For several years YIFY has been one of Hollywood’s biggest arch-rivals and most-recognized pirate brands. Interestingly, it always remained a mystery what those four letters stand for. Now the veil has been lifted after a New Zealand court confirmed the name of the group’s founder.
In 2010 a fresh movie piracy brand began to conquer the Internet. Bypassing the so-called ‘Scene’, YIFY joined a new breed of release groups who publish their work directly to torrent sites.
In fact, YIFY, which later rebranded to YTS, started its own torrent website featuring high quality releases of the latest movies.
As the years went by the group amassed a huge following, and a year ago its website generated millions of pageviews per day. A true success story, but one that ended abruptly last October.
Hollywood sources tracked down the founder of YIFY and filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in New Zealand. This meant the end of YIFY and YTS, but surprisingly the case was never heard in court.
Instead, both parties agreed to a private settlement outside of court, keeping the identity of one of YIFY’s key players out of the public eye. However, this didn’t last long.
Last week a New Zealand court confirmed the identity of the YIFY founder to the local Sunday Star Times. The news outlet reported that the movie studios filed their lawsuit against Yiftach Swery, a 23-year-old app and website developer.
Several years ago YIFY told TorrentFreak that the name was “just a random alias” but this explanation is hard to maintain now.
While we have always doubted the randomness of the popular tag, Yiftach Swery leaves little room for speculation.
Indeed, we confirmed with someone in the know that the YIF part is derived directly from the founder’s name. In theory, the same could be said for YTS but this stands for “YIFY Torrents Solutions,” our source says.
It’s worth noting that Yiftach was not the only person behind YIFY. In fact, towards the end he was no longer actively involved in encoding and uploading movies.
How many other people were involved in the group remains unknown. TorrentFreak did hear that other people connected to YIFY have been “approached” by the movie industry over the years, but Yiftach is the only one who signed a settlement deal.
One thing is very clear though, the original YIFY team is not coming back. Instead, Yiftach and his former colleagues will probably focus on picking up their regular lives again.
That said, the YIFY name lives on in the memories of million of pirates. While most of its shine has been lost, YIFY will certainly go down in history.