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  1. Private trackers are first come first server, that open signup was posted last month. There is no way it will still be open till now. You should keep looking to their door incase you want to join again or our open signup section for latest updates.
  2. Last week Triller filed a $100m lawsuit hoping to make several sites pay for illegally streaming the Jake Paul vs Ben Askren fight. Triller believes that up to two million people viewed the fight illegally so is now inviting people to enter into a $49.99 settlement agreement. VPN services, it is being claimed, will offer no protection to those who used them to pirate the event. On April 17, Jake Paul squared up against MMA veteran Ben Askren, finishing the accomplished wrestler in the first round. The card was a success but according to Triller, many sites and up to two million people streamed and viewed the event without paying. In order to make some of these people pay, last week Triller filed a $100m lawsuit in a California court targeting a range of sites and up to 100 John Does. While tracking down individuals and sites that offered the streams has its complications, vigorous legal action could give Triller opportunities to achieve damages, perhaps in significant amounts. However, the social media platform has now placed another initiative on the table, one that hopes to bring scared pirates out of the shadows. Streamed the Paul vs Askren Fight Illegally? Pay a Settlement In a statement published by Reuters, Triller claims that it will be pursuing up to two million people and will press for the maximum possible damages. However, if people step forward and voluntarily pay $49.99 (the original price of the event) before June 1, they can avoid legal action. “Triller will pursue the full $150,000 penalty per person per instance for anyone who doesn’t do the right thing and pay before the deadline,” said Triller’s head of piracy Matt St. Claire. “We are taking this position because it is outright theft. It is no different than walking into a store and stealing a video game off the shelf,” he said. “In the case of the offending sites, it’s worse because they also then resold it to many people, illegally profiting from work they do not own.” Triller Claims That VPN Users Aren’t Protected Although no VPN suppliers are currently listed in the company’s lawsuit (an amended complaint was filed last Saturday (pdf) which added the H3 Podcast to the list of defendants), Triller suggests that these could become part of the discovery process and will be forced to hand over their customers’ details. “VPNs all have to comply and turn over the actual IP addresses of each person who stole the fight in discovery,” St. Claire said. “We will be able to identify each and every person, VPN or not, as each stream has a unique fingerprint embedded in the content,” he said. The big question is how much weight Triller’s threats carry. Intentionally or Not, These Are Mixed Messages While Triller’s threats seamlessly switch from suppliers of pirated content and those who allegedly consumed it, there are important differences. Courts generally view suppliers of pirated streaming content much more seriously than they do consumers and as far as we’re aware, no one in the United States has ever been ordered to pay damages for simply watching a pirated stream. Suppliers of illegal streams, on the other hand, have more to worry about. There is little doubt that such suppliers could be on the hook for all kinds of damages if Triller is able to back up its allegations. However, in order to get to the users of those sites, Triller will need to force the sites to hand over their users’ details. Whether that will be possible remains a big question and whether any information obtained via discovery will prove useful is perhaps an even bigger one. But what about Triller’s claims that VPN users aren’t safe? Again, Triller appears to be muddying the waters quite a bit here by blurring the lines between suppliers of content and consumers of it. First of all, VPNs can be ordered by a court to hand over their customers’ details but it is not always straightforward. Firstly, all good VPNs carry no logs, meaning that even if a site that streamed the site handed over visitors’ IP addresses, that trail will go immediately cold. Secondly, many VPN providers use shared IP addresses, meaning that the same IP address will show up in site logs time and time again, since they are being used by hundreds if not thousands of end-users. Since they will all be watching at the same time, pinpointing who did what will be all but impossible. Of course, it is very likely that some viewers will have used some free VPN app they got from Google Play or elsewhere. If these carry logs, tracking users down could be possible. That being said, the process would not be cheap and it would not be particularly easy, and with two million potential targets (at least according to Triller), the entire legal profession doesn’t have the manpower to deal with them all. In respect of the unique fingerprints that Triller says it deploys in its streams, they could prove useful but perhaps not in the way Triller seems to claim. The company implies that these could help them identify people who watched the stream, including those who used a VPN, but that deserves some nuance. What these identifiers can do is help Triller track down people who bought a stream officially and then restreamed it. It could also potentially link those redistributed streams to entities who further restreamed them. As a general rule, however, they won’t be particularly useful in tracking down consumers, VPN or not. The Settlement Offered By Triller Anyone spooked by Triller’s warnings can head over to the dedicated page set up by the company and pay a relatively small settlement. It begins by mentioning the lawsuit filed last week and notes that people who “unlawfully viewed or displayed the event but were not otherwise involved in its illegal sale or distribution” can pay $49.99 to obtain a “one-time settlement and release for their unlawful acts.” Before entering their names, email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, and payment card numbers, those who wish to confess to committing an offense are advised to read four lengthy paragraphs about the settlement and its terms and conditions. For example, despite apparently clearing the matter with Triller, people who pay the settlement also agree to Triller storing all of the information they provide “in perpetuity”, noting that it may be used and shared as Triller “deem necessary to enforce our rights under applicable law and this settlement and release.” On the other hand, people who settle aren’t permitted to reveal settlement details to anyone, unless required to by law. Triller also says that after payment, people who settle will be released from the lawsuit it filed last week but, at the time of writing, the people being asked to settle aren’t listed in the lawsuit as defendants. That could change, of course, but there won’t ever be an amended claim listing two million viewers by name. A Speculative Effort That Might Pay Off What Triller appears to be saying here is that if they already knew the identities of the alleged infringers, they would be pursuing them. However, they will take steps to try and find out identities by other means, and potentially pursue them then. In the meantime, people can come forward and confess, something that will enable Triller to positively identify those people with ease and get paid for the event too. The big question is whether people who viewed the event illegally are prepared to play the odds of being identified versus a payment of $49.99 which will identify them anyway.
