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  1. Plex Plans To Place All Legal Streaming Options (and Piracy) Into One Interface After completing a growth equity round of $50m, Plex has announced plans to become a one-stop-shop for movies and TV. The goal is to at least partially solve one of the most annoying problems in today's legal streaming market by placing all content in a single searchable interface. By default, this will also include users' 'pirate' libraries, an interesting proposition that could yield results. 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. Plex Plans To Place All Legal Streaming Options (and Piracy) Into One Interface
  2. Plex Arcade features a bunch of old-school Atari games You can also add your own ROMs and emulators to your server. Plex Media streaming service Plex is moving beyond TV, movies, audio and photos. Starting today, you can play a bunch of Atari games through a Plex Arcade subscription. Plex has teamed up with Parsec to offer classics like Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command and Super Breakout. You'll also be able to add your own game ROMs and emulators to your library. You can stream the games to Android (mobile and TV), iOS, tvOS or the Chrome browser. They should be playable with almost any Bluetooth controller you can connect to those devices. There are a couple of catches, however. After a seven-day trial, Plex Arcade costs $3/month for those with a Plex Pass and $5/month as a standalone subscription. You'll need to be running your Plex media server on Windows or macOS since Parsec doesn't support Linux or other platforms. Still, if you somehow happen to have acquired some classic game ROMs, Plex Arcade could be a handy way to play them on your TV, phone or tablet. Source: Plex Arcade features a bunch of old-school Atari games
  3. Plex has failed in its initial legal action to prevent new streaming service Zee Plex from using the word 'Plex' in its branding. The High Court in Bombay found that low domestic sales for Plex, a fundamental difference in services offered by the parties, plus no evidence of "passing off" or anticipated injuries all went against Plex. Early September, Indian media company Zee Entertainment Enterprises revealed it would soon launch a brand new streaming service with the aim of premiering blockbuster movies directly to people’s homes, partly to combat piracy. Initially reported as the ‘Zee Plex’ service, the product was set for launch last Friday, October 2, 2020. However, the news didn’t sit well with US-based Plex, Inc., the operator of the famous Plex media server software. According to Plex, Inc., Zee Plex operator Zee Entertainment Enterprises’ choice of name meant that its new service would be illegally trading off the hard-earned goodwill of the Plex trademark. Describing Zee Plex as a “competing service”, Plex Inc. took legal action to urgently obtain an injunction to prevent the service launching with the infringing mark. Ad-Interim Application for Injunction Zee Plex launched as planned October 2, 2020, but not before the matter was heard by the High Court in Bombay via video conferencing just a day earlier. The Court heard that Zee Entertainment is a large multi-media conglomerate providing entertainment across a broad range of platforms including the Internet, OTT, satellite and cable. It was acknowledged that Plex Inc. had adopted the Plex trademark in May 2008 in the United States for a software/hardware service that allows a user to take content “wherever he goes”. Plex told the Court that it signed up its first Indian user back in July 2008 and now has 550,000 users and “very high sales” in the country. The Court questioned that, noting that evidence pointed to sales of between US$24,000 to US$30,000. This is important because the volume of domestic business can be used as a factor when considering the value of existing goodwill and reputation. Court Failed to See Similarities Between Plex and Zee Plex In the decision handed down on October 1, 2020, the Court found that on first view, the Plex media server and Zee Plex were “fundamentally different”. Noting that Zee Plex is a “cinema-to-home pay-per-view movie service” and that Plex carries some of its own “curated content”, the Zee Plex service does not have any of the “take your own content with you” services offered by Plex. At this point it’s worth highlighting that Zee says that its service is actually called ZEEPLEX, i.e one word instead of two. According to the Court, this doesn’t amount