Comcast, Viacom intensify piracy fight by joining ACE

Comcast Center's office in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
ACE was founded in June 2017 by 30 media companies looking to mitigate online piracy. (Comcast)

Comcast and Viacom are the latest media companies to join the fight against piracy by falling in with the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).

ACE is a global coalition dedicated to protecting the legal market for content, and reducing online piracy. Viacom and Comcast subsidiaries Paramount Pictures and NBCUniversal are already members, but Comcast is the first internet service provider to join the group.

“We are excited to have Comcast and Viacom join ACE – our leading global content protection organization,” said Charles Rivkin, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association, in a statement. “As the parent companies of two of our original members, they have been supporters of our efforts and numerous successes, but now as members, they will strengthen the legal and operational work we’re able to do to reduce the threat of piracy and support creators.”

RELATED: Amazon, Netflix and others seek millions in damages from pirate TV service

ACE has initiated legal action against several pirate device sellers and illegal media operations, including Vader Streams, SetTVNow, Tickbox and Dragon Box. This summer, ACE filed a copyright infringement suit against SetTV, requesting maximum damages on 51 different titles – totaling more than $7.6 million – as well as a permanent injunction against Set Broadcast.

“Set Broadcast has willfully infringed Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works and, in doing so, caused Plaintiffs and their entire business model immense damage. The $7,650,000 statutory damages sought here therefore represents only a fraction of the actual damages inflicted by Set Broadcast on Plaintiffs,” the plaintiffs wrote in a motion filed in a California federal court.

ACE was founded in June 2017 by 30 media companies looking to mitigate online piracy. The group said that last year there were an estimated 5.4 billion downloads of pirated films and television shows and 21.4 billion total visits to streaming piracy sites worldwide. It estimated that it costs $29.2 billion to $71 billion annually in lost domestic revenues.

ACE members also include Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Channel 5, Constantin Film, Discovery, 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, Telefe, Telemundo, Televisa, Univision Communications Inc., Village Roadshow, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.