30 companies involved in creation and distribution of video entertainment have joined forces and formed the ACE alliance to fight piracy. The alliance estimates that 5.4 billion movies and TV shows were downloaded last year. But roadblocks to legal access remain.
Alliance to fight piracy
30 companies from major Hollywood studios such as Sony and Warner Bros to distributors such as Netflix, HBO, and Hulu have joined the ‘Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment’ argues that piracy is a growing problem.
Last year alone, more than 5.4 billion movies and TV shows were downloaded, and there were an estimated 21.4 billion visits to streaming piracy sites. There are now close to 500 illegal services offering movies and TV content globally, the alliance said. Movies can often be found on sites within days or hours after the release.
- "The theft and illegal distribution of copyrighted content impacts our business, the creative community, and the consumer viewing experience. As the landscape of the industry evolves, the range and threat of piracy expands with it. We look forward to working with our industry colleagues from around the globe to address this urgent issue" said Leah Weil, General Counsel, Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Windowing & geoblocking restrict access
The alliance says that it will “conduct research, work closely with law enforcement to curtail illegal pirate enterprises, file civil litigation, forge cooperative relationships with existing national content protection organizations, and pursue voluntary agreements with responsible parties across the internet ecosystem”.
It is a little unclear exactly what that entails but by working together across borders the alliance believes that it can better counter piracy.
- "While we're focused on providing a great consumer experience that ultimately discourages piracy, there are still bad players around the world trying to profit off the hard work of others. By joining ACE, we will work together, share knowledge, and leverage the group's combined anti-piracy resources to address the global online piracy problem," said David Hyman, General Counsel, Netflix.
While companies are trying to fight piracy, significant roadblocks to gain access to content legally remain. Movies are still released in “windows”, which typically involves waiting 90 days up to 3 years for a given movie to become available online after screening in the cinema.
Exhibitors are at the same time fighting to stop Netflix from releasing movies simultaneously in the cinema and at home globally. Furthermore, consumer groups and the European Union have argued that geoblocking severely restricts access to content across borders.