The Digital Citizens Alliance and NAGRA have released a report titled “Money for Nothing” which shows how illegal piracy subscription services are impacting everyone from TV operators to viewers. The report values pirate IPTV services at $1 billion.
“When it comes to piracy, the scope of the risk to consumers, small businesses and others is in direct proportion to the size of the industry, which is why we need to stop the reach and depth of this ecosystem before it grows even bigger,” said Digital Citizens Alliance Executive Director Tom Galvin.
The report gives an estimate of nine million broadband subscribers in the US alone using pirate subscription services. Signups for these services come from service websites, social media ads, and online marketplaces that sell service subscriptions.
While the report focused on pirate IPTV services, the authors also point out that the piracy industry goes far beyond streaming services. When the sale of pirated devices and the content being pirated are factored in, the cost to the industry is much larger.
It isn’t just a few people running the sites, but an entire ecosystem that has emerged and allowed piracy to grow to the point it’s at now. “The ecosystem also depends upon legitimate players, including hosting services, payment processors, and social media. The extent to which these legitimate players are aware of their role is a subject of debate.”
Why aren’t authorities taking action to end piracy? The report says that it’s a lack of knowledge about how pirated services operate and how much harm they’re causing.
“Very little is known about the PS IPTV services sector among policymakers, the press, or the public, the report says. “There is a broad lack of understanding about how the sector operates, the risks it creates across the economy and society, or that it pays nothing in federal, state, or local taxes, unlike its heavily-taxed legitimate counterparts.”
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