Removal of piracy communities

Hello world!

Some of you will already have noticed that we have removed some piracy related communities from Lemmy.World during the last day.

Lack of communication

First off, we want to address the lack of communication.

Not everyone in our current admin team has been with us long enough to be aware of the previous issues and discussions related to these communities and the impact this has on our community.

We should absolutely have published this announcement when or before we removed the communities, not hours later. After realizing this mistake, we would have liked to write this a lot earlier already, but we were all busy with irl things, that we just didn’t have time for it.

Lemmy.World is run by volunteers on their personal time, nobody here gets paid for what we do.

Removed communities

Next, we want to explain how we got to the decision to remove these communities.


A lot of the recent content posted to this community included images instructing users to visit a specific website to obtain a copy of the release that the post is about. These instructions were in the form of Type in Google: visit-this.domain. The domain referenced in these posts is entirely focused on video game piracy and providing people with access to copyright infringing material.

While there may be legal differences between whether one is linking to specific content on a domain or just linking to the domain itself, such as linking to compared to linking to, we do not consider this to be clear enough in laws and previous lawsuits that linking to just the domain is acceptable, if that domain is primarily about distributing copyright infringing material. We therefore do not allow linking to such domains. Additionally, we do not see a significant difference between posting a link directly to a website and embedding said link in an image, so we treat them equally.


This community is, for the most part, just about discussing various topics related to piracy. We do not at all mind discussion about this topic, and if it had been limited to that, this community would be fine.

This community, however, contains a pinned Megathread post by a community moderator, which, through a few levels of a pastebin-like site, provides an aggregated overview of various sources of content. Some of these sources are entirely legal content, but it intentionally includes various other references, such as the website referred to from the CrackWatch community, which are primarily intended for copyright infringement. is willing to accept this content on their instance, as well as the potential legal risk coming from this, which they’re free to do.

We do not plan to defederate from, but we will continue to remove communities that are directly facilitating copyright infringement. @[email protected], the admin of, is a great person, and we have no problems with him as a person. This is just a matter of different risk tolerance.


Same as !

Why have the piracy communities been restored previously? What changed?

Currently, based on the memories of team members involved in the decision back then, it appears that there was a misunderstanding between the community moderators and Lemmy.World admins in how the community will be moderated going forward, as well as which types of content are allowed.

Lemmy.World expected/assumed that links to websites primarily focused on facilitating distribution of pirated content would be disallowed in these communities.

The community moderators however do tolerate references to such websites, as long as people are not linking to individual content directly.

We suspect that this may have been missed during our original review when restoring the communities, which lead us to previously restoring these communities.

Why now?

We have recently received a takedown request for content not directly related to these communities, but it prompted us to review other piracy related content and communities.

Terms of Service clarification

Last, as we’ve reviewed our Terms of Service, we have updated our wording here to make it more clear what is and what isn’t allowed when it comes to piracy. This was already covered by “Do not post illegal content of any type. Do not engage in any activity that may […] facilitate or provide access to illegal transactions” in section 4, but we have now added section 4.1 to better explain this.

We apologize for the delays in communication.

  • db0
    2 months ago is willing to accept this content on their instance, as well as the potential legal risk coming from this, which they’re free to do.

    Well, it’s more that we believe a domain root url embedded in an image, or a link to a rentry doesn’t really have any risks. At least, nothing likely to get us sued. Note that all these domain links existed (and still exist) in the reddit /r/piracy wiki for years without problems.

    The reason being that almost all of these takedowns are coming from automated crawlers, who won’t bother OCR every image they come across, or b64-decoding every string.

    • @[email protected]
      2 months ago

      yeah, as long as you don’t specifically point to a copyright infringing content things will be fine. that’s why all piracy related subreddits are still not taken down.

    • @maniajack
      -232 months ago

      You aren’t on the server so why does it matter to you?

      • Draconic NEO
        462 months ago

        Well you see, since is a large instance, the vast majority of the Lemmy network actually. Such decisions ultimately affect everyone else because they slash your engagement severely in all affected communities.

        So even on other instances the decisions of a behemoth like can still affect users there, in way more indirect and annoying ways.

        • @[email protected]
          182 months ago

          Hopefully unhappy users will change instances and thé population will ne more spread as a result