EZTV is undoubtedly the most popular TV-focused torrent site on the Internet today. Founded way back in 2005, it is also one of the oldest with nine full years under its belt.
Through its indexing of all popular TV shows, EZTV has become the go-to venue for torrent downloaders but behind the scenes the site has been wrestling with a copyright predicament. Instead of sending in takedown notices via email, in recent months several studios switched to sending theirs in via regular mail, overloading the site’s staff in the process.
“For the first few days UPS turned up with a couple of small boxes of notices, but it was soon several crates a day stacking several feet deep,” EZTV informs TorrentFreak.
In a bid to solve the crisis, EZTV decided to speak with the two studios responsible for sending the majority of the notices. The outcome of the discussions, which were facilitated by the MPAA, was unequivocal – EZTV would have to massively change the way it does business.
EZTV went back to the drawing board. Which model could they emulate to show that they were now a completely neutral, content agnostic platform? Which company, by virtue of the fact that it had never been sued by the studios over its indexing, could EZTV emulate?
It was obvious – GOOGLE.
Visitors to EZTV today can see the outcome. Instead of the layout users have become accustomed to over the past near-decade, EZTV now sports a minimal Google-style search engine beneath a new and rebranded EZTV logo.
All TV show categories have gone and all that remains are descriptions pulled from the Internet using algorithms licensed from Google. Completing the sterilization of the site, all torrents have been deleted and now only magnet hash values of content specifically searched for by the user are listed.
But EZTV’s operators wanted to do more. Realizing that Google’s Auto-Complete and Auto-Suggest features only serve to direct people to infringing content, EZTV now filters these from Google’s API and hence its own search results. Not suggesting stuff before people had even asked for it was a key MPAA-pleasing move.
Honing the business model that has enabled Google to avoid being sued by any Hollywood studio over its search results, EZTV went further still. Working closely with City of London Police’s new Operation Creative, EZTV has filtered out not only all major brands’ advertising, but all advertising entirely.
“We’ve never had any advertising on EZTV but noticed how little trouble Google has had monetizing links to potentially infringing content. With that in mind, we decided nearly a decade ago to go much further, but we’re only really shouting about it now,” EZTV told TF.
Unsurprisingly, the MPAA are pleased with the results.
“By working with the industry, EZTV has successfully removed all financial incentives for it to exist by cutting off its own revenues for the last nine years,” the MPAA said in a statement. “This is just the kind of action that will save jobs and fuel innovation.”
The changes, which were phased in during the past month but visible over the past few hours, were expected to solve all of EZTV’s problems, but this morning at the site’s spacious New York offices a different picture was emerging.
“UPS just turned up with a convoy of trucks. We’re scanning the notices as quickly as we can but the folks at Chilling Effects have already run out of space.”
Whether EZTV will continue to emulate Google into the future is unclear, but at this point it seems that going back to the way they were might be the best option.
Update: Yes this this was an April Fools prank. EZTV is back to normal now.