Advanced Television

Italian police bust illegal streaming operation

June 24, 2024

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Italy’s Guardia di Finanza has identified and raided 13 individuals distributing copyrighted content via IPTV across six Italian regions.

Suspects face charges that include copyright violation, computer system access crimes, and fraud. Some are linked to organised crime, allegedly using piracy profits to fund other activities. Over 1.3 million users lost access to pirated content after authorities blocked the signal.

The investigation, coordinated by the Milan Prosecutor’s Office, stemmed from a complaint filed by Sky Italia and was timed with the Euro 2024 tournament.

Italian authorities faced challenges due to the pirates’ advanced techniques. Unlike previous schemes, this involved extracting decryption keys to unlock content from major broadcasters. The pirates then used virtual servers to distribute the content to users of illegal IPTV platforms.

The contested crimes are copyright violation, abusive access to computer systems, possession of access codes, and computer fraud. The illegal service, with a user base comparable to the population of Milan, offered content from all major platforms.

IPTV piracy in Italy puts an estimated 10,000 jobs at risk and creates nearly €2 billion in damage to the Italian economy.

Meanwhile, the Italian government is set to invest €2 million annually to upgrade the ‘Piracy Shield’ anti-piracy platform. Launched in February, the platform faced challenges handling the high volume of data, according to daily La Repubblica.

The funds will be used to strengthen the platform, potentially involving tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon. Piracy Shield is currently hosted on Microsoft Azure. Part of the money will go towards compensating telecom employees who handle piracy reports from broadcasters like DAZN and Sky Italia.

The Italian State is expected to cover two-thirds of the costs, while telecom companies may shoulder the remaining part.

Categories: Articles, Content, Piracy

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