Based on readily available information and data provided by the entertainment industries through various studies, online piracy is rampant and in some areas, more prolific than at any point in history.
On a day-to-day basis, based on news of pirate site closures, arrests, lawsuits, and various investigations, it could also be argued that the tide is turning and has been for some time. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, shifting one way and then the other, according to the ebb and flow of dozens of complex factors, subject to change at a moment’s notice.
One constant is the enforcement work of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE). According to an interview published in Vietnam at the end of June, ACE identified 1,400 pirate sites and services in the United States in 2018. After five years of enforcement operations, with the assistance of the Department of Justice and U.S. prosecutors, the number reported as still in existence today is just 36.
The overseas picture of a few hundred torrent sites and thousands of streaming-related platforms presents an epic challenge that may never be won but won’t be given up on either. Recent action in Vietnam and Latin America show mixed fortunes but that is just part of a much bigger picture.
More Domain Takeovers This Week
The recent closure of a Cuevana3 variant in Peru will see ACE (via the Motion Picture Association) take over 22 domains that were good for more than 100 million visits between March and May of this year. Some have already been handed over.
As previously reported by TF but not yet reported by ACE, the domains of Zoro.to and Goku.to are now under MPA/ACE control. On Friday, those .to domains were joined on the MPA’s DNS servers by Zorotv.to and ZoroNetwork.ru, presumably handed over by the site’s operator.
Considering the volume of similar domains still in use and now pointing to Zoro.to replacement Aniwatch.to, the loss of a couple of extra domains is unlikely to make much of a dent in traffic heading to the anime piracy giant. That being said, this battle is not over yet, and ACE/MPA won’t give up until it is.
CableKill Tried to Kill Cable, ACE Killed It
One domain that won’t be receiving (or distributing) any more infringing traffic is CableKill.us. Founded around five years ago, CableKill offered tutorials that informed people how to ‘kill cable’ by dumping their provider and using pirate apps instead.
“Kick giant companies to the curb and control your own TV! How does being able to watch ANY movie or TV show whenever you want sound? How does watching ANY sporting event that’s live no matter your location sound? On top of all that little to ZERO monthly fees. Well that’s exactly what we do here at CableKill,” the site advised.
With the benefit of hindsight, some of the logos above should’ve been avoided. Sports streaming app Mobdro went down in a ball of flames in 2021, Area51 was shut down by ACE in 2020 and later ordered to pay $272k in damages, and the people behind Gears TV had to pay back millions and are now in prison.
Precisely what offenses led to ACE/MPA taking over the CableKill.us domain on Friday isn’t clear. The same is true for the affiliated domain CKhosting.org, which did business under CK Servers branding, and also under MPA/ACE control as of Friday.
Likely candidates include hosting many of the world’s most popular free pirate apps, selling set-top boxes ready configured for piracy, and the promotion, sale and/or hosting of premium IPTV services. The specifics aren’t public but even in isolation, any of the above would’ve been enough for ACE.
The public availability of both email and physical addresses, linked directly to the operator of CableKill and CK Hosting, would’ve been the icing on the cake.
Anime Kaizoku Calls it Quits Early
Last week we reported the details of DMCA subpoenas recently obtained by MPA/ACE in the United States. Among the targets were three anime sites; animedao.to, animet.site, and animekaizoku.com.
While the first pair continue business as usual, animekaizoku.com appears to have taken the existence of a subpoena as a signal to throw in the towel.
We aren’t in a position to verify that the communication we received was sent by one of the site’s operators, but it does align with the fact that the site went offline this week. The message begins with a link to our report and continues with assurances that the site is gone for good.
“Just figured i’ll notify you that animekaizoku.com has been taken down for good, including the data and website code has been wiped. The domain won’t be up ever again. We are fully out of the piracy side of things. You can visit the site and see for yourself,” it reads.
Domains mentioned in other DMCA subpoenas that have also gone dark recently include the following: tvzon.tv, moviehdapkdownload.com, megacamais.com, and filmisub.com.