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By their very nature, pirate IPTV services are clearly illegal and several have faced action through the courts in the US. To date, Hollywood studios have won every lawsuit in a devastating fashion. Yet, despite these cases being reported in detail, some IPTV services still haven’t worked out how to stay off the radar.
While torrent sites still play an important role in the piracy landscape, Hollywood and major content distributors consider illegal streaming to be a key threat.
Of particular concern are pirate IPTV services that for just a small outlay per month, represent direct and credible competition for legitimate platforms. As a result, many IPTV services and sellers have been targeted around the world under various laws.
ACE/MPA Subpoena Reveals Interest IPTV Service
As we have previously reported, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment together with the MPA regularly obtain DMCA subpoenas in the US that compel companies such as Cloudflare to give up the personal details of pirate site operators. Thus far, the overwhelming majority have been torrent and web-based streaming sites but this week there was a small but interesting deviation.
Who is Behind SentraTV?
As far as IPTV providers go, SentraTV seems a pretty insignificant player. Its website doesn’t attract large numbers of visitors and searches don’t reveal much interest on the broader Internet. So why, given the large number of big targets available to ACE and the MPA, are they demanding that Cloudflare unmasks its operator?
Due to their policy of not discussing ongoing investigations, we can only speculate on the motivation. However, there are some interesting factors, such as SentraTV providing an address in Delaware for correspondence. Indeed, this same address is used by numerous IPTV sellers, including PingIPTV, UpTickTV and Wave-TV, to name just three.
The websites of these services are obviously similar too, with what appear to be identical packages and pricing. Whether these are all the same service, operated by the same or different people, or have connections to the same suppliers, are things for ACE to find out. All that having been said, if ACE/MPA choose to pursue SentraTV in a US court, they will win the case.
VOD and 24/7 Channels Are The Achilles’ Heel
When ACE/MPA targeted and then shut down the large Vaders IPTV service, the fact that the provider offered thousands of live channels wasn’t the main focus.
Like other similar platforms, Vaders had a large VOD platform offering movies and TV shows, including so-called 24/7 channels dedicated to specific shows. With direct infringement easily provable, that ending up costing its operators $10m. After offering the same type of service, the owners of Crystal Clear Media were later handed a $40m bill.
Despite knowing about these cases (surely?), SentraTV still offers a large VOD service including dozens of 24/7 channels. For ACE/MPA it’s now an easy target ripe for a lawsuit that Hollywood can’t lose or, alternatively, a settlement that will involve handing over large sums of money plus detailed information about its business, including its dealings with customers and suppliers.
Of course, ACE/MPA are only at the subpoena stage but one can’t help think that without the easy target of VOD, the movie and TV companies might have picked a different target.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.