mg-premium-ltd-lawsuits-coming

Why I suspect MG Premium Ltd. will soon be suing defendants.

MG Premium Ltd. is the owner of the websites containing adult content, [specifically, “Reality Kings,” “Brazzers,” “MOFOS,” “Babes.com,” “Twistys,” and others]. While at the moment they appear to be merely “shaking down” adult film websites [e.g., last year, WAXTUBE.COM; this year, YESPORNPLEASE.COM and/or VSHARE.IO], I cannot help but to think that MG Premium Ltd. will soon be suing downloaders accused of streaming their copyrighted adult films on Tube-like websites. 

[Less likely (because they have already tried this in the US with CEG-TEK), I suspect that MG Premium might again begin sending DMCA settlement demand letters to US-based accused internet users just as they are currently doing in Sweden as I write this article (currently, they are trying to shake down 16,594 accused internet users in Sweden who have been observed downloading their adult film titles).]
mg-premium-ltd. Pornhub has been ordered to expose copyright infringers

Why I think MG Premium’s lawsuits will catch internet users who are STREAMING CONTENT rather than downloading videos on BITTORRENT SWARMS:

In April of 2017, I suggested that in the future, internet users will be caught viewing streamed Tube-like videos.  I suggested that based on the Pornhub lawsuit (MG Premium Ltd. owns Pornhub.com), viewers of adult content would get caught by the Google Analytics tracker which is installed on many websites using Google Analytics to track their users. 

This would be a “next-gen” kind of lawsuit where the copyright holders move past tracking bittorrent use (an outdated method of tracking downloaders), and they would start using the pirated porn websites themselves to track the users by their IP address.

Unfortunately, I was wrong about the tracker, but I was right about the concept.  Instead of Google Analytics, I should have been looking at Cloudflare, the content delivery network (“CDN”) provider which hosts a majority of the content online. 

In the near future, I expect [from mere 1+1 observation] that MG Premium Ltd. will soon launch lawsuits against John Doe defendants… but not based on bittorrent use.  Rather, they will have companies such as Cloudflare turn over the IP address logs of which IP addresses accessed the pirated adult films on which dates and times.

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WHO IS MG PREMIUM LTD.?

MG Premium Ltd. is a subsidiary of Mindgeek. According to Ernesto from Torrentfreak, “[MG Premium Ltd.] the company, formerly known as Manwin, owns one of the most visited adult websites, Pornhub, and is also the driving force behind YouPorn, Redtube, Tube8, Xtube, and dozens of other sites.”

TechNadu, “MindGeek is the owner of Pornhub, one of the most visited porn websites in the world, as well as the owner of well-known adult production companies.”

NOTE: MG PREMIUM LTD. ALSO USED TO ACT UNDER THE NAME FROYTAL SERVICES LTD., THEN THEY ACTED UNDER THE NAME “MANWIN CONTENT.”

HISTORY: MG PREMIUM LTD USED A COPYRIGHT ENFORCEMENT COMPANY TO SEND DMCA SETTLEMENT DEMAND LETTERS.

The last time I saw MG Premium Ltd. acting in the “copyright trolling” space was in 2014-2016 when they hired Copyright Enforcement Group (“CEG-TEK”) to send settlement demand letters asking for money every time an accused downloader downloaded one of their thousands of copyrighted titles.

At the time, MG Premium Ltd. was using the business entity name “Froytal Services Limited”. I was tracking them for some time trying to warn those downloading their titles that they will receive a settlement demand letter from MG Premium Ltd. and others using CEG-TEK’s services. At the time, they were asking for $300/title allegedly downloaded, but back then, the Strike 3 Holdings, LLC “Tushy, Vixen, and Blacked” lawsuits did not yet get started.

In 2015, the average settlement for an MG Premium Ltd. case was something like $900 (~3 titles displayed on CEG-TEK’s page). Now we are seeing Strike 3 Holdings, LLC lawsuits ask for settlements closer to $30,000 or $40,000 and I have no doubt that MG Premium Ltd. has noticed.

