Introduction In times of widespread access to the Internet, the problem of illegal use and dissemination of copyrighted material is very burdensome...
IPTV: The pirate hydra
In mid-2023, Europol, in conjunction with Dutch law enforcement, dealt a significant blow to one of Europe's largest illicit streaming providers, offering over 10,000 illegal channels through IPTV lists. What are these lists, and how do they work?
IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television, is a pivotal means of content delivery over the Internet. This technology eliminates the need for traditional cables or satellite dishes, simplifying the distribution of signals to viewers. Unfortunately, it quickly attracted the attention of online pirates.
Illegal content distributors gain access to signals, and then distribute them, often for a fee, from servers located anywhere in the world. They provide viewers with playlists in the m3u format, which can be opened using various popular software and media players. Such programs are readily available, for example, on Google Play, and when one is taken down, another promptly takes its place.
Authorities do what they can
Several months ago, Europol, in collaboration with Dutch authorities, dismantled one of the largest providers of m3u lists, offering more than 10,000 channels to over a million viewers across Europe. Those with access to these lists could enjoy content from all the world's most popular streaming platforms.
Unfortunately, combating illegal distribution through m3u lists somewhat resembles tilting at windmills. The signal can easily be moved from closed servers to new ones. So, as long as those responsible for this global-scale enterprise remain at large, it will be challenging to effectively counter pirate IPTV services.
Record penalty in the UK
The community of legal content distributors urges the European Commission to tighten anti-piracy regulations to enable quicker shutdowns of servers used in these practices and impose harsher penalties on intermediaries and users of illegal services. Much also depends on legal regulations at the national level.
An example of the fight against online piracy can be seen in the actions of a British court, which in 2023 sentenced five individuals involved in illegal sharing, including football matches, to a combined total of over 30 years in prison. Interestingly, the pirate company operated under the guise of an anti-piracy firm, generating over £7 million in revenue over five years.
Such substantial penalties are meant to serve as a deterrent to potential profiteers at the expense of others. It's worth noting that in many countries, not only sharing but also using pirate services is punishable, so it's advisable to think twice before subscribing to such services.
You can rest easy about YouTube
The battle against pirated content distributed through m3u lists is challenging, and many solutions must be implemented for it to be effective. Fortunately, on the world's most popular platform, YouTube, the situation is entirely different. With the assistance of continuously evolving tools provided by companies like BB Media Group, they can effectively block pirates from accessing your content or ensure that all profits from illicit activities end up in your pocket. For more information, please visit our website, and if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!