Copyright holders can take a wide variety of measures to address piracy, with some being more effective than others.
Hawaiian attorney Kerry Culpepper has tried different approaches. Given his profession, most of these take place in the legal realm.
That includes lawsuits against downloaders and owners of well-known pirate sites and apps, including YTS, MKVcage, Cotomovies, Popcorn Time, and Showbox. These actions have resulted in some successes, with sites and apps shutting down or paying thousands of dollars in settlements.
However, the piracy problem isn’t easy to defeat. This is why Culpepper recently added another option to his anti-piracy toolbox. Through the recently incorporate Hawaiian company 42 Ventures, he helped to register several piracy-related trademarks.
The current trademark portfolio of the company includes the popular brands “YTS,” “Popcorn Time,” and “Terrarium.” In addition, 42 Ventures also claimed the trademark for the Showbox arrow logo.
All trademarks are registered under the same description, “downloadable computer software for downloading and streaming multimedia content images, videos and audio.” The same description also applies to the pirate sites and apps.
The fact that one of the most prolific anti-piracy lawyers is connected to these trademarks, opens the door to new enforcement options. That also appears to be the goal here.
For example, just a few days ago, a popular Popcorn Time fork had its Twitter account suspended, following a trademark claim. The Popcorn Time Facebook page was also taken down, possibly following a similar complaint.
TorrentFreak spoke to Culpepper, who confirmed that 42 Ventures is actively enforcing its trademarks. According to the lawyer, the company’s ultimate goal is to promote legal streaming.
“42 has partnered with various content providers to deliver a platform of LEGAL streaming media. One or more of these providers have been providing content since 2009 under same or related trademark,” Culpepper writes.
“42 greatly values its Intellectual Property and has taken steps to protect its valuable rights and will continue to do so in the future,” he adds.
The trademarks were only recently registered which brings up the issue of prior use. Popcorn Time, Terrarium, and YTS have been using their brands for years, and could technically object to any enforcement efforts.
42 Ventures, however, stresses that it has its own legal “Popcorn Time” website at Popcorntime4u.com, which links to content from the YouTube channel Popcorned Planet.
The Popcorn Planet channel is operated by Andy Signore who’s also known as the creator of the popular YouTube channel Screen Junkies. This may also explain why 42 Ventures registered the trademarks for “Movies Fights” and “Honest Trailers,” which are titles of shows that are linked to Screen Junkies and Popcorned Planet.
TorrentFreak reached out to Popcorned Planet for a comment on the matter but, at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.
With the trademarks in hand, 42 Ventures has been successful in shutting down some piracy-related social media channels. In addition, it resolved some issues privately behind closed doors. The company isn’t officially operated by a copyright holder, but part of its goal is to prevent piracy.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time a third-party has registered a Popcorn Time trademark for enforcement purposes. A few years ago movie distributor Dutch Filmworks registered Popcorn Time’s logo and word trademarks at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property. As far as we know, these haven’t been actively enforced.