Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation has confirmed the shutdown of the country’s most popular pirate site, Movie2free.com. The streaming portal was shut down following a request from the Motion Picture Association. The site’s operator, a 22-year-old man, was arrested earlier in the week and has yet to be charged.
With millions of views per day, Movie2Free.com was one of the largest pirate sites on the Internet, particularly popular in south-east Asia.
In the west, the site doesn’t ring a bell with most people. In Thailand, however, it was listed among the top 15 most visited websites in the country, only beaten by Google, YouTube, and a few others.
The site’s popularity didn’t go unnoticed by Hollywood. Earlier this year the MPA listed the site in its yearly overview of notorious pirate sites, which it submitted to the US Trade Representative.
“The site provides access to an array of movie and TV content and comes replete with high-risk ads with malware,” the group wrote.
Huge Anti-Piracy Operation in Brazil Targets Hundreds of Websites & Apps
A massive operation in Brazil has seen police across the country take action against hundreds of ‘pirate’ websites and apps. The Ministry of Justice initially said that ‘suspensions’ had hit 136 sites and 100 apps but that number has continued to grow. Authorities state that they received assistance from US authorities including ICE and the Department of Justice.
Authorities in Brazil have periodically attempted to disrupt piracy in the region, including actions such as Operation Copyright that targeted a large private torrent site in January.
Last Friday, however, it became clear that a much more ambitious operation had begun. Codenamed Operation 404 after the HTTP error of the same name, the action was announced by Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
During an early press conference detailing progress thus far, the Secretariat of Integrated Operations (Seopi) revealed that “136 websites and 100 applications” had already been suspended alongside the execution of 30 search and seizure warrants.
“After four months of investigation, it can be said that the action is a milestone for piracy in the country, which causes various damages to society,” said Alesandro Barreto, coordinator of Seopi’s Cyber Operations Laboratory.
“I don’t know of another operation that has blocked so many apps and websites in one day. This is a very clear message and that the judicial police, through the integrated operation with Seopi, will act against this crime that cannot be tolerated.”
The authorities did not release the names of any websites or applications targeted nor specifically detail what “suspension” means in the context of any specific case. Suspensions can take many forms, from serious ones (raids and equipment confiscations, for example) through to ones that have a more limited long-term impact, such as blocking or domain seizures.
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In Russia, pirate platforms have been experiencing an upward revenue trend for many years but according to a forecast just published by cybersecurity firm Group-IB, 2019 is set to be much less lucrative.
Revenues generated by pirate sites in Russia will reportedly plummet in 2019, largely thanks to the country’s ground-breaking anti-piracy memorandum. Cybersecurity firm Group-IB says that revenues are set to fall by around 27%, the first decrease in five years and a return to similar figures reported in 2016.
In what is becoming an increasingly competitive market, generating revenue by any means is a must for most significant sites, platforms, and services operating in the piracy space.
For background, in 2015 revenues were estimated to be $32m but a year later the picture had changed significantly with the market almost doubling in size to $62m. In 2017 there was a further 21% uplift to $85m but in 2018 things began to slow down, with a small 2.3% growth delivering estimated revenues of $87m.