‘Someone’ Tried to Hijack a Domain Seizure Order, Posing as a Rightsholder

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Adult entertainment conglomerate MindGeek won a major court battle last month against Daftsex.com. In addition to millions of dollars in damages, the court issued an injunction allowing the rightsholder to take over this and other domains. Interestingly, 'someone' tried to hijack the process by posing as MindGeek in an email to domain registry Verisign.

mindgeekAdult entertainment conglomerate MindGeek owns several of the largest ‘free’ tube sites including Pornhub.

In the early days, these sites thrived on pirated content but over time, that changed. Today, MindGeek itself is one of the most protective copyright holders in the industry.

MindGeek subsidiary MG Premium, for example, has many thousands of works registered at the US Copyright Office. To prevent these videos from being shared online without permission, the company regularly takes legal action.

Victory Against DaftSex

In a recent case heard at a federal court in the Western District of Washington, MindGeek won a default judgment against Vasily Kharchenko, the suspected operator of Daftsex.com, Artporn.com, Biqle.com and Daxab.com.

These sites have been a thorn in MindGeek’s side for years and MG Premium accused their operator of mass copyright infringement. DaftSex alone was good for dozens of millions of monthly visits.

The adult media company won by default after the defense failed to appear. Kharchenko was ordered to pay more than $32 million in damages and an injunction required domain name registry Verisign to sign over the valuable domain names to MG Premium.

Court Order Hijack Attempt

Apparently, someone had been keeping a close eye on the case. Shortly after the court issued its order, Verisign received an email from an MG Premium imposter trying to seize ownership of the contested domain names.

The identity of the imposter is unknown, but a new court filing MG Premium suggests that it could be Kharchenko’s attempt to retain control over the domain names. For as long as it lasts.

“On November 10, 2022, just days after this Court entered the Order of Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction, a fraudulent letter was sent to Verisign, Inc. purportedly from MG Premium requesting Verisign, Inc. to unlock the domains and send authorization codes to [email protected].”

“This is a fake letter, not sent by MG Premium. It is suspected Defendant Kharchenko may have sent this fake letter in an attempt to thwart the Court’s Order and the loss of the domains,” MG Premium writes.

mindgeek imposter

The bold move ultimately failed, as the real MG Premium was already in touch with Verisign at that point. However, it was clear that someone had tried to hijack the court’s order.

Motion for Contempt and Sanctions

MG Premium suspects that DaftSex’s operator sent the email. Despite the court order and injunction, the pirate site is not giving up. After the domains were eventually signed over to MG Premium, the sites switched to new domains including Daft.sex, Dsex.to, and Biqle.org.

These new domains were made public through DaftSex’s Twitter account and remain in operation today.

daftsex has moved

To address this problem, MG Premium submitted a motion for contempt and sanctions against the site operator. And since more monetary damages aren’t going to help, the sanctions should be focused on taking all replacement sites offline. MG Premium also wants the Twitter account suspended.

“The Court must unfortunately look at Defendant Kharchekno as an irresponsible teenager who simply cannot follow simple rules nor show any respect to others, including the rule of law,” MG Premium writes.

“To force obedience with the Court’s Order, the Court should take away the utilized domains and the Twitter account promoting those domains. There is simply no other way to get this behavior to cease.”

The court has yet to rule on this motion but if MG Premium successfully takes over the new domain names, any new hijacking attempts will lack the element of surprise. Even then, MG Premium may have to return to court if DaftSex switches domains again.

A copy of MG Premium’s request for a finding of contempt and associated sanctions against Daftsex and its operator Vasily Kharchekno is available here (pdf)


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