ApolloTV Streaming App Shuts Down Following ACE Cease-and-Desist Notice

While third-party Kodi addons remain popular with those seeking free access to premium video, standalone apps for Android and iOS have gained traction in recent years.

Easy to install and use on set-top boxes, tablets and phones, these tools often provide a Popcorn-Time or Showbox-like experience, offering the latest movies and TV shows in a familiar Netflix-style interface. On the one hand, they’re popular with users but Hollywood studios and other content creators consider them a risk to their business that needs to be countered.

ApolloTV is a relatively recent addition to the growing market. Available for iOS and Android, the application gained a reasonable following and is featured in dozens of tutorials and YouTube video installation guides. At the time of writing, however, it seems highly unlikely that the project will continue.

Over the past several days, rumors began to circulate that ApolloTV would be shutting down. The whispers suggested that the application’s developer had been targeted by copyright holders and as a result, the app would be discontinued. Counter-rumors suggested that the developer simply wanted a way out so TorrentFreak approached ‘Sam’ directly to find out.

“I received a cease and desist from the Alliance 4 Creativity – the same people who took down Openload and Streamango – citing ApolloTV making available copyrighted works copied and hosted by unaffiliated third parties without permission from the copyright holder,” Sam informs us.

The claim seems reasonable given the circumstances. ApolloTV didn’t host any content of its own but did provide access to content hosted on third-party file-hosting platforms, a common feature among similar ‘scraper’-type applications.

As TF discovered, Sam made little to no effort to hide his identity so it appears that ACE had few difficulties tracking him down. However, while we reached him easily via email, ACE managed to discover his home address which enabled them to serve the cease-and-desist notice by hand.

“I was surprised that I actually received the cease and desist physically, in person (it was delivered by a court officer), at my home address,” he explains.

Sam says that he doesn’t have the time or the resources to fight a lawsuit and since ACE were very reasonable, he’ll be complying with their requests immediately. He doesn’t want to go into too many additional details but says that as part of the settlement, he will need to shut down the project’s Github page and hand over the Apollo domain to ACE.

At the time of writing, the official ApolloTV repository on Github has been taken down. ACE nor the MPA appear to have filed any official DMCA takedown requests with the developer platform so at this point things seem to be progressing quickly on a voluntary basis.

TorrentFreak sought comment from ACE on the reported action but, at the time of publishing, we were yet to receive a response.

Drom: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also have an annual VPN review.


RapidVideo Agrees to Pay Settlement to ACE, Hands Over Domains

Up until late last year RapidVideo was one of the largest video hosting sites on the Internet, used by millions of people.

Like many of its competitors, the platform was often frequented by pirates. As such, it was a thorn in the side of many major entertainment industry companies.

For RapidVideo this eventually culminated in a lawsuit filed by two members of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), Warner Bros. Entertainment and Netflix. The media companies hoped the court would to put an end to the site’s alleged infringing activity.

RapidVideo’s operator decided not to await the verdict and shut the site down without prior warning. This meant that from one day to the next, one of the largest sites on the Internet was gone.

While we already knew that the site wasn’t coming back, something changed a few days ago. Ownership of the and domains was handed over to the MPA, as the whois details below show.

Initially, it wasn’t clear whether RapidVideo’s operator handed over the domain names voluntarily. However, the MPA, which leads the global anti-piracy coalition ACE, informs TorrentFreak that the transfers are part of a settlement. This also marks the end of the German lawsuit.

“The case has now been closed, with the operator agreeing to transfer the domain names and to paying a substantial amount of damages to the ACE members,” says Jan Van Voon, MPA’s Chief of Global Content Protection.

After the MPA gained control over the domains, started to redirect to the ACE website and the .com domain will likely follow suit. The same happened with similar sites that were previously taken over following legal pressure, including Openload and Streamango.

RapidVideo’s operator previously said that, before it shut down, ACE and the MPA demanded far-reaching anti-piracy measures. The rightsholders requested a thorough “take down, stay down” policy that would go further than hash or filename filtering.

Facing these demands as well as a legal battle, the site decided to throw in the towel instead.

This shutdown combined with the substantial settlement is yet another victory for ACE and its members. These include Netflix and Warner Bros. Entertainment, which got the ball rolling.

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