Tag Archives: hellboy

‘Hellboy’ Must Explain Calculation For the $270,000 Piracy Damages Claim

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hellboy-must-explain-calculation-for-the-270000-piracy-damages-claim-200326/

Last summer, the makers of the movie “Hellboy” (HB Productions) filed a complaint against torrent site MKVCage at a Hawaii federal court.

The movie company accused the site and its operator of promoting and distributing pirated copies of the Hellboy movie while demanding an end to the activity.

The lawsuit quickly had an effect as MKVCage became unreachable. At the same time, the uploader stopped pushing torrents to other sites as well. This meant that part of the plan had succeeded, without the torrent site putting up a defense.

But HB Productions wanted more. The company argued that the site caused irreparable damage and demanded compensation from the operator, a Pakistani man named Muhammad Faizan.

Since Faizan didn’t show up in court, the movie company’s attorney Kerry Culpepper requested a default judgment totaling more than $270,000 in infringement damages.

“The certain sum of $270,902.58 […] was calculated by multiplying the number of instances of infringement in the United States logged by Plaintiff’s agent by the price for purchasing a copy of the motion picture in Hawaii,” Culpepper wrote to the court.

Despite a hefty damages award hanging over his head, Faizan remained quiet. This generally means that the court will side with the plaintiff but in this case, Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield is reluctant.

In a recently issued report and recommendations, Mansfield advises the court to deny the damages request, as the “sum” is not as “certain” as Hellboy’s attorney makes it out to be.

“The First Amended Complaint and the Motion do not indicate how Plaintiff calculated its asserted $270,902.58 damages amount. Nor does Plaintiff’s Motion include documents setting forth amounts necessary to calculate a certain damages sum,” Judge Mansfield writes.

“Without such information, the Court is unable to determine the formula Plaintiff used to calculate its alleged damages. The Court thus finds that Plaintiff fails to establish that its claim is for a ‘sum certain’ and recommends that the district court deny the Motion,” he adds.

This recommendation serves as guidance to the federal court, which has yet to rule on the matter. However, before it could do so, HB Production’s attorney already withdrew his request for a default judgment.

The movie company now plans to file a new motion in the near future where it will provide more detail on its calculations. Among other things, it will have to explain in detail how many infringements were logged, and what retail price for the movie the company chose.

By law, the maximum statutory damages are $150,000 per work. Since HB Productions asked for a substantially higher amount here, these details are crucial in order to determine whether it will be granted, or not.

A copy of Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield’s report and recommendations is available here (pdf)

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Hellboy Makers Want $270,000 in Piracy Damages from MKVCage Operator

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hellboy-makers-want-270000-in-piracy-damages-from-mkvcage-operator-200305/

A group of movie companies, operating under the parent company Millennium Funding, has broadened its anti-piracy efforts over the past year or so.

Where the makers of films such as Hellboy, Hitman’s Bodyguard, and Mechanic: Resurrection previously focused on individual pirates, they have upped the ante by targeting site owners as well.

These efforts enjoyed some success including the shutdown of the popular app Cotomovies and settlements with torrent site YTS. While the latter remains online, this can’t be said for another well-known torrent site, MKVCage.

After the makers of the movie ‘Hellboy’ filed a lawsuit against MKVCage at a Hawaii District Court last summer, the site became unreachable. At the same time, the MKVCage uploader stopped pushing torrents to other sites as well. There was a brief comeback in October but soon after it went offline again.

By effectively shutting down the site, Hellboy’s makers (HB Productions) achieved part of their goal. However, in addition to stopping the infringing activity, they also want to see cash from the site’s alleged operator, a Pakistani man named Muhammad Faizan.

A few weeks go Hellboy’s attorney Kerry Culpepper submitted an amended complaint to the court. This was notable as it mentioned Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde as a “notorious copyright thief” whose domain registration service Njal.la worked with MKVCage.

While Sunde is not part of the lawsuit, the complaint was a precursor to a request for a default judgment, which was submitted to the court this week. As Faizan failed to respond to the complaint, Hellboy is asking for $270,902 in damages, as well as $4,410 in fees and costs.

