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    Plex Plans To Place All Legal Streaming Options (and Piracy) Into One Interface / TorrentFreak · Thursday, 15 April, 2021 - 16:04 · 5 minutes

Plex Since being founded in 2009, the Plex media server and service has grown from strength to strength and with 25 million users worldwide, is now a force to be reckoned with.

Early adopters know Plex as a powerful media server capable of transforming local movie, TV show, and other libraries into a beautiful Netflix-style entertainment experience. Playable on a wide range of devices including PCs, smart TVs and even smartphones, Plex has a strong cult following but in recent years has begun to spread its wings.

While the company would prefer not to acknowledge it, Plex is the playback weapon of choice for millions of pirates. So-called “ Plex for Share ” services aside, direct piracy isn’t strictly possible within the system but when it is fed with movies and TV shows previously obtained from pirate sites, consumption of such media is transformed. The problem then, is how to tempt these users away from the ‘dark’ side.

Plex Spreads its Wings

In 2019, it was revealed that Plex had struck licensing deals with Warner Bros to supply free, ad-supported movies and TV shows to Plex users. Since then, Plex has added free live TV channels and secured more than 240 additional content deals with the likes of Lionsgate, MGM, Sony, AMC and more. This means that when ‘pirate’ users fire up Plex, they are not only presented with their own unlicensed content libraries but also official content too.

This blurring of ‘markets’ is an intriguing proposition that hasn’t been strongly tested before. Legal movie and TV show content from major providers isn’t seen on pirate streaming sites, for example, meaning that users can’t be easily tempted away during their visits. However, by putting licensed content inside Plex, no external navigation is needed, making the switch to revenue-generating content a breeze.

However, this innovation was only the beginning and according to an announcement Wednesday, Plex has an even bigger plan on the horizon, one that could transform the market.

$50m in Funding Secured: One-Stop Shop For Movies and TV

Yesterday, Plex revealed it had completed a growth equity round of $50 million from existing investor Intercap. The financing includes approximately $15 million in new capital for Plex, which the company intends to invest in its mission to become a one-stop-shop for movies and TV. It aims to do this by addressing one of the most frustrating aspects of today’s legal streaming market – fragmentation.

“As the industry grows so does the media chaos, creating a more fractured consumer experience with a dizzying array of services and subscriptions – all served up through a multitude of platforms and apps that the consumer has to keep track of,” Plex explains.

“This experience is painful for consumers who just want to find and easily navigate to movies and TV shows that they like.”

What Plex has in mind is to present users with a “single pane of glass”, a window to access their entire content libraries from within Plex, enabling them to find what they want quickly and easily.

“Everybody knows it’s a pain to sift through all the streaming services to find what you want to watch, and our goal at Plex is to manage your media life for you,” says Keith Valory, CEO at Plex.

“Our job is to understand where everything is, whether it’s from our free library of movies and shows, a subscription service, live on TV, or something you can purchase, and for Plex to be the trusted go-to service to help you find what you want, when you want it.”

One Interface, Endless Options

At the moment, Plex users are presented with their local content libraries and Plex’s movies, TV shows and live TV streams. The plan as described thus far suggests that Plex also hopes to partner with platforms such as Netflix, Prime, and maybe even Disney, so that all content libraries are searchable from one place – a legal content metasearch engine of sorts.

Whether these giants will have any interest in this proposal remains a question but it’s not difficult to see how such a system could be attractive to regular users while also becoming a valuable tool to leverage additional revenue from pirates. These days, only a minority of pirates are ‘hard core’, i.e they only consume content from pirate sources. The majority also consume legitimate content too and it’s not hard to find plenty who also have Netflix and Disney subscriptions, for example.

However, instead of having pirates sit completely isolated in their own ecosystems, with no immediate opportunity to convert them (or more fully convert them) into paying customers, the Plex proposal appears to welcome them to the fold, making all content searchable from one location and potentially negating the need to switch in and out of numerous apps.

That being said, there are problems to overcome.

Subscription and Privacy Concerns Remain

As things stand, even if users can easily search and discover content across multiple legal platforms in one interface, they’ll still be required to subscribe to those platforms to access the content.

For Plex, this could provide a source of affiliate revenue when users choose to sign up but there are limits to how much consumers are prepared to spend. A nice option would be to offer a package of subscriptions at a significantly reduced rate (a Plex Pass Plus option, if you like) but in the current environment, there doesn’t appear to be much of an appetite among providers to consider that.

