A survey by the Federation for the Protection of Audiovisual Content (Fapav) estimates that there are 2 million illegal pay-TV subscriptions in Italy and 4.6 million viewers.
Fapav claims that that few Italians are aware that their illegal subscription, amounting to €10 to €20 per month, is only the end point of a chain managed by the mafia.
The estimated turnover of this illegal business in Italy alone generates a turnover of about €200 million a year.
According to a report in daily Corriere della Sera, the temptation for organised crime to enter this sector is “irresistible” because the maximum sentence for those who violate copyright is four years, much less than for dealing or extortion. Also, the few people arrested to date have been given reduced sentences by plea bargaining.
During a Serie A match, for example, about 1,700 streams from abroad arrive in Italy, including from countries such as Russia, Ukraine or Seychelles. But the Netherlands is responsible for the lion’s share, mainly due to server host Worldstream, and so far all requests from Italy to stop the service have been denied.