Visual of a typical .nfo file included in a movie release.
|Years active||November 2005 – March 11, 2009|
|Known for||Content distribution|
aXXo is the Internet alias of an individual who became popular for releasing commercial DVD movies on the Internet as free downloads. The resulting files can in turn be easily distributed through the Internet and be viewed instantly on a computer.
aXXo files are popular among the file sharing community using peer-to-peer file sharing protocols such as BitTorrent. Eric Garland, the CEO of download-tracking firm BigChampagne, found that 33.5% of movies downloaded, during a random sampling, were aXXo torrents. The aXXo files gained popularity because aXXo produces files of comparatively small size, with a consistent file format. File sizes are approximately 700 MB – the same size as a compact disc. Because of aXXo's reputation for re-encoded quality, the aXXo name is sometimes faked as an identifying source by a variety of imitators.
Due to its popularity in the file sharing subculture, the pseudonym aXXo is falsely assumed by a variety of individuals and groups to mimic the source identity as a disguise for their own uploads on file sharing websites. A portion of such decoys is made available by a range of companies in the field of copyright enforcement, such as BayTSP, MediaDefender, or MediaSentry, with the aim of suing to make a profit. These faked files, or groups of files, would normally contain useless or potentially malicious data. The type of maliciously fake files include RAR format files that require the users to download a trojan disguised as a codec needed to view associated AVI format files. Other fake files encourage the users to register on dubious websites or require the users install the DomPlayer software. Fake files may also contain malware with the capability to send the IP address of the user's computer to a private server. For years aXXo has been warning followers to “beware of bogus sites and lamers” in the .NFO files which accompany his torrents.
In November 2007, aXXo deleted all of his files released after September 7, 2006 from The Pirate Bay, protesting that the site would allow harassing comments to be added to his torrents by "possible members of MPAA". While past aXXo torrents remained available on other torrent sites, uploads of new aXXo files stopped on November 11, 2007. After an absence of four months aXXo returned to uploading, starting with the movie I Am Legend on March 9, 2008.
On March 11, 2009, aXXo stopped uploading new files after releasing Punisher: War Zone. For a while he logged into Mininova until the site switched to only hosting torrents that were Content Distribution free or torrents with no copyrights.
On April 19, 2009 aXXo made his last known comment on message board "Darkside_RG", in response to rumors that he had stopped posting on Darkside_RG. He states: "I can only say a big thank you for your appreciation mates, hope you all enjoy the darkside as much as you can My home is my beloved Darkside and as I've said so many times before on each of my torrents.... Be aware of bogus sites and lamers See ya."
aXXo converted commercial DVD movies into approximately 700 MB .avi files which were then used to create a .torrent file that were uploaded to Bittorrent Trackers allowing the movie to be downloaded. On file sharing websites, aXXo files attracted a large following, with over a million users downloading aXXo files each month. Files released by aXXo followed the naming convention "Name.Of.Movie[year]DvDrip[Eng]-aXXo.avi", where "DvDrip[Eng]" implied it was ripped from an English-language disc and "avi" referred to the resulting file format. The video was encoded according to the MPEG-4 ASP standard, compatible with the Xvid codec. The aXXo postings also carried a .nfo file about the movie and an attached text file that states, in part: "Be aware of bogus sites and lamers, download your aXXo files from aXXo accounts. Enjoy!"
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- enigmax (2007-04-28). "aXXo Torrents Exploited by Malware Peddlers". TorrentFreak. Archived from the original on 13 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- Ümit Öncel (2007-03-16). "Torrent'te sahte aXXo dosyaları furyası..." (in Turkish). Chip Online. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
- Ernesto (2009-06-08). "Fake aXXo Lures Users to Private Torrent Site". TorrentFreak. Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-17.
- Walker, Tim (2008-12-29). "Scene stealer: The aXXo file". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- Ernesto (2008-03-09). "The BitTorrent Legend Returns: I Am aXXo". TorrentFreak. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Techtree News Staff (2008-03-10). "Return of the "aXXo" Legend!". ITNation India. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Walker, Tim (2009-01-05). "Hunting aXXo – pirate king of the Torrents, enemy of Hollywood". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
- "Mininova limits its activities to Content Distribution service". Mininova. 2009-11-26. Archived from the original on 30 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
- "Darkside_RG > Community Forums > General Discussions". Darkside Forum. 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
- Cincotta, Katie (2007-07-12). "Going for a song". The Age. Retrieved 2008-01-13.