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MG PREMIUM LTD. IN 2015:

In 2014-2015, most internet users at that time were fearful about $150,000 copyright infringement lawsuits filed in federal courts, as we see today with the Strike 3 Holdings LLC and (and in past years with the Malibu Media LLC lawsuits).

In 2015, MG Premium Ltd. (via CEG-TEK) went around the US federal courts and used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to “politely ask” the ISPs to forward their settlement demand letter to ISP subscriber’s e-mail address on file.

Using DMCA settlement demand notices [which went into the e-mail inbox of ISP account holders], MG Premium Ltd. accused the ISP account holders of copyright infringement.

They threatened that they could file a copyright infringement lawsuit against them in federal court. However, “to avoid litigation,” they were willing to have the accused downloaders pay CEG-TEK (their agent) a modest settlement anonymously and conveniently using a credit card.

CEG-TEK was the company they hired to set up the settlement payment website and to handle the settlement negotiations should an accused downloader have multiple titles claimed against him (and most did).

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I knew that tracking the piracy of every one of their adult films was prohibitively expensive because the huge amount of computer resources it would take to track every single bittorrent swarm containing the various versions leaking on the internet of each of their movie titles (1080p, 720, high definiton (HD), low definition, clips, siterips, mistitled swarms, etc.).

Thus, I realized that MG Premium Ltd. merely resorted to selecting adult film videos (their most “popular” titles) which they believed would yield the largest number of settlements. For this reason, I posted an list of titles that MG Premium Ltd. was tracking.

The fall of CEG-TEK and the end of MG Premium Ltd.’s copyright trolling DMCA settlement campaign:

There is a lot of history in what ended up killing CEG-TEK’s DMCA settlement business, but to keep things simple, many ISPs got together and created the Six Strikes Anti-Piracy System where the ISPs stopped forwarding CEG-TEK’s settlement demand letters (cutting off MG Premium Ltd.’s ability to collect settlement payments).

Instead of forwarding the DMCA settlement demand letter, under the Six Strikes System, ISPs simply notified their customer that copyright infringement had occurred on their internet connection, and if it did not stop, they would share their identity with the copyright holder (exposing that internet user to a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court for $150,000 per instance of infringement).

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The immediate result was that big ISPs were no longer forwarding CEG-TEK’s settlement demand letters. CEG-TEK then expanded the list of ISPs that agreed to forward its DMCA settlement demand letters, but in the end, to no avail.

While the Six Strikes System was meant to support the copyright holders’ interests by sharing user information with them, instead it killed the business of the copyright enforcement companies. It also caused other non-member ISPs to also start refusing to comply with the DMCA rules [as companies such as CEG-TEK and MG Premium Ltd. were exploiting them] by refusing to forward settlement demand letters in their entirety.

Most notable of these ISPs was COX Communications, which was eventually sued by BMG for refusing to send over DMCA notices to its subscribers. There is no doubt a lot to write about the BMG v. Cox lawsuit, but the focus in this article is on MG Premium Ltd., CEG-TEK’s old client.

The Six Strikes System eventually ended (as far as I know), but before this occurred, the idea of sending DMCA letters to internet account users became a useless endeavor.

The last time I spoke to CEG-TEK, they were waiting for the outcome of the BMG v. Cox lawsuit to determine whether they could continue their proprietary DMCA settlement demand letter “adult film copyright enforcement” business, or whether they would sell it to the highest bidder.

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I suspected at one point that Malibu Media LLC or other prolific copyright trolls would buy CEG-TEK’s DMCA settlement website and proprietary technology, but due to circumstances of Malibu Media LLC filing lawsuits against its own attorney Keith Lipscomb (the attorney running all of the Malibu Media LLC adult film lawsuits across the US), the sale to Malibu Media LLC never happened. (In full disclosure and in hindsight, CEG-TEK would never have sold their business model to Malibu Media LLC based solely on the fact that CEG-TEK tried its best to keep its operations legitimate and Malibu Media LLC had a bad reputation).

