MPAA fake download site exposed

The detective agency used by the Motion Picture Association of America has attempted to lure file sharers to a fake download site that installs spyware on their PCs.

The MiiVi.com site offered downloads of complete movies along with forums for debate, but also offered software purporting to speed up file transfers.

In fact the software checked hard drives for copyrighted material and reported back to the MediaDefender detective agency.

"Unfortunately, with the site down, we cannot analyse the site or this tool, " said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos.

"But if pirated software was made available for download and had some hidden processes that reported back to an unauthorised third party, it is a good thing that it is offline.

"This looks like a case of 'surfer beware' because pirated software is rarely without a sting in the tale.

View: Vnunet.com

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52 Comments

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In the end they pretty much just hurt themselves. Judging from the responses I'd say they actually have about 0 credibility and respect from the community right now, and that's based upon if they even had any to begin with. How are they going to be able to convince anybody of what right or wrong is now?

And for what? To jail those couple of people that were unlucky enough to get illegal spyware on their computers and somehow couldn't find justice in the US court system in events following? Yeah, I see the profit in that.

They have no solution to the growing piracy problem, which is a damn shame. Lack of innovation and creative minds is always a b*tch, but resorting to bullying a bunch of nonames isn't going to create the solution they're looking for, either.

How is this illegal? Sounds like someone is ****ed they can't download Spider-Man 3 from their favourite torrent site...

Isn't this just like electronically tagging shop items? Isn't this like DRM?

I guess it's a double-edged sword. if this is illegal, then DRM might be in trouble, no?

Do you even know what DRM is? DRM has nothing to do with tracking the distribution of files, or invading your privacy by scanning your hard drive and sending back file lists to the MPAA.

Tricking users into installing spyware onto computers without the user's consent or knowledge IS illegal. End of.

I saw the site while it was still up, but they were very quick with bringing it down. Most likely because they knew they would have a crapstorm from security companies coming their way if they had left it up. They even tried to cover their tracks by changing their WHOIS entry, but the MediaDefender registrar was already exposed as well as a traceroute going to their router so, yes, they got pretty busted. :-p I would love to see them be brought to court for intentionally offering spyware under false marketing (the old "fast downloads" BS) though.

for starters what they are doig is so close to being considered illegal, but i don't think it actually is.

However if the MPAA is allowing the fiels to be online to download, i do not consider it to be illegal, they own the copyright adn are distributing the files. If this practise is indeed still illegal then the company sharing the fiels is also breaking the law i.e. The MPAA should be taking this guy to court. if the mpaa is letting him post the files then anyoe downloading the files is not breaking the law. its called entrapment and is indeed illegal

not entrapment

But probably false marketing anyway. The download application offered for "fast downloads" had no special connection to reality at all, and was pure spyware too. I believe falsely advertising spyware is illegal.

The point of this is that they created a new site that offered free movies. Average Joe goes to the site to get the free movies because the site said that they were free. if the MPAA turns arround and sues average joe and did not say on their website that they did not hold the copyriights to the content offered(which they do actually) then the MPAA has no case.

The MPAA/RIAA need to be Seriously watched by the law as this is going way out of line.

"No I'm mad when someone puts up a tool that claims it will increase your internet speeds that actually doesn't do that "

isn't this false advertising and isn't false advertising illegal?

richardsim7 said,
Wait a second, technically they own this stuff....so if they're putting it up for download...it's legal!! Hahaha! :D

-Rich-

lol! thats a really good point... i wonder if that could hold up in court.

Also if the files are fake, then technically there is no crime being committed since what you are downloading is not copyrighted content.

mpaa using illegal tactics to get people. Wont hold up in court. infact, if they sue anyone off of this, i would just counter sue them for putting illegal software on my computer, taking information that isnt theirs, and providing illegal things in the first place.

Entrapment... besides technically you could twist this in court and claim you knew it was the MPAA and since THEY where giving the movies away they broke their own law and have the case nullified pretty quickly... besides techincally they hacked yoru system to get info unknowingly which is once again also illegal to collect information in that manner through the use of a backdoor, trojan or what ever else they could of used

As usual, if you aren't stealing anything you've got nothing to worry about. Who's the victim here, the criminals? Not likely.

For the defense to be successful, the defendant must demonstrate that the police induced an otherwise unwilling person to commit a crime.

that is entrapment, if your downloading movies illegally, i'd hardly say the site induced you to do it and you were unwilling to.

in other words, no, this isn't entrapment.

Exactly. Entrapment is making someone do something illegal when they normally wouldn't. It's as if an undercover police officer bribed you to deliver some illicit drugs, something you would never have anything to do with, then when you took them from him, he arrested you for intent to distribute. The police can't force you to do something against your will, and then arrest you for it.

If it was done by the police, it would be. Since the MPAA isn't associated with the police or any other official government agency (although they would like for you to think they are), it's not.

sin-ergy said,
isn't this entrapment?

well yeah. but entrapment isn't illegal for a corporation to perform..... its not even illegal for the authorities, it just doesn't hold up too well in court.

