Pirates have apparently broken the copy protection employed to protect Netflix 4K streams, and have uploaded a copy of the 2160p stream in torrent form.
The first episode of hit TV series Breaking Bad, in 4K resolution, has been uploaded to private trackers by the piracy group iON. Coming in at a massive 17GB, comments for the file indicate it was ripped from Netflix's UHD stream via HDMI using a "lossless capture card".
This signals the first time Netflix's UHD stream has been ripped, which up until this point has been effectively protected by a series of copy protection mechanisms. Primarily, these streams are protected by from HDMI ripping by HDCP 2.2, which before this release was not known to be broken. The streams also features identifying watermarks which supposedly allows rights-holders to locate the user whose Netflix account was used to rip the stream (it is unknown whether pirates have successfully removed the watermarking information).
Thanks to these copy protection mechanism, commercial 4K content still isn't particularly prevalent on torrent networks. If piracy groups have indeed found a way to capture 4K streams via HDMI, then this could mean bad news for rights-holders, particularly with 4K movies being released on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs later this year.
Torrent news website TorrentFreak contacted Netflix and asked if the company was aware of the leak.
"Piracy is a global problem. We, like others content providers, are actively working on ways to protect content featured on our site," a Netflix spokesperson told TF.