Shutdown: UEFA and Italian law enforcement notch anti-piracy win

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The Special Unit for the Protection of Privacy and Technological Fraud within Italy’s Guardia di Finanza collaborated with UEFA, the European football (soccer) league, to shut down more than 600 pirate origination and management points during June of this year.

Investigation began in June 2020, coinciding with the inaugural event of UEFA’s EURO 2020 series.  During the year that followed,  a tracking system was put into place which identified pirate flows and resources.

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On June 17, 2021, viewers of two matches with the Italian team – which had been licensed only for distribution over pay TV – were presented with a message that they were watching illegally, and that their connections had been identified.   Overall, the anti-piracy operation identified “hundreds of thousands of illegal connections worldwide.”

“Managers of the pirate services now risk imprisonment from six months to three years and a fine of up to 15,493 euros; while end users will automatically receive a significant administrative fine for an amount of up to 1032 euros,” according to the Guardia’s prepared statement.

Read the statement from Guardia di Finanza (Auto-translated from Italian to English)

Read further coverage by UEFA and LawInSport,

Why it matters

Piracy interferes with UEFA’s EURO competitions fund region-wide development of the sport.  Research published by FAPAV, the Italian anti-piracy organization, found that in 2019, piracy accounted for the loss of nearly 6,000 jobs in italy; rising to 8,000 in 2020.  FAPAV estimated 2019 losses to Italy’s economy attributable to piracy at about €500M, plus a loss of €200M in tax revenue.

Speakers at a May 2021 event conducted by the Luiss School of Law concluded that the fight against piracy must have technological, law enforcement, regulatory and cultural components.

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