Pirated copies of Breaking Bad in 4K have appeared on torrent sites. It appears the pirates have found a way to circumvent the HDCP 2.2 copy protection that protects Netflix’s 4K streams. Several series were already available in 4K on sites like Netflix and Amazon but until now it was expected the copy protection was impossible to crack.
The Breaking Bad episode that has popped up on file sharing sites is 18GB and named ‘Breaking.Bad.S01E01.Pilot.2160p.NF.WEBRip.DTS.x264-iON’. According to release group iON, responsible for the leak, the video is a lossless HDMI capture of the Netflix stream encoded in x264.
Torrentfreak reports the file is currently available on a popular private tracker but expects it to appear on public sites soon too. The site also mentions that HDCP 2.2. adds a watermark to the video which should make it easy to trace the leaker.
“It’s unclear whether the watermarks were included and if they were removed from the Breaking Bad video, but release groups are generally well-equipped to remove these type of markers”, Torrentfreak writes. If that’s true the method they’ve used is interesting. The Cinavia audio watermark, present on Blu-ray movies, has proven to be very difficult to remove. The best known solution for that, CinEx HD requires large database files in order to end up with a Cinavia free movie.
If the pirates didn’t find a way to remove the watermark, or simply didn’t know about it, it’s likely a matter of time before Netflix finds them. For Netflix it’s important to end piracy of the 4K streams. While Breaking Bad is their own production, movie studios might become reluctant to release 4K movies on the streaming service if also these movies end up on pirate sites.