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ACE Coalition Seizes Four More ‘Pirate’ IPTV Domains

The Alliance for Creativity Entertainment (ACE) is the largest anti-piracy coalition in history. It pools the resources of all the major Hollywood studios plus Netflix, Amazon and dozens of other companies to tackle piracy on a global scale.

ACE has made many announcements over the past couple of years celebrating successful conclusions to multiple operations. Most relate to closures of file-hosting services, IPTV providers and other platforms involved in the unlicensed streaming of movies and TV shows.

However, for reasons best known to the coalition, not all of its investigations are publicized. Many fly under the radar until visitors to once-active websites find themselves being directed to the ACE anti-piracy portal when they expected to find a ‘pirate’ platform.

According to information obtained by TorrentFreak, four new domains have recently begun redirecting to ACE. The first, ausmediastreaming.com.au, comes as no surprise. In early March, ACE revealed that it had secured the closure of the IPTV supplier following a cease-and-desist order.

“The closure of Aus Media Streaming is the latest in a series of victories that can protect Australian creators and ensure that legal services can continue to thrive,” said Karyn Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel of the Motion Picture Association.

The second fresh domain under ACE/MPA control is watchmoviesfree.com.au. When it was online, the site asked prospective customers whether they wanted to watch “Every single movie, TV show, sporting event, documentary, kids TV and movie ever made, free?”

Concluding that the answer must be “Of course you do”, the site then went on to offer Android-based set-top devices named Octo-Ninja and Ninja-Quad. It’s unclear what was in those devices but either a pre-loaded setup and/or a subscription-based IPTV service seems likely. Before it was taken down, the domain offered an Australian telephone number for people to get in touch.

EmpireTV.ca is the third domain. According to its now disappeared website and Facebook pages, it claimed to be the “top streaming service in Canada”, offering over 5,000 channels plus on-demand movies, TV shows, PPV and more from $9.99 per month.

Various packages were made available by the site, varying in price according to subscription length and levels of content available. The site was previously targeted in a DMCA complaint after supplying German football content without permission. It also had a detailed disclaimer that clearly didn’t cut much ice with ACE.

“We have no association with any of the IP channels shown or any of these products. TV channels and video content of the services are being provided without any liability from us regarding copyrights,” it began.

“Per our knowledge all channels provided by the server sellers abide by all relevant countries copyright laws and any copyright issues must be taken up directly with the server owners. EMPIRETV.CA does not take any liability as to what is aired on the servers and EMPIRETV.CA have NO control over the servers or streams.”

With EmpireTV.ca now redirecting to the ACE portal, the fourth domain to be placed under the anti-piracy group’s control (or more accurately, that of the MPA) is ZeddIPTV.com. Little is known about this supplier but given that it was previously offered via classified listings in Australia, it may have been focused on that region.

Although nothing has been officially confirmed by ACE in respect of ‘seizing’ any of these domains, it seems likely that following pressure from the anti-piracy group, domains were handed over as part of a settlement. ACE has shuttered close to three dozen operations to date but publicized just a few.

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

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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.