Music Industry Flags Discord and Reddit as Top Hacking Threats *TorrentFreak

Following the lead of the United States, the EU started publishing its own piracy watch list a few years ago.

This “Counterfeiting and Piracy Watchlist” is established by the European Commission. As in the United States, it relies on stakeholder groups to nominate several problematic sites and services for inclusion.

The third version of the EU watch list will be published towards the end of the year and several interested parties have already submitted their nominations. This includes the music industry group IFPI, which represents around 8,000 music companies around the world.

IFPI submitted a 36-page document that begins by outlining the damage piracy has done to the music industry. This includes economic harm affecting industry investment and talent development. The report then continues with examples of concrete threats.

Unsurprisingly, the list of problematic sites and services includes YouTube rippers, direct download sites, cyberlockers, and torrent sites. However, another category of platforms is seen as an even greater application challenge.

IFPI flags major piracy issues

According to the IFPI, a group of social media platforms and messaging services have become increasingly problematic. Platforms such as Discord, Reddit and Telegram are often used to share and sell pre-release content, which is a major concern.

“While there are a large number of services that infringe the rights of our members, due to the serious economic harm caused by pre-release piracy, the services mentioned above – Discord, Reddit and Telegram – are considered as application priorities for the music industry and are a particular focus in this submission,” writes the IFPI.

The music industry group notes that social media can also be beneficial for artists. However, it has seen the emergence of platforms where hackers leverage these services to share infringing content in recent years.

This content is not necessarily stored by these “social” platforms. Hacker groups often share links to external cyberlockers such as Dbree and Onlyfiles that do not respond to takedown requests.

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The IFPI goes into more detail on several platforms, stressing that operators should do more to prevent piracy. Shutting down servers, groups, subreddits, and channels where pre-release content is shared should be a top priority.


Discord is considered a serious concern as there are several servers, often private ones, where people share pirated music. This also includes preview content that is sometimes sold through the platform.

“Particularly and problematically for the music industry, Discord has quickly become an underground marketplace for the distribution and crowdfunding of stolen, unreleased, and pre-release content through so-called ‘group buys.’ This is where users use a Discord server to hold an auction to sell unreleased or pre-release content,” notes the IFPI.


Infringing content is often stored on external sites, but IFPI believes Discord is contributing to the problem. Since many groups are private, the platform is also difficult to monitor, so the scale of illicit activity could be even greater than detected to date.

The music industry group stresses that Discord should do more to police its platform and prevent illegal activity. When bad actors are discovered, they should be banned and prohibited from reappearing on the service.


Copyright infringement is also an issue on Reddit, according to the IFPI. The popular social media platform is used to discuss virtually every topic imaginable and pre-release music piracy is no exception. This includes dedicated “leak” communities.

“We have detected numerous instances of pre-release content being distributed across the platform, including on leak-specific subreddits. REDDIT is used in combination with other services such as Discord and Twitter to promote the distribution of pre-release content,” writes IFPI.

Reddit is well aware of copyright issues on its platform and responds to takedown requests. It also has a repeat offenders policy and permanently banned 2,813 users and 2,625 sub-reddits last year.

The music industry is aware of these efforts, but thinks it can do more. Ideally, he wants the platform to take “proactive” measures to prevent hacking.

“Reddit must take additional steps to identify and address illegal sharing of content, especially pre-release content, on the platform,” notes IFPI.

Twitter and Telegram

Although Reddit and Discord are not typical pirate sites, the IFPI lists them in the hope that this will spur companies to take action. It has already done the same with Telegram, which then took action against infringing channels and bots.

However, the latest IFPI recommendation notes that Telegram’s efforts are just the beginning; more should be done.

“While this [takedown] seems to be working, it barely solves the problem given the large amount of infringing content remaining on the platform, including via bots, and due to the inability of rights holders to find the infringing content in the first place” , writes the IFPI.

This also applies to Twitter. The social media platform has deleted hundreds of thousands of tweets, but the IFPI also wants the company to prevent “future breaches”.

“Twitter is still not taking steps to prevent future violations of content that has been notified. As a result, IFPI and its member companies spend significant time and resources identifying and notifying reappearances of the same content.

“EU law requires a proactive attitude”

Preventing something that hasn’t happened yet might sound complicated, but we guess the music industry is alluding to upload filters again.

Download filters are a familiar topic in the EU, as they are indirectly required by the DSM Directive, which was passed in 2019. Under EU law, online service providers must either obtain licenses or take proactive measures to prevent the reappearance of infringing content on their site. Platform.

The IFPI notes that many of the aforementioned platforms and services claim that “safe harbor” legislation protects them from liability. However, this is not necessarily the case in Europe.

“[The DSM Directive] is particularly relevant to many social media services with infringing features, as it confirms that they need to modify their EU-oriented operations and either license the music content made available on their platforms or ensure that no such unlicensed content is available there.

“While Europe has led the way in providing this clarification, it is evident that many services, including some based in the US, often view their obligations as limited to compliance with US safe harbor laws and not to new EU protection standards”, adds the IFPI. .

A copy of IFPI’s submission for the European Commission’s “Counterfeiting and Piracy Watchlist” is available here (pdf)

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