Many ‘solutions’ have been developed to offer consumers the chance to watch premium content for free, or close to it, via the use of modified receivers, replacement or hacked smart cards, or more recently so-called ‘card sharing‘ arrangements.
In response, so-called conditional access companies have developed advanced systems to ensure that viewers are also subscribers. One of the more successful is Nagravision (NAGRA), a system that is deployed in set-top boxes around the world.
But while NAGRA in this particular form can go some way towards protecting content delivered through proprietary devices, it can be bypassed by content delivered over the Internet, such as via streaming sites, augmented Kodi setups, and illegal IPTV services.
To that end, NAGRA and the International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP) have announced an expanded agreement “to bring a new generation of anti-piracy technology and services” to broadcasters and distributors of international and multicultural content.
“Developing automated, state-of-the-art tools to detect unauthorized streaming – especially on increasingly popular IPTV set-top boxes and Kodi add-ons – helps ensure we can take swift and decisive action against pirates and maintain the value of the services offered to IBCAP members,” says Frederic Guitard, Vice President Media Security Services for NAGRA.
IBCAP and NAGRA have been working together since 2014, and the expansion of the agreement was welcomed by Chris Kuelling, Executive Director of IBCAP.
“The expansion of our agreement with NAGRA will help us leverage the latest technologies and expertise in content protection and anti-piracy with the aim of putting pirates out of business and replacing them with legitimate providers,” he said.
NAGRA says it will establish a lab to monitor and detect unauthorized use of content via set-top boxes, websites and other streaming platforms. The company says it will target both linear feeds and VOD content, and take action to have that content removed.
It will also take steps to identify people selling pirate services (such as Kodi boxes augmented with infringing addons and unlicensed IPTV resellers) with an aim to either educate or gather evidence for future lawsuits.
The latter option could prove quite expensive. According to figures provided by IBCAP, since 2014 the group has obtained judgments or settlements against IPTV box manufacturers, providers, and retailers in excess of $100 million.
“ISP’s, CDN’s, and domain name providers have complied with court orders and unauthorized IPTV services have been disrupted or shut down entirely,” the group says.
Crackdowns on IPTV and Kodi box suppliers are becoming increasingly commonplace, particularly in Europe. Action by the Premier League and Spanish authorities shut down a large IPTV supplier last year and fresh action against a pair of IPTV affiliated ISPs was announced just last week by Europol.