Hellboy doesn’t ask for statutory damages, which are capped at $150,000 per infringed work. Instead, it calculated its losses based on the purchase price of the movie and the number of “instances of infringement” that were logged in torrent swarms.

“The certain sum of $270,902.58 […] was calculated by multiplying the number of instances of infringement in the United States logged by Plaintiff’s agent by the price for purchasing a copy of the motion picture in Hawaii,” attorney Culpepper explains.

The Hawaii court has yet to sign off on this request. While it’s likely that Hellboy will come out as the winner of this case, it may be a hard for the company to recover the damages from a foreign defendant.

A copy of HB Productions’ motion for a default judgment against Muhammad Faizan is available here (pdf).

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Movie Company Links ‘Notorious Copyright Thief’ Peter Sunde to MKVCage Lawsuit

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/movie-company-links-notorious-copyright-thief-peter-sunde-to-mkvcage-lawsuit/

A group of movie companies, operating under the parent company Millennium Funding, is pursuing legal action against key piracy players.

Through various copyright infringement lawsuits and DMCA subpoenas they have gone after targets ranging from Popcorn Time through YTS, to Showbox and MKVCage.

The case against MKVCage, filed last summer, had an immediate effect. Not long after the complaint was submitted to a Hawaii District Court, MKVCage became unreachable. At the same time, the uploader stopped pushing torrents to other sites as well.

Aside from a brief comeback, the site remains missing in action today. However, that doesn’t mean that the lawsuit is over too. A few days ago, the makers of the film Hellboy submitted an amended complaint against the alleged operator, a Pakistani man named Muhammad Faizan.

Hellboy Productions accuses Faizan of promoting and distributing pirated copies of its movie. The complaint also lists 35 John Doe defendants, who presumably downloaded the film.

While many of these allegations were already present in the original complaint, the new version does introduce a new name into the mix. According to Hellboy Productions, MKVCage is linked to a ‘notorious copyright thief.’

The movie company writes that Faizan began “operating the website mkvcage.nl” together with 1337 Services LLC, which is associated with Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde.

“1337 was created and is controlled by Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi,” Hellboy writes, adding that “Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi is a notorious copyright thief who was sentenced to prison in Sweden for his creation of The Pirate Bay.”

This sounds rather ominous. However, the complaint fails to mention that 1337 Services LLC is the company behind Njalla, which is a service that allows people to privately register domain names. And indeed, a Whois lookup for MKVCage.nl shows 1337 Services as the registrant.

This pushes the joint operation claim into an entirely different light. Njalla has many customers, including the Catalonian government, but it doesn’t operate the sites which are tied to these domains.

Peter Sunde informs TorrentFreak that he’d never heard of MKVcage until now. He is also not aware of any abuse emails regarding the domain name.

“As far as I know we haven’t even received an abuse e-mail regarding MKVcage, but I guess that’s their strategy. If they send abuse e-mails they might get services suspended and thus not being able to sue people,” Sunde says.

The Pirate Bay co-founder stresses that 1337 Services LLC is owned by a foundation, which is information they would have gladly shared if asked. The company is operated by many people who may feel left out now, as they may also want to be labeled as copyright thieves.

“My co-workers may be upset that they don’t get any credit for 1337’s work now, so I’m so sorry. They also want to be notorious copyright thieves,” Sunde notes.

Neither Sunde nor 1337 Services are defendants in the case. They are little more than a passing mention, perhaps to make it appear as if there’s something more going on than there is.

In earlier court filings the movie company actually referred to 1337 Services as a privacy service, which wasn’t clarified in the most recent filing.

Finally, Sunde points out that he’s not really a copyright thief. While he may have duplicated a file or two, he never ‘stole’ anyone’s copyright, which is simply impossible. This is something the US Copyright Office can confirm.

While Sunde is not in any trouble, in this case, Faizan is. Hellboy Productions accuses him of direct and contributory copyright infringement. The movie company claims to have suffered $270,902.58 in damages and would like to have that compensated.

