Earlier this week we reported on a developer who transformed his anti-piracy platform into a music download site. After an anti-piracy group took down his service two days ago, the dev is threatening to return with movie and TV show downloads, a micro-payment system and the spreading of his product to other operators – all in the name of stopping Internet piracy. Weird story? You bet.
Earlier this week an anti-piracy developer called Dominic told us that after pitching his product to the entertainment industries (including the MPAA, IFPI and various studios) they showed no interest.
Disappointed, Dominic transformed his platform into a music download site instead, one which he claimed had “the capability to index, crawl, monitor and analyse any page/site it comes across,” which made it “the fastest and easiest way to download any song you can think of, on the web.”
Although he received lots of visitors this week, the download features didn’t last long. Just a few hours after we published our original article, Dominic started to receive legal threats, most notably from Australia’s MIPI – Music Industry Piracy Investigations (see below).
MIPI Takedown Request
After receiving this letter from his host, Dominic removed the download functionality on his site.
“Because of MIPI bullying my host into demanding the site be disabled I have been looking for partners capable and willing to host the platform,” he told us. “I have been engaged by dozens of offers to host the site and it should be back up on a multiple Gb/s connection within days.”
Dominic has informed us that his return will be accompanied by several new features. In addition to music search and downloads will come the same functionality for movies and TV shows. He is also promising to implement high speed torrent streaming.
“The overall goal of the site remains to illustrate just how easily and quickly users can find, stream and download any type of media online without actually hosting or indexing any of it myself,” he explains.
“I have also begun working on a complete online media streaming platform which aims to offer universal on demand access to any mp3, tv show/episode, or film offered through an easy to use online library/catalogue available on ANY smart device and in all countries.”
Furthermore, Dominic says he will provide his platform to anyone who would like to run their own copy of his system. He informed us this morning that part of this platform will be “a next generation online bank and micro payment processor” called microPade which thickens the plot significantly.
“I will continue to release fast, free, innovate and fun ways of finding and accessing content online for consumers, until the industry shows me that they are willing to actually implement some reforms,” he explains.
The reforms Dominic refers to relate to his claims that big businesses are indirectly funding torrent and various file-sharing sites by paying for advertising on them. In particular he points the finger at InterActiveCorp, a company run by Barry Diller, the ex CEO of both Fox and Paramount films.
Despite Dominic’s story and the background information he’s given us which all points to him knowing what he’s talking about, this story has been particularly awkward to follow.
While it is very common indeed for operators of file-sharing sites to hide their identities when speaking with us (with some of our contacts it’s an absolute pre-requisite) the same cannot be said of those working in anti-piracy. They tend to be very upfront in who they are.
However, this is almost certainly the very first time we’ve covered a story which appears to come from an individual hopping from one side of the war to the other. This seems an almost impossible line for Dominic to tread, as can be seen by some of the hostile reader comments made against him in our original article. People like to know where the people they are dealing with stand, and this is particularly true in the file-sharing world.
We asked Dominic to reveal the name of his company, but he told us he couldn’t do that since he was no longer with his previous business partner and “all of my current actions must be explicitly owned by myself and not as a representative of a company.”
We also asked if he believes this protest will suddenly result in the entertainment companies responding (essentially to blackmail) and doing business with him.
“I am not expecting the industry to just give in I am trying to expose the truth and workings of the industry,” he told us. “I have no idea what will come of this whole protest but all I can show is that the technology exists to protect content producers.”
So what about the entertainment industry – what do they think of Dominic? We put out feelers in several directions and couldn’t get any response on the entertainment industry’s opinion of Dominic and his protest. Despite him claiming to have widely pitched his product, we have been unable to find anyone who knows who he is.
But rather than from a traditional anti-piracy viewpoint, perhaps Dominic is better understood from an advertising angle? Just this week Warner and Disney won a legal battle against a company that advertised on unauthorized streaming movie sites, a case we originally reported back in August.
U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu signed a consent judgment Wednesday ordering Triton Media of Scottsdale, Ariz which bars Triton Media from operating or assisting several streaming sites including the well-known watch-movies-online.tv, watch-movies-links.net and thepiratecity.org.
In discussions with us, it seems clear that Dominic feels he can benefit from this ruling.
“Ironically, my platform is the only commercially available platform with the capability of autonomously monitoring advertisers and ad agencies on any given web page or site; not to mention it can be localized to target advertisers from any country, with the ability to continuously crawl or just go through a list of URLs,” he explains.
Overall, Dominic concludes that his goal “is to reach harmony between content producers (that is, the artists who create the content, not the distributors), and consumers.”
Anti-pirate, pirate, advertiser, banker, moral crusader, troublemaker or the breath of fresh air the entertainment companies need right now? Only time – and perhaps a little more transparency – will tell.