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Openload: What happened to the once-massive streaming site?

We take a closer look at the history of streaming-giant Openload and why it is no longer accessible to the public.

Openload: a.k.a. the former go-to place to watch your favourite movies and TV shows for free! However, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

In Openload’s case, it most definitely was. Let’s run through why the site is now indefinitely defunct.

Openload

History of Openload

If you’re unaware of Openload, here’s a quick recap. Launched in 2015, Openload served as a file-sharing-site, allowing users to download uploaded content. The site made its profit via advertising revenue and crypto-jacking. Users would also receive income based on the number of downloads their content received. Of course, it didn’t take long for people to begin uploading unauthorised content and start making money off it.

The site became notorious as the go-to spot for downloading popular movies and TV shows, such as Game Of Thrones, entirely for free. Hell, the site even contained leaked GOT episodes of the final season before they actually aired. From Hollywood, web series, Bollywood, you name it; it had probably been illegally uploaded.

During its peak, Openload received more traffic than both Hulu and HBO GO, positioning it as part of the top ten biggest streaming sites. According to ACE, aka The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, the site handled their demanding internet traffic with over 1,000 servers in Romania, France, and Germany. Before its demise, the site contained content used by 36 of the biggest 50 pirate sites worldwide.

It all came crashing down for the site on October 31st 2019, with the Openload.co URL now redirecting users to the ACE webpage. Funnily enough, when this initially happened, the ACE webpage crashed. Now, if you’re wondering, how the fuck did this thing not get shut down sooner? You’re not alone. Let’s jump into how the site avoided serious consequences for four years.

The fight to shut it down…

As you can imagine, various entertainment studios had banded together to take down this site asap. What made their legal case difficult was that Openload functioned as a file-sharing site. The platform itself was not uploading the pirated content, it was rather a very popular place to download it. While this wasn’t a morally sound excuse by any means, this was enough for the site to survive in the finicky land of legalities, for at least for a few more years than it should have.

The juicy details of its demise

In 2017, ACE (a coalition of Netflix, Amazon, the five major studios, and many other content providers) began their legal battle for a settlement from the operators of Openload and their twin site Streamango in 2017. “For years, these two pirate organisations failed to take meaningful action to stop the dissemination of the illegal content, harming creators and misleading consumers,” MPA Chairman Charles Rivkin argued.

The studios had made some ground by 2018, with the U.S. Trade Representative reviewing Openload as a “notorious” market. The review detailed how Openload inexplicably encouraged the uploading of illegal content to receive free downloads. The coalition continued their battle and, on October 31, 2019, they received a settlement outside of court. According to an ACE press release, the operators of Openload had also agreed to pay a “significant damage award.” And that my friends is the ruinous tale of Openload.

Up next: Here are the 7 best-streaming sites to watch anime in 2020.