TeaTV is a popular app that enables users to stream TV shows and films without paying. Like any platform that enables viewers to access paid-for content for free – either by downloading or streaming – it’s highly illegal.
Pirating not only means those behind your favourite shows and blockbusters aren’t getting remunerated for their work – potentially leading to sequels being canned by the studio, but these platforms can also be a hotbed for malware and credit card scams.
Unsurprisingly, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPA) has TeaTV in its sights. Available to download on Android, macOS and Windows 10 only for the time being – MPA is now targeting the underlying code that powers the application. Hosted on code repository GitHub, there are three different versions of the Netflix-style streaming app.
Free streaming of popular Hollywood hits is a pretty crowded marketplace – even torrent repository Pirate Bay has tried to enter the space, but TeaTV gained some traction towards the end of the year.
In the description of the Mac version of the TeaTV app, the creators of the software state: “Tea TV for Mac is the most favourite application in the market. The app is easy to use, with simple and elegant interface. You can search your favourite shows and movies from top right of the app.
“Even when you cannot clearly remember the shows/movies, the suggestion system immediately works to give you the most suitable choices. You only have to click onto the shows/ movies you love, choose one link between our 100+ links and enjoy the shows/movies.”
In its appeal to GitHub, which was bought by Microsoft back in 2018 for an eye-watering $7.5 billion, the MPA brands TeaTV as “an app notoriously devoted to copyright infringement.” According to records published by the trade association, which represents the five biggest movie studios in the United States as well as the video streaming service Netflix, it contacted GitHub about the TeaTV code in October and November 2019, as well as earlier this year, in January 2020.
“We previously provided you links to the Github repositories that TeaTV is using and are now providing you with the attached file titled ‘GitHub-Code’ which shows code hosted on Github that provides links to pirate sites with infringing copies of motion pictures and television shows that are scraped by the TeaTV app to provide access to the infringing content users are looking for,” the complaint, spotted by the team at piracy-centric blog TorrentFreak, reads.
Although four repositories previously highlighted in complaints by the MPA have now been taken down, the US organisation has now taken further action by demanding the deletion of repositories that carry executable files for the Android, Windows, and macOS app variants of TeaTV.