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Thothub: the site that stole paywalled NSFW content and paid the price

You may have heard about Thothub shutting down, or being sued, or the name Niece Waidhofer. Let’s breakdown what happened.

As much as we’d hate to cause potential dismay, there will be no nudes shown here, so no need to close the blinds. However, there will be a rundown of why popular porn site Thothub and the attached Thothub forums have been shut down. And for a good reason. The story begins with the emergence of perhaps the raunchiest social media site ever, OnlyFans.

If you’re unaware of the platform, it’s a place for creators to live stream or upload exclusive (usually 18+) content. A creator can set up a subscription for their account, giving paying fans the chance to access some racy, bonus content – in turn earning the creator some extra cash. Unsurprisingly, a lot of creators are making fat stacks, such as Belle Delphine, who is rumoured to make over $4 million a year from the site. Hey, it’s a thirsty world out there.

Thothub Niece Waidhofer
Photo: @zanasea

What’s great about OnlyFans is its win-win structure model. Fans get what they want and creators get paid. The site currently boasts over 70 million registered users and over 1 million creators around the globe, including the likes of Bella Thorne, Mia Khalifa, and even Michael B. Jordan.

Anyway, everything was running pretty smoothly until porn sites like Thothub began to capitalise unfairly.

Thothub is the polar opposite of a win-win structure model. The site repeatedly turned a blind eye to uploaded paid-content from sites such as OnlyFans and Patreon, viewed for free by millions.

The site even went as far to encourage users to upload exclusive material to gain access to more of the site – without asking for the original creator’s consent. This moral myopia exhibited by Thothub and its advertisers (BangBros, Chatterbate) doesn’t even represent a grey area of ethics intersecting with the ever-complex internet ecosystem. It’s blatant stealing, with one business (Thothub) profiting off the content of another business (in most cases, a single person).

This very act happened to OnlyFans user Niece Waidhofer, a popular creator with over 2.3 million followers on her Instagram. Waidhofer charged $14.99 a month for semi-nude photos and lingerie modelling pics on her OnlyFans. Though her page specified “no nudes”, she did end up sending some legit Niece Waidhofer nudes to subscribers via private messages.

Of course, Waidhofer was (and is) still entirely within her rights to do so, as OnlyFans very much allows for explicit content. Unfortunately, these unpublished photos were uploaded to Thothub, where millions of overstimulated chaps could cop a free viewing. This is where the lawsuit came in.

Waidhofer is hardly the only OnlyFans user compromised, either. A Belle Delphine Thothub page racked in millions of views, again reposting content she exclusively uploaded to OnlyFans subscribers.

 

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A post shared by Niece Waidhofer (@niecewaidhofer)

“After being published on Thothub and downloaded by many of its one million-plus members, Waidhofer’s published and unpublished works have been widely disseminated across the Internet and seen by millions,” Waidhofer’s attorney Brett S. Rosenthall wrote in a complaint back in August.

“This has caused, and continues to cause, personal, reputational, and monetary harm to Waidhofer.”

Thothub’s terms of service forbid stolen works from being uploaded, but clearly, they haven’t cared to monitor this growing problem. According to reports, stolen content from Waidhofer and other popular creators has consistently appeared on Thothub’s front page, as well as in their featured content.

Following this, the site removed all of Waidhofer’s content, giving the following statement to Vice: “We remove on average about 200 entries from the main page and the forums per week and we are constantly in contact with multiple lawyers all over the world to have illicit material removed, for which we have a dedicated team.”

It was a start, but obviously not enough attention was given to the problem. Waidhofer’s lawsuit also hopes to seek compensation for copyright infringement damages, though the outcome of this lawsuit is still pending.

If you thought Thothub was the only business in trouble, think again. The plot again thickens – as the lawsuit also targets Cloudflare, the website security company that gives internet framework to the platform. A copyright complaint was sent to Cloudflare, though they allegedly did not respond and merely forwarded it to Thothub.

Then on August 5, 2020, amidst these legal battles, Thothub suddenly disappeared – with the URL originally directing to an image of the solar system, accompanied by an email address. Now, as seen in Waidhofer’s video, Thothub.tv is a dead link:

 

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A post shared by Niece Waidhofer (@niecewaidhofer)

Whilst the URL remains inactive today, it seems another version of the site has popped up under Thothub.ru.