There are currently thousands of providers of unlicensed IPTV services around the world so stopping them all will prove a herculean task.
Nevertheless, entertainment industry groups and anti-piracy outfits seem to determined to take on the challenge, in the hope that strategic action here and there will deter others from getting involved in this growing business.
The latest action comes from Quebecor Inc.’s Groupe TVA Inc., BCE Inc. (Bell Canada Enterprises), and Rogers Communications Inc., who have teamed up to tackle a ‘pirate’ IPTV provider targeting the Canadian market.
The complaint, first reported by The Wire Report, sees the broadcasting giants taking on the operators of GoldTV.ca and GoldTV.biz in Federal Court, claiming that the service provides access to their TV content without licenses or authorization.
“The GoldTV.biz Service provides unauthorized access to hundreds (if not thousands) of live television channels and video-on-demand content,” the complaint filed in court July 18 reads.
A cursory review of the subscriptions offered by GoldTV.ca shows the kind of packages currently being offered by hundreds of other providers operating in the same niche.
Its fairly comprehensive channel list suggests that more than 7,600 are currently available from a huge range of broadcasting companies, although that number is likely to ebb and flow depending on the provider’s third-party sources.
That being said, it’s immediately apparent that from the prices being asked, the fact that’s there no contract, and customers being told they can play content on any device, anywhere, this doesn’t fit the parameters of any normal or sanctioned service.
Clicking through to the payment options reveals prices in Canadian dollars, something which adds weight to the claim that the service targets the local market. PayPal appears to be the default option, which probably means that personal details relating to the account will be sought by the plaintiffs at some point.
According to the complaint, GoldTV has been in business since at least 2017. A domain Whois query reveals GoldTV.ca as registered in March 2017 with the .biz variant registered in July of the same year. These records provide no useful information as to who is behind the domains and the plaintiffs state they have had no success in identifying the service’s operators.
Nevertheless, the complaint demands a trial in Montreal where the companies hope to win damages and an injunction to shutter the service.
Groupe TVA, Bell, and Rogers aren’t the only companies to have noticed the activities of GoldTV.ca in 2019.
Earlier this year Spanish soccer league La Liga sent a pair of DMCA notices (1,2) that removed close to 150 of the site’s URLs from Google’s search results. In both of these cases, none of the listed URLs pointed to any copyright-infringing content but instead targeted the service’s sales and support pages.