Global Anti-Piracy Coalition Eyes Polish, Hungarian & Bulgarian Targets

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Poland's leading anti-piracy group has appeared in the media several times over the past few days to condemn IPTV piracy. The Signal Association shares several members with anti-piracy groups ACE and AAPA. Court documents obtained by TorrentFreak show that ACE is investigating a well-known Polish IPTV service plus Hungarian and Bulgarian domains worth millions of views each month.

EU CopyrightThe Signal Association (Stowarzyszenie Sygnał) is Poland’s leading audiovisual sector anti-piracy group.

Among the group’s stated objectives are protecting film and musical works from piracy and promoting intellectual property standards found in Europe and the United States.

Many Signal members are well known outside Poland, with the majority also members of other anti-piracy groups, including the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) and the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA).

Sygnal Members

Coinciding with the publication of a Deloitte report on how to tackle piracy more effectively in the region, Signal representatives have appeared in Polish news reports and given several interviews in recent days.

Anti-Piracy Groups Follow Same Playbook

Given the international movement to align piracy with malware, identity theft and fraud, driven by Signal’s international members Disney, Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBCUniversal, and Viacom/Paramount, the Polish approach in the media is predictably identical.

“First, it’s a safety issue. Piracy is often associated with fraud and extortion,” says Teresa Wierzbowska, president of the Signal Association.

“Secondly, it’s a matter of quality. No one likes watching a sports stream that stutters or pops up with unwanted ads. After all, it is also a matter of legal responsibility and moral judgment. By paying pirates, you deprive producers of revenue. Lower income from activities means a lower quality spectacle, lower state budget revenues, damage to the economy and to the development of culture, sport and entertainment.”

According to Polish Chamber of Information data, Wierzbowska’s standing across the entertainment, communications, and anti-piracy sectors is very impressive. In addition to her role as president of Signal, Wierzbowska is chair of the board at the Intellectual Property Protection Section of KIGEiT, the Polish Chamber of Commerce for Electronics and Telecommunications.

Wierzbowska is also on the board of Creative Poland Association and the president of Lewiatan, an organization with 4,100 member companies employing over a million employees. Two other positions useful to copyright holders include a position on the board of the Advertising Ethics Committee at the Advertising Council, and a vice-presidency of the Supervisory Board at the Association of Internet Industry Employers.

Social Media Advertising Fuels IPTV Piracy

Signal colleague Adam Jankowski has also appeared in the media over the last few days, highlighting “a plague” of pirate IPTV adverts appearing on Facebook and pirate apps appearing on official stores including Google Play.

“We don’t know what is actually going on under the GUI that the user sees. If there are any hidden functionalities, only the author of the application knows about it. It is through such careless installation of programs that users’ passwords are stolen,” Jankowski told

Jankowski acknowledged the game of “cat-and-mouse” associated with attempting to shut down pirate services but said the aim is to wear providers down financially through persistence. “We educate policemen and prosecutors in this area, and soon also judges,” he said of the piracy scene generally, adding that Signal can’t reveal too many details on enforcement for operational reasons.

ACE/MPA Targets Popular Poland-Focused IPTV Service

Just days before Signal’s representatives began giving interviews, ACE – via the Motion Picture Association – went to court in the United States hoping to compel Cloudflare to hand over the personal details of several piracy platforms.

Among them is PlanetaPL, a pirate IPTV service that claims to offer 150 of the most popular Polish channels and a VOD library of 5000+ movies and TV shows.


MPA/ACE cited two movies allegedly infringed by the service, one owned by Disney and the other by Paramount, and requested the “identities, including names, physical addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, payment information, account updates and account histories of the users.”

PlanetaPL has official apps listed on Google Play and Amazon and its terms and conditions point to Planeta Media, Inc. in Florida as its corporate entity.

The website of PlanetaPL states that “We a not a TV Provider. We are not responsible for the content of television programs. We provide equipment rental services.” The company’s promotional YouTube video below doesn’t mention which equipment is available to rent.

Whether Cloudflare has anything useful to hand over will remain to be seen, but it seems likely that ACE already knows a little about PlanetaPL’s setup due to a series of SSL issues that expose parts of its infrastructure. Somewhat ironically, especially given its warnings to others about security, Signal’s SSL broke last week after its certificate expired and it still hasn’t been fixed.

The DMCA subpoena application (pdf)

Major Sites in Hungary Under Investigation

While there is less anti-piracy action in Poland when compared to some other EU countries (Poland still has no site-blocking program), until recently both Hungary and Bulgaria had even less. Activity in the United States indicates that domains targeting the Hungarian market and enjoying dozens of millions of monthly visits are firmly on the radar.

New Target:
Content: Movies, TV Shows (Hungarian)
Recent Traffic: Apr 14.8m / May 14.9m / June 14.1m
Most Popular: Hungary (80% of overall traffic)
SimilarWeb Rank: #32 most popular site in Hungary

New Target:
Content: Movies, TV Shows (Hungarian)
Recent Traffic: Apr 12.4m / May 13.4m / June 13.1m
Most Popular: Hungary (78%)
SimilarWeb Rank: #60 most popular site in Hungary

New Target: (used by above)
Content: Movies, TV Shows (Hungarian)
Recent Traffic: Apr 13.8m / May 14.5m / June 14.5m
Most Popular: Hungary (78% of overall traffic)
SimilarWeb Rank: #37 most popular site in Hungary


Without drawing too many conclusions on the possible relationships between the sites/domains, all three have very similar levels of traffic, despite three distinct designs. As the image above shows, two clearly draw on the same content library.

The final site of interest to the studios is Offering TV shows and focused on the Bulgarian market, the platform received an average of 1.6 million visits per month between April and June, with 80% of that traffic attributable to Bulgaria.


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