For several years, Mobdro has been delivering live TV and VOD content to vast numbers of mobile and set-top devices, making it one of the most-loved pirate streaming apps out there. However, for the past several days the app has been out of action, with current and historic domains all non-functional, leaving large volumes of fans worrying that this could be the end.
With the rise of cheap set-top boxes and mobile devices several years ago, millions of TV fans dived into the world of Kodi.
Entirely legal in official format, Kodi can be augmented with unofficial add-ons, providing access to a universe of movie and TV show content without paying a penny.
Alongside this boom, a market emerged for stand-alone software applications that work straight out of the box, without any technical knowledge needed. This click-and-play format proved popular, with software such as Popcorn Time, Showbox and Terrarium TV attracting millions of eyeballs.
One of the most popular tools to emerge was Mobdro, an Android-based software application focusing on TV content from around the world. Live TV, sports channels and 24/7 content were all available on Mobdro, providing an easy-to-use solution for anyone capable of installing it. With countless fans, Mobdro was a big success but during the past few days, it became clear that Mobdro has serious problems.
Mobdro disappears without warning
It is not uncommon for piracy-based sites and services to disappear offline for a while. Problems with sources, hosting and domain names can all cause issues. Indeed, over the years Mobdro has hopped to additional domains too, from Mobdro.com and Mobdro.sc, to Mobdro.bz more recently.
This instability can cause problems for people looking to download the app but issues with the underlying streams are more immediately noticeable to users. Cries that Mobdro is no longer working are abundant on Twitter but to date, there has been no official announcement from the developer behind the streaming tool.
Since we’ve had correspondence with Mobdro’s developer in the past, TF attempted to make contact to learn more about the current downtime. Unfortunately, emails sent to the last known address bounced. There are some theories floating around though, which look credible on first view but don’t seem to provide the necessary answers.
Theory: India’s cricket authorities forced Mobdro to close
Aside from the usual speculative claims that Mobdro has been ‘busted’, a brand new account on Reddit made a single post late Friday claiming to have the low down on the Mobdro situation. It reads as follows:
Mobdro no longer works because access to the streams has been eliminated due to legal proceedings for infringement of protected content.
Indian cricket association denounced Mobdro for broadcasting the Premier League of that country without authorization. Due to this, the application domains have been closed, including those that update the app to provide you with the links to the different broadcasts of the channels.
With the application and the official Mobdro website out of circulation, it is best to refrain from searching for the software and downloading it: the possibility that it is infected is very high.
The streaming service is no longer active.
To support these allegations, the user (who has never posted anything else on Reddit) added a link to a URL on the Lumen Database. The URL provides access to a redacted version of a DMCA notice sent by anti-piracy outfit Copyright Integrity International on behalf of The Board of Control for Cricket in India.
It lists 77 URLs that allegedly offer Mobdro for download, demanding that Google removes the URLs from its search indexes (unredacted notice here). It makes a few blunders, including by requesting the delisting of a Techradar news article published in 2018, but that’s not the important part in this instance.
Google is powerful – But not in this matter
The complaint, which looks completely genuine, was sent to Google on December 18, 2020, roughly two months ago. Google responded to the notice by removing at least some of the allegedly-infringing URLs but that is all Google can do. Google has no control over Mobdro’s domains, no control over the content the app uses as sources, and importantly, zero power to prevent the app’s developer from making an announcement.
While it remains possible that India’s cricket authorities had something to do with Mobdro’s disappearance, they haven’t had much success when directly targeting Mobdro’s domains in the past, at least via notices sent to Google.
This complaint, which was sent by the same entities last October, targeted Mobdro.bz but Google refused to remove it. Another attempt in the same month also failed.
So what happened?
The bottom line is we don’t know. Without direct confirmation from the developer, everyone is in the dark. He could make an announcement but unless there are some circumstances preventing that, he appears to have made the choice not to do so. That isn’t always the best indicator of a site returning to its former glory quickly but it might not prove to be a death sentence either.
Either way, the steady stream of disappointed fans on Twitter is showing no sign of a let-up, with some coping with their misery via a little tongue-in-cheek dark humour.