A group of movie companies has been very active in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii over the past several months.
Various copyright infringement lawsuits and DMCA subpoenas were filed against prominent players in the piracy ecosystem, ranging from Popcorn Time through YTS and Showbox.
Today, we can add another target to the growing list, the popular torrent uploader/group MKVCage.
MKVCage uploads its encodes across various torrent sites and has gathered a dedicated following over the past few years. The group also operates its own site at MKVCage.com, where the latest releases are also shared. However. over the past few days, this site has become unresponsive.
The downtime started soon after the makers of the movie “Hellboy” filed a complaint at a Hawaii federal court. The movie company believes that the site is run by a person named Muhammad Faizan, who stands accused of promoting and distributing pirated copies of their movie.
“Defendant Faizan operates an interactive website mkvcage.com and
previously mkvcage.fun which includes a library of torrent files for copyright protected motion pictures, including Plaintiff’s. The torrent files can be used by a BitTorrent client application to download and reproduce motion pictures for free and without license,” the complaint reads.
The filmmakers add that the defendant creates the torrent files that are made available on the website, including “Hellboy.2019.720p.HC.HDRip.x264-MkvCage.Com.mkv,” which are then distributed to the site’s users. The name of the site is often included in the title, to boost the site’s profile.
“Defendant Faizan sometimes includes words such as’MkvCage.com’ in the titles of the torrent files he creates in order to enhance his reputation for the quality of his torrent files and attract users to his interactive MKVCAGE website,” the complaint notes.
The movie company obtained the name of the site’s alleged operator from Namecheap, in response to a DMCA notice. The same person is also listed as the registrant for the domains mkvcage.com, mkvcage.ws, mkvcage.cc and mkvcage.me, and used PayPal to pay for at least one of those.
At this point, it is unclear whether the current downtime is a direct result of the complaint that was filed. MKVCage’s latest upload at external websites, such as 1337x, was two days ago. We will update this article if more information becomes available.
In addition to MKVCage, the same lawsuit also targets the smaller torrent site iBit.uno and its unnamed operator. TorrentFreak reached out to iBit, but a representative of the site didn’t want to comment on the allegations.
The people behind both sites stand accused of contributory copyright infringement among other things, and Faizan also faces a count of direct copyright infringement.
The movie company requests compensation for the damage it suffered. It also request an injunction, so it can request third-party services such as hosting providers, ISPs, search engines, and domain registrars, to stop facilitating access to the sites.
The injunction request is quite broad and could affect a wide range of companies. At this point, however, it hasn’t been granted yet, so that can’t explain the current downtime.
A copy of the complaint from HB Productions (Hellboy) is available here (pdf)