In 2011, the legal Spanish online cinema Filmin concluded an unprecedented agreement with the site Seriesyonkis.com – the largest pirate site in the country. For eight years the details of the deal were kept secret, but recently details of the agreement appeared in the press . TorrentFreak talks about how the rights holders and pirates became partners and why the deal collapsed.
In 2011, the American Association of Film Companies (MPAA) described thesite SerieYonkis as one of the most enduring pirate sites on the Internet.
With the Alexa 855 rating, Serieyonkis is one of the most visited sites in the world for searching and viewing illegal copies of films and television content.
While the Association urged rights holders to take decisive action, the partners of the film industry in Spain came up with an opposite plan. They decided to conclude an unprecedented deal with the pirate platform, hoping to turn users of the illegal site into their paid subscribers.
The key figures in the transaction were the founder of the online cinema Filmin, Juan Carlos Tous, and the owner of SeriesYonkis, Alexis Hoepfner, who ran the site through his Burn Media company.
The mediator in the negotiations was the lawyer Andy Ramos (Andy Ramos). With his help, a legal online cinema and pirate site agreed on a mutually beneficial business combination. Under the agreement, the illegal site received 23% provided that it would replace links to pirated content by legal means in a certain period.
In addition, SeriesYonkis was provided with two loans for the amount of 250 thousand euros, which could be converted into shares. Filmin also paid compensation of 10 euros for each pirate, who purchased an annual subscription through SeriesYonkis. The agreement also stipulated that all sites of Burn Media company should gradually begin to explain to users why it is important to legally receive audiovisual content.
According to the document, SeriesYonkis did not plan to reduce its presence in the segment of illegal content and give someone its traffic. Online cinema promised to spend at least 25 thousand euros to close or reduce the traffic of other pirate sites. How the platform was supposed to do this is not specified.
As TorrentFreak notes, the partnership was concluded at the same time when the Spanish parliament adopted the “law of Sinde”. He had to greatly complicate the life of local pirate sites, which had not been fought before. However, the plan of the Spanish government failed, and six months after the adoption of the law did not destroy all pirate sites.
Then SeriesYonkis decided to stop removing links to pirated content, and the site owner created several more illegal sites, such as SeriesCoco and SeriesKiwi. The founder of Filmin was at a loss and started writing letters to Hopefner, but he received no answers.
As a result, the deal collapsed and the online cinema stopped paying for new subscribers. Filmin sued Burn Media and demanded all of its money back, but at the time of publication, nothing was achieved.
According to the sources of the publication El Confidencial, close to the parties to the agreement, the very idea of the deal was “brilliant.” The SeriesYonkis site in those years earned millions of euros, much more than Filmin, used these funds to legalize and destroy the competition before the introduction of a new anti-piracy law.
The pirate not only refused his weapons, but also integrated into the industry, using money from piracy to fight it.
Another interviewee said that this was a “win-win deal for all” and said that he regrets the failure. According to the source, this was a truly unusual agreement for this sphere, which could change the rules of the game if it worked.
In 2018, Filmin became the largest streaming site in Spain, and SeriesYonkis became a legal online cinema, although it changed its owner: Hopfner sold it in 2016.