The story of the day is the supposed Cease & Desist letter that has been issued to MLP:FiM download site PonyArchive.  Its been posted up on the EqD and other sites, but we’ve kind of waited as I do enjoy researching into these cases and discussing it with other community members.
The news came out at roughly 8pm EST, at least via PonyArchive’s Twitters.  They run as follows…
  • Hasbro is no bros, their lawyers has sent us a cease to exist letter.
  • PA will be left to the care of founders Flux and Ruvil, I (simonAJ) have decided to leave due to recent events.  Catch ya’ll later.
  • We have an anonymous source as to the legitimacy of the takedown notice, and it is most likely real.
A tweet that just appeared somewhat corrects simonAJ’s tweet, that he is leaving the site because he disagree’s with Flux & Ruvil’s decision.  From what I’ve heard, they do not plan on backing down on this.
But the real question stands, is this real, or is this fake.  EqD has claimed that it seems legit, but is probably going off PA’s tweets.  Its also noted in their tweets that someone asked what the anonymous source was about, with PA replying that its someone they cannot / will not name.

More after the page break.

Fandom news site BronyNews is displaying a copy of the letter.


“From Hasbro, To PonyArchive”

Your unauthorized copying, display and distribution of these episodes, therefore, constitutes copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. § 501. We therefore demand that you immediately remove the archive pages and information from your website as well as the direct downloads and unlisted videos from YouTube.com, and cease and desist from any further use of the MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC® property, including the image of the PINKIE PIE™ pony on your website, and provide us with a written assurance that in the future you will refrain from any further unauthorized use of the MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC® property.

“To Hasbro, From PonyArchive”
Hi

Thanks for your consern. Since we are merely spreading friendship and
magic we feel that we’re protected by princess Celestia herself.

Also, we are not based in the US – so US law does not apply to us.

Please feel free to download the episodes from our website in order to
learn about accepting, friendship and happyness too.

Have a nice one :)


This is not the full letter, as the full letter has a disclaimer that it cannot be duplicated (and the rest was pretty pointless).  Outside of these facts, the rest is speculation.  A look at the ownership of the server’s IP reveals that the server itself is US based.  (Ruvil – Swedish)


[Personal Opnion Section]

Since news is about fact, and speculation is about my own opinion, we shall keep them separate.

I do judge the legit status of this C&D, myself and a few others question some of the info that appears in the letter, namely how its written.  You’ll have to look at BronyNews’ full copy to see what I mean, I waited to post this article as I do enjoy talking with others and researching.

The first thing that makes my eyebrow raise is the fact they want them to remove a picture of Pinkie Pie.  Understandable that you could more or less call this site a “pirate” site and that Hasbro would not want any association with it (and is legally able to say remove that picture), it just doesn’t make sense they would bother to include this in the letter.  What about Fluttershy?  She’s there too?  Hasbro no love the shy?

The letter itself does not resemble most C&D letters you see.  Use google images, you will find a ton of them, as they are quite popular with the internet.  The second red flag for me is that it is an e-mail and not a certified letter that C&Ds come in.  But this could just be step 1, legal intimidation.  Next step would be the official letter.

The third flag, though more just a curiosity is the fact there’s IRS jargin at the end of the letter, though this could easily be just a footer/signature attached to all their e-mails.

Obviously nothing can be declared until something official arrives.  There are the facts too, that PonyArchive is indeed breaking the law by distributing these episodes.  Hasbro has DVDs in the making, and it won’t fair well for their wallet if people can just download the episodes.  The other thing I have been told about PonyArchive is that their 720 rips are from iTunes, which Hasbro and Apple has been pissy about before, such as distribution and displaying on YouTube.

Of course certain sections of the community is screaming their heads off, between this and the YouTube take down, I think the common phrase I am reading is “the end is neigh”…..

The YouTube Take downs have never been confirmed to be Hasbro, and is assumed to be trolls.  If you do a little research, you’ll see that take downs via copyright on YouTube seems to be a common practice, as even official gaming companies with official game trailers on their official youtube channel have been taken down by their own “copyright infringements”.

So the bottom line is no one knows what is going on, outside that PonyArchive got an e-mail, and they basically gave whoever the finger.  It does seem they are not based in the United States as through talking with people, at least Ruvil seems to be Swedish (and going on the assumption its a group of friends, so are the others).  The fact they are not in the US would play a role in this one letter, as its stating U.S.C. (United States Copyrights) as its law, but there are plenty of international laws too.

Research has pointed that their server does appear to be US based, though I need to dig around more on that.  If the server is on US soil, there could be possible action no matter where the “owner” of the website account is located.

For now, we wait, and will keep you informed on what goes on with this.

  • Mason

    Wow

  • Anonymous

    Smells trolly. Seems like we won't know for sure until "Hasbro" sends/fails to send something official.

  • Anonymous

    I don't believe this at all. The biggest sign that this is a troll is the issue with the Pinkie Pie image and the fact that the cease and desist disregards the Fluttershy image. It is all highly suspect. From what I know, they can't get you to remove an image(s) like that unless you are using it to gain profit in some way.

  • simonAJ

    We switched layouts a while ago. The old layout had a picture of pinkie, but no fluttershy.

  • derpymaths

    trolls sre gettin smarter. doesnt say 'Habsro' this time.

  • Anonymous

    You shouldn't be stealing from iTunes dudes, that's costing Hasbro and Apple $$$, and they can afford better lawyers than you can. The Swedish government respects most US copyright laws, especially stuff this blatant. SimonAJ has the right approach to this: cave in and get out so you don't get sued into bankruptcy.

