MindGeek Goes After YesPornPlease in $462M Piracy Suit

TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge has granted early discovery in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by MindGeek after it claimed that operators of the tube site YesPornPlease.com made available 3,078 of its copyright-registered scenes. MindGeek, which operates one of the largest portfolios of adult film content, said in its suit that the content poached and posted comprises more than 6,395 separate URLs and features scenes from Reality Kings, Brazzers, MOFOS, Babes.com and Twistys, among numerous other brands. YesPornPlease, in the past few years, has built a steady audience with its adult tube fare, averaging more than 96 million hits per month, with the largest percentage being U.S. viewers. Despite repeated takedown requests, YesPornPlease’s operators systematically refuse to comply with them, MindGeek said in its suit originally filed last month. MindGeek is seeking maximum statutory damages of $150,000 with respect to each work infringed, or $462 million, plus attorney’s fees, in total. Last month, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle ordered a motion for early discovery to identify the Does and connect the dots through subpoenas to its U.S. providers, such as PayPal Inc., Domain Protection Services, Name.com Inc., Cloudflare Inc., Namecheap.com, Tucows Domains Inc., Internet Security Research Group and Comodo Inc. Early discovery was needed in the copyright claim because MindGeek attorneys don’t have any information on the John Doe defendants, with the exception of their business contacts. “It appears that the YesPornPlease website is hosted by a company in Russia, but it is currently unknown where the owners and operators are located,” court documents filed by MindGeek counsel said. “While the copyright infringement on YesPornPlease is obvious and blatant, the owners and operators of the website have gone to great lengths to hide their identities.” MindGeek counsel said that YesPornPlease’s elaborate infringement operation uses a sister site, VShare.io, to upload content. In order to do that, a user is required to first upload the video on VShare.io, where the user must copy the URL assigned to the video by VShare and paste the link on YesPornPlease.com, the suit said. Vshare also has an affiliate program, the suit noted, enabling users to earn money based upon number of views of a video posted by that user. “The encouragement for users to earn increased posting limits comes with a monetary reward,” the suit said. “When posting a video on the VShare website, users are further informed of an affiliate program whereby they can earn money.” The scheme to monetize infringement on the YesPornPlease site may not be obvious to the general observer, MindGeek said in the suit. “Instead of static banner advertisement, upon viewing videos on the YesPornPlease site, the user will be periodically shown [a geo-targeted] pop-up advertisement,” MindGeek said.   MindGeek, which filed the federal lawsuit in Tacoma, Wash., said that YesPornPlease’s operators conduct was “egregious and willful” and “causing serious harm.” “Under the guise of acting as a distributor of user-generated content, defendants in fact are directly and knowingly involved in the trafficking of tens of thousands of pirated works — including thousands of works owned by [MindGeek division] MG Premium,” the suit said. “Moreover, though defendants are not service providers, not engaged in the storage of content at the direction of users, and thus are not entitled to any of the safe harbors afforded under Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.” Jason Tucker, president of Battleship Stance, an industry-leading copyright management and enforcement company who was involved in the MindGeek investigation of YesPornPlease, told AVN, “Operators of websites who show blatant disregard to content owners by ignoring copyright laws and the takedown process should expect to be targeted.” “The operator has caused significant harm to some of the world’s most well-known brands,” Tucker said. “A commitment to resolve this should be expected.” YesPornPlease.com today rerouted its portal to a site named Porngo.com. AVN was unable to reach its operators for comment.

written by: Rhett Pardon

source: MindGeek Goes After YesPornPlease in $462M Piracy Suit | AVN

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