South Africa: Piracy hurts DStv
February 1, 2024
By Chris Forrester
Reports from South Africa say that pirate streaming services like 123Movies and Fmovies not only steal revenue from local broadcasters such as MultiChoice but also significantly impact the creative industry as a whole. Moreover, the fines for pirates found guilty are miniscule.
The pirate services depend on advertising for their income stream. This inevitably appeals to users on a budget in South Africa, with the only requirement to watch being an active Internet connection.
Fmovies viewers can pay to subscribe to its system, which gives users access during peak hours when the platform normally restricts access for ‘free’ users.
MultiChoice and Partners Against Piracy (PAP) say the illegal distribution of licensed content threatens the sustainability of content creators and rights holders.
“The illegal distribution of content through pirate streaming services like Fmovies and unauthorised IPTV platforms poses substantial challenges for the industry as a whole,” said PAP. “This form of piracy not only results in direct revenue losses for businesses but also undermines the integrity of our content distribution models.”
MultiChoice says it has adopted a multifaceted approach to combating illegal streaming, including technological measures, collaboration with law enforcement agencies, and implementing legal action against infringing entities.
“The formation of Partners Against Piracy underscores our commitment to collaborative efforts within the industry. However, the dynamic nature of digital piracy poses difficulties in keeping pace with unauthorised services,” stated MultiChoice.
Chola Makgamathe, chairperson at the Copyright Coalition of South Africa and a PAP affiliate, told MyBroadband that only two convictions were made last year.
“In the past year, Irdeto and MultiChoice saw the conviction of two perpetrators (Lee Whaley and Jordan Lee Mott) in relation to them pirating content,” said Makgamathe. “Lee Whaley was arrested by detectives from the Provincial Commercial Unit for the selling of Android TV Boxes and IPTV subscriptions in December 2019.”
Fines levied by South African courts tend to be for Rand 5000 (€245) or below.