BREIN Takes Down Virtual Pirate Streaming Worlds on VRChat

Home > Anti-Piracy > DMCA >

With technology developing at a rapid pace, virtual reality is expected to be a growth market for entertainment, including films. While it's a relatively small market today, pirates are already venturing into these new worlds, with anti-piracy organizations following closely behind.

quest3Two decades ago, it was not uncommon for pirates to wait several days for a film or TV show to finish downloading.

Times have changed. These days pirates can put on their VR headsets, join a virtual streaming world, and instantly stream their favorite new releases, all without paying.

VR pirates currently operate in a relatively tight niche. The trend is expected to grow in the years to come but as pirates experiment with this new technology, anti-piracy groups are paying close attention too.

VRChat Takedowns

Virtual world platform VRChat was recently made acutely aware of this brewing clash. The company, which facilitates online spaces for games, online gatherings and other events, was contacted by Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, which pointed out the existence of several ‘pirate streaming’ worlds.

In a report published this week, BREIN said the VR worlds specifically catered to pirates, offering thousands of links to pirated streams, which could be enjoyed through VR headsets.

“Through the lenses of VR glasses, a wide selection of popular films and series could be chosen from a wide selection of popular films and series in these ‘worlds’, within a simulated cinema environment,” BREIN writes.

BREIN reported these pirate worlds to San Francisco-based VRChat, which took them offline in response.


For VRChat users, it should be no surprise that their worlds are subject to imminent destruction. The platform openly explains that it will respond to valid takedown notices, as it’s required to do so by law.

“[Y]ou are responsible for obtaining any relevant third-party permissions. Pursuant to our Copyright Policy, we cooperate with all requests to take down content that are used without permission from the rights-holder,” it explains.

VRChat has a formal policy where it explains that it will process takedown notices under the DMCA guidelines. The VR platform also has a repeat infringer policy, noting that those who “repeatedly or blatantly” post pirated material risk having their accounts terminated.

Most Popular Worlds

BREIN didn’t venture into these pirate VR worlds by accident. The group says it was alerted by a concerned consumer, which prompted them to investigate the matter. This revealed several popular piracy worlds on the VR platform.

“During BREIN’s research, each of the ‘worlds’ had between a thousand and four thousand users present at the same time. This made it one of the most popular ‘worlds’ on VRChat,” the group explains.

While this type of piracy isn’t rampant just yet, BREIN wants to act swiftly before it becomes more commonplace.

“By addressing this at an early stage, BREIN prevents the normalization of misuse of VR technology for infringement of copyright and related rights. It is therefore a positive development that the companies behind these new types of platform, such as VRChat, also take it seriously.”

If anything, these takedowns show that anti-piracy outfits are battling piracy on multiple fronts, from different eras. BREIN continues to monitor old technologies from the early 80s, such as Usenet, while also exploring new VR worlds.

TorrentFreak asked BREIN how many worlds were taken down and if any follow-up action is planned. If more information comes in we will update this article accordingly.


Popular Posts
From 2 Years ago…