Last week we reported that the third-party iOS app store TweakBox had removed several movie piracy apps following legal pressure.
One of the targeted apps was CotoMovies, a piece of software that provides unlimited access to pirated copies of movies and TV-shows, free of charge.
The legal pressure came from the makers of the action movie “Hellboy” and clearly had Tweakbox worried. However, they were not the only ones under the spotlight. Soon after our article was published CotoMovies announced that it would shut down.
Initially not much was known about the reason for this abrupt decision, although legal trouble seemed likely. Now, a few days later, we can indeed confirm that CotoMovies was urged to shut down by the makers of the films “Hellboy” and “Angel Has Fallen”.
A source close to the fire informs TorrentFreak that both parties negotiated a possible ‘settlement’. While we can’t confirm that any damages were paid, CotoMovies is now offering a public apology to the filmmakers on its homepage.
“I want to express my sincere regret to the owners of the motion pictures Hellboy and Angel Has Fallen as well as all rights holders for inducing and contributing to copyright infringements by my operation of the app CotoMovies,” the operator writes.
The CotoMovies operator notes that he or she learned from the “stressful legal experience” and now understands what damage movie piracy apps can cause. Going forward, the app’s creator promises not to infringe on any copyrights while urging the app’s users to do the same.
Needless to say, many users are disappointed to see their favorite app going offline. However, CotoMovies makes another statement that may be even more concerning. Apparently, the app’s creator agreed to transfer user data to the filmmakers.
“I now plan to fully respect intellectual property laws and strongly urge those who used my app to use legal apps to watch movies. To this end, I have agreed to transfer to counsel for the rights holders user data and communications under my possession and control so that they can enforce their valuable intellectual property,” CotoMovies writes.
It’s not immediately clear what type of user data the app retained but the filmmakers plan to target some. The makers of “Hellboy” and “Angel Has Fallen” have previously targeted individual pirates in court, but they want to set an example with streamers as well.
TorrentFreak reached out to Kerry S. Culpepper, the attorney of the two movie companies to, find out more about their plans.
“I am happy that the app operator was willing to take responsibility for her/his actions, apologize and take this app down. This is something you don’t see too much of lately – people taking responsibility for their actions,” Culpepper said.
While the lawyer confirmed that they “more than likely” intend to go after CotoMovies users, Culpepper declined to comment on what type of data they have in their possession.
What’s crystal clear, however, is that the movie companies’ legal pressure tactic is paying off.
Jonathan Yunger, co-president of Millennium Media, which is the parent company of the movie companies that went after CotoMovies, is pleased with the progress they’ve made.
“Millennium greatly values their and other’s intellectual property. Millennium cannot keep making new movies if people steal Millennium’s movies through apps like these,” Yunger informed TorrentFreak.