- Hawaiian law firm working on account of filmmakers goes after the identity of 1337x operators.
- It is doubtful that the registrant firms will have anything useful to share with the plaintiffs.
- Rightsholders are ramping up their fight against piracy, going after torrent indexers in multiple ways.
The Hawaiian law firm ''Culpepper IP'', headed by Kerry S. Culpepper, has just filed a DMCA subpoena against the 1337x.to torrent site, trying to uncover the identity of the registrant on behalf of an unnamed client. The company which may be compelled to hand over whatever information they have is Tonics Domain Corporation and Cloudflare, but whether or not they have anything valid to share remains to be seen. Maybe this is low on the list of the Culpepper's client's interests anyway, as the intellectual property owners want to send a message to the torrenting community.
Only four days ago, we reported about 1337x banning YTS and EZTV torrent uploads on the platform, clearly picking camps in this war. YTS has quickly built a reputation for snitching on its own users, and torrent indexers don't want any association with it. The same move was taken by TorrentGalaxy and also Glotorrents, but 1337x was first and is the biggest among the three. Thus, Culpepper went after 1337x first, but more subpoenas against the others may follow up shortly.
In addition to the torrenting platform, the law firm also targets the identity of the uploader of an old movie titled "Playing it Cool". More specifically, the request is on the IP address of the user, which may or may not belong to a VPN tool. Again, the point here isn't to find out who the pirate is, but more about sending a message.
YTS has given up on protecting the identities of its users, Popcorn Time is facing trademark-related trouble, 1337x is under pressure, and even torrent uploaders are included in the subpoenas. All of them found trouble from ''Culpepper IP'' and the clients represented by the specialist law firm, so there are no signs of backing down from the rightsholders'' side.
If 1337x.to was registered using real identities, which is highly doubtful, it will be interesting to see how the owners of the platform will respond to all this. Certainly, the platform will have domain registration problems from now on, blocking orders may be the next step, and hopping around on different domains has never been helpful for indexers. As for what information 1337x has on users, registration is optional, so normally, it shouldn't have real identification information. For the time being, the main 1337x.to domain (there are six more) remains online and fully functional.
[UPDATE]: We have reached out to IP attorney K.S. Culpepper, and he provided us with the following comment on the present case:
"Those websites (1337x) made my case by admitting they maintain control over the content. The main defense websites have to hosting infringing content is that it was uploaded by third parties not under their control. But when a website admits that it maintains an editorial control by kicking out certain contributors for “snitching” that defense is gone. Moreover, the user “Blackjesus” admits to being one of the people that operates 1337x. Torrentgalaxy and iglodls are next."