The results of the fifth wave of Operation 404 were released in March 2023; around 200 illegal streaming and gaming sites, 128 domains and 63 music apps were reported blocked, with raids on locations across Brazil leading to 11 arrests.
While Brazil has been the focus of Operation 404 from the very beginning, the campaign has received considerable support from international rightsholders, government bodies and law enforcement agencies. The latest results relating to the sixth wave (Operation 404.6) released this week reveal progress and continued support from a laundry list of international contributors.
They include: City of London Police, United States Department of Justice, UK Intellectual Property Office, Peruvian anti-piracy group Indecopi, Argentina’s Public Ministry, a dozen Civil Police forces in Brazil, Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, MPA Latin America, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, US Patents and Trademarks Office, Brazilian Pay TV / Telecom Association, Latin American anti-piracy group Alianza, Premier League, Brazil’s National Council for Combating Piracy and Crimes Against Intellectual Property, the Entertainment Software Alliance, and Brazilian anti-piracy body APDIF.
Sixth Wave of Operation 404
A statement from IFPI notes that Operation 404 remains one of the largest campaigns of its type. Thus far the operation has resulted in the suspension of nearly 1,500 domains, the removal of 780 infringing music apps, and delivery of more than 100 search warrants, IFPI says.
Action against 12 major stream ripping and MP3 download apps supported the music industry in wave six, with IFPI reporting that collectively the apps received over 4.3 million downloads in Brazil alone. While the apps go unnamed, the global music industry group says that they were removed from major app stores and other sites offering them for download.
Reports By Authorities in Brazil
Information obtained from government and law enforcement resources reveals the execution of 24 search and seizure warrants; 22 in Brazil, and one each in Argentina and the United States. Reports indicate a total of 606 websites and applications blocked or suspended for illegal content streaming; 238 in Brazil, 328 in Peru and 40 in the United Kingdom. In some cases sites were deindexed from search engines and their accounts removed from social media by court order.
How many of the affected domains are currently redirecting to the latest seizure banner is unclear. We can confirm the banner is hosted on a subdomain of gov.br, the Brazilian government’s website, and we include it below for reference and for being perhaps the most comprehensive notice of its type ever seen online.
Local law enforcement agencies provide additional detail on operations carried out in their regions, some of which are summarized below.
Premier League Piracy, IPTV Operator Raided
Civil Police forces in several states are reported to have targeted the operators of websites and IPTV services offering illegal streams of Premier League matches.
In Mato Grosso, a large state in west-central Brazil, police targeted what appears to be an illicit IPTV provider. Authorities say that the service’s records show it had more than 60,000 customers; its operators face potential prosecution for intellectual property crimes, money laundering, and criminal association.
The Civil Police of Paraná (PCPR) report two search and seizure warrants executed against individuals suspected of ‘digital piracy’ offenses in the municipalities of Londrina and Assis Chateaubriand. Electronic equipment including cell phones and computers (image below) were seized as evidence.
Police also carried out a search-and-seize operation at an apartment in Ponta Verde, Maceió. Their targets were a couple from Brazil’s smallest state, Sergipe, said to have been living locally for the past several months. Police believe the pair are guilty of copyright infringement offenses but at the time of the raid, only a 26-year-old woman, her daughters, and their nanny, were at home.
According to his wife, the man was visiting the capital, Aracaju. That’s likely to have come as a disappointment to the Premier League, which had been reportedly working with police to target a pirate IPTV service and its operator at the Ponta Verde address. Nobody was arrested.
Other targets reported locally include the VidMate stream-ripping app said to have been downloaded 870 million times worldwide with over 1.1 million active users in Brazil.
Finally, reports indicate that the Peruvian government body Indecopi took action to block 157 domains dedicated to music piracy and stream ripping. There doesn’t appear to be any recent official reports of that nature but Indecopi has previously published lists of domains subject to blocking (1) including as part of Operation 404 (2).