Audiovisual piracy

Cheap TV streaming may seem like a great offer, but it’s not the bargain you think it is.

You see an offer: more than 6,500 channels sourced from most major pay TV operators in the world, plus a library of 2,000 movies for less than 100 dollars or euros per year – what’s not to like?  And the payment methods look legitimate too − it must be ok!

Pricing for Illicit website

Pirate operator sites offer access to audiovisual content which has been stolen from a pay TV operator. This can be accessed via illicit devices or apps. Legal devices such as smart TVs and ipads may also carry illicit apps.

Buying your content from these sites deprives the creative industries, pay TV companies and tax authorities of revenues to which they are legitimately entitled. Their losses run into billions of euros.

No guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth

The advertised payment methods are often not what they seem, with your money being diverted to pirates’ bank accounts using sophisticated money laundering techniques. Do you really want them to have your credit card details?

You could find that you suddenly stop receiving the service. Pay TV companies, rights holders and their technology providers devote substantial resources to disrupting pirate services. And anti-piracy associations work with payment providers to interrupt the flow of money to the pirates. When they shut down the pirate services, you have no movies or sport and no way of getting your money back.

Cyber-security risks

Research has shown that pirate sites may also contain malware that could infect your computer. Or your personal details may be hijacked and shared with other criminals, leading to fraud or personal identity theft – an expensive price to pay for your “bargain”.

How to spot a pirate site

How do you identify a pirate service? Be wary of any site offering a huge number of global channels for a bargain price.

TV companies offer only their own packages in the territories for which they have rights. So go to the pay TV company’s website and see what you can buy legitimately.

Check the prices as well – legitimate pay TV will usually be more expensive than a pirate service, but you receive a quality, reliable service with good customer service to support you if you have problems.

Links to other serious crimes

You may wonder, what’s the harm in this? No one gets hurt. But the criminals behind these pirate sites can be part of organized crime groups who use the proceeds to fund serious crimes, and who engage in fraud and money laundering.

So by watching that cheap movie or bargain box set, you could be contributing to a range of crimes you could not imagine.

Help fight piracy by buying the legal option. Don’t contribute to organized crime.