Tag Archives: MG Premium

‘Pirate’ Porn Sites Under Pressure as MG Premium Tightens the Screw

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-porn-sites-under-pressure-as-mg-premium-tightens-the-screw-200405/

MG Premium, the adult entertainment giant behind brands including Reality Kings, Brazzers, MOFOS, Babes.com, and Twistys, appears to be increasing the pressure on sites that allegedly distribute its content without permission.

As previously reported, one of those targets is the massive adult tube site YesPornPlease. This February, MG Premium filed a full-blown lawsuit against the site in a Washington court, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. However, the action began months earlier with a DMCA subpoena directed at Cloudflare.

Through processes like this, MG Premium hopes to obtain crucial identifying information about site operators and/or uploaders. At US courts this week, MG Premium made several similar requests targeting additional adult domains, all of which use the services of Cloudflare.

The first pair of subpoenas, filed at a Washington district court, target YesPornPlease.biz and YesPornPlease.best. Whether these are directly connected to MG’s earlier target isn’t made clear in the applications but the nature of the action is obvious.

“MG is the owner of numerous copyrighted audiovisual works. In the course of protecting its works, MG has determined that infringing copies of these works, posted at the direction of individual users and without authorization from MG, appear on Cloudflare, Inc.’s website ‘yespornplease.biz’,” one of the applications reads.

MG notes that it has been sending DMCA infringement notices to Cloudflare but it is now applying for a DMCA subpoena to obtain the identity of the individuals “who are posting the infringing content.” A closer examination of the wording in the subpoena shows that this can easily extend to the site’s operators too.

“For the period January 1, 2016 through the present, produce all documents and account records that identify the person(s) or entities that caused the infringement of the material described in the attached Exhibit B DMCA notifications to the DMCA Agent for Cloudflare, Inc., and/or who unlawfully uploaded MG Premium Ltd’s copyrighted works at the URLs listed in the notifications, including but not limited to identification by names, email addresses, IP addresses, user history, posting history, physical addresses, telephone numbers, and any other identifying information,” the request reads.

An almost identical application seeks the same information relating to alleged infringers at YesPornPlease.best, a domain that appears to have been put into use around October last year.

A third application, which in most key respects is a copy of the others, targets PornDish.com. At the time of writing and according to SimilarWeb stats, this ‘tube’ site receives just under three million visits per month. Right on its front page it states that visitors can “Watch full premium Sis Loves Me, Brazzers, RealityKings, Teamskeet, Naughty America 2020 HD videos online for free!”, which is probably why MG Premium is interested in the site.

Yet another subpoena application, again filed at a Washington district court, demands the same information relating to watchxxxfree.org. According to traffic statistics, the site didn’t get any significant traction until December 2019 but steep gains since then now mean it’s pulling in around 1.4 million visits per month. This domain triggered malware warnings several times (apparently due to different threats) during our investigation so we backed away carefully.

XTapes.to, another MG Premium target, was also the subject of a cookie-cutter DMCA subpoena this week. With around 3.8 million visits in February, it’s bigger than the also-targeted XMoviesForYou.video but, unlike the latter, didn’t cause MalwareBytes to light up in panic.

Finally, MG Premium also fired off a subpoena application listing a domain called ‘PornForDays.net’ as infringing its rights. Sadly, this had us running round in circles because there is no site of that name and the domain is yet to be registered.

After closely examining additional paperwork, however, it became clear that this was in fact an error by MG Premium’s law firm. The correct domain should have been listed as the 2.9 million visits per month tube site Porn4Days.net, which also triggered malware warnings during our checks.

Where these cases will go from here remains to be seen but if MG Premium’s action against YesPornPlease is any indicator, more lawsuits could appear on the horizon.

