Romanian authorities have seized the 990.ro domain, a portal where users could illegally stream the latest movies and TV shows, and which also happens to be the country’s biggest pirate streaming portal.
The website was shut down on July 7, together with a few other smaller torrent sites. Authorities initially seized its domain, but for the next four days, users could still access the site via its raw IP address at http://126.96.36.199/, which is now down as well.
Takedown is part of a bigger anti-piracy fight
The shutdown of 990.ro is part of a larger anti-piracy fight that’s going on in the country. It all started in November 2012, when Media Pro, the company behind the country’s biggest television station, Pro TV, filed an official complaint with the National Council of Audio-Visuals (CNA).
At that time, Media Pro had launched Voyo.ro, the country’s first legal media streaming platform, four years before Netflix entered the Romanian market.
The list included the URLs of 42 websites, where users could watch or download pirated movies. On the list was 990.ro. (Full list at the end of the article).
Since 2012, sites have shut down on their own, mostly after Media Pro filed the official complaint, but some of them have continued to operate. The biggest takedown took place in February 2016, when authorities seized the domain of Vplay.ro, by far the most popular site among them.
990.ro was the country’s biggest pirate streaming portal
After Vplay.ro’s takedown, most of the users migrated to 990.ro, where it was said that movies and TV episodes appeared a few hours after their release, complete with full Romanian subtitles.
For distributing copyrighted audio-visual materials, site operators face from one to four years in prison and a fine from 2,500 lei to 40,000 lei ($615 – $11,100). Additionally, the suspects may also be indicted on money laundering and tax evasion charges.
Below is the standard message that Romanian users view when accessing a site seized by authorities.
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