The operator of the popular torrent site YTS has resolved the piracy lawsuit that was filed by movie outfit Wicked Nevada last year. In a consent judgment, which is signed by both parties, the YTS admin agreed to pay $150,000 in damages. The site is no longer allowed to share torrents of the film “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile,” but YTS itself remains online for now.
YTS is the most-visited torrent site on the Internet. With millions of daily visitors, it even beats the legendary Pirate Bay.
The site ‘unofficially’ took over the YTS brand when the original group threw in the towel in 2015. Since then, it has amassed a rather impressive user base. However, that growth didn’t go unnoticed by copyright holders.
The movie industry sees the popular torrent site as one of the main piracy threats and last year YTS became the target of three different copyright infringement lawsuits in the US.
These cases were not filed by the big law firms that represent Hollywood’s major movie studios. Instead, they were filed by a single attorney from Hawaii, Kerry Culpepper, who works for Millennium Films and several of its daughter companies.
With these lawsuits, the filmmakers hoped to take the site offline and recoup damages. That can be an extremely difficult endeavor, especially when a site operator resides abroad, but part of this mission has now been achieved.
In the case filed on behalf of Wicked Nevada LLC, known for the thriller “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile“, the filmmakers agreed to a consent judgment with Senthil Vijay Segaran, the suspected operator of YTS.
The original complaint referred to the operator as a John Doe. However, this was later updated to name Segaran as the person in charge. Segaran was also the person who previously agreed to remove several torrents linking to Millenium Films’ movies from YTS.
In the consent judgment, signed a few days ago, Segaran denies liability for copyright infringements. However, he confirms that he is the ‘John Doe’ described in the complaint and admits that people used YTS to share pirated content.
“Senthil Vijay Segaran denies liability but acknowledges that he is Defendant JOHN DOE dba YTS as identified in the original complaint and concedes that one or more third parties uploaded the torrent file of Plaintiff’s motion picture to the website YTS.LT,” the judgment reads.
Segaran specifically admits that “his website YTS.LT provided links for distributing the torrent file under the file name ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile (2019) [WEBRip] [720p] [YTS.AM]’.”
According to the consent judgment, which is signed by both parties, the operator didn’t upload the ‘Wicked’ torrent to the site. Who did, remains unmentioned.
Although Segaran denies liability, he did agree to pay $150,000 in damages, which also happens to be the maximum amount of statutory damages for copyright infringement.
“A Money Judgment is awarded in favor of Plaintiff Wicked Nevada, LLC against Defendant Senthil Vijay Segaran in the amount of $150,000 for damages,” the consent judgment reads.
The judgment was signed by US District Judge Susan Oki Mollway. In addition to the damages amount, it also includes a permanent injunction. This prevents YTS’s operator from distributing and/or promoting torrent files that point to Wicked Nevada’s film.
A damages judgment against the operator of the largest torrent site in the world is a major achievement. Although more people could manage the site, several Millenium Films movies are no longer listed on the platform.
That said, the site remains up and running. And as long as Wicked Nevada’s movie is not listed, YTS.lt doesn’t violate the permanent injunction.
The two remaining lawsuits against YTS, by the makers of movies including Hellboy, Singularity, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, and Hunter Killer, remain ongoing. However, given that they are handled by the same attorney based on a nearly identical complaint, we may see similar consent judgments there as well.
TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the stipulated consent judgment between Wicked Nevada and Senthil Vijay Segaran, signed by United States District Judge Susan Oki Mollway, which is available here (pdf).
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.