  3. Jonatan Correa was part of the piracy Scene group SPARKS that presumably caused Hollywood millions in losses. After pleading guilty, he now faces a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months. However, the U.S. Government is asking a New York federal court to issue a lower sentence since Correa didn't have a financial motive. In addition, he has been cooperative since his arrest. doj sealLast year, the U.S. Department of Justice booked one of its biggest successes in its battle against online piracy. With help from law enforcement organizations around the world, the feds took out the prominent SPARKS Scene group, which was a major blow to the broader piracy ecosystem. Initially, the number of piracy releases grinded to a halt, but in recent months things have pretty much returned to normal again. The same can’t be said for the three men who were indicted. They still face criminal charges for their role in the SPARKS group. One of the accused men, Kansas resident Jonatan Correa (aka ‘Raid’), immediately confessed. In January, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and the court is expected to determine his sentence later this month. Guideline: 12 to 18 Months Prison Sentence With the Department of Justice, the defendant agreed to a sentencing guideline of 12 to 18 months. Last week, however, Correa’s lawyer argued that a prison sentence is not required at all. The defense attorney told the court that Correa’s role in the SPARKS group was minimal. There was no financial motive either. In fact, the Scene was a hobby that only cost his client money. At the same time, the defendant has a lot to lose, as he owns a company with more than 30 employees. U.S. Government Weighs In Late last week, the U.S. Government shared its thoughts on the matter. In a detailed sentencing letter, U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss starts off by recognizing that Correa’s involvement in the SPARKS group was part of a serious and sophisticated criminal conspiracy. “The defendant had multiple functions in the Sparks Group—he obtained DVDs and Blu-Ray discs and ‘cracked’ the copyrighted protections on the discs by using special software. He also uploaded the copyrighted works to servers controlled by the Sparks Group, and then copied the content across different servers located around the world. “Over the course of the conspiracy, the Sparks Group successfully reproduced and disseminated hundreds of movies and television shows prior to their retail release date, causing film production studios tens of millions of dollars in losses,” Strauss adds. Small Role and No Financial Motive However, the Government agrees that Correa’s role was much smaller than those of the other defendants. In addition, he’s only linked to a small fraction of the millions of dollars in damages, $54,000 to be precise, which he agreed to pay back to the Motion Picture Association. The Government further recognizes that Correa wasn’t part of a conspiracy to make money. He wasn’t considered to be a leader of the group either, he mostly ripped and recorded content, which was then distributed elsewhere. “The defendant did not participate in the Sparks Group for financial gain, and his role in the Sparks Group was not nearly as extensive as some of his co-conspirators, who recruited and supervised other members of the Sparks Group and defrauded disc distributors into selling discs to the Sparks Group prior to the retail release date. “The Government believes that the defendant is substantially less culpable than the leaders of the Sparks Group who had more insight into the inner workings of the organization and oversaw its operations on a day-to-day basis,” U.S. Attorney Strauss adds. Cooperative Stance There are more facts that speak in Correa’s favor too. According to the U.S. Attorney, he immediately provided a full confession regarding his involvement in the SPARKS group and fully cooperated with law enforcement officials. While the Department of Justice didn’t learn any new information from Correa, the information he provided did corroborate other evidence, which was helpful. All in all, the Government believes that Correa’s limited role in the conspiracy and his cooperative stance warrant a lower sentence than the 12 to 18 months that are prescribed by the guidelines. U.S. Recommends Lower Sentence According to the U.S. Attorney, the arrest and felony charge will already have a significant deterrent impact on others who may consider engaging in similar schemes. At the same time, the Government hopes that this was a “singular mistake in judgment in an otherwise productive and law-abiding life.” “[T]he Government respectfully requests that the Court impose a sentence below the Guidelines range of 12 to 18 months’ imprisonment, as such a sentence would be sufficient but not greater than necessary to serve the legitimate purposes of sentencing,” U.S. Attorney Strauss concludes. Needless to say, this recommendation is great news for Correa. While the Government doesn’t state how much lower the sentence should be, hopes of avoiding a prison sentence remain alive. — A copy of U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss’ letter is available here (pdf)
  4. The Helsinki Court of Appeal has confirmed that Peter Sunde, the co-founder and former administrator of The Pirate Bay, violated the rights of various record companies. According to the Court, Sunde helped to distribute copyrighted recordings via the torrent site between 2005 and 2009. As part of the entertainment industries’ mission to have infringing sites blocked by ISPs in Finland, in 2011 the Helsinki District court ordered local ISP Elisa to block The Pirate Bay to prevent music piracy. A year later, IPFI filed a lawsuit against two other providers and the administrators of the Pirate Bay, demanding that the former restrict access and the latter cease-and-desist their activities. In 2016 and after the operators of the site failed to respond, the Helsinki District Court handed down a default judgment requiring site co-founder Peter Sunde to pay several record labels including Sony, Universal, Warner and EMI, around €350,000 in damages. On top, Sunde was restrained from any further infringement on pain of a €1,000,000 penalty. Better Result for Sunde at District Court Sunde appealed the decision and in 2018 the District Court agreed to drop the €1m threat. In addition, the recording labels dropped their €350,000 damages claim. Sunde was kept on the hook for around €7,700 in various costs, however. In its decision, the Court found that Peter Sunde was liable for infringements that took place via The Pirate Bay only between 2010 and 2014, citing Sunde’s involvement in a trademark dispute centering on the Pirate Bay’s logo that took place in that period. Sunde, however, said he only stepped into that matter as a public duty and was not involved in the site. Both parties appealed the District Court’s decision to the Helsinki Court of Appeal. Sunde said the action was inadmissible since it hadn’t been heard on its merits and asked for the case to dismissed in its entirety. The record companies said that Sunde should be held responsible for copyright infringement from July 2005 onwards and should be prevented from any further breaches under the threat of a €1,000,000 penalty. Court of Appeal Hands Down Decision The Court handed down its decision Friday, noting that it had only been proven that Peter Sunde acted as an operator of The Pirate Bay between July 2005 until August 2009 and was therefore only responsible for infringement that took place during this period. There was no evidence to show that Sunde had been involved in the site later on. “The defendant is prohibited from repeating the infringements under threat of a fine of EUR 35,000. The Court of Appeal found that it was competent to also hear the case in respect of the distribution of recordings via Swedish telecommunications operators on the grounds that the defendant was domiciled in Finland and the recordings had been available in Finland,” the Court’s summary of the decision reads. Sunde was also ordered to pay legal and other costs totaling around €19,200. Anti-piracy group TTVK welcomed the decision. “The judgment of the Court of Appeal is clear and well reasoned. Naturally, we welcome that and hope that the long process for Sunde will end here. It is good to remember that the original and most important goal of the right holders was to prevent the operation of the world’s most popular pirate service in Finland,” the TTVK statement reads. IFPI also welcomed the decision but complained that despite all of the work and numerous legal processes, The Pirate Bay remains stubbornly online. “We welcome the decision from the court today. Copyright infringement harms the music ecosystem and prevents music creators from being fairly compensated,” IFPI says. “Right holders have been forced to pursue The Pirate Bay across multiple jurisdictions in Europe over a ten-year period. Despite a vast number of court decisions confirming the illegality of the service, The Pirate Bay remains available in many countries within the EU. A successful digital single market requires effective measures so that creators can enforce their rights across the EU.” Sunde Comments Peter Sunde informs TorrentFreak that he’s happy to hear that the court realized that he hasn’t been involved with The Pirate Bay for well over a decade. Still, he’s not happy with the decision itself. “It’s a bizarre situation being in a court case in 2021 regarding evidence from a 16-year-old court case in another country. It’s very kafkaesque and shines a light on the unequal power distribution between ideological activists and big capital,” Sunde tells us. According to Sunde, intellectual property rights continue to be misused. Access to potentially life-saving inventions and vaccines can be restricted by patents, which are used to secure the profits of large organizations. “The idea of immaterial rights has transitioned from a noble one – protecting speech and promoting a more enlightened community; to a tool to control monetary flow for the benefit of the super-rich, to the cost of the rest of society,” Sunde notes. The court’s decision in Finland should be viewed in that light, the Pirate Bay co-founder argues. “The people that are trying to control the narrative of today’s society, by using immaterial rights and their influence in culture, are some of the most dangerous people in the world. Not only because they are selfish but also because they don’t realize what they’re doing. And this is the key takeaway from today’s society: we can’t expect a fair outcome, a fair trial unless we make the rules be about fairness and not about power.”
