4K torrents from Netflix and Amazon hint at cracked copy protection

Hollywood’s aggressive attempts to down 4K video may be extremely short-lived.

Hollywood has been quite aggressive in trying to protect 4K video from piracy, but now it appears those efforts are faltering.

Over the last few days, a wave of 4K video torrents have appeared online, evidently ripped from Netflix and Amazon Prime, TorrentFreak reports. Those leaks include new original series such as Jessica Jones, and their file sizes are significantly larger than a typical 1080p video, in some cases topping 10GB per episode.

The new torrents aren’t the first example of leaked 4K content from major streaming services, but things had been pretty quiet since August, when a single 4K episode of Breaking Bad appeared online. TorrentFreak notes that something has changed in the past few days, with many more releases suddenly popping up.

Still, there’s no indication of how the leakers may have cracked the tough copy protection in Amazon’s and Netflix’s streams. Both services make use of HDCP 2.2, a new protocol that locks down video as it’s transmitted over HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, or USB, preventing unauthorized duplication. Windows 10 PCs enable strict DRM at the hardware level. Studios have also started imprinting watermarks on 4K video, allowing them to trace leaks back to the source.

TorrentFreak speculates that new 4K set-top boxes from Amazon and Roku may have provided some sort of opening, but it’s impossible to say for sure without more details.

Why this matters: If the copy protection on Amazon and Netflix streams is indeed broken, it would be an embarrassing development for Hollywood, which has taken extreme steps to lock down their content. The introduction of HDCP 2.2 has rendered some early 4K TVs incompatible with streaming services, and even PCs don’t support 4K streams despite being technically capable. Unless the leaks stop, this could shape up into another case of DRM harming legitimate users more than unscrupulous pirates.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags piracy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

TechHive (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?