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After a time when they were hoping that piracy figures would decrease due to measures taken by individual studios or countries, actors of the movie industry had to accept the conclusion that illegal downloading will not diminish significantly and that its structure is constantly changing. Staying isolated does not allow to take effective measures. This is why studios and international authorities have started to form coalitions and alliances, both permanent and occasional, in order to take more effective collective action. We will present some of these collaborative initiatives in this article.
The Motion Picture Association (MPA) is a U.S. trade association representing the five major American film studios, along with the video streaming service Netflix. Founded in 1922, its initial purpose was to ensure the viability of the American film industry. The MPA gradually expanded its focus and began to defend the rights of the film and television industry in a broader sense, aiming in particular at promoting effective copyright protection, and thus fighting against piracy.
In the spring of 2022, the MPA explicitly asked the European Union for assistance in its efforts to combat piracy. Their claim is based on the report it publishes each year and on a similar report published by the EU. The MPA recommendations are especially intended for foreign authorities, in order to help them to take measures that the United States cannot adopt due to lack of jurisdiction.
The idea of the MPA is therefore to call upon the Commission to share known information and resources in order to fight against certain actors that are problematic due to their size, complexity and the multiplicity of jurisdictions in which they would have to operate to be effective.
The MPA headquarters are a tribute to the history of cinema
Specifically, the MPA draws the attention of European authorities to the following points:
Furthermore, the report notes the distinctive threat of illegal IPTV. According to the MPA, the technical infrastructures of these services are often “vast and complex”, making it extremely difficult to identify content sources and service operators. In addition, these services support a number of other illegal businesses, including subscription resellers, infrastructure providers, hosting services, etc.
One of the most problematic sites when it comes to sharing illegal content is the Russian social media site vk.com, although the site has already taken some measures and is responding well to removal requests. However, the report points out that the social network could be much more proactive.
Similarly, the Chinese cloud service Baidu Pan is at the heart of the problem; indeed, the slowness of removal and the lack of filtering have been highlighted in the MPA report as well as in the European Union’s one. By joining forces, the United States and Europe have enough weight to put pressure on such international companies.
The effectiveness of these larger entities has already been demonstrated several times.
In particular, the MPA was responsible for the closure of the huge link directory Egy.best. For its part, a coalition related to the MPA, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) was in 2019 one of the main actors leading to the closure of the sites openload and streamango.
However, Europe and the United States, although covering a large part of the market, do not cover all or even most of the pirate sites.
In April 2022, ACE welcomed Bein Sports to its ranks, and in June, the association expanded into Asia with two additional members – Hong Kong-based streaming platform Viu, and True Visions, Thailand’s leading satellite cable TV provider, to strengthen the organization’s global presence.
Hong Kong-based video streaming platform Viu is available in seven Asian markets, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Burma. The platform also offers an advertising and premium service, and produces its own content under its “Viu Original” brand.
True Visions is Thailand’s leading cable and satellite TV provider. In 2020, they partnered with the MPA to shut down three pirate streaming sites. More recently, they worked with ACE to shut down We-Play, one of Thailand’s largest piracy portals.
With the addition of these three new major players ACE now consists of 39 members.
In the age of globalization, anti-piracy actors must also think globally, and join forces to fight more effectively. This does not make individual actions useless, but they seem less and less sufficient in a digital world in permanent mutation.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you need a cybersecurity professional to inform you about these issues, and to propose you concrete solutions.
We will be back on October 1st for our new article in which we will focus on Paas (piracy as a service): when pirates are offering training and infrastructure to those who aspire to start this illegal business.