IPTV, Usenet and Comic Book Pirates Agree To Pay Up and Shut Down

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Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN says it has reached cash settlement and abstention agreements with a pirate IPTV seller and a person linked to a pirate comic uploading community. BREIN also reached an agreement with a large-scale Usenet release 'spotter' who made no money from his hobby but has ended up paying 10,000 euros for his trouble.

breinWhether movies and TV shows, music or other types of piracy, most major anti-piracy enforcement groups have a dedicated niche to protect. Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN covers them all.

In a report last summer, BREIN revealed that in addition to taking down more than 460 pirate sites and services, it had 180 Pirate Bay proxies blocked at ISPs, played a part in 338 more shutting down, tackled 23 pirate IPTV sellers, 33 illegal streaming sites and reached settlement agreements with 42 “identified perpetrators”.

This year BREIN is staying busy and in the last few days alone, has reported three more settled cases covering IPTV, Usenet, and comic book pirates.

Pirate IPTV

According to BREIN, “All-in-One-Premium-TV” sold media boxes to the public complete with a subscription to an illegal IPTV service. After identifying the previously anonymous individual behind the sales, BREIN approached the man. He agreed to stop his activities and report his sales to the anti-piracy group.

In common with other cases involving pirate IPTV providers and sellers, BREIN is prepared to take people to court. However, in this instance, the man was prepared to reach a settlement with BREIN. These payments can be quite hefty but due to the man’s “personal circumstances”, BREIN says it “moderated” the settlement amount to a more modest 2,500 euros.

To prevent a return to the same type of business, the man also signed a declaration of abstention with a penalty clause of 500 euros per day for any breaches. Another case being handled by BREIN with a similar clause saw an IPTV seller breach his agreement and by February 2022, had run up penalties of 420,000 euros.

Usenet Piracy ‘Spotter’

When content is uploaded to Usenet (otherwise known as newsgroups), it is not automatically finable by users of regular search engines. This led to the rise of so-called ‘spotters’, users who find material including movies, TV shows, music and eBooks, and post links to various forums and communities.

Spotters can be uploaders of content too and according to BREIN, it has put one such player out of action.

“A man from [Netherlands province] Overijssel was active for years under various aliases as a large-scale uploader on Usenet. The 49-year-old man was a member of several ‘release teams’ that were the first to upload and ‘spot’ unauthorized material, i.e refer to it on indexing sites,” BREIN’s statement reads.

The anti-piracy group says that it took legal action after obtaining the man’s name and address. In the event the man chose to settle rather than fight, paying BREIN 10,000 euros and providing information on other parties involved in the groups. Again, the deal with BREIN includes an abstention agreement with a penalty clause of 2,500 euros per day, to a maximum of 50,000 euros.

As recently reported, BREIN has been applying continuous pressure to Usenet pirates. In 2021, the anti-piracy group took down five Usenet indexing platforms and approached 38 uploaders of content for settlement. Overall, BREIN collected cash payments of $290K from pirates, with settlements presented as an alternative to protracted and expensive legal battles.

BREIN Settled With Comic Book Pirate, Then Went After Successor

At the start of 2021, BREIN launched an investigation in response to various uploads of comics to Usenet that referred to a list on a collector’s website calling for users to fill gaps in the archive. At the time around 128,000 titles were on the list, of which around 77,000 had been digitized.

In the summer of the same year, BREIN reported that it had reached a settlement with an individual “who played a facilitating role” in the unauthorized digitization of comic magazines and books. Following an approach, the man signed a declaration of abstention with a penalty clause.

However, the updating of the archive was apparently taken over by others, with Usenet uploads continuing to reference the collector’s website. As a result, BREIN continued its investigation and managed to identify a second person involved after researching administrators and uploaders in Usenet communities.

BREIN says the individual has now agreed to pay a 5,000 euro settlement with an abstention penalty component of 500 euros per day to a total of 50,000 euros. The anti-piracy group says its investigation will now continue due to it obtaining further information.


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