Legal video streaming platforms such as Amazon, Disney, and Netflix have gained massive userbases in recent years.
Not everyone is willing or able to pay for multiple subscriptions, however, which in turn has helped to create a flourishing market for pirate streaming tools.
These pirate services often use slick designs and easy-to-use apps that appeal to a broad audience. And unlike the legal options, they offer all popular titles under the same roof, without charging a subscription fee. Needless to say, rightsholders are not happy with this competition.
VancedFlix is one of many unlicensed apps available today and in common with the others, it’s a thorn in the side of rightsholders. The official website has over 100,000 monthly visits and, since the app is available through a variety of other download portals, the total userbase could be well over a million.
The app openly promotes the availability of free content from paid services such as Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+, although the operators suggest that legal responsibility for the streamed content lies with third-party services.
“VancedFlix functions just like any other as a search engine, such as Google. VancedFlix does not host, upload or manage any videos, films or content on it’s servers [sic],” the site reads.
“Any legal issues regarding the content on this application should be taken up with the actual file hosts and providers themselves as we are not affiliated with them. In case of copyright infringement, please directly contact the responsible parties or the streaming websites.”
Sky Italia Takes Action
Copyright holders tend to see the legalities quite differently. They argue that since these types of streaming apps are specifically designed for piracy purposes, their operators are liable for copyright infringement.
“The VancedFlix app, an app that allows you to watch movies and TV series totally for free. In this application you can see all the tv series of our client Sky Italia Srl, including all Italian tv series,” the takedown notice explains.
“The developer of the application is not in possession of any type of license for the transmission of the Sky Italia Srl contents, therefore this application is considered illegal.”
Following this request, GitHub disabled access to the files, replacing them with a DMCA removal notice. The entire github.com/VancedFlix/Apps/ repository is now unavailable, and the same applies to github.com/ysnlek/st/.
Download Link Stops Working
While these removals are a success for Sky Italia, these types of app developers are not always easy to defeat. The VancedFlix.com website remains available, for example, although it’s been temporarily decapitated.
One of the targeted APK files on the official website was linked under the official “download” button, which now redirects to GitHub’s DMCA removal notice.
The download link will probably be updated soon enough with a new one. The developers still have the option to file a counter-notice but simply reuploading the file on GitHub probably won’t work, unless they want to see more of this.