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Don’t Try to Pirate Movies on SpaceX’s Starlink

(Credit: SpaceX)

If you try to openly pirate movies on SpaceX’s satellite internet service Starlink, be prepared to receive a warning from the company demanding that you stop. 

One Starlink subscriber was curious if SpaceX enforces its policy against downloading copyrighted content. And turns out, it does. The subscriber, “substrate-97,” posted the piracy warning notice he received from SpaceX on Reddit this past weekend. 

“We must insist that you and/or others using your Starlink service refrain from illegal downloads of copyrighted content,” the notice says. “Downloading copyrighted materials without a license may lead to suspension or termination of your service, and put you at risk of legal action by the content owner.”

Credit: Substrate-97

Substrate-97, who is based in the US, said on Reddit they were deliberately torrenting over Starlink to see what would happen. A file download for a “CBS show” ended up triggering the warning.

“Been doing it since I got Starlink, so like two months,” substrate-97 added. “It’s been pretty low key stuff though. Finally downloaded something from a Fortune 500 company and my assumption was that it was specifically that.”

The notice also reveals that Starlink tries to stop piracy like other ground-based internet service providers: If the ISP detects a download for a bootleg movie, the company can automatically send out a warning to the offending subscriber. 

Still, it’s not exactly hard to circumvent an ISP’s monitoring. Although we don’t condone piracy, it’s well-known you can stop a broadband provider from logging your internet traffic by using a VPN, which can encrypt the connection. Hence, a Starlink user can still theoretically pirate content on the service—as long as they don’t do it openly.

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