The DMCA subpoena applications can be found here (1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (all pdf))

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

YesPornPlease Restricts Access as PayPal & Cloudflare Are Asked to Unmask Operators

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/yespornplease-restricts-access-as-paypal-cloudflare-asked-to-unmask-operators-200329/

In September 2019, MG Premium went to court in the United States requesting a DMCA subpoena against Cloudflare.

Alleging mass infringement, the adult giant wanted the CDN company to hand over the personal details of the people behind ‘tube’ site YesPornPlease and partner platform VShare.io.

With 100 million visitors in January 2020 alone, YesPornPlease is a huge player in the space. It reportedly carries huge volumes of MG Premium content, including videos published under the Reality Kings, Brazzers, MOFOS, Babes.com, and Twistys brands.

Progress on the earlier subpoena is unknown but in February, MG Premium filed a full-blown lawsuit in a Washington court potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In the wake of that legal action both YesPornPlease and VShare went offline. At the time it appeared that the sites may not return but the situation was temporary. Now, however, visitors to the platform are being greeted by a strange ‘welcome’ page.

“Our website is banned in your country,” the greeting claims. “Please use Tor Browser, VPN or if you don’t have any get this for free.”

The “this for free” is a VPN called VPN4Test and the suggestion is that it can unlock the site. However, there are a number of confusing aspects to the message and the recommendation.

Aside from countries where porn may be illegal in general, we’re not aware that YesPornPlease is ‘banned’ in any country it was previously accessible from. That tends to suggest that the website hasn’t been banned by any authority and it’s the site’s operators that have put measures in place at their end to ensure access is hindered.

Furthermore, after extended testing with various VPNs and Tor, on what grounds access is granted by the site remains unclear. For example, in some cases UK IP addresses are allowed through yet VPN IP addresses in the same country are blocked. The same is true for those located in other regions, US and mainland Europe, for example.

After cycling through a dozen or so Tor IP addresses, access was granted roughly 50% of the time, which will please users of the site. However, people shouldn’t be streaming lots of unnecessary videos using Tor – it isn’t designed for it, especially in the volumes required to service a massive adult video site.

That leads to the question of whether one of the main aims of the blocking is to drive traffic to the promoted VPN. While it is reportedly free to use, it should come with all the usual warnings that other free VPNs carry – in a nutshell, free is rarely free and there are probably strings attached.

Nevertheless, VPN4Test is doing well out of the referrals. From very little traffic at all in December 2019, the service is now clocking up more than 1.5 million visits per month. Meanwhile, MG Premium is pressing ahead with its legal action.

It’s clear from its numerous filings that the main challenge the company faces is positively identifying the people who run the defendant sites. In a motion for early discovery, the adult giant says that can only be achieved with the assistance of several US-based companies that are doing or have done business with the site.

“Plaintiff seeks a Court order allowing it to serve discovery demands on PayPal, Inc.; Domain Protection Services; Name.com, Inc.; Cloudflare, Inc.; Namecheap.com; Tucows Domains, Inc.; Internet Security Research Group; and, Comodo, Inc. for identifying information of their customers, the Defendants in this case,” the filing reads.

According to MG, Domain Protection Services in Colorado anonymizes the YesPornPlease domain, while Name.com and Cloudflare provide registrar and DNS services. Vshare uses Namecheap and Cloudflare, with the latter being used by both sites to serve content in the United States. It’s further alleged that the affiliate program operated by VShare pays out through PayPal while using an SSL certificate from New Jersey-based Comodo, Inc.

MG says that its representatives contacted all of the companies with requests for cooperation but without exception they either “ignored requests for information or previously instructed that information will only be produced upon subpoena.”

“Plaintiff is aware of no available information that would identify the infringing users, other than information maintained by the domain privacy service, registrar service and
other service providers,” the motion for early discovery notes.

“Due to the nature of on-line transactions which in this case includes in certain instances of the crypto currency Bitcoin, Plaintiff has no way of determining Defendants’ identities except through immediate discovery, and follow-up discovery.”

