After suffering humiliation at the hands of a hacker in 2007, the future of anti-piracy company MediaDefender is in serious doubt. The stock price of its parent company has plunged, and the two founders of MediaDefender have now left the sinking ship.
Founded in 2000, MediaDefender made a name for itself by polluting file-sharing networks and BitTorrent sites with fake files. Their methods were especially effective on sites that had little or no moderation and the company’s success didn’t go unnoticed.
In mid 2005, MediaDefender founders Randy Saaf and Octavio Herrera were paid $43 million for their anti-piracy company when it was acquired by ARTISTdirect. This seemed to be a good deal, particularly since the big movie studios were paying millions for MediaDefender’s services – but that situation didn’t last.
In August 2007 disaster struck when a database of MediaDefender’s internal emails leaked to the public. Every juicy detail of their anti-piracy campaigns were out in the open, including the tools they used. The hacker said that he initially didn’t plan to make the info public, but when he found out what MediaDefender were up to he was determined to “destroy them” – and so he did.
The emails were published on the web at MediaDefender-Defenders.com but now the site just diverts to The Pirate Bay. Despite the damage control efforts of MediaDefender, however, the emails are still available for download on some BitTorrent sites. This must have helped give the large movie studios the impression that MediaDefender is not the most capable company to entrust with the protection of their blockbuster titles.
MediaDefender Founders Randy Saaf and Octavio Herrera
A few months after the leak it became known that the data breach was proving exceptionally expensive, with MediaDefender’s parent company losing almost $1,000,000 because of the hack. As a result, their stock price plunged and is now valued at a measly two cents per share and the company’s activities have noticeably decreased. BitTorrent site administrators told TorrentFreak that MediaDefender are not as active as they used to be.
Many times we have predicted the downfall of MediaDefender but on paper the company is still alive. Its founders are no longer on board though. According to a SEC filing last month, MediaDefender has terminated the employment of Randy Saaf and Octavio Herrara.
Why the two left is not clear, but it’s the end of an era for sure. It wouldn’t surprise us if the company ceases to exist in the near future. Meanwhile, the two anti-piracy partners were elected to the Board of Directors of Jibro, Inc. a relatively unknown mobile entertainment company where they will continue to work together.
We wish them all the best.