Since the MPAA began its campaign to stomp out piracy in mid-December 2004, their main priority has been BitTorrent indexing sites that distribute movie torrents. As an example of their efforts, the MPAA eradicated such torrent sites as LokiTorrent, leaving only the "You can click, but you cannot hide" catch phrase as remnants. Although the MPAA concentrated mainly on movie piracy, the MPAA has shifted gears as those who distribute TV torrents are now targeted.
In a press release issued today, the MPAA has filed lawsuits against six (6) independent BitTorrent indexing sites. This move comes as little surprise, as many of the MPAA's members also hold considerable interest in TV production as well. In addition, according to a recent survey by Envisional, TV piracy (especially on BitTorrent) has increased by 150%.
“Internet thievery of all creative materials is unacceptable and these thieves need to realize they are not anonymous,” said MPAA President and CEO Dan Glickman.
“There are thousands of people in the entertainment industry who are working to develop, produce, and promote television shows. Those shows and those jobs are worth protecting. Every television series depends on other markets-syndication, international sales – to earn back the enormous investment required to produce the comedies and dramas we all enjoy and those markets are substantially hurt when that content is stolen. On these sites, anyone in the world can download entire television seasons in a single click.”
If we believe the movie industry’s statistics, the MPAA seems to have a better grip on the piracy situation than the RIAA. According to the RIAA, 90% of BitTorrent site operators who have been sued no longer offer torrent files. Also, the MPAA claims that the number of BitTorrent sites in existence has fallen by 40% since mid-December. The RIAA would kill for such numbers.
“Since we began shutting these sites down, the time that it takes to download a file on BitTorrent has increased exponentially which means the experience of downloading copyrighted films and TV shows is not what it used to be,” said Glickman. “We intend to make it even worse. Protecting the television industry is essential.”
This statement seems to contradict the experience many BitTorrent users testify to. Instead, users claim there are actually more torrent sites available and their BitTorrent journey remains on par with earlier experiences – providing they use indexing sites other than today’s targets…
So, who was sued by the MPAA today? Some very familiar faces in the BitTorrent community may be looking at their last days on the Internet.
This site has around 10,000 registered users in addition to catalogs TV torrents (or at least had.) The indexing portion of the site is "perm down" and links to the MPAA's press release.
Zonatraker is a small Spanish torrent site, although it indexes many new movies in addition to TV shows. Zonatracker's indexing ability still appears operational.
Btefnet is a very large and well known torrent community of over 48,000 registered users. Many have called this community home since the fall of other larger torrent sites. Btefnet's tracker is still online.
This is a very small torrent site, and looking at the home page one would think the site is virtually dead (considering the last news update was in 2004.) However, the forums are quite active, with copious torrents tucked inside. Scifi's tracker is still online.
The MPAA was smart in the way they handled this site, and used its own statistics against it. "This site has over 8000 registered users,
and averaged over 1500 visits a day in March 2005 according to statistics
posted on the site." The tracking ability of this site remains intact.
This site is big on collecting donations – and probably will be more so in the coming days. "IF THE DONATIONS DO NOT GET ANY BETTER THEN THIS SITE WILL HAVE TO CLOSE." It appears the MPAA was quick to use this against this site, stating "It solicits donations to make money." We'll see how this situation plays out. It also appears the site's tracker is still online.
Since news of the MPAA's lawsuits only recently broke, it remains to be seen what action these sites will take. Although most are online at the moment, it should be expected they will slowly go off line in the coming hours and days.