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Pirates are using publishing platform Medium to distribute bootlegged movies

As sites like Facebook continue to crack down on illegal links to pirated content, pirates have scrambled to find new hosts for their torrents. Their latest target may be the publishing platform and one of the internet’s most popular destinations, Medium.

Scammers have been found to be abusing Medium to distribute bootlegged copies of the latest movies such as Joker and Terminator: Dark Fate. Along with links to the video files, the posts try to hit as many search keywords as possible. Originally spotted by TorrentFreak, most of the sources are not genuine either and lead visitors to supposedly dubious registration pages, which, of course, also demand credit card details.

Medium has policies in place to take down posts that violate copyrights and complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). “When we discover bad actors, both through manual and automatic detection, they are assessed in terms of our policies and rules against those behaviors, and removed from Medium,” said a Medium spokesperson when reached out by TorrentFreak.

However, when we looked up for a torrent link for Joker, we were still able to view these articles, suggesting Medium hasn’t pulled them off yet.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

A simple search on Google’s Transparency tool reveals pirates have been exploiting Medium’s reach for well over a couple of years. The search engine giant has received hundreds of takedown requests from production houses and record labels such as Fox and Nuclear Blast Records.

Google often automatically penalizes websites if they’ve been met with too many takedown notices in a short period. Therefore, these activities could end up affecting Medium and its in-house publications’ rank on the search engine unless Google rules it as an exception.

Medium isn’t the first company that has entered pirates’ crosshair. Platforms such as Facebook and Google Maps actively deal with pirated content too. The reason pirates have begun to broadcast their links on these sites instead of the usual hosts is reach and trustability.

Unlike traditional torrent hubs, Google won’t, for instance, downrank Facebook on the search pages allowing users to easily access the illegal files. On top of that, it’s easier to trick someone to enter their credit card credentials through a Facebook link than a shady, relatively unknown service.

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Shubham Agarwal
Shubham Agarwal is a freelance technology journalist from Ahmedabad, India. His work has previously appeared in Firstpost…
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