What happened to all the top piracy sites?

Online piracy services have been in the news recently, led by reports that movie torrent site YTS – also known as Yify – was offline.

The YTS downtime coincided with that of a version of Popcorn Time – popcorntime.io – which was reportedly shut down last week.

YTS and Popcorn Time are big players in the online media piracy space, and their downtime has left users asking questions about when the services will be up and running again.

They aren’t the only online piracy services which have suffered problems in recent times, though – here is the latest on the world’s top piracy sites.


YTS

Yify Torrents logo

YTS, or Yify, is one of the most popular movie torrent sites online today. Or, rather, it was.

TorrentFreak has reported that the YTS site has shutdown for good.

The publication’s sources confirmed the permanent shutdown following almost two weeks of downtime for the site. No information on why the group closed was available at the time of writing.

Online pirates who source their movies movies through other torrent sites will also no longer be able to access YTS movie releases.


Popcorn Time

Popcorn Time iOS app launch

Popcorn Time, which allowed users to stream unauthorised copies of films, has also shut its doors.

TorrentFreak reported that Popcorn Time developer “Wally” said he has shut down the fork’s servers.

According to the publication, there was an exodus of developers at Popcorn Time – including the person who registered the application’s domain name – in fear of legal action.

The Verge reported that besides the website going down, the service’s app also no longer works. According to the report, Popcorn Time’s Twitter account stated that users should download Butter in its place – a legal version of the app.


KickassTorrents

KickassTorrents header

Kickass Torrents – also know as KAT – has been blocked by Google Chrome and Firefox browsers in recent weeks, due to the presence of malicious or unwanted software on the torrent site.

KAT is a popular source for movie, TV series, music, and game torrents, but users looking to access the content have been met with a red warning page – in the case of Chrome – telling them to turn back.

The safe browsing page on KAT warns that unwanted software distributors might trick users into installing software that can harm their system, International Business Times reported.

At the time of writing, Chrome’s warning page was no longer showing when navigating to KAT.


EZTV

Internet Piracy

EZTV was a popular TV series torrent group, with links to its content available on multiple online piracy sites.

The torrent group shut down earlier in 2015 after its founder, NovaKing, lost control of a number of domain names and data in a hostile takeover.

Problems began in January 2015 when the .IT domain name registry suspended eztv.it due to “inaccurate WHOIS information”.

When the domain went back on the market, it was sold on auction to a UK-based company called Ezcloud Limited.

Ezcloud set eztv.it to act as a reverse proxy, serving content from the real EZTV domain (then at eztv.ch), but displaying its own ads over it.

The impostors then offered to either sell the domain back to NovaKing, or go into a deal to share advertising revenue.

NovaKing rejected the offer, and shut down the service.


Piracy and Google

Google

Online pirates will also be irked to hear that copyright holders are more active than ever when it comes to asking Google to remove “pirate” search results.

According to TorrentFreak, Google has been inundated with DMCA takedown notices targeting links to pirated content.

Today, Google processes an average of 2 million takedown notices per day – with the search giant’s latest Transparency Report revealing that a over 1 billion links to “infringing webpages” have been the target of takedown notices to date.

ISPs have also been in the sights of anti-piracy groups of late. The India Times recently reported that the country’s IT minister asked local Internet service providers to block at least 240 websites which offer pirated content.

Representatives from the film and ISP industries, along with the police, met to discuss the “grave threat” that online piracy posed in India.


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What happened to all the top piracy sites?