A copy of the amended complaint Hellboy Productions filed against Muhammad Faizan is available here (pdf).

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YTS ‘Settles’ Another Movie Piracy Lawsuit, While More Users Get Sued

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/yts-settles-another-movie-piracy-lawsuit-while-more-users-get-sued-200127/

With millions of users, torrent site YTS is one of the largest pirate sites on the Internet.

The site is a thorn in the side of many filmmakers, several of which dragged the site’s operator to US courts last year.

These types of lawsuits have proven to be lethal in the past, but not for YTS. We previously reported that YTS settled its dispute with movie outfit Wicked Nevada, and late last week it reached a similar agreement with HB Productions, the makers of the film Hellboy.

A new filing submitted at a federal court in Hawaii shows that both parties agreed to a stipulated consent judgment. The order, signed by US District Court Judge Alan Kay, effectively ends the lawsuit.

Senthil Vijay Segaran, the suspected operator of YTS, denies liability but confirms that he is the ‘John Doe’ described in the complaint and admits that people used YTS to share pirated content.

“Defendant SENTHIL VIJAY SEGARAN denies liability but acknowledges that he is Defendant JOHN DOE dba YTS identified in the original complaint and concedes that one or more third parties uploaded the torrent file of Plaintiff’s motion picture to his website YTS.LT,” it reads.

The agreement also comes at a high price for the operator. Similar to the previous settlement, Segaran agrees to pay $150,000 to compensate for the damages suffered by the makers of Hellboy.

In addition, the consent judgment includes a permanent injunction. This prevents YTS’s operator from distributing and/or promoting torrent files that point to the Hellboy film. Thus far this is indeed the case, as YTS.lt no longer lists the movie.

It is quite unusual for a movie company to resolve a lawsuit against a torrent site in this manner. Like the previous settlement, this case was handled by attorney Kerry Culpepper, who is also behind the one remaining lawsuit against YTS.

The fact that YTS remains online is good news for millions of YTS users but not all will be pleased. Around the same time that the filmmakers and YTS resolved their differences, new copyright infringement lawsuits were filed against YTS users.

These cases partly rely on information that appears to have been obtained from the YTS user database. For example, a lawsuit filed against Hawaii resident Puakailima Davis last week states the following;

“Defendant, from Internet Protocol (‘IP’) address, used a registered account associated with the email address “redactedbyTF@gmail.com” to access torrent files from YTS.

“Defendant went to torrent sites including the website YTS to upload and download Plaintiffs’ copyrighted Works,” the complaints later adds.

The complaint further mentions at what times the defendant “logged into her email address,” although it’s not clear whether that refers to the website login or that of the email provider.

As mentioned previously, an email address itself is not hard evidence. People who register an account with YTS don’t have to confirm their email, so anyone can sign up with a random address, including those of other people.

It’s not stated how all the referenced information was obtained, which leaves us with little more than speculation.

A possible scenario is that the YTS operator gave up the user information as part of the negotiations. This would not be unprecedented, as the developer of the app CotoMovies shared similar information with the film companies in the past.

TorrentFreak contacted Kerry Culpepper, the attorney in charge, but he informed us that he couldn’t comment on the matter at this time.

YTS.lt, meanwhile, remains online.

TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the stipulated consent judgment between HB Productions and Senthil Vijay Segaran, which is available here (pdf). Two new complaints against alleged YTS users are available here (pdf) and here (pdf).

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Court Denies Entry of Default Motion Against Torrent Site YTS, Cautions Attorney

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/court-denies-entry-of-default-motion-against-torrent-site-yts-191106/

Popular torrent site YTS has become the target of three different copyright infringement lawsuits in the U.S. this year.

The most recent one was filed by HB Productions, the makers of the movie Hellboy, owned by parent company Millennium Funding.

The complaint in question lists a “John Doe” as the defendant who supposedly operates YTS. However, HB Productions believes that a person named Senthil Vijay Segaran and the company Techmodo Limited are involved.

