MediaDefender, one of the more pernicious organizations dedicated to anti-piracy measures against P2P and torrent sites, is in a little bit of a mess right now. Reason being that over 700MB of company e-mail has been hacked by a group who dashingly refer to themselves as ‘MediaDefender-Defenders.’ These e-mails were released onto BitTorrent -- of course -- over the weekend and verily, they are a sight to behold.
Owned by ARTISTdirect, MediaDefender basically operates by setting up accounts on torrent sites spreading fake files across file-sharing networks. The company is then able to collate IP addresses of users downloading the files and send copyright infringement notices to ISPs and/or launch denial of service attacks against the distributors. For example, the fragrantly named a55talk on torrentreactor.to is the 47th most prolific uploader on the site, yet the e-mails reveal that this particular scat-lover was a creation of MediaDefender. Best not download your copy of Curtis from there, eh kids? Maybe you should get it from any of the torrent sites that MediaDefender don’t monitor -- an easier job, now that I can give you a list of the sites that it trains its piggy little eyes upon (top to bottom in order of ‘strength of presence’):
You’d think, given the humanitarian bent of MediaDefender’s work, that it would be doing it all purely for the love of the job. Not so, according to another of the indiscreet e-mails. It states that MediaDefender charges a sweet $4,000 a month for ‘protecting’ one album or $2,000 a month to throw those comforting, motherly arms around a single track. Certainly not chump change. So, who is MediaDefender charging? According to its website: "MediaDefender has been contracted by every major record label and every major movie studio, video game publishers, software publishers, and anime publishers."
Perhaps the most intriguing electronic missives concern the MiiVi.com site that appeared a couple of months back. Basically, this site was a super-fast download portal that also encouraged users to download an app that would enable increased download speeds. Instead, the app was a trojan horse that searched the user’s computer for illegally downloaded material, and all the files on the site were corrupted -- which isn’t surprising considering the site was owned and operated by MediaDefender. And how was this discovered? A simple check of WHOIS revealed that MediaDefender had been too busy wiping its cocaine-gorged nose with $100 bills to bother covering up the fact that the MiiVi domain registration was in its name. As MediaDefender’s glorious leader, Randy Saaf, said in an e-mail when he learned of the busting, “This is really fucked. Let’s pull miivi offline.” Naturally, at the time, Saaf was eager to deny that MiiVi was any sort of honey-pot, that it was merely an internal experiment that was mistakenly released onto the wider internet. Patent bullshit, of course, and the e-mails indeed appear to confirm that he was lying, as they include comments concerning the current take-up rate of the MiiVi trojan horse by members and a discussion of the possibility of relaunching the site under the name of viide.com. The dudes still couldn’t work out how to mask the domain ownership, though...
There’s a ton more information contained in the e-mails, and I’d recommend you visit your friendly neighborhood torrent site for some quick download action should you want to read more. Can’t read? Then why not listen to some leaked MediaDefender phone calls? Considering that the e-mails also contained the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all the main officials of the company, those at MediaDefender can probably expect one or two billion unexpected pizza deliveries in the near future.