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ESA Reports Game Piracy, Cheating Sites and More to the US Government

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The ESA organization has urged the US government to take action against platforms that use piracy as a midpoint, following the US Trade Representative’s notice on the “notorious market” issue. Various gaming companies that make up the ESA organization are facing many problems due to piracy. Listing all the platforms that do so, the organization is hoping, will curb some of the piracy taking place.

The ESA organization stated at the beginning of the document, “As the American Association of Companies that publish interactive games for consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet, ESA believes that the scrutiny of the notorious market is an important opportunity to reveal those that contribute to mass infringements. Or the markets for counterfeit industrial products and services, which are either still protected or not affected by the deterrence of law enforcement actions.”

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ESA specifically mentioned those sites that do not hold any pirated material but host a range of links to third-party storage websites. One of such sites mentioned in the list is OceanofGames.com which, as per an analysis conducted by ESA, contains links to 5100 pirated games from ESA members. Another website that ESA has named is Nsw2u. Xyz was previously known as Switch-xci. ESA alleges that as of September 2021, the site contained 5500 posts with links to download those video games. Finally, ESA also mentioned that Dark.pl has more than 65000 links to various video games and that the website has more than 187,000 registered users.

It is clear that ESA is mainly targeting 1fichier.com, which boasts of an approx 35 million monthly visits. Out of all the notices sent to the website, only 0.71% of the notices have received any sort of response from the website. ESA’s report mentions, “Ificier’s compliance rate in removing infringing content is extremely low, attracting more unauthorized uploaders because these content will remain active on the platform for longer. Indexing and Linked sites that manage links to pirated content on Ificier also benefit from the platform’s low compliance rate, as these sites get more advertising revenue from users clicking on pirated content links on Ificier.” Although Ificier was fined 1.3 million euros and its chairman was sentenced to a one-year probation in 2021, ESA alleges that Ificier is now refusing to abide by the order.

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Quite shockingly, ESA has named only two torrent sites: TorrentFunk.com and TorrentDownloads.pro. Regarding cheating in games, ESA has also complained that unknown cheats.me provides users with cheats and tutorials for more than 100 games. Other websites include mpgh.net, iwantcheats.net, and engineowning.com.

ESA concluded, “The resulting “notorious market list” provides an important reference to enable national and local decision-makers and law enforcement officials in other countries to assess and fairly demand responsibility for these markets and the services that support them, including through appropriate enforcement actions.”

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