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Piracy Moghul Aniwatch Rebrands to HiAnime

By iptv.legal , in aniwatch.to hianime.to Piracy zoro.to , at March 1, 2024

hianimeAnime is growing globally as an entertainment category and this popularity surge isn’t limited to legal platforms.

Today, several of the world’s largest pirate sites are exclusively dedicated to anime. This includes Aniwatch.to, the streaming portal that operated as Zoro.to earlier last year.

The streaming portal, which is arguably the largest pirate site in the world, is a prime target for anti-piracy groups. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), for example, is actively trying to shut the platform down, which they believe is operated from Vietnam.

Last year, ACE had its sights set on shutting down the rogue operation. And indeed, it managed to take over the domain name Zoro.to, but not before the site had rebranded to Aniwatch.to. Under that new brand, business continued as usual.

ACE and others kept up the pressure and in recent months branded Aniwatch one of the most notorious pirate sites. However, taking it offline is easier said than done.

Zoro -> Aniwatch -> HiAnime

A few hours ago, Aniwatch users were in for a surprise as the anime streaming portal rebranded again. Instead of Aniwatch, the site formerly known as Zoro will now continue under the name HiAnime.

Users who try to access the old Aniwatch.to domain name are redirected to the new domain name automatically.

hianime

With the previous rebrand, the operators said that the site was being acquired by a new team. There are no such mentions today. Neither is there an explanation for the move but users are assured that their information remains intact.

“All data and information shall be transferred and shall remain the same as before. User accounts and watchlist records shall thus remain unchanged,” a message in the site’s Discord reads.

rebrand

Why Now?

Without an official explanation, we can only speculate as to why the operators have decided to adopt another new brand. It’s unlikely that this is a facade to confuse anti-piracy groups, as they’re not easily fooled anymore.

What would make more sense is that the new brand and domain are an attempt to evade blocking efforts, at least temporarily. This includes advertising blacklists and site-blocking efforts, including one issued in India recently.

As reported last week, the High Court in New Delhi, India, issued a dynamic+ blocking injunction that requires local ISPs to block several pirate domains, including Aniwatch.to. Since nearly a quarter of all the site’s visits come from India, this order may have quite an impact on the site.

Whether a ‘rebrand’ will be sufficient to evade this order is unclear though, as these dynamic orders can be updated with new domains, precisely to deal with these types of situations.

H*anime Confusion

Whatever the reason, the site’s users are not as shocked by the new name as they were last time. Changes generally elicit some backlash and that’s also the case here. However, most of the critique we’ve seen stems from the similarity to another anime-themed site.

Several users note that Hianime is only a typo away from Hanime, which is an adult-themed site focusing on Hentai content. In fact, the logo reads “Hanime” as the first “i” is replaced by an exclamation mark.

“Cool rebrand and all but…. You decided to pick Hanime I thought I was on a very different website for a minute..,” one user writes.

hanime

The good news is that both sites use different TLDs which makes it less likely that people will end up at the wrong site. And even if any more serious brand clashes emerge, the site can always pick another name and try again. They know how it works by now.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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