A group of 30 entertainment companies, including power players like Netflix, HBO, and NBCUniversal, have joined forces today in an effort to fight online piracy. The new group is called the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), and the partnership, while somewhat thin on specifics, will allow the content creators involved to pool resources to conduct research and work closely with law enforcement to find and stop pirates from stealing movies and TV shows.
The first-of-its-kind alliance is composed of digital media players, networks, and Hollywood outfits, and all recognize how the internet has paved the way to an explosion in quality online content. However, piracy has boomed as a result: ACE says that last year saw 5.4 billion downloads of pirated films and TV shows.
“In this golden age of content it’s more important than ever that we remain vigilant about copyright protection,” says CBS executive VP Jonathan Anschell in a statement. “For the creative community to truly flourish, it must know that its work will be safe from theft.”
To ensure that, the group will work with organizations like the MPAA in the US and other outfits in Europe to uncover large-scale criminal operations, file litigation, and seek agreements with pirates to reduce stealing. Those efforts will combine with the work each company already does to combat piracy online, though it’s not totally clear how much and how quickly this coalition will ramp up the fight and what specific measures against pirates might be taken.
The full list of ACE partners includes: 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.
The creation of ACE is a major concerted effort from the entertainment industry against online piracy, and comes months after the failure of the MPAA and RIAA’s “six strikes” initiative. Meanwhile, pirates have gotten particularly brazen lately. Back in April, a pirate named The Dark Overload managed to steal the fifth season of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, claiming that shows from ABC, Fox, National Geographic, and IFC had also been stolen.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.