The Money For Nothing report describes how a sophisticated ecosystem of thousands of retailers and wholesalers – made possible by content theft and legitimate businesses – provides illegal piracy services to at least nine million US households.
At over $ 1 billion, so-called IP Internet Protocol Television (IP) services for pirate subscriptions are a large – and lucrative – illegal US industry. The report focuses on lesser known aspects of the IPTV ecosystem for pirate subscriptions and examines infrastructure, supply chain , Sales and profit margins as well as ad-financed business models for pirate IPTV services. It also raises alarms about how piracy poses personal and financial risks to consumers, from malware spread through pirate apps to the spread of illegal content that can put viewers at risk, such as terrorist channels that are broadcast in is banned in the US.
Tom Galvin, Executive Director of the Digital Citizens Alliance, said, "When it comes to piracy, the level of risk to consumers, small businesses and others is directly related to the size of the industry, so we need to stop the range and depth of this ecosystem, before it gets any bigger. This report highlights how outdated laws and a lack of focus and enforcement have made thieves, hackers and fraudsters a big criminal enterprise. "
Michael Sharp, director of data analysis and anti-piracy services at Nagra, said, “Understanding the implications and tactics associated with the subscription IPTV piracy business described in this report is the first step in becoming self-evident evolving struggle for content protection to best address valuable asset in the media and entertainment industries. We applaud the Digital Citizens Alliance for bringing the problem to light as we continue to help content owners and service providers effectively disrupt pirate activities with our expertise, our broad range of anti-piracy solutions and the information that we've gathered over the years while researching piracy ecosystems – to ultimately keep viewers in the legitimate content value chain. "
Drawing on Nagra's decades of experience studying the development and growth of piracy, the Money For Nothing report describes an elaborate ecosystem.
An estimated nine million fixed-line broadband customers in the United States use an IPTV service for pirate subscriptions. You can get these services from at least 3,500 US storefront websites, social media sites, and stores on online marketplaces that sell services.
There is a $ 1 billion industry in US piracy subscriptions alone. The entire piracy industry is much bigger, in fact, when the sales of pirate streaming devices used to receive the content and ad piracy are included.
Providers of these services pay nothing for the programming that makes up their core product and therefore operate with estimated margins of between 56% (“Retailer”) and 85% (“Wholesaler”).
The ecosystem also depends on legitimate actors, including hosting services, payment processors, and social media. The extent to which these legitimate actors are aware of their role is controversial.
Additionally, the report highlights how pirates generate revenue by partnering with hackers to install malware into free apps that put consumers at risk of stealing their personal and financial information, cryptocurrency mining, adware, ransomware and botnets using suspend of computers to perform distributed denial. of service (DoS) attacks. These risks have been documented by the Digital Citizens Alliance and warned by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Nagra also found a system whereby IPTV pirate customers' private internet connections could be leaked to other users who could potentially use them for illegal activities beyond their control, such as watching TV shows. B. accessing child pornography, committing fraud or participating in cyber attacks. In an alarming development, illegal IPTV services allowed Al-Manar, a channel that the US government has designated as a specially designated global terrorist unit, to circumvent a US ban. While these issues are not the focus of the report, the Digital Citizens Alliance intends to conduct further research and ask the U.S. federal agencies to investigate.
"Given that some players who offer IPTV services for piracy subscriptions are openly showing off their online winnings, it is clear that law enforcement is not their greatest concern. That's in part because of outdated laws The fact that piracy not only results in a loss of revenue for creators but also an established risk for consumers, it is time to take this billion dollar black market seriously, ”said Galvin.