Is Titan Media mislabelling gay porn torrents to make it easier to blackmail downloaders?

Titan Media is a company that makes porno movies and legal threats over porno movies. They've grown notorious for threatening to sue people who allegedly were downloading gay porn, and demanding hush-money to make the embarrassing allegations go away. Now, TorrentFreak reports that Titan Media also sends legal threats to people who were downloading gay porn files that were mislabelled, appearing to their downloaders to be greatest hits albums by Ryuichi Sakamoto or Dire Straits.

It's hard to understand how Titan Media could know that a file called "Album - Ryuichi Sakamoto - The Best Of Ryuichi Sakamoto.rar" was really "110 Degrees in Tuscon." Perhaps they got a tip-off, or maybe they're downloading every single BitTorrent file listed on a public tracker in order to check and see if it's really one of their movies.

Or maybe they're running a honeypot which they seed with gay porn that's been relabelled as music (and other non-pornographic content), so that they can threaten to sue downloaders and get a quick settlement when their victims learn that they're about to be named in an embarrassing lawsuit. That is, you might be willing to go to court to argue that you weren't really downloading a Dire Straits album, but you might not want your name associated with "Cop Shack on 101" or "Boner! Man's Best Friend" even if you think you could win the suit.

In the court papers there's a letter from a Ms. Gonzales that reveals some very interesting details. In her plea for mercy, Ms. Gonzales explains to the court that she never intended to download gay porn, and that the file she downloaded was labeled as a greatest hits album from the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

What's even more interesting is that Titan Media's lawyer was fully aware of the fact that Ms. Gonzales downloaded a mislabeled file. In fact, the settlement letter she received gave her the option to settle the case for $1,875, and clearly stated that the title of the infringed work was "Album - Ryuichi Sakamoto - The Best Of Ryuichi Sakamoto.rar." If Ms. Gonzales did not pay within a few weeks, the settlement offer would increase to $3,375, it further noted.

U.S. P2P Lawsuit Shows Signs of a 'Pirate Honeypot'



  1. Creepy. It raises an interesting question…

    If a media company seeds one of their torrents, deliberately, whether for a honeypot or to ‘leak’ something and generate buzz, does that in effect grant implied permission for people to download it (and in the case of torrents, upload it)?

    Likewise, let’s say I had a stereo system, that’s completely mine, legally, but for whatever reason, I don’t want it. So I find somebody on the street and say, “Here, you want this? $10.” A reasonable person might assume it was stolen, but it wasn’t. So they can’t be charged (or can they?) with receiving stolen property.

    So if a media company puts a movie they own all the rights to out on the internet as a torrent saying, “here, download this and share it”, isn’t that the same thing, whether they think it’s put out by a pirate or not?

  2. If this is true, shame on Titan for making tons of money from sales of their gay videos while conversely fostering the notion that being gay / watching gay video is shameful and bad.

    1. I’d be more embarrassed about listening to dire straits than watching gay porn.

      Hey! I resemble that comment!

      “We’re the sultans of swing…”

  3. I’d be willing to download this and have my good name supposedly besmirched (hardly!) if somebodies willing to pay my legal fees. This needs to be confronted.

  4. Wow, very creepy. Next up: mislabeling porn as a Linux Distro. “No, I swear I was trying to download crunchbang.”

  5. Hmm. Checks drawer. Can’t find any subtitles on the cases for Slammer or Detour. Possible confusion between Dred Scott v. Sandford and Dred Scott, porn star.

    You would think that Titan would incur far greater legal liability by showing a fisting scene to a twelve year-old than any possible benefit from mislabeling.

  6. They got greedy after winning the settlement against last year.

    I wish this wasn’t tragic, so I could find it fucking hilarious, out of context.

  7. I’m curious: if the title of the file is insufficient to show that the content of the file is infringing a copyright (and IMO that should be the case), then what should be the legal standard for evidence that one is infringing a copyright?

    It’s trivially easy to fake digital information like this, so it is, to me, hard to justify relying on the copyright holder to provide evidence to the court that someone was infringing. Given the massive fines for violations, copyright holders would have a pretty big incentive to lie about such things.

    Imagine how frustrating it would be to be on the receiving end of an accusation that six months ago your IP was sharing some protected porn title disguised as a well-known open-source software package, and that the proof of this infringing act is a nothing more than a sworn statement by an agent of the accuser, both of whom stand to gain several thousand dollars if they win the suit or if you settle out of court to avoid the defense costs.

  8. eDonkey, not bittorrent. eDonkey allows the same file to appear under different names – files are distinguished by hashes of the content. That means a third party could have downloaded the correctly named file and renamed it to disguise it for their own purposes. Titan can know it’s the same file by the hash, without uploading it or renaming it themselves, and Ms. Gonzales can still claim in good faith that she was trying to pirate music rather than gay pornography.

  9. *listens to Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Energy Flow”* Wow, this guy makes beautiful music! The things I find while reading blog items about gay porn… ;)

    1. *listens to Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Energy Flow”* Wow, this guy makes beautiful music! The things I find while reading blog items about gay porn… ;)

      When I started reading the article I thought, that’s par for the course with media companies; but when I got to the part where they’re spoofing Sakamoto, it got personal. On the other hand, perhaps this should be looked at as free publicity. Now a whole bunch of people will get to hear of him that otherwise never would have.

