Redfox Disappearance Puts a Spotlight on Defiant StreamFab

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RedFox, the outfit behind popular ripping software AnyStream and AnyDVD, seems to have disappeared. The domain name is inaccessible after A records were removed, and its mail server is unreachable too. Despite days of downtime, there is no sign of enforcement action and no word from the developers either. Meanwhile, its competitor, StreamFab, is picking up new users.

redfoxMore than a decade ago, decryption licensing outfit AACS began to crack down on DVD and Blu-Ray ripping software.

Founded by Disney, Warner Bros, Intel, and Microsoft, among others, the licensing outfit put legal pressure on the makers of AnyDVD and DVDFab, which were the key players at the time.

AACS eventually booked a legal victory against DVDFab in a US court, but that did little to stop the operation. Pressure on AnyDVD’s parent company Slysoft, meanwhile, did yield results as the software was taken down. That was only temporary, however, as some of AnyDVD developers restarted the business under a new name, RedFox.

For the next eight years, the DVDFab and AnyDVD products managed to survive. With online streaming taking over, both outfits also launched new software to rip streaming content, in addition to old-fashioned discs.

RedFox, for example, offered the AnyStream tool, which proved to be quite popular. Streaming platforms, including Netflix, worked hard to make these tools unusable, resulting in a seemingly endless cat-and-mouse decryption game.

RedFox Disappears

Without prior warning, the RedFox website suddenly ‘disappeared’ late last week. There is no sign that the software outfit ran into legal trouble, but some of its products have been rendered useless. This isn’t the first time that RedFox has suffered downtime, but after more than five days, many users fear the worst.

Over the past few days, we have tried to find out what’s going on, but unfortunately, the RedFox team remains quiet. An email sent to our contact there never arrived, as the mail server is unreachable as well.

There is no shortage of speculation online to explain the downtime. While we prefer not to entertain these theories, there are a few things worth highlighting.

First, there is no evidence that the RedFox site was pulled offline by an external force. The site isn’t working because the domain name’s A records were removed on June 6, and the same is true for the MX records.

As a result, browsers and email clients don’t know where to send requests.

redfox dns

It’s not clear who removed these records, but external interventions by domain registries and registrars are generally marked with ICANN codes, and we don’t see any here. Since this is a domain name configuration issue, there is no sign that there’s a hosting problem either.

Without any signs of external interventions, there is not much to report on. For now, everyone except the RedFox team is in the dark, and time will tell whether the site will resurface or not.

StreamFab Gains Users (and pressure)

The RedFox trouble hasn’t gone unnoticed at the DVDFab/StreamFab team. Looking for an alternative stream ripping tool, AnyStream users are checking out the competition now, similar to what happened when Slysoft shut down AnyDVD many years ago.

This puts a new spotlight on DVDFab, which it probably doesn’t mind. The company has been around for more than 20 years now and seems unfazed by any legal pressure.

After ignoring the initial court order in favor of AACS issued a decade ago, DVDFab continued to exist. The same can be said for the legal troubles.

While StreamFab doesn’t appear to circumvent AACS’s Blu-Ray decryption, DVDFab and related tools do. In recent years, the legal battle continued at a federal court in New York, resulting in a massive damages verdict and a broad injunction a few months ago.

Last summer, U.S. District Court Judge Vernon Broderick ruled in favor of AACS, ordering DVDFab and its presumed operator Lanny Chen to pay nearly $15 million in damages.

dvdfab judgement

In addition, the court ordered the operation to shut down. This injunction also required banks, domain registrars, and other intermediaries to cease working with the software company.

StreamFab wasn’t specifically covered by the injunction but, since it’s linked to the same operators, it’s not immune to the broad injunction, which expands to hosting providers and payment services too.

As a result of the injunction, DVDFab lost some of its domain names, including which was put on ‘serverHold’ by the domain registry. However, other domains survived and the software company continues to operate to this day. That includes StreamFab.

This lawsuit and the resulting injunction have nothing to do with RedFox’s recent troubles. There is no AACS lawsuit against RedFox that we know of. If anything, however, it indicates that it’s not easy to shut down a software company that’s determined to stay online.

Update: To clarify, activated copies of AnyDVD still work, and so do versions of AnyDVD HD with an offline key database (for older titles).


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