As a result, MG requests that the court issues an order allowing it to serve subpoenas on the companies listed above, compelling them to turn over “all information pertinent to the identity of the owners, operators, and principals operating the YesPornPlease.com, VShare.io, and ezcgwym5xp7ty.com websites, domain names, and relevant accounts for each.”

The motion for early discovery can be found here (pdf)

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.

YesPornPlease and VShare.io Go Offline Following Massive Copyright Lawsuit

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/yespornplease-and-vshare-io-go-offline-following-massive-copyright-lawsuit-200302/

Back in September 2019, TF discovered the existence of a DMCA subpoena in the United States.

Filed by MG Premium, part of the Mindgeek adult empire, it demanded that Cloudflare should hand over the personal details of two of its customers – YesPornPlease.com and VShare.io – a pair of sites that ostensibly operate as user-generated content platforms.

YesPornPlease is, in particular, a massive operation. The latest stats from SimilarWeb reveal the site servicing more than 100 million visitors in January 2020, a figure that had been steadily increasing over the previous few months.

The information requested by MG Premium included the site operators’ names, email addresses, IP addresses, user histories, posting histories, physical addresses and telephone numbers. Now, several months later, MG Premium is back with a full-blown lawsuit against YesPornPlease and VShare, one that demands an extremely broad injunction and damages that could potentially run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Filed in a Washington court against “Does 1-20” doing business as YesPornPlease and/or VShare, the lawsuit begins by stating that the conduct of both platforms is both “egregious and willful”.

“Defendants own and operate websites engaged in the business of copying and distributing infringing audiovisual works. Under the guise of acting as a distributor of ‘user-generated content,’ Defendants in fact are directly and knowingly involved in the trafficking of tens of thousands of pirated works – including thousands of works owned by MG Premium,” the lawsuit begins.

While user-generated content sites such as YouTube enjoy flexibility under the DMCA in respect of infringing content uploaded by third-parties, MG Premium insists that the defendants in its lawsuit cannot be placed in this category.

“The YesPornPlease Web Site fails to fulfill the requisite conditions precedent to qualify for the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA. Specifically, the YesPornPlease Web Site does not have an appointed registered DMCA Agent. Further, Defendants fail to honor take-down notices sent to the YesPornPlease Web Site and have failed to implement a reasonable repeat infringer policy,” the complaint notes.

While the lawsuit doesn’t reference the earlier DMCA subpoena filed against Cloudflare, it seems that MG Premium is still unable to identify the operators of YesPornPlease or VShare. Noting that the YesPornPlease site is hosted by a company in Russia, MG says it doesn’t know where its owners and operators are located.

Nevertheless, the adult giant insists that the two platforms work in concert to supply infringing content to consumers in the United States and should be held accountable.

“The YesPornPlease Web Site is a pirate website, displaying copyrighted adult entertainment content without authorization or license. The YesPornPlease Web Site is operated in conjunction with the VShare Web Site, wherein purported Internet users desiring to post videos on the YesPornPlease Web Site must actually upload the video to the VShare Web Site and then are directed to ‘copy and paste’ the URL assigned to the uploaded video on the VShare Web Site onto the YesPornPlease Web Site,” the complaint reads.

According to MG, the sites also incentivize users to upload content via an affiliate program.

“By becoming an affiliate to the VShare Web Site, users can earn money for each view of a video on the YesPornPlease Web Site posted through the VShare Web Site. The affiliate’s payout rate is determined based upon a variety of factors, including file size (calculated in minutes), the amount of content downloaded, and the length of time content is watched/viewed. The more content watched, the more money an affiliate makes,” the company claims.

Both sites utilize domain name servers operated by Cloudflare and their identities are hidden by a company called Domain Protection Services, MG Premium claims. The platforms allegedly use many other US-based companies for their operations too, including domain registrar Namecheap and various advertisers supplying ads targeted at the United States market.

