Anti-Piracy Group Demanding -- And Getting -- Domain Names From Torrent Sites

from the nice-little-site-you-have-there dept

Remember when Righthaven used to demand the URLs of sites it accused of infringement, based on nothing but wishful thinking? Apparently the UK "anti-piracy" group FACT has taken that to a new level, reaching out to numerous sites it believes are guilty of encouraging infringement, and asking them to hand over their sites... or face a lawsuit. This is only slightly nicer than having the government come in and seize the domains, but barely. Considering that FACT was the group that ran the privately funded lawsuit against SurfTheChannel's Anton Vickerman, it at least suggests that they might actually take various sites to court. And, in response, many sites are just handing over the domains. That's gotta be cheaper and easier than fighting, and that seems to be a lot of what FACT is banking on. Still, demanding a URL as a condition of not getting prosecuted really does seem like bullying activity that borders on extortion. You'd think that FACT would have better things to do these days than go after websites it doesn't like with expensive threats.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:25am

    In any civilised country this SHOULD be considered extortion and the legal justice system SHOULD take a very dim view of it because extortion IS against the law, after all.

    It just goes to show how skewed the laws and justice system is in favour of corporations.

     

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  2.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:28am

    Re:

    I might add another prime example. The bank, HSBC, had to pay a massive fine for money laundering but was anyone jailed for this like you or I would be? No, they were not.

    One law for us mere mortals and no law for the rich and powerful.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:54am

    I'm trying to grasp the logic here:

    What will taking a domain do to stop infringement? The machine is still up, and accessible. And even though the IP address may change, it is trivial to transmit that information to potential "pirates".

    What's their goal? Do they really think that things just "go away" if you pretend that they are not there?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 4:23am

    Who cares?

    Here some more domains to "seize".
    http://dppmfxaacucguzpc.onion/index.php?p=cat&cid=11&sid=hdi1a5kqu45v1ce4b5tra74o2 1

    They should try the "My Little Ponny" download website. Why kids like that stuff I never know.

    http://vzugfdoygasghjsf.onion/DVD.php

    Here is a paper on how to make resilient phising websites names.

    http://www.skyhunter.com/marcs/petnames/IntroPetNames.html

    Meaning, that the DNS server is not trusted, if doesn't have the correct key to authenticate itself it is not a valid name.

    Pirates apparently are light years away from enforcement agencies, is not even funny anymore.

    What this do is, harm business not pirates they are not there anymore, they are building the next generation secure protocols out of necessity, and those will all be anonymous.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 4:29am

    I think FACT wants people to be secure is the only real explanation.

    Those pirates counted in the billions will all move to secure anonymous networks that are being build right now for them by others, a place where there will be no seizing of domain names being possible, where surveillance will be very difficult.

    The open web as we know today where everything is visible will die and will be replaced by the darknet web.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 4:47am

    Re:

    Whats their goal?

    Possible a list of ip addresses that tried to connect to the seized sites. Attempting to carry out infringement may be the next means extorting money out of users.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re:

    Corporations are people my friend ... errr wait a sec

     

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  8.  
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    The Real Michael, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:09am

    Re:

    It's mafia-like behavior. The only difference is that instead of sending guys over to directly threaten violence, they simply take advantage of the corporate bias within the "justice" system.

    What's the point in having a justice system which requires that you have a certain amount of wealth in order to fight successfully? That seems to me like discrimination, blatantly designed to squash the middle & lower class.

    Wealthy or broke, I wouldn't hand over my domain to them (not that I have one). Let 'em drag me to court and spend all their money, then when the court inevitably rules in their favor, I'd turn around and sue both the court for discrimination and the prosecution for extortion.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Privileged people who has no soul or morals and by normal standards should be locked up in a jail somewhere.
    Instead those persons get rewarded for being naughty all the time.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:12am

    Re: Re:

    Don't be a suicidal bee, be a WASP!

    Sting and retreat, sting and retreat.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re:

    It is more like having private police force.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:51am

    F**k the UK!

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:52am

    Buh...bbbut if they're handing over their URLs, it proves they're guilty! If they're not guilty, why don't they just fight a prohibitively expensive lawsuit to prove it like everyone else?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:58am

    Re: Re:

    What's the point in having a justice system which requires that you have a certain amount of wealth in order to fight successfully?

