A slew of 4K releases on the usual piracy sites suggests that pirates have found a loophole in the copy protection schemes that have so far managed to safely protect 4K content on streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix.
4K rips of Netflix series 'Jessica Jones' and Amazon's 'The Man in the High Castle', among others, have started appearing on popular piracy sites.
A breakthrough in 4K ripping was thought to have first surfaced in August, when a Netflix 4K copy of 'Breaking Bad' was uploaded online, but the 4K ripping scene had remained quiet until last week.
Sources close to TorrentFreak told the torrent news website that there indeed has been a new breakthrough in defeating the copy protection on these streams.
It is thought that the HDCP 2.2 content protection scheme that comes with HDMI 2.0 connections has not yet been cracked, but the availability of 4K content on older devices such as the Amazon Fire TV, which features an older version of HDCP (1.4b), has allowed pirates to find a loophole.
The release of a new 4K compatible Roku player in early November may also have led to the ripping breakthrough.
But with relatively few 4K screens in people's homes, and with 4K downloads coming in more than 10 GB per hour of content, 4K pirated downloads currently remains a niche choice for most.