Early today a software developer called Dominic contacted TorrentFreak with a very unusual story. Dominic says he has created an anti-piracy system which he believes has the potential to wipe out a significant amounts of online piracy.
Talking figures, Dominic believes his “patent-pending anti-piracy platform” could “eliminate up to 90% of music, film, TV, software and video game piracy” online. That’s a huge claim, even given the use of the all-important words “up to”, although hardly one not to have been made before.
No doubt excited by his product, Dominic says he has presented his platform to the world’s leading media companies. In the movie sector they include the MPAA, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, AFACT and Village Roadshow. In music Dominic told us he has spoken to IFPI and Australia’s MIPI.
For some reason none of them were interested in the platform. This rejection seems to have prompted a radical shift in Dominic’s strategy.
Dominic went on to explain to us that he has ad crawlers in 4 continents which are able to monitor specific sites to report on any controversial ad placements. He used this system to monitor advertising on “pirate sites” and claims that from his analysis he discovered that the bulk of the ads came from companies owned by InterActiveCorp. IAC is run by Barry Diller, the ex CEO of both Fox and Paramount films.
“Other prominent advertisers include Fox Sports and Fox Mobile, both owned by NewsCorp, who regularly sue end-users and websites for piracy,” says Dominic, while adding that he also traced US Government departments – smallstep.gov and mypyramid.gov.
But of course, this phenomenon is not new. We’ve seen many times before that adverts from all sorts of companies end up on sites without their knowledge because their ads are placed by 3rd parties, so we put this to Dominic.
“You are absolutely right about some companies ads slipping in because of ad agencies several layers down filling those spots, however the ads of IAC group companies account for upto 40% of all ads on these sites, TigerAirways over 5% of all ads on pirated sites for traffic coming from the Asia Pacific region and so fourth,” he explained.
“Also with such an industry and US legal push against advertising on piracy related sites at the moment, you would presume these companies/governments would ensure they themselves are not engaging in this practise, whether intentionally or not.”
However, Dominic is visibly annoyed that these companies are “funding piracy” so has decided to protest until something is done about it.
Turning somewhat from gamekeeper to poacher, Dominic has transformed his anti-piracy platform into a music search engine and download site. It seems to work pretty well and there’s even a list of top downloaded songs at the bottom of the page along with cover artwork.
“Each and every time a search is run or download initiated our servers locate a match on the web and serve it back,” Dominic explains. “Hence results could change every time you ran a search or downloaded a file. Even the popular results on the home page are not indexed on our servers, we go out and obtain this data EVERY single time our home page is loaded.”
Dominic wouldn’t reveal where his site is pulling music from but told TorrentFreak: “My platform has the capability to index, crawl, monitor and analyse any page/site it comes across,” and further claims that “this is the fastest and easiest way to download any song you can think of, on the web.”
However, it appears that Dominic is prepared to take down his MP3 free-for-all if certain conditions are met.
“When these organizations decide to stop advertising on pirated sites and stop funding piracy, and take responsibility for the problem, I have a platform that has the ability to counter almost all forms of piracy today, and will be happy to take this site down.”
Dominic explained to us that he’s not a supporter of piracy, but a supporter of innovation.
“I believe that the work of artists of all industries and classifications should not be ripped off without dues paid to the creators. However, I believe the monopolies behind these artists are themselves aiding the problem, and as such changes are needed. I would love a harmony between consumers and content produces, which is absolutely possible.”
Dominic’s protest site, imovi.es, can be found here (not working, see update below) and includes a list of 10,000 alleged “piracy supporting” advertisers. Whether or not his anti-piracy platform will ever see the light of day remains to be seen but from details shared with TorrentFreak it seems to be a fairly comprehensive affair, albeit one that does no tracking at all of file-sharers.
Finally, Dominic told us that he is quietly hoping for an incoming email from Ireland. If you’re reading this Bono, he means you.
Update: Due to attempts to shut down imovi.es, the URL of the site has changed to http://dmnic.me