PrimeWire Removes Pirate Movies and TV Shows to Thwart Court Injunctions *TorrentFreak

Last December, Paramount, Universal, Warner, Columbia, Disney and Netflix sued longtime pirate streaming site PrimeWire.

The companies accused PrimeWire of encouraging site users to upload links to pirated content and facilitating access to these movies and TV shows through an organized index, in violation of copyright law.

According to the plaintiffs, VOD services such as Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+ and Peacock have been harmed by the existence of PrimeWire. As a result, they demanded millions in damages for copyright infringement and later obtained a preliminary injunction.

The injunction ordered PrimeWire to cease its illegal activities and also required registrars and domain name registries to disable three PrimeWire domains. While primewire.ag was indeed suspended, the site continued operations using two others after they were transferred to a new registrar who did nothing.

The studios then ask the court for a permanent injunction which will retain the defendants and will tackle the appearance of new areas. They also sought permission to conduct findings on third-party companies linked to PrimeWire in order to make an accurate claim for damages.

PrimeWire removes all links to pirated content

Although the PrimeWire operators did not appear in court to defend themselves, they are aware of the complaint. In January, it emerged that the site was preparing for domain seizures and taking steps to overcome them. Last week, PrimeWire took further action by “relaunching” via a new domain (primewire.tf) and revealing changes to the site.

“Due to recent legal action, it is possible that the current domains may be frozen or seized. To prevent the new domain from being seized, certain changes will be made to the site to comply with possible temporary and future permanent injunctions” , indicates an announcement on the site.

primewire new domain

PrimeWire doesn’t implicitly state what the changes are, but anyone browsing the site looking for content will quickly find that all links to pirated movies and TV shows have been removed. It’s an interesting decision under the circumstances.

If PrimeWire is set to continue without providing links to pirated content, users of the site are unlikely to stick around for long. A pirate streaming site without pirated content is really just a site, and most pirates expect little more than movie covers, IMDb ratings, and airtimes.

The big question then is whether this decision is permanent or simply designed to disrupt the granting of a functional permanent injunction.

Either way, studios have been following developments closely. In a notice filed with the court on Saturday, they insist that whether or not there is infringing content on the new domain, they are always entitled to an injunction, including against the new PrimeWire domain.

Studios Believe PrimeWire Plays Games

According to a statement from MPA anti-piracy chief Jan van Voorn, the new site operating from PrimeWire.tf is “largely identical” to previous incarnations of PrimeWire and, as of March 8, 2022, featured content at least counterfeit. However, tests carried out on March 9 revealed that the usual links to pirated content had been removed.

The court submission goes on to suggest that “[T]The removal of certain links to unauthorized streams does not necessarily mean that such streams are not currently available through primewire.tf. To support this notion, the MPA highlights two buttons labeled “Watch Now” and “Download” on the PrimeWire site that lead to another site that requires credit card information to access.

The MPA does not provide any evidence to say that it has verified the infringing content, but it’s pretty clear that the buttons actually lead to a very questionable subscription trap type platform run by an affiliate program and operated by a third party. Links to these sites appear on many pirate platforms and for those who choose to sign up, only disappointment and regret await. Especially since they rarely deliver the content they promise.

Nonetheless, the MPA has stronger claims elsewhere, including that PrimeWire still operates its “Submit a Link” system that gathers links to content that will later appear in PrimeWire’s indexes. These links are not displayed at this time, but under the law it does not necessarily matter.

Cessation of infringement does not preclude injunction

As the MPA rightly points out, removing the infringing links could be a ploy to undermine its request for a permanent injunction. Logic says that if there are no links, there is also no infringement, but that is not how things work.

The US Supreme Court has previously said that when a defendant voluntarily ceases illegal activity, it is the defendant who faces the “tremendous burden” of proving that the same type of illegal activity will not recur.

In this case, the PrimeWire operators are choosing not to appear in court, so this is arguably the worst possible basis for someone trying to convince the court of anything. Second, the MPA believes that the evasive action taken so far (new domains, etc.) is a sign of bad faith, which includes an announcement by PrimeWire that the site will “continue to operate as normal” after the domain change. .

“The defendants do not deserve the benefit of any doubt. If Defendants genuinely intend to keep links to Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works off of their new PrimeWire website, Defendants may appear, demonstrate, and seek relief in this Court,” the Court advises. MPA in court.

“That is not their intention. The defendants tried similar tactics of switching domains when their websites were blocked in other countries. All the evidence indicates that they will do the same here if the domain www .primewire.tf is not included in the injunction.Defendants will be able to restore the links as quickly as they remove them.

Modified permanent injunction and partial default

In conclusion, the MPA proposes a modified permanent injunction which covers the same ground as before but with the inclusion of primewire.tf. This basically prevents PrimeWire from infringing the rights of the studios in any way and includes a proposed order that would require PrimeWire to divest all of its domains to plaintiffs.

If PrimeWire fails to deliver them, the MPA wants the court to order associated domain registrars (and if necessary, registries) to transfer them to studios or disable them until they expire.

Documents filed by the MPA with the court can be found here (1,2,3, pdf)

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