In a final nail to the coffin of a piracy icon, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) – backed by every major Hollywood Studio has declared a comprehensive victory in shutting down torrent release group YIFY and its website YTS.
A joint operation between the MPAA and the group’s ‘international associates’ has resulted in the shutting down of prolific and popular movie pirate YIFY. The MPAA has also reached a private settlement with the operator of YIFY, a New Zealand Citizen who allegedly ran the entire operation from a house in Auckland.
The unknown New Zealander settled out of court with the MPAA, according to local representatives of the studio-backed copyright infringement group who spoke to local publication NZ Herald.
Matthew Cheetham, managing director of New Zealand Screen Association and a local representative of the MPAA said:
[YTS] existed for the sole purpose of distributing motion pictures on a massive scale online while providing illicit profits to the operator of the website.
He revealed the MPAA had begun looking into the possibility of a global operation running out of New Zealand, a country not particularly known for housing any pirate uploaders in the past, with Eastern Europe normally recognized as the global epicenter of film piracy.
“We were very surprised it was being run out of house in Mt Wellington,” he added.
Although YIFY torrents are still available on multiple public torrent websites, the YTS domain experienced downtime through most of October, which unbeknownst to many at the time, was the beginning of the end for the popular torrent uploader. Since then, more recent reports have confirmed that YIFY is indeed dead.
A Settlement in Exchange for Information?
The details of the settlement are unclear but TorrentFreak sources have revealed that the private, out-of-court agreement is likely to involve a pact of information sharing between YTS and the MPAA.
Whilst the claim is still speculative without any real indication or proof of such an agreement, it is entirely possible that the MPAA decided to settle out of court in lieu of valuable information that has already been or could be revealed by YTS in the future.
It’s purely guesswork but information, if shared, is likely to include:
- Information about other release groups. For example, information of scene groups (groups who release original copies of a Blu-ray or DVD).
- Account information of users who registered on the YTS domain, which would be a betrayal to its users.
Meanwhile, the MPAA also took credit for the recent wipeout of popular movie streaming website Popcorn Time, a service that was incidentally using YTS as a library resource for streaming movies.
In a press release [PDF] simply titled ‘Major Piracy Sites Shut Down,’ Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA said:
Popcorn Time and YTS are illegal platforms that exist for one clear reason: to distribute stolen copies of the latest motion pictures and television shows without compensating the people who worked so hard to make them.
This coordinated legal action is part of a larger comprehensive approach being taken by the MPAA and its international affiliates to combat content theft.
Image from Shutterstock.