for the overall interest on all pirate sites and services. It is worth stressing that this sample only looks at torrent downloads. Views on streaming platforms, direct downloads, and other piracy sources can’t be measured directly. That said, we assume that the trend will be similar there. From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  17. The head of Italian telecoms regulator AGCOM has confirmed that long-promised fines targeting end users of illegal streaming services will be arriving “soon.” Massimiliano Capitanio has long insisted that citizens with an illegal streaming habit are legitimate targets for enforcement, but for those still unaware of that message, another reminder was published today. Communications, Regulated “Perhaps it is not yet clear that penalties of 150 to 5,000 euros will be coming soon, and this, as with all fines, is a step that one would like to avoid but has become necessary, not least because those who do business illegally are making unsuspecting users believe that nothing will happen (user forewarned…),” Capitanio wrote on LinkedIn. Directing this important message toward a mostly business audience, rather than social media platforms more closely associated with the target audience, may not be optimal. However, at a time when public feedback to AGCOM’s anti-piracy plans has become rather energetic, AGCOM’s accounts on platforms including X are gathering dust. While seemingly disinterested in conversation, AGCOM wants its message to be heard loud and clear across Italy, especially when proving the naysayers wrong. One point of particular interest concerns the state’s ability to handle investigations into tens of thousands of illegal stream consumers. Preceded by a football icon (in case anyone had forgotten why all of this began), a new agreement to streamline investigations was revealed. “ Note for those who ‘know it all, fines will never do it’: an agreement was revealed yesterday between [Guardia di Finanza] and the Prosecutor’s Office in Rome to facilitate the identification of users,” Capitanio wrote. Removal of Multiple Authorization Requirements A DDay report provides much needed context. Before conducting an investigation to establish an offense, Guardia di Finanza (a police force under the Ministry of Economy and Finance) would ordinarily seek authorization from the judiciary on a per-person basis. That could prove unwieldy here due to the volume of illegal streamers, so an ‘intervention protocol’ has been put in place. That allows Guardia di Finanza to cross-reference all data in its possession without having to obtain authorization for each person surfaced in its inquiries. DDay reports that income received from fines will go to the Ministry of Justice to assist in the overall fight against piracy and the Ministry of Economy to fund awareness campaigns. Business People Use LinkedIn… While members of the public are fed deterrent messages concerning the consumption of illicit streams, AGCOM has also been putting companies like Google under pressure to do more in the fight against piracy. Public complaints recently led to Google removing an infringing streaming app from Google Play. A positive move, perhaps, but always likely to fuel demands for even more. “The best way to fight #piracy is to fight criminal but also legal (!) associations that make business out of stealing intellectual property and rights of others,” Capitanio noted this morning. These ‘legal associations’ include Google, Apple, and Amazon, whose customers are just regular internet users looking for software to install, in many cases to avoid frequenting pirate sites, as requested. In a comment that could easily backfire, Capitanio effectively suggests that choosing a legal platform is no obstacle to users being fined up to 5,000 euros. Nowhere to Hide “Unfortunately, a necessary, though probably unpopular, step will be to fine #piracy users, users of apps easily downloaded from #Android and #Apple stores but also from #Amazon portals, users of the many sites easily reached by search engines (which still do not cooperate as they should),” the statement reads. “Meanwhile, Spain is also moving in the same direction. A common front in Europe can only do good,” Capitanio added, referencing action by LaLiga in Spain that also makes little sense, and may yet backfire. “Pointing out that Law 93/2023 provides for fines of up to 5,000 euros is not psychological terrorism but sharing useful information,” Capitanio added. “Are subscription prices too high? I clear up misunderstandings. I think so, but it is not my expertise. The solution is certainly not stealing. And maybe the prices are so high also because of the parasites who live off the backs of those who pay regular contracts.” From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  18. “We fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech,” the festival shared in a statementView the full article
