4K rips from Netflix and Amazon are flooding onto torrent sites

Marvel's Jessica Jones

We’re in a brand-new age of piracy this week, as torrent sites are rapidly adding 4K copies of movies and TV shows likely ripped from Amazon or Netflix. A couple such files were offered earlier this year, but the sheer volume now offered suggests pirates have had an encryption-breaking breakthrough.

Today would-be pirates can download the Netflix exclusive Jessica Jones at an impressive resolution of 4096 x 2160, assuming they have a big enough hard drive. At 10GB per episode, it’s going to take up a lot of space.

Streaming sites have been offering 4K videos for a while now, and pirates have mostly left them alone, seemingly because they were well protected.

TorrentFreak reports that someone likely cracked the encryption used by these sites to protect media files. A member of a release group – the anonymous pirates who leak content to file sharing sites – told TorrentFreak to expect more such videos to pop up.

“Many groups started releasing 4K rips recently and they are working perfectly,” he or she told the site. “I expect that 4K resolution releases will become more popular now.”

Files offered include the Amazon exclusive Man In The High Castle, and movies found on both Amazon and Netflix are all making appearances. The flood of content is likely to continue until streaming sites plug whatever hole the content is getting through.

But it’s not clear what breakthrough has made it possible for pirates to bypass content encryption, or what streaming sites can do to stop it. The cat and mouse game will almost certainly continue, with streaming sites working to secure their files and pirates working to break new protections.

Ultimately, the genie can’t be put back into the bottle. Once a file is offered on a torrent site, it’s easy for pirates to share it further. The content leaked so far will stay leaked even if the hole is plugged, and with no indication yet as to how the encryption is being broken, it’s unlikely a response will appear quickly.