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MPA & ACE Rack Up Over 3,000 Pirate Site Domain Seizures


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ace seizedThe Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment regularly announces site closures following enforcement action. Over the past seven years, hundreds of sites have fallen, but the supply of new threats currently seems inexhaustible.

The level of detail ACE makes available to the public varies, but it appears to be affected by several variables. Details of settlements are rare, as one might expect. Names of site operators even more so. In many cases, even the domain names of shuttered platforms receive no specific mention, at least beyond recognizable branding.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of information that ACE doesn’t officially release is the scale of presumably successful enforcement actions that receive no mention at all. The reasons for that are open for speculation but, since the complexity of the piracy landscape has grown out of all proportion in the last few years, there’s no shortage of options.

Yet Another New Batch Arrives

If ACE maintained a single public list of domains directly taken over, redirected, or otherwise commandeered, tracking them would be straightforward. As things stand the whole process is fragmented and, at any one point, the full picture isn’t always available from DNS, WHOIS, or similar records.

For example, a series of domains that recently began redirecting to the ACE portal don’t currently list the MPA as the domain owner. They include watchgameofthrones.co, watchfriendshd.com, watchhowimetyourmother.co, watchthesimpsons.co, and watchparksandrecreation.co.


At the time of writing, none of these domains use the MPA’s DNS servers either, which may (or may not) change in the days and weeks ahead. Indeed, it’s not unheard of for sites to redirect themselves to ACE for no obvious reason. In any event, visitors to these domains are currently redirected to the ACE portal, with an interesting anti-piracy side effect observed elsewhere.

People who visit Google hoping to ‘watch parks and recreation’ or ‘watch how I met your mother’ find themselves overwhelmed with former pirate links, all leading to ACE. In some cases, the links even outrank legal platforms like Amazon.

seize search

Other domains provably taken over in the past few days include typhoonlabs.tv and typhoonlabs.net. Both list the MPA as owner and both use the movie industry group’s DNS servers. However, back in November, the MPA was listed as the new owner of the domains when they were still assigned to the former owner’s DNS servers.

We can’t explain why that was the case and we don’t know why there hasn’t been an announcement regarding these seizures. One possibility is the existence of around 30 typhoonlabs and typhoonlabsiptv-branded domains still in rotation which may (or indeed may not) be connected to a similar service.

Since announcing the demise of one platform risks driving traffic to another with a similar name. In some cases, making no announcement at all may be the best option. Situations like this can’t be uncommon when attempting to tackle piracy on a global scale and may explain why so many cases go unreported.

MPA’s Domain Collection

Thanks to record numbers of domains being handed over to the MPA, the Hollywood group’s domain portfolio is larger today than ever before. The prospect of the collection growing exponentially isn’t off the table either.

While many pirate sites previously operated without issues from a single domain, today it’s not unusual for sites to have dozens, for reasons that include redundancy, obfuscation, and circumvention of measures such as ISP blocking and search engine downranking.

In contrast, some of the most iconic domains under MPA control, such as isohunt.com and hotfile.com, stand out in their own right, each with their own place in history. Spotting them among the other 3,100+ domains, reported by a Whoxy reverse WHOIS search, is still relatively easy. It’s unlikely to remain that way for long.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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