Spain: 40,000 channel multi-national pirate shut down, 11 arrested, nearly €5M seized

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On June 3, Europol’s newly launched European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC) netted a major multi-national video pirate that reached more than 2 million consumers across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

It was a sophisticated “Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)” operation, which offered more than 40 000 TV channels, movies, documentaries and other digital content via websites hosted on an international network of servers.  It also ran a staffed online technical support desk.  Authorities estimated that profits associated with this operation at €15 million.

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While the operation was based in Spain, 11 people were arrested in four European countries. Law enforcement authorities in 14 countries, including the United States and Canada were involved in the investigation that led to the arrests.

Read further details in Europol’s news release

One of the organizations supporting the antipiracy effort, Retigshedsalliancen (Rights Alliance), an anti-piracy organization in Denmark; reported that the Danish Office of the State Attorney for Special Economic and International Crime connected three Danish residents with the Spain-based operation.  They sold illegal subscriptions to 90 Danish and 5,100 international TV channels, movies, and illegal access to premium streaming services.  The three were released after questioning.

Read about Denmark’s efforts via Rights Alliance and the Danish Prosecution Service (both translated from Danish by Google Translate)

Why it matters

This antipiracy operation again underscores the extent of collaboration that’s necessary to stop multinational piracy.

Authorities have begun to consolidate their efforts in the name of increased efficiency.  The Europol Financial and Economic Crime Centre is a single unit that coordinates the efforts of what previously was a group of separate anti-crime units.

Pirates have successfully co-opted the acronym “IPTV,” which traditionally refers to IP-multicast pay TV services delivered to consumers to set-top boxes and other connected consumer devices over managed IP access.

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