YTS.ag users who downloaded torrents could face penalties up to $1000 as YTS admin shares users emails and IP addresses with the anti-piracy law firm
This is beyond bizarre and serious privacy violation! We all know that torrent websites store emails and IP addresses of the torrent downloaders but we trust them to be very careful with this data. After all these torrent websites are at the wrong end of the law themselves. Who would have thought a torrent website collaborating with the very arch-enemies of torrents – the anti-piracy groups?
World’s second-most popular torrent website after The Pirate Bay, the YTS which operates with different domains like YTS.ag and YTX.mx is collaborating with the anti-piracy law firm Culpepper IP LLC based in Hawaii led by a lawyer named Kerry Culpepper. Culpepper represents many movie companies and is currently representing the producers of Hellboy and Rambo: Last Blood.
YTS was sued by Culpepper’s law firm in January 2020 and the operator of the YTS website, Senthal Vijay Segaran settled the lawsuit by agreeing to pay $150,000 in damages. However, what was not known at that time was that Segaran also agreed to share torrent downloaders’ information with the law firm in order to help them curb piracy. According to Torrent Freak, Segaran agreed to share email and IP addresses with the attorney in support of lawsuits against alleged pirates in the United States.
Culpepper IP LLC used this information to send email notices to torrent downloaders from the United States demanding a penalty for downloading copyrighted content. The email sent by Culpepper IP to torrent downloaders was accessed by Torrent Freak and contains the email and IP address of the recipient, plus the date (but not the precise time) of the alleged infringement. The email states Culpepper IP is acting on behalf of its clients and “subsequently obtained identifying contact information for many of these users from the YTS website operator, including yours.”
The email demands that the torrent downloader pay up a penalty or face further legal action. TF says that the penalty amount is somewhere in the region of $1,000 mark. In exchange for paying this amount quickly, the law firm offers a “comprehensive release of all legal claims”, including the recipient not becoming a named defendant in a lawsuit.
YTS is the second most popular torrent website and is a clone of the popular torrent uploader, YIFY Torrents. After the demise of YIFY in 2015, many clones appeared online.YTS.ag/YTS.ac/YTS.mx is one of them. In May 2020, anti-piracy lawyer Kerry Culpepper sued multiple YIFY/YTS clones for trademark infringement.
Culpepper used a unique strategy to bring down the YTS clones. He used a Hawaii based company, “42 Ventures LLC” to register multiple trademarks related to movie piracy and torrenting (including YTS). Once they were granted trademarks, they started the website operators of yts.ws, yts.ms, yst.lt, yts.tl, ytsag.me, yts.ae, ytsmovies.cc and yts-ag.com for using the (newly registered) trademark without authorization. In June 2020, the operator of YTS.WS (based in Russia) agreed to pay $200,000 in damages for trademark violation.
If you are using any form of YTS domain, you should now cease and desist especially if you are based in the United States.