  5. Every week we take a close look at the most pirated movies on torrent sites. What are pirates downloading? 'Mortal Kombat' tops the chart, followed by ‘Nobody'. 'Tom Clancy's Without Remorse' completes the top three. The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. These torrent download statistics are meant to provide further insight into the piracy trends. All data are gathered from public resources. This week we have five entries in the list. “Mortal Combat” is the most downloaded title. The film can be watched online legally on HBO Max, but that’s not yet available around the world. “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” is one of the most notable newcomers. The film was reportedly leaked after it briefly appeared on the PlayStation Network, several weeks ahead of the official release. The most torrented movies for the week ending on May 03 are: Movie RankRank Last WeekMovie NameIMDb Rating / Trailer Most downloaded movies via torrent sites 1(1)Mortal Kombat6.4 / trailer 2(2)Nobody7.5 / trailer 3(…)Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse5.8 / trailer 4(3)Godzilla vs. Kong6.7 / trailer 5(4)The Marksman5.6 / trailer 6(…)Voyagers5.3 / trailer 7(…)The Mitchells vs the Machines5.8 / trailer 8(6)Zack Snyder’s Justice League8.4 / trailer 9(…)Demon Slayer: Mugen Train8.4 / trailer 10(…)The Virtuoso4.9 / trailer Note: We also publish an updating archive of all the list of weekly most torrented movies lists.
  6. Torrent site MagnetDL is warning its users against taking Covid vaccines, pointing them to a copy of the controversial 'Plandemic' documentary. While we're not medical experts, we know that taking health advice from a torrent site is not a great idea. In fact, it can be quite dangerous. More than a year has passed since the Covid pandemic started and the virus still has the world in its grip. Some countries have a lower infection rate than others, with lockdowns and vaccinations playing a major role, according to experts. When it comes to vaccinations there’s no shortage of polarized opinions. Many health experts believe that vaccinations for adults – on the whole – do far more good than harm. However, others are not as convinced. This skepticism can be in part triggered by fear or religious beliefs. People are entitled to their own opinions and we have no intention to take part in this discussion. That said, it is important to consider the source, especially when it comes to health information. Torrent Site Warns Against Covid Vaccines This week we stumbled upon a vaccine warning issued by the torrent site MagnetDL. Generally speaking, torrent sites are not considered to be sources of professional medical advice, but at the time of writing, all download pages have the following alert: “Warning: Thousands DEAD following covid experimental vaccines. Please do your own RESEARCH. Stop trusting the news. Stop complying. Just say NO!” Needless to say, a warning like this is extreme. Having a questioning mind is good and we don’t blindly follow all news reports either. But our research does point to experts who repeatedly show that many lives are saved thanks to vaccines, which are predominantly safe. A Dangerous ‘Side-Effect’ of NOT Taking a Vaccine Yes, there are extremely rare but dangerous side effects for some Covid vaccines, as we’ve seen in the media. But those numbers pale in comparison to the millions of casualties among those who didn’t get a vaccine. The MagnetDL warning is displayed as an image, possibly to prevent being ‘flagged’ by search engines. The image itself links to a copy of the controversial Plandemic documentary, which Wikipedia describes as “one of the most-widespread pieces of COVID-19 misinformation.” Interestingly, MagnetDL’s archive also includes titles that are more positive about vaccines, including a pirated copy of the Discovery+ series “The Vaccine Conquering COVID.” These titles are not promoted, of course, but they’re not censored either. When in Doubt, Talk to Your Doctor Again, we’re not health experts here, but flat-out recommending everyone not to take a vaccine – without knowing their individual situation – is extremely dangerous. People who have concerns should consult a medical expert, or two, and get a professional opinion on what’s wise in their case. This is particularly important for people who are vulnerable. And for the record, these experts don’t include torrent sites or people in the comment section below.