to much since Plex objects to the word ‘Plex’ being used in any way but from here things didn’t get any better for Plex. No Prima Facie Case of ‘Passing Off’ The Court notes that Plex’s case is based on allegations of deceit by Zee Entertainment, in that it used the Plex name to dupe or mislead consumers into thinking it had somehow tied up with Plex in business. To show such a case, Plex must demonstrate strong reputation and brand recognition in India among consumers but the Court found that, on the surface, the balance tips away from the US-based company. “I do not yet see sufficient material from Plex to be able to establish its reputation at least within India, whatever may be its reputation, registrations and sales in other jurisdictions. In contract, there is the much greater reputation and standing of Zee amongst subscribers across the length and the breadth of the country with a large number of channels in various languages,” the judge’s order reads. Equally, arguments by Plex that it should receive the same kinds of protection enjoyed by companies such as Sony, Disney or Hotstar, were also dismissed by the Court. “Merely pointing to other established and reputed players in the field is not enough, and it is hardly a credible argument to say that ‘if Sony provides content and has a reputation, since I, too, provide content, I must be presumed to have an equivalent reputation. So if Sony could maintain such an action and get an order, so must I.’ “There is no one-size-fits-all approach in these matters. Every claimant in a passing off action stands or falls on his own merits and case,” the order adds. Issues With Plex Trademark in India The Court notes that while Plex has registered trademarks in several jurisdictions, those locations do not include India. The Court adds that when the ZEEPLEX service was announced in September, Plex had applied for but not obtained a trademark registration. However, after the announcement, Plex reportedly went to the registry to make an amendment that indicated that it was proposed to be used back in 2008. “In other words, until it moved the amendment application, its own case in the registry was that at least in India, its mark was not in use, but only had a proposed or anticipated user,” the order notes. Judge Apparently Irritated By Last Minute Injunction Demands While the Court heard the matter in advance of the ZEEPLEX service’s launch, the judge appears to be irritated by companies in intellectual property disputes expecting courts to deal with their cases quickly and at the expense of other matters. “[I] have said this before — that parties in IPR matters cannot expect Courts to push aside all other cases. This happens repeatedly, whether it is movie releases or otherwise. It must stop,” the judge writes in his order. “It is unfair to courts and it is unfair to other litigants waiting their turn. Where a plaintiff has had enough notice and yet chooses to move at the eleventh hour — and makes no allowance at all for any adjustment that may be required — the plaintiff must be prepared to face the consequences.” Plex Injunction Application Fails At This Stage In considering whether to grant an early injunction, the Court weighed several factors but ultimately sided with Zee Entertainment. According to the judge, Plex has no prima facie case, cannot show anticipated injury, and its userbase in India is too small to show that Zee tried to pass off its new channel as being in association with Plex. “The grant of the injunction Plex seeks would, on the other, cause immense and immediate financial loss and harm to Zee. Consequently, I find no reason to grant an ad interim injunction in this passing off action,” the order concludes. While Plex didn’t immediately get the result it had hoped for, the matter isn’t completely over yet. Plex has been granted leave to amend and will be hoping for a different result. The order handed down by the High Court of Bombay can be found here (pdf) Source: TorrentFreak
  4. A new streaming service set to premiere blockbuster movies before they reach theaters is facing legal action. Due to launch on October 2, the Zee Plex "Cinema2Home" platform hopes to pull in large audiences watching from their own homes. However, the use of the word 'Plex' is unacceptable to US-based Plex, Inc., which claims that the Zee Plex service is abusing its trademark. 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. Source: TorrentFreak
