4K content ripped by pirates from Netflix and Amazon is flooding torrent sites

by on December 2, 2015

Stephan Jukic – December 2, 2015

In what shouldn’t be a surprising piece of news to anyone who’s at all aware of just how persistently dedicated content pirates can be, it turns out that even some of the most firmly protected and newest next-generation content in the world isn’t immune to copy theft.

Torrent sites are now being “flooded” with copies of 4K movies and other programming stolen away from streaming services like or Netflix. This was a phenomena first reported earlier in the year with just a couple of pirated 4K episodes of Breaking Bad appearing on a couple of torrent sites but after that the digital content piracy front was quite for some time.

Until now. Now, the sheer massive volume of 4K UHD and even “True 4K” /4096 x 2160 pixel episodes of assorted shows from both Netflix and Amazon, as well as movies in 4K resolution is impressive and what all these copies for download indicate is that the pirates have made some sort of major breakthrough in hacking past the encryption used by these major streaming services to protect their content.

Pirated 4K UHD copies of shows like "Man in the High Castle" are now available on torrent sites

Pirated 4K UHD copies of shows like “Man in the High Castle” are now available on torrent sites

In other words, after all the effort to bring end-to-end HDCP 2.2 content copy protection to not only 4K TVs but also every device between TV and streaming or other content source (such as 4K media players), the efforts were mostly for naught. Web users today can download shows and movies from a surprisingly wide selection of pirated content in full 4K resolution without any problems, assuming their internet connection and hard drive space are large enough, since even a single episode of “The Man in the High Castle” in 4K amounts to nearly a dozen gigabytes.

And this is indeed a new phenomenon and thus suggestive of an encryption protection hack, since until recently, there was no pirated 4K content to be found on numerous torrent downloading sites. Thus, according to speculation by torrent news sites like TorrentFreak, somebody probably broke open the encryption used by Netflix, Amazon and others to protect their native UHD media files.

One anonymous group of pirates who regularly releases such content has also told TorrentFreak that users can look forward to much more content down the road.

Some of the content on offer includes exclusive series like “Man in the High Castle” from Amazon or “Jessica Jones” from Netflix. There are also movies in 4K to be found and they’re all completely free for the taking.

Now that this content hole has been opened, streaming services are no doubt scrambling to find out how this happened and seal the leak. However, this will almost certainly be a slow process and for whatever content is now available for download, there is no saving it: A media file that has been leaked and de-protected can then be copied endlessly by anyone.

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  • Troy
    December 2, 2015 at 9:50 am

    That didn’t take long. 🙁


  • Cryogaijin
    December 23, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    This is roughly as surprising as the discussion of pirating Academy DVDs last year. That would be to say: Not at all. The problem with encryption schemes like hdcp 2.2 is that you have physical possession of the device that sends the authentication certificate. There is >NOTHING< to keep you from intercepting and duplicating said cert, and thus receiving a stream somewhere you can record it. And as for needing 12gb per ep of MItHC, that means you can fit the entire series on a $40 microsd card that'll fit in your phone. A card the size of your pinkie nail.
    You can find 5 TB external drives for ~$110 these days, so space is cheap.

    Piracy is less about getting things for free and more about getting things easier. A robust and easy service like Steam largely killed off the PC game pirating scene. Now that steam allows you to return bad games, it has even killed the justification of "I'm only pirating it to see if it is good enough to buy!" If you can't afford the game, wait til the next big Steam Sale, and it will likely be on sale at some point.

    There is no unified, easy to use service for Digital Video like there is Steam for games. Currently it is easier to head to your Pirate Flavoured darknet and DL 4k episodes than it is to hunt down which of the services is hosting that one, convince said service that your bandwidth is sufficient, convince said service that yes, all your devices are HDCP2.2 complaint, oh and yes, that particular port on your TV is too. . .

    First day after I unpacked my SUHD Samsung, I hooked my Fire 4k up to it, and tried to get it to play The Man In the High Castle in 4k.

    No dice. The Fire 4k box claimed my HDMI port was not HDCP2.2 compliant (despite all the ports on SUHD sammies being so) The Amazon app on the TV itself wouldn't give me 4k either. (Despite having over 10x the bandwidth needed for 4k streaming.)

    With that sort of user experience, is it any wonder people are turning to Piracy?


    • Stephen
      December 27, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      You make some excellent points there Cryogaijin and it’s a lamentable part of the content industry that content in general often has some seemingly arbitrary barriers put up to its easy consumption. In many cases these are technical difficulties across assorted platforms and blame can’t be easily placed on any one party but in other cases, as your own comment alludes to, the very act of piracy aversion by content providers causes them to put in place the sort of hurdles for honest subscribers which drive them down the piracy road. And it should always be taken as a given that the pirates WILL eventually find a way to steal content and distribute it in a much more barrier-free way illegally.


  • Larry
    December 30, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Ultraflix is allowing 4k movie rental streaming without hdcp2.2. I used it last night. Perfect 4k using hdmi 2.0 without 2.2hdcp. Worked just fine. Could this be a source of piracy?


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