Thirty leading content creators and on-demand entertainment companies from around the world have launched the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a global coalition dedicated to protecting the dynamic legal market for creative content and reducing online piracy.
The worldwide members of ACE are Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Constantin Film, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telemundo, Televisa, Twentieth Century Fox, Univision Communications Inc., Village Roadshow, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
According to the Alliance, in recent years, the legal marketplace for creative content has grown exponentially, as film and television companies have invested heavily in digital distribution models. There are now more than 480 online services worldwide available for consumers to watch films and television programmes legally on demand.
The Alliance notes that this “tremendous” growth of creativity also drives the economy. In the United States alone, the creative sector adds over $1.2 trillion to the economy and supports more than 5.5 million direct jobs each year.
However, as more creative content moves online, piracy poses a continuing threat to creators, consumers, and the economy. Films and television shows can often be found on pirate sites within days – and in many cases hours – of release. Last year, there were an estimated 5.4 billion downloads of pirated wide release films and primetime television and VoD shows using peer-to-peer protocols worldwide. There were also an estimated 21.4 billion total visits to streaming piracy sites worldwide across both desktops and mobile devices in 2016.
The Alliance says that piracy also puts consumers at risk. One in three pirate sites target consumers with malware that can lead to a range of problems including identify theft and financial loss, according to a December 2015 report by Digital Citizens Alliance.
By bringing together global creative companies producing all forms of content, ACE will expand ongoing, cooperative efforts to reduce the prevalence of online piracy. ACE will draw upon the global antipiracy resources of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in concert with the internal antipiracy expertise of the ACE coalition members. Specifically, ACE will conduct research, work closely with law enforcement to curtail illegal pirate enterprises, file civil litigation, forge cooperative relationships with existing national content protection organisations, and pursue voluntary agreements with responsible parties across the internet ecosystem.
“BBC Worldwide invests in, commercialises, and showcases content from the BBC around the world and champions British creativity globally,” commented Martyn Freeman, General Counsel, BBC Worldwide. “It is the lifeblood of our business and we must ensure that we do all we can to secure and protect it from theft and illegal distribution. The ACE initiative is hugely important at a time when content consumption habits are rapidly shifting and methods of piracy are becoming more and more sophisticated.”
“Global piracy is not just a concern for one studio or creator, it undermines the foundation of the entire global entertainment sector,” asserted Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO, MPAA. “Meeting the challenges ahead will require more voices, greater collaboration, new ideas, and increased resources. ACE, with its broad coalition of creators from around the world, is designed, specifically, to leverage the best possible resources to reduce piracy. For decades, the MPAA has been the gold standard for antipiracy enforcement. We are proud to provide the MPAA’s worldwide antipiracy resources and the deep expertise of our antipiracy unit to support ACE and all its initiatives.”
“Collaboration, through bodies such as ACE, is critical in tackling this issue because piracy is illegal, unreliable, and risky,” added Andrew Griffith, Group COO, Sky.