Anti-piracy groups come in all shapes and sizes but one of the most famous is Dutch outfit BREIN. Although its mission has expanded in recent years, BREIN is generally viewed as one of the more aggressive groups doing Hollywood’s bidding in Europe. That has included taking on giants such as The Pirate Bay.
Unlike most groups operating in its field, each year BREIN publishes an overview of its anti-piracy enforcement actions. It’s a broad report that for operational and security reasons tends to leave out specific details. Nevertheless, the highlights of its initial 2015 report provide a useful insight to the outfit’s current focus.
In the first half of the year BREIN continued its threats to local webhosts who offer services to file-sharing sites. While some are less responsive than others, BREIN says 128 ‘illegal’ sites were taken down in this way. Almost two dozen were BitTorrent sites, 37 takedowns hit streaming video portals and two targeted cyberlockers distributing music. The remainder were linking sites used to spread content hosted on cyberlockers and Usenet.
Like its counterparts overseas, BREIN mentions the tendency of ‘pirate’ sites to attempt to hide their locations behind the services of U.S.-based Cloudflare. However, the anti-piracy group says that unmasking sites’ true locations can be achieved upon request.
“BREIN believes that the services provided by CloudFlare to illegal providers should be discontinued after notification by BREIN,” the group adds.
As previously reported, BREIN also took action against several sites helping to distribute Popcorn Time software. The anti-piracy group says it targeted seven in all, with two “fleeing abroad” to be pursued by other copyright enforcers.
Also in the first half of 2015, BREIN says it obtained a total of 12 ex-parte injunctions, i.e court orders against alleged infringers who were not present to defend themselves during the proceedings.
Five of the orders concerned large uploaders, four connected to BitTorrent and the other to Usenet. BREIN said it also obtained an injunction against “an important moderator” on one of the “largest illegal BitTorrent sites”. In line with BREIN policy, the site itself is not named.
Five of the ex-parte orders related to those offering movies and TV shows without permission while two were connected to eBook offerings, one of which was a 13,500 title supplier. Two video game infringement injunctions were also obtained, one of which related to modification of consoles.
In action directed away from individuals, BREIN says it continued with its efforts to have infringing links delisted from Google. In the first half of the year the group says it sent 1.4 million infringement reports to Google, making 10 million reports since the program began in 2012.
BREIN also notes that it targeted various dedicated BitTorrent trackers with requests to “blacklist illegal infohashes”. Two of the trackers reportedly complied but a third “fled abroad” where it is now being pressured by another anti-piracy outfit.
Finally, BREIN reminds everyone that the long-running Pirate Bay blocking case is not over yet. After a big legal defeat in January 2014, BREIN is now taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court.