  19. Javier Tebas Medrano is the president of LaLiga, Spain’s most prestiguous football league. Medrano’s position makes him the most powerful man in Spanish football and by extension, also one of the most powerful in European football, a market worth an estimated €30 billion. In common with key rivals at the Premier League (England) and Serie A (Italy), Medrano has an IPTV piracy problem to solve. In addition to blocking injunctions already in place, rumors of a crackdown on users of pirate IPTV services persist. A post to X on Monday reignited those rumors. Medrana Posts Partial Court Order to X When Medrano posted part of a court document to X yesterday, some assumed that the much-promised IPTV piracy crackdown had arrived; the post attracted over 1.2m views and prompted a significant amount of misunderstanding. Here we begin with the post (translated from Spanish) and the relevant text as it appears in the order. Medrano refers to a statement from the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (the document embedded in his post and partially shown below) concerning the outcome of legal action by LaLiga following a piracy investigation. According to Medrano, the order will see IP addresses collected by LaLiga “that transmit illegal content” sent to Spanish ISPs [Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange, MásMóvil and Digi]. Under the orders of the court, the ISPs will match those IP addresses to the relevant subscriber accounts. The personal details of those subscribers will then be handed over to LaLiga. Order posted by Medrano (highlights are LaLiga’s) The highlighted potato-quality Spanish text relates to the information the ISPs must hand over. When translated to English it reads as follows: 1) IP address assigned to the user when they accessed the Server that enabled the audiovisual content to be shared unlawfully 2) Name and surname of the holder of the Internet access service contract 3) Postal address of the [internet] line installation and billing details 4) Identification document [NIF, NIE, other] regarding the information of the IP Address of the server to which you have connected, port of the server to which you have connected, and time of the request (GMT+0) What This Case is *Not* About Before tackling the court order itself and comparing that to how LaLiga presents it, some important background. This legal action does not relate to people who watch or subscribe to pirate IPTV services, nor does it have anything to do with people who access illicit streams of LaLiga matches, made available by unlicensed websites. As illustrated in the image to the right, some mainstream Spanish newspapers have opted for the sensational reporting angle that anyone who watches pirated football will receive a fine. There is no evidence to support that claim, but it’s possible from the information made available thus far, that something even more sensational may be underway. Order Issued By Barcelona Court Court: Commercial Court Number 8 of Barcelona Judge: Javier Ramos De La Peña Applicant: La Liga Nacional De Fútbol Profesional (LaLiga) In order for LaLiga to obtain customer information from ISPs, ISPs are sometimes considered ‘no fault’ defendants in these types of applications. Five headline ISP ‘brands’ are involved here, but many more ISPs are listed in the order, including some providing mobile internet access: Orange Espagne Sau, Vodafone Ono Sau, Masmovil Ibercom Sa, Digi Spain Telecom Slu, Telefonica De España Sau, Telefonica Moviles España Sau, Orange España Virtual Slu, Vodafone – Espana Sau In the words of the Judge as presented in his order, the case concerns piracy of content detailed as follows: Specifically, it concerns audiovisual content offered live and with exclusive access to residential customers and public establishments on pay television, with customers of the Movistar Plus+ satellite service being the only ones with access for their exclusive consumption, through a satellite dish, decoder terminal, and customer card. Card-Sharing Piracy It’s alleged that Movistar Plus+ content is being accessed illegally using ‘card-sharing’. In basic terms, legal subscribers to Movistar Plus+ hand over money and in return receive a viewing card. Once placed in an authorized set-top box, these cards enable scrambled satellite signals to be viewed as intended on a TV. Such ‘conditional access’ systems provide access to TV content on the condition that the viewer has subscribed and is using a legitimate viewing card. In card-sharing systems, however, the codes that unlock the encrypted TV signals in connection with a legal viewing card are retransmitted via unauthorized equipment over the internet. Internet users in