Apple TV Plus is joining the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, an entertainment industry group that seeks to crack down on piracy.
The move represents a strengthening bond between Apple and the major studios, and draws the company deeply into industry efforts to check the flow of pirated content.
Apple will be on the governing board of the group, along with Amazon and the six members of the Motion Picture Association: Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros.
ACE was founded in 2017 by the MPA and 30 entertainment companies. At the time, it represented a novel partnership among the legacy studios and the streaming services. Netflix subsequently joined the Motion Picture Association in 2019, cementing the partnership.
“We are the premier anti-piracy force,” said Charles Rivkin, chairman of the MPA and of ACE, in an interview. “The governing board is what determines the strategy and where to spend the budget.”
Apple TV Plus launched last November, as part of a wave of new streaming providers. The tech giant hasn’t disclosed how many subscribers the service has. Apple TV Plus, stocked with original shows like “The Morning Show,” “Servant” and “Little America,” is regularly $4.99 monthly and free for one year with the purchase of an Apple device.
ACE investigates piracy services and sellers of hardware that can aid in piracy. Such illegal services often offer unlimited movies and live TV for a monthly price well below market rates, and they sometimes claim to have a legitimate access to pirated content.
The alliance files lawsuits and has obtained substantial judgments against such operators, typically forcing them offline. However, the exercise can have a Whack-a-Mole quality, as new pirate sites spring up to take the place of the old ones.
“It’s an ongoing fight but i’m really proud of the way ACE has been advancing and protecting content creators,” Rivkin said. “When you shut down these illegal sites… what happens is it drives traffic to legitimate sites.”
The alliance cites a report that showed 9 million households — representing 23 million users — subscribe to a pirate TV service.