‘Movie-web’ Domain Shut Down By Hollywood Complaint

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Open source movie streaming project movie-web has lost its public-facing demo site. The domain name was seemingly suspended by registrar Namecheap, following a legal complaint from several major movie studios. The developers have no intention of fighting back, but the app's code remains available on GitHub for others to use.

movie webIn recent months, Movie-Web has quickly gained popularity among a particular group of movie aficionados.

The open source software, which is still available on GitHub, allows anyone to set up a movie search engine capable of streaming content from third-party sources. These external sources tend to have large libraries of pirated entertainment.

Like Google

Movie-web’s developers are not oblivious to the legal ramifications but since they don’t host any files, they hoped to avoid legal trouble. The software just provides a search engine for third-party content, they argued.

“Think of it like Google, we search the Internet for videos, but we don’t own the sites, nor the content. We merely link to them,” movie-web explained in its FAQ.

pirate search

That ‘Google’ argument has previously been used by torrent sites. However, history has shown that this doesn’t make such projects immune to legal issues. And as movie-web grew, Hollywood started to take notice, and action.

Movie-web Domain Shutdown

Yesterday, the movie-web.app domain was suddenly taken down. According to a message posted on the official Discord server, this is the result of a “court action” from several movie companies including Warner Bros. Netflix, Paramount, Universal, and Disney.

Movie-web announcement


TorrentFreak is not aware of any lawsuit, but [I]t appears that action was taken against the movie-web.app domain. It seems likely that registrar Namecheap suspended the domain after receiving a legal complaint from the aforementioned Hollywood companies.

Update: After publishing the article we learned that there is a legal action that requires registrars to take action against several ‘pirate’ domains. We’re looking into the matter and will follow this up later.

Namecheap updated the domain’s status to clientHold, which effectively rendered the domain inaccessible. The measure is often used to suspend pirate site domains following copyright holder complaints.

No Comeback

The surprise takedown only affects movie-web’s publicly hosted ‘demo’ instance. On Discord, the movie-web team says that it has no plans to bring this website back in any shape or form.

“As a team, we always said that if we were taken down, we would go down without a fight and we have decided to stick to that. We have zero interest in getting involved with legal matters, and so we will not be trying to circumvent this takedown in any way,” developer ‘BinaryOverload’ writes.

While this is the end of the popular movie-web.app site, the project isn’t dead yet. The code remains available on GitHub and people can still use it to run their own self-hosted instances.

In fact, the movie-web team points to several of these third-party instances, which were not targeted in the same takedown effort.

Shutdown FAQ


More Targets…

TorrentFreak reached out to the movie-web team requesting more details about the takedown action but, at the time of writing, we have yet to hear back.

Looking through the discussions, we found a comment from user ‘chaos,’ one of the project leads, who confirms that the domain name takedown happened through Namecheap. This also suggests that movie-web wasn’t the only target. [see earlier update]

“This wasn’t just targeting movie-web, it was a blanket attack on a lot of other domains/sites as well. I doubt they actually have any grounds, but Namecheap isn’t going to go to court to defend piracy,” ‘chaos’ wrote.

The movie-web team says that it will continue to support people who want to self-host instances of the app, when possible. In addition, it will also maintain the list of “official mirrors” that they trust and recommend. Whether Hollywood will approve remains to be seen.


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