GetStrike torrent search engine developer’s PayPal account seized on complaint from MPAA
The online payment portal, PayPal has been very severe with torrent websites so much so that it is reported to have “do not touch” list featuring such sites.
Mostly torrent websites depend on donations as a source of income and PayPal is the vehicle of choice to collect such donations because of the ease of using it. However this also means that their accounts and monies are in the hands of PayPal and could be suspended without any notice.
Sampson received an email from PayPal telling him that his account had been “permanently limited”. The company can now hold his funds for up to 180 days, and may take money as damages. The email also states that Sampson must remove all mention of the account from his website.
This happened with developer Andrew Sampson whose PayPal account was frozen based on a complaint by Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA). Samspon is the owner of Getstrike.net and is currently working on search engine called Strike which could filter out exclusive pirated content for users.
Sampson had added PayPal to his website for donations as he has no ad revenue. Sampson said that he has now removed the account but there is still money left in the account which can be confisticated for damages by PayPal. Samspons thinks he may have fallen foul with MPAA not for Strike but for his other open source projects.
“It seems someone at the MPAA realized I took donations using PayPal from some of my other LEGAL open source projects (like https://github.com/Codeusa/Borderless-Gaming) and was able to get the email of my account,” Sampson told Torrent Freak.
While Sampson had regularly been receiving donations from users of his other open source projects, he says he only received $200 from users of Strike, a small proportion of the $2,500 in his personal account when PayPal shut it down.“That money was earned through legitimate freelance work and was going to be used specifically for my rent/car payment so it kind of sucks,” he says.