US piracy lawsuit enters new phase
After winning three lawsuits against three pirate streaming sites earlier this year, a coalition of Israel-based media companies won an injunction in a New York court.
Every ISP in the United States was required to block three sites, now and forever, on any existing domain, now and in the future. All web-based companies were prohibited from doing business with the defendants in perpetuity, although their identities were completely unknown.
Thanks to public access to court records, it has been possible to quickly show what can happen when private companies are given extraordinary powers. Cloudflare, Google and others later protested the injunction — not its broad goals as such, but its nuclear approach to enforcement.
Under intense pressure after openly threatening Cloudflare, the entertainment companies then agreed to more reasonable terms in a modified injunction.
Basically, all proceedings and legal documents were publicly available through PACER. The injunction was exposed as totally unenforceable, but the specific factors that led to this conclusion were equally important. This will not be the last blocking and/or seizure injunction with the mission of innovating in the United States, and it is not over.
Transparency: a necessary nuisance
In cases of ISP blocking, “dynamic injunctions” make it possible to add new domains to existing orders, to maintain pressure on pirate sites. The injunction initially obtained by the entertainment companies allowed them to have new domains seized, not just blocked, solely as they pleased, without a court needing to do so.
The amended injunction requires the court to be involved, which is good for transparency. Perhaps inevitably, the plaintiffs’ first step before adding new domains was to file a request with the judge to have the information hidden from public view.
Motion to vary the injunction because [REDACTED]
It is not uncommon for entertainment companies to seek confidentiality in blocking and seizure cases. They want to hide their next move from the targeted sites and don’t want to publicize the pirate platforms. The plaintiffs’ arguments here are difficult to understand, thanks to the following letter (pdf):
Balancing the needs of complainants with the public’s right to see justice done can be tricky. For one, hijacker sites are notorious for taking countermeasures, so the less they know, the better. On the other hand, an unenforceable injunction appears to have been used to seize a domain that was never used for the hack, while the FBI seal was affixed to other seized domains, despite no involvement of the FBI in the case.
Whatever balancing exercise took place, the court sided with the plaintiffs late last week. When attempting to access most of the documents filed since then, access is denied by PACER, but at least one entry has remained open.
Second Modified Permanent Injunction Proposal: Israel.tv
In attempting to take down the Israel.tv streaming site, the plaintiffs had previously identified Israel.tv, Israel.tv, IsraelTV.com, Israel-tv.xyz, Israeltv.to and Zira.to as targets.
Entertainment companies now have a list of “newly discovered or updated domains” to add to the list: Israeltv.se, Israeltv.nu, Israeltv.su, Isratv.ru, Israeltv.am, Israeltv.la, Israeltv. bz, Israeltv.hk, Israeltv.eu, Israeltv.is, Isr.live, Isr.dev and Sup247.me.
A more unusual addition is https://xn--0tr80i11eca131dda736e5v4b0duga450wha.xn--55qx5d. This is an internationalized domain name and when converted it looks like this: https://帕拉赞蒂和科夫曼帕拉赞蒂.公司.
Applicants have also submitted additional fields for entry in a separate document. It’s under seal, so the nature and quantity of the domains are both unknown. A separate request contains seven URLs linked to an app on Google Play called Israel Radio – TV Version. The plaintiffs want an order that prevents the defendants from exploiting it.
The final claims regarding Israel.tv relate to accounts held by its operators on other platforms, including Facebook, various URL shorteners, an email account on ProtonMail, an account on the MoonPay crypto platform, and a domain which immediately drops an APK on visitors. machinery. Another document, still under seal, contains the details of other accounts but on which the platforms are unknown.
In this action, the plaintiffs are also determined to shut down Sdarot, Israel’s largest pirate streaming service. We assume that further action against this service is detailed in registry entries that remain inaccessible, but we have no way of confirming this.
Meanwhile, both of these services still seem to be working. We are told by a source close to the operations of a site that the measures taken so far are taking their toll, but there are no plans to close.
Sdraot recently announced a new login and email verification requirement and is already directing users to a Telegram channel to make payments. There is a determination to persevere, but it’s not “business as usual”. That being said, a Google search for “Sdarot” lists the new domains on the very first page.
Related documents here (1,2,3,4, pdf)