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“Movies and Series Scraper” is a nifty tool that allows people to watch and download movies and TV series without much hassle. The developer shares the code for free, but when he noticed that someone had “stealed” his work, he asked GitHub to remove the infringing copy from the platform.
GitHub is no stranger to copyright complaints. Last year, the developer platform removed nearly 20,000 projects in response to DMCA takedown notices.
These takedowns can target all kinds of content. Big media companies often complain about software that allows people to access pirated content, for example. However, there are also instances where developers see copies of their own content elsewhere on Github, placed there by others without permission.
A DMCA takedown notice sent to Github this week appears to fall into the latter category, but also features an unusual hacking angle.
Film and series scraper
The dispute revolves around “Film and series scraper, a basic application that allows users to stream or download movies and TV shows with minimal effort. According to the project description, it is even possible to download an entire TV series.
“A console app to retrieve valid watch links for any movie or series with exact season and episode number, you can also download an entire season with just one click,” the Egyptian developer wrote.
While many people will appreciate this kind of tool, creators of movies and series are unlikely to be satisfied with it. The GitHub repository shows how content such as “Game of Thrones” can be downloaded from pirated sources, which makes it particularly problematic.
The creator of the software may or may not be aware of these sensitivities. What is clear, however, is that it understands the concept of copyright infringement.
In a DMCA takedown notice sent to GitHub this week, the developer of “Movies and Series Scraper” complains that someone “stole” its code and passes it off as its own.
“Someone stole a repo that was [private] and published it with his name as author”, the bed reviewadding that “every line of code is copied” while asking for the removal of the reported content.
The takedown notice also claims that the copied repository circumvents technical protection measures, which would be a further violation of the DMCA.
GitHub is compliant
After reviewing the request, GitHub concluded that the “workaround” claims do not hold. However, the claims of copyright infringement are valid and warrant removal of the copied repository.
“Although GitHub did not find enough information to determine a valid anti-circumvention claim, we have determined that this takedown notice contains another valid copyright claim,” the platform wrote.
Indeed, the “stolen” repository has now been removed from GitHub. This shows that the DMCA takedown process is working as intended, but the same process could also be used against the “Movies and Series Scraper”.
TorrentFreak has contacted the developer who defends the application pointing out that it is simply a matter of harvesting content from third-party sources (piracy). It’s simply a “middleman” that protects users from harmful ads, he says.