Also, there are privacy concerns, particularly if Plex wants to assure its pirate and partially-pirate consumers to step onboard and begin the journey.

“Plex will help users discover new things to enjoy based on everything they already watch, with smart recommendations such as ‘you watched this movie, so you might enjoy this podcast, or this musical artist.’ It’s all about creating a custom multi-media entertainment experience that’s easy and enjoyable for each individual’s unique tastes,” the company explains.

While subscribers to Netflix and Disney are already used to these types of recommendations, it will remain to be seen how this is welcomed by pirate users. At this stage, it’s unknown whether Plex intends to start harvesting and/or sharing pirates’ viewing habits with their commercial partners. Also, things could get a little bit awkward if messages appear noting that “Since you watched yet-to-be-released-on-streaming-platforms ‘movie X’, then you might like to watch Y.”

That problem is probably a long way off but nevertheless, Plex’s momentum towards official content partnerships is absolutely clear. Becoming a focal point for lawful content consumption could also mean it faces pressure to do something about piracy too, but only time will tell how that plays out. There are clear opportunities ahead though, including millions of chances to convert pirates while cleaning up the legal streaming market into something cohesive.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    DMCA Takedowns Remove Perfectly Legal Plex Pages From Google / TorrentFreak · Saturday, 30 January, 2021 - 21:37 · 2 minutes

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

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

Like many other technologies Plex can be used for good and bad. There have been reports of people sharing vast libraries of the pirated content via Plex-powered servers, for example. But at the same time Plex is a gateway to legal streaming content including movies and series on its own Mediaverse platform.

The Mediaverse part of the Plex site appears to cause some confusion. While it offers content that can be legally streamed for free, it also lists many other titles, such as The Mandalorian , Game of Thrones, Wonder Woman 1984, and Tenet.

mandalorian plex page

These other titles are not freely available for streaming, of course. Plex merely added an informational page to its library so people can put these titles on their watchlist. However, not all copyright holders appear to get this distinction.

Over the past month alone more than a handful of DMCA takedown requests were sent to Google, asking the search engine to remove these “copyright-infringing” pages. The takedowns suggest that Plex offers access to the full videos and list its URLs together with those of notorious pirate sites.

For example, ‘CTW Anti-Piracy’ sent a DMCA takedown request to Google on behalf of Vertigo Releasing Limited, asking the search engine to remove the Plex information page for the film “ Becky “. The Plex page is highlighted below among more traditional pirate sites.

plex google remove

Similarly, ‘Shoot-Down’ sent a takedown notice on behalf of DDI Double Dutch Inc for Plex’s “Elliot the Littlest Reindeer” page, while Groupe V Media hired ‘Police Du Net’ to remove the page of “Cardinal” season four. None of these pages link to pirated videos, obviously.

We assume that these requests, and many others , were all sent by mistake but that doesn’t mean that they are harmless. While Google is generally quite good at spotting errors, it missed these ones. That means that the Plex pages have actually been wiped from Google’s search results.

Instead of getting the Plex page, people will now see the following notice at the bottom of their search results.

google plex removed

After browsing through several Plex takedown notices in Google’s transparency report we also spotted one for which the search giant took “ no action “. However, that isn’t because it is deemed to be an erroneous takedown, but because the URL wasn’t indexed to begin with.

We reached out to Plex to inform the company about the takedowns and requested a comment. The company informed us that they are aware of these notices and will try to work things out with the copyright holders individually.

That’s probably wise because too many notices put sites at risk of being demoted , which can seriously hurt search traffic.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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    Plex adds game-streaming as paid add-on, completely botches the landing / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 26 January, 2021 - 22:57 · 1 minute

Plex adds game-streaming as paid add-on, completely botches the landing

Enlarge (credit: Plex)

The streaming-hub app Plex has long endeared itself to a certain kind of media consumer—one who'd prefer to rip and stream their own purchased content from a home computer instead of relying on subscriptions. But while Plex has experimented with new features and media options over the past decade-plus, this week sees the service take its first-ever stab at interactive media. As in, games.

Plex Arcade is now live as a paid add-on service, and it promises to let you stream your existing, classic gaming library from a home PC to a variety of Plex-compatible devices. That means you can put your favorite classic game ROMs next to your music, TV, and film libraries, and you can beam those to compatible devices, either at home or afar. For some users, this is a dream scenario: centralize your classic games on one device, then access them everywhere, instead of having to manually set up each phone and set-top box with emulators and ROMs.

