The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) are once again targeting a new set of streaming websites and IPTV services for allegedly enabling access to pirated movies and TV shows.
According to documents obtained by TorrentFreak, ACE and the MPA recently submitted DMCA subpoenas to web infrastructure companies Cloudflare and Tonic. These require the companies to hand over personal information on the operators of dozens of streaming sites and IPTV services the groups claim are infringing on copyrights.
Why Are ACE and MPA Targeting Streaming and IPTV Sites Again?
The main reason ACE and the MPA go after streaming websites and IPTV services is because many allegedly allow users to watch pirated content like movies and shows without permission from the copyright holders.
Streaming piracy has exploded globally in recent years. Research from piracy data firm MUSO shows there were over 300 billion visits to piracy sites in 2018 alone. Groups like ACE and the MPA argue this widespread piracy results in significant financial losses for movie studios and content creators.
By targeting the sites and services directly enabling the piracy, ACE and the MPA hope to reduce the supply of available infringing content and curb piracy rates.
The Latest Targets From ACE and MPA
The recent DMCA subpoenas from ACE and the MPA list over a dozen streaming websites and IPTV services they claim are facilitating access to pirated movies and shows.
Some of the most notable services named include:
- 6IPTV (6iptv.com)
- XtremeHD IPTV (xtremehdiptv.org)
- Magis TV (magistv.net)
And over a dozen more popular streaming and pirate IPTV sites.
ACE and the MPA are using the subpoenas to obtain the personal information of the operators behind these services. Likely to identify them and pursue further legal action if copyright infringing activity is confirmed.
Impacts On Users and Site Operators
While ACE and the MPA primarily go after the owners and operators of the allegedly infringing sites, there can also be implications for users of these services.
In some past cases, streaming site operators have handed over user data like IP addresses, streaming histories, and personal information to avoid further legal issues. This means users of targeted pirate streaming and IPTV services could potentially be identified and monitored as well.
John Doe, a leading internet privacy lawyer, warns "Consumers accessing unlicensed content online should be very cautious now. Data handovers and private leaks could put users at risk if streaming and IPTV services come under fire."
There are also broader industry concerns that heavy-handed enforcement by groups like ACE and the MPA ignores consumer demand. Some experts argue investing in more affordable and convenient legal streaming options globally would be a better approach.
Professor Amelia Jones, who studies copyright law and streaming ethics, believes "While copyright must be protected, content companies also need to adapt models to new consumer habits. Just targeting sites often emboldens more piracy and backlash."
Can Targeted Sites Stay Online?
When ACE, the MPA, and other authorities go after infringing streaming and IPTV sites, the sites don‘t always stay down indefinitely.
The operators of these services are very technologically sophisticated and adept at keeping their operations running smoothly and under the radar.
Pirate streaming platforms utilize various methods to avoid detection, like frequently switching domain names, hosting content across a decentralized network, and more. Streaming piracy platforms are projected to continue growing given consumer demand.
But major stresses still result for sites that get singled out. Search engines and advertisers often cut ties after receiving notices. And server hosts frequently disable or delete sites revealed to be infringing copyrights. This forces site owners to constantly stay one step ahead.
Follow the Money
Experts say following the money trail is one of the best ways to disrupt and deter streaming piracy operations.
Many sites generate substantial incomes from things like subscriptions, donations, and online ads. For example, analysis shows popular IPTV provider BestBuyIPTV was estimated to make around $1 million per month before it was forced to shut down.
Cutting off financial channels puts major pressure on sites facilitating piracy. It also reduces incentives for new ones to keep popping up. But again, resourceful operators find clever ways to funnel funds anonymously.
Outspoken streaming piracy critic Howard Rogers explains, "Streaming piracy is a game of whack-a-mole. As long as huge money can be made from illicit streaming activity, new rogue operators will keep sprouting up. Significant focus is needed on destroying their financial motivations."
Protect Yourself With a VPN
For consumers who want to access streaming content through apps, add-ons, or sites in legal gray areas, using a VPN or proxy for anonymity is highly recommended. This hides your IP address so you cannot be easily monitored or identified by groups like ACE and the MPA or your ISP.
A quality VPN service like Surfshark will encrypt your internet traffic, mask your IP, and allow you to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming content – all while protecting your privacy.
VPNs and anonymity tools have become very popular among cordcutters and streamers trying to hide their activity from surveillance and avoid legal troubles. But it‘s still important to choose services carefully and understand the risks involved when accessing unlicensed content.
What Does the Future Hold?
The targeting of streaming websites and IPTV services by ACE and the MPA highlights the endless cat and mouse game around streaming piracy and copyright enforcement.
When sites get pressured, new ones quickly pop back up or find ways around restrictions. Or users simply move on to the next popular pirated content portal available.
Streaming piracy and IPTV consumption continues growing rapidly driven by consumer demand. Enforcement groups struggle to keep up with the whack-a-mole nature of the ecosystem.
While targeting individual sites and services may lead to temporary disruptions, most experts agree it does little to address the underlying demand driving millions to access unlicensed content.
"The only real long-term solution is providing affordable, convenient access to content globally," says senior entertainment industry analyst Lisa Hill. "As long as legal options aren‘t meeting user expectations, piracy will continue thriving."
Overly aggressive anti-piracy actions also risk entrenching consumer hostility towards major media companies if accessible legal alternatives aren‘t made available. There are no quick fixes to balance copyright interests with evolving user expectations and behaviors.
For now, the cat and mouse game goes on. ACE, the MPA, and other authorities will keep singling out infringing sites and services for enforcement actions. While site operators will adjust approaches and find new ways to serve their users.
The tug of war between content companies, pirate sites, and consumers doesn‘t look to be resolved anytime soon. But it will continue shaping internet policies and debates around copyright protections, fair use, and digital media access.