Last November, the cybercrime unit of the French navy police shut down the countrys largest pirate web site, Zone-Telechargement (Download Zone). This was an enormous downside for the tens of millions of individuals that visited the location on a each day basis.
Founded in 2011, Zone-Telechargements reputation soared after the closure of Megaupload, which was additionally massively widespread in France till its shutdown early 2012. Its been lifeless ever since although, regardless of ideas it would someway return to life.
Interestingly, nonetheless, a web site claiming to be a reincarnation of the unique is now attempting to scoop up site visitors, with guarantees that the joy might be discovered at a model new URL.
Welcome to the model new Zone-Telechargement! This is the model new handle of the indexing web site to search out films and collection, a discover on the location reads.
We make each effort to make sure which you can watch your films and collection in the very best situations and in full security. Subsequently, we invite you as a Zone-Telechargement consumer to assist us in our massive mission! Share our web site, speak about it!
This cloned pirate web site shouldn’t be what it seems
During the previous couple of days, individuals have definitely 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.
But that is no strange pirate web site. The fact is, its not a pirate web site in any respect. Whereas it seems to be precisely like its pirate namesake, the location hyperlinks solely to authorized content material on platforms akin to Amazon, iTunes, and different official sources.
NextInpact stories 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 online.
So, might this be an revolutionary and unconventional service arrange by parts of the movie business to suck in pirates, perhaps?
TF determined to look into the chance by pulling data from WHOIS, DNS and MX data, hoping to discover a hint of whos behind the operation. Not certainly one of the searches yielded a lot data of direct worth however they did flip up one thing else.
Zone-Telechargement.al, it appears, shouldn’t be by itself. Hosted on the identical server at OVH in France is Voirfilms.al which clones VoirFilms.org, a pirate web site that was ordered to be blocked by the Paris District Courtroom earlier this year.
Two peas in a pod on the identical server
Just like Zone-Telechargement.al, Voirfilms.al solely hyperlinks to authorized content material. Nonetheless, when one searches for films, no much less than the first two units of links to content material include affiliate codes for Amazon and a neighborhood service, which means the websites 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 of it possible that the identical persons are behind each domains, passing them off as pirate websites in an effort to generate revenue.
Then, on Friday afternoon, NextInpact editor Marc Rees contacted us with a extremely attention-grabbing replace. After additional analysis, Rees had concluded that anti-piracy outfit Blue Efficience was most likely behind the scheme. Positive sufficient, after contacting founder and CEO Thierry Chevillard, the corporate confirmed the project.
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 advised Rees.
Chevillard stated that since video-on-demand platforms have difficulties in getting themselves seen over pirate websites, his firm took the choice to imitate the pirate technique.
[T]he pirate websites are extraordinarily proficient at placing themselves forward in search engines like google and yahoo the place they beat the authorized affords, he stated, including that utilizing related weapons was the solution.
Chevillard advised NextInpact that his firm initially revealed hyperlinks to content material with out the affiliate kickback however later took the for-profit route with a view to partially offset the prices, even when we’re removed from masking the prices of creating and working the site.
Of course, theres a sure irony in an anti-piracy outfit actively pirating a pair of pirate websites, significantly because it clearly pirated the pirate websites logos and graphics, with a view to go the clones off as the true factor. Nonetheless, Chevillard sees them as truthful sport and says his firm will take motion within the unlikely occasion the pirates take authorized action.
The massive query, after all, is whether or not or not the clone websites are having the specified impact of encouraging authorized purchases. In response to early data from Zone-Telechargement.al, round 5 purchases are made out of each a thousand clicks on content material listed by the site.
While Blue Efficiences cowl has been nicely and really blown, the corporate is undeterred and says it should develop its pirate web site cloning enterprise. If the technique reaches any scale, that may very nicely be an entire new degree of spam for would-be pirates to wade by. However, there’s a comedy ending to this story.
It seems that for the explanation that 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.
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