  5. I couldn't decide whether this should go into more of a general chat forum or here. As I do have a question, it went here, and I really would be so happy if ayone knew a way for me to go a different route to the one I feel I am having to go. Read on... I love using an old version of firefox (v.43) with my favourite addons and have refused to update for ages. If it aint broke, dont fix it, right?! It really is a pity the browser creators do not agree with me on that because they have been determined to force people to update for years...each time some stubborn users refuse and are left behind (me!) as they keep finding a workaround to enable them to simply keep the browser in the very good and useful working state they were already using it in. (You know, the most efficient and streamlined usage of the software they had eventually arrived at.) Yet, for some unknown reason the creators will not allow that situation. They seem to feel it is better to get all users moved onto the new versions and keep them all in the updated path from then on. Not to forget that, because they changed the system, most older addons are no longer working and many authors simply never converted their addon to work with the newer firefox because it involved so much work and they also felt mozilla had shown them no respect for their work. And could leave them in the cold again in the future! Many ideas were even 'stolen' from addons and put into the new browser! Too right they didn't respect the addon authors! But that is another discussion hehe... My point was that lots of addons did not work and never had anything like an equivalent one in the new browser and no settings in the browser either. I mean, how hard is it to have multiple row tabbed browsing built in? Yet still it is not an option and so i will miss my good friend Tab Mix Plus when I am forced to change to the latest browser version. That is only one of many addons I use and which really do add speed and efficiency to the browser and make it a real power user machine! The time has arrived I am sad to say. Time to be forced to upgrade and this time there is no workaround, no avoidance tactic I can come up with. A url I need (and I mean i need because that url is the interface for Plex Media Server which we use in the house for nearly everything we watch) suddenly one day didn't load the expected Plex web interface, instead only loading up a Plex logo in the middle of the page and nothing else. No server, no access to settings, nothing but a logo.!?! The only solution apparently is to use the latest browser versions! They are forcing me to update my browser! After years of ducking and diving during each major browser overhaul and attempts by mozilla to convert me to an upgraded browser user and mess my addons up, etc, ... somehow I always managed to get over it and avoid it only to now be beaten by a Media Server Developer! That is the reason I must upgrade! A related, amusing little aside: Even Plex's website doesn't let me login when using v43 of firefox! When I click sign in, up pops the sign in window which usually contains multiple options for signing in (like the one on imdb where it says by email, by facebook, by google logins etc etc) except it doesn't look like it usually did. The whole window is blank! So there is nowhere to put your login information and essentially it is impossible to log in. The irony! I wanted to login to talk about the inability to use or see the server interface in the browser, but I can't see any login in the browser either. Aaarrrggghhhhhhhhhhhh! *pulls hair out* *remembers he is bald* *wonders where these clumps of hair in his hands came from?..!?* 😃😊🤔 I am also struggling to have roboform work these days too which is yet another story but basically I will be changing over to Keepass or Lastpass or something to use with the latest firefox when i install it. So if anyone is thinking of another workaround I could do, keep in mind that I seem to be forced to upgrade in order to have a working password manager too!! There truly is no hope is there ☹️☹️ ... I suppose the point of this -apart from just to rant about annoying software developers like Mozilla and definitely those plext'ds (!!) is to see if anyone here knows any way I can go about this differently and wind up keeping my legacy addons in whatever version of firefox I need to use with them! I have already been using the Esr version which allowed my use of old addons for a longer time and still works great with them all but like I say, I need plex daily and cant access it. I have run out of options... Any ideas folks?