    Social stability.

    The poor rabble don't have the resources to overthrow the system, so it makes sense to deal with them as quickly and cheaply as possible.

    OTOH, if the justice system takes down a “too big fail” bank or a “too big too jail bank”, then a rich, powerful, upper class may get pissed off and overthrow the government. The rich and powerful have the resources to do it. Sponsoring a revolution is something they can put on the credit card without worrying about the limit.

    Social stability.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:07am

    Re:

    More like they want to report to their masters that they have removed n pirate domains.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Social stability."

    That is a really poor excuse.

    Rationalizations may help those with a guilty conscience sleep at night, but it does little to remedy the problems.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:38am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:54am

    They'll redirect the domain to a big scary legal warning about copyright infringement to try and scare users of the site

     

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  18.  
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    gorehound (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    Fuck the MAFIAA & Their Stooges !
    Boycott their Shit.
    Buy and Support Local and Indie Art

     

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  19.  
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    DanZee (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 8:23am

    Easier

    It's much easier this way than to go through the court system. Judges are concerned with issues like freedom and fairness. These don't matter when you're strong-arming people!

     

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  20.  
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    Duke (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 8:48am

    Possibly misrepresenting the law as well...

    My understanding is that FACT Ltd aren't just threatening to sue these people (which is far too expensive anyway) but to set the police on them (as with Vickerman; while it was private, it was still a criminal matter and all the initial arrests/seizures etc. were done by the police).

    While I don't have any specific details of what FACT Ltd is saying, this is awfully reminiscent of what ACS:Law and similar law firms were doing a couple of years ago; scaring potential defendants into complying with demands by misrepresenting their legal position, or bullying.

    A recent press release from them noted that there is now "no doubt that operating a website that provides access to pirated films and TV programmes will lead to criminal prosecution", which is the sort of argument I imagine they have been making to site operators. What they conveniently forget to mention is that a criminal prosecution (literally bought and paid for by FACT Ltd in some cases) is just the start - so far they have only managed 1 conviction at trial, with one acquittal and several abandoned cases.

    The law in this area is far from clear, and that’s unlikely to improve before the Vickerman appeal or, possibly, the Pirate Party case (if those happen).

     

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  21.  
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    The Real Michael, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    Re: Possibly misrepresenting the law as well...

    "A recent press release from them noted that there is now 'no doubt that operating a website that provides access to pirated films and TV programmes will lead to criminal prosecution,' which is the sort of argument I imagine they have been making to site operators."

    This same argument extends to the rest of the content industries, that by virtue of their monopoly on culture, they can use this as a leveraging tool to shut down or seize websites, domains, etc. until all avenues leading to alternatives vanish. We must remain vigilant.

     

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  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Indeed. Fuck social stability. I'd much rather have justice and freedom, if we have to choose between the two. The real tragedy is that we could have both, but having both doesn't keep the ultrawealthy individuals and corporations ultrawealthy.

     

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  23.  
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    Mr. Applegate, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 9:59am

    Exactly this!

    This is the obvious answer. In IT we would call this a "Honey Pot". The pirates are attracted to it because they think it contains something they want.

    FACT can then use the information obtained from systems visiting these sites to extort, or failing that sue for, money from the poor idiot who's IP address (or computer) was identified as having visited.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re:

    And still the Pirate Bay continues alive and well.

    http://jntlesnev5o7zysa.onion/

    What a bunch of losers.

     

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  25.  
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    Milton Freewater, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: Exactly this!

    "FACT can then use the information obtained from systems visiting these sites to extort, or failing that sue for, money from the poor idiot who's IP address (or computer) was identified as having visited."

    Visiting these sites and downloading torrents is 100 percent legal.

    The only disputed act is activating those torrents to upload via participating in a swarm. The only way to get proof of that is to monitor the swarm, which is easy to do.

    So no, these won't be honey pots.

     

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  26.  
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    Mr. Applegate, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Exactly this!

    Except they don't need proof to obtain your name and address or send demand letters do they?

    All they need to do is get your name and address, send you a letter (or report you to your ISP). They don't need proof at all. It is set up that way by design.

    Secondly, they can monitor the swarm, in addition to this and it just makes it easier for them to find you. since they know what to look for.

    Think outside the box, just a little bit.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 4:12pm

    It is extortion. That's a FACT!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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