The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) has recently made headlines by sending a new volley of DMCA subpoenas targeting over 20 popular pirate streaming and torrent sites. As an avid media consumer yourself, you may be wondering – what does this mean for your ability to access movies and TV shows online?
In this post, I‘ll provide some helpful context on ACE‘s anti-piracy campaign, break down which major piracy sites were hit, and give you safer tips for streaming content without worry.
ACE and the Anti-Piracy Mission
First, some background. ACE is a coalition made up of major media and entertainment companies including Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and the Motion Picture Association. Since forming in 2017, the alliance has focused its efforts on reducing online piracy through legal actions as well as pressuring governments for better copyright laws.
Previous campaigns have included high-profile lawsuits against illegal streaming platforms, securing injunctions to block access to pirated content, and sending waves of DMCA takedown notices to sites hosting infringing material.
Now ACE is utilizing another legal tool in its arsenal – the DMCA subpoena. This allows copyright holders to demand identifying information on alleged infringers from third parties like web hosts and ISPs without filing a full lawsuit.
ACE has sent DMCA subpoenas to the content delivery network Cloudflare, demanding they hand over operator info for over 20 popular piracy sites facilitating illegal access to movies and TV shows.
Scale of Targeted Pirate Sites
While ACE has gone after many sites before, this batch includes some of the largest pirated video portals on the web, with millions of users especially in Asia, India, and Latin America.
Some of the most-visited domains targeted in this DMCA subpoena include:
- watchmovierulz.co – 25+ million visits from Feb 2021-Feb 2022
- ssphim.net – 40+ million visits in same period
I‘ve compiled traffic stats that show the massive growth some of these sites have seen in just the past year:
This highlights the vast popularity of piracy services across many countries where legal options are limited or expensive. By taking aim at such giants, ACE is clearly trying to make an impact on illegal streaming at the source.
Will Users Get Caught in the Crossfire?
However, an important concern is whether individual users will get caught up in this anti-piracy campaign. In the past, some site operators facing legal pressure have agreed to hand over user databases, IP address logs, and other identifying data.
This means authorities could have access to info linking your online activity and location to pirated content. Users in the U.S. or countries with strict copyright laws could potentially face fines or legal consequences for illegal streaming.
That‘s why I always recommend taking steps to protect your privacy if you access pirate sites, such as using a trusted VPN service to hide your IP address and encrypt traffic. VPNs not only keep you anonymous, but also allow you to bypass geo-restrictions and access more content legally.
There are excellent VPN options like NordVPN and ExpressVPN that offer fast speeds, watertight privacy features, and simple apps for streaming devices.
Safer Alternatives for Content
Rather than take risks with sketchy pirate sites, you‘d be better off streaming through legitimate platforms. Here are some great options:
Netflix – Still the gold standard for on-demand movies/TV. Plans start as low as $9.99/month.
Hulu – Good mix of current shows, classics, and originals. Ad-supported plan only $6.99/month.
Tubi – Entirely free library of over 20,000 movies and shows. Just sit through some ads.
YouTube – Many older movies and TV series available free with ads. Create a watchlist.
The Roku Channel – Another free streaming option from the makers of Roku devices. Huge variety of content.
There are also easy ways to watch free over-the-air TV and record it with a DVR. So you have tons of choices to stream legally without paying for multiple services.
I hope this breakdown gives you a useful overview of ACE‘s anti-piracy efforts and how it may impact your media viewing habits. Let me know if you have any other streaming-related questions!