Once obtained, these are served on service providers, mostly Cloudflare, requesting personal information on pirate site operators. While the quality of supplied information varies, the number of applications suggests that the world’s largest entertainment companies do indeed obtain valuable intelligence from the process.
Under the banner of Hollywood’s MPA, ACE returned to court again this week, seeking information on a number of platforms, mostly dealing in movies and TV shows. The presence of yet more anime piracy platforms is probably a sign of things to come, with ACE members Disney and Paramount gaining a firmer foothold in the anime market.
Anime Sites in the Crosshairs
New Target: Animedao.to
Recent Traffic: Apr 19.1m / May 18.1m / June 16.9m
When sites like Zoro.to (which rebranded to Animewatch.to this week due to copyright issues) receive more than 200 million visits per month, it’s tempting to describe sites with tens of millions as ‘small’. We’ll refrain from doing that, especially when yearly visits to Animedao.to exceed the quarter-billion mark.
While the site’s traffic is in a slight decline, Animedao remains popular, especially in the United States. More than a third of the platform’s overall traffic hails from the U.S., the Philippines, and the United Kingdom.
Animedao.to is just one of many hundreds of sites that exist through the use of a site template. These sites are easy to identify using a number of methods but one of the most straightforward is a Google search for the term “anime” and the text of the standard disclaimer that appears at the bottom of most homepages.
In case anyone still believes that pirate site disclaimers are kryptonite to entertainment industry attorneys, they aren’t. The remaining pair of sites on the ACE list, along with summary details, are as follows:
New Target: animekaizoku.com
Recent Traffic: Apr 837k / May 637k / June 599k
Most Popular: India, Philippines, Japan
New Target: Animet.site
Recent Traffic: Apr 2.3k / May 2.2k / June 3.3k
Feature: Members Only, must sign in with Google/Discord account
Fun fact: Domain records state: “DNS points to prohibited IP stream server”
Latin American Targets
Working with local anti-piracy groups, ACE continues to take a keen interest in sites popular in Brazil and neighboring countries. Legal action to obtain site operators’ identities may take place in the United States, but any information obtained has the potential to be useful anywhere.
New Target: baixarseriesmp4.eu (baixar is ‘download’ in Portuguese)
Content: Movies, TV Shows, Anime
Recent Traffic: Apr 0k / May 1.4m / June 4m
Around 80% of Baixarseriesmp4’s traffic comes from Brazil, with Portugal following in a distant second place. The SimilarWeb figures listed above show the site’s traffic on a rapid upwards trend, which is probably one of the reasons ACE wants to take action before things get out of hand.
With that in mind, how does a site grow from nothing to four million visits in three months? The answer is simple: they don’t start from nothing.
Baixarseriesmp4.eu is a domain-hopping site that already had traction. Its current .eu domain is just the latest in use after having burned through baixarseriesmp4.xyz, .club, and .top. A message on those domains warns that they will be “decommissioned soon.”
It’s possible that ISPs may have blocked Baixarseries at some point. The main page provides instructions on how to unblock the platform by changing DNS settings in popular browsers.
New Target: 2now.tv
Content: Movies, TV Shows
Recent Traffic: Apr 13k / May 35k / June 233k
The request for information relating to 2now.tv is interesting. This is a new platform that did indeed launch from a standing start; information received by TorrentFreak suggests that 2now.tv is intended to be the English language version of Latin American streaming giant, Cuevana.
We haven’t been able to confirm that claim but attempts to boost the site’s traffic are very evident on social media. Around 75% of the site’s traffic (up 550% in the United States compared to the previous month) comes from social media referrals, 92% of that from links on Reddit.
There’s even a 2now.tv promotional video floating around, but since it uses clips from Hollywood movies – to promote piracy of Hollywood movies – we won’t link to it here.
The DMCA subpoena application can be found here (pdf)