Piracy

Police in Portugal Arrested 9 Pirate IPTV Platform Operators

By Bill Toulas / July 19, 2021

The police in Portugal (Polícia Judiciária) has engaged its cybercrime and technological crime unit (UNC3T) and arrested nine individuals who are thought to be linked with the operation of pirate IPTV services in the country. The arrests were the result of an operation that encompassed 13 searchers. Among the copyright infringement, tax fraud, computer-based fraud, illegitimate access, and money laundering accusations, one of the individuals was also found to possess illegal firearms.

The police haven’t given away many details about which platform they managed to take down, but Portuguese media claim it was “IPTV do Sogro” (sogrotv.com), a Netflix-styled website offering various content access packages on monthly (€7) or annual (€60) subscriptions. At the time of writing this, the website remains up, but we weren’t able to test the content distribution system. The actual service may be down, but even if it’s still working somehow, it should go offline soon.

Source: IPTV do Sogro

The particular service had more than a thousand customers in the country, and its revenue is estimated at $90,000/year. While this is not an impressive amount on its own, illegal activities aren’t excluded from enforcement on the basis of the resulting profit. Also, the estimated damages to the rightsholders are estimated to be around $500,000, so the problem is multi-dimensional. The police say the investigations started in 2019, following a report from an unnamed telecommunications provider.

The seizures include €8,000.00 in cash, a car, six server rooms, various pieces of computer equipment, and all the data stored in them. Whether or not the authorities are interested in going after any of the users/subscribers remains to be seen, but considering historical evidence of how things unfold in cases of this kind, something like that is considered unlikely. Still, this shouldn’t be a reason to continue risking your financial data and legal status by subscribing to shady IPTV websites.

Portugal is not hosting many notable pirate sites in general, but that is not to say that the authorities tolerate illegal streams. Copyright owners in the country are quite active in fighting piracy, especially IPTV services that offer live sports coverage like football matches. Besides that, though, not much crackdown action is taking place in the southwestern European country.



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