More On IP Arrow: Takedown Company's Boss Owes MPAA $15 Million And Clients Apparently Fine With Filing Bogus DMCA Notices

from the not-surprised,-but-still-disappointed dept

A few more details have been revealed about IP Arrow, the anti-piracy company whose DMCA notices were filled with links to content not owned by the companies it represents, including links to some rather dubious porn titles.

First off, it's hardly a company. IP Arrow is simply an "offshoot" of Morganelli Group LLC, the new home for its non-porn clients, as was pointed out by a commenter over at Torrentfreak.

This new-kid-on-the-block, hired-gun copyright enforcer named "IP arrow" appears to be a sock-puppet shell company owned by Joe Morganelli (Morganelli Group LLC)

Note that their client lists are virtually identical.

It looks like Joe Morganelli has transferred Lynda, Lionsgate, and Zuffa (UFC) to this new label "IP Arrow" while pornography is still carried under the old label "Morganelli Group".
The stats over at Google's Transparency Report bear this out. The last DMCA notice issued for Zuffa, Lynda.com or Lionsgate by Morganelli was on August 1st. Since that point, every DMCA notice issued has been for one company: LFP Video Group LLC. LFP stands for Larry Flynt Productions. IP Arrow's work for Lynda.com, Zuffa and Lionsgate begins on August 5th.

Unlike the shoddy work done for Lynda.com, Zuffa and Lionsgate, Morganelli's work on behalf of the porn publisher seems to be subject to some actual vetting. You can see the difference in the number of URLs taken down. Despite issuing takedowns for LFP at the same frequency as the other three clients, LFP notices have asked for the removal of far fewer URLs.


Even under the previous name, Morganelli's work for his "mainstream" clients was uniformly terrible. Whatever automated program Morganelli's deploying appears to simply sweep up URLs and dump them into a form. It doesn't seem to be able to differentiate sidebar or related search links from the actual URLs linking to infringing copies.

Lynda.com, Zuffa and Lionsgate seem perfectly OK with IP Arrow (and Morganelli) sending out DMCA notices claiming ownership of other companies' content. I contacted all three but only heard back from one: Lynda.com.

On the 19th, I spoke briefly with David Glaubke, Director of Corporate Communications for Lynda.com. He asked what I thought was going on and I told him that it looked like IP Arrow was running a rather lousy bot/crawler and not vetting the results before firing off DMCA notices -- notices that are sworn statements that the company named owns the content listed. And, presumably, Lynda.com was paying IP Arrow to issue false statements in its name.

He assured me that his CTO and IT team were looking into the issue and that he would get back to me with any further comments or statements.

This statement, emailed to me a day after our phone conversation, appears to be Lynda.com's final word on the subject.
lynda.com retains the services of IP Arrow as a part of the company's on-going anti-piracy program to mitigate the illegal download of our intellectual property on torrent sites. On our behalf, IP Arrow issues batch DMCA takedown notifications for links to directories containing our content. Those links often contain keywords designed to drive traffic to adult or illegal material in directories that happen to also contain lynda.com videos. Many of the URLs highlighted in this TechDirt story, implied to be targets of erroneous takedowns, at one time contained our files but no longer do.
That may all be true, but plenty of other anti-piracy companies run automated services and yet, their takedown notices aren't primarily composed of links to content that isn't theirs to take down. Not only that, but Morganelli, who apparently runs IP Arrow, seems to have very little trouble compiling vastly more accurate takedowns for LFP Video.

Why would a content owner be satisfied with service like this? Hopefully, Lynda.com and IP Arrow's other clients aren't being charged per URL. The way IP Arrow's service "works" pretty much guarantees the takedown notices will be completely useless by the time they're processed. This hardly seems like an efficient way to fight piracy.

Then there's this to consider, from the same Torrentfreak commenter.
So why did he do this? [split off Lionsgate, Lynda.com and Zuffa to IP Arrow]

Maybe because Hollywood still remembers Joe Morganelli as the guy they sued nearly a decade ago for running one of the internet's biggest warez sites, and are reluctant to give that copyright criminal any more of their money until he pays up on that multi-million dollar judgment he was slapped with but never paid.
Former pirate goes into the piracy-fighting business, all the while owing the MPAA $15 million. His previous Usenet experience explains his expertise in combating piracy there but, once out of his comfort zone, he seems to be flailing. Here's what he had to say about his Usenet work.
“What my team does is monitor usenet 24/7 using a Bayesian Classifier. We also verify everything 100% to ensure we are making the proper removal requests for the UFC and our other clients,” Joe Morganelli of Morganelli Group LLC told TorrentFreak.
Apparently, this verification process doesn't carry over to his work outside of Usenet. Even if the URLs listed contained links to his clients' content at the time of "discovery," they no longer do at the point the DMCA notice is processed. It's a lazy, stupid way to rack up hundreds of "hits," which IP Arrow can then point to as "evidence" of its thorough work. Let's not forget, one of the takedowns even asked that the search results for the term "rar" be removed.

