Plex is cracking down on at least one hosting service supporting pirated content in a move that may result in some collateral damage.
The company, which offers users software to organize, curate and watch videos, sent a note to customers saying that their media server is associated with a hosting service that violates its terms of service. Customers who receive the note have until October 12 to find an alternate host, otherwise, you’ll “have issues connecting to it from Plex apps as well as managing it,” according to the Plex email.
Though Plex doesn’t name the offending service – or use the word ‘piracy’ – users speculate the block applies to online hosting company Hetzner, with affected customers using the service, TorrentFreak reported. It’s unclear whether the block will extend to other companies as well. Hetzner later confirmed to Cord Cutters News that its hosting service would be blocked by Plex.
“Plex has made the decision to block access to a hosting service that consists of a significant number of servers that violate the company’s Terms of Service,” a Plex spokesperson told Cord Cutters News. “Customers have been given advanced notice so that they have time to move their personal media libraries locally, or to a service provider that does not show extensive violations.”
While the block will likely resolve some instances of piracy, there will likely be collateral damage in the form of legitimate users. In Plex’s forums, Hetzner users argue that a one-size-fits-all ban doesn’t consider those operating within legal boundaries.
“We can’t say much about this, except that we very much regret the action taken by Plex,” Hetzner spokesperson Christian Fitz said in a statement.
Plex has been trying to distance itself from piracy for years. In 2020, the company faced scrutiny from anti-piracy group CreativeFuture. Because Plex lets customers share content, many content companies view this as piracy.
The war on piracy, which has been raging since the early 2000s, is a pricey one. Piracy and password sharing are costing streaming services $20 billion in revenue, according to data from Parks Associates, and the number is only expected to grow. By 2027, the total cost of piracy could cost streaming services over $113 billion.