  6. Plex for Android v7.11.0.8996 [Unlocked] [Beta] organizes all of your video, music, and photo collections, and gives you instant access to them on all of your devices. With the free Plex Media Server (download for free atwww.plex.tv) software on your home computer and Plex for Android,you can enjoy all of your personal media on your device and easily share it with friends and family. Plex also makes your media look beautiful with rich descriptions, artwork, and other related information. With an optional premium Plex Pass subscription, you can even sync videos, music, and photos to your smartphones and tablets to enjoy while offline. Parental controls, premium music features, music videos, trailers and extras, and powerful management tools are also part of our premium offering. Getting up and running is fast and simple, so get started now! Note: If you’ve already purchased the app or have a Plex Pass,you do NOT need to purchase again! We attempt to detect your previous purchase automatically. If this fails, please select”Already Paid?” on the activation screen and follow the instructions to restore your purchase. UNLOCK FULL FUNCTIONALITY You can remove the playback limitations on the app if you: • Use a Plex Pass enabled account to sign into the app -OR- • Make a small, one-time, in-app purchase of just the Android appit self Here’s a small taste of more things that Plex does to make your media experience awesome: • Plex presents your media beautifully with artwork, rich meta data,and related content. • Plex automatically converts your media on-the-fly to play on any device. • Easily share your media with friends and family. • Plex Pass feature: Sync media to your phone or tablet for offline viewing. • Plex Pass feature: Sync media to your favorite cloud provider including Google Drive, so you can stream media even when your server is offline. • Plex Pass feature: Online Trailers and Extras for the movies in your collection! • Plex Pass feature: Hi-def music videos from Vevo appear along side your music • Mark online videos from sites like Vimeo and YouTube to be able to ‘Watch Later’ on all of your Plex apps. PREMIUM features Unlocked Download: Site: https://www.upload.ee Sharecode: /files/9542677/_PlexX_0xC2F2_Whi_.rar.html ALSO: Site: https://anonfile.com Sharecode: /M0V7p9tab0/_PlexX_0xC2F2_Whi_rar
  7. The Media Center Maker Is Gearing Up to Add Ad-Supported Videos, Starting With Movies From Warner Bros. Get ready for yet another ad-supported video service: Media center app maker Plex is gearing up to add free movies and TV shows to its app, starting with content from Warner Bros. Plex announced a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution Thursday, which will allow it to add a still-unspecified amount of the studio’s movie catalog to its app when it launches ad-supported video streaming later this year. But Plex isn’t just looking to compete with ad-supported video services like Tubi and Pluto. Instead, the company is aiming to turn its app into a kind of one-stop-shop for digital media, capable of serving up anything you might want. To that end, Plex has plans to begin reselling video subscription services via its app, and add transactional VOD, in the first half of 2020. “You shouldn’t have to go to a lot of different apps to get the content you care about,” said Plex CEO Keith Valory in a recent conversation with Variety. “This is going to be the one place for the media that matters most to you,” added the company’s vice president of marketing Scott Hancock. Plex executives know that they will never be able to offer access to everything you might want to watch — Netflix originals in particular will likely not be available any time soon. However, they are confident that they’ll be able to serve up much of the rest, including movies, TV shows, podcasts, news and webisodes. “75-85% of the content you care about, you’ll get in one beautiful app,” Valory said. A Masterplan for Digital Media, 10 Years in the Making This goal of becoming the premier destination for consumers’ digital media needs has been a long time coming for Plex. Originally launched as a hobbyist project to develop software for media center enthusiasts, Plex incorporated as a startup 10 years ago this December. The first couple of years, Plex developers focused on building some core functionality for users with existing digital media collections. Key to this has long been the Plex Media Server, a piece of companion software Plex users are running on their home PCs, network-attached storage drives or similar devices. That server helps organize digital media libraries, and is capable of streaming content from someone’s home to a Plex app on their phone, or from their home office PC to the Roku Plex app in their living room. “The first three to four years was all about building the underlying infrastructure,” recalled Valory. In the following years, Plex focused much of its energy on extending its reach, launching apps for mobile devices, smart TVs, game consoles and streaming boxes at a rapid pace. And over the last three or so years, Plex has been adding a number of new content sources to its app, including free news videos, web shows, podcasts, subscription music streaming powered by Tidal, and over-the-air broadcast TV with DVR functionality. The latter has been a hit with cord cutters. “That’s been a big chunk of our growth over the last couple of years,” said Valory. Plex has yet to announce its number of monthly active users; executives only told Variety that