Dutch pirate IPTV service taken down
May 24, 2023
By Colin Mann
Policing agency Europol has supported the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) in taking down an illegal IPTV service serving over 1 million users across Europe.
A series of raids were carried out across the Netherlands on May 23rd as part of an illegal streaming crackdown. The officers from the FIOD searched properties in various locations in The Netherlands.
Several individuals were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the illegal streaming of premium content.
Business premises in Den Helder, Almere, Hengelo and homes in Amsterdam, Almere, Enschede, The Hague and Den Helder were searched for the presence of cash. Administration, bank accounts, five cars, computer equipment and large amounts of cash were seized.
Packages bought by subscribers gave them access to over 10,000 live TV channels, alongside library of 15,000 films and TV shows.
Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre supported this investigation with analytical support, helping identify the key targets and their criminal activity across Europe.
A number of operational meetings were organised by Europol to bring together the investigators in the different European countries affected by this criminal network.
Europol experts were also deployed in various locations in the Netherlands during the action day to support the FIOD in its enforcement activities.
“This is the largest criminal investigation by the Dutch fiscal police FIOD and the Dutch prosecution into digital piracy in the Netherlands ever,” said Tim Kuik, director of Dutch rights body BREIN. “Illegal IPTV is the most serious threat to legal offerings of movies, series, television and sports broadcasts. This case concerns a criminal organisation behind the large-scale sale of illegal IPTV subscriptions in the Netherlands and elsewhere. It involves tens of millions of euros in damages in the Netherlands alone.”
BREIN will file criminal charges for the aforementioned infringement and also coordinate that its participants and other rights holders file criminal charges independently. Several rights holders have already made statements of their intent to do so.
“Illegal IPTV is currently one of the most threatening forms of piracy,” stated Kuik. “Online supply of boxes and subscriptions have skyrocketed. Sales are made online and through electronics stores. Consumers pay on average about €5 per month for a subscription and around €100 for a box that provides access to thousands of TV channels, including premium sports and video-on-demand for movies and series. Because of BREIN’s actions and now that of the Dutch law enforcement authorities the subscribers of these illegal services can kiss goodbye to their money. It’s better to be safe and buy legal, that results in jobs and new content,” he advised.