  7. After almost two decades of lawsuits and criminal cases against pirates of all kinds, no one should be surprised that supplying infringing content has the potential to end badly. Nevertheless, it's a risk that some people are still prepared to take, sometimes with life-altering consequences. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time? Perhaps, but there are real lives at stake here too, let's not forget that. Pirate FireFor those who are old enough to remember, the 2000s were arguably the glory years of the file-sharing revolution. Have a file, give one. Need a file, take one back. That was the very essence of file-sharing, a mostly self-governing system that allowed people to swap content without having to part with a penny. Certainly, in the majority of cases, regular people weren’t making any money from it even though they were probably saving some. In broad terms, those days are now gone. While there are still some communities that exist on the old sharing ethos, today’s file-sharing landscape has transformed into a much broader piracy scene, often motivated by profit. Indeed, when it comes to the latest revelation, pirate IPTV packages, none if any of it would exist without being supported by an underlying business and in effect, a massive black market. IPTV Crackdown Continues, With an Interesting Target Rightsholders and their anti-piracy partners view this type of piracy as a particular threat. These are paying customers after all, ones that they would prefer to have line their collective pockets, not those of organized pirates. As a result, it appears that entertainment companies are prepared to go to extreme lengths to enforce their rights, with little or no mercy shown to their targets. This week yet another case came to the fore via a release from the Federation Against Copyright Theft. Working with the likes of the Premier League and Sky, FACT is no stranger to tracking down pirates. However, the case in point has a different tone to it, one that shows that absolutely no one is immune to being hauled over the coals. FACT says it was able to identify a man selling illegal services that provided access to premium sport, TV and films. He was reportedly offering the subscriptions through a Facebook group and via an app, for loading onto devices such as Firesticks. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary thus far but FACT also drew specific focus to his occupation. Serving Member of the Military – So What? The anti-piracy group reported that the man, from Oxfordshire, is a serving member of the armed forces as a Corporal in the Royal Air Force. FACT says that in order to carry out its investigation it teamed up with the RAF Special Investigation Branch and was able to confirm that the man had been working with “illegal content providers outside the military.” FACT did not reveal whether the man pleaded guilty or not, but the company reports that he has now been sentenced. “He was convicted of conspiracy to defraud and loss of service property and also received a reduction to his rank,” FACT revealed. It is quite possible that the conspiracy to defraud part of the above statement came as no surprise. FACT prosecutions have long centered on fraud charges rather than copyright infringement because they carry more weight and are easier for a jury to understand. However, the direct effect on someone’s career isn’t something we’ve seen before. And FACT sound pretty pleased about it. “Those running illegal streaming services are committing a serious crime and must be held accountable for their actions,” said FACT Chief Executive Kieron Sharp. “This result shows the serious consequences faced by individuals who choose to break the law by supplying illegal content. This type of conviction will have a significant and long-lasting effect on this individual’s career and future opportunities.” Dire Consequences This almost celebratory warning over an entire career being undermined makes for uneasy reading. But the statement goes beyond that, by appearing to welcome the potential for a lifelong negative effect on opportunities too. It looks bad – and it is bad – but it is also completely true and shows how the game is progressing. The message that FACT wants to send out is that piracy does not pay, can ruin your life, and the company is standing by to help make that happen. There are hundreds of potential targets when it comes to sellers of pirate IPTV in the UK but for reasons that FACT and its partners aren’t making clear, this person was considered a perfect candidate for the most punitive action, despite his role serving his country. Of course, serving a country doesn’t make anyone immune from prosecution, but it’s perhaps telling that the man’s name, age, address, and extent of offending have all been suppressed. This information is usually made public but not in this case, potentially due to his position in society. Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Do The Time? Let’s not tread lightly here though. While getting into the IPTV selling game is relatively simple these days, there can be few people involved who aren’t aware of the risks. It has been widely publicized on dozens of occasions that sellers in the UK have been pursued for conspiracy to defraud so as a presumably intelligent member of the military, this cannot have gone unnoticed to the recently sentenced man. With that in mind, we are presented with an uncomfortable truth. When people get involved in this type of activity, are aware of the risks, and yet do it anyway, should anyone have any sympathy? For whatever reasons, this was a person out to make a profit from piracy and to FACT – a company that measures its success by the severity and volume of these types of convictions – this is a red rag to a bull. Deterrence – But At Any Cost? What people need to know and what FACT is keen to express, is that no one is above the law. If they’ll hit this guy, they’ll hit anyone, the news seems to suggest. The big question is whether sending a strong deterrent message has its limits before those signals veer off into less palatable territory. Indeed, it’s notable that the rightsholders behind this action appear to have taken the decision not to have their names associated with it in public, instead allowing FACT to take whatever type of publicity comes as a result. That being said, big names in sport and/or broadcasting are most certainly behind the action and could have more in store. “We thank the RAF for their work on this and FACT will continue to monitor channels used to advertise, market, sell and distribute apps, devices and streams to take action against suppliers and operators. Subscribers to his services have been identified and further action is anticipated,” FACT concludes. Let no one say they didn’t get the memo.
  8. A few weeks ago, Pornhub revealed that it received more than 500,000 DMCA takedown requests last year. However, Pornhub and owner Mindgeek are rightsholders too and are also using the DMCA to their advantage. The companies told us that they sent notices targeting 4.5 million infringing URLs over the past year. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The adult industry is rather diverse but Mindgeek has a particularly large footprint The company, formerly known as Manwin, owns one of the most visited adult websites, Pornhub, and is also the driving force behind YouPorn, Redtube, Tube8, Xtube, and dozens of other sites. Many of these tube sites became big by offering access to a wide variety of content, some of it posted without permission. However, that doesn’t mean that Mindgeek is turning a blind eye to pirates. On the contrary. Receiving Takedown Notices Earlier this month, Pornhub’s transparency report revealed that the site removed 544,021 pieces of content following DMCA takedown requests. In addition, the site’s automatic upload filter blocked more than 100,000 videos before they were published. Those are interesting stats, showing that there is plenty of copyright-infringing material posted on the site. However, Pornhub and Manwin have a double role when it comes to copyright. In fact, they are also major rightsholders in the entertainment adult world. As highlighted previously, adult creators can sign a deal with Pornhub to become exclusive to the site. To help protect this content, the site will then send DMCA takedown notices to other services where their content appears. Unfortunately, PornHub’s transparency report didn’t mention how many DMCA notices the company sends each year. To find out more, we reached out to the site, whose copyright issues are handled centrally by Mindgeek. Mindgeek Sent 4.5 Million Takedowns to Sites After first speaking with Mindgeek’s Anti-Piracy Strategy Manager, our questions were forwarded to the PR department, which was willing to share some details, but not too many. “MindGeek sent notices for 4.5 million infringing URLs over the past 12 months,” a Mindgeek spokesperson informed us. The volume of takedown requests that are sent well exceeds the number of DMCA notices Pornhub receives. However, these are for all Mindgeek content, not just for exclusive Pornhub models. We requested a more detailed breakdown, but Mindgeek said it couldn’t provide that. Also, it is worth noting that the 4.5 million URLs only reference sites that host or display infringing content directly. Mindgeek didn’t include the takedown notices that are sent to search engines, which are much higher in number. Mindgeek Sends Over a Million Takedowns to Google Every Week Looking at Google’s transparency report we see that last month alone, Mindgeek asked the search engine to remove eight million allegedly infringing links. This adds up to hundreds of millions of URLs over the past several years, making Mindgeek one of the top takedown senders. Since US lawmakers are currently considering options to improve the DMCA legislation, we also asked Mindgeek and Pornhub if they had any suggestions. As they’re both a content platform and copyright holder, they can evaluate the current law from both sides. However, Mindgeek declined to make any recommendations. Fingerprinting and Manual Checks Mindgeek and Pornhub did stress their commitment to the anti-piracy side of the business, however. Their takedown processes involve some manual verification but also rely on automated processes and fingerprinting technology. “We use industry-leading tools both internally and via external vendors including digital fingerprinting technologies to ensure accurate and valid identification of our protected content at scale,” Mindgeek’s spokesperson told us. In fact, the company has developed its own “SafeGuard” fingerprinting tool, which it will make freely available to other sites in the future. Perhaps that can ultimately help to lower the number of takedown notices the company has to send.
