Two pirate IPTV operators have been sentenced 36 months in prison plus $18 million in damages.
In a historic decision issued by a specialized intellectual property court in Sweden, two men responsible for running a hacker were arrested IPTV service They were sentenced to 36 months in prison.
The investigation, which spanned several years, began with anonymous tips, and culminated in the discovery of 47 gold bars and important evidence that led to their conviction.
In addition, the court ordered the duo to pay more than $18 million in damages to the broadcast stations.
Whistleblowers versus snitches
The old adage that “no one likes a snitch” often depends on the context of the information and the recipients of it.
Whistleblowers, who sometimes risk their safety to expose wrongdoing, are generally viewed more favorably.
In this case, an anonymous tip in 2019 to anti-piracy group Nordic Content Protection (National Congress Party) setting the wheels in motion for a four-year investigation.
A series of tips
The initial information pointed to an illegal IPTV network in Gävle. Interestingly, in 2020, further information reached the NCP, this time from the Gavle police, who received similar information.
The advice trail did not end there. A year later, someone contacted NCP and purchased a device IPTV device of service for about $260 and they were willing to sell it to them.
The investigation goes deeper
This unnamed IPTV service has undergone strict scrutiny, both online and offline. During their surveillance, the police resorted to eavesdropping on phone calls.
This led to multiple house searches in October 2021. Raids in Gävle and Sandviken revealed computers linked to an IPTV device that were sold to the anonymous informant.
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Other evidence showed that while one man from Sandviken rented servers, the other from Gävle ran the service software.
The size of the operation
Police raids in 2021 led to the dismantling of an IPTV service that had been operating since September 2017.
With over 12,000 customers, the service appears to have generated significant revenue.
Proof of this is the discovery of 47 gold bars in the home of a Sandviken man and a collection of whiskey worth approximately $91,600 in the home of a Gävle man.
Additionally, cash and Bitcoin worth approximately $65,900 were found.
The case was presented to the Patent and Markets Court in Stockholm, which specializes in intellectual property matters.
The court concluded that, given the broad customer base, the IPTV service was likely to be the two men’s primary source of income.
Although a third defendant was acquitted, the two main defendants, despite their insistence on their innocence and choosing to remain silent during the trial, were convicted.
They were found guilty of criminal copyright infringement and sentenced to 36 months in prison.
The damages, amounting to $18 million, were to be paid to C More and Warner Bros. Discovery and primarily to Viaplay.
For context, it’s worth noting that the founders of The Pirate Bay, a notorious file-sharing site, were ordered to pay $6.5 million after their conviction was upheld in 2009.
Their total prison term was 22 months, far less than the 72 months given to IPTV operators.
This case confirms the seriousness with which intellectual property rights are taken, especially in countries such as Sweden.
Hefty judgments and fines send a clear message to potential copyright infringers about the risks involved. As technology continues to evolve, so do hacking methods and efforts to combat it.
For more information about this story, see the report on torrentfreak.
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If and when an IPTV service is deemed illegal, we notify our users immediately and update reports on our website such as this one to reflect that information.
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