PopAds accuses MPA of spreading false piracy accusations * TorrentFreak


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Advertising firm Popads hit back at the MPA after the Hollywood-backed group named the company a “notorious market” that facilitates hacking. Several claims are false or misleading, PopAds count, while summarizing a long list of anti-piracy reporting options that seem to be largely ignored.

Every year, major copyright industry groups compile their lists of the most notorious pirate sites, which are publicly reported to the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

These snapshots provide data for the USTR’s annual snapshot of notorious markets, where sites such as The Pirate Bay, Fmovies, and Uploaded have emerged as repeat offenders.

Pressure tool

The aim of this process is to identify urgent piracy problems and to encourage foreign administrations, from which these portals often operate, to take action. It is truly a diplomatic lobbying tool with the ultimate goal of helping US rights holders fight online piracy.

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of debate about which sites and services to include. Not everyone agrees that YouTube downloaders and domain registrars are hackers’ havens, and the addition of ad companies is also seen as a controversial step.

Copyright holders clearly believe that these services are worth calling. This is clear from the Motion Picture Association (MPA) submission, which lists a wide range of third-party services. These include the advertising company PopAds, described as follows:

PopAds and PopCash are advertising networks owned by Tomksoft in Poland but incorporated in Costa Rica. PopAds generates advertising revenue for copyright infringing sites including gomovies123.org, megafilmeshdplus.org, video.az, and mega1080.com, while PopCash is currently used by watchmoviestream.me. PopAds previously generated ad revenue for Openload and Streamango, two of the most popular video file hosting services with over 136 million and 32 million visits per month, respectively, according to SimilarWeb (Openload and Streamango were shut down in October 2019).

PopAds responds

PopAds is not happy with this caption. Company attorney Kamil Nagrabski has sent a rebuttal to the USTR and points out that MPA’s submission includes false and misleading information. On the one hand, PopAds has no relationship with PopCash.

“My principal has nothing to do with PopCash and never had one. My principal has no idea why it is related to PopCash. This information is completely false and misleading to the general public and your institution ”, begins the rebuttal.

The main complaint from copyright owners is that PopAds provides its services to suspected pirate sites. The suggestion is that the Costa Rican company is doing nothing to stop or limit the piracy. PopAds strongly disagrees with this statement.

The advertising company points to its DMCA reporting tool. Although the DMCA does not mention ad networks, PopAds has chosen to implement this feature to help reduce piracy. PopAds not only removes advertisements from reported pirate sites, it also terminates repeat offender accounts.

“Of course, repeat offenders, anyone who tries to cheat the system is immediately and permanently banned. My Principal also operates a multi-account control system that will automatically detect and ban new accounts opened by someone who had an account banned in the past, ”notes PopAds.

Hacking Block Lists

The promotional outfit doesn’t stop there either. It recently launched a new Adscore Compliance Intelligence system. This automatically detects copyright infringing websites, which are then blocked from showing ads.

At present, PopAds uses several official hacking blacklists. This includes the City of London Police Operation Creative’s IWL blacklist, as well as the WIPO ALERT blacklist, which is maintained by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The sites on these blacklists are blocked in real time.

These blocking efforts prevent ads from appearing on sites that are blacklisted. Moreover, PopAds also makes sure that content uploaded by these sites via frames is blocked as well.

“MPA can easily block advertisements”

The above suggests that rights holders have various options for reporting and blocking content on pirate sites. This also applies to MPA, which works with the IWL blacklist.

“MPA can simply list any website it believes illegally hosts copyrighted content on Operation Creative IWL’s blacklist. Once this happens, the PopAds system will automatically stop showing any advertising on the reported website within 24 hours without any human intervention, ”notes PopAds.

Based on PopAds’ rebuttal, it looks like copyright holders still have room for improvement on their side. For example, MPA told USTR that PopAds generates revenue for gomovies123.org, megafilmeshdplus.org, video.az, and mega1080.com. However, it hasn’t done much to report this activity directly to PopAds.

“My manager has never received a DMCA complaint on any of these websites, nor on any of the hacking website blacklists my manager is involved in,” PopAds’ attorney told USTR.

A copy of PopAds’ full rebuttal, submitted as part of USTR’s 2021 Known Markets Review, is available here (pdf)

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