In a press release published on Thursday, global anti-piracy coalition Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment celebrated action by Taiwanese Police after they carried out a raid against distributors of pirate set-top boxes.
“Taiwanese Police officials announced Sept. 27 in Taipei that they had completed a successful raid against the distributors of SVICLOUD ISDs, seizing more than 1,000 ISDs and equipment including mobile devices and computers. Seven suspects were arrested,” ACE reported.
ACE chief, Jan van Voorn, who also leads Global Content Protection at the MPA, offered his personal congratulations.
“The intellectual property rights of various ACE members were infringed upon by these criminals, but this recent action reinforces how valuable our partnerships are with law enforcement agencies around the world. Partnerships such as this are vital to the success of our global campaign to combat piracy and protect legal content platforms.”
Light Sabers, Goggles, Commitment
On the date mentioned by ACE, September 27, the Criminal Investigation Bureau of Taiwan’s National Police Agency, government departments, broadcasters, and a who’s-who of anti-piracy groups (local and overseas) held a joint press conference.
Led by Taiwan’s top cop, Police Commissioner Huang Mingzhao, the conference delivered a unified message: A Joint Declaration to Combat Illegal Infringement.
Mingzhao said that to implement the government’s policy of protecting intellectual property, police are actively investigating piracy cases. With the slogan ‘Technology Fights Illegality’ front and center, those on stage put on luminous goggles and used lightsabers to drive the point home.
Between January 2019 and July 2023, the Criminal Bureau says it investigated 19 illegal streaming cases. The conference also heard that a new set-top box had attracted police attention; the Xiaoyun TV Box (小云机上盒) from SVICLOUD, the company described as ‘criminal’ in the ACE press release.
SVI Cloud: Piracy, Polished to Perfection
SVICLOUD devices are already well known in Asia, largely thanks to extremely effective distributor/reseller schemes. When someone rents out a five-bedroom apartment on Airbnb, complete with swimming pool, gym, TV and an SVICLOUD device for entertainment, it could simply be an attractive feature, but it might be a promotion, it’s hard to tell.
When ‘internet celebrities’ review SVICLOUD devices on YouTube, or publish blog posts featuring stunning imagery, any remaining doubt over the marketing system is clarified, just in time for the dealer network and distributor franchise to do their work – once certification has been obtained, of course.
Since content available via SVICLOUD devices caters to speakers of several languages, English included, it’s no surprise that these set-top devices are already being made available outside Asia, on Amazon in the United States, for example. Or Canada.
There are dozens of sites selling SVICLOUD devices all around the world, promising something for everyone; TV channels from Taiwan, Malaysia, United States, Canada, UK, Italy, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and India, the list goes on and on.
A site claiming to represent SVICLOUD directly puts additional meat on the bones. In addition to live TV and a VOD library, customers can expect live broadcasts of most major sports, including NBA, MBL, NFL, soccer (English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Chinese Super League, UEFA Champions League, AFC Champions League, etc.), plus golf and snooker.
The MPA Has Already Reported SVICLOUD to the USTR
Given the above, it’s no surprise that Taiwan’s recent work received praise from ACE; the SVICLOUD problem has been getting steadily worse for the past several years and has been mentioned repeatedly by the MPA and IIPA in their reports to the USTR.
“SVI Cloud is an IPTV service which includes an Android device manufactured in China and an application called SVI GO/MO offering access to pirated VOD and live TV channel content. SVI Cloud has a large pool of resellers worldwide and a userbase that is global but particularly strong in the Asia-Pacific region,” the MPA informed the USTR last year (pdf).
“The piracy ecosystem around piracy devices and related apps, including illegal IPTV services such as ‘SVI Cloud,’ continues to proliferate in Malaysia,” the MPA added in a submission to the 2022 Trade Barriers report (pdf).
Malaysia and China Meet Western Trademarks
The MPA reference to Malaysia rather than Taiwan is interesting. Back in 2021, a report compiled by anti-piracy group Alianza claimed that the official SVICLOUD site operated from a Malaysian domain – svicloud.com.my.
Furthermore, official registration documents made available in Hong Kong (1), state that the SVICLOUD trademark is also registered to an address in Malaysia. The same is true for a trademark registered in Indonesia.
At the United States Patent and Trademark Office, however, records show that the SVICLOUD trademark is registered to an individual in China.
Records at the Intellectual Property Office in the UK indicate that a trademark application for SVICLOUD was received on August 23, 2022. After being published on September 8, 2022, in October the name and address details on the application were amended.
A month later, a ‘Notice of Threatened Opposition’ was filed and this March the trademark application was completely withdrawn.
The reasons for that remain unclear but with trademarks already registered in Hong Kong, Indonesia, and the United States, perhaps that was considered enough – especially when backed up by trademarks registered in Japan, China, and Australia.