IPTV, Usenet, and Comic Pirates Agree to Pay and Shut Down *TorrentFreak

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Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN said it had reached cash settlement and forbearance agreements with a pirate IPTV seller and someone linked to a pirate comic download community. BREIN also made a deal with a large-scale Usenet version “watcher” who didn’t make any money from his hobby but ended up paying $10,000 for his troubles.

Whether it’s movies and TV shows, music, or other types of piracy, most major anti-piracy groups have a dedicated niche to protect. Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has them all covered.

In a report last summer, BREIN revealed that in addition to taking down more than 460 pirate sites and services, it blocked 180 Pirate Bay proxies at ISPs, played a role in 338 other shutdowns, tackled 23 pirated IPTV sellers, 33 illegal streaming sites and reached settlement agreements with 42 “identified perpetrators”.

BREIN remains busy this year and in the past few days alone has reported three more settled cases involving IPTV, Usenet and comic book pirates.

pirate iptv

According to BREIN, “All-in-One-Premium-TV” sold media boxes to the public with a subscription to an illegal IPTV service. After identifying the previously anonymous individual behind the sales, BREIN approached the man. He agreed to stop his activities and report his sales to the anti-piracy group.

Like other cases involving pirate IPTV providers and sellers, BREIN is ready to take people to court. However, in this case, the man was ready to make a deal with BREIN. These payments can be quite high, but due to the man’s “personal circumstances”, BREIN says they have “moderated” the settlement amount to a more modest $2,500.

To avoid a return to the same type of activity, the man also signed a declaration of abstention accompanied by a penalty clause of 500 euros per day for any breach. Another case handled by BREIN with a similar clause saw an IPTV seller break their agreement and, in February 2022, had been handed penalties of 420,000 euros.

Usenet Hack ‘Spotter’

When content is uploaded to Usenet (otherwise known as newsgroups), it is not automatically findable by regular search engine users. This has led to the rise of so-called “watchers”, users who find material including movies, TV shows, music and e-books, and post links to various forums and communities.

Observers can also be content uploaders and according to BREIN, he knocked out such a player.

“A man of [Netherlands province] Overijssel has been active for years under various pseudonyms as a large-scale uploader on Usenet. The 49-year-old was a member of several ‘release teams’ who were the first to upload and ‘spot’ unauthorized material, i.e. refer to it on indexing sites “, reads the press release from BREIN.

The anti-piracy group says it took legal action after obtaining the man’s name and address. In the event, the man chose to settle rather than fight, paying 10,000 euros to BREIN and providing information on the other parties involved in the groups. Again, the agreement with BREIN includes an abstention agreement with a penalty clause of 2,500 euros per day, up to a limit of 50,000 euros.

As reported recently, BREIN exerts continued pressure on Usenet hackers. In 2021, the anti-piracy group took down five Usenet indexing platforms and approached 38 content uploaders for settlement. Overall, BREIN has collected $290,000 in cash payouts from hackers, with the settlements touted as an alternative to lengthy and costly legal battles.

BREIN settled with a comic pirate, then went looking for his successor

In early 2021, BREIN launched an investigation in response to various Usenet comic uploads that referenced a listing on a collector’s website calling on users to fill gaps in the archive. At the time, approximately 128,000 titles were on the list, of which approximately 77,000 had been digitized.

In the summer of that same year, BREIN reported that it had reached an agreement with an individual “who played a facilitating role” in the unauthorized digitization of magazines and comic books. Following an approach, the man signed a declaration of abstention accompanied by a penalty clause.

However, the archive update has apparently been picked up by others, with Usenet uploads continuing to reference the collector’s website. As a result, BREIN continued its investigation and managed to identify a second person involved after searching for administrators and uploaders in Usenet communities.

BREIN says the individual has now agreed to pay a settlement of 5,000 euros with a forbearance penalty of 500 euros per day for a total of 50,000 euros. The anti-piracy group says its investigation will now continue due to obtaining additional information.

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