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PornHub’s parent company wants to track down identity of BitTorrent users

Some go as far as calling it blackmail.
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Mindgeek is a Luxembourg-based company company that owns several popular porn websites such as Pornhub, and also backs YouPorn, RedTube, Xtube, and Tube8 among others.

The company’s recent moves in the realm of copyright infringement have attracted widespread attention and drew criticism as well.

While Mindgeek’s PornHub is known for its April fools jokes, yearly insights, and the recent viral environment campaign, the company has another side that is known to be extremely stringent when dealing with copyright.

Mindgeek has sent over 250 million takedown requests to Google, in an effort to prevent copyright infringement.

Generally speaking, Mindgeek’s companies normally focus on issuing takedown requests against the content that has been shared without their permission.

But of late, they have also begun issuing notices to BitTorrent users who have shared videos using the platform as well.

“MindGeek, through its exclusive content subsidiary MG Premium, seeks to protect thousands of its copyrighted audiovisual works from blatant infringement. MG Premium is constantly testing and evaluating methods of reducing the extent to which its works are pirated,” said Michael Wills of MindGeek, as reported by Torrent Freak.

Bahnof, a Swedish internet service provider known to keep track of copyright-related matters has highlighted Mindgeek’s recent efforts.

Reviewing recent Swedish court records reveal that Mindgeek procured eight applications to trackdown the users behind 16,594 addresses.

These applications allow Mindgeek to send settlement offers to alleged pirates and squeeze fines from them.

“At different times, these methods can result in targeting website operators, vendors supporting such operators, and in certain cases, end users who are taking advantage of, or sharing pirated works,” says Wills.

Pointing out to the fact that not every user behind an IP address might be a pirate, and that the family members sharing an internet connection with an alleged pirate too may end up receiving settlement offers, Bahnhof says that what Mindgeek is attempting to do, is blackmail.

A copy of the aforementioned settlement letter demands a payment of 7,000 Swedish Krona (equivalent to $722) on grounds of “filesharing of an erotic movie.”

Estimating the number of potential pirates involved, Mindgeek can make several million dollars through the enforcement campaign.

Correction: This article first suggested that Mindgeek is a Canada-based company. In fact, it’s a Luxembourg-based company, with offices in Canada, U.S., U.K., Cyprus, and Romania.

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