Raids, shutdowns, legal action, settlements, and even technical issues have caused many sellers of ‘pirate’ IPTV to shut down in recent months.
The end to the problem for broadcasters, however, seems as far away as ever, with large numbers of providers and sellers managing to service the illicit market, despite serious setbacks.
Hoping to make a dent in the supply chain, police in Spain say they have carried out an operation to “dismantle” a service that sourced raw TV streams and distributed them, supplied VOD content, and then sold packages to clients.
The investigation began in 2017 when officers of the Central Cybercrime Unit became aware of a Facebook page where access to pirate TV was being offered.
Investigators determined that those behind the operation were capturing channels broadcast by the major TV outfits and uploading them to servers operated by different companies abroad. At the same time, they operated a sales and marketing division, to sell their product to the public.
In total, 12 people were identified as suspects, with four people said to have been in charge of capturing the broadcast signals and distributing them, managing access to content, attracting customers, and collecting the cash through various platforms.
The remaining eight were considered resellers of the services. These individuals obtained access to the main platform from the four operators at a reduced cost in order to market these subscriptions to their own customers in Spain and overseas.
The two-year investigation came to head last Friday when the 12 suspects were arrested when raids were carried out on addresses in Madrid, Toledo, Alicante, Murcia, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and other locations.
Seven websites and two social media profiles were shut down and 86 decoders, 15 hard drives, 10 computers, NAS drives, 17 mobile phones, a ‘high-end’ vehicle and more than 22,000 euros in cash were seized.
According to police, the as-yet-unnamed service generated an estimated 1,000,000 euros for its operators who are now charged with various offenses including intellectual property crimes, belonging to a criminal organization, and money laundering.