The level of infringement alleged in the lawsuit is massive. Between July 2017 and January 2020, YesPornPlease is claimed to have offered 3,078 works owned by MG Premium, each detailed in a massive list in the 233-page complaint. According to the adult company, it sent takedown notices for thousands of URLs but 98% of them were ignored. Furthermore, users who uploaded the infringing videos were never terminated as repeat infringers by either platform.

“Defendants knowingly promote, participate in, facilitate, assist, enable, materially contribute to, encourage, and induce copyright infringement, and thereby have infringed, secondarily infringed, and induced infringement by others, the copyrights in Plaintiffs’ copyrighted work,” the complaint adds.

“Defendants’ acts and omissions allow them to profit from their infringement while imposing the burden of monitoring Defendants’ website onto copyright holders, without sufficient means to prevent continued and unabated infringement.”

As a result, MG Premium claims that the platforms are liable for directly infringing its rights while inducing others to do so. For this the company says it is entitled to statutory or actual damages, potentially running to hundreds of millions of dollars, plus a broad injunction to prevent future infringement.

In respect of the injunction, MG Premium demands that all entities acting in concert or participation with the defendants should be prevented from contributing in any way towards a range of actions that result in its copyrighted works being made available to the public.

On top of preventing hosting providers from doing business with the sites, for example, MG Premium demands that Internet search engines, ISPs, domain name registrars and registries should, within five days, prevent US users of the sites from accessing them by “blocking or attempting to block access to all domains, subdomains, URLs, and/or IP Addresses that has as its sole or predominant purpose to enable to facilitate access to the YesPornPlease Web Site and/or the VShare Web Site.”

At the time of writing, YesPornPlease and VShare are both down and displaying Cloudflare errors.

As reported last week, MG Premium is also pursuing legal action against individual BitTorrent users in Sweden, demanding around $700 in compensation to make supposed lawsuits go away.

The complaint filed by MG Premium against YesPornPlease.com and VShare.io can be obtained here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Pornhub’s Owner Goes After Thousands of BitTorrent Pirates

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/pornhubs-owner-targets-thousands-of-bittorrent-pirates-200226/

The online porn industry is rather diverse but there is only one company leading the charge, that’s Mindgeek.

The company, formerly known as Manwin, owns the most visited adult website on the planet, Pornhub, and is also the driving force behind YouPorn, Redtube, Tube8, Xtube, and dozens of other sites.

With Pornhub, in particular, the company has made news headlines in mainstream media. The informative yearly interest insights, April fools jokes, and even its environmental campaign have been widely covered.

The company’s open and casual image is generally well appreciated. However, Mindgeek and its many daughter companies also have another side. They tend to be very protective of their copyrights.

Mindgeek subsidiary MG Premium, for example, has more than 10,000 works registered at the US copyright office. To prevent these from being shared without permission, the company has sent over a quarter billion takedown requests to Google alone.

More recently, Pornhub’s sister company expanded its copyright enforcement efforts in another area. In addition to sending takedown notices, it also started going after people who allegedly shared its videos through BitTorrent.

This campaign was recently highlighted by Swedish Internet provider Bahnhof, which keeps a close eye on copyright trolling efforts in the Scandinavian country.

A search through public Swedish court records reveals that MG Premium obtained eight applications to identify the account holders behind 16,594 IP-addresses. The company uses this information to approach these alleged pirates with a settlement offer.

A copy of a settlement request, shown below, shows that the account holder is offered a settlement of 7,000 Swedish Krona ($722) for “filesharing of an erotic movie”. Considering the number involved, this is a potential multi-million dollar enforcement campaign.

While some may have indeed shared the infringing content, the letters also target people who are not directly involved. After all, Internet connections are often shared with other members of a household or are open to the public at large.

Bahnhof, which is one of the few ISPs that doesn’t share the personal information of its customers, sees the practice as blackmail. It believes that the company chooses this tactic to generate some extra profits.

