Further MENA anti-piracy success for ACE
February 27, 2023
By Colin Mann
Anti-piracy coalition the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), is claiming a landmark victory for content creators after working with Egyptian authorities to shut down the largest piracy ring in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region.
Operating since at least 2015, the Shahed4U ring was based in Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt. More than 25 per cent of the traffic came from Egypt, with the rest in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Turkey, and Jordan.
Shahed4U offered a total of 68,000 pirated TV series titles and 18,700 film titles affecting all ACE members and other local content creators. The service drew a staggering 155 million visits per month (all domains combined), marking a milestone for ACE as its largest-ever takedown in the MENA region.
As of February 2022, the Shahed4U piracy ring comprised more than 118 domains and multiple copycat sites.
With the recent closures of piracy sites Egybest and MyCima, the action against Shahed4U marks the closure of the three top piracy networks in the MENA region and Arabic speaking countries globally.
“This spate of unprecedented ACE actions in the MENA region underscores our ever-expanding global reach and our growing relationships with law enforcement and local industry around the world,” said Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association and Chairman of ACE. “Developing and deepening these local and regional connections, while building on the MPA’s decades of counter-piracy experience, is core to ACE’s global goal of eradicating the illegal distribution of content and protecting the legal marketplace for content creators.”
Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Global Content Protection Chief of the MPA and Head of ACE, said he is grateful for the support of Egyptian authorities in helping to eliminate these longstanding illegal networks. “With this latest action, ACE has delivered a tremendous blow to illegal operators and further reinforced our commitment to shutting down piracy operators worldwide,” he declared. “The trendline is clear: We are making solid progress protecting the legal creative marketplace and sending a clear signal to large-scale piracy operators that your days are numbered.”
ACE worked closely with MENA broadcast media companies OSN and MBC on the Shahed4U takedown.
“The shutting down of these sites is a great step towards the protection of rights within the media industry and a key effort towards growing the creative ecosystem within the region and globally,” commented Joe Kawkabani, CEO of OSN.
“We’re incredibly grateful to ACE and the Egyptian authorities for their dedication towards cracking down on piracy,” added Natasha Matos-Hemingway, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer at Shahid, the world’s largest Arabic streaming platform by MBC Group. “This is a significant victory for content creators, studios, and production houses who work tirelessly to produce quality TV series and films. This latest action, along with the recent closures of Egybest and MyCima, demonstrates ACE’s continued commitment to protecting the intellectual property rights of our producers.”