Apple struggles to cope with growing piracy of Apple TV + content

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As the popularity of Apple TV + increases, Apple appears to be struggling to cope with increasing levels of online piracy, despite concerted efforts to remove its stolen content, MacRumors found.

Hacking is a lucrative business for torrent sites, with an August report estimating that the top five hacking websites generate around $ 18.3 million in ad and sponsorship revenue per year. According to the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), streaming piracy accounts for up to 80% of piracy and costs businesses up to $ 71 billion annually.

Although Google is increasingly cracking down on websites that host pirated content, site operators often change domains and redirect users to avoid takings and keep torrent links accessible. In a research paper published in 2018, Google conceded that there will be “new sites dedicated to making copyrighted works available as long as there is money to be made for it. do it”.

Apple largely avoided the need to tackle online piracy until the launch of ‌Apple TV + ‌ in November 2019. Since then ‌Apple TV + ‌ shows and movies have proliferated on hacking sites across the internet.

While Apple has a clear piracy prevention statement for software, that doesn’t extend to its video entertainment content, which is instead covered by Apple’s terms of service. Of MacRumors‘, some of Apple’s most popular shows and movies have at least 2,000 active Sowers on every major hacking site, going up to about 125,000 Sowers per title. Download trends largely match the popularity of various Apple movies and shows, with “Ted Lasso”, “The Morning Show” and “SEE” garnering the most downloads.

Apple is a senior member of the Motion Picture Association of America’s ACE, an influential anti-piracy group committed to “supporting the legal video content market and meeting the challenge of online piracy” which also includes Netflix, Amazon, Comcast, Disney , NBC, MGM, ViacomCBS, Paramount, Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and others. Apple also works with the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA).

Streaming production studios and distributors, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney +, have attempted to limit illegal sharing of movies and TV shows by using specific application partners that report stolen content by their name. Apple followed suit, entering into working agreements with several companies specializing in digital copyright protection, including Corsearch Inc. and OpSec Security. They operate by issuing DMCA takedown orders for pirated online content.

According to information consulted by MacRumors, Corsearch has issued more than 320,000 DMCA orders to Google, citing copyright infringement for ‌Apple TV + ‌ content. These orders only stop Google from indexing reported pirate sites and do little to limit the actual hosting of pirated content. De-listing requests on behalf of Apple hit an all-time high on August 16 of this year, with more than 8,500 requests made to Google in a single day.

MacRumors tracked many domains and URLs used to hack ‌Apple TV + ‌ content and found that none had been deleted by Apple or its partners within a week. On the contrary, during this period, the catalog of the stolen Apple TV + ‌ content website grew, sometimes just hours after the release of new episodes on ‌Apple TV + ‌ itself.

Apple and its partners must issue DMCA commands to the websites themselves to have them removed, a process that can be cumbersome. To make matters more complex, some sites do not directly host ‌Apple TV + ‌ content but act as a content aggregator hosted elsewhere.

The websites we tracked were hosted by Cloudflare, a popular web infrastructure company that provides digital security and the CDN, or content delivery network. As stated in its abuse policy, Cloudflare cannot delete sites because it does not host them directly. Instead, it can redirect the reported digital copyright infringement cases to the hosting provider or the owner of the hacking site.

DMCA commands executed show that Apple and its partners tend to focus on more obscure websites that rarely host Apple TV + content ‌ rather than more persistent and larger hack sites hosting ‌Apple TV + ‌ content. in larger bands.

Although 91.2% of Apple’s deregistration requests were dealt with successfully, the growth and availability of ‌Apple TV + ‌ content on torrent sites does not appear to have been significantly hampered by its efforts, with the company falling firmly. in the same problems faced by rivals in the entertainment industry. Apple, Corsearch, and OpSec declined to respond to requests for comment.


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