Users of one of the most popular Kodi IPTV addons, which recently went offline, are shifting nervously in their seats at the moment amid reports that their personal details could be handed over to authorities looking to crackdown on online piracy.
The demise of ACE IPTV
The addon in question was called ACE IPTV and was run by ACE Hosting. They sold subscriptions to their online streaming service which included illegal streams of Premier League football matches.
There were hints last year that ACE may be experiencing difficulties after they revealed that they would no longer be selling new subscriptions to their service. At the time, many people speculated that the Premier League’s teams of lawyers might be closing in.
It now seems that these rumours were pretty accurate. ACE Hosting has now gone into liquidation after agreeing a legal settlement of anything between £100,000 and £600,000 (depending on which reports you believe) with the Premier League over copyright infringement.
They also owed £353,000 to subscribers and resellers as well as having a tax bill of around £260,000. It may raise eyebrows that ACE Hostings was a properly registered British company, although the report on TorrentFreak notes that they have never filed any meaningful tax returns.
What the demise of ACE means for users
The first thing ACE subscribers might be wondering now that the service has gone offline for good, is what has happened to their money? The answer in most cases appears to be that it is gone.
Whether you were an individual subscriber or a reseller who had purchased credit to sell on, the likelihood is that you will get little or no money back. Documentation seen by TorrentFreak suggests that if there is any money left after secured creditor debts have been settled, it will amount to less than £3 per subscriber.
Subscribers appear to have been informed that if they want to apply for a refund, they will need to fill in a form and provide proof of ID. Most will be well aware that streaming content on ACE was illegal and therefore few are likely to hand over their personal details for the sake of a couple of quid.
But that still doesn’t mean that their privacy can be assured. ACE Hostings has announced that they plan to make the names and addresses of subscribers ‘available for inspection’ in the next few weeks.
This appears to mean that anyone who is interested will be able to see the personal details of everyone who has ever subscribed to the ACE IPTV Kodi addon.
Possible consequences of signing up for ACE IPTV
Liquidators, who are handling the demise of ACE Hosting, are also said to be mulling over whether or not to hand subscriber details over to UK copyright authorities. There is some suggestion that they might even be given to the Premier League’s legal team.
A Reddit page on the issue says that some subscribers have already received letters from the liquidator confirming that they plan to do this. If that does prove to be true, then as well as losing their money, subscribers can also expect further legal action to be taken against them individually.
Quite what form such action might take remains to be seen, but anything from a warning letter to a fine would appear to be possible.
The whole sorry situation only goes to show the risks that people are taking when streaming content illegally on Kodi. While with some addons it might be reasonable to claim ignorance, users of services like ACE IPTV can have been in no doubt that they were accessing copyrighted content illegally.
This is why it is always advisable to use a VPN, such as IPVanish, when streaming anything on Kodi. A VPN not only encrypts all of your data to keep it safe from prying eyes, but it also helps to hide your IP Address and so project your identity online. This mitigates many of the risks associated with streaming content on Kodi.
Obviously, if you sign up for service like ACE IPTV with your real contact details, a VPN will still not be able to protect you from every risk. But with copyright lawyers closing in on a lot of unofficial addons of late, a VPN has become an increasingly essential tool for all Kodi users.