In early February reviews of hot new streaming TV site TVGorge.com started appearing.
“If you’re outside of the US and sick of not being able to see good TV online or just tired of waiting for Hulu to get your favorite shows, you’ll want to check out TVGorge and its huge archive of shows,” wrote Lifehacker.
“The amount – and quality – of the content on TVGorge is nothing short of impressive,” wrote TechCrunch. “All episodes from all eight seasons of 24 are on there, for instance, in addition to dozens of episodes of shows like Californication, 30 Rock, Heroes, Lost, CSI, Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, The Simpsons, and so on. I counted 128 TV shows on the site.”
TVGorge was an indexing service and didn’t carry any material on its own servers. The site’s engine found sources for new TV episodes stored on other sites and either embedded or linked to the videos found. Users flagged broken links and also added their own links to TV shows.
The videos available via TVGorge came with no geo-lockouts, meaning that anyone worldwide could enjoy them without being bugged by “this show is not available in your area” type messages.
In total TVGorge linked to approximately 5500 episodes, 10,000 embedded videos, offered 60,000 external links, and reached 3 million people a month.
While nearly every review of the site was positive, most contained an element of doubt. Is TVGorge actually legal? Could it survive longer term? The general consensus was ‘no’ and ‘no’. Although it could be argued that the answer to the first question is still possibly up for debate, the latter proved fairly accurate.
Around a week ago, TorrentFreak received information that TVGorge was being threatened with legal action. At that stage the site was still fully operational, but very quickly the situation changed. We are now able to confirm that TVGorge was ordered to cease and desist by the MPAA on behalf of the companies they represent.
“TVGorge has recently been advised to remove all of our indexed content,” said the site’s operators in a statement.
“We understand content owners have a need to protect their content and we can only hope they take the initiative to provide easy access to all of their great TV shows at an international level. If anything, hopefully we have shown them that people are desperately looking for a place to watch their favourite TV shows.”
The site’s operators are remaining upbeat and say they will continue to index streaming sources for the TV shows they list, but of course, these will now link to authorized sources instead with the same restrictions that drove people to sites like TVGorge in the first place.
The new sources for TV shows are slightly less exciting….
Nevertheless, TVGorge won’t stagnate. The site will take on a new shape by becoming a TV guide featuring breaking news, forums, episode guides, TV schedules, show and episode reviews and linking to or embedding authorized sources from around the world.
Although TVGorge’s legal woes may be over, TorrentFreak has been informed that many other streaming sites are also currently the subject of legal threats and unwanted attention.
Considering the seriousness of the situation it would be irresponsible for us to publish the information we have been given without absolute confirmation, but we are told that in one particular case in a European country, a police investigation is underway against a major site. We asked the site and its host questions, particularly since the news we received corresponded directly with some site downtime, but the responses we received were generally pretty vague.
It may well be that their hands are tied. Time will tell.