The Digital Citizens Alliance and Nagra have jointly an investigative report showcasing how illegal piracy subscription services in the United States have grown into a billion-dollar industry that steals from creators, circumvents legitimate TV operators, and poses risks for consumers. The report, entitled Money for Nothing, details how a sophisticated ecosystem of thousands of retailers and wholesalers – through content theft and enabled by legal businesses – provides illicit piracy services to at least nine million U.S. households.
These pirate subscription Internet Protocol Television services represent a large – and lucrative – illicit U.S. industry. The report brings into focus lesser-known aspects of the pirate subscription IPTV ecosystem, examining infrastructure, supply chain, revenues and profit margins, as well as ad-financed pirate IPTV service business models. It also raises alarms about how piracy poses personal and financial risks to consumers, from malware spread through pirate apps to distribution of unlawful content that may put viewers at risk, such as terrorist channels that are banned from being broadcast in the United States.
"When it comes to piracy, the scope of the risk to consumers, small businesses and others is in direct proportion to the size of the industry, which is why we need to stop the reach and depth of this ecosystem before it grows even bigger," said Digital Citizens Alliance executive director Tom Galvin. "This report underscores how outdated laws and a lack of focus and enforcement has let thieves, hackers, and scammers create a major criminal enterprise."
"Understanding the impact and tactics involved in the business of subscription IPTV piracy outlined in this report is the first step in addressing the evolving fight to protect content, the most valuable asset in the media and entertainment industry," said Michael Sharp, director, data analytics, anti-piracy services for Nagra. "We applaud Digital Citizens Alliance for bringing the issue to light as we continue to support content owners and service providers in effectively disrupting pirate activity-through our expertise, our wide range of anti-piracy solutions and the intelligence we have gathered over years of examining piracy ecosystems-to ultimately keep viewers in the legitimate content value chain."
"Given that some players offering piracy subscription IPTV services openly brag about their profits online, it's clear that law enforcement is not their biggest concern,” said Galvin. “That is in part due to outdated laws. Given that piracy is not only a source of revenue loss to creators but an established risk to consumers, it's time to take this billion-dollar black market seriously."
Digital Citizens Alliance www.digitalcitizensalliance.org