Openload users learned recently that one of the internet’s top pirating sites for illegal TV, film and sports content can disappear overnight.

Openload, a pirate streaming site visited more often than Hulu or HBO Go, ceased operations as part of an agreement with the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a coalition of content creators and entertainment companies.

Unlike legitimate streaming sites, Openload hosted unauthorized, unlicensed content, including Game of Thrones and recent theatrical releases.

ACE reports that besides shutting down, the site also agreed to pay significant monetary damages. Subscribers to Openload, some of whom paid in advance, are left with little to no recourse for loss of service.

Before its demise, Openload was one of the top ten most visited streaming sites in the world, and one of the 250 most visited sites on the Internet. It’s estimated that Openload accounted for nearly one percent of all Internet video traffic, a significant portion of that being pirated content.

ACE discovered that Openload used more than one thousand servers – housed in Europe – to host pirated content and feed it to 72% of the internet’s top 50 illegal streaming and linking sites.

Fighting Piracy Globally

ACE, founded and supported by US film studios and global television and film producers and distributors, is dedicated to “reducing the illicit and illegal acts of online piracy that harm the thriving digital ecosystem.”

ACE works with local authorities around the world to locate and dismantle piracy operations. Just in the past year, it helped shut down in Uruguay, Vader Streams in Canada and TickBox, Dragon Box and SetTVNow in the US.