For most people living in the West, MyCima may not ring a bell. In Arabic-speaking countries, MyCima was the second-largest piracy ring in the region.
The site offered downloads and streams of roughly 12,000 pirated copies of movies and 26,000 TV shows. These streams were embedded and utilized third-party hosting services such as Uptostream and Userload.
Free Movies and TV
MyCima was most popular in Egypt where it was among the ten most-visited sites in the country. The site also generated a lot of traffic from neighboring countries, including Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
The true purpose of the site was obvious and its operators publicly advertised it as the best way to watch entertainment without paying.
“Our website is the most prominent free movie site, meaning that it enables you to follow your favorite shows and movies for free without the need to pay in order to subscribe to the site,” MyCima wrote on its website.
This free-for-all approach generated serious advertising revenues for the site. Behind the scenes, copyright holders were hard at work trying to bring the platform to its knees.
Egypt Shutters MyCima
The Alliance of Creativity Entertainment (ACE), which includes Netflix, Disney and other prominent players, took on the task and reported the MyCima piracy ring to law enforcement in Egypt.
Intelligence has shown that the operation was headquartered in Alexandria. Based on the referral from ACE, Egyptian authorities managed to shut down the operation this week. As a result, myciiima.autos and roughly 70 other domain names have stopped working.
It appears that the authorities hit the hosting facility of the piracy ring as most domain names are still active. However, instead of showing the usual links to pirated movies and series, visitors see a Cloudflare error stating that the host is unreachable.
‘You Can’t Hide’
ACE boss Jan van Voorn, who is also the Motion Picture Association’s Global Content Protection Chief, notes that pirate site operators will face the consequences of their actions, regardless of where they operate.
“The latest shut-down in the Middle East reinforces the fact that no matter where in the world they are, criminal distributors of pirated content can’t hide,” Van Voorn says.
Van Voorn is pleased with the actions Egypt has taken and he explicitly thanks the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for their help.
“We applaud the action taken by the Egyptian authorities and look forward to supporting them in further actions. We would also like to thank the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for their work in the investigation and protection of intellectual property rights.”
ACE has its roots in Hollywood but has been expanding all over the globe in recent years. This includes the Middle East where two of its newest members, OSN and MBC GROUP, proved to be instrumental in the MyCima investigation.
To give the successful anti-piracy operation more weight, ACE stresses that MyCima was the second-largest piracy operation in the Middle East region. The number one isn’t mentioned, probably for a good reason.
Egybest has traditionally been the top pirate site in the region. This download and streaming platform appeared to shut down in 2019 following an enforcement effort that also involved the Motion Picture Association (MPA). However, that didn’t last.
Through various copycat sites and redirects, the brand managed to survive. The original Egy.best domain also made a comeback as a dominant piracy player in Egypt and elsewhere.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Trade Representative called out Egybest as one of the oldest movie piracy portals in the region. According to the MPA, the site had well over 130 million monthly visits.
Interestingly, the main Egy.best domain became unreachable again last December. The recent disappearence is shrouded in mystery but there are plenty of copies and clones still in operation. Whether ACE still sees it as the leading piracy operation is unknown.