Industry News

More on Piracy, 4Chan, and New Cases

OP/ED by Jake Harris

Last time we spoke I informed you about some recent goings-on in the world of porn piracy.  Coming up I’ll update you as to what happened at the Content Protection Retreat, what the latest news is regarding porn piracy lawsuits, and what’s to be expected as 2010 comes to a close. 

First however, I wanted to take a second and address the attacks that have taken place over the past month on various websites as documented by LIB contributor Big Red here (http://www.lukeisback.com/?p=14588) and here (http://www.lukeisback.com/?p=14337).  Like I mentioned in my previous post, these people take their interpreted personal freedoms seriously and are capable of doing a lot of damage to those who attempt to take them away.  If Big Red’s articles and insights don’t convince you, just take a quick visit to the /b/ on 4chan, spend about a half an hour checking things out and you will find out just how powerful the internet can be in the right, or wrong, hands.  A number of years ago, when I was really starting to learn the ins and outs of the Internet I discovered 4chan.  As I was perusing I found some funny threads, a lot of stupid threads, and some truly scary threads.  One that stands out from this last category was one in which a user posted a random picture of a cheerleader that he found on the Internet.  He thought the girl was hot and asked if anyone knew who she was or where she was from.  Fairly benign right?  Well, within ten minutes her name, school, myspace/facebook pages, city, address, friends, and cell phone number had been found.  The original poster was astonished and asked just how all that information was able to be found in such a short period of time with just a picture to go off of.  One of the people who tracked down the information divulged some of their secrets, including very specialized search engines and information compilers.  Since then I have gotten to know a lot of incredibly tech/internet savvy people and am 100% convinced that the “underground” group of people who believe in file-sharing, piracy, DDoS attacks, etc… are much more determined than just about any porn company in existence.  If the lawsuits continue, and it sure looks like they will, I think it’s fair to expect this kind of “retaliation” to continue as well.

Ok, enough opining, on to the news!

A little over a week ago the Adult Copyright Company (http://www.adultcopyrightcompany.com/home.html) filed another gigantic lawsuit against 10,000 “John Doe” torrent users, which is in addition to the 7,000 users targeted just a few weeks before that.  If you add in the 635 people Larry Flynt Publications sued then you are pretty close to surpassing the 18,000 user mark set by the RIAA in its copyright lawsuits. {Source: http://extratorrent.com/article/899/porn+industry+launched+mass+lawsuit+against+17+000+users.html}  The big difference is that the RIAA sued 18,000 people in ~5 years while the nearly 18,000 people being sued by various adult companies and their representatives has taken all of a couple months. That is a massive amount of “John Doe” targets!

In a similar vein, one name we might be hearing more of in the coming months is John Steele.  Mr. Steele is a Chicago lawyer poised to become a big name in the adult industry “John Doe” lawsuits.  According to an article published on the Chicago Tribune website (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-11-15/news/ct-met-porn-attorney-20101115_1_face-lawsuit-anti-piracy-campaign-copyright-violators) Mr. Steele and a partner have developed software that tracks illegal torrent seeding and are using it to compile IP addresses.  These IP’s can then be traced to individual users who will then be sued in batch lawsuits.  So far around 3,000 IP addresses have been targeted by Media Copyright Group (Steele’s organization) in the first seven lawsuits he has filed this year out of an expected ten.  At this point Mr. Steele has more than a dozen porn studios as clients and judging by the current climate I can only imagine many more will follow, especially if Mr. Steele starts generating significant returns.  Ignoring the glaring Big Brother problems I have with this “software” I’m pretty skeptical of a family law practitioner developing software to track the illegal sharing of adult films.  Nothing about his background, his websites (http://mediacopyrightgroup.com/index.htm, http://www.steele-law.com), or this “software” make me too confident that he’ll be able to accomplish anything of substance, but only time will tell. *

And lastly there is the Content Protection Retreat.  Remember that meeting that took place last month?  Well, we still don’t know where it was held or what was said there but if the recent filings of thousands of lawsuits are any indication Media Copyright Group and Adult Copyright Company might have a lot of new business coming their way.
*The reason I didn’t include the 3,000 IP’s in with the ~18,000 from above is that the 3,000 IP’s haven’t been paired up with individuals yet.  From what I can deduce the first 18,000 have all been individuals while the newer 3,000 haven’t progressed quite that far yet.  Hopefully I’ll be able to offer more clarification in subsequent articles.

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