Instead, the CEG-TEK company is gathering dust and happily, no MG Premium Ltd. settlement demand letters have been sent out [to US internet] users since 2016.

WHAT NOW?

So where do we go from here? Honestly, at this moment, nowhere. The BMG lawsuit ended with COX settling the claims against it (giving DMCA settlement demand letters from companies such as CEG-TEK and Rightscorp (music) some “teeth” — because now copyright owners could force ISPs to shut down the internet accounts of those accused of copyright infringement — but those who were running CEG-TEK already moved on to other business ventures.

CEG-TEK is in the dustbin, for the moment, adult film company Malibu Media LLC lawsuits have stopped because Malibu Media LLC again is in litigation with their new attorneys, and Strike 3 Holdings, LLC cases are floundering like a fish-out-of-water with some federal court rulings killing their business method of suing accused downloaders for copyright infringement in federal court.

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The new tactic of “shaking down” large websites hosting pirated content.

No doubt the new tactic of going after the large websites hosting copyrighted content is a very profitable idea for the adult film copyright holders. Instead of shaking down end-users (downloaders) for a few hundred dollars per video, they can shake down significantly deeper pockets — the adult film websites hosting “free” adult film content [and, consequently making millions of dollars in advertising revenue]… and the adult film movie copyright holders want every penny of that revenue.

I am seeing the same trend on the movie front. I understand that movie companies have been going after the websites that are hosting copyrighted movie content… first The Pirate Bay… and most recently, IceFilms.info (currently down, and possibly down forever).

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My Thoughts: Staying Away From Downloaders is a Good Thing for Downloaders.

If the movie companies and the adult film companies can succeed in shutting down the website owners who host the unlicensed copyrighted movies AND they stop trying to sue and extort thousands of dollars from each accused internet user who was observed downloading the copyrighted movies, this would be a good outcome.

Of course, millions of users who rely on pirated movies and TV shows would be temporarily unable to access their movies without paying some cable company provider or subscription-based providers such as Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, etc., but at least the focus of the copyright holders will be in the right place — trying to stop the AVAILABILITY of pirated content.

…but “a scorpion cannot act in any way other than a scorpion.”

And yet, out comes the jaded part of me which laughs when I consider that “a scorpion cannot act in any way other than a scorpion.” MG Premium Ltd., Strike 3 Holdings, LLC, and other movie copyright trolls are not going to change who they are. They may shed their skin and change their tactics momentarily (perhaps now moving from tracking accused downloaders on Bittorrent to tracking them using Cloudflare or Google Analytics), but they will not stop going after the most profitable source of revenue… the collective deep pockets of those accused of downloading their copyrighted films.

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If you are old enough to get the “Little Shop of Horrors” reference, maybe giving the venus fly trap “a drop of blood” at a time to keep it momentarily satiated will stay the coming copyright infringement lawsuits (the “drop of blood” = each movie website who pays the copyright holders a multi-million dollar settlement).

But eventually, I have NO DOUBT that the words “FEED ME SEYMOUR!” will once again begin to ring in the halls of the federal courts across the US as new lawsuits are filed against accused downloaders yet again.

This time, however, I suspect that the copyright trolls will have changed their skin. They will no longer sue accused internet users who used BITTTORENT to download their copyrighted videos, but rather, they will use big-tech companies such as Cloudflare and Google as partners in their “Anti-Piracy” campaign to sue each IP address who visited a particular website and who streamed a particular video on a particular date.

Comparing the Little Shop of Horrors' Venus Fly Trap (Audrey II) to MG Premium Ltd. and their desire for a "drop of blood."
Comparing the Little Shop of Horrors’ Venus Fly Trap (Audrey II) to MG Premium Ltd. and their desire for a “drop of blood.”

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