Makes sense. If it was any other corporation, they'd get their asses sued. Spyware is illegal. End of, and they aren't above the law.

i second that...
some1 should go ahead and sue their a** off... x)
if they treat people like crap, they cant expect us to follow these oh-so-good charity-for-industry peeps... can they?
yes they can in this society...

Glassed Silver:mac

i so hope loads of people sue the mpaa and riaa and bring both pieces of crap down, isnt it like 14p the artist gets for every £500 riaa makes or something rediculous like that ?

So let me get this straight, they can perform illegal activities like invade other peoples privacy in orther to stop an illegal activity (piracy)?

Humm... sounds just like Judge Dread to me. And also, they just target people that not neccesarily have pirated anything, just the ones that may be just browsing, curious or just tempted of doing it... again, just sounds as "guilty until proven innoccent", just like Minority Report.

We just have got to tell these asses to stop living in a fantasy world... and just accept that the world has changed. Old business models must change to accommodate the present and future.

Mr.Ed

I fail to see how a site hosted by the MPAA represents illegal downloading. They are giving the movies away, they need to be subject to the very laws they are going after others for. The spyware is illegal. This action is highly unethical on their part.

Turion said,
I fail to see how a site hosted by the MPAA represents illegal downloading. They are giving the movies away, they need to be subject to the very laws they are going after others for. The spyware is illegal. This action is highly unethical on their part.

that was my reaction, but i think it depends on if:

1) the files you download are the actual movies, not just fake files
2) if the software is forcibly installed on your computer, or if they just give you the option to install it
3) if it says in the privacy agreement of the program that they will scan and send info back

as for those who say "you're mad at the mpaa for attaching spyware to illegal downloads blah blah" 2 wrongs don't make a right. you can't preach to people to follow rules and act ethically but at the same time, yourself, not following those rules and ethics. well you can but that's just stupid. one of those "unwritten" rules that our society depends on greatly to stay sane and safe

PermaSt0ne said,
2 wrongs don't make a right. you can't preach to people to follow rules and act ethically but at the same time, yourself, not following those rules and ethics. well you can but that's just stupid. one of those "unwritten" rules that our society depends on greatly to stay sane and safe

Um.. That's not how the U.S. legal system is set up. If you commit a crime, you still have rights. If you break a law you can still expect the authorities to follow rules and ethics.

To me, this seems like a search of premises issue. I don't know what or if the user license agreement (if any) was implemented but it all seems pretty sketchy to me because the program is advertised to speed downloads, which is not what its real intended use was. Spyware? Why not call it a trojan? That's what it was/is to me.

Turion said,
I fail to see how a site hosted by the MPAA represents illegal downloading. They are giving the movies away, they need to be subject to the very laws they are going after others for. The spyware is illegal. This action is highly unethical on their part.

The same way law enforcement breaks the very laws it's supposed to uphold so it can bust people.

I think if the MPAA put up a site offering movies then anyone who downloaded should not be in trouble. Those downloads were given out by the MPAA for others to share. It won't hold up in a court of law. Not in the U.S. anyway.

so your mad at them for attaching spyware to movie downloads that are illeagle?

yes i too get mad when the coke i buy is laced with rat poision but watchya gonna do

Netrack said,
so your mad at them for attaching spyware to movie downloads that are illeagle?

yes i too get mad when the coke i buy is laced with rat poision but watchya gonna do


No I'm mad when someone puts up a tool that claims it will increase your internet speeds that actually doesn't do that at all and instead spys on my computer. I'm pretty sure that sort of thing is illegal and an invasion of privacy. The police need warrants to bug your telephone - why is it that the MPAA thinks they can do the computer equivalent without a warrant?

The spyware wasn't in the illegal downloads - it was in a tool that claimed to help with your internet speeds. There is quite the difference. It's like if someone gave you a fast car that happened to be bugged but they didn't tell you... sure you could pick up drugs in it, but that doesn't mean you are.

lothodon said,
don't you mean you get mad when a coke you STEAL is laced with rat poison?

I think you confused "the" coek with "a" coke. The coke is allready illegal to buy, so stealing it wouln't really make it more illegal, you'd just be chased down and killed for stealing from the pusher

Netrack said,
so your mad at them for attaching spyware to movie downloads that are illeagle?

Yes. Two wrongs don't make a right.

The Cub said,

Yes. Two wrongs don't make a right.


Indeed. Using illegal methods to identify and trap people doing illegal acts is just as bad as the illegal act they are trying to trap them for.

Netrack said,
so your mad at them for attaching spyware to movie downloads that are illeagle?

Wow, I hope your eagle gets better.

sting in the tale.

Is this a play on words or just the wrong word? It seems like it should be "tail."

Anyway, that sucks for anybody who fell for it.

gigapixels said,

Is this a play on words or just the wrong word? It seems like it should be "tail."

Anyway, that sucks for anybody who fell for it.

I can't believe you just said that, lol. Grammar much?