Started from GitHub & TikTok, Pirate Streaming Site WishFlix Tries a Comeback *TorrentFreak
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Pirate streaming site WishFlix is trying to hold its own after another DMCA notice kicked it out of GitHub. The French streaming portal has moved to a dedicated domain, hoping to make the most of its smart social media promotions on platforms such as TikTok. Unfortunately for Wishflix, those efforts are also frustrated.
Running a pirate site is a dangerous business. Those caught can face serious claims for damages or even jail time.
Apparently, it’s a risk some are willing to take. There are thousands of pirate sites and services online today, some more public than others.
WishFlix is one of those sites that clearly stands out. The French streaming portal was originally hosted on GitHub and, like other sites of this nature, appears to use a pre-coded script and third-party content library to deliver embedded movies and TV shows to the public.
Hackers of TikTok/GitHub
In order to build an audience, operators used social media as a promotional tool. This paid off as the site garnered a large following on TikTok, where one of its videos reached over a million views.
But success came with a downside. A few weeks ago, French media company StudioCanal submitted a DMCA takedown notice targeting WishFlix. Unlike other streaming portals that use ironclad hosting providers, WishFlix was hosted on the GitHub developer platform.
GitHub takes copyright infringement pretty seriously, and it’s definitely not a haven for pirate sites. However, after making some changes, the site remained widely accessible on GitHub. For a short while at least.
ALPA increases the pressure
Two weeks after StudioCanal sent its opinion, the French anti-piracy organization ALPA intervened. Representing a wide range of entertainment companies, including major Hollywood studios, ALPA asked GitHub to remove the entire repository from its platform.
In its DMCA Notice, ALPA provided several examples of infringing videos while pointing out that there are many more.
“This entire repository is dedicated to sharing our member’s illegal movies and TV shows and should be removed as is. These are only a tiny fraction of the contents of the repository,” the notice reads.
Adding a little more weight to its warning, ALPA also pointed out that under French law, repeated copyright infringements have serious consequences. These include substantial damages and prison sentences of several years.
“If the offense is repeated, it is then punished by 6 years’ imprisonment and a fine of €1,000,000, with application of the minimum sentence of one year’s imprisonment”, writes the group.
Following this notice, operators seem to have realized that GitHub is not the ideal hosting partner for their business. Instead, they registered the dedicated domain name “wishflix.fr” to settle elsewhere.
At the time of writing, the site uses the French hosting provider OVH where the domain is also registered. This is all public information that anyone can access with just a few keystrokes.
The good news for WishFlix is that it still seems to control the GitHub repository. There is no longer infringing content hosted there, but a 404 error notice now redirects visitors to the new domain.
So far, the return of the site is not yet complete. There are no embedded movies on the new domain and some other things need to be sorted out as well.
WishFlix seems to be a typical example of a site that uses ‘hack as a service’ providers. It does not host any of the videos itself, but pulls them from external sources while presenting the whole thing through a precoded script.
It’s not yet clear how long the site will survive with this new setup, but it looks like the rights holders are pretty determined to take it offline.
In addition to the removal from GitHub, WishFlix’s popular TikTok account was also removed. A new TikTok account surfaced soon after, but the streaming portal has chosen Telegram as its main communication channel for now.