Spanish authorities break up piracy operation, sieze illegal boxes, arrest six

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Operation Kripton, a joint operation between Spain’s National Police and the Customs Surveillance Service of the country’s Tax Agency, broke up a criminal operation that imported illicit streaming devices manufactured in China, stored them in a Madrid warehouse where they were pre-configured by technicians, then distributed “mainly to France, Germany and Portugal;” both directly and via third parties.

More than 24,000 illicit devices were siezed, along with €2,700 and three bank accounts.  The accounts of 12,000 end users were deactivated.  Between 2017 and 2021, income to the pirate operation for illegal activities totaled €1.2 million.

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About the investigation

Authorities began their investigation in 2019 after complaints by ACE (the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment) which is backed by Hollywood studios and other media producers, and by Mediaprodimiento SLU, an association of production companies based in Spain.

The center of operations was found to be in the Madrid warehouse, with technical support and an Internet forum that provided access to software updates.  Content and software associated with the operation were found in Germany, France, Canada and the UK.

Read the Feb. 14 press release by the Spanish National Police (Auto-translated from Spanish to English by Google Translate, and in the original Spanish)

Read the press release by ACE (Feb. 14)

Why it matters

This successful anti-piracy initiative is another example of collaboration between national government agencies, media and entertainment industry stakeholders ranging from studios and entertainment companies to production companies.  Providers of piracy detection and anti-piracy technology and of anti-piracy professional services are the additional “hidden” partners that provide confirming evidence and mitigation of piracy operations.

“The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) applauds the successful actions of the Spanish National Police and Spanish Customs in Operation Kripton.  As with our previous collaborations with the Spanish National Police, we are pleased that we were able to support them and greatly appreciate their ongoing partnership,” said Jan Van Voorn, Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Content Protection for the Motion Picture Association.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with Spanish Customs in the future. This operation is yet another strong example of ACE’s commitment to protecting the global legal ecosystem for creative content and reducing piracy,” said Mr. Van Voorn.

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