Anti-Piracy Operations Are Fabricating Links To Non-Existent Torrents In DMCA Notices

from the this-seems-like-a-problem dept

We’ve seen lots of stories involving various “anti-piracy” organizations sending bogus takedown notices — often because they use lame keyword matching without any review, and it targets totally unrelated things that happen to have the same name. However, the folks over at TorrentFreak have found another form of totally bogus takedown: completely fabricated torrent links for torrents that have never existed. The issue here is that the fabricated links were targeting two torrent caching systems, Zoink.it and Torrage.com. TorrentFreak explains how they work… but also why the targeted links did not ever exist:

These don?t have a searchable index of torrents, but serve as a hosting platform for torrent sites, identifying torrents by their unique hash.

For example, a torrent for an episode of Ballers that aired a few weeks ago has the hash C87000EF73557A488D5C21BF8F9FA4CC24EC0513. This file would then be available at Zoink under the following url:

zoink.it/torrent/C87000EF73557A488D5C21BF8F9FA4CC24EC0513.torrent.

We say would be, because Zoink.it was shut down at the end of 2014. The same is true for the other torrent cache, Torrage, which has been offline for quite a while as well.

Okay, so you can see how this happened. The anti-piracy groups understood just enough about how the torrent cache sites worked, that they automated sending takedowns based on torrent hashes on the assumption that those torrents would also show up via the cache sites. Okay, understandable. But here’s the problem: they never checked to see if those links ever existed. Hell, it sounds like they never even visited Zoink.it again for at least the past two years.

And yet they sent takedowns for links there.

So how can these companies actually claim that they know these “files” are infringing, when they clearly never even checked the links, let alone the fact that the site they’re accusing of infringement, hasn’t even been up for two years?

The TorrentFreak article notes that this is not a one-off thing. They found other anti-piracy groups sending takedowns for more non-existent torrents on the same non-existing sites. We know that these fly-by-night operations don’t bother to check the files to see if they’re actually infringing material, but now we know they don’t even seem to check to see if sites or links ever actually existed in the first place.

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Companies: ip-echelon

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Comments on “Anti-Piracy Operations Are Fabricating Links To Non-Existent Torrents In DMCA Notices”

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33 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Simple math and incentives

1) Accuracy with regards to DMCA claims takes time and money.

2) Being able to crow about how many ‘infringing links’ you demanded taken down allows you to make your company/service look more productive than competing companies/services, meaning more people use your service, leading to more profits.

3) There is no penalty whatsoever for making false DMCA claims.

Given the above three it shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise that companies of this sort can be wildly inaccurate and sloppy with their claims, since all the incentives are on the side of throwing out as many claims with as little effort expended as possible, with no incentives whatsoever on the side of making sure those claims are accurate before sending them out or reporting them to their clients.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s the same way with file sharing copyright trolls. They harvest IP addresses of people who try to connect to the swarm, making the assumption that everyone will both download and upload the entire file, and laying down accusations accordingly. So even people who fail to download (or upload) a single byte can still get themselves targeted by a copyright trolling operation.

But since there is absolutely no penalty under the DMCA for copyright claimants making reckless accusations (though draconian penalties for ISPs for not taking such accusations seriously) why should we expect copyright trolls go to the time and expense of actually verifying the data their automated programs generate before sending it out?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Just a link please.

“You should of just posted a link to the original article”

You should have learned to read and right English correctly. Then you’d have perhaps understood that the link you’re complaining about not being in the article is, in fact, in the article you’re responding to.

However, it is interestingly ironic to see that the ACs have now sunk to complaining about non-existent issues on an article about takedowns for non-existent torrents.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

and lets not kid ourselves. IP laws have almost never been about the artists. They have always been about the middlemen.

If you want proof just look no further than the one sided penalty structure that works against artists that have their works falsely taken down.

You are not in favor of laws that protect artists. Otherwise you would be in favor of ensuring that artists on the receiving end of false takedown requests receive at least the same protections as the crooks that issue false takedowns. But I don’t see you complaining about how IP laws harm artists. You don’t care for the artists at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

BTW, I am in favor of giving artists legal protections. When an artist is on the receiving end of a false takedown request I am in favor of protecting that artist by

1: Ensuring that all DMCA takedown requests are under penalty of perjury

2: If a takedown request turns out to be false the issuer is fined 100K given to the artist

3: The false issuer should also be forced to pay the service provider 50K for having to manage these takedowns. This will ensure that service providers don’t go out of business due to having to manage IP laws so that artists can be protected from not having these service providers to host their content.

