In the ever-evolving digital landscape, the rise of online streaming platforms has transformed the way we consume entertainment. Unfortunately, it has also given rise to a darker side of the internet, where piracy thrives. One of the most significant players in the anime piracy arena, 9anime.to, has recently rebranded to Aniwave.to, leaving millions of users puzzled and questioning the motives behind this sudden shift.
The Lure of Anime Piracy
Over the past two decades, the world of online piracy has shifted from music to movies and TV series. In recent times, anime has emerged as a significant traffic magnet, attracting millions of viewers daily. Websites specializing in anime piracy have multiplied, with 9anime.to standing out as a piracy juggernaut since its inception in 2016. According to estimates, the site has amassed an astounding 110 million monthly visits.
Legal Troubles on the Horizon
While popularity can be a double-edged sword, it attracts not only devoted followers but also the attention of copyright holders and anti-piracy groups. Over the years, 9anime.to has faced numerous complaints from rightsholders, leading to the blocking of its services by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) worldwide. Anti-piracy groups, including the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), have relentlessly pursued the site’s operators, aiming to dismantle the piracy streaming conglomerate operating from Vietnam, which also includes notorious sites like Fmovies and Putlocker.
Unmasking the Pirates
Behind the veil of anonymity, 9anime.to was part of a larger network of piracy websites with ties to Vietnam. This information was brought to light by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), counting the Motion Picture Association (MPA) among its members. The conglomerate operated more than 60 associated domains, providing unauthorized access to popular movies and TV series. Armed with this information, the IIPA consistently shared intel with the U.S. Trade Representative, shining a spotlight on the illicit activities of these piracy giants.
Aniwave Emerges from the Shadows
Despite initial resilience against legal pressures, 9anime.to recently announced a rebranding effort, renaming itself as Aniwave.to. The site’s operators cited DMCA issues and ISPs blocking their domain as the primary reasons for this transformation. By adopting a new domain and branding, they hoped to temporarily evade ISP blockades and potentially bypass Google’s DMCA-related downranking measures.
The Ethics of Rebranding
While a domain change can momentarily disrupt enforcement efforts, it does little to erase the underlying unethical nature of the site. The sudden shift in branding, coupled with the existence of numerous fake 9anime clones, raises concerns among users who may unknowingly access such unethical platforms, putting their privacy and data at risk.
Hollywood’s Anti-Piracy Cooperation
In the fight against online piracy, Hollywood has been collaborating closely with Vietnamese authorities. Recent meetings between the MPA, ACE, and officials from Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) aimed to strengthen cooperation to curb piracy and copyright infringement. Following these discussions, other piracy websites operated by a Vietnamese individual, including 2Embed and Zoro.to, were taken down. Intriguingly, Zoro.to was reportedly acquired by a third party and rebranded to AniWatch, distinct from 9anime’s new brand, AniWave.
As the world of online streaming continues to evolve, the battle against piracy remains an ongoing challenge. The rebranding of 9anime.to to Aniwave.to may provide temporary relief to the site’s operators, but it does little to address the ethical concerns surrounding piracy and copyright infringement. The collaboration between Hollywood and Vietnamese authorities signifies the determination to combat this menace. However, the responsibility also lies with users to be vigilant and support legal means of accessing entertainment, thereby promoting creativity and respecting the hard work of content creators.