Pirate IPTV User Fines “Coming Soon” But Are Not “Psychological Terrorism”

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The head of Italy's telecoms regulator says fines of up to 5,000 euros for watching pirate IPTV streams are coming soon. Massimiliano Capitanio says users of apps downloaded from Google, Apple, and Amazon, will receive the same treatment, while confirming that investigators won't have to obtain per-person permission from a court anymore. Italians are assured, however, that warning them of the risk of 5,000 euro fines is definitely not "psychological terrorism."

italy-blockerThe head of Italian telecoms regulator AGCOM has confirmed that long-promised fines targeting end users of illegal streaming services will be arriving “soon.”

Massimiliano Capitanio has long insisted that citizens with an illegal streaming habit are legitimate targets for enforcement, but for those still unaware of that message, another reminder was published today.

Communications, Regulated

“Perhaps it is not yet clear that penalties of 150 to 5,000 euros will be coming soon, and this, as with all fines, is a step that one would like to avoid but has become necessary, not least because those who do business illegally are making unsuspecting users believe that nothing will happen (user forewarned…),” Capitanio wrote on LinkedIn.

Directing this important message toward a mostly business audience, rather than social media platforms more closely associated with the target audience, may not be optimal. However, at a time when public feedback to AGCOM’s anti-piracy plans has become rather energetic, AGCOM’s accounts on platforms including X are gathering dust.

While seemingly disinterested in conversation, AGCOM wants its message to be heard loud and clear across Italy, especially when proving the naysayers wrong.

One point of particular interest concerns the state’s ability to handle investigations into tens of thousands of illegal stream consumers. Preceded by a football icon (in case anyone had forgotten why all of this began), a new agreement to streamline investigations was revealed.

“⚽️ Note for those who ‘know it all, fines will never do it’: an agreement was revealed yesterday between [Guardia di Finanza] and the Prosecutor’s Office in Rome to facilitate the identification of users,” Capitanio wrote.

Removal of Multiple Authorization Requirements

A DDay report provides much needed context. Before conducting an investigation to establish an offense, Guardia di Finanza (a police force under the Ministry of Economy and Finance) would ordinarily seek authorization from the judiciary on a per-person basis.

That could prove unwieldy here due to the volume of illegal streamers, so an ‘intervention protocol’ has been put in place. That allows Guardia di Finanza to cross-reference all data in its possession without having to obtain authorization for each person surfaced in its inquiries. DDay reports that income received from fines will go to the Ministry of Justice to assist in the overall fight against piracy and the Ministry of Economy to fund awareness campaigns.

Business People Use LinkedIn…

While members of the public are fed deterrent messages concerning the consumption of illicit streams, AGCOM has also been putting companies like Google under pressure to do more in the fight against piracy. Public complaints recently led to Google removing an infringing streaming app from Google Play. A positive move, perhaps, but always likely to fuel demands for even more.

“The best way to fight #piracy is to fight criminal but also legal (!) associations that make business out of stealing intellectual property and rights of others,” Capitanio noted this morning.

These ‘legal associations’ include Google, Apple, and Amazon, whose customers are just regular internet users looking for software to install, in many cases to avoid frequenting pirate sites, as requested.

In a comment that could easily backfire, Capitanio effectively suggests that choosing a legal platform is no obstacle to users being fined up to 5,000 euros.

Nowhere to Hide

“Unfortunately, a necessary, though probably unpopular, step will be to fine #piracy users, users of apps easily downloaded from #Android and #Apple stores but also from #Amazon portals, users of the many sites easily reached by search engines (which still do not cooperate as they should),” the statement reads.

“Meanwhile, Spain is also moving in the same direction. A common front in Europe can only do good,” Capitanio added, referencing action by LaLiga in Spain that also makes little sense, and may yet backfire.

“Pointing out that Law 93/2023 provides for fines of up to 5,000 euros is not psychological terrorism but sharing useful information,” Capitanio added.

“Are subscription prices too high? I clear up misunderstandings. I think so, but it is not my expertise. The solution is certainly not stealing. And maybe the prices are so high also because of the parasites who live off the backs of those who pay regular contracts.”


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