4: I am in favor of having Megaupload reinstated so that artists can use the service to upload their content. All of the criminals responsible for taking down Megaupload should be criminally prosecuted and sentenced. This will protect artists from having to worry about the removal of content hosts that they find useful for no good reason.

It is you that doesn’t care for legal protections in favor of artists. You only care about the distributors and the legal protections written by them and for them.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Except he wouldn’t tell them because he supports piracy and taking away copyright from artists”

Citation needed.

Would you please present links to where you found these facts, or just admit you are a shitty troll collecting pay to try and pollute the site.

See the downside is, your IQ is actually below room temp, and any of the regulars and half of the AC’s who post here could outthink you while on shrooms.

Oh and because its not worth it being nice…

Are you still raping your dog?
How many kittens will you choke to death to regain your manhood after what your uncle did to you that one summer?
Were you more hurt he did it to you, or he discarded you because you weren’t any good?

Please go find a fire and die in it… in real life.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“They should just ask Mike Masnick how torrents work, as he knows all about it.”

Yes, people who write about things should know how they actually work. Is this a problem? Are you saying that people who write about crime are actually committing it, or are you just another poor deluded liar who can;t deal with facts so have to make crap up about people?

“he supports piracy and taking away copyright from artists”

Oh, you’re full of shit. Carry on…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s still hard to fathom how these people can possibly think they are doing any good to their cause. It’s obviously not working.

1: Look at the mass protests against SOPA

2: The mass protests against TPP

3: The fact that Hillary had to temporarily change her position to oppose the TPP to sway voters because she knows that the overwhelming majority of voters are against the TPP and they’re against our overreaching IP laws

4: Where are the mass protests in favor of the TPP and in favor of expanding IP laws? They obviously don’t exist because almost nobody wants these laws except the big corporate interests that are pushing for them.

5: The TPP agreements were mostly done in secret with select corporate interests invited but the public was left out. Why? Because they know the public doesn’t want these laws and these laws aren’t intended to serve what the public wants.

Some democracy.

and some propaganda scheme from these shills that’s obviously not working. They need a new strategy obviously besides coming here and telling the same lies over and over again. It’s just not working but I guess they’re desperate or something.

They obviously don’t care about the artists. For them to complain about ‘artist protection’ is a laughable joke and just reveals them for the liars they are.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t understand the mindset from the regular trolls, etc., here. The lies are as repetitive as they are easily debunked. It’s depressingly familiar to those of us watching Trump and Brexit that people who know what they’re actually talking about are attacked as somehow bad, but this is par for the course.

I understand the support for things like SOPA on the part of the top end of the corporate scale – they have either stayed ignorant of the actual market changes that have led to their falling profits, or are aware and just want to get the maximum personal profit they can right now, long-term consequences be damned. But, I’ll never understand the people who defend them for free.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Some of the shills that post have in fact been known to come from various pro-IP firms. Some of them may be IP lawyers. Often times they’ll try and hide behind tor because they have been caught with IP addresses known to come from organizations with conflicts of interests. They’ll lie about it though. But many of them do have a conflict of interest in the matter and often times these are propaganda schemes by interested parties.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The funny thing is, the implications this troll makes are that if the law doesn’t allow copyright enforcement to punish people for files that don’t exist, artists are monetarily fucked.

In other words he wants to sue people for money over accusations for crimes that were never committed. Just like the RIAA used to do, then dropped the ball after realizing that the public no longer took them seriously as a result, only for the baton to be picked up by Prenda (and inadvertently lead the judges to the infestation of rot and roaches under the rug).

He’s full of shit because he’s realized that the only way he’ll get away with being a retard is to go full retard.

John Mayor says:

FAB LINKS: ACT ONE, SCENE TWO

Interesting!… I wonder what Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation would say about these Fabricated Links to Non-existant Torrents! That is to say, given Richard’s, and the FSF’s, AVERSION to the DMCA! A Stallman (and company!) sequel to this story, is going to read like an excellent comedy skit!
.
Please!… no emails!

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