MPAA’s Media Defender sets up ‘fake’ site to catch pirates

July 4, 2007

MPAA's Media Defender sets up 'fake' site to catch pirates Don’t get caught up in the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) latest sting. Media Defender, a company which does the dirty work for the MPAA, has been caught setting up ‘dummy’ websites in an attempt to catch those who download copyrighted videos – entrapment comes to mind.

The site, MiiVi.com, complete with a user registration, forum, and “family filter”, offers complete downloads of movies and “fast and easy video downloading all in one great site.” But that’s not all; MiiVi also offers client software to speed up the downloading process. The only catch is, after it’s installed, it searches your computer for other copyrighted files and reports back.

ZeroPaid, acting on a tip from The Pirate Bay, found MiiVi to be registered to Media Defender using a whois search. Shortly after, the registrar information was changed, but the address still reflects Media Defender’s address at 2461 Santa Monica Blvd., D-520 Santa Monica, CA 90404.

Not 10 hours after the site was found to be registered to Media Defender, the site went dead. There’s no telling how long it was up; however, the domain was registered on February 8, 2007.

Perhaps Media Defender won’t use its own name on the registrar the next time around, but it just goes to show the lengths at which the MPAA is willing to go, to fight piracy.

Update:
Media Defender purchases p2p.net, gets caught!
Media Defender’s internal email were leaked.

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34 Responses to “MPAA’s Media Defender sets up ‘fake’ site to catch pirates”

  1. Chydenius:

    As hateful this dying dinosaur is, that is a pretty clever ruse. The problem is that a) it could be construed as entrapment and b) I understand that they were using spyware, which could get them in trouble with the law.

    Still, y’gotta give’m credit. The FUD from this alone should slow piracy and return them to profitability.

  2. Chydenius:

    Just in case you missed it, my closing statement was sarcasm.

  3. Mark:

    Pretty clever?? Haha, what pirate site says “fast and easy video downloading all in one great site!!” and offers family filter.. Should be more like “w4rezz 4 j00″ haha..

    As for the whois information, did the get some kid to set it up for them? I say HAH in their face.

  4. johnq:

    this is nothing new. we here at BBC have done several articles about this many times over the years for our CLICK ONLINE show.

  5. Phyl:

    Hmmm, I wouldn’t mind signing up with their site at all, making sure to use a computer that would ONLY download from them of course. If they wanted to push it in court I don’t think it would be that hard to argue that since I got the material from them and they were legal representatives and had to have permission of the companies signed to their organization to distribute those programs that there could be no copyright infringement involved.

  6. binary:

    If the MPAA is giving away their movies via Torrent, then it must not be illegal. Remember kiddies, the uploaders are the ones who are pirates. The downloaders are just downloading stuffs from the de facto public domain. I believe the law requires the circumvention of copy protections. to be a DMCA hit. That’s the only law I know of that criminalizes actions related to copyright infringement. The Constitution of the United States of America, however, makes copyright a civil matter. The founding fathers never intended copyright as a way for corporate entities to protect their revenue streams. It’s a way to promote the useful arts and sciences. Our fair “for sale” congress needs to introduce legislature that makes common sense. They have currently been bought by the MPAA and RIAA to make laws which have no purpose other than to protect the revenue streams of archaic corporations who refuse to adapt to a changing market. Instead of being subject to market forces as should be the status quo in our capitalist society, they would rather buy our freedoms from whore senators and representatives to enact laws on their behalf. The people have been criminalized.

  7. hikaricore:

    It would take one very special person to fall for this…
    Client software? Give me a break.

    One more reason to stop using ***dows.

  8. Lisa:

    Wide reporting!

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/04/2212213
    http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-gang-launches-their-own-video-download-site-to-trap-people/

    How does it feel to be more unpopular than Castro?

    http://bulletin.hmc.edu/archives/2005/Summer05/randy_saaf98.html

  9. Iod:

    After reading this article, at least the title and the part about the client I was going to complain to them about not releasing a GNU/Linux version. I am presuming they didn’t release it of course. I believe in equal treatment for all regardless of the OS someone is using.

