The MPAA has reported several piracy-promoting websites and services to the U.S. Government. The list features major torrent sites The Pirate Bay and Extratorrent, file-hosting services such as Openload and Rapidgator, and for the first time it also includes several of their hosting companies.
Responding to a request from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), the MPAA has sent in its annual list of notorious markets.
In its latest submission the Hollywood group targets a wide variety of “rogue” sites and services which they claim are promoting the illegal distribution of movies and TV-shows, with declining incomes and lost jobs in the movie industry as a result.
“The criminals who profit from the most notorious markets throughout the world threaten the very heart of our industry and in so doing they threaten the livelihoods of the people who give it life,” the MPAA writes.
What’s new this year is that the MPAA calls out several hosting providers. These companies refuse to take pirate sites offline following complaints, even when the MPAA views them as blatantly violating the law.
“Hosting companies provide the essential infrastructure required to operate a website,” MPAA writes. “Given the central role of hosting providers in the online ecosystem, it is very concerning that many refuse to take action upon being notified.”
The Hollywood group specifically mentions Private Layer, Altushost and Netbrella, which are linked to various countries including the Netherlands, Panama, Sweden and Switzerland.
CDN provider CloudFlare is also named. As a US-based company it can’t be included in the list. However, MPAA explains that it is often used as an anonymization tool by sites and services that are mentioned in the report.
“An example of a CDN frequently exploited by notorious markets to avoid detection and enforcement is Cloudflare. CloudFlare is a CDN that also provides reverse proxy functionality. Reverse proxy functionality hides the real IP address of a web server.”
Stressing the importance of third-party services, the MPAA notes that domain name registrars can also be seen as possible “notorious markets.” As an example, the report mentions the Indian Public Domain Registry (PDR) which has repeatedly refused to take action against pirate sites.
At the heart of the MPAA’s report are as always the pirate sites themselves. This year they list 23 sites in separate categories, each with a suspected location, as defined by the movie industry group.
According to the MPAA, BitTorrent remains the most popular source of P2P piracy, despite the shutdowns of large sites such as KAT, Torrentz and YTS.
The Pirate Bay has traditionally been one of the main targets. Based on data from Alexa and SimilarWeb, the MPAA says that TPB has about 47 million unique visitors per month.
The MPAA writes that the site was hit by various enforcement actions in recent years. They also mistakenly suggest that the site is no longer the number one pirate site, but add that it gained traction after KAT and Torrentz were taken down.
“While it has never returned to its number one position, it has had a significant comeback after kat.cr and torrentz.eu went offline in 2016,” the MPAA writes.
ExtraTorrent is another prime target. The site offers millions of torrents and is affiliated with the Trust.Zone VPN, which they advertise on their site.
“Extratorrent.cc claims astonishing piracy statistics: offering almost three million free files with sharing optimized through over 64 million seeders and more than 39 million leechers.
“The homepage currently displays a message warning users to use a VPN when downloading torrents. Extratorrent.cc is affiliated with Trust.Zone,” MPAA adds.
The full list of reported torrent sites is as follows:
-Rarbg.to (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Direct Download and Streaming Cyberlockers
The second category of pirate sites reported by the MPAA are cyberlockers. The movie industry group points out that these sites generate millions of dollars in revenue, citing a report from Netnames.
The “Movshare Group,” which allegedly operates Nowvideo.sx, Movshare.net, Novamov.com, Videoweed.es, Nowdownload.ch, Divxstage.to and several other pirate sites is a particularly large threat, they say.
As in previous submissions VKontakte, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook, is also listed as a notorious market.
-Nowvideo.sx and the “Movshare Group” (several locations)
Finally, there are various linking websites, many of which focus on a foreign audience. These sites don’t host the infringing material, but only link to it. The full list of linking sites is as follows.
In its closing comments the Hollywood industry group calls on USTR and the U.S. government at large to help combat these threats, either directly or by encouraging foreign nations to take action.
“We strongly support efforts by the U.S. government to work with trading partners to protect and enforce intellectual property rights and, in so doing, protect U.S. jobs,” the MPAA concludes.
MPAA’s full submission is available here.