But Plex Arcade's first day is a bumpy one, and even if the service patches things up, it's a clear reminder why streaming classic games from a hub computer isn't nearly as handy as streaming other media.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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    Plex Sues Streaming Service That Will Run Blockbuster Movies Before Theaters / TorrentFreak · Tuesday, 29 September, 2020 - 09:51 · 3 minutes

Plex Soon after the latest blockbuster movies hit cinemas, pirated copies are available for download from the Internet.

It’s a problem that studios have been struggling to mitigate for decades but the practice of granting an exclusive theatrical window leaves a convenient gap for millions of pirates to exploit.

Day-and-Date Movies Delivered to Living Rooms

In an effort to service the market by offering more choice, several companies have publicized plans to bring first-run movies to the small screen, notably Napster co-founder Sean Parker and his company Screening Room . Over in India, local media company Zee Entertainment Enterprises has a similar project of its own almost ready to launch but is now facing legal opposition from the US.

Set to go live on October 2, 2020, premium VOD service Zee Plex is primed to not only provide a legal alternative to day-and-date piracy but also offer a service to millions of customers who are currently unable to visit cinemas due to coronavirus restrictions.

“We are very excited to bring this new offering to all the movie buffs across India and around the globe,” Zee Studios CEO Shariq Patel announced earlier this month.

“While we all love to catch the latest movies at the nearest theatres, we sensed the need for a solution like Zee Plex, which gives the consumers flexibility and convenience, to catch their favorite films in the comfort of their homes, along with friends and family. We have received great interest from producers and are looking forward to release a strong slate of blockbusters across languages.”

The big launch day will feature the new blockbuster movie Ka Pae Ranasingam featuring local superstar actor Vijay Sethupathi but not everyone is pleased by the move.

Plex, Inc. Says Zee Plex is Trading on its Good Name

With roots as a freeware project to port XBMC (now known as Kodi) to Mac OS X in 2007, OSXBMC quickly took a different direction to XBMC and renamed itself Plex. In 2009, Plex, Inc. was founded to carry the Plex project forward commercially and over the next 11 years established itself as one of the most recognizable brands in the media player space.

According to Plex, Inc., Zee Plex operator Zee Entertainment Enterprises is illegally trading off that hard-earned goodwill.

“Plex, the popular global streaming media platform for all your favorite media, today announced it has taken legal action against Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited for trademark infringement,” Plex, Inc. announced last evening.

“In September 2020, Zee announced it was launching a competing video service, titled Zee Plex, in an obvious attempt to trade off of the Plex brand and global goodwill. Available to consumers globally, Plex is taking measures to defend its intellectual property, and specifically, in this case, to protect its trademark and brand.”

Plex is Not Just a Media Player – It’s a Streaming Service Too

Plex is often associated with piracy due to some users utilizing the software to organize pirated media to create their own personal Netflix variants. As a result, it has been slammed as a “dangerous digital player” by content industry lobbyists for not doing enough to police users’ behavior.

However, to dismiss Plex as “just another media player” is only telling half the story.

Last year the company revealed it had been forging deals to offer large libraries of licensed movies to its users and it now looks set to continue moving forward as a legitimate software and content distributor. This brings it face-to-face with various entities looking to trade on the Plex branding.

Trademark Breaches Are Common

Speaking with TorrentFreak just a few months ago, Plex told us that it was in a game of “whack-a-mole” trying to fight back against people using the Plex trademark for nefarious purposes. These breaches take many forms but at least one company had set up a VPN service claiming it was run by Plex, Inc. That software has now disappeared from Google Play but problems clearly still exist.

Plex, Inc. holds live trademarks covering various aspects of its business including ‘Plex’ (“ Downloadable computer software in the field of digital media management for use in playing, organizing, indexing, searching, and transcoding digital video, audio and images” .

Others that are “published for opposition” include Plex as Downloadable computer software for use in streaming via the internet of ad-supported video on demand, subscription video on demand, transaction video on demand, music and podcasts and transmission of ad-supported video on demand, subscription video on demand, transaction video on demand, music and podcasts .”

Plex, Inc. says its lawsuit alleging trademark infringement has been filed with the High Court of India and papers have been served on Zee Entertainment Enterprises via email. The matter should come up for hearing the coming days, Plex concludes.

From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.