possession of a suitable non-official set-top box can pay a small subscription fee to an illegal supplier to receive the codes from the legal card. These are streamed continuously over the internet and that decrypts the regular satellite signal usually received. In summary, card-sharing piracy can involve the purchase of a single legal card and the benefit from that card can be shared among any number of additional viewers via the internet. Only codes are sent and received, all audiovisual content is obtained from regular satellite signals. LaLiga’s Claim, Judge’s Conclusion The Judge’s order addresses the two main types of people involved in card-sharing as detailed above: [1] those who purchase a legal viewing card and share the codes to others over the internet in exchange for a fee, and [2] those who pay a fee to access the codes but do not pay anything to Movistar Plus+. ([1]+[2] added for reference) One of the forms of unlawful access is the so-called “Cardsharing,” which uses the protocols “CCCam and IKS,” presupposing the participation in the piracy network, on one hand, of [1] users who paid for conditional access to a satellite connection, offering them on the internet for illicit profit, and, on the other hand, of [2] users who acquire satellite connection equipment enabled to access original card codes without authorization. At this point one of the Judge’s comments gives reason to pause. It references IP addresses and how they can be “detected” to show the IP addresses of servers supplying codes and the IP addresses of users receiving codes. The basic element for identifying connections on the Internet, the IP address, can be detected both to show the identification of servers and the connections of users participating in the piracy platform. If we use a simple downloading analogy, a computer offering a movie for download and a computer offering codes are essentially the same. Anti-piracy companies can easily identify both by simply requesting the movie or subscribing to the card-sharing server and logging what they receive. The same cannot be said of those downloading a movie or receiving codes from a server. If there was a way to positively identify downloaders of pirated content engaged in a client/server arrangement that stood up in court, it would’ve been used by now. Time to break out a hastily-put-together diagram to show why obtaining IP addresses of card-sharing servers is easy, and why obtaining those of customers is not. The satellite top right transmits an encrypted TV signal (everything in red is encrypted) to a legitimate viewing card top left. From there the extracted codes pass through a regular router/modem (with a public-facing IP address that can be “detected”) and onwards to the subscriber’s internet service provider, depicted here as three blue servers. From there they are further distributed via the internet. Directly underneath the ISP’s servers are the internet connections of the card-sharing service’s customers who receive the codes. After passing their routers/modems, those codes are received by their unofficial set-top boxes. In exactly the same way the satellite transmitted encrypted TV signals to the legitimate card, these set-top boxes also receive encrypted signals, also shown in red. However, since these set-top boxes are receiving the codes from a card-sharing server, their output to a TV or similar viewing device (depicted here in purple) is a clear, unencrypted picture. Anti-Piracy Investigators Inside the orange box at the top are anti-piracy investigators. Just like any other customer, they have subscribed to the card-sharing service, which means they have direct access to the server’s IP address, shown here using the orange lines/pointers. Bottom right in a second orange box is a second set of anti-piracy investigators and their job is to identify the IP addresses of those receiving the codes. According to the Judge, the IP addresses of both the server “and the connections of users participating in the piracy platform” can be detected. And herein lies the problem. From the information made available, LaLiga appears to have no idea who these users are. It appears that while LaLiga has the IP addresses of the card-sharing servers, it has no idea of the IP addresses used by those who accessed those servers. That seems to lead to a remarkable conclusion; IP addresses are usually the starting point for most online infringement allegations. Rightsholders match known infringements to IP addresses themselves and then move to ISPs, hoping to match those IP addresses to real-life identities. In this case, LaLiga has the IP addresses of the servers, but has no IP addresses for the users. That necessarily means that no violations have been matched to any user IP addresses. The big question is whether LaLiga has any evidence