  10. DMCC:

    How is called the European RIAA which actually works to punish the downloading of songs which are related to the US music industry and not their OWN industry??? thanks

    By the ways, how much costs the download of the movie The Wall, and what will be the consequences of doing it, and how will it be punished by the european music industry, and why..

  11. d w:

    If they knowingly posted copyrighted materials for free, they have given up their right to sue to recover damages. Every single item that was downloaded with their knowledge is now fair game. If anyone has any information about the items that were made available, esp. with wayback or something like that, it would help tremendously to prove that the MPAA has voluntarily given up their rights to those materials.

  12. tom:

    Remember to check out addpile.com

  13. Anonymous:

    Isn’t it illegal to encourage criminal acts in the US? Where I come from, it is.

    /Denmark

  14. Eric:

    I’d be curious to see if the music/movie tracks they released though this site have some kind of digital tags built in, so that they can be tracked on their wonderful journey through the internet.

    They’ll be copied, redistributed, and re-pirated over and over and over, like a spreading disease…

    It makes me cringe.

    If ANYONE that finds out about this site that has downloaded from them, DELETE THE FILES. Please, think of the pirates?

  15. Cabal:

    Please use a dictionary. Entrapment doesn’t apply to people or organizations that aren’t law enforcement officials.

  16. Silly Rabbits:

    Entrapment only applies to law enforcement types, not civilians. Relying on entrapment laws too heavily isn’t a safe bet. Maybe if the EULA doesn’t cover it, their program which does searches on the users computer could be construed as a privacy violation?

  17. caf:

    “One more reason to stop using ***dows.” (hikaricore).

    Yes, because we all want to use ubuntu to play games. Puh-lease. Your own site link’s front page describes entirely why people still use windows. Most of the games for ubuntu are utter crap. Today on your front page you have a turn based strategy which looks like it came out of 1990, a first person shooter that looks like it’s using the quake engine with really bad cartoony models, a notification that a new version of the worst, most buggy way to play games on linux was released (wine), yet another MMORPG which looks like it came out of the 80s, and somoene reinventing the TA wheel.

    I’m sorry, but these things all *suck*. If the alternatives could actually produce quality one might be inclined to switch. As it stands, linux is only useful to people who don’t play a lot of games and people who are not held back by what linux doesn’t have.

  18. Stainless Steel Rat:

    Consider a few things here:

    This is cleaver if you’re a 12 year old. How many of us are going to install software and / or download from an actual site without doing the research to figure out who’s running it? Not me, and not most of you either (Unless you’re not that experienced yet)

    This was a lame attempt to set up a “Sting” operation for what? All they could do was bust users for downloading warez that THEY provided.

    More interesting is the thought that they wanted this story to go out to spread FUD.

    Now, perhaps, they have people squirming in their seats over downloading.

    Of course perhaps they DID mean this to be a serious try, in which case I suspect the company is in for problems…

  19. hikaricore:

    @caf: Way to go off-topic troll. Since we’re already here, I don’t have any control over what is released and when. If you’d do some searching instead of complaining you may actually find something of interest, but since you’re a MS fanboy I wouldn’t expect you to be able to multitask.

  20. MG:

    When my personal test site was hit by Mediasentry with DOS attack, I setup a FTP on the port they and recorded the activity. Called the number on the whois search,- they weren’t to happy once I started quoting the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. All you kiddies out probably should get to know this wonderful law, since it basicly prohibits any unauthorized action on your PC, network, and email accounts.

    PS: I have printed and framed the apology from MediaSentry pertaining to the DOS attack.

  21. jato:

    Hey, Stainless Steel Rat, you missed something. The software they download to your computer looks around and reports back the “other” stuff it finds. That is the danger, not that they know you downloaded a certain file from them.

  22. Parker:

    The movie industry pushes off remakes and sequels of old movies and TV shows for the past several years and complains that they are not profitable.

    Oceans 11 through infinity, Die Hard (on Social Security), Rocky (seriously?), Transformers, Italian Job, the list goes on.

