Ukraine Cyberpolice Shut Down Pirate Streaming Site

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A pirate site which served copyrighted content over a nine-year period has been shut down by Ukranian cyberpolice. With half a million users, authorities say that OnlainFilm was among the top five most-visited sites in several countries. Five searches were carried out with computer equipment and cash seized.

While torrent sites were once the next big thing, streaming is now at the height of fashion.

A shocking number of platforms now offer instant access to massive movie and TV shows libraries, something the authorities seem powerless to do much about. Over in Ukraine, authorities say they have made a start.

For the past nine years Onlainfilm has been serving up movies to the masses but this week all that came to an end when local cyberpolice shut the operation down.

Government and police investigators report that after detecting “members of a criminal group” behind the site, police carried out five raids in the city of Khmelnytskyi located in the west of Ukraine.

One of the searched locations

“Online movie theater ‘Onlainfilm’ was among the five most-visited sites in several countries,” police said in a statement.

“Every day, the site was visited by half a million Internet users, and the number of video views exceeded two million. The total amount of videos posted on the site exceeded 50 TB.”

While police haven’t yet announced how many people were arrested, the image below reveals that hardware, money, and other items were seized during their searches.

Like many other sites of a similar nature, Onlainfilm took precautions to reduce the chances of detection. Police say that its operators used a reverse proxy server which enabled it to relay visitors’ requests to other servers hidden elsewhere.

In such cases, prosecutors and copyright holders tend to lead up front with claims of millions in lost revenues caused by sites such as Onlainfilm. However, authorities say those figures won’t be released until “the necessary investigative actions” have been carried out.

Ukraine’s reputation for low levels of intellectual property crime protection has placed the country firmly in the crosshairs of the United States Trade Representative.

The country is currently on the Priority Watch List with the USTR recently reporting that Ukraine had failed to “implement an effective means to combat the widespread online infringement of copyright” in the country.

Although Ukraine was featured quite heavily for other reasons, Onlainfilm was not listed in the USTR’s 2017 list of Notorious Markets.


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