MPA and BREIN Go After Three Dutch Hosting Service Providers

By Bill Toulas / April 16, 2020

The Dutch anti-piracy group "BREIN" and America's Motion Pictures Association (MPA) have submitted a lawsuit that targets YISP, Serverius, and Worldstream. The three Dutch hosting service providers are accused of not disclosing information about the Moonwalk CDN (content distribution network), which was first targeted by the same coalition in October 2019. The move to target the hosting providers is part of the same effort, as the Moonwalk's operators' names remain unknown, and the rightsholders still want to prosecute these persons. In fact, the three hosting providers had even helped take Moonwalk offline last year, but BREIN and MPA feel that identifying information is purposefully hidden from them.

Moonwalk's role in pirate operations was to provide streaming sites with their content. The CDN system paid website operators $0.60 per 1,000 views, and it offered tens of thousands of films, TV shows, series, etc. Although the name wasn't popular for casual pirates, as Moonwalk was sitting at a more fundamental level, it played a crucial role in the whole pirating system structure. Since BREIN and MPA took it down, 25 streaming sites ceased their operations permanently, and hundreds of others experienced disruptions.

BREIN requested the operators' names from Serverius, Worldstream, and YISP, but the three hosting providers haven't provided valid data. In some cases, they are accused of having provided false or not traceable information. One lead the coalition got pointed to was a non-tech-savvy person in Ukraine, while another targeted a jobless man in Russia. Whether the hosting providers did this on purpose to protect Moonwalk operators, or if they merely shared what they had, is not something that BREIN tries to wrap its head around. They simply want to compel the hosting providers to give away everything they have on Moonwalk, meaning they will take things as far as possible in terms of legal action.

It also makes a case about the problem of hosting providers not bothering to verify the identities of their clients. It is possible that the Dutch Supreme Court and then the EU Court of Justice, where things will surely be escalated if needed, would define new identity verification requirements for these companies. Thus, this particular case is a significant one for the entire field, and not just regarding Moonwalk's operators.

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