Mindgeek Asks Cloudflare to Unmask Tube Site Uploaders
Mindgeek owns some of the most popular porn brands on the Internet. ‘Tube’ sites Pornhub, RedTube, and YouPorn are all company-owned, as are adult production companies Brazzers and Digital Playground, to name just two.
One of its subsidiaries, MG Premium Ltd, operates the latter two brands and many more like them. As content producers, they also get involved in sending takedown requests to Google. In fact, MG Premium is one of the most prolific senders of DMCA notices on the Internet today, after sending notices targeting more than 215 million URLs on Google search alone.
Despite all the takedowns targeting various domains, MG Premium appears particularly interested in the activities of several adult-focused ‘tube’ sites.
Via applications filed in a federal court in Washington last week, the company says it is attempting to obtain the identities of people who illegally uploaded its content to Waxtube.com, Vivud.com, Veporns.com, Tubezx.com, Siska.tv, Redwap.me, and Pornbraze.com. It says it can do this by issuing a subpoena to Cloudflare, which all of the sites use.
“MG is the owner of numerous copyrighted audiovisual works. In the course of protecting its works, MG has determined that infringing copies of these works, posted at the direction of individual users and without authorization from MG, appear on Cloudflare’s website, Waxtube.com,” the subpoenas read, substituting the site name at the end as appropriate.
“Such infringements have been ongoing and MG has issued DMCA notifications to Clouflare’s DMCA Agent. All notifications have met the requirements of 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)(A) by setting forth, inter alia, a representative list of the copyrighted works that have been infringed and the identification and location on Cloudflare’s website of the infringing material. MG now seeks to obtain a DMCA Subpoena to learn the identity of the individuals who are posting the infringing content.”
The list and descriptions of allegedly-infringing URLs on Waxtube (which are detailed at the rate of roughly five per page in Waxtube’s case) run to six pages. The second site, Vivud.com, is backed up with more than 580 pages of URLs, with Tubezx.com and Redwap.com weighing in at close to 400 pages and 190 respectively.
The existence of the subpoenas raises a number of questions, not least how useful Cloudflare can be in these cases. The subpoenas specifically state that MG Premium wants to “identify alleged infringers who, without authorization from MG, posted material to..” the sites in question.
It’s not clear whether Cloudflare will be in a position to do that but it should be able to provide the details of the operators of the various sites, which may or may not provide a useful stepping stone for MG Premium to achieve its stated aim. Whether the adult company has further but as yet unstated plans will remain to be seen.