Mindgeek, for its part, says that the Swedish legal campaign is intended to help reduce piracy. The initiative just started and the company will evaluate the results in the near future to see what steps it will take next.

“MindGeek, through its exclusive content subsidiary MG Premium, seeks to protect thousands of its copyrighted audiovisual works from blatant infringement. MG Premium is constantly testing and evaluating methods of reducing the extent to which its works are pirated,” Mindgeek’s Michael Willis says.

“At different times, these methods can result in targeting website operators, vendors supporting such operators, and in certain cases, end users who are taking advantage of, or sharing pirated works,” he adds.

The initiative in Sweden is similarly intended to help reduce piracy. It is very recent, and thus not necessarily an integrated or long term strategy. The results will be evaluated in the coming months, which will help determine the next course of action.

It is worth noting that Mindgeek’s empire is broader than adult sites alone. The company has dozens of subsidiaries, including AppAtomic, which is the driving force behind the VPN service VPNHub.

VPNHub, like many other VPN services, doesn’t keep any logs of IP-address assignments. Ironically, this means that MG Premium has no means to identify pirates who use the service. Then again, Mindgeek wins either way, as the VPN business can be quite lucrative too.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Mindgeek Asks Cloudflare to Unmask Tube Site Uploaders

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mindgeek-asks-cloudflare-to-unmask-tube-site-uploaders-190803/

Mindgeek owns some of the most popular porn brands on the Internet. ‘Tube’ sites Pornhub, RedTube, and YouPorn are all company-owned, as are adult production companies Brazzers and Digital Playground, to name just two.

One of its subsidiaries, MG Premium Ltd, operates the latter two brands and many more like them. As content producers, they also get involved in sending takedown requests to Google. In fact, MG Premium is one of the most prolific senders of DMCA notices on the Internet today, after sending notices targeting more than 215 million URLs on Google search alone.

MG Premium – currently the 5th most active sender of notices to Google

Despite all the takedowns targeting various domains, MG Premium appears particularly interested in the activities of several adult-focused ‘tube’ sites.

Via applications filed in a federal court in Washington last week, the company says it is attempting to obtain the identities of people who illegally uploaded its content to Waxtube.com, Vivud.com, Veporns.com, Tubezx.com, Siska.tv, Redwap.me, and Pornbraze.com. It says it can do this by issuing a subpoena to Cloudflare, which all of the sites use.

“MG is the owner of numerous copyrighted audiovisual works. In the course of protecting its works, MG has determined that infringing copies of these works, posted at the direction of individual users and without authorization from MG, appear on Cloudflare’s website, Waxtube.com,” the subpoenas read, substituting the site name at the end as appropriate.

“Such infringements have been ongoing and MG has issued DMCA notifications to Clouflare’s DMCA Agent. All notifications have met the requirements of 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)(A) by setting forth, inter alia, a representative list of the copyrighted works that have been infringed and the identification and location on Cloudflare’s website of the infringing material. MG now seeks to obtain a DMCA Subpoena to learn the identity of the individuals who are posting the infringing content.”

The list and descriptions of allegedly-infringing URLs on Waxtube (which are detailed at the rate of roughly five per page in Waxtube’s case) run to six pages. The second site, Vivud.com, is backed up with more than 580 pages of URLs, with Tubezx.com and Redwap.com weighing in at close to 400 pages and 190 respectively.

The existence of the subpoenas raises a number of questions, not least how useful Cloudflare can be in these cases. The subpoenas specifically state that MG Premium wants to “identify alleged infringers who, without authorization from MG, posted material to..” the sites in question.

It’s not clear whether Cloudflare will be in a position to do that but it should be able to provide the details of the operators of the various sites, which may or may not provide a useful stepping stone for MG Premium to achieve its stated aim. Whether the adult company has further but as yet unstated plans will remain to be seen.

All of the Waxtube subpoena documents can be found here 1,2,3,4 (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.