After two of its founders were arrested by Australian police, the 400,000 member MovieX tracker hasn’t seen the end of its troubles. Although it survived the arrests, the site’s vital uploaders have been jumping ship and now, with the site offline again, it appears its finances have been plundered too.
At the 400,000+ member site MovieX, 2008 was a year to remember – for all the wrong reasons. At the start of December, two administrators of the site were arrested by Australian police. After the arrests, everything went very quiet. The pair, who are known to be brothers, were due to appear in court just before Christmas. So far, their fate has gone unreported.
In the meantime, the understandable uncertainty at the site is causing problems. Administrators aside, on most sites it’s the uploaders that take most of the risks and these have been moving away from MovieX, with some leaving to share on a site started by ex-staff. But it’s not just the threat of diminishing content causing problems, they can be overcome as memories fade. There is the old demon too – money.
After the arrrests, one of the claims against the site was that those running it were making money. A statement said that AUS$54,000 (US $35,000) had been seized, with the implication this substantial amount was generated on the site via member’s ‘VIP Donations’, which gave access to direct-download material.
After the arrests, the site reappeared in just a few days. The police and anti-piracy agencies made a point of not naming the site in their press releases, which indicates they had some idea this would happen. Despite the quick revival, the site’s finances were in turmoil but according to claims being made by the new administrators, a UK-based user stepped forward to help handle the donations in future.
Two days ago MovieX disappeared, only to reappear yesterday with yet more gloom. The site hadn’t been busted again, but the person alleged to have been responsible for donations, known as VIPxXx, had deleted himself from the MovieX database. It seemed a strange move, until it was discovered that he had also made a charge back on all the server bills previously collected and paid in his name. MovieX administration strongly believe he has stolen the money.
MovieX claim to have discovered the real identity of VIPxXx and have his photograph, various personal details and IP address on the site’s temporary homepage. TorrentFreak contacted his alleged girlfriend but as yet we have had no response.
An administrator at MovieX told TorrentFreak, “The site will be back. We are working on getting the servers back online as we speak.”
He also told us that there is something that MovieX members can do to help. “We are asking all our VIP members who have paid to PayPal account email@example.com (PayPal name: Ali Sar) to make a dispute for unauthorized payment,” while going on to apologize for the downtime.
It is hoped that the funds will be returned to MovieX and that will be the end of the matter.