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IPTV confusion and who can really be tracked and fined for illegal streaming

IPTV confusion and who can really be tracked and fined for illegal streaming

It's left people scratching their heads

A landmark court ruling in the ongoing fight against illegal streaming has been passed - although it's rather confused a lot of people.

Illegal streaming, whether that's by IPTV [Internet Protocol television] or a modified media device like an a jailbroken Amazon Fire TV Stick, is an act carried out by millions.

It costs the industries behind the products - such as Netflix, Sky Sports and Prime Video - combined billions in lost revenue every year.

Authorities are upping their fight back against those who carry out this act, including being questioned by police before being forced to stop supplying illegal streams or face the full force of the law.

Now, following a landmark court ruling, it has been reported that those using the services can be tracked and traced before being issued with fines for 'damages'.

The ruling comes from Spain after it was passed by Barcelona's Commercial Court Number Eight. It was in relation to the illegal streaming of Spain's top flight football league, La Liga.

But there seems to be some confusion over who exactly can be traced and fined under the landmark move.

President of La Liga, Javier Tebas Medrano, posted on X (formerly Twitter) to suggest that it was the details of end users - those watching illegally via IPTV or websites hosting streams - that would be traced via their IP addresses.

He posted: "Given the note from the Communication Department of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, we share the operative part of the Order that makes it clear that La Liga will provide operators with the IP addresses that transmit illegal content, regardless of location, and they will communicate to La Liga the users who access these IPs."

But, as reported by Spanish newspaper Marca, this is at odds with the ruling passed by the Spanish courts.

Streaming via a laptop.
Getty Stock Images

The note, from the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, issued by the courts says: "La Liga presented a request for preliminary diligence to the court for the prosecution of a specific type of piracy: cardsharing.

"Thus, it requested the Court to require a series of tele-operators to provide identification data of certain persons associated with IPS obtained legitimately by La Liga."

Cardsharing is a term in the streaming industry that refers to using one valid subscription for a service and then sharing it so many people can watch via IPTV or other rogue digital TV devices. It's a reference to the need for a physical card that used to need to be inserted in a digital TV box for subscriptions to work.

The courts continue: "Cardsharing is a practice by which legitimate users re-broadcast the signal to certain 'pirate' networks in which all participants, including those who only defraud the fee, use decoders.

"The description of this practice allows us to conclude that acts are being carried out. of making available or disseminating, directly or indirectly, content, works or services subject to audiovisual rights.

Supplying streams for a profit will land you in big trouble.
Getty Stock Images

"These acts, which are the basis for agreeing on the requested preliminary diligence, can only be carried out by the 'cardsharers' who re-broadcast the signal and they profit from it, and not by mere end users."

The Spanish legal system describes people who only watch illegal streams as people who 'only defraud the fee'.

Whether La Liga agrees or not with the order, the order itself seems to set a vital precent on the issue of illegal streaming, with an onus on targeting those using it to make a profit rather than those who are using the service.

After all, if authorities target providers it'll leave end users with no streams to watch and force them to view by proper means, which would be their ultimate goal.

LADbible has contacted the Spanish judiciary and La Liga for clarity on the situation.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Crime, TV and Film, Technology, World News, Sport