Anti-piracy enforcement actions, including dozens by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, have taken hundreds of sites out of the game. That’s a solid base for arguing that piracy volumes could’ve been much worse without so much enforcement.
The reality is that sites continue to emerge with some notable examples generating extraordinary levels of traffic, at a scale never seen before. History tells us that won’t continue indefinitely; pirate sites may come and go but Hollywood is in for the long haul – and then some.
9anime: Huge, Successful, and a Prime Target
One of the current batch of piracy behemoths is 9anime, a free streaming platform dedicated to Japanese cartoons. It currently receives in excess of 214 million visits per month, an incredible 2.5+ billion per year.
A DMCA subpoena application filed at a California court on Thursday shows that ACE has not given up on its plan to reduce 9anime’s traffic to zero. Like many times before, ACE – via the MPA – wants Cloudflare to give up information on its customers, 9anime included.
This information typically includes names, physical addresses, IP addresses,
telephone numbers, email addresses, and payment information. However, ACE also seeks additional information relating to account updates and histories, which could help to fill in some crucial blanks when combined with intelligence obtained elsewhere.
There’s no doubt that 9anime will remain a priority enforcement target. At the time of writing the 9animetv.to domain is ranked #164 globally and with over 30% of that traffic coming from inside the United States, it represents one of the squeakiest wheels in the entire online piracy market.
Sites Under The Spotlight
Also mentioned in Thursday’s applications is allanime.to, a site offering anime, manga (Japanese comics) and associated music. The domain became popular in February and since then traffic has increased considerably, to a current level of around 4.7 million visits per month. In common with 9anime, over a third of allanime’s traffic comes from the United States, assisted by social media referrals, the majority on YouTube.
Two other anime-focused domains – animefreak.site and animet.site – also get a mention. The former receives under half a million visits per month according to SimilarWeb, with the latter apparently receiving just a couple of thousand.
With no obvious public web presence and a domain that won’t resolve, Anifastcdn.info receives no traffic at all by most accounts, but that’s certainly not the case. While the platform uses Cloudflare in the United States, its servers appear to be on the other side of the Atlantic and not that difficult to find either, certainly for an operation like ACE.
Two other platforms attracting ACE interest have more visible levels of traffic. Ninjashare.to heads the list as a growing platform; after pulling in 11.8m monthly visits in February, the cloud storage platform received 15.8 million in April.
Also mentioned in the DMCA subpoena application is rapid-cloud.co, a storage platform sporting Vidcloud branding and around 4.5 million monthly visits. According to ACE, specific content accessed via rapid-cloud actually came from betterstream.cc, which also has no obvious public web presence but does have significant traffic.
When Cloudflare hands over information to ACE, it may prove informative but there’s a reasonable chance the data won’t amount to some big reveal. But it might eventually, so as long as these and similar sites are in business, ACE can return to court again and again to obtain subpoenas just like this one, for less than $50 a pop.
It will probably continue to do that, for as long as it takes.
Image Credit: Pixabay/geralt