ACE Shuts Down the Operation of the “NTG” Release Group

By Bill Toulas / May 11, 2021

The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) announced the permanent end of the operation of the “NTG” (Not the Grinch) release group. This is a group of pirates who obtain copyright-protected content illegally, convert it to formats that are easier to share online, and then distribute it to a large number of internet users through peer-to-peer networks. These groups have dedicated followerships online and are causing huge damage to rightsholders by making large-scale piracy possible.

NTG in particular has been active for the past three years, uploading 4,600 TV series episodes and films, while they had a “specialization” in Amazon Prime shows. The group’s releases were of high quality, so people preferred them over others. As always in the copyright-infringement world, the more successful you are the more attention you get from copyright protection coalitions like ACE, and NTG was lately flying too close to the Sun.

Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Content Protection for the Motion Picture Association stated:

Ceasing NTG’s operations is yet another victory for ACE and sends a clear message to illegal operators working in the ripping and uploading space that ACE will find you and pursue enforcement action against you. Unlawful piracy operations like NTG put innovation, creativity, and investment at risk, to the detriment of creators, innovators, and consumers. It’s why ACE works around the clock from all corners of the world to protect the integrity of the world’s legal film, TV, and streaming industry.

The statement of a spokesperson of NTG is also hosted on ACE’s announcement and is interestingly apologetic. As the person said:

We are aware of the harm that NTG has caused to the many people who work so hard to bring entertainment to a mass audience and we take full responsibility for the damage we have brought to the industry. We had mistakenly believed that we could hide behind the anonymity of the Internet, but we have been caught and have agreed to shut down.

In August 2020, an international law enforcement operation took down “Sparks”, a pre-release group that was stealing unreleased movies and shows and was leaking them to torrent sites. Although Sparks was operating at a whole different level compared to NTG, torrent pirates have lost yet another quality group, so their options are now thinning.

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