  9. A bank that refused to hand over the personal details of a person behind an account used to receive funds for the largest IPTV supplier in the Netherlands acted unlawfully, a court has ruled. Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN brought the action against Rabobank in an effort to track down the name and address of the account holder after other efforts failed. Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN is constantly engaged in investigations to deter or take down piracy operations, including those involved in the supply of unlicensed IPTV subscriptions. These investigations can be extremely complicated, something revealed in documents detailing BREIN’s mission to unmask the person in control of the bank account used to handle money for the Netherlands’ largest IPTV supplier. Background – GoFastIPTV.eu According to court documents, GoFastIPTV.eu is an IPTV provider that violates the rights of the companies represented by BREIN. It provides unauthorized access to movies, TV shows and live streams of pay TV channels, plus more than 85,000 on-demand titles. The provider offers 1-month packages at 15 euros, 3-months at 30 euros, and 80 euros for a year, and BREIN believes that it’s the largest pirate IPTV supplier in the Netherlands. As a result, BREIN has gone to great lengths to identify its operators, meeting significant resistance on the way. BREIN reports carrying out test purchases and says it was told to transfer funds to PayPal or directly to an account at Rabobank in the Netherlands. BREIN subsequently sent summons letters to various email accounts related to the service but could not identify the owner. The anti-piracy group also sent summons letters to companies hosting the IPTV service’s website but the address and phone numbers both led to people unconnected with the matter. Research on various company names in the UK and Brazil also led to dead ends as did an investigation into IPTVGo.eu, a site operating identically to GoFastIPTV.eu. This trail ran cold when the domain was traced to a hotel in Lisbon, Portugal. After BREIN’s substantial efforts failed to provide a clear lead, the anti-piracy outfit put pressure on Rabobank to hand over its customer’s personal details, considering this an important step to learn his or her true identity. Rabobank refused on privacy groups so BREIN took the matter to court. Court Rules The Bank’s Refusal to Provide Data Was Unlawful BREIN reports that since it had tried hard to obtain the account holder’s identity by other means, Rabobank should have provided the name and address of the relevant account holder. BREIN argued that despite the account now being closed, it had a valid interest in obtaining the information. The court agreed. The decision was based on a ruling from the Netherlands Supreme Court dating back to November 2005. The landmark case saw the Court uphold a previous verdict that compelled internet portal Lycos to hand over the personal details of one of its subscribers to Dutch stamp trader Pessers. According to BREIN, the assessment criteria are that the unlawfulness (in this case infringement) must be sufficiently plausible, that the applicant (BREIN) must have a valid interest in obtaining the information, and that there are no less severe options available to obtain the data. Also, when it comes to a weighing of interests between those of BREIN, Rabobank, and the account holder, the balance must be in favor of BREIN. Rabobank argued that the GDPR prevented it from handing over data. The bank also said that the account holder could’ve been put there for the purposes of shielding the identity of another person, so his/her privacy would need to be protected. BREIN argued that even if the person was indeed acting as some kind of proxy, obtaining their personal details would help them get closer to the main target. The court accepted this argument. The bank’s arguments that BREIN had unused opportunities to identify the person elsewhere also failed. “The judge ruled that it is not the case that there has to be no other option available before the bank should provide data,” a statement from BREIN reads. “BREIN has made extensive efforts to establish the identity of the infringer. It is not expected that the summons of foreign parties will provide a result within an acceptable period of time with a sufficient chance of success, according to the judge. Filing a criminal report is no less drastic and is by no means always followed up by the authorities. “Just like hosting and access providers, a bank cannot demand that all other options for retrieving personal data are exhausted first,” BREIN concludes. The court gave Rabobank five days to provide BREIN with all identifying name and address information relating to its former account holder and pay BREIN’s costs of 1,775 euros. The full decision can be found here (pdf)
  10. The results of a study published by cybersecurity firm Webroot suggest that 90% of pirate streaming sites offering live football and shared on social media contain scams, malware or extreme content. While the headline figures are probably accurate, the key threats highlighted by the firm can also be mitigated to an extent. However, that has an interesting effect that contributes to existing anti-piracy measures. Over the past decade or more, entertainment industry companies and their anti-piracy partners have gone to extreme lengths in an attempt to deprive pirate sites of revenue. The thinking is simple – if pirate sites cannot easily make money then people won’t bother to run them. It’s a credible and logical strategy that is likely to pay off to some extent in the long run. However, there are consequences that aren’t often discussed, namely the side effects on people who use these sites. Strangling Advertising Options In years gone by it was not uncommon to see mainstream companies advertising on pirate sites. In most cases that happened through no fault of their own but since they paid good money, pirate sites were happy to host the ads. Today the landscape has changed dramatically. In the majority of cases, high-paying advertisers are long gone after being put under pressure by various schemes designed to blacklist pirate portals. As a result, many pirate site operators (especially those in live sports streaming) are left with a stark choice – run highly questionable ads and incorporate other highly dubious schemes or shut down. While some choose the latter, there are way too many sites that don’t care about their users, as we have previously highlighted. 90% of Illegal Football Streaming Sites Carry Threats This week cybersecurity firm Webroot released the results of a study that looked into the dangers of sites offering illegal football streams for the Carabao Cup Final and major clashes across the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga. According to the company, 92% of the illegal streaming sites analyzed were found to contain “some form” of malicious content. The figure sounds about right given the often broad definition of “malicious”. However, the vast majority of sites operating in these spaces have little choice but to run terrible ads and similar schemes since the alternative is to close completely. Interestingly, Webroot notes that the sample investigated were all platforms shared on social media channels. This could be significant since, unlike more seasoned pirates, the average social media user can be blissfully unaware of the threats. That makes them particularly good targets for various nefarious schemes. But what are these threats? Malware, Pop-Ups and Crypto Scams….Of Course Webroot lists several “threats to watch” which begin with bitcoin scams “promising riches and asking users for banking details” alongside “convincing ads and websites that link directly to fake news sites with local celebrities and politicians.” Dealing with this threat is not hard and it begins with people realizing the nature of the sites they are using. These are pirate streaming platforms that are illegal, sometimes criminally so, in most parts of the world. Are genuine financial companies likely to be advertising on pirate sites? No. Do they want to share their wealth with you? Of course not. So why hand over banking details? It’s a question best answered