‘IP House’ Takes Global IP & Anti-Piracy Protection to a New Level

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Anti-piracy outfits come in all shapes and sizes but the new venture 'IP House' aims to stand tall and above all. Headed by a former ACE/MPA boss, with a veteran U.S. federal law enforcement chief at his side, the private-equity-backed company positions itself as the 'haute couture' of global intellectual property enforcement.

ip house logoSeven years ago, a new global anti-piracy coalition emerged under the umbrella of the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

The Alliance for Entertainment and Creativity (ACE) bundled the powers and pockets of dozens of entertainment companies; many more followed in the years after.

While skeptics may have doubted the launch of yet another anti-piracy group, ACE was and is a grand success. The group has industry members and law enforcement contacts all over the globe, allowing it to pool intelligence and take action more effectively than before.

The group didn’t defeat piracy. However, it took down several key players including the original 123movies, Openload, Rapidvideo, Vader Streams, many Cuevanas, and pirate release group EVO, to name a few.

IP House Opens Doors

These actions were coordinated under the lead of MPA’s chief global anti-piracy director Jan Van Voorn, whose name also appeared prominently in over a hundred subpoena requests that were filed on behalf of ACE.

Going forward, these legal requests will have to be signed by someone else. Van Voorn left ACE and the MPA in March, ending his tenure at Hollywood’s anti-piracy arm, which began eleven years ago as an alumnus of the Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN.

The departure doesn’t mean Van Voorn is moving away from copyright enforcement efforts. On the contrary, he will continue his work as the lead of the new private IP-enforcement company IP House, which was officially announced to the public this week.

Big Names, Big Numbers, Big Business

IP House is no ordinary anti-piracy startup. The company offers a broad range of every imaginable IP-enforcement service, while also covering brand protection and counterfeiting, all operating on a global scale.

While the company still has everything to prove, it launches with names and numbers that back up its ambitions. As a lauded anti-piracy expert, IP House CEO Van Voorn is flanked by IP House Executive Chairman Steve Francis, who boasts a 25-year career in U.S. federal law enforcement.

Francis previously worked as the Executive Associate Director for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and as Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). Both HSI and the IPR center were regularly involved in federal anti-piracy actions.

The two IP House founders are backed by funding from a private equity firm. These funds help to pay for more than 250 professional investigators, analysts, and IP law experts who work at the company. Together, these help to protect a growing list of nearly 300 brands.

Much of the workforce was added directly to IP House through acquisitions. The company plans to continue this strategy going forward, adding more ‘brands’ to their roster, in addition to outside clients.

All-In-One IP Enforcement and Protection

IP House doesn’t disclose the names of its acquisitions or acquired clients, but its services are not aimed at small creators. Instead, IP House appears to target large international companies, offering a one-stop solution for all IP-enforcement efforts.

“The new company is designed to deliver proactive, end-to-end intellectual property protection at scale, addressing threats more completely than the industry’s patchwork of point solution vendors can do,” IP House announced this week.

“Through proprietary technology and partnerships with government and law enforcement organizations around the world, IP House’s data-driven approach is able to escalate investigations through enforcement to achieve valuable commercial outcomes.”

Building on ACE and MPA Lessons

This broad, global approach doesn’t come as a surprise. In a way, Van Voorn and his colleagues are building on lessons learned in the past. To fight piracy and engage in other IP issues, collaboration is key. This was also highlighted by BREIN’s former director Tim Kuik a few weeks ago.

Van Voorn previously worked at BREIN and eventually went to the MPA, to revitalize Hollywood’s anti-piracy efforts. Speaking with TorrentFreak, he says that lessons learned along the way helped to design the blueprints for IP House.

“To be truly impactful in the IP space, you need to bring rightsholders across industries together so you can execute large-scale enforcement actions worldwide. It’s also critical to have a solid and proactive escalation strategy and work very closely with law enforcement partners to create the right level of deterrence,” Van Voorn says.

Tailored Anti-Piracy Solutions

IP House doesn’t have a strong focus on single issues or threats. Instead, it tries to cover all bases, tailored to the needs of its clients. The effectiveness and efficiency of the actions should be leading.

ip house

Actions speak louder than words and IP House still has a lot to prove. However, Van Voorn truly believes that they offer something unique. IP House sets itself apart through its high-level ‘in-house’ expertise in many IP issues, with partners and connections, including law enforcement, all over the world.

“We are the first and only global entity to provide end-to-end intellectual property protection services; from prevention to investigation to enforcement with a focus on data-driven solutions. There are many point solutions out there and many say they are global/international, but they are not,” Van Voorn says.

“Simply put, we provide a solution that is not currently on the market. This thesis is validated after speaking with many companies around the world. They are looking for a one-stop-shop solution to deal with any IP matter. This is exactly the house that we are building,” he adds.

IP House aims to offer all required tools and services for rightsholders. This includes takedown notices, piracy monitoring, intelligence gathering, training, intermediary outreach, criminal referrals, expert witness statements, and much more.

The names of its clients, many of whom came in through acquisitions, are not yet revealed yet, but they are from a variety of industries.

“The acquired companies and those that will soon be part of IP House have been established for decades and serve a wide array of clientele. As such, IP House’s current list of clients is broad, ranging from pharmaceutical companies to household electronics to luxury apparel, the automotive industry, and many more,” Van Voorn tells us.

Looking Back at Key Shutdowns

It would be an understatement to say that these plans are ambitious. Time will tell how IP House fares but, one thing’s for certain, Van Voorn stands on his successes at the MPA and ACE.

After more than a decade at the MPA, where he launched ACE in 2017, he leaves behind quite a legacy.

“I am most proud of restructuring the MPA approach to content protection, as well as launching and scaling ACE to what it was when I departed at the end of March. We built a very effective global enforcement program in the copyright space,” Van Voorn says.

Looking back, there are many successes to reflect on. While Van Voorn doesn’t have any clear favorites, he mentions the shutdown of Popcorn Time and the original YTS group as key victories. These required action outside of the U.S., in Canada and New Zealand, marking the importance of global presence.

The same applies to the more recent crackdown on piracy release group EVO, which was achieved with help from Portuguese authorities.

Other key actions mentioned by Van Voorn include the demise of the original 123Movies streaming site in 2018, which took place after consulting with the Vietnamese authorities, and enforcement actions in France which wiped the video hosting services Uptobox and Uptostream off the Internet.

“The most satisfying actions involve the global team collaborating closely to identify operators, with the outcome having a significant impact on the piracy space,” Van Voorn tells us.

Whether IP House will be as visible on the anti-piracy front as ACE has yet to be seen. That said, the money and resources that are going into IP House show that copyright enforcement and protection is no longer an afterthought or a side hustle; it’s a core business. It might even be big business.


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