The latter two were recently ‘summoned’ to respond to the complaint but neither did. This prompted the Hellboy makers to request an ‘entry of default‘ against YTS.

If granted, this would open the door to default judgment where the movie company can request damages, without any defense from the opposing party. In this case, however, it didn’t get that far.

In a recently issued order, Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield denied the motion. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require the defendants to be officially named, which didn’t happen in this case, the Judge points out. 

“As a practical matter, it is impossible to serve a summons and complaint on an anonymous defendant. The Ninth Circuit therefore disfavors the use of doe defendants, and Plaintiff’s tactics highlight the problems in proceeding with doe defendants,” Judge Mansfield writes.

This means that the movie company can’t submit a motion for default judgment yet. As such, it can’t demand damages or request a permanent injunction to target the site’s domain registrar. And that wasn’t all.

A few days after the denial, Judge Mansfield cautioned HB Production’s attorney, Kerry Culpepper, noting that the court doesn’t permit him to summon persons or entities who are not named defendants.

“It is improper for Plaintiff to attempt to effect service on a person or entity Plaintiff believes to be a doe defendant without properly amending its complaint to identify the doe defendant by name. It is equally improper for Mr. Culpepper to direct summonses to persons and/or entities who are not named defendants in an action,” the Judge notes.

As a result, the proofs of service for these summonses were stricken from the record. The same is true in two other related cases, which center around YTS as well.

In one of these cases, filed by Millennium Funding and several related movie outfits, Culpepper filed an amended complaint last week, naming three defendants, including Senthil Vijay Segaran and the company Techmodo Limited. In the two other cases, no amended complaint has been filed thus far.

With three separate and similar cases, the movie companies will likely push for some kind of compensation. Whether that’s through a default judgment, a trial, or a private settlement has yet to be seen. In any case, YTS is under pressure.

Anticipating possible domain issues, YTS previously moved from YTS.am to YTS.lt, where it is still operating from today. For now, it will likely continue to do so.

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Popular Torrent Uploader MKVCage ‘Returns,’ But Legal Troubles Remain

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/popular-torrent-uploader-mkvcage-returns-but-legal-troubles-remain-191017/

A group of movie companies, operating under the parent company Millennium Funding, has broadened its anti-piracy efforts over the past year.

Where the makers of films such as Hellboy, Hitman’s Bodyguard, and Mechanic: Resurrection, previously focused on individual pirates, they’re now targeting site owners as well.

Through various copyright infringement lawsuits and DMCA subpoenas, the companies targeted prominent players in the piracy ecosystem, ranging from Popcorn Time through YTS, to Showbox and MKVCage.

The case against MKVCage, filed last month, seemed to have had some effect. Not long after the complaint was submitted to a Hawaii District Court, MKVCage became unreachable. At the same time, the uploader stopped pushing torrents to other sites as well.

As is often the case when sites disappear, it didn’t take long for clones and scammers to jump in. Several unofficial MKVCage sites profited from the disappearance and fake MKVCage torrents were circulated as well, often bundled with malware.

However, more recently a site popped up that seemed more legitimate, MKVCage.nl.


This .nl domain has identical posts of older MKVCage releases. On top of that, it publishes new movies and TV-shows, which also appear on the MKVCage uploader accounts at other torrent sites such as ETTV and 1337x.

What has changed is the formatting of the release notes, which no longer mention the old domain name MKVCage.com. This makes sense, as that’s no longer operational, but the new domain isn’t promoted either.

While we can’t be 100% sure that the new site is operated by the same person(s), most signs point in that direction. Many MKVCage followers are also convinced that it’s the official resurrection. This includes the aforementioned filmmakers who are going after the operator.

In a new filing submitted at the Hawaii District Court this week, HB Productions (Hellboy) informs the Court about the disappearance of MKVCage.com and the apparent resurrection at MKVCage.nl.

The movie company believes that MKVCage is operated by a person named Muhammad Faizan, who allegedly took the .com domain offline and removed his Gmail address after being informed about the legal action.

