When an opponent fails to defend themselves in an ordinary fight, things tend to be over pretty quickly. The same isn’t true for copyright lawsuits.
In early October 2021, MG Premium – a subsidiary of adult entertainment giant MindGeek – filed a copyright complaint at a district court in Washington. It targeted Daftsex.com, an adult ‘tube’ site offering MG-owned videos from the Brazzers and Digital Playground series, among others, to dozens of millions of users every month – for free.
Daftsex had little chance of winning in court and completely ignored the lawsuit. It still took more than a year to conclude but with a damages award of $32 million and a broad injunction that included domain seizures, MG Premium prevailed in the end. In reality, however, very little had changed.
Domain Seizures Immediately Countered
Verisign was ordered to sign several domains over to MG Premium, including Daftsex.com, Artsporn.com, Daxab.com, and Biqle.com. Daftsex responded by switching to new domains – Daft.sex, Dsex.to, biqle.ru and biqle.org. The site took a traffic hit but managed to stay online.
Meanwhile, MG Premium redirected its newly acquired domains (and millions of former Daftsex users) to MindGeek-owned RedTube. Despite an external move to undermine domain transfers, the opportunity to convert pirates into paying customers would’ve been useful.
Unfortunately, further opportunities quickly dried up. Seized domain Daftsex.com received more than 41 million visits in November 2022. A month later, traffic plummeted to 6.5 million. According to SimilarWeb data, in January 2023, just three months after MindGeek took control, the domain received just two million visits.
In parallel, Daftsex continued to rebuild its traffic on new domains. In January 2023, Daft.sex received 22.7m visits and Dsex.to 5.7 million. In the background, MG Premium renewed its legal efforts to take the site down.
Contempt of Court
In December 2022, MG Premium filed a request to reopen the case so that alleged Daftsex owner Vasily Kharchenko held in contempt of court (1). Declarations in support were filed by Jason Tucker of anti-piracy company Battleship Stance, and MG Premium’s Anti-Piracy Strategy Manager, Steven Salway, a former Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit detective (1,2)
In addition to the court holding Kharchenko in contempt, MG Premium requested permission to take over the new Daftsex domains – Daft.sex, Dsex.to, and Biqle.org. Since Daftsex is using a Twitter account to communicate with its user community, MG Premium wants the court to issue an order compelling Twitter to shut down the account or transfer it to MG Premium.
As things stand today, none of those things have happened and Daftsex just keeps on growing. That doesn’t mean that MG Premium is simply letting it happen though.
DMCA Takedown Campaign Begins
Within hours of Daftsex announcing its new domains last November, MG Premium began sending DMCA notices to Google, hoping to make daft.sex, dsex.to, and biqle.org less visible in search results.
That went on to become what is almost certainly the largest and most intense DMCA notice-sending campaign by a copyright holder against a single site since the DMCA was introduced in 1998.
The first DMCA notices targeting daft.sex and dsex.to were sent to Google on November 14 and 21, respectively. In the first week, Google recorded takedown requests for 937,952 Daft.sex URLs and 941,424 URLs belonging to Dsex.to, but that was just a taster of things to come.
Largest Ever Copyright Holder Campaign Against Single Site
According to Google data – an entry dated January 9, 2023, covering a single week – Google received DMCA notices requesting the removal of 4,686,019 Dsex.to URLs. An entry dated January 16, again covering a single week, states that Google received DMCA notices requesting 5,025,742 Daft.sex URLs to be taken down.
Data shown in Google’s charts lag a little behind actual notices received but between November 14, 2022 and February 20, 2023, Google received ~11,000 individual requests from MG Premium targeting daft.sex.
Total daft.sex URLs requested for removal until March 3, 2023: ~45.6 million.
Between November 21, 2022 and February 20, 2023, Google received around ~11,000 individual requests from MG Premium targeting dsex.to.
Total dsex.to URLs requested for removal until March 3, 2023: ~45.6 million
URLs requested for removal overall (both domains combined): 91+ million
To put these figures into perspective, the number of URLs requested for deletion against The Pirate Bay’s .org domain currently sits at 6,008,980 – after being targeted since 2012.
Majority of Notices Had No Immediate Effect
Since Google reports what action it takes after receiving a DMCA takedown notice, we can see that the vast majority of these notices failed to have any immediate effect.
When considering all MG Premium notices sent to Google, targeting both daft.sex and dsex.to URLs, close to 80% were reported by Google as ‘not in index’, meaning that the reported URLs were absent from Google’s search so couldn’t be removed.
That raises the obvious question of why so many URLs reported by MG Premium as infringing were unrecognized by Google.
TorrentFreak requested comment from MG Premium on Saturday evening but received no response, most likely due to the timing.
We’ll publish an update if we receive a response, but we suspect that other factors could be at play here that only MG Premium will be able to properly explain.
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.