Plex Cracks Down on Media Server ‘Hacks’

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GitHub has removed several repositories following a copyright complaint from Plex. Through its anti-piracy partner, the streaming software service complained about code that enables 'Godmode' on its media server and provides free access to paid Plex Pass features.

plex logoPlex is a multifunctional media software and service that allows users to easily access all of their entertainment in one place.

Whether movies, music, TV shows, or photos, Plex can organize and index, making the content ready to stream on a wide variety of supported devices.

Plex can be used for curating home videos or enriching purchased media with metadata, for example, which can be stored on the media server. In addition, the company offers Plex Pass, a premium subscription that provides access to DVR recording, downloads, intro skipping, and many other features.

Plex Pirates

Lately, Plex has been working closely with some of the major content publishers to give provide access to licensed entertainment. At the same time, however, it is also battling a group of ‘pirates’ who abuse their system by publicly sharing libraries with infringing content.

Last summer, Plex surprised users by actively blocking media servers hosted at large German company Hetzner. These were, purportedly, often used to share pirated material and an outright ban aimed to end this unauthorized activity.

Plex also targeted a GitHub repository that allowed people to reshare Plex libraries that were not originally theirs. This workaround was used to share content with broader audiences than originally intended, without the owners’ permission.

New Problem: Media Server Hack

The ‘reshare’ repository was removed by GitHub, and it was removed from Docker soon after. While there are still copies of the code floating around today, Plex already has a new problem on its hands.

A few days ago, anti-piracy outfit MarkScan sent a DMCA notice to GitHub on behalf of Plex. According to the takedown request, there are several repositories that contain code used to ‘hack’ Plex’s media server.

“We have found that users on your platform are providing codes to hack Plex servers. Therefore, we request that you remove the below URLs from your website,” the takedown notices reads.

dmca notice

Free Pass and Godmode

The notice isn’t particularly specific, but archived copies of the repositories, which have since been removed, explain more clearly what the code could do. For example, plexmediaserver_crack enabled “Godmode”, allowing people to use all features without a subscription.

“Enables Godmode, unlocking all features on (hardware transcoding, intro/credit detection, HEVC transcoding, etc..) on Plex Media Server. Including Plex Pass features without a required subscription, and including early-access/development/Plex Ninja features.”

server crack

A companion repository titled ‘plexpass_hook‘ fools Plex into believing that a user has a paid Plex Pass subscription, making it possible to skip intros as well.

While the code itself doesn’t appear to be copyright infringing, it might circumvent Plex’s technological protection measures, which violates the DMCA. In any case, GitHub didn’t hesitate, and the repositories were swiftly removed.

github dmca

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