Australia: Illegal IPTV box operation shut down

Following a joint investigation in Australia by global content protection body the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) and regional cable and satellite trade association CASBAA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) into a large supplier of IPTV set-top boxes, pre-loaded to play pirated movies, television shows, sports programming, and other content has had these operations closed down in Australia.

The Melbourne-based company that had been selling these piracy devices in Asia for a number of years has ceased selling the boxes, which contained pre-loaded apps enabling easy access to creative content belonging to ACE and CASBAA/CAP member companies. The company owners also agreed to take necessary steps to prevent customers who had already purchased these piracy devices from accessing ACE and CASBAA/CAP member company movies, TV shows, and sports programming in the future. As part of a settlement agreement, the name of the company and owner were not released.

The devices were sold on average for A$400 (€256), which included a year’s unauthorised subscription to pirated versions of video-on-demand movies, as well as live sports channels, and premium TV channels from Europe, India, the United States, and South East Asia.

“The film and television industry has made significant investments to provide audiences with access to creative content how, where, and when they want it. ACE and CAP members initiated this investigation as part of a comprehensive global approach to protect the legal marketplace for creative content, reduce online piracy, and bolster a creative economy that supports millions of workers,” commented Zoe Thorogood, a spokesperson for ACE. “This latest action was part of a series of global actions to address the growth of illegal and unsafe piracy devices and apps.”

“These little black boxes are now beginning to dominate the piracy ecosystem, causing significant damage to all sectors of the content industry, from producers to telecommunication platforms,” added Neil Gane, General Manager of the CAP. “They also pose a risk to consumers who face a well-documented increase in exposure to malware. The surge in availability of these illicit streaming devices is an international issue that requires a coordinated effort between industry and government. This will be the first of many disruption and enforcement initiatives on which CAP, ACE, and other industry associations will be collaborating together.”

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