whatsoever to show that any customer at any ISP has done anything wrong. It doesn’t have their IP addresses, that much is certain. Let’s Go Fishing According to the court documents, the information LaLiga wants the ISPs to hand over can be deduced from information LaLiga has in hand. The information was obtained from card-sharing servers, including IP addresses and ports. Here’s how that’s explained in the order (legal conditions unrelated to technical matters have been removed) La Liga provides in its request the IP addresses and port of the servers, as well as the time of the request, data that has been obtained legitimately. With this starting data, it is possible, after issuing the requirement contained in art. 256.1.11* LEC to the internet service providers listed in the request, to complete the identification of the users of their services participating in the scheme…. That seems to lead to just one conclusion. LaLiga has the IP addresses, port details, and potentially other information related to the card-sharing servers, but may be working on the mere assumption that users of the five ISPs accessed those servers at specific times, but has no evidence to prove it – yet. If that’s actually the case, and there isn’t some extra dimension to this that hasn’t been revealed or is being hidden, LaLiga may be doing something that to our knowledge has never been done before. The court order seems to require the five ISPs to go through their IP address logs – not to identify the names and addresses of subscribers behind known/suspected infringing IP addresses – but to identify infringement itself. When the ISPs match card-sharing server IP addresses with IP addresses that appear in subscribers’ activity logs, that may be the first time that any evidence of potential infringement has been surfaced against any user in this case thus far. There may be other explanations but with veteran file-sharing defense lawyer David Bravo posting memes to X, he may be already counting the money. From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  20. U.S. concerts celebrating 1999’s American Football take place in the fallView the full article
  21. The second act of the megastar’s “three act project,” following Renaissance, is out in MarchView the full article
  22. The Canadian band will play its last concerts at Toronto’s History in NovemberView the full article
  23. Directed by Corbett Jones and Nick Simonite, the visual consists of one unbroken shotView the full article
  24. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) is the world’s most active anti-piracy coalition, initiating and assisting enforcement efforts around the world. Most anti-piracy actions are focused on streaming sites and services, many of which are located in or operated from Vietnam. ACE previously visited Vietnam and met with government officials to explore potential solutions to address the problem. However, aside from some incidental successes, the problem persists. Earlier this year, rightsholders flagged the Asian country as a ‘haven’ for pirate sites. In a letter to the US Trade Representative, IIPA pointed out several problematic sites and services, including Fmovies, AniWave, 123movies, BestBuyIPTV, 2embed, and Y2mate. Vumoo.to Takedown The above-mentioned sites remain online at the time of writing, but ACE did book a new success this week by taking the popular pirate streaming site Vumoo.to offline. On Sunday, the nameservers of Vumoo.to were updated to ns3.films.org and ns4.films.org, which typically signals ACE taking control. And indeed, the group confirmed to TorrentFreak that Vumoo.to is currently offline following ACE action in Vietnam. Jan van Voorn, MPA’s Chief of Global Content Protection and head of ACE, says the takedown was not assisted by third parties such as domain registries or registrars. ACE worked directly with the operator of the site, who presumably took it offline voluntarily. Vumoo.to first came online in 2016 and built a large audience in the years that followed. With well over 12 million monthly visits, the streaming portal was a sizable target and a key one for ACE. Perpetual Crackdown? How the anti-piracy group tracked down Vumoo’s operator isn’t mentioned, but ACE has been gathering information for years. Through U.S. courts, the group previously obtained DMCA subpoenas requiring the Tonic domain registry and Cloudflare to share all useful info they have on the site. Pirate sites often use false information to register domains, so this information may have led to nothing. However, local connections and OSINT may ultimately have helped to pinpoint the site’s operator. With the ‘takedown’ of Vumoo.to, ACE can chalk up yet another success but whether it will last remains to be seen. Previous Vietnamese actions against sites such as Zoro.to and 2embed had mixed