Creator of ‘HD Videobox’ Arrested in Ukraine Over Copyright Infringement Allegations

By Bill Toulas / August 27, 2021

A 36-year-old resident of Lviv and creator of ‘HD Videobox’ has been arrested by the Ukrainian Anti-Piracy Association and is now facing up to six years in prison for multiple acts of copyright infringement. ‘HD Videobox’ is a unique video search engine app for the Android platform that crawls over various resources, some of which may be offering illegal copies of films or TV series episodes. As such, the app isn’t infringing directly and doesn’t host any content, but it clearly facilitates piracy by making it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.

The Ukrainian authorities have stated that the arrested man was charging users roughly $3 for a premium monthly subscription to ‘HD Videobox’ and making about $3,700 per month from advertising agreements. In total, the platform is estimated to have made its owner over half a million USD. As such, the case was pursued through a criminal proceeding opened under Part 3 of Article 176 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code.

During the raid and search that was carried out at the residence of the unnamed person, the police seized all parts of the technical infrastructure of the ‘HD Videobox’ service, as well as any equipment that they located there. As such, the apps shouldn’t be working anymore, and seeing the search engine service online again is highly unlikely.

Source: CNews.ru

There have been reports about problems with the aggregator since August 23, 2021, so the answer to what has happened is now clear. Already, members of the orphaned userbase that is estimated to be one million people in size are discussing ways to continue using the app, maybe through a fork that will use new infrastructure, but the Telegram discussions haven’t yielded anything concrete yet.

It is notable that ‘HD Videobox’ has been on the crosshairs of Russian authorities for many years now, with the first proceeding being submitted in a Moscow City Court against the platform's owner all the way back in 2014. A total of 120 cases of similar nature have been filed since then. As it seems, the pirate video site aggregator operator had managed to fly under the radar all these years, keeping his identity hidden.

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