The benefits of the latter approach are obvious; when a site no longer exists, the need to send future takedown notices is eliminated. It’s also much more easily said than done but certainly not impossible.
The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment has taken down hundreds of sites, and it’s often possible to predict which sites are about to feel the heat. DMCA subpoenas obtained at courts in the United States compel intermediaries to hand over details of pirate site operators, and since the applications are public, the names of sites are public too.
A series of recent applications revealed ACE attempting to gain information on The Pirate Bay’s operators but other sites were mentioned too. Despite having millions of monthly visitors, two of them have just disappeared into thin air.
Over the past several days, at least four pirate sites with a focus on Bulgaria disappeared without warning. According to SimilarWeb data, Filmisub.com was the largest with around 7.8 million visits per month.
Filmisub specialized in streaming movies and TV shows. From its apparently large selection, ACE/MPA complained about just one (Shaft) but that was enough to get Cloudflare to hand over the operators’ details. Of the four sites confirmed to have gone offline, Filmisub is the only one to have left any kind of message.
“The site is permanently closed. It will never work again in any form whatsoever,” it announced before disappearing offline.
“All sites, pages and groups on social networks that impersonate us offering applications and promises of return and continued activity have nothing to do with us and are created to mislead and abuse you in some way by using our name.”
Filmi7 Down, Most Likely Permanently Out
Before it went offline, Filmi7.com was another popular site with a focus on Bulgaria. SimilarWeb data indicates the site received around 2.7 million visits per month, with video content the main attraction.
Filmi7 left no goodbye message, at least as far as we can determine. However, there are signs that it will likely follow the same terminal path as Filmisub.
As the image below shows, in court documents Filmi7 was also accused of making available the movie Shaft without permission. The URL pattern is identical to that deployed by Filmisub, so when combined with other telltale signs relating to site infrastructure, it’s highly likely that the two platforms were connected.
The remaining pair of sites were not mentioned in the ACE/MPA subpoenas and neither left a shutdown message. Various rumors on Bulgarian forums are promoting theories on their demise but there may be a simple explanation based on available information.
Muvibg.com and Kinofen.net
When compared to Filmisub and Filmi7, Kinofen.net and Muvibg.com were much smaller sites, 880K and 230K visits per month respectively.
In common with Filmi7, Kinofen makes an appearance on the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit’s Infringing Website List, a fate avoided by Filmisub despite it having considerably more traffic. Kinofen was first flagged by police in September 2021 and Filmi7 was added to the list in December 2020.
It’s possible that Muvibg’s lower traffic levels rendered it less interesting to the authorities, but the circumstances of its disappearance along with the other three sites suggests that it won’t appear on the list in future; all four sites were apparently connected so they may all share the same fate.
Image credit: Pixabay/qimono