Major piracy sites shut down

November 4, 2015

For Immediate Release
November 3, 2015

Major Piracy Sites Shut Down

Closure of Both Popcorn Time and YTS strengthens marketplace for legal online commerce

WASHINGTON – Pursuant to court orders in Canada and New Zealand, the “official” Popcorn Time fork and YTS, a BitTorrent site and release group that was the primary source of illegal movie content on Popcorn Time have been shut down, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said today. Together these illegal commercial enterprises enabled acts of copyright infringement worldwide on a massive scale.

“Popcorn Time and YTS are illegal platforms that exist for one clear reason: to distribute stolen copies of the latest motion pictures and television shows without compensating the people who worked so hard to make them,” said Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).  “By shutting down these illegal commercial enterprises, which operate on a massive global scale, we are protecting not only our members’ creative work and the hundreds of innovative, legal digital distribution platforms, but also the millions of people whose jobs depend on a vibrant motion picture and television industry.”

A lawsuit was filed by the six member companies of the MPAA on October 9 in the Federal Court in Canada against three key Canadian operators of the fork, claiming the defendants enabled, authorized and induced copyright infringement of motion pictures and television shows., which its operators have dubbed the “official” Popcorn Time fork, had 1.5 million unique visitors in July 2015 alone, according to comScore – and once those visitors downloaded the app, they were able to illegally watch thousands of stolen motion pictures and television shows.  As a result of the evidence filed with the lawsuits, the studios obtained an injunction on October 16 ordering that the defendants shut down and refrain from operating or promoting the site and corresponding app.

A separate lawsuit was filed on October 12 in the High Court of New Zealand against a New Zealand resident who was the operator of YTS, accusing him of facilitating and encouraging massive copyright infringement.  An interim injunction was obtained ordering the defendant to shut YTS down and refrain from operating or promoting the site, which had a global Alexa ranking of 584 and had over 3.4 million unique visitors in August 2015 alone, according to comScore.  YTS is also considered the home of YIFY, one of the world’s most prolific release groups involved in the illegal replication and distribution of copyright content with a library of some 4,500 infringing motion picture titles.

“This coordinated legal action is part of a larger comprehensive approach being taken by the MPAA and its international affiliates to combat content theft,” Senator Dodd said. “Development of high-quality entertainment requires significant investment of time and resources, and creators rely on a fair and lawful ecosystem that minimizes the significant impact of piracy.  Our members are deeply committed to producing the most creative, compelling and entertaining content while finding innovative ways to deliver it to consumers. And we are equally committed to pursuing actions around the world to stop those who seek to undermine that goal by engaging in blatant piracy on a commercial scale. The actions announced today will help ensure that we’re able to continue this mission.”

Appendix – “Canadian Voices”

“Movies are known for telling great stories that make a big impact in our lives. The film industry reaches people across Canada and around the world.  Applications like Popcorn Time that enable and encourage infringement hurt legitimate Canadian businesses, including theatre exhibitors, creative talents and the thousands of other businesses who support and are employed in this industry. Cineplex is supportive of the efforts of the MPAA, MPA-Canada, and their member companies to prevent the distribution of stolen content from people who have invested time, money, and hard work to create films that Canadians enjoy.”

– Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, Cineplex Entertainment

“The CMPA supports consumer-friendly ways to legally access Canadian content.  However, applications like Popcorn Time that openly encourage, promote, and facilitate copyright infringement threaten valuable jobs in the Canadian feature film and TV industry, as well as undermine the sustainability of the independent producer voice. The CMPA is therefore supportive of the efforts by the MPAA, MPA-Canada, and their member companies to pursue the remedies available under Canada’s copyright laws against Popcorn Time and related applications.”

– Reynolds Mastin, President & CEO, The Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA)

“The IATSE is supportive of efforts by the MPAA, MPA-Canada, and their member companies to prevent the distribution of stolen content via applications like Popcorn Time, which undermines the hard work that goes into the strong and vibrant foreign and domestic production industry in Canada – an industry that employs tens of thousands Canadians in the film and television production and distribution sectors.”

– John M. Lewis, International Vice President & Director of Canadian Affairs, The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE)


About the MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Its members include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

For more information, contact:

MPAA Washington, DC
Howard Gantman
(202) 460-5530 (cell)