Hackers Hit Anti-Pirates to Avenge Sub-Site Takedown

After their beloved subtitle site was taken down by an anti-piracy outfit working on behalf of US media companies, hackers responded rapidly - they defaced the anti-piracy site and inserted links to torrents hosted on Mininova. The subtitle site is already back in business - the anti-piracy site is not.

LegendasLegendas.TV is a popular Brazilian site offering subtitles for movies and TV shows, so that non-English speakers can enjoy them too. The site appears to offer a useful service for Brazilians, since it can take months or years for shows to appear there in their native Portuguese (if at all), but that didn’t stop it from gaining powerful anti-piracy enemies.

On February 1st, after action by Brazil’s IFPI and MPA-affiliated Antipirataria Association Cinema and Música (APCM), the Legendas.TV site was taken down. APCM, which represents the interests of Universal, Warner, SonyBMG, Disney, Paramount, Fox and others, managed to force the site offline after threatening SoftLayer, the datacenter where the website was hosted.

According to Legendas.TV admins, although APCM issued a DMCA complaint, it was incorrectly formatted. APCM did not demand the removal of specific items (as is usual under the DMCA) but instead demanded that access to the entire server was terminated.

“In order to prevent misuse of our Terms of Service,” said SoftLayer in an email to Legendas.TV, “we have blocked access to the IP associated with the abuse report and request that this site be removed from our network.” The datacenter then blocked external access to the site.

“The APCM confirms that it requested withdrawal of the site Legendas TV network of computers worldwide,” said the group in a statement. “It is important to emphasize that the action was taken because its users were violating copyright. When a user makes the unauthorized copy of an audiovisual work available, it hurts everyone who worked in the production chain: producers, authors, actors, actresses, camera operators, scriptwriters, directors, marketing staff, production studio workers and translators etc.”

The reaction from angry fans was immediate. On Monday, hackers took over the APCM site and defaced it. Popups on the site said “Live For Downloads” – when clicked, visitors were redirected to downloads on Mininova.

APCM announced it was “taking all measures” to get its site back online, including “all other measures deemed appropriate,” but the site is still non-operational, four days after the attack.

The administrators of Legendas have created a temporary site where they explain why the site went down along with plans of a return online. After raising the necessary funds, the site will migrate to a new datacenter, maybe in The Netherlands or Sweden – and possibly with help from The Pirate Bay.

In contrast to the anti-piracy site which remains inoperable, already a new ‘lite’ version of Legendas.TV is back online, but it won’t stop there.

“We are returning with the full site this week, stronger than ever,” said a Legendas.TV administrator in a statement.

Earlier in 2009, APCM launched a campaign that claimed that subtitles from Legendas.TV were being used in commercially pirated DVDs, which were later sold on the streets. Legendas.TV vigorously denied this.

InSUBs, another Brazilian subtitling site, has also been taken offline.

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