It's something that's been noted before and seems to still occur with some frequency -- some companies feel piracy is too much of a problem to ignore, but not enough of a problem to put in the hands of someone competent. The only thing this half-assed approach guarantees is that these companies aren't getting what they paid for.



Reader Comments (rss)

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 5:49pm

    So scammer pirate still scamming? -- That's what pirates do!

    Your goal here eludes me. By identifying this Morganelli as a pirate you've just pretty much trashed the notion of pirates as the good guys up against evil Big Media.

    As for the bogus takedown notices: TOO MANY TO FULLY CHECK! -- And it's entirely justified that tedium CAN and SHOULD be left to those running offending sites which list infringed content. No sympathy from me if their text can't easily be parsed.

    Translation: "Techdirt Community" = gang of piratey trolls.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 6:03pm

      Re: So scammer pirate still scamming? -- That's what pirates do!

      Your goal here eludes me. By claiming this pirate as a scammer whose services copyright holders have employed you've just pretty much trashed the notion of the MPAA and its rightsholder clientele as good guys.

      Proof again that copyright enforcement can't enforce shit without breaking other laws.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2013 @ 6:17am

      Re: So scammer pirate still scamming? -- That's what pirates do!

      As for the bogus takedown notices: TOO MANY TO FULLY CHECK!

      I love this statement, as it fully qualifies the inherent laziness that is prevalent in those mass-producing DMCA takedown notices.

      THIS is the reason there should be strict penalties for filing "anomalies."

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 5:53pm

    This is why companies don't get it. Honestly you are just paying this guy to give you a giant list on a webcrawler.

     

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  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 6:53pm

    Ah, the entertainment industry... brought to you in living slime.

     

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  •  
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    sorrykb (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 7:50pm

    A question

    Are companies like this paid on the basis of how many "violations" they find (and how many DMCA takedowns they send) or is it a flat fee?

     

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  •  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 7:55pm

    " We also verify everything 100% "
    So then you downloaded the files that had titles that made them appear to be CP?

    Would someone like to maybe kick the FBI or someone into action?
    I face restrictions on what I can do online because someone needs to think of the children, these assholes claim ownership of CP and claim to have verified it belongs to their client...
    Stupid needs to hurt, I think the FBI actually showing concern about CP allegations might be useful.
    Or do we only do this shit for people who look for backpacks and pressure cookers?

    The idiot from lynda.com needs to be fired. This wasn't adult keywords attached to your files, this was titles that look like CP that they claim you own. They claim to have verified it, so ask them what was inside.
    Think about it.
    It looks like CP, but I was sure it belonged to my client, so I downloaded and verified it...
    That is as smart as but I didn't inhale.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 1:41am

    "monitors Usenet 24/7"?

    Speaking as someone who has just about as much Usenet experience as anyone on this planet except the trio who wrote the original code...this guy is full of crap. You can't monitor Usenet 24/7 because any one node, or even any one set of nodes, only contains a portion of the "state" of Usenet at any moment. In other words, the presence of an article A on node N1 does not allow you to infer anything about the presence of that same article on nodes N2, N3, etc. Article A might be there; it might not have propagated there yet; it might have expired from those nodes; it might never be accepted there; it might have been dropped on the floor by mistake (Usenet is a best-effort network).

    Now this guy might be monitoring a Usenet node, but that's not at all the same as "monitoring Usenet", because nobody does that, because nobody CAN do that.

    And everything I just said applies to public or quasi-public nodes. There are others (how many others? nobody knows) which are essentially invisible to everyone but their topological neighbors.

    This guy is fabricating capabilities that he doesn't have and selling them to gullible idiots who haven't got the faintest conceptual or practical grasp of how Usenet works.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 2:33am

    C'mon Mike is clear why the results for Lynda's are less accurate, they chose the cheaper option and so Arrow doesn't use any filters there. Bayesian or otherwise.

    Ex-pirate still sucking the entertainment industry dry. (no pun intended)
    That is just priceless.

    I wonder how the price list looks like.

    - Per link
    - Filter options(Bayesian filter, word filter, fingerprint filter, watermark filter, metadata filter)
    - Insurance options (Fire insurance, anti-techdirt security insurance, litigation insurance)

    It must be surreal LoL

     

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