by those that do but some clearly get sucked in. Fake mobile app scams also make an appearance. According to Webroot, they can have in-app purchases that range from £2.90 all the way to £114.99. That’s a frightening prospect but again, it’s easily mitigated. People need to understand where they are and ask themselves what’s wrong with Google Play or the App Store if they need a reputable app and intend to start spending money. On a similar front, Webroot warns of mobile applications that come with hidden and excessive subscription fees which, completely ironically, center on people’s desire not to become infected with viruses. “On streaming sites these are often in the form of fake virus ‘scans’ that push users to download antivirus software. The software looks legitimate but provides no protection,” the company writes. Some Users Can Mitigate Some Issues But Risks Remain There is plenty of anecdotal evidence online suggesting that people are able to avoid malware on pirate streaming sites but that is not the default position. Most threats, including those listed by Webroot, can be avoided but that requires work in the technical and common sense departments. Firstly though, people intent on watching matches should consider what kind of experience they want. If a second-rate, unreliable, and invariably risky experience is desired, many pirate streaming sites can provide that. If viewers want to relax and they have the money, official offerings will be a much better option. That being said, there are still those who don’t mind a game of Russian roulette, albeit with fewer bullets in the chamber. This is usually achieved by installing decent anti-virus software and anti-malware software such as MalwareBytes, from their official sources. NOT from ads listed on pirate sites. But even this isn’t enough. Many tech-savvy people report using good pieces of browser filtering software too, such as uBlock Origin and NoScript. In many cases, these can prevent the threats from appearing in the first place but again, this won’t ensure that everyone always stays out of trouble. Crucially, what neither of these will do is completely prevent people from doing reckless things, including but not limited to handing over banking and credit card details or installing completely unknown apps. Nor will they stop people from clicking on the ads that may get through the defenses provided by browser addons or security software. In an ideal world all ads would be either blocked or failing that ignored, and if a questionable streaming site attempts to prevent use after detecting blockers, backing out completely is sensible for novices. People shouldn’t be fooled by sites asking if they can send them notifications either, since this will almost certainly get abused too. The Perhaps Counter-Intuitive Consequences of The Above At this point, it’s worth looking at the bigger picture. If people are visiting pirate sports streaming sites that require extensive mitigation measures to keep them safe, they might start asking themselves whether they should be visiting them at all. The operators of these platforms are obviously under pressure to stay afloat but the provision of high-level scams shows disrespect for users and a complete disregard for their welfare. There are sites out there that don’t engage in this behavior and while we aren’t going to list them, as a reference point, people should know they exist. On the other hand, using blocking tools such as uBlock Origin and NoScript (to name just two) also has an interesting effect on these platforms. When they work as planned, sites can lose much of their ability to push malicious ads, software and scams onto their users. This means that the schemes don’t generate money as they should. This creates an interesting situation. Like the anti-piracy measures being carried out by entertainment companies to prevent decent ads from appearing on pirate streaming sites, these mitigation and blocking techniques only serve to starve streaming platforms of their revenue. The end result is that this actually helps those who want to shut these platforms down by making them financially unviable. It’s a chicken and egg situation that lower-tier pirate streaming sites will have to solve, if they want to stay relevant and afloat.
  11. Nomadland was the big winner at the Oscars last weekend, securing the best picture, actress, and director awards. This major achievement puts the movie in the spotlight and increases interest through legal and illegal channels. Fresh data collected by TorrentFreak shows that pirate downloads surged right after the awards ceremony. The Oscars are the most anticipated movie awards show of the year, closely followed by hundreds of millions of movie fans around the world. This year’s ceremony was initially delayed a few weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. The show itself was more intimate as well, with a much smaller audience than usual, also on TV. In the end, however, the aesthetics are pretty much irrelevant. It’s the winners that matter and with three Oscars including the crown jewel of the best picture, “Nomadland” came out on top. Oscars, PR and Piracy Winning an Oscar is arguably the best thing that can happen to a movie. It significantly raises the public’s interest, which directly translates into sales. However, there is a ‘darker’ side to this success as well. Over the years we have seen that Oscar winners tend to do very well on pirate sites. This issue was also bought up by piracy tracking firm MUSO a few weeks ago, which warned that the legal unavailability of Oscar winners could do a lot of harm. In recent weeks we have kept a close eye on the key contenders to see how these were doing in pirate circles. Previously, we already showed that the nominations significantly boosted the interest in the top contenders, but a big surge in pirate downloads was expected this week. To capture this effect we looked at a sample of torrent downloads of the Best Picture winner “Nomadland,” contrasting it with another contender “Judas and the Black Messiah”. The timeframe starts on Monday, April 19, and ends on Tuesday, March 27, two days after the Oscars were announced. Because both films were nominated in the “best picture” category and since “Judas and the Black Messiah” won two awards in smaller categories, we decided to add the non-Oscar contender “Honest Thief” as a control movie. The results in the graph below clearly show that “Nomadland” downloads increased more than 1000% from less than 15,000 last Monday to over 173,000 a week later. “Judas and the Black Messiah” also saw a sizable 400% increase, but that pales in comparison to the Best Picture winner. Meanwhile, there is no significant change in downloads for “Honest Thief,” which sees a stable stream of downloads. That confirms that these increases are indeed driven by the Oscars. What was perhaps more surprising when we looked at the data is that the number of estimated downloads in our sample already started to increase before the awards ceremony. Downloads on pirate sites have been relatively stable for Nomadland, hovering around 10- 15,000 over the past month, but in the week leading up to the Oscars they picked up. The Friday before the Oscars the number of downloads had roughly doubled and on Saturday they had tripled. This suggests that pirates were already downloading the top Oscar contenders before the awards were handed out. A broader overview of the estimated downloads for Nomadland starting early March, 10 days before the nominations, shows that the initial nomination boost mid-March pales in comparison to the surge after it won the Oscars. While we don’t have access to detailed legal viewing and sales data, we expect that the interest through official channels peaked as well. Winning an Oscar is great PR for a film, after all. Aside from the increase in piracy the days before the Oscars, these results don’t really come as a surprise. If Hollywood can learn anything, it’s that Oscar contenders should be widely available through legal channels. Unfortunately, availability was lacking in several countries this year, which pushed some people to pirate sites. Luckily there’s another chance in 2022. — 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.
