There are thousands of torrent and streaming sites on the Internet today. They come in all shapes and sizes but most have one thing in common – they need a domain name for people to access them.
It’s not unheard of for such sites to lose their domains after dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of copyright complaints. But to lose control over a domain after just one is pretty bad luck but, as it turns out, not exactly straightforward.
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The site in question is TheRedBear.cc, a lesser-known but perfectly functional torrent indexer. In conversations with the site’s operator last month it became clear to us that he was having issues with his domain registrar, EuroDNS. Those issues were the result of a copyright complaint filed by Amazon.
According to information provided by the site owner, he’s always eager to process DMCA takedown notices when they arrive. He uses scripts to automate takedowns and he says he has a good relationship with anti-piracy companies. However, the complaint from Amazon apparently ended up in a spam folder and wasn’t processed as quickly as it should’ve been.
This led Amazon to file a complaint with EuroDNS, which references a single URL and reads as follows (edited for clarity):
“Amazon has learned that the website located at theredbear.cc…for which you are the hosting provider, is distributing unauthorized copies of Amazon Properties via the distribution of Amazon Properties video files. This constitutes copyright infringement in violation of federal copyright law section 17 U.S.C. 501, as well as similar laws around the world,” the complaint reads.
“Amazon has already notified the Website of infringement through its vendor Digimarc. However, the Website has failed to comply expeditiously with this takedown request and continues to cause, enable, induce, facilitate and materially contribute to the infringement by continuing to provide its users with the means to unlawfully distribute, reproduce and otherwise exploit the property.”
While the complaint sounds serious, this wasn’t enough on its own for TheRedBear to lose its domain. What it did trigger, however, was a detailed review by EuroDNS of the account through which it was registered.
According to the site operator, EuroDNS then began demanding copies of his passport and a personal telephone call from his country of origin (rather than the virtual line he usually uses) to confirm various details.
The operator told us he provided information when he signed up in 2018 and that in his opinion, a review wasn’t necessary. Nevertheless, EuroDNS appears to have determined otherwise and suspended his account.
TorrentFreak spoke with EuroDNS about the issues. The company’s legal department spoke generally but confirmed that as long as they don’t host a website to which a domain points, they don’t suspend domains following a copyright complaint, as they do with domains that are clearly involved in illegal activity such as “phishing, social hatred etc.”
However, without the registry prejudging anything that has been alleged, copyright complaints do get forwarded to domain owners. In this case, two key complications then arose, both seemingly related to having verifiably accurate registration details.
“EuroDNS shall be entitled to charge the Customer for any action performed on the Customer’s behalf in connection with a third party claim, insofar as the Customer fails to acknowledge receipt of the EuroDNS notification in regard to such a claim, or if EuroDNS finds it necessary to take action in regard to such a claim such as sending a registered letter and making phone calls on behalf of the Customer and the complaining third party,” the company said.
“Nevertheless, such notification will automatically trigger a swift review of the concerned account to make sure that our customer complies with our Terms and Conditions. In case of a clear breach of our Terms and Conditions, unrelated to the original complaint, we might suspend our services to the concerned customer if the latter failed to take proper action.”
So, given the above, what appears to have happened in this case is that the copyright complaint triggered a review, the review criteria weren’t met, and EuroDNS suspended the account, which prevented changes to the domain.
While the domain is currently up it will shortly expire, meaning one domain gone, triggered by a copyright complaint but actioned on the basis of the registry’s own terms and conditions.
It’s unclear whether TheRedBear will continue with a similar domain registered elsewhere (news will reportedly be delivered via the site’s blog), but it seems unlikely that EuroDNS will be involved.