Aside from the thousands and in some cases millions of DMCA takedown notices filed with Google aimed at disappearing their platforms from search results, site operators can also find themselves targeted more personally. For the past couple of years that attention has increasingly come from ACE, the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment.
Compromised of dozens of leading content companies, distributors and broadcasters and headed up by the Motion Picture Association, ACE is now the most potent anti-piracy coalition on the planet. With massive resources at its disposal, ACE has filed and won lawsuits against several streaming operations and in many cases, has had piracy-focused platforms capitulate following the mere threat of force.
In the weeks leading up to mid-April, streaming site Nites.tv suddenly started getting a lot of attention in the press. Quite why this happened seemingly out of nowhere remains unclear but several publications noted a social media campaign promoting the streaming platform. With a large library of movies and TV shows and a happy userbase, things appeared on the up but within days, Nites.tv was no more.
As previously reported by TF, the Nites.tv domain suddenly started redirecting to the ACE anti-piracy portal. However, the apparent ‘seizure’ bore none of the usual behind-the-scenes technical hallmarks usually associated with an ACE/MPA takeover.
But if nothing else, Nites.tv seemed spooked. Instead of the usual promotional messages on Twitter, the site’s operators suddenly surprised their followers, changing their tone in a single tweet.
“We take copyright violations very seriously and will vigorously protect the rights of legal copyright owners. For that we decided to shut down our services. We are working on other ways to show you good content in a legal way,” the platform announced.
The domain diversion to ACE and the tweet certainly suggested that trouble was afoot but at no point did Nites.tv reference the anti-piracy group, a position maintained today. However, this week it was all but confirmed that ACE had jumped in to shut Nites.tv down, when its domain was transferred to the Motion Picture Association.
In common with the majority of domains registered in the name of the MPA, the domain registrar is now MarkMonitor, the brand protection company that works with the MPA and other companies to protect them from piracy, fraud and cybersquatting. The details are an exact match for other domains taken over by the MPA/ACE and suggest that beyond a reasonable doubt, ACE threats were the reason for Nites.tv’s sudden closure.
The only missing piece of the puzzle is that most ‘pirate’ domains seized by the MPA (or, more accurately, transferred) are quickly switched to nameservers operated by the Hollywood group. In Nites’ case, that didn’t happen until a day or two ago but with that now established, the seizure is complete.