P2P streaming tool “Ace Stream” exposes unwarranted allegations of site blocking and piracy *TorrentFreak
With millions of regular users, Ace Stream is one of the most popular streaming apps.
The software was first released in 2010 as “Torrent Stream”. Three years later, he renamed his service to Ace Stream, after which it took off.
The original name reveals that the streaming app relies on a torrent engine built into the hugely popular VLC media player. This combination results in a peer-to-peer streaming mechanism that does not rely on central servers.
This concept allows audiences to use an open tool to deliver content to the masses, without relying on third-party streaming platforms. It turned out to be a great idea that received wide support.
In 2013, Ace Stream received financial support from Google to showcase the technology at Techweek Chicago. Around the same time, he also received a grant from the European Union. This has allowed the company, which is incorporated in Ukraine as Innovative Digital Technologies LLC, to improve and optimize its streaming tool.
Third Party Hacking
Today, millions of people regularly use Ace Stream. This includes a subset of pirates, who use the software to rebroadcast copyrighted live streams, including many sports matches.
Rights holders are obviously not satisfied with this activity. However, Ace Stream is content-neutral software, similar to regular web browsers, media players or torrent clients.
Where normal torrent clients use .torrent files and magnet links, Ace Stream relies on Ace Stream content identifiers and transports files to search and play streams instead. These are similar to .torrent files and information hashes that normal torrent clients use.
IDs are not hosted, hosted or maintained by Ace Stream. Instead, the software users generate the links which can then be shared anywhere on the web. This is similar to how .torrent files are distributed.
“We do not publish or host any content”
Speaking to TorrentFreak, Ace Stream’s Roman Morozyuk points out that the company and its software are simply a content-neutral tool.
“Ace Stream is not a content provider or hosting service. We do not publish or store any video or audio content. This automatically excludes the possibility that we violate the copyrights of the video or audio content,” says Morozyuk.
The decentralized nature of the streaming platform also means that setting up filters or blacklisting, as rights holders often insist, is not a viable option. Ace Stream sees this decentralized nature as its biggest selling point, but rights holders disagree.
ISPs have been ordered to block Ace Stream
A few weeks ago, these tensions escalated when Ace Stream was added to Spain’s piracy blacklist following a complaint from LaLiga. This means that local Internet Service Providers must block access to the streaming player.
This is a controversial move, as BandaAncha noted, because the software does not link to or host any copyrighted content. Worse still, Ace Stream says he wasn’t notified of the blocking request, so he couldn’t defend himself.
“We have not received any notification from LaLiga or any of its agents regarding such a blocking of the site, and we learned about it by chance, from our users,” Morozyuk says.
LaLiga should have had no problem contacting Ace Stream and the two companies have discussed copyright infringement issues in the past. This was triggered by a complaint filed by the Spanish football league with Google.
Removal from the Play Store
The organization previously asked Google to remove the Ace Stream software from the Play Store, which it did. However, Ace Stream appealed arguing that it had been falsely accused of copyright infringement.
It turns out that LaLiga backed up their claims with a screenshot showing how the software was used to stream copyrighted football matches. However, he did not specify that LaLiga uploaded these streams themselves using links from illegal sources.
For Ace Stream, this accusation is tantamount to requesting the removal of a web browser because it may be loading an illegal streaming site. Google eventually accepted the streaming app, which was allowed back into the Play Store, but the problems didn’t end there.
From EU funding to the EU blacklist?
Earlier this year, Ace Stream was shocked to learn that the Audiovisual Anti Piracy Alliance (AAPA) had nominated the software for a spot on the bi-annual EU Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Watchlist.
The AAPA submission put the streaming tool in a bucket with other “core content offenders,” including flagrant violating IPTV services. Needless to say, Ace Stream wasn’t happy and so tried to set the record straight.
“We have sent our justified complaints and demands to immediately stop illegal actions against our company that discredit our legal project and legal products, and also violate consumer rights,” Morozyuk notes.
Unfortunately, Ace Stream has yet to hear from AAPA or the EU. If things get out of control, the company can potentially take legal action, but for now they prefer to resolve the issue through dialogue.
“We haven’t filed any lawsuits yet, as we hope to resolve this whole situation through mutual and amicable understanding,” Morozyuk tells us.
Talk to Rights Holders
So far, direct discussions with copyright owners have been difficult. Ace Stream has had repeated contact with LaLiga, for example, and has offered its services to the sports league to generate revenue.
LaLiga seem unwilling to use Ace Stream, perhaps because it can only fetch a fraction of the money offered by centralized streaming platforms.
This means that tensions between Ace Stream and rights holders are likely to continue. According to the streaming app, resisting decentralized technology is futile, so rights holders should look for ways to take advantage of it.
“We have effective solutions that will allow copyright owners to embrace the new reality, where decentralization is gradually becoming the basis of a normal entire Internet, and not waste their efforts in a futile fight against networks Fully decentralized P2P,” says Morozyuk.
More details on this solution will follow in the near future. Meanwhile, Ace Stream hopes that the blocking issue and other piracy allegations will be resolved.