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Hollywood Used ‘Dynamic+ Injunction’ to Shut Down movie-web and Other Pirate Sites

By iptv.legal , in Anti-Piracy dynamic injunction india Site Blocking , at February 26, 2024

delhiThis weekend, we reported that the open source movie search app movie-web lost control over the domain name of its demo site.

Registrar Namecheap suspended the domain following a complaint from several major Hollywood studios and Netflix. Initially, broader context was missing but new information suggests that an Indian order lies at the basis of this intervention.

Like many other countries around the world, India’s copyright law allows rightsholders to limit access to pirate sites. This measure is widely used by major American movie companies to obtain injunctions that require local Internet providers to block websites to prevent piracy.

Dynamic+ Blocking Orders

Over the years the nature of these court orders has evolved. The initial measures were straightforward, in the sense that they pointed out specifically which domains should be blocked. These later evolved into ‘dynamic’ versions, allowing rightsholders to add new domains and proxies whenever they are launched.

The Indian courts are not stopping at dynamic blocking orders either. In several instances, Internet providers have been instructed to block websites because they might make infringing works available in the future. This includes content yet to be created.

In addition, ISPs are no longer the only parties that are covered by dynamic+ injunctions. The orders also require domain name registrars worldwide to disable the mentioned domain names. Domain registrars that refuse to comply risk losing their ability to operate in India.

Movie-web.app and 44 Other ‘Pirate’ Domains

Namecheap’s decision to suspend the movie-web.app domain follows after Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros. and others obtained a new dynamic+ injunction at the High Court of Delhi earlier this month. The complaint in question lists 45 domain names linked to 28 defendants (full list below).

defendants

The injunction requires Indian ISPs to block the domains, but also lists ‘domain registrars’ as a broad category, without specifically naming any.

“The respective Domain Name Registrars of Defendants No. 1 to 28, upon being intimated by the Plaintiffs, shall lock and suspend the said domain names. In addition, any details relating to the registrants of the said domain names including KYC, credit card, mobile number, etc. be also provided to the Plaintiffs,” it reads.

According to the order, the operators of these websites are doing all they can to hide their identities. Attempts to compel the operators to stop the allegedly infringing activity presumably failed.

“Plaintiffs’ legal notices to takedown the infringing content from the websites have been futile. Defendants No. 1 to 28 are thus knowingly engaging in the impugned activities, in utter disregard of the Plaintiffs’ rights,” the order notes.

While the above typically applies to rogue pirate sites, we’re not sure how accurate it is for movie-web. The identities of the developers involved in the open source project are easy to find and, in their shutdown message a few days ago, they said that they “would go down without a fight,” if it came to that.

Movie-web kept its word. After Namecheap put the domain on clientHold, it didn’t make any comeback attempts. The software is still available for others to use but the official demo website will remain offline.

Not all Domains are Offline

The movie-web example suggests that Namecheap complied with the Indian court order. This is further confirmed by other Namecheap-registered domains from the same injunction that also went offline, including moviemods.dev, epxmovies.com, sflix.watch and goflixtor.com.

All of these domains now have a clientHold status, rendering them inaccessible. The same applies to domains that were registered through Porkbun, which include cinehub.wtf, filmygallery.baby, and other filmygallery domains.

Domains registered through Namebright and Dynadot are also unreachable, but these don’t have a dedicated status code.

Not all domains covered by the order are offline though. At the time of writing, several Tucows registered domains remain accessible or redirect to new ones, and the same applies to domains that are linked to Dynadot, Sarek, Realtime Register, and Godaddy.

The above are just our initial findings and these shouldn’t be used to draw broader conclusions, especially since some domain registrars are only tied to a single domain name. However, it is worth taking note and comparing these actions to any in the future.

.To Complications

The above suggests that at least some American domain registrars are responsive to an Indian court injunction, obtained by American movie studios. This means that this “Indian route” could be a fruitful anti-piracy measure for rightsholders.

Thus far, however, none of the .to domain names listed in the injunction have gone offline. The .to registry ‘Tonic‘ is not covered by the injunction, but it appears that none of the registrars of these domain names has ‘intervened’ either.

The .to domain whois doesn’t list who the registrars are but TorrentFreak has information which shows that upmovies.to, zorox.to, flixwave.to and others were registered through Namecheap. This is interesting because Namecheap suspended non- .to domains.

We asked Namecheap for a comment on our findings but the company didn’t immediately respond.

One explanation for the response discrepancy could be that the Tonic registry doesn’t support the clientHold status code. Namecheap used this to suspend the other domain names, so the lack of action with regard to the .to domains may be of a technical nature.

Whatever the explanation is, these dynamic+ orders are among the most effective we’ve seen so far. With that in mind, we expect Hollywood to use the Indian route more often going forward, if they want U.S. companies to take action.

A copy of the dynamic+ injunction issued by Justice Sanjeev Narula at the Delhi High Court is available here (pdf). A full list of all affected domain names is available below.

1. fzkidd.net
2. ofilmyzilla.ms
3. ofilmyzilla.com.ve
4. ofilmyzilla.it
5. tamilyogi.plus
6. tamilyogi.love
7. tamilyogi.band
8. soap2day.tel
9. myflixer.la
10. flixer.ph
11. myflixer.ph
12. sflix.watch
13. sflixz.to
14. moviesmod.dev
15. moviesmod.wiki
16. moviesmod.one
17. freemovies360.cc
18. streamm4u.com
19. streamm4u.to
20. desicinemas.ink
21. epxmovies.net
22. movi.pk
23. 123moviesfree.mx
24. filmygallery.baby
25. filmygallery.app
26. filmygallery.cab
27. filmygallery.club
28. filmygallery.foo
29. filmygallery.lol
30. filmygallery.pro
31. zorox.to
32. zoro.vc
33. flixwave.to
34. upmovies.to
35. mydownloadtube.net
36. movie-web.app
37. moviekhhd.biz
38. movieshd.watch
39. goflixtor.com
40. cinehub.wtf
41. arc018.to
42. flixerplus.com
43. netmovies.to
44. aniwatch.to
45. toonstream.in

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