Extreme-Down: ACE Shuts Down Major Pirate Site After 15 Years of Resilience
When Extreme Download (Extreme-Down.com) first appeared on the internet around 15 years ago, it linked to movies hosted on sites like Megaupload. The site was a little basic in the beginning, but people expected a lot less back then.
Four years later, Megaupload went down in spectacular fashion, but Extreme-Down and similar sites chose to ride out the storm. With increasing traffic and rising popularity, the eventual appearance of dark clouds was almost inevitable, it was only a matter of when.
Millions of Visits, Against The Odds
Focused on French-language content, Extreme-Down was predictably popular in France. Over three-quarters of Extreme-Down’s visitors hailed from the region in December 2022, with Belgium, Canada and Switzerland accounting for most of the remainder.
Extreme-Down received around 15 million visits per month last year, an impressive feat considering the circumstances. In common with other successful sites, Extreme-Down regularly switched to new domains. While the reasons were not always made clear, legal action by rightsholders was rarely far behind.
ISP blocking orders in Belgium (pdf) presented some obstacles but when rightsholders joined forces to target Extreme-Down in France, many of the site’s domains were blocked by ISPs in the region that mattered most (pdf).
More Domains, More Confusion, More Copycats
To mitigate blocking, Extreme-Down began deploying new domains, which also helped the platform retain visibility in search engines. ISP blocking in France was supported by court-ordered ‘dereferencing’ instructions, meaning that Google was required to completely deindex Extreme-Down domains.
Deindexing was supposed to have a devastating effect on the site but, as some had predicted, it ended up making things worse. Spotting a gap in the market for sites with the same design and a similar name, copycat sites appeared one after another in a race to dominate search results. Some even exploited the confusion to separate people from their money.
Meanwhile, Extreme-Down remained determined to stay up, and did so well into December 2022. Then suddenly, without warning or suggestion of renewed blocking, the platform disappeared. From fairly early on, the chances of yet another return seemed less likely than before.
Early this Monday, it became clear that Extreme-Down is unlikely to make a return. One by one, domains previously controlled by the site – extreme-down.lol, extreme-down.video, extreme-down.tv, extreme-down.pro, and extreme-down.live – were transferred to a brand new owner.
Alliance For Creativity Shuts Down Extreme-Down
As additional domains were transferred to the Motion Picture Association, including extreme-down.in, extreme-down.io and extreme-down.info, all that remained was for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment to officially announce Extreme-Down’s demise.
“The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the world’s leading anti-piracy coalition, today announced it has shut down France’s second most popular illegal streaming site, Extreme-down,” the ACE announcement reads.
“Thanks to ACE’s rapidly expanding global network, we are in a better position than ever to act decisively against illegal piracy operators in all markets across the world,” said Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Global Content Protection Chief of the Motion Picture Association and Head of ACE.
“Extreme-down offered a large library of TV series and movies in French and original versions; we counted more than 40,000 movies and TV series episodes affecting ACE members. That library is now closed.”
ACE Traced Operator to Tunisia
The ACE investigation received support from French premium television channel providers, ACE members CANAL+ and France Televisions, and local authorities.
Extreme-Down’s operator was traced to Houmt Souk, Tunisia. ACE made an approach and obtained an agreement for the site to shut down. Surrendering domains to the MPA was part of the package.
“CANAL+ Group has fought content piracy for years and, as a member of ACE, we are particularly pleased with the takedown of this notorious illegal website,” said Celine Boyer, Global Head of Content Protection at CANAL+ Group.
“The elimination of this website is a massive success for the protection of rights holders in French-speaking countries.”
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.