In 2016, French police shut down the nation’s largest pirate website, Zone-Telechargement. The platform had hundreds of thousands of standard guests, which means a reincarnated website can be scorching information. Just lately a alternative appeared however with a exceptional twist – it is truly operated by an anti-piracy firm.
Final November, the cybercrime unit of the French navy police shut down the nation’s largest pirate website, Zone-Telechargement (Obtain Zone). This was an enormous drawback for the hundreds of thousands of people that visited the location each day.
Based in 2011, Zone-Telechargement’s recognition soared after the closure of Megaupload, which was additionally vastly in style in France till its shutdown early 2012. It’s been lifeless ever since although, regardless of strategies it’d by some means return to life.
Curiously, nevertheless, a website claiming to be a reincarnation of the unique is now making an attempt to scoop up site visitors, with guarantees that the joy will be discovered at a brand new URL.
“Welcome to the brand new Zone-Telechargement! That is the brand new handle of the indexing website to seek out motion pictures and sequence,” a discover on the location reads.
“We make each effort to make sure which you could watch your motion pictures and sequence in the very best circumstances and in full security. Due to this fact, we invite you as a Zone-Telechargement person to assist us in our large mission! Share our website, speak about it!”
Throughout the previous couple of days, individuals have actually been speaking about it, however not for the standard causes. As reported by NextInpact, the location already has 100,000 hyperlinks on Google after being launched someday in August.
However that is no strange pirate website. In actual fact, it’s not a pirate website in any respect. Whereas it appears to be like precisely like its pirate namesake, the location hyperlinks solely to authorized content material on platforms comparable to Amazon, iTunes, and different official sources.
NextInpact reviews that the location is hosted in France and makes use of movie posters and metadata hosted by the Nationwide Movie Heart, which grants official distributors entry to a database of supporting content material to assist them promote their merchandise on-line.
So, might this be an progressive and unconventional service arrange by parts of the movie trade to suck in pirates, maybe?
TF determined to look into the likelihood by pulling data from WHOIS, DNS and MX data, hoping to discover a hint of who’s behind the operation. Not one of the searches yielded a lot data of direct worth however they did flip up one thing else.
Zone-Telechargement.al, it appears, will not be by itself. Hosted on the identical server at OVH in France is Voirfilms.al which clones VoirFilms.org, a pirate website that was ordered to be blocked by the Paris District Court docket earlier this 12 months.
Similar to Zone-Telechargement.al, Voirfilms.al solely hyperlinks to authorized content material. Nonetheless, when one searches for motion pictures, at the least the primary two units of hyperlinks to content material include affiliate codes for Amazon and an area service, which means the location’s operators get a kickback from any sale.
Given they use the identical host server, mail server, and referral codes (tag=blue0d7-21 for Amazon), we thought-about it seemingly that the identical individuals are behind each domains, passing them off as pirate websites in an effort to generate income.
Then, on Friday afternoon, NextInpact editor Marc Rees contacted us with a extremely fascinating replace. After additional analysis, Rees had concluded that anti-piracy outfit Blue Efficience was in all probability behind the scheme. Certain sufficient, after contacting founder and CEO Thierry Chevillard, the corporate confirmed the mission.
“We all the time had the concept to advertise the authorized supply. Anti-piracy safety is sweet, however it’s inadequate with out this part,” Chevillard instructed Rees.
Chevillard mentioned that since video-on-demand platforms have difficulties in getting themselves observed over pirate websites, his firm took the choice to imitate the pirate technique.
“[T]he pirate websites are extraordinarily gifted at placing themselves forward in search engines like google and yahoo the place they beat the authorized gives,” he mentioned, including that utilizing comparable weapons was the answer.
Chevillard instructed NextInpact that his firm initially revealed hyperlinks to content material with out the affiliate kickback however later took the for-profit route with a purpose to “partially offset the prices, even when we’re removed from protecting the prices of creating and working the location.”
After all, there’s a sure irony in an anti-piracy outfit actively pirating a pair of pirate websites, notably because it clearly pirated the pirate websites’ logos and graphics, with a purpose to go the clones off as the actual factor. Nonetheless, Chevillard sees them as truthful recreation and says his firm will take motion within the unlikely occasion the pirates take authorized motion.
The massive query, after all, is whether or not the clone websites are having the specified impact of encouraging authorized purchases. Based on early information from Zone-Telechargement.al, round 5 purchases are made out of each 1000 clicks on content material listed by the location.
Whereas Blue Efficience’s cowl has been properly and actually blown, the corporate is undeterred and says it’s going to develop its pirate website cloning enterprise. If the technique reaches any scale, that might be an entire new degree of spam for would-be pirates to wade by way of. However, there’s a comedy ending to this story.
It seems that because the faux websites are so convincing, rival anti-piracy outfits have been asking Google to take down pages (1,2) from its indexes. Most ‘spectacular’ are the efforts from takedown outfit Rivendel, which has filed dozens of complaints in opposition to these ‘pirate’ websites. Ouch.