For years sites like VCDQuality have been providing timely news on which movies and TV shows have leaked onto the Internet.
For those researching the piracy phenomenon these databases prove particularly useful, but for the countless thousands viewing these sites looking to download the videos themselves, there is nothing but disappointment. Strict rules ban the posting of links and on some sites even mentioning where something can be obtained is forbidden.
But a few years ago and alongside the rise of regular blogging with software such as WordPress, people began posting news on their own blogs detailing which releases had become available. Growing in confidence they later added a crucial element that release news sites had previously omitted – links to the content itself.
Founded in 2006, RLSlog.net was one of the pioneers of the ‘release blog’ format. At its inception the site didn’t post any download links but over the years that position changed to the point where it was reported by the RIAA to the U.S. Trade Representative as a “notorious market”.
The old RLSlog, plenty of download links
But while it was the recording labels making the most noise in 2011 (and a year earlier when the site was taken offline following a complaint from Universal), it was a 2012 action initiated by the Hollywood studios that would end up having the biggest impact on how RLSlog operates.
In December last year, Usenet indexing site NZBMatrix was shut down following an aggressive complaint from the Wiggin LLC lawfirm. Quickly following up on this success the studios instructed Wiggin to go after RLSlog.
“Wiggin represent most movie studios. They asked us to remove all movie and TV shows represented by these companies,” RLSLOG’s admin informed TorrentFreak.
Rather than the takedown of specific “infringing” pages, Wiggin asked RLSlog to take down more than 90% of their content. In advance of a full agreement with the lawfirm RLSlog agreed to close the comments section of its site on movie and TV show releases to stop users posting links.
But that didn’t go far enough for the studios and yesterday RLSlog was forced into much more aggressive action.
“We would like to announce that starting from now, RLSLOG will no longer post any kind of download links or links to filesharing sites on all TV Shows and Movies,” site admin Martin announced. “This decision was done to comply with [the] requests of a legal company representing major Hollywood film studios and companies.”
New look RLSlog – No direct download links
RLSlog goes on to underline the fact that the site never hosted any content itself but of course neither does The Pirate Bay, and Hollywood still want that site shut down.
“Our site is strictly informative and never stored any files on its servers – we just linked to 3rd party websites which were actually offering the files,” Martin explains.
But there is a final twist to the tale.
Although RLSlog is doing as asked, the site will continue to provide news on which TV shows and movies appear online in pirate form. That is reporting and there is nothing illegal about that. However, what RLSlog is adding to fresh news posts is links to custom searches on Google utilizing the unique filenames that go along with pirated releases. These generate dozens of results, any of which allow users to download content just as they did before.
If the studios want those links removed they’re going to have to keep sending takedowns to Google. That’s individual takedowns too. Better put on a pot of coffee, this could take some time.