    Maybe at some point the studio execs will pull their head out and realize that original ideas and concepts make money at the theater. Look at 300, it wasn’t the height of cinema art, but it was successful.

    I don’t download movies through P2P sites, but I can certainly understand why people would. Noone in their right mind would waste time and money going to the theater to see Rocky fall down and break his hip.

  23. Neuromancer:

    This whole “entrapment only applies to law enforcement” point works both ways. Since the MPAA is NOT a law enforcement agency, they have no business doing ‘stings’ anyway. All they can do is forward the information retrieved to your local police. Anyone with visions of guys in body armor marked MPAA zipping into your house on wires must be smokin crack.

    Parker has a good point about the profit complaints. Americans have been going out to the movies less and less for the past 25 years!! And yes, the quality of movies has dropped as well. It’s stupid to blame this profit drop on computer piracy; we can’t do anything with movies nowadays that we couldn’t do with two VCRs and a $10 cable from Radio Shack. It’s a total scam. As soon as I see movie stars driving around in Lincoln Town Cars instead of limos, THEN come talk to me about piracy. Thanks for playing, Hollywood!

  24. caf:

    Hikaricore: Actually, I own more than one computer – my work is done under Mac OS X, Gentoo and Windows (I need to be able to test under multiple platforms). I work for a corporation, and unlike you, I recognize the one thing that windows excels at which is important to a lot of people. You can think about that while you’re getting the fries to go with my burger. Linux is *inferior* as an entertainment solution.

  25. ha!:

    he prefers linux, so he HAS to work at a burger joint. nice one caf.

    “i work for a corporation”

    they’re lucky to have such a witty individual onboard. you sound like a complete tool.

  26. Neal:

    FYI: The definition of “Entrapment” is being forced to do something you wouldn’t NORMALLY do. If you normally go downloading movies… that’s not entrapment. Just thought you should know.

  27. dangerous guy:

    piracy

    Illegal act of violence, detention, or plunder committed for private ends by the crew of a private ship (usually) against another ship on the high seas. Air piracy (i.e., the hijacking of an aircraft) is a more recent phenomenon. Piracy has occurred in all stages of history: the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans engaged in it, as did the Vikings, Moors, and other Europeans. It also occurred among Asian peoples. During the wars between England and Spain in the late 16th century, treasure-laden Spanish galleons proceeding from Mexico into the Caribbean were a natural target for pirates. In the 16th – 18th centuries pirates from North Africa’s Barbary Coast threatened commerce in the Mediterranean. The increased size of merchant vessels, improved naval patrolling, and recognition by governments of piracy as an international offense led to its decline in the late 19th century. In the late 20th century incidents of piracy occurred with increasing frequency in the seas of East and Southeast Asia. See also Blackbeard; Francis Drake; Jean Laffite; Henry Morgan.

  28. lol:

    piracy

    Illegal act of violence, detention, or plunder committed for private ends by the crew of a private ship (usually) against another ship on the high seas. Air piracy (i.e., the hijacking of an aircraft) is a more recent phenomenon. Piracy has occurred in all stages of history: the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans engaged in it, as did the Vikings, Moors, and other Europeans. It also occurred among Asian peoples. During the wars between England and Spain in the late 16th century, treasure-laden Spanish galleons proceeding from Mexico into the Caribbean were a natural target for pirates. In the 16th – 18th centuries pirates from North Africa’s Barbary Coast threatened commerce in the Mediterranean. The increased size of merchant vessels, improved naval patrolling, and recognition by governments of piracy as an international offense led to its decline in the late 19th century. In the late 20th century incidents of piracy occurred with increasing frequency in the seas of East and Southeast Asia. See also Blackbeard; Francis Drake; Jean Laffite; Henry Morgan.

    Dangerous guy, that is not the definition for software piracy!

  29. PH:

    Well Randy…

    “http://img220.imageshack.us/my.php?image=confessionsofacorplapdofa3.jpg”

  30. The Pirate Bay:

    That was a very clever move. Was it a The Pirate Bay tip? That was a good discovery.

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