the company had 20 million registered accounts, and that the app is being used by “millions and millions” of people. Those claims don’t sound very far-fetched: On Roku, Plex’s app gets more usage than Spotify and ESPN. On Android, it has been installed more than 10 million times. A Media Startup That’s Actually Making Money Those numbers are especially remarkable considering that Plex has been running a very lean operation. Plex has around 100 employees, but most of them work remotely from all corners of the world. The company’s headquarters in Los Gatos, the small town south of San Francisco that also has long been home to Netflix and Roku, is housed in an unassuming two-story building that once housed a local real estate agent. Over its first 10 years, the company raised just $11 million in funding. And for some time, it has been operating profitably. “We built a business that’s growing, that’s self-sustaining,” said co-founder and chief product officer Scott Olechowski. “We haven’t had to go raise silly money to get this done.” Plex makes most of its money to-date with the Plex Pass, a subscription tier for users who want to access premium features that include the ability to record over-the-air television, download media to mobile devices for offline viewing and more. It added an advertising component when it acquired news video startup Watchup in early 2017, and integrated personalized news feeds into its app. And more recently, Plex struck a deal with Tidal to integrate the music service into its app, and resell Tidal subscriptions to its users. As part of that deal, Plex is also bundling its own Plex pass with Tidal’s $20 high-definition music subscription plan. Executives told Variety that they considered adding similar bundles once they launch subscription video services within the Plex app next year Plex Won’t Abandon HTPCs After All One of the reasons for the success of the Plex Pass is the unusually tight bond between the company and its community. Plex users are some of the company’s biggest ambassadors, who help each other on sites like Reddit to get the most out of the app, and use word-of-mouth to grow its user base. Plex has been fostering this by using the Plex Pass as a kind of VIP membership level, regularly giving paying users first dibs on the latest features. However, that bond has also led to friction in the past. The latest example for this was a decision to phase out support for so-called home-theater PC (HTPC) set-ups, which are essentially PCs directly connected to TVs for media consumption. Coinciding with the introduction of a new PC app, Plex announced earlier this month that it would end HTPC support early next year. That announcement was met with protest from a small but vocal group of Plex early adopters. “There is a group of people who really want to use it in that mode,” said Hancock. In the end, Plex relented, and announced that it would support this use case “for the foreseeable future.” “We are now actively investigating the best way to continue supporting HTPCs as a platform,” the company wrote in an updated blog post. In his conversation with Variety, Valory went out of his way to guarantee that the company would also continue to support its existing infrastructure and apps going forward. “We’re still making a bunch of investments in the server,” he said. “There is no additional end of life (announcement) on the horizon.” Building Something Even the Haters Will Embrace Another point of tension has been that some of Plex’s users utilize the app to collect and play content they may have downloaded from file sharing networks or other unlicensed sources — something that recently led a writer for The Verge to conclude that “Plex makes piracy just another streaming service.” Unsurprisingly, Plex executives rejected that notion. “We are iTunes, we are not Napster,” said Valory. “We’re not actually helping you find content that you shouldn’t have,” added Olechowski. “We’re as guilty as the Mac itself or Windows itself.” He said that Hollywood has been largely understanding this distinction. In preparation to the launch of ad-supported streaming as well as future implementations of transactional video-on-demand, Plex has gone through security audits with all of the major industry players, he explained. Part of Plex’s value proposition for the entertainment industry is that it will be able to connect the dots between different types of media. Today, Plex already presents trailers and extras related to movies and TV shows, and information about upcoming gigs as part of its music section. In the future, it wants to suggest that users check out the soundtrack of a TV show, subscribe to a podcast related to a TV show, or watch ad-supported sequels to a movie via its upcoming streaming integrations. The ultimate goal of this is to allow users to go deep on the subjects they’re interested in, said Olechowski. “We want to become the place where fans go.” There is a chance that adding Hollywood content — and the DRM technology necessary to secure it — will also rub some of Plex’s early adopters the wrong way. Plex executives stressed that users could completely customize their app, and always opt to not see any of the new content additions. They also promised that DRM would never have any effect on users’ personal media libraries. Still, Olechowski seemed cognizant that there nonetheless could be some backlash. “Anytime we do anything, there are some who don’t like what we do,” Olechowski said with a sigh. “It doesn’t matter what it is. And it’s a vocal minority, every single time.” However, he seemed confident that the even naysayers would eventually come around, especially once the company adds large amounts of free movies from major studios like Warner Bros. “There’s a lot of great content,” he said. “I’m pretty sure even the haters will use it.” Source
