The DMCA subpoena can be a potent weapon for entertainment companies seeking to identify the operators of pirate sites. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment and partners MPA were back in court recently, demanding access to the identities of people behind major torrent site EZTV and several other platforms with more than 1.3 billion yearly visits in total.
Global entertainment coalition Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment is engaged in perhaps one of the most far-reaching anti-piracy operations the internet has ever seen.
The group, which has the key Hollywood studios, Netflix, Amazon and dozens of major content creators as members, has carried out many highly-publicized takedowns. Streaming platforms, IPTV providers, file-hosting platforms and torrent-related entities have all been targeted but that is the tip of a very large iceberg.
At the time of writing, ACE and partners the MPA have seized more than 200 domain names connected to pirate services large and small, a list that is growing every week. These seizures are often proceeded by investigations that involve Cloudflare handing over identifying information after being served with a DMCA subpoena.
As a result, a new pair of subpoenas obtained in the last few days by ACE/MPA may give an indication of which sites and services could soon find themselves in the firing line.
Subpoenas Target Sites With More Than 1.3 Billion Annual Visits
While ACE/MPA regularly target smaller operations, it makes complete sense for larger platforms to get most of the attention. The new pair of subpoenas cover a range of sites and when their traffic is combined, the reason they are being targeted is clear. The 23 domains listed in the subpoenas together pull in more than 1.3 billion visits per year according to SimilarWeb stats.
At the top of the list in pure traffic terms with around 26.5 million visits per month is torrent site EZTV.re. This index grabbed eighth place in our 2021 report of the world’s most-visited torrent sites. The TV-focused platform proudly displays the well-known EZTV branding but the original team was forced out following a hostile takeover several years ago. It now appears that ACE/MPA could be planning a takeover of their own.
Had it not witnessed an unexplained plunge in traffic over the past few months, KissAsian.li would’ve topped EZTV’s traffic in this latest batch of ACE/MPA subpoenas. However, after dropping from 46 million visits per month in May, by July the streaming site was pulling in ‘just’ 24.7 million visits, the majority of that traffic from the Philippines. However, sites of this size are always of interest to the largest producers of movies and TV shows in the world, so this drop in traffic keeps it on the radar.
Another large player, Olevod.com, seems to be on an upwards trajectory. The service appears to cater to a large Chinese audience and was enjoying around 11.2 million visits during February. By July, however, traffic had rocketed to nearer 19 million visits per month, progress that ACE/MPA will be keen to curtail. The same can be said of Dandanzan.com, which also targets a Chinese audience and is currently enjoying around 5.7 million visits per month.
‘WatchSeries’ branded sites have always been a thorn in the side of movie and TV show companies and Watchseries.ninja is no different. The site appears to be decreasing in popularity over recent months but with 5.7 monthly visits in July, is still a significant player.
Spanish Language and South American Sites
Another highly-trafficked site targeted in the subpoenas is Hackstore.net. It currently enjoys around 10.2m visits per month according to SimilarWeb, with 27% of that traffic coming from Mexico. Somewhat ironically, perhaps, our attempts to access the site were thwarted by a Cloudflare blocking message but with in excess of 125 million visits per year, the site is clearly of interest to the entertainment companies.
With around 8.6 million visits per month, Cuevana2.io is next on the list and provides a clear indication that ACE/MPA want to finish a job they started some months ago. Back in May, ACE announced that it had won a major battle against Cuevana-branded sites, which had dominated the pirate streaming arena in Latin America.
What ACE didn’t report, however, is that the most popular Cuevana domains, including Cuevana2.io and Cuevana3.io, were still in business pulling in tens of millions of visits every month. Cuevana3 was targeted in an earlier subpoena against Cloudflare and now Cuevana2 also finds itself in the crosshairs.
Other Spanish-language and South American-focused sites include Assistirseriados.net (4.3m) and Gofilmes.me (2.75m) which are both popular in Brazil and Megadede.se (1.1m), popular in Spain. Fanpelis.org, Repelis24.info, Pelispe.com and Pelismegahd.pe have a few million visits between them and are all popular in Mexico.
Finally there are a few dead or dying domains in the list. Pelisplus.movie did have 20 million visits per month in February but traffic has since fallen off a cliff. Hdfull.cx had 3 million visits in February but has now nosedived to almost nothing. Other sites with low traffic reports include Reboot.tube, Duboku.fun and Embedforfree.co, although the latter may be more significant than reports suggest.
The new ACE/MPA subpoenas against Cloudflare can be found here and here (pdf)
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.