The RIAA has noticed that pirate sites are increasingly turning to “bulletproof” hosting providers, which makes them harder to shut down. The music group lists Ecatel, Quasi Networks, and FlokiNET as examples in its yearly notorious markets report to the US Government.
In tandem with many other copyright industry groups, the RIAA sent its overview of “notorious markets” to the US Trade Representative (USTR) this week.
The group lists more than two dozen pirate sites, categorized by stream-ripping, MP3 download and search portals, torrent indexers, cyberlockers, and unlicensed pay-for-download sites.
The RIAA’s overview is in many regards the same as last year’s, and the full list of the sites is provided below. What is new, however, is the focus on so-called “bulletproof” hosting providers.
These hosting companies have very lenient policies and protect the identities of their customers. As such, they are often used by spammers, scammers, and also pirate sites. This isn’t by any means a new phenomenon, but the RIAA has flagged it as an emerging threat.
“[I]nfringing sites are turning more towards offshore hosting ISPs that support the sites’ infringing activities,” the RIAA informs the USTR.
“These ‘Bulletproof’ ISPs support various types of criminality through considerable leniency in the kinds of materials they permit to be uploaded and distributed via their networks.”
The problem with these companies is obvious. Ideally, copyright holders want hosting providers to shut down blatantly infringing sites, but these outfits are not responsive to warning letters or infringement notices.
The RIAA highlights two of these bulletproof hosts. The first is the Ecatel/Quasi Networks pair, which are believed to be closely related. Both companies are known to law enforcement and were targeted in a lawsuit filed by anti-piracy group BREIN last year.
“Quasi Networks is responsible for hosting various sites engaged in the transmission of pre-release works, including dbr.ee, xclusivejams, nippyspace, mp3monkey.net, gosongs, and leakth.is.
“With little recourse to remove infringements, both Ecatel and Quasi represent a significant danger to our member companies,” the RIAA adds.
The second bulletproof hosting provider is FlokiNET, which offers servers in Romania, Iceland, and Finland. The RIAA recently uncovered that the host was listed as the registrant for the pre-release leak site musicmafia.to, likely to protect a customer. The site itself disappeared soon after.