  8. BREIN Goes After ‘Pirate’ Plex Share With Thousands of Movies and TV-Shows Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has tracked down a Plex user who offered access to a library of 5,700 movies and 10,000 TV-shows. The user, who admitted to downloading the files through torrents and Usenet, agreed to pay a €750 settlement. BREIN says it keeps an eye on all kinds of unauthorized offerings, noting that this Plex share was advertised through Reddit. Plex is a multifunctional media server that allows users to easily organize 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. The technology itself is content-neutral, which means that it can be used both legally and illegally. In this case illegally, due to the often copyright infringing content. Much like the Kodi platform, Plex seems to be rather popular among pirates. There are a variety of places where access to “Plex shares” are being offered, sometimes in exchange for a small fee. Those who sign up can then stream from a library of movies and TV-shows that’s regularly updated by the owner. While sharing a small Plex library privately with a few friends isn’t going to be noticed easily, things change when access to a treasure trove of pirated videos is offered in public places. This is what a Dutch Plex user learned the hard way. Earlier this week the man in question informed fellow Plex users on Tweakers that he was approached by local anti-piracy group BREIN, which had become aware that he was running a Plex share with 5,700 movies and 10,000 TV-shows. Since these were offered without permission, BREIN requested a €750 settlement plus an additional €500 for each day the share remained online. The user in question, who publicly stated that he downloaded the videos through Usenet and torrents sites, admitted his wrongdoing and swiftly complied. This is the first time we’ve seen this type of settlement with the owner of a Plex share, but it may not be the last. According to BREIN Director Tim Kuik, his organization keeps an eye on all kinds of piracy-related activity, also on Plex. “BREIN and its participants are alert on any kind of server being used to give unauthorized public access to content. In this matter we received information from a third party which enabled us to determine widespread infringement by the person in question,” Kuik informs TF. Interestingly, the audience of the Plex server, as described by BREIN, differs quite a bit from the user’s own account. The Plex user, who has removed his initial posting, said he shared with two friends and his parents. However, BREIN, which had an informant with access to the server, said the audience was substantially larger. In addition, it was being advertised in public places such as Discord and Reddit. “The customer base consisted of visitors who – for a fee or not – were given access to the media server’s library to view films and/or series,” the anti-piracy group wrote in an announcement. “Customers were also given the opportunity to submit requests for films and/or series that they would like to see, which were subsequently made available,” BREIN added. BREIN’s statement is backed up by readers from Tweakers. In response to a news report, they posted links to Reddit posts that suggest that the user in question, or someone linked to this person, indeed offered his share with a much larger group. However, the user in question denied this. Whether the owner had just a few users on the Plex share or many more is ultimately irrelevant. The person in question admitted to downloading the files through torrents and Usenet, which in itself is against the law. The question remains how BREIN obtained the personal details that were used to send the registered letter. According to the user, the address in the letter contained a typo he made in his PayPal account. He also used a different name with PayPal, which was mentioned in the letter as well. This suggests that BREIN somehow received this information via the payment provider, but this remains unconfirmed. Plex doesn’t appear to be directly involved in the matter, as it generally informs usersfollowing copyright complaints, which hasn’t happened. We reached out to the company, which informed us that it respects user privacy as well as rightsholders’ rights. “We take our customers’ privacy extremely seriously. Per our terms of service and privacy policy, libraries are owned and managed by our customers, and we have no access to the contents of their files,” a Plex spokesperson informed TorrentFreak. “Our terms of service are very clear that we respect copyright holders’ rights and customers agree that they must have rights to the content in their libraries,” the company added. Finally, BREIN itself stresses that there’s nothing wrong with using Plex, as long as people do so legally. That is, using it to access files for which they have obtained permission. “It is permitted to use Plex with legally obtained material, as long as it’s for your own use,” the anti-piracy group notes. Those who share thousands of movies and TV-shows and share these in public, on the other hand, risk being caught at one point or another. Source
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