Sky TV Sends Google Thousands of Complaints to Delist Pirate IPTV Services

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Sky TV is sending notices containing thousands of complaints to Google to have pirate IPTV providers removed from search results. While there's little doubt that the underlying services upon which they rely are unlicensed and therefore illegal, in many cases the sites being wiped from Google are not directly infringing in themselves.

Like the majority of commercial broadcasters around the world, Sky has genuine competitors, eager to capture the company’s market share.

However, with the rise of unlicensed IPTV providers, which are offered either directly or through a staggering number of re-sellers and affiliates, Sky also faces huge competition from pirates. It is not difficult to see why.

While Sky subscriptions start at somewhat affordable prices, enhanced packages that involve premium movies and sports can escalate to sums that many households simply cannot muster. Pirate IPTV services, on the other hand, are cheap and offer channel packages that eclipse all legal offers.

To that end, companies like Sky are keen to wipe such platforms from the map but there’s currently a huge deficiency in what can actually be done to take them down. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop Sky from trying to make a dent in the volume of eyes landing on their websites.

During the past few weeks, Sky has been sending takedown notices to Google targeting many thousands of URLs that make up the websites of pirate IPTV providers servicing customers everywhere.

A single notice here, for example, attempts wipe 500 URLs belonging to EpicIPTV, Enjoy-IPTV, TalentIPTV, BestIPTV, and many, many more. Another, sent just this week, targets the websites of a dozen more, systematically attempting to delist every URL. A third, sent at the beginning of February, attempts to remove 500 pages belonging to just a single provider.

The list of notices (mainly sent by Sky in Italy, followed by Sky UK) goes on and on (1,2,3,4,5,6,7) but most have something in common. Despite the fact that a regular DMCA takedown notice should list URLs containing infringing content, the vast majority of those sent by Sky do not.

Instead, they target the sales portals, information databases, FAQs, and other ancillary pages that support infringing activity carried out elsewhere. None of the services targeted appear to offer pirate streams from the websites listed in the takedown notices, meaning that from a strictly technical perspective, none should be removed by Google.

While Google does indeed reject some of the notices for reasons unknown, many have been removed as requested. All that being said, it’s somewhat difficult to criticize Sky for not playing strictly by the rules when so many illicit services aren’t playing by them in any capacity.

So, as things stand, it looks like the strategy of targeting providers’ web presences will continue, since it often removes them from view and, as this forum post shows, can cause significant irritation and loss of profits for some people (re)selling IPTV services.

That being said, this removal of web presences does little to stop the underlying IPTV services from continuing, business as usual. That makes this a game of whac-a-mole that will never end, unless the underlying services are dealt with.


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