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4anime: Closes Suddenly After Legal Pressure

One of the most popular pirate streaming sites was 4anime, which received millions of visitors each month. Yesterday, the website abruptly declared its closure with no more justification. It’s interesting that this choice was made soon after a US federal court subpoena was issued to 4Anime.

Anime is quite well-liked. Initially, this was primarily confined to Japan, but it is now a worldwide phenomenon.

This success on a global scale was helped in part by piracy. ‘Anime’ categories could be found on some of the earliest torrent sites, and today, specialized piracy streaming portals cater to this market.

Rights holders have taken notice of the popularity of these websites, some of which have millions of users. The anti-piracy alliance ACE seized many anime sites last year. KissAnime.ru and KissManga.com were abruptly forced offline.

4anime.To Is Targeted


When major pirate sites go offline, others usually step in to fill the hole quickly. This includes 4anime.to, which has previously accepted refugees from other websites. This both aided the platform’s growth and made it a target.

Several months ago, 4anime and other well-known pirate websites were identified in an Australian site-blocking program.

The site continued to run despite it, but something that occurred more recently did.

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Sudden Shutdown


The domain name of the website recently began to forward to GitHub, which publishes a notice of the site’s termination.

“I’m sorry we had to go out like this. The site must be shut down due to certain reasons, the 4anime staff states.

“All the films and content have been removed, and we urge you to support the business by watching on legal substitutes or something.”

The notice is silent regarding the reason behind the sudden closure of 4anime and its sister site Simply. moe. However, the abrupt conclusion and advice to look into legal options (“or something”) raise the possibility that there may be legal pressure at play.

The MPA and the ACE anti-piracy group have routinely targeted anime-related domains over the past few months, so that was the first thing we considered. We are unable to locate any evidence to support this theory, though.

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The target of Subpoena 4anime


But what we did observe is that 4Anime was the subject of a subpoena request at a federal court in Michigan a few days ago. The “Legacy Rights Group” made this request, which prompted CDN service provider Cloudflare to divulge the operators of 4anime’s operators’ private information.

In particular, Cloudflare was compelled to provide names, addresses, billing information, email addresses, IP addresses, and any other details that would aid in locating the responsible parties.

On July 5, a subpoena was issued, with a July 26 response due date. Normally, Cloudflare complies with these requests, however, it is unknown if any data have already been given.

Although the timing would seem to fit, we cannot be confident that the unexpected shutdown was caused by this legal pressure.

What the US-based “Legacy Rights Group” intends to do with the data it wants is unclear. The business was just established a short while ago, and little is known about its ties to the anime business.

Users of 4anime must now look for a replacement once more. It’s unlikely that these folks will en masse turn to legal services, as the site’s administrators predicted.

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