With millions of users, torrent site YTS is one of the largest pirate sites on the Internet.
The site is a thorn in the side of many filmmakers, several of which dragged the site’s operator to US courts last year.
These types of lawsuits have proven to be lethal in the past, but not for YTS. We previously reported that YTS settled its dispute with movie outfit Wicked Nevada, and late last week it reached a similar agreement with HB Productions, the makers of the film Hellboy.
A new filing submitted at a federal court in Hawaii shows that both parties agreed to a stipulated consent judgment. The order, signed by US District Court Judge Alan Kay, effectively ends the lawsuit.
Senthil Vijay Segaran, the suspected operator of YTS, denies liability but confirms that he is the ‘John Doe’ described in the complaint and admits that people used YTS to share pirated content.
“Defendant SENTHIL VIJAY SEGARAN denies liability but acknowledges that he is Defendant JOHN DOE dba YTS identified in the original complaint and concedes that one or more third parties uploaded the torrent file of Plaintiff’s motion picture to his website YTS.LT,” it reads.
The agreement also comes at a high price for the operator. Similar to the previous settlement, Segaran agrees to pay $150,000 to compensate for the damages suffered by the makers of Hellboy.
In addition, the consent judgment includes a permanent injunction. This prevents YTS’s operator from distributing and/or promoting torrent files that point to the Hellboy film. Thus far this is indeed the case, as YTS.lt no longer lists the movie.
It is quite unusual for a movie company to resolve a lawsuit against a torrent site in this manner. Like the previous settlement, this case was handled by attorney Kerry Culpepper, who is also behind the one remaining lawsuit against YTS.
The fact that YTS remains online is good news for millions of YTS users but not all will be pleased. Around the same time that the filmmakers and YTS resolved their differences, new copyright infringement lawsuits were filed against YTS users.
These cases partly rely on information that appears to have been obtained from the YTS user database. For example, a lawsuit filed against Hawaii resident Puakailima Davis last week states the following;
“Defendant, from Internet Protocol (‘IP’) address 22.214.171.124, used a registered account associated with the email address “redactedbyTF@gmail.com” to access torrent files from YTS.
“Defendant went to torrent sites including the website YTS to upload and download Plaintiffs’ copyrighted Works,” the complaints later adds.
The complaint further mentions at what times the defendant “logged into her email address,” although it’s not clear whether that refers to the website login or that of the email provider.
As mentioned previously, an email address itself is not hard evidence. People who register an account with YTS don’t have to confirm their email, so anyone can sign up with a random address, including those of other people.
It’s not stated how all the referenced information was obtained, which leaves us with little more than speculation.
A possible scenario is that the YTS operator gave up the user information as part of the negotiations. This would not be unprecedented, as the developer of the app CotoMovies shared similar information with the film companies in the past.
TorrentFreak contacted Kerry Culpepper, the attorney in charge, but he informed us that he couldn’t comment on the matter at this time.
YTS.lt, meanwhile, remains online.
TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the stipulated consent judgment between HB Productions and Senthil Vijay Segaran, which is available here (pdf). Two new complaints against alleged YTS users are available here (pdf) and here (pdf).