results, as these sites soon came back ‘under new management‘ or in ‘cloned’ versions. From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  25. TL;DR: Stream the 2024 Six Nations for free on BBC iPlayer and ITVX. Access these free streaming services from anywhere in the world with ExpressVPN. It's going to be very difficult for 2024 to compete with 2023 when it comes to international rugby. Last year we were treated to an electric Six Nations, a long list of competitive international test matches, and of course, the Rugby World Cup. That's tough to beat. This year is going to be very quiet in comparison, but don't be fooled into thinking the Six Nations is going to be any less competitive. The Six Nations is always fiery, and we're expecting a lot of intense battles between some of the best sides in the world. If you want to watch the 2024 Six Nationsn for free from anywhere in the world, we have all the information you need. What is the Six Nations?The Six Nations Championship is an annual international men's rugby union competition between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. Each team plays every other team once, with home ground advantage alternating from one year to the next. The current champions are Ireland. When is the 2024 Six Nations?The 2024 Six Nations Championship is the 130th edition of the competition, but only the 25th since it expanded to become the Six Nations Championship in 2000. This year's competition will take place from Feb. 2 to March 16. How to watch the 2024 Six Nations for freeYou can watch every game from the Six Nations for free on the BBC or ITV. You can also live stream every fixture for free on BBC iPlayer or ITVX. BBC iPlayer and ITVX are both geo-restricted to the UK, but anyone from around the world can access these free streaming platforms with a VPN. These popular tools can hide your digital location and connect you to a secure server in the UK. This quick and easy action makes it look like you're connecting from the UK, so you can stream on BBC iPlayer and ITVX from anywhere in the world. Unblock BBC iPlayer and ITVX by following these simple steps: Subscribe to a streaming-friendly VPN (like ExpressVPN) Download the app to your device of choice (the best VPNs have apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more) Open up the app and connect to a server in the UK Visit BBC iPlayer or ITVX Stream the 2024 Six Nations for free Opens in a new window Credit: ExpressVPN ExpressVPN (1-Year Subscription + 3 Months Free) £82.82 only at ExpressVPN (with money-back guarantee) Get Deal The best VPNs for streaming are not free, but leading VPNs tend to offer free-trial periods or money-back guarantees. By leveraging these offers, you can gain access to BBC iPlayer or ITVX without committing with your cash. This is obviously not a long-term solution, but it does give you time to stream most of the 2024 Six Nations before recovering your investment. 2024 Six Nations scheduleOnce you have established access to the 2024 Six Nations for free, you'll want to make note of the fixture schedule and broadcasting partner for each game: Feb. 2 — France vs. Ireland (8 p.m. GMT on ITV) Feb. 3 — Italy vs. England (2:15 p.m. GMT on ITV) Feb. 3 — Wales vs. Scotland (4:45 p.m. GMT on BBC) Feb. 10 — Scotland vs. France (2:15 p.m. GMT on BBC) Feb. 10 — England vs. Wales (4:45 p.m. GMT on ITV) Feb. 11 — Ireland vs. Italy (3 p.m. GMT GMT on ITV) Feb. 24 — Ireland vs. Wales (2:15 p.m. GMT on ITV) Feb. 24 — Scotland vs. England (4:45 p.m. GMT on BBC) Feb. 25 — France vs. Italy (3 p.m. GMT on ITV) March 9 — Italy vs. Scotland (2:15 p.m. GMT on ITV) March 9 — England vs. Ireland (4:45 p.m. GMT on ITV) March 10 — Wales vs. France (3 p.m. GMT on BBC) March 16 — Wales vs. Italy (2:15 p.m. GMT on BBC) March 16 — Ireland vs. Scotland (4:45 p.m. GMT on ITV) March 16 — France vs. England (8 p.m. GMT on ITV) Keep these dates in mind and clear your schedule. It's the only thing that really matters at this time of year. What is the best VPN for streaming sport?ExpressVPN is the best service for bypassing geo-restrictions to stream sport for free, for a number of reasons: Servers in 94 countries including the UK Easy-to-use app available on all major devices including iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac, and more Strict no-logging policy so your data is always secure Fast connection speeds Up to five simultaneous connections 30-day money-back guarantee A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £82.82 and includes an extra three months for free — 49% off for a limited time. This plan also includes a year of free unlimited cloud backup and a generous 30-day money-back guarantee. Watch the 2024 Six Nations for free with ExpressVPN. View the full article
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