South African law enforcement agencies have made the first arrest of an online movie sharer. The person in question, who is widely believed to have been identified by a hacker working for an anti-piracy company, allegedly uploaded a “high profile” local movie to the popular site The Pirate Bay. With the particular anti-piracy organization refusing to name the movie, speculation is rife that it was “Long Walk to Freedom.”
Every instant of every day, anti-piracy companies, under the payroll of respective copyright holders, monitor file-sharer networks all around the world. A vast majority of the work carried out by these companies is used for information gathering reasons. The collected data can be put to good use by movie and music companies, like the development of strategies for marketing and lobbying.
While most of the data is gathered for the devising of marketing strategies, some of it is in fact used for the generation of copyright takedowns and in rare cases such as this one in South Africa, to catch people engaged in piracy to dissuade others from these activities.
Something new to report
All the headlines coming out of South Africa over the past week had to do with the death of Nelson Mandela, but now a new anti-piracy achievement has been reported. The first ever internet pirate has been arrested according to a statement from the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT).
The individual, who is reported to be detained in Cape Town, has been accused of uploading to The Pirate Bay. The CEO of SAFACT Corne Guldenpfennig told MyBroadband that his team of investigators led by whom he described as a “certified ethical hacker” was able to successfully identify and trace the uploader. This development is somewhat interesting in itself because thus far, ISPs have refused to comply with orders which were demanding subscribers’ information.
“Downloaders think they can hide on the Internet. Uploaders think they can hide, but they can’t no matter how smart they think they are,” Guldenpfennig said, as read on TorrentFreak (Dec 13 2013).
First ever arrest
This case is particularly interesting because it features the first ever arrest of an internet pirate in South Africa, but curiosity of the general public is being further aroused because the movie in question has not been named. Understandably, there is plenty of speculation that at such a time, the only candidate would be “Long Walk to Freedom”, which is a Nelson Mandela chronicle. The box set was released in the United States on Christmas Day but instantly went viral in South Africa.
A search on The Pirate Bay for the movie returns bogus search results which are designed to trick unknowing users into downloading malware. The targets for these torrents are inexperienced users but it appears that anti-piracy company IP Echelon, which is employed by Sony, can’t tell the difference between a fake and a real torrent either, as takedown notices are being issued for the fake files as well.
The suspect is to appear in court later today, where it is assumed that all will be revealed.