With millions of monthly views, Putlocker is the go-to video streaming site for many people.
Earlier this year the site mysteriously disappeared, but after several weeks it eventually made a comeback on a new domain, Putlockers.ch.
As one of the largest ‘pirate sites’ on the Internet, Putlocker is a thorn in the side of rightsholders, and this week the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) put it on its annual list of “notorious markets.” At least, that was the goal.
In reality, the U.S. Government listed an unrelated domain with a similar but different name; Putlocker.ch (no ‘s’ at the end).
“The operator of Putlocker is believed to be based in Vietnam and appears to be taking actions to evade enforcement measures,” the USTR writes in its overview.
“For example, in 2016 Putlocker hopped domains from the country code top-level domain of Iceland (.is) to Switzerland (.ch) and started using reverse proxy services to obscure the location of its hosting provider.”
TorrentFreak reached out to the owner of Putlocker.ch, a domain name that’s parked at SEDO and doesn’t link to any infringing content.
He explains that his company Marshall Domains LTD specializes in buying domains names which are monetized through type-in traffic. They buy all sorts of names, with worried.com being one of their latest additions.
Clearly, Putlocker.ch is a good choice when it comes to type-in traffic, as it even confused the Trade Representative enough to include it in his notorious markets review.
Unfortunately, this is not the only unusual domain in the ‘notorious market’ review. The USTR report also lists several domain names that are no longer operational. Yet, they are classified as some of the world’s worst piracy havens.
The Novamov.com domain for example, hasn’t been operational since January, almost a year. Instead, the site now redirects to Auroravid.to. Similarly, Divxstage.to, Videoweed.es and Movshare.net have been redirecting to other sites for months too.
And then there’s Nowdownload.ch, which has been parked for a while, serving no infringing content at all.
It almost seems like the USTR simply copied and pasted some of these URLs from last year’s report, without checking if they were still online. That wouldn’t be a surprise, as some of the other text is identical to last year as well.
Whatever the reason, it certainly is sloppy for a document which aims to urge foreign Governments to change their local laws.