      Also I recommend checking out his older material with Yellow Magic Orchestra.

  10. that is greasy as hell. i hope someone fights and a judge sees what these dicks are doing

    1. i hope someone fights and a judge sees what these dicks are doing

      I see what you did there.

  11. Wait a minute. Are you telling me there is gay porn I could have been torrenting instead of all these music torrents?!

  12. Dear Steve,
    You downloaded an episode of Rush Limbaugh Show (TV Series 30 minutes 1994) labeled “The Bangover” from on Monday, May 30, 2011. If you don’t wish all of your progressive friends to know the truth about your right-leaning ways, give us $3,000.00 USD by Friday, June 10th 2011.

  13. i wish someone would try to blackmail me for downloading gay porn. fuck. the shit I’d admit to willingly would make hard-core gay porn look like church.

  14. It doesn’t look like Titan mention anywhere the name of their work that is being copied. How can they sue for infringement of intellectual property that they do not own?

  15. Wouldn’t renaming your content as someone else’s commercial work get you into a world of hurt, especially if your content were such as to bring the someone else into disrepute?

  16. If I have a painting stolen from my house, and I tell the insurance company or the court that it’s worth $999999999 when it’s only worth $20 then that’s felony fraud. Such felony fraud appears to be the business model of the majority of the copyright cabal. The broke government should collect massive fines from the copyright cabal – many of whom are also guilty of withholding royalty payments to artists.

    The courts have also ruled over and over that if you set things out by the trash it’s not yours anymore and anyone can take it. There have been other honeypot cases where the court ruled the company forfeited their right to prosecute when they or their agent posted the material publicly.

    Also, in the US blackmail is always illegal.

    Of course, the long term solution is simply to starve the beast – boycott anybody that is a member or works for the RIAA, MPAA or any other excessive penalty organization. If a product has a max profit of $20 net and the court costs are a documented $3,000 then the punishment should be the total costs plus interest. It should be noted that most punishments for corporations are a fraction of substantiated damages. Look up settlements for nuclear accidents, dioxin spills and price fixing.

  17. As the IT Manager for Titan Media, I can assure everyone that we are far too busy creating high-quality gay fantasy content and using new technologies to give our members access to that content to bother purposefully mislabeling files and uploading them to torrent sites.

    There are also far more instances of copyright infringement of our content than we could ever hope to keep up with. We don’t need to generate them.

    Incidentally, the name on a torrent file is of basically zero concern to us, as we use a sophisticated digital fingerprint to track down illegal use.

    Simply renaming the file does not remove the copyright. Whether your intent is download “Barney’s Birthday Greetings” or “Folsom Filth” you are infringing the rights of someone. In this case, it happened to be us.

    ~Aaron Zolkin
    IT Manager
    Titan Media

    1. Surprisingly enough, Titan Media is not the world’s policing body of all copyright infringement.

    2. So unknown to me a file is renamed. The the name is changed in such a way that it no longer suggests the file is copyrighted material made available without consent of the rightsholder. In stead it now suggests the file was shared (Barney’s home-made birthday greeting clip, for instance) is in the public domain, under a fair use policy or under a creative commons license.

      Unaware of this change, I download the file. And you believe this action alone constitutes a copyright infringement severe enough to sue the sh*t out of me? How did that meeting go?

      “Hey Aaron. We got some people downloading our pr0n.”

      “Well, lets sue em…”

      “But there’s a thing, the file… it wasn’t labeled as our pr0n”

      “So they didn’t actually know they were downloading our stuff?”

      “Ehrr, no man”

      “They weren’t actually intentionally infringing our copyright?”


      “A f*ck it, we got lawyers on staff. Sue em anyway”

      Dude, an infringement, like all crime, needs intent. I wreck your car with my baseball bat: intent makes it vandalism, which is a crime. I blow a tire and crash into the same car: no intent, makes it an accident, which is not a crime. okay, so what about damages? Dude, for 1600 bucks (the initial demand) I could make MY OWN porn movie. Sh*t, I’d could probably wreck your car! This thing is just unreasonable. Simple as that.

      1. I can not speak to the legal subtleties or strategies of this or any other case Titan is involved in.

        What I can answer unequivocally is the question of the headline: “Is Titan Media mislabelling gay porn torrents to make it easier to blackmail downloaders?”

        The answer is “No.”

        1. Titan Media would never stoop so low as to rename torrents in an obvious bid to file unethical lawsuits. Instead they take the high road, suing people for downloading files that someone else clearly must have renamed. Not only does this make perfect sense, it’s also a watertight, logical explanation. I’ve never purchased your products before, but I’m giving it serious consideration now. I always try to support the good guys with my business.

  18. whatever way you read it, its bad form suing soemone who obviously is an innocent infringer, and then try to sue her as if she was willful. You cant claim damages from someone who didnt want that content in the first place, duh!

    Its also bad form to not put in your complaint that the files were mis-labelled, thereby deceiving the Judge as to what realy happended.

  19. I’m starting to believe that the internet needs some form of death penalty for the websites of internet abusers like these. There are some folk who can’t resist turning tools into weapons; there should be severe and permanent sanctions.

  20. I think of the works bait and switch, entrapment, fraud, etc. when i read this. Titan is a studio I do not support with my porn buying dollars already and after learning of this crap I am even more against them. It’s akin to sending cops into park bathrooms to hit on the gay men only to bust them.

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