  • Anonymous

    "Its been posted up on the EqD and other sites, but we've kind of waited as I do enjoy researching into these cases and discussing it with other community members."

    This is one of the reasons why I like this place more than Equestria Daily. EqD likes to report first, yet you guys looked into it more.

    My opinion, I watch Pony on Hubworld.com legally as I don't have cable TV. I can see this from Hasbro's point of view, they own the copyright and they don't want episodes stolen. Understandable since it's sold on iTunes, downloading freely steals sales away from them.

    I know there is no DVD aside from one with two episodes from Target and a one episode DVD with some toys. I own the Target DVD, but I bought that so I could watch on my TV and show support for the show.

    I would love to buy from iTunes, but seeing how it's DRM'd and limited to computers and iPods (no burning to DVD), I much rather show my support by buying DVD versions of the show I can play on any DVD player, whether its a box set or not. Most likely DVDs will be small 1-disc collections since FiM is a kids show, and the DVD makers will treat it as such. I don't want to hear "This is a mans show", at core it's a kid show, but one that anyone can enjoy. :)

    That's just my two cents on the matter. Sorry if people disagree, but Hasbro just wants to stop illegal downloading of it. Why they haven't gone after YouTube is beyond me. Maybe because most don't know how to download YouTube videos, unless they know how to. That's just my guess.

    Doesn't affect me as I watch on Hubs website and my DVD from Target, it will be interesting to see how this works out.

  • plaster

    I had a decent comment all typed up about how we've gotten a little entitled and spoiled when it comes to episode releases and quality of the sources and how the legal outlets for the episodes are perfectly fine, then i realized that it's probably not available the same way for the international community. Then my phone decided to go to a different article and lost the comment.

  • Anonymous

    I remember a lot of Pokémon fansites got a C&D letter around the time before the newest games were released…

    …The grammar was awful, and it had weird extraneous text, and seemed to be as fake as could be but… it ended up being legit.

    Moral of the story: better safe than sorry. Assume everything is legit unless you can unequivocally prove otherwise. And Derpy needs to get out of my way so I can see what I'm typing…

  • mattyhex

    Having just read the email on BronyNews, I get the distinct feeling of troll.

    I've never even seen a C&D letter before, but I'm pretty sure that's not how it would be written, even in an email. (And considering an email is a legal document, you wouldn't half-arse a formal notice)

    And their use of Pinkie is covered quite happily by fair use, although I can't see any disclaimer on ponyarchive about not being affiliated with Hasbro, which could put them in a slightly worse position.

    As someone not base in the US a website like ponyarchive is a blessing, I can't watch the episodes on the Hub website, nor can I buy and watch official DVD's and I doubt the episodes are available here from iTunes (not that I'm ever going buy something from Apple – not even ponies).

    Regardless, torrents will always be available, I'll just have to look harder for them.

  • DerpySquad

    @Anon 10:16: One of my favorite things about here is people actually form discussions in these comments when called for, and on top stay reasonable.

    The reaction from some fans kind of scares me, like we're entitled to download these episodes, and plain and simple, what we do is illegal by at least US law. Hasbro has been a "bro" considering we've circulated these episodes for over a year now without any legal backlash.

    A big question right now (for me) is the server. Yeah the guys running it are from Sweden, but according to our server sluth, the actual physical server the page is hosted on is in San Fran, Cali. If that is true, then their next step will be to issue the hosting company a C&D, since the server is their property.

  • DerpySquad

    Oh, and a tip on Derpy.

    – You can click and move her. If you leave the cursor over her, she'll stand still.

    – You can somehow wrangle adblock to stop her from loading.

  • 8ftmetalhead

    I was talking about it with my lot last night, I figured yeah it's probably because of the Itunes versions which are without any sort of advertising and are a paid for service.

    As for why they made a claim for pinkie pie, I imagine it's because she's basically their macot for the series. You don't see advertising without pinkie pie, she's a major representative of the hasbro brand.

    It does seem as a common theme that people want the eps for free for buying the toys, but on the other hand people are saying we feel too entitled.

    And yes for the international viewers (ie us in Bronies New Zealand) it's the only way to view it. We had word that it was starting to air on Sky at 6am, it did. Out of order. With 15 minute gaps and completely missing parts of certain episodes. And now it's apparently stopped completely, from what the people with sky tell me. I can't pay $25 a week for that.

    But yeah the itunes ones are US only. Even in canada they can't get them.

  • Anonymous

    What really annoys me is that we have been torrenting them pretty much from the start. I'm pretty sure that they knew about it since we don't really hide it. But why now? I'm not really sure how useful this is since their are like over 9000 pony torrents.

  • 8ftmetalhead

    Probably because it is a centralised hub (lolpun) of the downloads, in a form that can be (attempted) to be sued. You can't really sue a torrent, but you can try sue a site advertising, sharing and hosting files.

  • Spazz
  • Anonymous

    Just speculation, but if Hashbro has plans to sell the series on DVD – and they're already selling them on iToonz – then perhaps they're bringing down the hammer in order to get more monies.

    As for whether sites like ponyarchives should 'cease and desist' – obviously that's up to them, but I really don't think we should worry about feeling 'entitled' or taking money out of the pockets of hardworking animators. If we started respecting copyright, half the internet would disappear, including pretty much the entirety of FiM fandom. The wonderful community we've built has always been in the shadow of corporate greed.