Having reported on the activities of the Coalition for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) for more than five years, it’s clear that the Coalition is digging for the long haul.
For operational reasons, ACE does not release the results of all of its work, nor does it produce any statistics. What we suspect from our research is that in December 2022 alone, ACE may have taken control of or otherwise rendered inoperable more than 40 domains, possibly more than 50 domains.
The exact identification of each area affected by an ACE procedure is not an exact science. No single source of information reveals an accurate and reliable number, but when various methods are combined, a potentially startling statistic rears its head. Since its inception in 2017, ACE may be responsible for the demise of more than 600 domains in one way or another.
Whatever the mechanism, under pressure or voluntarily, domains forward to the ACE portal at a rapid rate. A handful of the sites below have barely scratched the surface of the past few months of activity, but the result is the same — domain redirects followed by ACE forfeiture banners, right across the board.
Sites can find themselves on the radar for many reasons, but when ACE/MPA gets DMCA subpoenas in US courts, it often signals trouble ahead.
This roundup covers dozens of websites/services operating in the IPTV, Web Streaming, and Streaming Application sectors, which have been named by ACE/MPA in their most recent application as violating the rights of their members.
Subpoena 1: HDO Box (Streaming App)
The subpoena is filed pursuant to the DMCA which requires Cloudflare to turn over details of the site’s operator in the United States District Court for the Central District of California (Western Division).
The main target is the popular HDO BOX pirate streaming app, currently available at hdo.app. The app claims to offer a “large catalog of HD movies and TV shows” which clearly makes it a prime target for ACE.
Supposed links to Google Play and Apple’s App Store are misleading – one leads to a direct download (not from Google Play) and the other links to a Telegram channel with over 100,000 members – another reason for ACE’s concern.
Similar to similar apps, HDO BOX gets its content from other services. A subdomain of mycloud.to runs in the app as a host for the .m3u playlist file used by HDO BOX, which is powered by the MyCloud hosting service.
The other is a subdomain of the Streamhub hosting site (streamhub.to) where a .ts file (Video Transport Stream) allegedly introduced the movie “Bumblebee” to HDO BOX users.
The DMCA subpoena targeting Cloudflare can be viewed here (pdf)
Call command 2: IPTV services
The second DMCA subpoena, filed in the same California court, also targets Cloudflare.
Similar to similar apps, this app looks up names, physical addresses, IP addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, payment information, account updates, and account history of the people behind two IPTV websites.
IPTV Dark (iptvdark.com) is listed as the primary target domain, line.darktv-pro.me as the URL that provides the service’s .m3u playlist file, as well as the IP address from where the Aquaman and Like a Boss movies are allegedly streamed. .
IPTV Finland (iptvfinland.me) operates under the Streamy IPTV brand and claims to offer 10,000 TV channels. As per the DMCA subpoena, the .m3u playlist for the service is provided by worldiptv.me while the specific IP allegedly served the films Men in Black II and Top Gun.
The DMCA application targeting Cloudflare can be viewed here (pdf)
Subpoena command 3: broadcast locations
The application of the third subpoena pursuant to the DMCA has much in common with the two applications above. Filed in the same California court, Cloudflare is targeting and seeking the same level of personal information that, at the very least, could move investigations forward.
The main difference is the size of the domains/websites involved – 40 in total. A few more target areas are featured below, with all 40 listed at the end of this article.
“The purpose of this subpoena request is to obtain the identities of the individuals assigned to these locations who have abused ACE members’ exclusive rights to their copyrighted motion pictures without their permission,” the subpoena reads.
Aside from the size of the target sites, the subpoena is unusual in that it mentions an ACE member that may not have been previously announced. Along with Columbia, Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Universal, Warner, and Village Roadshow, BRON Creative USA Corp. appears as the rights owner in the application.
Significantly Bron Studios Collaborated with Warner to finance “Joker,” which appears in this set of court documents as an infringing film. The involvement of BRON may have other causes.
The DMCA targeting Cloudflare can be viewed here (1,2, pdf)
Subpoena targeting Tonic Domains (solarmovie.to) Available here (pdf)
The areas targeted in DMCA Subpoena 3 are listed below.