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:
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.