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  1. In a new complaint filed at a Hawaii federal court, 19 'John Does' are accused of sharing pirated copies of the film Ava. The defendants, who are only known by their IP-addresses, are described as users of the site YTS. While there is no hard evidence to back up all claims, the accused may still be in trouble. In recent months we have reported in detail how users of the popular torrent site YTS were sued in US courts. In several of these cases, information shared by the site’s operator was brought in as evidence. The user info was obtained by anti-piracy lawyer Kerry Culpepper, as part of an undisclosed settlement agreement. This week the same attorney is back in court representing ‘Eve Nevada LLC,’ the company behind the film Ava, which is shared widely on various pirate sites. Again, YTS is prominently mentioned, but this time things are different. The complaint, filed at a Hawaii federal court, lists 19 ‘John Doe’ defendants who are only known by their IP-addresses. These addresses were caught sharing the film via public torrent trackers. Specifically, the complaint mentions a file titled “Ava (2020) [1080p] [WEBRip] [5.1] [YTS.MX].” This title leads the filmmakers to the conclusion that the defendant must have been users of the YTS site. Or as the complaint puts it: “Upon information and belief, each of the Defendants registered for an account on the YTS website using an email address or installed a BitTorrent Client application on their device that retrieved torrent files from the YTS website.” This same conclusion, in addition to the fact that defendants downloaded the same file, is also used as an argument to join the 19 defendants in one case. However, based on the information presented, it’s far from clear that at all of these people were indeed YTS users. Unlike in the other cases, the copyright holder didn’t present any information from the YTS user base, likely because it doesn’t have any. The data-sharing was a one-time arrangement several months ago, long before YTS released the movie Ava. While it’s possible that the defendants indeed used YTS, they could have easily downloaded the .torrent file from other sites where the same file was made available. Although several torrent sites banned YTS torrents, many haven’t, including the illustrious Pirate Bay. Whether the defendants are actually YTS users or not may not make much of a difference. At least not for the copyright infringement allegations. In addition to direct and contributory copyright infringement, the complaint also accuses the defendant of violating the DMCA by altering copyright management information (CMI). In this case, that means distributing the movie Ava with an edited title, which references YTS. “Particularly, the Defendants distributed the file names that included CMI that had been altered to include the wording ‘YTS’. Defendants knew that the wording “YTS” originated from the notorious movie piracy website for which each had registered accounts and/or actively used,” the complaint reads. It’s doubtful that any of these cases will be fought on the merits. When the defendant’s personal information is exposed it’s likely that they will receive a settlement request, which is usually around $1,000. Those who refuse to settle can argue their case in court, but that’s going to cost as well. They can eventually win the case, but not without investing in a legal defense first. As far as we know this is the first time people have been sued for downloading the film Ava. The company Eve Nevada is a new name as well, but one with familiar connections. It’s connected to the broader Voltage Pictures family, which has sued tens of thousands of people over the years. — A copy of the complaint filed at the US District Court of Hawaii is available here (pdf) Source: TorrentFreak
  2. The makers of the films 'Ava' and 'Rambo V: Last Blood' have filed a lawsuit targeting 16 alleged movie pirates. The complaint suggests that the defendants are registered users of the popular torrent site RARBG, but provides no proof for this allegation. The film companies do have evidence that the IP-addresses were caught sharing torrent files. Lawsuits against alleged movie pirates are nothing new. We have reported on many dozens over the years. More recently, Hawaii-based attorney Kerry Culpepper added a new element to these cases when he singled out YTS users. The lawyer was able to do this because YTS handed over database information as part of a private settlement. A rather concerning development, which caused quite a stir among torrent users and site owners. This tactic is interesting from a few perspectives. For one, the database information is additional evidence and provides valuable information such as email addresses. In addition, calling a torrent site by name may deter some people from using it in the future. It’s a win-win. Lawsuit Against Alleged RARBG Users That last argument may be why a new lawsuit, filed on behalf of the makers of the films Rambo V: Last Blood and Ava, singles out the torrent site RARBG. In a complaint filed at a federal court in Hawaii, the movie companies accuse 16 “John Doe” defendants who are only known by their IP-addresses. These people were tracked by the company Maverickeye, which provides evidence for many related cases. In this case, the IP-addresses are linked to torrents for the movies ‘Ava’ and ‘Rambo V,’ which are shared on many pirate sites. However, the movie companies specifically call out RARBG. “Upon information and belief, each of the Defendants registered for an account on the movie piracy website ‘RARBG’ using an email address or installed a BitTorrent Client application on their device that retrieved torrent files from the movie piracy website ‘RARBG’,” they write. What Evidence is There? The RARBG mention is unusual because there’s no evidence to back up the claim that the defendants actually used this site. RARBG didn’t share any user data, as opposed to YTS. The only link to RARBG we can spot is that the torrents “Ava.2020.WEBDL.x264-FGT” and “Rambo.Last.Blood.2019.1080p.KORSUB.HDRip.x264.AAC2.0-STUTTERSHIT” are shared on the popular torrent site. That said, the same files, linking to the same swarms, are available elsewhere too. Nonetheless, RARBG is prominently mentioned throughout the complaint. The “notorious” pirate site “promotes and distributes” pirated content, the companies say. “As shown in the screenshot below, the movie piracy website ‘RARBG’ promotes and distributes the infringing torrent file ‘Ava.2020.WEBDL.x264-FGT’ which Defendants downloaded and used to display, reproduce and distribute the Work Ava.” Whether the defendants used RARBG or another site doesn’t change the copyright infringement allegations. These are totally independent of the site from which the torrents were downloaded. TorrentFreak reached out to the plaintiffs’ attorney who refused to comment on the issue. One possibility we could think of is that the site is mentioned to signal to users that they are vulnerable. But that would equally apply to other sites. Copyright Infringements and DMCA Violation Looking at the actual allegations, a familiar theme appears. All 16 ‘Does’ are accused of direct and contributory copyright infringement for allegedly sharing copies of the movie Ava, and one defendant also shared the Rambo film. In addition, the defendants are further accused of violating the DMCA by altering copyright management information (CMI). In this case, that means distributing the movies with an edited title, which references pirate groups such as “FGT” and “STUTTERSHIT”. “Defendants knew that neither ‘FGT’ nor ‘STUTTERSH*T’ were the authors of Plaintiffs’ Works,” the complaint reads. As is common in these types of cases, the movie companies requested a subpoena to compel the ISP, Verizon Wireless, to hand over the personal details of the associated subscribers. If granted, the accused will likely be offered a settlement of a few hundred dollars or more. Update: RARBG issued the following statement to us: “We are in no way shape or form involved in this lawsuit. We do not log ip addresses on downloads or any registered user IP addresses. It is our strong belief that these ip addresses were collected by p2p monitoring on torrent swarms.” — A copy of the complaint filed on behalf of Eve Nevada, LLC and Rambo V Productions, Inc, is available here (pdf) Source: TorrentFreak
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