“Defendant Faizan took down his website Mkvcage.com upon being notified of the present litigation. He further deleted the email address ‘[email protected]’ that he used when registering mkvcage.com and various other domains with the domain register Namecheap and to communicate with Plaintiff’s counsel,” the movie company’s attorney writes.

The movie company also noticed the domain change and believes that the MKVCage.nl site is being operated by the same person.

“Defendant Faizan has since begun operating a new website ‘mkvcage.nl’ where he promotes and distributes torrent files of motion pictures such as Hitman’s Bodyguard and Mechanic: Resurrection that are owned by Plaintiff’s parent company Millennium Funding, Inc. or affiliates thereof with the same misleading language.”

As the legal action continues, HB Productions continues to look further into the personal details of the alleged operator. In the latest filing, it points out that Faizan is employed at a Pakistani mobile phone repair shop, which apparently helps customers to access HD movies.

“Plaintiff has further discovered that Muhammad Faizan’s employer ‘HMA Mobiles & Computers’ provides a service of downloading and installing HD movies to the devices of individuals,” the company’s attorney writes (pdf), without saying anything about the legality of this activity.

TorrentFreak reached out to the MKVCage account at a popular torrent site to find out more about the new site and the allegations made by HB Productions, but at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

It’s clear, however, that while the MKVCage site is back, the legal troubles are not over yet.

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Piracy App ‘CotoMovies’ Shuts Down, Apologizes, and Exposes Users

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/piracy-app-cotomovies-shuts-down-apologizes-and-exposes-users-190911/

Last week we reported that the third-party iOS app store TweakBox had removed several movie piracy apps following legal pressure.

One of the targeted apps was CotoMovies, a piece of software that provides unlimited access to pirated copies of movies and TV-shows, free of charge.

The legal pressure came from the makers of the action movie “Hellboy” and clearly had Tweakbox worried. However, they were not the only ones under the spotlight. Soon after our article was published CotoMovies announced that it would shut down.

Initially not much was known about the reason for this abrupt decision, although legal trouble seemed likely. Now, a few days later, we can indeed confirm that CotoMovies was urged to shut down by the makers of the films “Hellboy” and “Angel Has Fallen”.

A source close to the fire informs TorrentFreak that both parties negotiated a possible ‘settlement’. While we can’t confirm that any damages were paid, CotoMovies is now offering a public apology to the filmmakers on its homepage.

“I want to express my sincere regret to the owners of the motion pictures Hellboy and Angel Has Fallen as well as all rights holders for inducing and contributing to copyright infringements by my operation of the app CotoMovies,” the operator writes.

The CotoMovies operator notes that he or she learned from the “stressful legal experience” and now understands what damage movie piracy apps can cause. Going forward, the app’s creator promises not to infringe on any copyrights while urging the app’s users to do the same.

Needless to say, many users are disappointed to see their favorite app going offline. However, CotoMovies makes another statement that may be even more concerning. Apparently, the app’s creator agreed to transfer user data to the filmmakers.

“I now plan to fully respect intellectual property laws and strongly urge those who used my app to use legal apps to watch movies. To this end, I have agreed to transfer to counsel for the rights holders user data and communications under my possession and control so that they can enforce their valuable intellectual property,” CotoMovies writes.

The public apology and more

It’s not immediately clear what type of user data the app retained but the filmmakers plan to target some. The makers of “Hellboy” and “Angel Has Fallen” have previously targeted individual pirates in court, but they want to set an example with streamers as well.

TorrentFreak reached out to Kerry S. Culpepper, the attorney of the two movie companies to, find out more about their plans.

“I am happy that the app operator was willing to take responsibility for her/his actions, apologize and take this app down. This is something you don’t see too much of lately – people taking responsibility for their actions,” Culpepper said.

While the lawyer confirmed that they “more than likely” intend to go after CotoMovies users, Culpepper declined to comment on what type of data they have in their possession.

What’s crystal clear, however, is that the movie companies’ legal pressure tactic is paying off.

Jonathan Yunger, co-president of Millennium Media, which is the parent company of the movie companies that went after CotoMovies, is pleased with the progress they’ve made.