  12. Activision and Infinity Ward were hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit in February alleging that the companies made a direct copy of a character called "Cade Janus" and relabeled her as "Mara" in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. In a response filed this week, the defendants provide a laundry list of affirmative defenses including fair use and the existence of an implied license. Early February, writer, photographer and videographer Clayton Haugen filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Activision, Infinity Ward, and Major League Gaming Corp. Haugen claimed to be the copyright owner of two literary works and 22 photographs of a character he named ‘Cade Janus’, the main figure in his story ‘November Renaissance’. He hoped that his story would be made into a film and in 2017 he hired actress, cosplayer, and Twitch streamer Alex Zedra (aka Alex Rogers) to portray ‘Cade Janus’. A series of photographs were taken, which together with his story were presented to film studios, published on Instagram, and in a series of calendars. In his complaint, Haugen alleged that the defendants were on the lookout for a “strong, skilled female fighter” for their game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare but instead of creating their own character, used contractors to hire Zedra. She was allegedly asked to obtain and wear the same clothing and gear used in the original photoshoot, the same makeup artist was hired, and photographs from the original shoot were used as a framing guide, Haugen added. “The resulting photographs were intended to be, and were, copies of Haugen’s Cade Janus Photographs,” the lawsuit claimed. As a result, Haugen said that the defendants had breached his exclusive right to make copies and derivatives of his work and his exclusive right of distribution, demanding all profits attributable to the alleged infringement as compensation. Activision, Infinity Ward and Major League Gaming Fire Back This week the defendants filed their answer to the complaint, admitting various facts such as presenting a female fighter in their game, hiring Zedra/Rogers directly and makeup artist Aeni Domme through a contractor. The companies further admit to using the ‘Mara’ character to market downloadable content for Modern Warfare and acknowledge various claims about the companies’ corporate structures. In respect of most other claims made by Haugen, the companies claim that they “lack knowledge or information” sufficient to “form a belief” as to the truth of the allegations so summarily deny them. However, the defendants did provide some meat in their response. The companies acknowledge that certain works created by Haugen are registered at the Copyright Office but flat-out deny that they “copied Haugen’s Cade Janus photographs without his knowledge or permission, had access to his Cade Janus photographs, or used them as a guide to create ‘Mara’. Claims that the makeup artist was instructed to copy the hair and makeup of Janus are also denied. In respect of Haugen’s claim that he never authorized the defendants to make copies of any part of his ‘November Renaissance’ works and his Cade Janus photographs, including the depictions of the character Cade Janus, the gaming companies admit that Haugen never gave them a “direct, express license to any work identified in the complaint.” Nevertheless, they deny all allegations of copyright infringement. Haugen “Not Entitled” To Jury Trial, Affirmative Defenses In their response, Activision, Infinity Ward, and Major League Gaming Corp first object to Haugen’s call for a trial by jury. “A claim for infringer’s profits is an equitable one and is not triable of right by a jury. Furthermore, a claim for statutory damages is not triable of right by a jury,” they write, adding that in their opinion, Haugen is not entitled to any of the relief requested in the complaint. They also provide a laundry list of affirmative defenses that could excuse them from liability, even if Haugen’s allegations were true. Among these are failure to state to a claim on which relief can be granted but also a free speech and/or fair use angle. “Any use of Plaintiff’s copyrighted materials is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and/or 17 U.S.C. § 107,” the companies write, adding that Haugen has “unlean hands” after engaging in inequitable behavior. The gaming companies also state that Haugen’s claims are barred in whole or in part by the doctrine of laches, suggesting that the complaint had been filed in an untimely manner and as a result, an equitable claim can not be brought. The defendants also list the doctrine of acquiescence, which infers a form of permission that results from inaction over an extended period of time, along with a failure to mitigate. On the rights front, the Modern Warfare creators say that Haugen is barred from making a claim since he does not own the exclusive rights to “some” of the works, noting that the ‘Mara’ character was independently created and the defendants “had an implied license” to use the materials at issue. Perhaps more fundamentally, the gaming giants note that Haugen is barred from pursuing claims in the Eastern District of Texas because he agreed to the exclusive jurisdiction of state or federal courts in Los Angeles to resolve claims for copyright infringement. The answer from Activision, Infinity Ward and MLG can be found here (pdf)
  13. Czech file-sharing and hosting site Ulož.to has successfully appealed a preliminary court order that required it to block files that contain the word "Charlatan." The broad measure, requested by movie distributor CinemArt, was overturned on appeal and the file-sharing site is now looking for more than $36,000 in compensation. To the global audience Ulož.to may not be a familiar name, but in the Czech Republic it is huge. The file-sharing service is listed among the 40 most-visited sites in the country, and its mobile apps are frequently used as well. Like many services of its kind, Ulož can be used to share a wide variety of files. This is a thorn in the side of many copyright holders whose works appear without permission. This includes the RIAA, which reported Ulož as a notorious pirate site on several occasions. Court Approves ‘Word’ Filter Locally, the site has received pushback from copyright holders as well. Late last year, the Municipal Court in Prague ruled that Ulož must filter and block files that reference the word “Šarlatán” (‘Charlatan’) which is also the name of a Czech movie. The order, requested by movie distributor Cinemart, was set to remain in place until August 2030 but the file-sharing site immediately appealed. According to Ulož, the filtering obligation was too broad. It could also impact files that have nothing to do with the film, violating freedom of speech. “The problem is that the word charlatan is not just a movie charlatan. Widespread censorship of the word would also affect the amount of content that does not violate any rules, thus restricting the freedom of many Internet users,” an Ulož spokesperson says. ‘Charlatan’ Filter Overturned After hearing both sides, the High Court in Prague agreed with Uloz and immediately overturned the preliminary filtering requirement. This is welcomed as a big win by the site, but that’s not enough. The site argues that it made substantial investments to make sure that the filter operated correctly while not harming users in the process. Ulož wants the movie distributor to compensate for these costs. Compensating Costs Specifically, Ulož is seeking 585,000 Czech Koruna (~$27,320) to compensate for the filtering and monitoring costs, and another 200,000 (~$9,340) to cover the legal costs and fees. “The amount of compensation required by us is based on the complexity of the process of assessing individual files while taking into account all exceptions to copyright law,” Ulož notes. “In addition, it took four months before the court acknowledged that this requirement was unjustified and annulled the interim measure, which increased the costs of complying with the interim measure. The costs are high, but it was Cinemart’s decision to use this exceptional tool and bear the risk.” Among other things, Ulož says it hired an external agency to help with the process. This turned out to be quite resource-intensive and, since it was such an extreme measure, compensation is warranted. Legal Battle Continues The damages request is expected to trigger another legal battle where the court will take a detailed look at the allegations from both sides, but the file-sharing site is confident that it will prevail in the end. In any case, using a simple word filter to block copyrighted content is probably not the best solution. Imagine what would happen if YouTube had to filter all videos that use “Charlatan” in the title? That said, there are more effective filtering techniques based on file hashes. These are less prone to false positives as well. As far as we know, Ulož doesn’t use any of these. Not for the Czech translation of Charlatan at least, because a search for Šarlatán returns plenty of results.
