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Microsoft lets obvious pirated-movie apps onto its ‘top free’ apps list

The illegal apps are reportedly on Xbox, PC, and mobile.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Aug 21, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 7:51 pm CDT

Microsoft has been pushing its Windows Store hard since the release of Windows 10 S, but it might be forced to remove several apps from its already limited selection.

Torrent Freak reports that a host of apps on PC, mobile, and Xbox let users illegally stream new movies, shows, and music. Several of the apps promoting “free movies” were discovered right on the “top free” apps section in the Windows Store. A few of the movie titles offered illegally for streaming include the recently released Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Mummy.

microsoft app store piracy illegal movie streaming app


This doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident. Torrent Freak claims there are “dozens” of similar apps giving away free movies, many of which are blockbuster releases with good reviews.

You’d think these app were clever in slipping past Microsoft’s screening process, disguising their illegal activity until they knew they were in the clear. Rather remarkably, that doesn’t appear the case at all. Some of the apps allegedly conducting illegal movie streaming are bluntly titled, “Free Movies HD,” “Free Movies Online 2020,” and “FreeFlix HQ.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, many of the apps show off what they’re doing right in the screenshot preview and include high-quality ads reportedly funneled through Microsoft’s own Ad Monetization platform.

Piracy is a problem on all major platforms, but the number of illegal apps and seemingly lackluster attempts of stopping them call Microsoft’s policies into question.

Update 1:12pm CT, Aug. 22: A Microsoft spokesperson addressed the illegal apps in a comment to the Daily Dot.

“We take reports that there is intellectual property infringement or inappropriate content in our Store seriously and we will review this recent report to its fullest,” the spokesperson said. “In an effort to offer our customers quality content they can feel confident in, we continually work with our developers to ensure that they are in compliance with our Application Developer Agreement and our Store Policies.”

The spokesperson went on to explain how property owners and customers who find apps that potentially violate intellectual property laws can submit a complaint through Microsoft’s Trademark and Copyright Protection Page or “Report Concern to Microsoft” link.

Microsoft has not taken down any apps that allegedly stream movies and TV shows illegally as of this update.

H/T the Verge

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*First Published: Aug 21, 2017, 4:13 pm CDT