“Millennium greatly values their and other’s intellectual property.  Millennium cannot keep making new movies if people steal Millennium’s movies through apps like these,” Yunger informed TorrentFreak.

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“Hellboy” Sues Torrent Site YTS and Several Users

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/hellboy-sues-torrent-site-yts-and-several-users-190731/

YTS is the most-visited torrent site on the Internet. It specializes in uploading movies, which are widely shared online.

The site ‘unofficially’ took over the YTS brand after the original group quit four years ago. Since then, it has amassed a rather impressive user base of millions of daily visitors.

The site is a major source of frustration for the movie industry but, thus far, copyright holders haven’t been able to do much about it. Recently, however, pressure has been mounting.

A few weeks ago trouble started when a group of movie companies sued the site’s operator, who they accused of inducing massive copyright infringement. Following this lawsuit, the site moved to a new domain name, YTS.lt, but that didn’t end the problems.

In a new lawsuit filed at a Hawaiian Federal Court, the site is now being targeted by HB Productions. The company, which is an affiliate of Millennium Media, owns the copyright to the popular movie “Hellboy“. Among other things, it accuses the site and several of its users of copyright infringement.

“Plaintiff brings this action to stop the massive piracy of its motion picture Hellboy brought on by websites under the collective names YTS and their users,” the complaint reads.

“Defendant JOHN DOE promotes its website for overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, infringing purposes, and that is how the users use the websites,” it adds.

According to the movie company, YTS.lt has sufficient ties to the US and Hawaii to warrant jurisdiction. Among other things, it uses or used services of US-based companies, including Cloudflare, Level 3 Communications, Inc., and QuadraNet, the complaint clarifies.

To conceal its identity, the site operator allegedly used the American VPN provider London Trust Media, which owns Private Internet Access. For the same purpose, it also used the tunneling service from Hurricane Electric and the TOR service.

Despite the attempts to conceal, the Hellboy rightsholders managed to find some breadcrumbs. For example, the WHOIS details list “TechModo Limited” as the registrant of the YTS.lt domain. Whether this will lead anywhere is unknown, as that UK-company was dissolved late April.

Another lead comes from Hurricane Electric. After Cloudflare revealed that the YTS operator used Hurricane’s tunneling service to login, the movie company sent a subpoena to Hurricane, which revealed that the person in question used a Hotmail account and an IP-address from the Canadian ISP Cogeco.

“Hurricane has indicated that an individual who identified himself by a verified Hotmail email address from a location in Ontario, Canada subscribed for the so-called tunneling service with Hurricane to tunnel its true IPv4 address to the IPv6 address of Hurricane,” HB Productions notes.

The movie company plans to use this information to find the YTS operator. At this point, it’s unclear if it actually belongs to the person who runs the site, but the rightsholder believes that it points to at least one of the operators.

The complaint further alleges that the defendant created the “Hellboy (2019) [WEBRip] [1080p] [YTS.LT]” torrent, which was made available through YTS.lt and other torrent sites. The other defendants, who are all Hawaiian subscribers of ISP Spectrum, then downloaded and shared this file.

While the mastermind behind the site might not be easy to track down, the 19 “John Doe” users being sued might be easier to find. They are all known by Spectrum IP-addresses. While the account holders are not necessarily the people who shared “Hellboy,” it’s certainly a more concrete lead.

That said, these individual downloaders are small fish compared to the YTS operator.

The movie company hopes that, through this lawsuit, it will be able to recoup some of its alleged losses. It accuses the YTS operator and its users of contributory and direct copyright infringement, while tagging on a claim of intentional inducement against the former.

HB Productions also requests an injunction to stop the defendants’ infringing activities and to prevent third-party intermediaries such as hosting companies, domain registrars, and search engines, form facilitating access to the YTS domains.

Whether the court will grant these requests remains to be seen. In the other lawsuit against YTS we mentioned earlier, the Hawaiian Federal Court wasn’t convinced that it has personal jurisdiction over the alleged operator of the site.

A copy of the complaint filed by HB Productions is available here (pdf).

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