  14. One of the ringleaders behind the defunct torrent tracker DanishBits received a one-year prison sentence today, of which nine months are conditional. The 33-year-old man was arrested in Morocco last year and later extradited to Denmark, where he admitted his involvement with the site. Over the past several months, Danish law enforcement authorities effectively shut down the thriving local torrent tracker scene. It started in September and October 2020 when DanishBits and NordicBits went offline after their operators were caught. Torrent Tracker Crackdown As is often the case, it didn’t take long before other sites stepped up. Rival trackers such as “Asgaard” and “ShareUniversity” opened their doors to new members, resulting in an explosive growth of these sites. This bonanza only lasted for a few weeks. The Danish Government’s SØIK’s IP-Task Force kept the pressure on, with help from local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance. Soon after, these sites shut down as well, with the operators and users risking prosecution. The strong language wasn’t just a warning. Last month we reported that a user of the DanishBits tracker was handed a conditional prison sentence of 60 days for sharing hundreds of movies and more than a thousand TV episodes and audiobooks. DanishBits Ringleader Sentenced Today, SØIK and Rights Alliance announced another victory that leads back to where it all started. The Copenhagen City Court handed the operator of DanishBits a one-year prison sentence, of which nine months are conditional. The 33-year-old Dane was arrested in Morocco last October and was extradited to Denmark last month. The man admitted his wrongdoing which, in addition to the prison sentence, also results in 150 hours of community service. The authorities describe the man as one of the “ringleaders” who, together with others, earned over $160,000 in revenue. The operator’s cut was roughly $40,000, which he will have to pay in damages to Rights Alliance. According to SØIK special prosecutor Dorte Frandsen, the man played a very substantial role. Among other things, he helped to program and operate the DanishBits tracker. “He had a very significant role in running the website, which gave many thousands of Danes the opportunity to download illegal material,” Frandsen says. “In light of the very extensive role as a ringleader, I am satisfied with the relatively harsh prison sentence that he has been sentenced to today.” Deterring Others Rights Alliance director Maria Fredenslund is also happy with the sentence. She hopes that it will deter others from getting involved in similar sites. “It is extremely important that examples are set which show that it does not pay to be a criminal,” she says, noting that copyright holders have been plagued by piracy for many years. “Therefore, it is crucial that clear signals are now being sent that piracy is illegal and that breaking the law has consequences. We have a highly professional unit in SØIK’s IP-Task force, which has again done a fantastic job,” Fredenslund adds. As reported previously, similar enforcement actions have shut down all sizable torrent trackers in Denmark. However, that doesn’t mean that copyright infringement is no longer a problem. Data from piracy tracking firm MUSO shows that the number of Danish visits to pirate sites has only increased in recent months.
  15. Social networking service Triller has filed a $100m lawsuit against 12 'business entities' and 100 John Does who it claims were involved in the illegal streaming of the Jake Paul vs Ben Askren boxing match on April 17. According to Triller, these "cyber-criminals" are responsible for diverting two million PPV buys away from the event. As one of the world’s most recognizable YouTubers, Jake Paul has leveraged his fame to become one of the most controversial names in boxing. Rather than working his way up through the ranks, Paul hand-picks his opponents to appear in so-called “money fights”, ones that have their roots in entertainment rather than the framework of traditional boxing. On April 17, he squared up against MMA veteran Ben Askren, an accomplished wrestler and UFC fighter well known for his lack of striking ability. Paul finished Askren in the first round. The pay-per-view event was a success but according to Triller, the social media platform behind the promotion, the card was dogged by massive piracy. Via a lawsuit filed in a California court, Triller is now hoping to claw back a cool $100m in damages from a number of entities and individuals who streamed the card illegally online. $100m Lawsuit Targets 12 ‘Business Entities’ and 100 John Does Covering several domains and what appear to be individuals, the lawsuit describes FilmDaily.com, AccessTVPro.co, Online2LiveStreams.us, CrackStreamsLive.com, Sports-Today.club, My-Sports.club, BilaSport.com, Trendy Clips, Mike, Your Extra, Eclipt Gaming, and ItsLilBrandon as “unknown business entities” involved in the illegal streaming of the event. 100 John Does also make an appearance. “Through this action, Triller seeks in excess of $100,000,000.00 against Defendants and each of them all of whom are cyber-criminals, for their outright theft and diversion of upwards of 2,000,000 unique viewers by providing them with illegal and unauthorized viewings of the Broadcast of the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren boxing event,” the complaint reads. According to Triller, the defendants utilized various torrent and streaming sites, including YouTube, to unlawfully upload, distribute, and publicly display the broadcast to the users of the websites, without authorization. The complaint alleges that this was done for-profit via shareable links, including PayPal links, which allowed users to send the defendants money in return for watching the event. “Through their egregious conduct, Defendants also encourage other online users to copy, share, download, distribute and share the Broadcast on the aforementioned websites. Defendants further unlawfully facilitate, participate, and induce other users to engage in the unauthorized reproduction, adaptation, distribution and public display of Plaintiff’s copyrighted Broadcast all to line their own pockets with monies that belong to Plaintiff,” Triller adds. The Defendants According to Triller At this stage, Triller doesn’t appear to know much about its targets. FilmDaily.com is confusingly described as a Nevada entity doing business via FilmDaily.co, a platform that exists to facilitate and induce the sharing of videos and live programming, including that owned by Triller, among its users. AccessTvPro is said to be registered in Arizona while Online2LiveStreams, CrackStreamsLive, Sports-Today.club, BilaSport, and My-Sports.club are all said to do business in California and are broadly accused of the same offenses. Trendy Clips, Mike, Your Extra, Eclipt Gaming, and ItsLilBrandon are all said to do business in California and are separately accused of running a single YouTube channel operating under the ‘Mike’ branding. “Plaintiff is informed and believes, and thereon alleges, that the actions and omissions that serve as the basis for this complaint were undertaken jointly and with the consent, conspiracy, cooperation, and joint participation of all defendants,” Triller claims. Copyright Infringement and Various Other Offenses Triller’s complaint covers several counts, beginning with copyright infringement. The company says that the event was broadcasted via encrypted satellite signal and then retransmitted to cable systems, satellite companies and other licensed content distributors, including Triller’s online platforms. As such, Triller claims copyright in the broadcast and the exclusive right to copy, publicly perform and distribute it. According to Triller, the defendants obtained the broadcast through Internet websites and/or via their own pay-per-view purchases that were intended for private use only. As they failed to obtain permission from Triller when they utilized “various torrent and streaming websites” to upload and distribute the broadcast for profit, they violated the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 501). “As such, Plaintiff is entitled to disgorgement of Defendant’s profits directly and indirectly attributable to Defendants’ infringement of the Broadcast, in an amount to be established at trial, but in no event less than $100,000,000.00,” the complaint adds. Triller goes on to allege breaches of the Federal Communications Act, demanding between $60,000 and $110,000 for each violation, plus acts of conversion that caused damages of “no less” than $100m. All defendants are further accused of breach of contract on the basis that they bought the event from Triller or one of its outlets and then breached the agreed terms by infringing the company’s rights. All of the defendants are further accused of conspiracy to unlawfully access, copy and distribute Triller’s broadcast in exchange for payment from website users, while generating revenue from advertising and causing loss of business to Triller. The company also asks the court to restrain the defendants from any further acts of infringement. Triller’s complaint can be found here (pdf)